The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-20).
November 19, 2017
1) Is Jesus Not As Great As God the Father? (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
Is Jesus Not As Great As God the Father?
Based on John 14:28, one might wonder if Jesus is a “lesser”
God. For Jesus says in the last part of this verse that “the
Father is greater than I.” But when did Jesus say this, and
what was His relationship with the Father at that time? It, of
course, was after Jesus had greatly humbled Himself to come to earth
and had taken on “the form of a bond-servant” (Phil. 2:7), where He,
as “the Son of God,” had been living in submission to His Father in
Normally, we think in a father-son relationship that the father is
greater than the son. Therefore, it is the son who is in subjection
to the father -- and not the father to the son. So these terms
serve as accommodating language to express the role Jesus took
upon Himself when coming to earth. For it appears that prior
to the creation, there was not a Father-Son relationship, as also
indicated in Hebrews 1:5: "For to which of the angels did He ever
say, 'YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU'? And again, 'I WILL
BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO
ME'?" The "will be" and "shall be," which I underlined,
indicate a time when that type of relationship would begin. So
what was it prior?
The very same chapter also declares that Jesus "is the radiance" of
His Father's glory and "the exact representation" of His Father's
nature (Heb. 1:3). So Jesus was not just 50%, 75%, or 99% --
but, rather, was 100% of the “exact” nature of Deity that His Father
Paul, too, speaks of that in Colossians 2:9: "For in Him ALL THE
FULLNESS OF DEITY dwells in bodily form" (emphasis mine). The "Him,"
of course, refers to Christ, as mentioned in verse 8. Again, Jesus
is as much God as the Father; but was in subjection to Him while on
This might also remind you of what Jesus says in John 14:7: “If you
had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you
know Him, and have seen Him” (Jn. 14:7); and “He who has seen Me has
seen the Father" (v. 9). Though two distinct persons, yet same
And what about the Holy Spirit? He is also a divine person who
makes up the Godhead, but why is He never referred to as a
"Son"? Though the "Jehovah's Witnesses" see Him as a
power -- and not a person -- yet the Bible speaks of Him
as a person when using masculine pronouns, such as "Him" (Jn. 16:7)
and "He" (v. 8). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is One who can
"convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment"
(v. 8); and He can "guide," "speak," "hear," "disclose,"
"glorify" God, and take from God (vv. 13-15). He can also be
"grieved" (Eph. 4:30). How could just a power, like
electricity, be grieved?
Paul speaks of that "sacrifice" Jesus made in humbling Himself to
leave heaven and lay aside that glorified state He had there -- in
order to become a man: "Have this attitude in yourselves which was
also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard EQUALITY WITH GOD a thing to be grasped, but emptied
Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being found in the
likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled
Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even death on a
cross" (Phil. 2:5-8, emphasis mine).
So Jesus was in an “EQUALITY WITH GOD" before coming to earth. And
what He "emptied Himself" of was not His Deity, but the blessings of
dwelling in heaven and His heavenly “body” that was replaced with a
human one that would experience hunger, thirst, weariness, pain, and
temptations -- a body that was much inferior to what He had in
heaven. This is why the Hebrew writer says, "But we do see Him who
was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus,
because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so
that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone" (Heb.
2:9). Jesus was not "lower than the angels" when it came to
rank because He was still God, and angels were part of His creation.
The angels worshiped Christ, but He did not worship them. But He
became "lower than the angels" by taking on an inferior body
compared to the perfect, heavenly body that they possess. And this
verse also shows why Christ did that: "so that...He might taste
death for everyone." Jesus had to become a man so that He could make
an atonement for sin by His death on the cross.
So though He had been in "equality with God" in heaven, He did not
feel that He had to cling to that and all the blissfulness that goes
with it, but willingly gave up the privileges and blessings He had
there in order to come to earth, humbly take on the "the form of a
bond-servant," and subjectively and faithfully carry out His role as
the Son of God in submission to His Father in heaven.
