Sunday, December 11, 2016

John 1:14 - The Logos Was Made Flesh

"And the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us."-- John 1:14.
Genesis goes back to the beginning of things earthly; however, the beginning of living creatures goes back further, before which God was alone. The very beginning of God's living creation was the Logos--"the Beginning of the creation of God" -- "the First-born of every creature." -- Revelation 3:14; Colossians 1:15.
Logos signifies mouthpiece, or special messenger. Before coming to the earth, Jesus was indeed this Logos, who was with the only true God. (John 1:1,2; 17:3,5) "The Word", as applied to Jesus, is a titular "name", as can be seen from Revelation 19:13. Being the firstborn living creature, God, through him, created all living creatures. (Colossians 1:16; with the evident exclusion of God and Jesus - 1 Corinthians 15:27) John 1:1-14, however, is not speaking of all creation in the universe, nor even of all living creatures. Like Genesis 1, the creation being spoken of in John 1:1-14 is limited to the world of mankind. (John 1:10) The first and only, uniquely, begotten Son of Jehovah was given an exclusive place, so that "all these were made through Him, and without Him was not any made that was made." (John 1:3) Thus highly did the Father honor Him as His Agent in all the creative work, both as respects angels, cherubim and men.
See our study on "In The Beginning".
The Greek text of John 1:1 is not fully represented in most translations, since most translations make it appear that the Logos was the only true "God" whom he was with. John is careful, however, in his usage of Greek, so that one could see that this was not what he was saying, not only by the Greek sentence structure, but also in his doubled emphasis on the Logos' being with God in the beginning of the world of mankind, the world into which the Logos came. Rather than going into a lot of human philosophy to try to understand what John meant by applying the word "theos" to the Logos (was -- in the past tense), we should look through the scriptures for any other similar application of the words for "God" when they are applied to another than the only Most High. John himself provides such application when he relates Jesus' usage of THEOS (in the plural) in John 10:34,35. There he is refers to the plural application of one of the Hebrew words for God, elohim, to the "sons of God" to whom the Logos came in his application from Psalms 82:1,6,7. The Hebrew words for God, EL, ELOHIM, etc., all carry the basic meaning of "mighty, strength, power", etc. The King James translators recognized this usage of these words by the translation in Genesis 31:29; Deuteronomy 28:32; Nehemiah 5:5; Psalm 36:6; Proverbs 3:27; Psalm 29:1; 50:1; 82:1; 89:6; Ezekiel 32:21, where the Hebrews words are not translated as God or gods, but rather as power, great, might, mighty, strong. Thus, more accurately translated John 1:1 reads, "The Logos was with God and the Logos was mighty [or, a mighty one]; the same was in the beginning with God." Here the majesty of our Redeemer in His prehuman condition as a mighty spirit being is fully set forth, as he "was" before the world of mankind was made (John 17:5), and yet He is distinctly shown to be the Son and not "God" whom he was with.
See our study on The Logos was Theos:
Realizing that the word "god" signifies mighty one, we can further realize that there is but only one who is the Almighty, who is "might" innate, the only one source of all might, power, in the universe. Paul affirms this great truth, saying, "To us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him." (1 Corinthians 8:6.) Again, the apostle writes, "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the Head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3.) This is the claim that Jesus made for Himself -- not that He was the Most High, Yahweh, but that He was the Son of God, who came to do the will of His Father in Heaven.
The so-called doctrine of the Trinity, the extra-Biblical language of which was put into the Nicene Creed in A.D. 325, has been the cause of much of our confusion when studying the Bible, which contains neither the word trinity nor any suggestion of it. The one passage that gives any color to this doctrine is the wording found in many translations of 1 John 5:7, which is is acknowledged by most scholars to be spurious. This passage is not found in any of the old Greek manuscripts.
See the study: 1 John 5:7 - Does This Speak of a Triune God?
The Redeemer was not deceitful when he prayed to the Father with strong cryings and tears, "My God! My God!" Neither was he deceitful when he declared to Mary after his resurrection, "I have not yet ascended to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God." He declared His oneness with the Father, and desired that a similar oneness should prevail amongst his followers -- oneness of spirit, of purpose. Therefore he prayed for his church, "That they all may be one, even as I, Father, and You, are one." -- John 17:21-23.
