12/28/18

"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" The Supremacy Of Jesus Over Moses (3:1-6) by Mark Copeland


"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

The Supremacy Of Jesus Over Moses (3:1-6)

INTRODUCTION

1. We have seen that the writer to the Hebrews sought to encourage 
   faithfulness to Jesus by illustrating His superiority...
   a. Over prophets - He 1:1-3
   b. Over angels - He 1:4-2:18
   -- Both of which were very important to the Jewish people

2. Highly revered also by the Hebrews was Moses...
   a. The author of the first five books of the Old Testament
   b. The deliverer, who led them out of Egyptian bondage and to the 
      promised land
   c. The Law-giver, through whom God revealed so much of the Jewish religion

3. If the writer was to be successful in encouraging his brethren to 
   remain faithful to Jesus...
   a. He would have to compare Jesus with Moses
   b. He would have to illustrate "The Supremacy Of Jesus Over Moses"
   -- This he does, especially in He 3:1-6, which serves as the text 
      of our study

[In the first verse, we note the...]

I. THE CALL TO CONSIDER JESUS (1)

   A. TO WHOM THIS CALL IS GIVEN...
      1. The readers are described as:
         a. "holy brethren"
            1) I.e., brethren who are sanctified, set apart for a holy purpose
            2) Cf. what was written in He 2:10-11
            3) It is to the brethren of Christ that these things are being written!
         b. "partakers of the heavenly calling"
            1) They had come to share in the call from heaven
            2) This "calling" was the call of the gospel
               a) For that is how God calls us - 2Th 2:13-14
               b) It is a call to glory - 2Th 2:14; 1Th 2:12
      2. Clearly the original recipients were Christians!
         a. Some commentators try to reason that they were not, because
            of the warnings found throughout this epistle
         b. But it is evident they were, which is why we need to give 
            earnest heed to the warnings!

   B. TO CONSIDER JESUS AS APOSTLE AND HIGH PRIEST...
      1. How is Jesus an "apostle"?
         a. The word means "one sent"
         b. Just as Moses was sent by God, so was Jesus, as foretold by
            Moses and the prophets that followed! - Ac 3:22-26; cf. Jn 7:16
      2. How is Jesus a "high priest"?
         a. That is one of the important themes of this epistle
            1) Introduced in He 2:17
            2) Expounded upon in detail later in He 4:14-7:28
         b. He has made "propitiation" (an appeasing sacrifice) for our
            sins, through offering Himself on the cross - He 7:26-27
         c. He continues to intercede on our behalf - He 7:24-25
      -- Thus Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest "of our confession"
         (i.e., whom we confess as Christians)

[As we now note the actual comparison  of Jesus with Moses, we are told
that...]

II. JESUS IS GREATER IN HIS PERSON (2-4)

   A. THE ISSUE IS NOT ONE OF FAITHFULNESS...
      1. Jesus was faithful to the One who appointed Him - cf. Jn 17:4
      2. Moses likewise was faithful - cf. He 11:24-29; Num 12:6-8

   B. JESUS IS GREATER BECAUSE HE IS THE BUILDER (CREATOR)...
      1. Jesus is worthy of more glory, just as one who builds a house
         has more honor than the house itself
         a. Jesus is the builder
         b. Moses is part of the house itself
         -- Implying that what Moses did was in service to the work of the Son!
      2. Once again the author declares the deity of the Son as the 
         Creator of all things - cf. He 1:2c,10; 3:4

[The comparison continues as we note that...]

III. JESUS IS GREATER IN HIS MINISTRY (5-6)

   A. MOSES WAS A FAITHFUL "SERVANT"...
      1. We have already seen that issue is not one of faithfulness 
         - Num 12:6-8
      2. Moses' task was to testify of things to come, which he did 
         faithfully - e.g., Deut 18:15-19; cf. Lk 24:44

   B. JESUS IS A FAITHFUL "SON"...
      1. Moses was simply a servant IN the house, Jesus is the Son OVER
         the house
      2. Not only did Jesus do the work He was sent to do (Jn 17:4),
         but He was given authority over all the things of God - cf. 
         Mt 28:18; Jn 3:35; Ep 1:22

CONCLUSION

1. How is Jesus superior to Moses?
   a. Not in faithfulness, but in person and service
   b. Moses was a servant in the house of God; Jesus is the builder of
      the house, and serves as the Son over the house!
   -- Indeed, Moses points us forward to Jesus (cf. Deut 18:15-19); for
      one to forsake Jesus in an attempt to go back to Moses alone is 
      to frustrate the desire of Moses himself!

