What if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? -- John 6:62, World English
In various statements in our studies on the Restoration Light website, references are made to Jesus' returning to where he was before. An argument has been forwarded that Jesus never used the word "return" and that the usage of the word "return" is misleading. This argument is presented in order to counter our argument that John 6:62 shows that Jesus was existing with his Father before he became a man.
We do indeed believe that Jesus was with his God and Father before he left that glory and came to earth, and he spoke of returning to "where" he was before, that is, with his God and Father. While on earth until he died and and was raised, he did not have the glory of the heavenly (spiritual) body that he had before coming to the earth, but that of the earthly. Not having the glory of the heavenly, he prayed for that glory to be returned to him by his God and Father in the resurrection. However, in the resurrection he received in greater reward, in that he "became a life-giving spirit". -- John 1:1; 6:62; 17:1,3,5,13; 1 Corinthians 15:38,40,44,45.
We believe the act of returning is shown in Jesus' statement as recorded in John 6:62, even though he did not use the word "return". By placing the emphasis the non-usage of the word "return", however, attention is displaced from the point made, that Jesus was indeed "where" he was before; that Jesus existed in a "where" -- a place -- before he came into the world of mankind. He was indeed with his God and Father, the only true God who sent him into the world of mankind. -- John 1:1,2; 17:1,3,5.
Several scriptures have been given concerning Jesus' "going" to bolster the claim that Jesus was not saying that he was returning to God, but simply going to God:
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I GO TO [not return to] prepare a place for you.
Jesus, of course, was still on the earth when he spoke this. His use of the present tense would have to refer to his future event of going to "where" he was before. Similarly, we might say "I am going to the store," with reference to the act of going to the store that is yet future.
John 16:10 ...because I GO TO my Father, and ye see me no more;
The argument is made that Jesus said "I go to", not I "return" to. And yet "where" Jesus was before he came into the world of mankind was indeed with his God and Father. -- John 1:1,2,9,10; 16:28; 17:1,3,5.
This is "where" he said he would go to in his ascension, thus the thought of returning to where he was before the world of mankind was made, even though Jesus does not use the word "return".
John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
The argument is made that he says nothing of "returning."
And yet this does not do away with the fact that "where" Jesus was is the same "where" to which Jesus ascended, as referred to in Jesus' words of John 6:62.
Regarding John 17:5, the argument is made that nothing is said of "returning" his glory to him. The claim is made that such an idea has to be be read into Jesus' words. The claim is made that Jesus existed in God's "foreknowledge" from the very beginning, and that Jesus is simply confirming that.
Actually, at that time when Jesus prayed those words, it is evident that Jesus did not have this glory, and he says that he had that glory before the world of mankind was made, and he prays that this glory be given to him again. What else could this be but asking for this glory to be returned to him? The default understanding would be that Jesus had a glory with the only true God before the world of mankind was made, that he did not have that glory when he was praying, and that he was asking that this glory be returned to him. Any idea that Jesus was speaking of having a glory with his God and Father only in the "foreknowledge" of his God and Father whom he was with only allegedly in the foreknowledge of his God and Father has to be added to and read into what Jesus said. Additionally, such an idea would mean that when Jesus said that he was to ascend to "where" he was before would mean that Jesus would ascend to being with his God and Father in the foreknowledge of his God and Father, if that was "where" he was before.
kai nun doxason me su pater para seautw tee
AND NOW GLORIFY ME YOU, FATHER, BESIDE TO YOURSELF TO THE
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doxee hee eichon pro tou ton kosmon einai
GLORY WHICH I WAS HAVING BEFORE OF THE THE WORLD TO BE
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Westcotty & Hort Interlinear, as obtained from the Bible Students Library DVD
And, now, glorify me - thou, Father! with thyself, with the glory which I had, before the world's existence, with thee. - (John 17:5, Rotherham)It would take some imagination to assume that Jesus was not indeed saying that he was there with his God and Father and yet that he who did not exist at that time "had" a glory "with" only true God when (as it is claimed) he did not have an existence with the only true God. The fact of his asking for this former glory that he "had" "with" the only true God certainly shows that he was there "with" the only true God when he "had" that glory. We have no reason to think otherwise. It DOES show that Jesus did not have that glorty that he "had" at the time of the prayer, and thus was asking for that glory to be returned to him. It would be incongruous with the statements to think that he "had" that glory (allegedly) "in the mind of God," but that at the time of the prayer he would not have had that glory "in the mind of God." Yet he did not say "the glory that I have", but rather the "glory that I had". In saying "I", however, along with "with", Jesus was certainly declaring that he had been with the only true God and that he had once had a glory when he had been with the only true God.