Paul tells us of how he who was rich on the spirit plane for our sakes became poor, leaving the heavenly glory and comforts for the scenes of this world, darkened by sin and death. (2 Corinthians 8:9) In 1 Corinthians 15:40, Paul speaks of the two basic kinds of glories, the heavenly and the earthly. Paul also speaks of spiritual bodies and physical bodies; he does not confound the two. Thus, by comparing spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing, we can ascertain, that Jesus had the glory of a heavenly body before he became flesh, but that he gave of that glory to take on the glory of the earthly when he descended from heaven. This is what John also spoke of in John 1:14: "The Logos became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." The glory that Jesus' disciples beheld was his human, sinless, glory, since he never fell short of the crown of glory, the glory of God, as did Adam. The glory mentioned in John 1:14 is not the glory of a heavenly body, for as we can see from John 17:5, Jesus did not have that heavenly glory while he was flesh. Paul further corroborates this, declaring that our Lord stooped from His high position, took the bondman's form [outward appearance], in likeness of sinful flesh in bondage to corruption, and was found in fashion as a man, of the seed of Abraham. (Romans 8:3,21,22; Philippians 2:7,8; Hebrews 2:16) But lest we should get the wrong thought, that He had become a sinful man, we are guarded by the assurance that he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." (Hebrews 7:26.) We are also assured that His body was especially prepared, separate and different from others of our race, all of whom were of Adamic stock and all tainted with sin and the seeds of death. -- Hebrews 10:5-9.
But, on the other hand, we are to guard ourselves against the thought that the Logos remained a spirit being and merely materialized, or appeared in human flesh while still remaining a glorious spirit being. This unscriptural thought is the one held by many, and styled "incarnation". The word "incarnation", in itself, simply means "in the flesh." Of course, the Logos was indeed in the flesh, when he became flesh. But the word "incarnation" has become almost synonymous with the doctrine of incarnation, that the mighty spirit being, which is claimed to be the only true God himself, who simply added to his spirit "nature" the human "nature", that having two "natures" at once. The angels incarnated, or got into flesh, when they materialized from time to time, as described in the Hebrew Scriptures. Angels incarnated, or appeared in the flesh, to Abraham in company with others; and they talked with Abraham, who did not at first know that he was entertaining heavenly beings, mistaking them for human travelers. But the idea that Jesus was an incarnation, as that word is usually used, is not in the scriptures.
Many point to John 1:14 as proof of he "incarnation" dogma, although there is actually nothing in that verse that says anything about what is taught. Many have cited John 1:14 with the statement that John said that God "took on" flesh; however, that is not what is stated. The Greek word transliterated egeneto does not express any thought that the Logos "took on" flesh, but rather that he was made or became flesh. Thus, if the thought that the only true God is being spoken of, then to read it with that thought in mind would mean that God Himself became flesh, or was made flesh, which would have meant that the very flesh of Jesus was the Most High Yahweh Himself. Of course, the statement itself is simple and easy to comprehend, if one does not ascribe the meaning of the only true God to the Logos, but rather that John used the Greek word transliterated as THEOS in a Hebraic sense to describe that the Logos "was" mighty before he became flesh. Whatever is meant by THEOS in John 1:1, it is a condition that "was" [past tense] before he became flesh -- it does not extend over into the days in which Jesus had become flesh. Hebrews 6:7 expresses that, at the time of its being written, Jesus was no longer in the days of flesh, and this would have to be true, since Jesus sacrificed his flesh for our sins. -- Luke 22:19; John 6:51; 1 Corinthians 11:24; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18.
Nevertheless, Jesus after his resurrection in the spirit, as a spiritual being, before his ascension into heaven to present his body to God for our sins, could evidently have access to his former body of flesh in order made appearances in that body. In some instances, he evidently appeared in various forms of flesh. That is to say, he materialized, or incarnated, for the purpose of teaching certain lessons to his disciples, because after his resurrection he was a spirit being, with a heavenly, spiritual body, as he was before he was made flesh. And yet on at least two occasions, he evidently 'raised up" the body in which he died, and appeared, or manifested himself with that body. As a spirit being, he appeared and disappeared, the doors being shut. And lastly, he appeared to Saul without a body of flesh at all. (Mark 16:9-20; Matthew 28:8-20; Luke 24:23-49; John 20:11-31; Acts 1:1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-9) Thus he taught his disciples a triple lesson:
1. That He was no longer dead, but risen;
2. That he was not a spirit of the kind that the disciples thought him to be, a demon spirit appearing as a phantom;
3. That He was no longer a human, but a spirit being -- "put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." -- 1 Peter 3:18, Emphatic Diaglott
As Bible students we should strive earnestly to keep close to the Word of God. We should learn "not to think beyond the things which are written." (1 Corinthians 4:6, World English Bible) It was the incorrupt man Adam who sinned, became corrupted, and was sentenced to death, and under the divine law he could be redeemed only by the sacrifice of a sinless, incorrupt man. The Law declares, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a man's life for a man's life." (Exodus 21:24) Hence the blood of bulls and goats could never make atonement for Adam's sin; for they did not correspond. (Hebrews 10:4) It was not a bullock nor a goat that had sinned and was to be redeemed, but a sinless man.
