What is the definition of Incarnation?
Is that like carnation milk?
Miriam Webster Dictionary?
Incarnation- : the embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form.
(We teach about a deity as being God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. All are God three entities yet one. (Example comparison -water, steam, ice. All are water H20, yet all different functions. Each can separate, but when put back into the original form, it is still water H20. Jesus glorifies the Father and Holy Spirit Glorifies the Son)
Incarnate – invested with bodily and especially human nature and form.
In the case of Christ Jesus. He is God living in human form.
“The Orthodox View – gives special study to this most accepted Evangelical View.
“This view established in 451 A.D. and it has been the position of the Christian Church. There is one Jesus. He has two natures; the human nature and the divine nature. This means that Jesus while here on earth was 100 % God and 100% man, composed of natural body and a rational soul.” note from – Thiesen’s Systematic Theology
Many people who don’t believe that Jesus is God, ask these questions:
1. Well, how can Jesus be both God and Man?
2. How could he be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
3. Is Jesus all three?
4. Would Jesus death then truly be a sacrifice if Jesus is the same person as the Father?
Answer – Mary was a virgin. Jesus was conceived within her womb by Holy Spirit. Miracle conception. This answers the first part of question:
Matthew chapter 1:18 – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together. She was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.”
- Let us take a look at this in more detail and eliminate these questions once and for all. We must first go back in time. The time, is before Christ was even born into the human form of a baby. His conception was a complete miracle.
- There is a lot of confusion which arises when people ask these kinds of difficult questions.
- Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man. Conceived by Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is also God. Mary was 100 % human. She had no special differences from that of any other women other than the fact that God chose her to give birth and to fulfill Old Testament Scripture that the Messiah would come.
The Sign of Immanuel (which means God with us) prophecy
Old Testament book of Isaiah 7:10-16 “Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as Heaven.” But Ahaz said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (www.biblegateway.com)
(Even in this context, The Bible is saying that Jesus is God. You will see in the New Testament the name Immanuel comes up again that is at the birth of Jesus mentioned in the Book of Matthew.
If you continue to read the following verse Isaiah 7:15-16 note. *These next verses go on to say that he will refuse evil. Meaning he will be without sin.
Again more Old Testament Prophecy – Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. O the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. (Interesting he is called Father and Mighty God)
Before the earthly Birth of Christ, He is known as Pre-incarnate, or before Flesh.
When or how did the Incarnation of Christ happen?
First we must understand what eternal means:
Eternal means past, present and future all at one time. Eternal past, Christ was with God and He was God.
The Word Became Flesh
(John 1:1 ESV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
This was before God created the world. Jesus is speaking here (John 17:5 ESV) – “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” (Is this saying that Jesus and the Father can be in the same presence? That is a mystery.
Jesus is also called “the Word” Okay here we go again in (Revelation 19:13 ESV) “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God”.
Notes from Lectures in Systematic Theology (Henry Clarence Thiessen)
“Word is the medium of manifestation, a means of communicating, and a method of revelation.”
(We speak to one another in the same way I am speaking to you today. I am communicating using words. When the bible says that Jesus is the word, it is saying that God has spoken to us in the medium of His Son. (Jesus is the Word) The revelation which means – “an act of revealing or communicating divine truth”. The revelation that “Jesus is the Word” is a divine truth. This theory is in harmony with the interpretation. When John speaks as God being the Logos- Logos also meaning (The Word).
Logos + God = Jesus (Jesus is God)
Jesus is also called the first born of all creation. This does not mean that He was the first born. It means that He (Christ Himself is Messiah and God of all things) Jesus exercises the privilege that everything created belongs to him, as He is Lord of all creation. God made it all through Christ and for Him. He is divinely appointed, heir to all things created. He was there when it all began. Scripture states that nothing came into existence without Him.
This is absolute proof that Jesus is God in the Fullness. Let us dig deeper.
(John 1:3 ESV) – “All things were made through him, and without him was not any- thing made that was made.”
(John 1:10 ESV) – “10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.”
Can you imagine? The Creator was put to death by the created. We hung him on a cross and crucified him and beat him and humiliated him like no other. God allowed this to happen. He said, he could lay down his life and take it up again. Not without humiliation and the hurt from the rejection of those he loves.
(1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV) “6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (What is it? Do we exist through the Father or through the Son? We exist through both of them. Why? They are one essence for lack of a better word. They are in perfect unity along with the Holy Spirit. We can conclude from this verse that Father and Jesus are God. Lord and God are equally the same. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit)
All things would include the heavens and the earth and those believers he chose before the foundation of the world was made.
(Ephesians 1:4) “4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (This explains eternal in the past, present and future. God is all knowing and knew us before we were born. I take this to mean that yes he knows what we will do before we do it. But we have a free will to do what is blameless before him.)
He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:16) – “16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
The Scriptures represent Christ as the creator, preserver, and goal of creation. An interesting reference in Genesis 1:26) shows that there was a counsel in the Godhead when God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our Likeness”.