Jesus did have a glory while he was in days of his flesh (John 17:22; 1 Corinthians 15:39-41; Hebrews 2:9; 5:7), which was a human glory that did not fall short of the glory of God due to sin. (Romans 3:23) This, however, was NOT the the glory that he was praying for in John 17:5, for Jesus, while in the days of his flesh, did not have the glory for which he prayed as written in John 17:5. The conclusion, by comparing spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing (1 Corintians 2:13), is that, by his words recorded in John 17:5, Jesus is referring to the celestial glory that Paul writes of in 1 Corinthians 15:39-41, which is contrasted with the terestrial glory of fleshly beings. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:39-41, is writing in response to the questions: "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?" (1 Corinthians 15:35) Thus he is speaking of two different kinds of bodies as related to this question, one that has the glory of the celestial, and another that has the glory of the terrestrial. Paul likens the new creature to a seed or grain, and states that God gives (assigns) to this seed or grain a body as it pleases him. He goes on to explain that the body first assigned to the seed is not the celestial, heavenly, spiritual body, but rather it is the terrestrial, earthly body, which is likened to the sinless body that Adam had before Adam sinned. This was the same glory that Jesus had while he was the days of his flesh, which glory he offered in sacrifice for our sins. This is the glory that is first given -- assigned -- to the justified "seed" of the new creature, which is earthly, terrestrial, not the spiritual, heavenly, bodily glory that Jesus now has. The latter -- the spiritual, heavenly, celestial, bodily glory -- has to be attained by putting on the incorruptibility as did Jesus.
Nevertheless, in that God had chosen his Son before the foundation of the world, in choosing his Son, he was also choosing his church in, or by means of, his Son. In other words, by electing, or choosing Jesus before the foundation of the world, through such an election, he was also choosing that their would be believers in Christ. This does not mean that the individuals members of the church had already been chosen before foundation of the world. It certainly does not mean that the individual members of the church had glory with the only true God before the foundation of the world, so that they could ask for such glory to be returned to them.
If the glory that Jesus had before the world of mankind only existed in the mind of God, then Jesus would have been praying for that glory that existed in the mind of God to to be returned to him. In effect, this would make the "where" that he had been before the world had been made through him to only be in the mind of God, and thus he would be expecting to ascend the where he had been before, the mind of God. -- John 6:62.
See our studies related to this:
With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?
The Manner of the Resurrection
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love; - (Ephesians 1:4, World English)This scripture is often quoted by Unitarians and some others in an effort to prove that the glory that Jesus "had" before the world had been made was a glory that only existed in God's mind. In other words, it is claimed that in John 17:5 Jesus was simply speaking of the glory as having existed, not that he himself actually existed before the world of mankind existed.
Paul, however, by what he wrote in Ephesians 1:4, did not declare the saints to have had a glory when they had been with the only true God before the foundation of the world, as Jesus spoke of in John 17:5, thus this scripture is not as "similar" as it is being supposed. Paul does speak of God's choosing the saints "in him", in -- by means of -- His Son. None of the saints can, as did Jesus, declare himself to have come down from heaven, or to have had a glory with the only true God before the world existed. Nor can any of the saints request for such a glory to be returned to him, as did Jesus.
Jehovah knew before the foundation of the world made through the Logos (John 1:10), that the world would come under a condemnation, and that there would be a need of a savior to deliver man out of that condemnation. Thus, before the foundation of the world, he had already chosen His son to be that savior, and in choosing His son, he was also choosing those would become sons of God who would be also with Jesus, members of a seed of promise, which seed would would blessing all the families of the earth. -- Genesis 12:3; 28:14; Acts 13:23; Romans 9:8; Galatians 3:16,19,29.
None of the saints would ever say that because God had such foreknowledge, that he as a saint had came down from out of heaven, or that he had a glory with God before the world existed, nor would any of the believers ever think of requesting for such a glory to returned to them, as did Jesus in John 17:5.
Thus, there is nothing in Ephesians 1:4 that would mean that Jesus did not have an existence when he "had" a glory "with" the only true God as he spoke of in John 17:5.
Related RL Studies