2. Speaking of the house of God, of which Jesus is the builder and over
   which He presides...
   a. The writer to the Hebrews affirms that "we" are the house of Christ
      1) Speaking of the church, which is the house of God - 1 Tim 3:15
      2) In Christ, we are now "members of the household of God", and
         together with the faithful saints of old (including Moses) we 
         are now "fellow-citizens" in the commonwealth of Israel! 
         - cf. Ep 2:11-22
   b. Yet our status as the "house" is conditional!
      1) "whose house we are IF we hold fast...." - He 3:6
      2) We must hold fast "the confidence and the rejoicing of the 
         hope firm to the end."

Therefore the need for steadfastness, and the reason this epistle is 
filled with exhortations to that end!  Indeed, the next exhortation 
begins in verse 7, which we shall examine in our next lesson ("A
Warning From The Wilderness").

Is your faith wavering?  Then heed the words of this epistle and...

      "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession,
      Christ Jesus".

As you contemplate His person and His ministry, it should help you hold
fast to your confession of faith!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Were All Men Vegetarians before the Flood? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1257


Were All Men Vegetarians before the Flood?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


After the creation of man and land animals on day six of the Creation week, God instructed Adam saying, “I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food” (Genesis 1:29). There is no record of God telling Adam and Eve that they could butcher cows or smoke chickens, but He did authorize them to eat the seeds and fruits of plants and trees. In the very next chapter of Genesis, it is recorded where God told Adam that he could eat “of every tree of the garden” (except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—2:16-17). Notice that nothing is said here about animals—only vegetation. Then again, in Genesis 3, when God sentenced Adam and Eve to a life outside of the Garden of Eden, He said: “And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground” (3:18-19). Three times in the first three chapters of the Bible, God instructed man regarding his diet. Each time, the Bible records only where God permitted man to eat vegetation (some of which could be made into bread—3:19). The Bible nowhere mentions man receiving permission from God to eat any kind of animal until after the Flood. It was then that God said:

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs (Genesis 9:1-3, emp. added).

Just as God had authorized mankind to eat “green herbs” many centuries earlier, after the Flood, God gave His permission for mankind to eat “all things”—including all animals that move on the Earth and swim in the sea. [NOTE: It appears that laws regarding the eating of clean and unclean animals were not given until the Law of Moses (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14:3-21). Although a difference was made between clean and unclean animals prior to the Flood (cf. Genesis 7:2-3), this distinction seems to have applied only to the matter of which animals were suitable for sacrifice, not for consumption (cf. Genesis 8:20).]

To answer the question, “Were all men prior to the Flood vegetarians?,” one merely can conclude that the Bible reveals God giving instructions only regarding the eating of food made from vegetation prior to the Deluge. God’s Word is conspicuously silent regarding the eating of animals. However, just because God apparently did not authorize man to eat animal flesh before the Flood, does not mean that mankind abided by this regulation. It seems likely that there were some people who went beyond what God allowed, and ate various kinds of animals anyway. It is not difficult to imagine those living just prior to the Flood, whose every thought was evil continually (Genesis 6:5), leaning over a sacrificial sheep, smelling the sweet aroma, and taking a bite out of the lamb’s leg (cf. 1 Samuel 2:12-17).

Some have asked why Adam’s son Abel raised flocks, if he and his descendants were supposed to be vegetarians? Although the Bible does not say exactly why Abel was a “keeper of sheep” (Genesis 4:2), most likely it was because by raising sheep, Abel could provide clothing for himself and others, as well as provide animals that people could get from him to sacrifice to Jehovah. One thing we can know assuredly is that before the Flood, we never read of God granting permission to humans to eat animal flesh. Yet, at least three times prior to the Flood the Bible mentions God authorizing the fruit of the Earth for man’s consumption. Furthermore, Genesis 9:2-3 stresses that after the Flood a vastly different relationship existed between animals and humans. Animals developed a fear of humans, and humanity was permitted to use the flesh of animals for food, “even as the green herbs” were permitted since the beginning of the Creation (9:3; 1:29).