In thinking more of the Lord's equality with His Father, John 1:1-3
is an excellent passage. It declares: "In the beginning was
the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through
Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into
being" (emphasis mine). This "Word" is Jesus, and He is not referred
to as a "lesser" God, but as "God"! John then goes on to say in
verse 14, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw
His glory, glory as the only begotten from the Father, full of grace
Recently, I was talking with a couple "Jehovah's Witnesses"; and
when pointing out this passage to them to show how much Jesus is
God, and asking why their New World Translation renders Him as "a
god" (in John 1:1), one responded by saying that it is a different
Greek word than the previous one referring to the Father. But
that is incorrect, for they are both from the same Greek word
The "Jehovah's Witnesses" do not see Jesus as being as great as He
really is. For they not only teach of Him as being a "lesser" God,
but also as one that is a created being -- and, therefore, not
eternal like His Father. To them, Jesus is Michael the
archangel and the first of God's creation.
One passage they misused was Colossians 1:15 to assert that Jesus
was created. For that verse speaks of Him as being the
"first-born of all creation." But if "first-born" is to be
taken literally, who gave birth to Christ prior to the
creation? So even in that, we can infer that "first-born" is
being used figuratively.
During the Mosaical Age, the firstborn son was to receive a double
portion of the inheritance from his father (cf. Deut.
21:15-17). So in that, we see of a preeminence the firstborn
had over his siblings; and that idea also came to take on a
metaphorical usage in the Scriptures. For example, Isaiah
14:30 says that "the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and
the needy shall lie down in safety..." (KJV). But "firstborn"
is not used literally in this passage. Rather, it is referring
to those who were most poor. Notice, for instance, how this is
rendered in some other Bible translations: "Those who are most
helpless will eat, And the needy will lie down in security..."
(NASB). And in the NIV: "The poorest of the poor will
find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety..."
Consider, too, Psalm 89:27: "I also shall make him My firstborn, The
highest of the kings of the earth" (emphases mine in these
Especially with that last verse, we can easily see the figurative
usage of "firstborn" to indicate exaltation or the preeminence that
God would give to that one. And that is the way it is used in
Colossians 1:15. For notice the context: After speaking of
Jesus being "...the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of
all creation," it then goes on to say: "for by Him all things
were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and
invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities --
all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is
before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also
head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn
from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place
in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all
the fullness to dwell in Him" (Col. 1:15-19).
To "have first place in everything" is to have the preeminence over
everything, and that is what the idea of Jesus being "the firstborn
of all creation" is figuratively expressing. For He is not
merely the firstborn of a particular family, which He was; but,
rather, He is said to be the firstborn over "all creation."
How highly exalted Christ is! He has "the name which is above
every name" (Phil. 2:9). He is the "King of kings and Lord of
lords" (Rev. 19:6); and, as He declares in Matthew 28:18, "All
authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."
We saw also in Colossians 1:16, "For by Him all things were
created..." Every created thing has been made possible by
Jesus Christ. Going along with this, John 1:3 declares, "All
things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came
into being that has come into being."
Well, if the "Jehovah's Witnesses" are correct that Jesus is a
created being then it could not be said that "by Him all things were
created." For if that be so, then Jesus would have had to
create Himself! So what do they do with Colossians 1:16 so
that it does not clash with their belief? They "solved" it
with the word "other." Quoting from their New World
Translation, "by means of him all other things were created
in the heavens and on the earth..." (emphasis mine). By inserting
the word "other," they can now say that "God created Jesus, and
Jesus then created all other created things." But that is not
what the Bible teaches. In the 23 different Bible translations
I looked this up in, not even one of them use the word "other" to
imply that Jesus was also a created being.
It is said of Jesus that "they shall call His name Immanuel; which
is, being interpreted, God with us" (Matt. 1:23, ASV). Yes,
Jesus was God incarnate, Deity in human flesh while on earth.
But when the Jews said to Jesus, "You are not yet fifty years old,
and have You seen Abraham?," the Lord responded by saying, "Truly,
truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM" (John. 8:57-58,
emphasis mine). Notice that Jesus doesn't just say, "I was," which
would have still been an awesome thing to say, and which would have
probably been what He would have said if He had been a created being
prior to Abraham; but Jesus did not say that. Rather, He said, "I
AM," which expresses His eternal nature. He had no beginning, for He
has always been and always will be.
Notice how the psalmist expresses God's eternal nature:
"Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and
the world, Even FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING, You are God" (Psa.