(Genesis 1:26 ESV) – “26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
In the Old Testament the second person of the trinity is never referred to as Christ. He is referred to as Son, Jehovah, and the angel of Jehovah. Note – Genesis 19:24 “The Lord which means (Jehovah) rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from The Lord out of heaven. (Jesus was referred to as Lord in previous scriptures mentioned. The disciples also called “him Lord.
In the Old Testament Christ appears as an angel of The Lord. He appeared to Hagar, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Balaam, Gideon, Manoah and others. Though called the angel of The Lord. Some of these visitations are also called theophanies. From all these scripture references, we learn that Christ had a distinct personal existence during the Old Testament period and that he had definite and repeated dealings with the Israelites.
Lecturer’s note: “Appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ are called “Christophanies”, rather than the appearances of God in some form tangible to human senses, which are called “Theophanies” (e.g.: Gen. 12:7-9; Ex. 24:9-11; Deut. 31:14-15)
Meat for you to chew on. Do some homework.
- How did this happen?
- Why is the incarnation of Christ so important?
- What is the final benefit in the incarnation?
- Who is the character of incarnate Christ?
1. How did this happen?
This is a difficult concept to understand. The Scriptures encourage a consideration of the mystery of God. Jesus himself indicated that a true knowledge of him is possible through divine revelation. Jesus is unique in that there is no other being like him, and so we cannot fully reason from the known to the unknown.
2. Why is the incarnation of Christ so important?
The work of Christ has specific reference to the death, resurrection, ascension and exaltation of Christ. While it is important to believe and understand the incarnation of Christ, it is most important to understand the supreme importance of the meaning of his death.
- His birth and his death was foretold in the Old Testament
- His death and resurrection is the prominent foundation of Christianity all throughout the New Testament.
3. What is the final benefit in the incarnation?
- It is the chief purpose of the incarnation (There was no other way for atonement other than for God to leave his throne and become the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice. He had to suffer the separation from God the Father.)
- It is Essential to Christianity
- It is essential to our salvation
- It is of supreme interest in regard to eternal life and heaven
4. Who is the character of incarnate Christ?
. He had a human birth, human development and He had the essential elements of human nature. He had human names: Jesus which means Saviour. Old Testament name Joshua – Son of Abraham, Son of David, Son of Man, Messiah which is equivalent to calling him son of God (Luke 22:69). Jesus had the sinless infirmities of human nature. He never sinned. Jesus is repeatedly called man.
. Furthermore, he today exists as a man in heaven (1 Timothy 2:5), will come again (Matthew 16:17, 25:31; 26:64), and will judge the world in righteousness as a man (Acts 17:31)
Matthew 27:45-46 (ESV) “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
“Now GOD the Father has turned His face from GOD the Son. Up until this point, Jesus has been in perfect union with GOD the Father since the beginning of time. The Christ and the Father both are Alpha and Omega (which means the first and the last) they always have been, always will be. They both claim the title of the great “I Am” (Meaning that they are and always have been).This is why they are GOD.
“My friends, if we could explain where GOD came from then He wouldn’t be GOD, would He? GOD the Father and GOD the Son living in perfect submission to each other and now Jesus hangs on a cross to take upon Himself the sin of the World. And if Jesus has the sin of the world on Him then the wrath of GOD is poured out upon Jesus for our sin. For a brief time, the perfect union between GOD the Father and GOD the Son is broken. The communion is broken. The greatest pain of the death of Jesus was his separation from GOD the Father. The Son was separated from the Father for our sakes. The greatest pain of Christ on the cross was not physical but spiritual. In all of eternity the Father and the Son had been one. In this moment, the Son understood separation from the Father.” Quote – Pastor Bryan Vaughan
Jesus is coming back.
Are you ready?
Now we have heard again and believe in the one true God our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If God can make a way where there is no other way to attain salvation and eternal life in Heaven, how much more do we need to realize the love that God has for those He created? He wants none to perish. When He was on the Cross, you were on His mind. Do you want to perish? The Bible speaks of a second death when Satan and those who reject the God the Son (Jesus Christ) will perish in the eternal fire. Like God, he has given us a free will to choose our destiny. Remember God wants none to perish and that is why He went to the ultimate way of atonement. We can take it or leave it, but I choose Jesus. I choose eternal life. I choose to love and follow the righteous one, the incarnate Jesus Christ, the only true God who loves me enough to die for me. Jesus offers this Gift of eternal life and salvation. If you have not received that gracious and merciful gift from God, don’t wait. Tomorrow might not come. He could come before I finish this sentence. Receive Jesus. He is the Gift. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Messiah) our Lord. Today is the day for all of us to confess our sin and take hold of that gift of eternal life that Jesus is offering us. Best Christ present ever. Take it and thank God for such mercy (God not giving us what we do deserve – eternal death) and His grace (God giving us what we don’t deserve eternal life). Thank you Jesus for the forgiveness for my sin and I ask you Jesus to be the God of my life? Amen!
English Standard Version Biblegateway.com
Lectures in Systematic Theology