Wearing Gold and Braided Hair? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1210

Wearing Gold and Braided Hair?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Most people who have read the Bible have at least been mildly perplexed after reading 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-4. These two portions of Scripture read as follows:

…in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
Do not let your adornment be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:3-4).

At first glance, these two passages seem to set down strict commandments that women should wear no gold jewelry, and should never braid their hair. However, when these verses are taken in their proper context, and are compared with other verses in the Bible, their seemingly strict prohibitions of gold and braids become more lenient in one sense, and ironically, more strict in another.

When the apostle Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy, he gave the young man several instructions about how certain groups of people ought to conduct themselves in public worship assemblies. In 1 Timothy chapter 2:9, Paul offered some guidelines for how women ought to dress. Paul said that women should wear “modest” apparel. The Greek word for modest is kosmioi, which means “respectable, honorable, or modest” (Arndt, 1958, p. 445). This word basically entails all apparel that does not call undue attention to the wearer through show of flesh or through gaudiness. The type of apparel is defined by the phrase, “with propriety and moderation.” Then, Paul described the converse of “modest” by mentioning three things that many first-century women were using to draw undue attention to themselves: braided hair, gold, and costly clothing.

In the first century, many women were plaiting elaborate hair designs that would take hours to “construct” and weave. One writer, in describing such first-century hair designs, wrote:

Talk about high maintenance! During the late first century, the Flavian style of Julia, daughter of Titus fashioned the court with curls arranged on crescent-shaped wire frames. The back hair was divided into sections, braided, then curled. Sometimes the hair was coiled without braiding (see Roman…, 2002).

Apparently, some women were turning the worship assemblies into fashion shows, attempting to “one-up” their contemporaries with flashy, expensive clothes and costly gold jewelry. Instead of this gaudiness, Paul instructed the women to adorn themselves in that “which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”

In this passage, we see a literary construction that is common in the Bible—the comparison and substitution of one less desirable thing for another more profitable thing. In this particular case, the gaudy clothes were to be rejected in favor of good works and modest clothes. Jesus used a similar construction in John 6:27, when He stated, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you…” At first glance, this statement from Jesus seems to be saying that a person should not work for physical food. However, we know that is not the intended meaning, because 2 Thessalonians 3:10 plainly says, “if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” What, then, was Jesus’ point? He simply was saying that spiritual food is more important than physical food, and as such, should be given a higher priority.

Another instance of a similar situation is found in 1 Corinthians 11:34. In this chapter, the apostle Paul had been reprimanding the Christians in Corinth for abusing the Lord’s Supper. The rich brethren were bringing lots of food and drink, and were eating their fill, while the poor brethren were not getting enough to eat. Paul explained to the Christians that the Lord’s Supper was not designed to be a feast to fill the belly, but a memorial to commemorate the death of the Lord. In verse 34, he wrote: “But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment.” Once again, taken in its most literal sense, this verse would demand that every person who is hungry should eat at home—not in a restaurant, at a friend’s house, or outside. Of course, that was not Paul’s intention at all. He simply wanted the Christians to eat to fill their stomachs at some other time than during the memorial feast of the Lord’s Supper.

After considering these examples, let us now look back to Paul’s instruction to Timothy concerning women’s apparel. If we were to take the passage in its most literal reading, then women should not wear braided hair, any gold, or any costly clothing. However, how much would an article of clothing have to cost in order to be “costly?” Many of the clothes we wear in the United States would cost a person in a third world country an entire year’s salary (Jackson, 2000). Should our women come to worship in burlap sacks and cardboard flip-flops? To ask is to answer. In fact, in 1 Peter 3:3-4, the parallel passage to 1 Timothy 2:9-10, the actual Greek text omits the word “fine” before “apparel” so that it actually says that a woman’s beauty should not come from “putting on apparel.” Yet, taken in its most literal sense, this particular sentence would delight those of the nudist persuasion, and confound the most astute Christians.

Summing up the meaning of these two passages, we see that Paul and Peter were not forbidding a woman from wearing a golden wedding band or having her hair modestly braided. They were, however, instructing the women to concentrate on good works and a right attitude instead of trying to impress others with immodest clothes that were inappropriate or excessively gaudy.