90:2, emphasis mine). And who did we earlier see as being credited
with the creation in John 1:2? Jesus. Also in Hebrews 1:2: God
"in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed
heir of all things, THROUGH WHOM ALSO HE MADE THE WORLD (emphasis
mine). And what does God the Father call His Son in Hebrews 1:8?
"But of the Son He says, '...O GOD..."
That Jesus was involved in the great work of creation is also seen
in the first verse of the Bible: "In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). We have pointed out that "God" in
this passage is from "Elohim," the plural form of God; and look what
we go on to see: "Then God said, 'Let US make man in OUR image,
according to OUR likeness...God created man in His own image..."
(Gen. 1:26-27, emphasis mine). Notice the plural pronouns. God the
Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were all involved in the work of
creation. Concerning the Holy Spirit, Genesis 1:2 says, "The earth
was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the
deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the
waters." The psalmist declares of God, "You send forth Your Spirit,
they are created; and You renew the face of the ground" (Psa.
So getting back to that phrase, "FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING,
You are God," notice that it doesn't say, "from everlasting to
everlasting, You HAVE BEEN God" or "from everlasting to everlasting,
You WILL BE God"; but "from everlasting to everlasting, You ARE God"
(emphases mine). God already fills all eternity. Eternity is not
like our realm of time, which is linear like a timeline. God will
not be a day older tomorrow, or a year older next year. He does not
age. He does not wear out or diminish in any way. I describe Him as
being “eternally new." The Hebrew writer says that "Jesus Christ is
the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8).
Do you remember what Micah said when prophesying Jesus' birth, as to
where He would be born and from where He had come? Several hundred
years before Christ was born in Bethlehem to the virgin Mary, Micah
wrote: "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among
the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in
Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, FROM THE DAYS OF
ETERNITY” (Micah 5:2). Think of the oldest person you know. Can that
person be referred to as having come "from the days of eternity"?
Even of Methuselah, who lived to be 969 years old, you could not say
was from the days of eternity.
In thinking more of Christ's eternal nature, and that He was not a
created being, look at Isaiah 9:6: "For a child will be born to us,
a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His
shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty
God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." So not only is Jesus called
"God," but also "Eternal Father." This probably sounds very
wrong to many to refer to Jesus as "Father"; but, as one commentator
writes, when Isaiah had said this, "the distinctions of Persons in
the Godhead had not yet been revealed" (Pulpit Commentary). The
thought of Jesus being the "Eternal Father" has also been viewed as
His being the "Father of Eternity." In other words, eternity did not
bring about God, but eternity is because God is! And here, Jesus is
the One in the Godhead being referred to and being shown in His
relationship -- not to the other two persons that make up the
Godhead, but to eternity itself. He is the Father of it.
Is it not important that the world comes to believe in Jesus for who
He truly is – and not some lesser being? For Jesus says,
“unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John
(All Scripture from the NASB unless otherwise indicated.)
News & Notes
People to be praying for:
Let us continue to remember in prayer the family and friends of
James “Buddy” Gornto whose memorial service was last Friday.
Meadern Anderson was recently in the hospital for tests, due
to a brain tumor she has had for two years and which now has been
giving her more trouble.
Belinda Medlock has been in the hospital for 5 weeks with
pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
James Green is going through some difficult times.
Penny Medlock has been on a z-pack for sinus infection and a
bad cough and was told to remain housebound for several days.
Pat Joyner’s health is very poor. As mentioned last week, her
leg has swollen and needs to remain elevated for a couple more
weeks, due to a pseudoaneurysm. She has also been undergoing
much pain and is in need of an aortic valve replacement.
Frankie Hadley was recently in the hospital, due to a
fall; but is now home.
Let us also continue praying for the loved ones of those who
recently passed away: Mae Ila Highsmith Todd and Melissa Benson;
and for those with physical ailments: Nolan McLaine, Charles
Crosby, Shirley Davis, Judy Daugherty, Misty Thornton, Michelle
Rittenhouse, Rachael Gerbing, Jarvis Williams, Cedell Fletcher,
and Mary Vandevander.
WordPress version of this week's bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark
16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not,
salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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