In the previous article, we beheld the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, as we saw Him as the living Word of God by which all things are made. The apostle, John, in his account of Jesus Christ, set Him forth from the beginning in this light (refer to John 1:1-4 King James Version). It declared that Christ, as the Word of God, was with the Father from the very beginning. It was by Him that God made all things and by Him that they are held together: He is the very bedrock and the very foundation of creation.
In order to fully understand the depths of God’s love, of His great sacrifice, and our own identity through Christ in the heavenly family, we must thoroughly examine what the Scripture teaches regarding “the Christ,” by whom all things are made.
WHO DO YOU SAY CHRIST IS?
When Christ dwelt upon this earth, there were many ideas regarding His identity. At that time, Christ put forth the question to his disciples: “…Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am” (Matthew 16:13)?
The answer amassed a confusion of ideas: “…Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14). But should we marvel at this? The answer was no less diverse at that time than they are today. Truly, even now, there are many ideas regarding who Christ is. Yet it is not any man’s ideas or opinion that will verify who Christ is, but only the inspired Word of the living God.
Even his closest companions were not spared from the question:
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:15-18).
If ever a confession were fraught with eternal significance, it is here. While Christ, as the Word of God, was the firmly founded Cornerstone of heaven, Christ, as the Son of the living God, is to be the unconquerable foundation of His church, of which “the gates of hell shall not prevail against.”
Scripture tells us in 1 John 4:15: “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”
Simon Peter’s confession was the revelation from the Father in heaven; it had not stemmed from the mere ideas and speculations of men.
Let us then look more closely at Christ as the Son of the living God, in depth.
WHO IS THE SON OF GOD?
The Son of God was with God the Father in the creation of God from the beginning. More than His embodiment as the Word of God, He was the beloved Son at His Father’s side.
The Son of God declares of Himself:
“The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth… Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: …when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” (Proverbs 8:22-30).
Christ says He was “brought forth” as the Son of God, “set up from everlasting, from the beginning,” “Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2 New American Bible). Christ was the only begotten of the Father from the earliest times.
Two questions found in the Scripture further clarify this matter. The first being, “…who hath established all the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 30:4)?
The answer to this lies in the very first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Followed by another question: “…what is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell” (Proverbs 30:4)? Thus it was from the beginning that the Son of God was united in God’s creative purposes.
THE EQUALITY OF THE SON OF GOD
The One whom Scripture declares as “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power” also shares the same identity with the Son of God, who was “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2) by God the Father. Christ said, “All things that the Father hath are Mine…” (John 16:15). Jesus knew that His Father “…had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God” (John 13:3). Christ was the appointed heir of all things created by virtue of having been “come from God”.
Before and during the ancient Hebraic economy, the law of inheritance was already observed. This law determined that the firstborn male was to inherit his father’s possessions, to continue his name and bear his legacy. This practice originated in the earliest times with Christ. The Scripture testifies that Christ is “…the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15), thus; He is the divinity appointed heir of all things, for God the Father made all things by Him (see 1 Corinthians 8:6).
Furthermore, the Scripture declares that He shares the Father’s throne: “…(I) am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21), and by sharing His Father’s throne through His divine Sonship, they hold equality in a special sense.
Philippians 2:6 affirms this: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Having been equal with God by divine inheritance, to be worshipped as the Firstborn of heaven is His right because He has inherited the name “God” by birthright. God says: “…obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him” (Exodus 23:21).Worship of the Son constitutes a vital element of true worship of the Father, according to the Scripture: “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him” (John 5:23).
A NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME
All things were created by and for the Son of God, including the angels: “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him” (Col. 1:16).
Christ was not a Son by creation as the angels were, nor by adoption as the redeemed are, but was the begotten Son of God in the express image of His Father’s person. Therefore, those things created did not have that exalted privilege that the God’s Firstborn had, and rightly so. Not even exalted angels of heaven were given this right.
The following verse says so: “Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?’ And again, ‘I will be to him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son?’…And of the angels He saith, who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom’” (Hebrews 1:4).
The Son was given the name God in respect to His nature, having inherited it from His Father. While the Father was God in personality, the Son was God in infinity; all the fullness of the Godhead bodily was His from God the Father. This name given to Christ is a name above every name, never bestowed to any created being, not even to the most exalted cherubim at the throne of God.
Nevertheless, one such an angel, a covering cherub at the throne of God in His sanctuary (refer to Jeremiah 17:12), assumed that position in his jealousy, which was not given to him by God: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:14).
God’s sanctuary in heaven is made up of, but not limited to, “stones of fire,” which are an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrew 1:7 and Daniel 7:10), lively stones built up a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5) and this is what the church in heaven consists of – the Son of God being their confession and delight.
So what happened to this exalted “cherub that covereth”? Ezekiel 28:15 says, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! …thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15).
In addition, Ezekiel 28:2-17 states, “Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God… I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground”
Lucifer, that covering cherub, exalted himself in his heart, setting himself as equal with God when God’s Word had not declared it. Jealousy prevailed in his heart over the Son of God as he desired that exalted name given to the Firstborn alone, to be his name also.
THE FATHER OF LIES
God is the Father of Christ, the Son. This testimony speaks true. John, the apostle, declared Christ to be “the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 John 1:3). Yet of the devil, Christ declares that he, in John 8:44, “…abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” The covering cherub, dwelling in the midst of the stones of fire, the very church of heaven, saw the gates of hell prevail against him, and why is this so? Because he refused to believe that Christ alone is the only equal with the living God, His only begotten Son. Satan, in exalting himself to equality with God, was adding to the Word of God.