Therefore, these verses are more lenient than their strictly literal sound, in the sense that they do not forbid all wearing of gold, clothes, or braiding of the hair. They are more stringent, however, in the fact that some things not specifically mentioned by the writers would be prohibited. For instance, a woman could not wear thousands of dollars worth of platinum jewelry, and then contend that the verses never mention platinum. Nor could a Christian woman strut into an assembly wearing multiple carats of diamonds worth tens of thousands of dollars, and argue that diamonds are not mentioned in the text. The verses echo the sentiment of Christ, when He scolded the Pharisees for cleansing “the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25).

[As an endnote, the modest-apparel criteria were not specifically addressed to the first-century men, because they apparently did not have a problem with this. However, in any situation where men might have a problem with such, the same rules certainly would apply to them as well.]

REFERENCES

Arndt, William, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition revised.
Jackson, Wayne (2000), What About Braided Hair? [On-line], URL: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/206-what-about-braided-hair.
Roman Hairstyles (2002), [On-line], URL: http://oldworld.sjsu.edu/ancientrome/living/fashion/hair02.htm.

Way Out of Context: "Thou Shalt Not Kill"--Go Vegetarian by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=950


Way Out of Context: "Thou Shalt Not Kill"--Go Vegetarian

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Driving down one of the main thoroughfares in Montgomery, Alabama, the other day, a large billboard caught my eye. On the left side of the advertisement, there was a picture of a huge man who had white hair, a long white beard, and who was wearing a white robe. In his right hand, he was holding what looked like a walking staff, and his left hand, he held what appeared to be a large sprig of celery. Big, bold letters on the right side of the sign read, “Thou shalt not kill,” and underneath this quote from the Old Testament was the imperative “Go vegetarian.”
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against being a vegetarian, and certainly would not fault anyone for being one. However, it is a grotesque miscarriage of God’s Word to rip a verse out of context and use it to justify or condemn a practice that is not even addressed in the text. Throughout the Old Testament, it is clear the commandment not to kill did not apply to animals, but only to the unlawful murder of humans. In Genesis 9:1-6, God directly said to Noah and his sons that they could eat “every moving thing that lives.” In that passage, however, he made it clear that the human life was different than animal life. In verse six, he stated: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.”
To imply that God’s commandment, “thou shalt not kill” (found in Exodus 20:13), applies to animals is further shown to be ridiculous when one realizes that God Himself sent quail for the Israelites to eat (Exodus 16:8,13), and He also commanded the Israelites to kill and eat lambs during the Passover feast. Concerning the Passover lamb, Moses wrote: “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year…. Then the whole assembly of the congregation shall kill it at twilight. Then they shall eatthe flesh on that night; roasted in fire...” (Exodus 12:5,7,8). Obviously, God’s injunction not to kill did not extend to any animal, but only to humans.

The New Testament explicitly documents the fact that certain “religious” people would attempt to forbid the eating of certain foods. Paul wrote to Timothy:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:1,3-5).

To take “thou shalt not kill” out of context and apply it to animal life aligns the person who does such with those who Paul said would “depart from the faith.” Furthermore, it strikes at the very heart of God’s insistence that He created man in His own image, unlike any other creature, endowing only man with an immortal soul. Whichever vegetarian group sponsored that billboard, certainly has not spoken from God that which is right (Job 42:7).

And, by the way, some would classify celery (a plant) as a “living organism.” If “thou shalt not kill” applies to all life, wouldn’t the man on the billboard who was holding a decapitated sprig of celery be guilty of killing a living thing? And would those who sponsored this billboard therefore suggest that the Bible condemns killing mosquitoes, roaches, or fire ants? Once a Bible verse is taken out of its proper context, and is used improperly to either justify or condemn something, where does such a practice stop?

Water is Thicker than Blood by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=934


Water is Thicker than Blood

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The human relationships that exist between individuals who are physically kin to each other can, indeed, be precious and beautiful. In fact, God was responsible for creating the family framework (Genesis 2:24). Ideally, He intends for people to experience the warm, tender ties of blood kin and the multiple blessings associated with such ties.
Perspective is lost, however, when physical ties are permitted to interfere with obedience to God. God’s point is missed when a higher premium is placed on physical family than on spiritual family, when a Christian fails to relish to a greater degree association with the family of God—the church. The Bible teaches that Christians should not hesitate for a moment to relinquish fleshly relationships if it becomes necessary to do so in order to put God first (Luke 14:20,24).