Because all of the human family were children of Adam and sharers in his death sentence, therefore, "no man could give to God a ransom for his brother" (Psalm 49:7), nor could any human descended from Adam make straight that which God made crooked. (Ecclesiastes 1:15; 7:13) God so shut up the matter that Adam and his race could not have been redeemed except by the finding of a man unblemished -- fully incorrupt -- with sin who would be willing voluntarily to die on their behalf. It was because there was no such man that God arranged with the Logos, His only begotten, that he should become a man by means of special intervention of God's spirit, having a body specially prepared so as not to be contaminated by the sin of Adam and its condemnation, and thus be the redeemer of the race -- Adam and all who are dying in Adam. -- Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22.
But even this might not be demanded of the Logos. The Heavenly Father, therefore, as the apostle Paul points out, set before his Son, the Logos, a great proposition; namely, that if he would demonstrate his faith and loyalty to the extent of becoming man's redeemer, the Father would still more highly exalt him far above angels and every name that is named, with bodily might to match the authority given to him. (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9,10; Ephesians 1:20-23; 4:15,16) The Logos, full of faith and obedience, heartily entered into the proposition, was made, or became, flesh, consecrated his life, kept nothing back, finished the work at Calvary, and was raised from the dead by the Father to the heavenly glory and honor, with a heavenly, spiritual body, as the life-giving spirit. -- 1 Corinthians 15:40,44-48; 1 Peter 3:18.
The Logos, upon coming into the world, became "Jesus". The work of Jesus in the flesh, however, was not the completion of the Divine Plan, but merely the beginning of it. His death constitutes the basis of all future blessings to the church and to the world. According to the Father's Plan, an elect class of believers was to be gathered out of Israel and out of every nation to be the church of Christ; these believers were to be associates with him as the seed of Abraham that is to bless all the heathen. -- Genesis 12:3; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Galatians 3:16,29.
When mankind has fully learned the lessons of his subjection to futility and vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2,12-15; Romans 8:20), the Kingdom for which we pray, "Your Kingdom come," is to be fully established. (Matthew 6:10) Satan is to be bound and abyssed (Revelation 20:1-3); the "bondage of corruption" and vanity under the present symbolic sun which produces the symbolic striving after the wind is to be brought to an end (Ecclesiastes 1:4; 2:11,17; Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:9; Romans 8:19-22); every good influence and enlightenment is to be shed; and he who died for the world is thus to become the Light of the world in a much grander way than while he was yet in the world. While in the world, Jesus said, he was the light of the world. (John 9:5) Yet the world did not appreciate that light, so that only a few followed Jesus, so that they did not walk in darkness. (John 8:12) The light of his life as human has not yet reached the world in general. Similarly the light of truth upheld by his consecrated followers is not yet appreciated, so strong are the powers of the darkness (Colossians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 4:4) influencing the minds of the world, which, as yet, lies in the wicked one. -- 1 John 5:19, Diaglott.
But the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15) and his Kingdom will cause the light of the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh to fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the great deep (Habakkuk 2:14), so that none shall need to say to his brother, "Know Yahweh", for all shall know Him, from the least to the greatest. (Jeremiah 31:34) Thus according to his promise Jesus eventually will be "the true Light, which enlightens every man that comes into the world." (John 1:9) The great mass of humanity who have lived and died never had seen nor even heard of this true Light.
The resurrection of the just will be necessary to bring the church to glory with her Lord. But the resurrection of the unjustified, which includes practically all humanity, will be for the very purpose of permitting them to see the true light, which God has provided in his Son and which will be shed abroad during his millennial kingdom. Only those who refuse the light, preferring the darkness, will die the Second Death.
John the Baptist was a messenger sent to call attention to the light, but he was not the light. The world did not recognize the great one who was in it, the Logos, by whom it was made. (John 1:10) Even his own nation did not recognize him, but had him crucified. Yet some then and some since have received him, and to such he has given the power, the right, the liberty, the privilege, to become children of God. Those made alive before Christ came could only be reckoned as made alive anticipatorily, waiting for activation as such recognition only after Jesus completed his sacrifice. Therefore, although they were counted as immature children, still in bondage to the elements of the world, they were treated as "servants" and "young children", not "sons". -- Galatians 4:1-7.
Those who would like to have a share as the seed of Abraham in this world still have the opportunity to consecrate, to give their life to Yahweh by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, and become a son of God, an heir of God, and possibly, even a joint-heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17) If you wish to become a child of God, "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19) "Repent, and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." -- Acts 2:38.
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