The Scripture tells us that, “…he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son” (1 John 5:10). Satan had done exactly this. In exalting himself to equality with God, Satan brazenly declared that he did not believe the record God gave of Christ, His beloved Son, and by this means, had added to the Word of God.
“Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure…Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:4-6).
Lucifer, who is Satan, a liar and the father of it, had added to the Word of God; God created all things by His Word, and Lucifer was now adding to the creation something that was not so from the beginning, and in doing so, he proved himself to be a liar. Thus he declared God to be a liar while in heaven, in not believing the record He gave of His Son. The most startling implications, not then discerned by the rebellious cherubim, were the result of Lucifer seeking to exalt himself in his heart. Thus it was, that in the heart of Lucifer was found the origin of the mystery of iniquity, a trinity of divine beings, and of antichrist.
1 John 2:22-23 point this out: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
Thus, it was that Satan denied the Son of God. There is an abundance of Scriptural testimony regarding that old serpent, the father of lies, that declare that the gates of hell have indeed prevailed against him, and that he has continued this warfare against the creation of God. He continues to this day to declare that God is a liar, and perverts His Word to win souls to his rebellion.
“…Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).
Christ said, “When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own.” While dishonesty and jealousy are exclusively the qualities of the devil, he imposed them upon the Father of truth, thus the prevalence of the gates of hell over one who denies the Son of the living God. As it was then, even so it is now.
SENDING THE SON INTO THE WORLD
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
God’s love was manifested in His act of giving His only begotten Son, a point God would have the angels acknowledge.
Hebrews 1:6 says, “When he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him.”
As the Son of God, the “firstbegotten,” was sent into the world, a command was carried out that all the angels of God should worship Him. Yet the fallen angel, who had denied the Son of God in heaven, sought to destroy Him when He came to earth: “…the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:4). Thus, he showed in this act his direct opposition to the Son of God.
Affirming His identity, the Voice of the Father conferred the greatest blessing at Christ’s baptism: Matthew 3:17 reads, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
By the Son of God, everything was made, and by this declaration at the baptism, the Father embraced all of humanity as He did His Son. However, the testimony of God regarding His Son is the point the fallen angel would especially obscure: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil…And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread’” (Matthew 4:1-3).
While the Father is seeking to inspire the hearts of men with the same testimony Simon Barjona’s had, “This is My beloved Son,” it is also the fallen angel’s aim to cause Christ and His professed followers to doubt His true identity. In attacking the testimony that God gave of His Son at the baptism, he attacked all of humanity which the Father embraced by that testimony.
Why is he so determined to obscure this fact? If he can toy with this fact, then he can obscure the great love that the Father had for us in giving His Son. Thus, the world’s confusion regarding who Christ is. Among them, the most popular view is the co-eternality of Christ, that Christ has no beginning and no end. His Sonship is not “in truth”, but in a metaphorical sense only. Thus the Father is not the Father in truth, but only metaphorically. Some have gone as far as to claim that the Father and Son are interchangeable, yet if this is the case, then God does not have a Son to sacrifice, but only a partner: a second divine being. If the Father did not have a Son to give, it would not only be a denial of the Son, but a denial of the Father’s love, casting great doubt on your identity and value in the eyes of God because your sonship, and the plainest statements of God, cannot be trusted. Yet the matter goes deeper than this.
THE SPIRIT OF THE SON
Jesus is the Christ, and by Christ are all things. Christ is the channel for the Father’s blessing to mankind. In declaring to Him the blessing, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” He has pronounced that blessing to the redeemed human race, to “whosoever believeth in Him.”
The Scripture tells us in 1 John 5:10, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” What witness is this? It is the witness of the Spirit of Christ, His Son.
1 John 5:1 says, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,” and if you are born of God, it is declared that you are a son of God, and this is true if you believe in the testimony God gives of the Christ as the Son of the living God: “But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (1 John 1:12).
1 John 4:15 also says that “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”
The reality is that the heavenly Father reveals this truth to His children. What truth? The very same that Simon Peter confessed: that Christ is the Son of the living God. And by this confession, in the truest sense, these are the children of God in Christ. So long as they walk in the light as He is in the light, “the gates of hell” shall have no power over them because they are born of God.
This is what we read in Galatians 4:6-7: “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
What a glorious reality! The Spirit of the Son of God, the Sonship of Christ, dwells in us and makes us heirs with Christ! The place that the fallen angels lost is not as exalted as will be our nearness to Christ. Satan disregarded the Son of the living God in heaven, whereas we set the seal in our hearts of the truth: He is the Son of God. Here it becomes evident that belief in that testimony is sufficient to make all the difference between heaven and hell. Now that Spirit, which dwells in us, bears witness that we are children of the heavenly Father. Hallelujah!
According to the Scripture, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).
What a glorious inheritance comes by heaven’s Firstborn! What wondrous love that God would give His begotten Son and call us His own! Truly, there may be many ideas regarding who Christ is today, but there is only one confession that shall stand against the storm and tempests of hell victoriously; that confession is the one His disciples of this generation shall know as verily as they did when it was asked of them of old. That is “Ye are the the Christ, the Son of the living God”.