Commenting on the status of His own blood relatives, Jesus declared: “Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50). He recognized that the stringency of His teaching would disrupt family relationships, and so He stated that “a man’s foes will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:36). He even went so far as to relegate physical ties to the comparative level of hatred when contrasted to the priority of spiritual ties: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). [For a discussion of the meaning of “hate” in this verse, see Butt, 2003.]

Such explains why, during the Mosaic period of Bible history, Aaron was not permitted to mourn the deaths of his two sons (Leviticus 10:6). Such explains why the wives, and even some children, perished along with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, as they apparently were unwilling to oppose the blood ties of kinfolk who sinned (Numbers 16:27,32-33). Such explains why the people were to show no pity for their relatives who promoted false teaching, but were to lead the way in the execution process (Deuteronomy 13:6-11).

Yes, the family ties of blood kin can be extremely wonderful, providing unending security and acceptance, and frequently fulfill an important, divinely intended function. But these same blood ties can be the very thing that diverts a Christian from the strait and narrow, discouraging one from standing strongly and firmly on the solid bedrock of truth and right. It is imperative that God’s church be put first—even above family (Matthew 6:33). First allegiance and loyalty must be given to those who have been cleansed by the blood of Christ by passing through the waters of baptism (Ephesians 5:6; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22). For with God, water is thicker than blood.

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2003), “Hate Your Parents—or Love Them?” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/601.

Springtime and You! by EE Healy

http://www.eehealy.com/commentary/notebook.shtml?fbclid=IwAR0CW4XRrpwcvMP8yg




The Deity of Jesus by Trevor Bowen

http://insearchoftruth.org/articles/jesus_deity.html

The Deity of Jesus


Introduction

Divinity relates to the quality, or state of being divine, above which exists no higher state. It is the state of infinite power, knowledge, and presence, also known as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. The heavenly Father is commonly recognized to be divine, to be God, but divinity of the other members of the triune Godhead is questioned by some. "Was Jesus divine?" "Was He God?" "Was He equal to the Father?"This article examines these questions, searching for answers from the pages of the Bible. This will have little significance to those, who do not truly believe that the Bible is the revealed words of God. However, for those that respect the Bible as a final authority, these thoughts are humbly offered.

Jesus is Divine

The apostle John, who wrote his gospel to generate belief in Jesus (John 20:30-31), opened his letter with these words:
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 were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. ... And the Word 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. ... For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (John 1:1-18)
The conclusion of this text seems unavoidable: Jesus was the Word incarnate, Who is divine. However, there are those that would disagree with this conclusion. In fact, such belief has become the cornerstone of some modern sects. In general, arguments that are used to contest this conclusion may take two forms.

Bad Translation?

Although no reputable translation would significantly vary from the above content (taken from the NKJ version), the New World Translation contains an decidedly alternate reading, which was required to protect the cornerstone of the translators' faith:
In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in [the] beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence. .... So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; .... Because the Law was given through Moses, the undeserved kindness and the truth came to be through Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him. (John 1:1-18)
A discussion of the Greek may be the most technically accurate way to approach this argument, because no reputable Greek source would permit such a translation. Not only is the Greek article, which is translated "a", not present in the text, but additionally, the Greek verb tense for "was" (verse 1), indicates no specific beginning or end - an existence unbounded by time. Despite this, a may better approach may be to pit the above alternative interpretation against another passage that is favored by its supporters, incidentally from which they erroneously take their very name:
"YOU are my witnesses," is the utterance of Jehovah, "even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior." (Isaiah 43:10-11, New World Translation)
This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies, "I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God ... And YOU are my witnesses. Does there exist a God besides me? No, there is no Rock. I have recognized none." (Isaiah 44:6-9, New World Translation)
The context of Isaiah contains God’s challenge to the pagan gods, which Israel was determined to worship (Isaiah 43:1244:6-45:9). In the midst of God’s ridiculing their idolatrous concept, the above statement is made, nullifying the existence of all other gods, both from time immemorial to the last day. However, the New World translation of John 1:1 directly contradicts this cherished proof-text. How can Jesus be a god, even for a moment, if beside Jehovah there are no other Gods, either before or after Him? Either Jehovah did not know about Jesus ("I have recognized none"), or the translation is in the gravest of error.

Exception for the Flesh?

The second argument accepts the divinity of the Word, which existed from the beginning. However, they doubt that this divine being maintained His God-like characteristics, when He "became flesh" (John 1:14). The following passage is a common proof-text used to substantiate the idea that the Word gave up His divine nature when He became the incarnate Jesus:
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:4-11)
Admittedly, the form of the Word did change when He took upon flesh. This verse does prove that He once enjoyed the form of God, but later accepted the form of a man; however, this verse does not mention any change to His essential nature. This verse mentions "form""appearance", and "reputation", but there is no reference to reducing His intrinsic quality of nature. When the Word left heaven, He gave up the glory that surrounded Him there. However, just because He enjoyed no such glory on earth, that does not mean He was still not worthy of such glory and praise.
Mining the pages of Scripture reveals that Jesus, although in human form, exhibited many unique characteristics of divinity:
However, as stated previously, the Word had become flesh. Therefore, in addition to continuing to manifest the attributes of deity, Jesus also showed the traits of humanity:
Although both lists could doubtless be multiplied, these are sufficient to establish that Jesus Christ exhibited the traits of both humanity and deity. What is our conclusion? Even though Jesus clearly bore the marks of humanity, He evidently maintained His divinity. He may not have maintained the glorious position that He enjoyed in that eternal throne room, but such glory is not the essence of divinity. In fact, true divinity is best displayed in the life of Christ:
Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (John 14:8-9)
How had Jesus shown them the Father? Did He take them outside and point to the stars? Did He miraculously whisk them away to the ends of the universe? Did He show them power of the atom, or explain the mysteries of the quark? Maybe He transported them in time and showed them the Father speaking the universe into existence? At first we may think, "Is that not what makes God divine?" In part, yes. In essence, no. Instead, He showed them an impoverished, Jewish carpenter, wandering the land, preaching and healing all who would come to Him. Instead of inter-galactic, military might, He showed them sacrifice, a royal law, and the true meaning of love and friendship (John 13:34-3515:9-17). This is the essential light of deity, shining at its brightest, and it is in Jesus Christ bodily that we see it.

The Claims of Jesus

In addition to the above evidence, we have the recorded statements of Jesus, which contain His claims for divinity. Noteworthy examples include passages such as the following:
Jesus answered, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, 'I do not know Him,' I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM. Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." (John 8:54-59)
Although the significance of Jesus’ words may not be immediately obvious to us, the Jews of His day understood exactly what Jesus said. Please notice that Jesus did not say, "before Abraham was, I was". Instead, He called Himself, "I AM". This expression, unique to deity, connotes a timeless being, having neither past nor future. Instead, deity simply exists. Its being transcends time. Furthermore, this is the root meaning of God’s revealed name, Jehovah: "to be", "being", or "existing". God is the existing, or eternal One. Jesus’ wording choice becomes even more striking, when we consider the following passage:
Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " (Exodus 3:13-14)
Jesus made Himself equivalent to Jehovah! Stoning was the penalty for any mortal, who would dare speak such blasphemy so presumptuously (Leviticus 24:16). However, it was not presumption for Jesus (Philippians 2:6). God never struck Him dead for such boasting. In fact, God continued to work miracles through Jesus, witnessing to the veracity of His claims (John 4:31-3714:10-11).
Other passages contains Jesus’ claim to being the "Son of God". This designation for Jesus is found abundantly through Scripture (John 20:30-31). Unfortunately, some do not understand the significance of this Hebraism, failing to grasp the significance behind the figure. We could bury up here in a study of this figurative expression, exploring its ancient relation to the kings and prophets, linking it to a shared essential nature and common glory, but instead, let us ask the Jews of Jesus’ day what it meant! Who would understand the meaning of this first century, Hebrew expression better than the Jewish scholars of the first century?
"I and My Father are one." Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods" '? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand. (John 10:30-39)
Please observe that Jesus’ first statement, according to the Hebrew scholars of the first century, was to be understood as equating Jesus with the Father, making Him divine! Notice even further that Jesus equates this to being "the Son of God"! Who said anything about "the Son of God"? Neither Jesus nor the Jews mentioned this phrase anywhere in the preceding context. Apparently, Jesus thought that the Jews' previous statement, "You, being a Man, make Yourself God", was equivalent to being the Son of God. He thought to be the Son of God, was to be divine. Are you a better scholar than the first century Jews? Are you a better Hebrew scholar than Jesus?
In the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the best Hebrew scholars, scribes, lawyers, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians, gathered to entangle Jesus in His speech (Matthew 22:15-1622-2333-35). After answering their questions, Jesus, and later Peter, used the following argument to prove that the Jews should have known the Messiah was to be more than a mere mortal:
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool" '? If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?" And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. (Matthew 22:41-46, see also Acts 2:29-37)
Now we may quibble over the wording, looking for some way to avoid its import; however, if the first century, scholarly Jews, who heard these very words, could not answer the logic, how can we expect to do any better? Who knows more about Hebrew language and the ancient texts than scholars like Gamaliel, the Pharisees, the scribes, and other Hebrew teachers of the law? Surely if Jesus misused the text, they would have caught it! Any answer that challenges the original interpretation must first prove its authority over these scholars, who had the highest desire to find an answer, but they could not answer a word. Then, such an attempt must explain how Jesus could have misused Old Testament Scripture! Truly, Jesus was much more than a mere man. Neither could He have been an angel, because no man ever rightfully served nor worshiped angels (Revelation 19:1022:8-9). Moreover, angels were intended to serve us, not the other way around (Hebrews 1:4-14).

The Claims of Jesus’ Apostles and Prophets

In addition to Jesus’ own claims, His apostles and prophets also claimed the right of divinity for our Savior. The book of Hebrews was written to encourage persecuted, Jewish Christians not to return to the Old Law, because they had become partakers of a new, better covenant, mediated and delivered by Jesus. The writer of Hebrews introduced the greatness of Jesus this way:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, ... But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom...." And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth ..." (Hebrews 1:1-10)
The Son is the "express image of His person". In Jesus, we see the very person of the Father! What does the Father have that we cannot see in Jesus? Furthermore, the writer boldly attributed Old Testament passages, addressed to God, as actually being addressed to Jesus, the Son! Therefore, Jesus must also be divine.
The apostle Paul makes similar argument is his letter to the Colossians, which teaches the preeminence of Christ:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell. (Colossians 1:15-19)
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:9-10)
How many characteristics must one have before he is considered divine? A third? A half? How about all of them? All the fullness of, not just God, but the Godhead, dwells in Jesus bodily. This is not a spiritual habitation, as God dwells in all His faithful children (Ephesians 3:14-19), but this is a full, bodily dwelling. Jesus possesses all the qualities of divinity in His own body! Therefore, He must be divine.
Admittedly, Jesus being designated as "the firstborn" and "the Son of God" can be confusing to modern readers. However, as was noted earlier, this phrase was not intended to signify His time of origin or His beginning point. Please recall that Jesus has no beginning point. He is an "I AM" (John 8:58). Instead, it signifies preeminence, glory, and precedence ("All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist ... that in all things He may have the preeminence"). Again, these statements have no implication or relation to Jesus origin, because Jesus sonship was consecrated not on the day of His birth, but rather on the day of His resurrection!
"And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings -- that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.' And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: 'I will give you the sure mercies of David.'" (Acts 13:28-34)
Approximately 33 years after his bodily birth, Jesus was begotten of God. Was He not God’s Son previously? Remember, Jesus thought He was God’s Son, well before His crucifixion and resurrection (John 9:35-38). Clearly, Christ’s sonship has nothing to do with His physical birth (Psalm 89:27). Rather, it signifies His divine essence, just as being called "the Son of Man" denoted His human essence (Matthew 26:63-66). On the day of His resurrection, all doubts to His divine claims were silenced. Jesus was justified in the sight of all. The glory due Him was restored (Philippians 2:6-11).

Conclusion

Admittedly, there are several difficult, possibly unanswerable questions that can be raised regarding the exact details and metaphysics of Jesus being both 100% divine and 100% human. Although undeniably true, Paul recognized this difficult to comprehend phenomenon in this way:
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels, 
Preached among the Gentiles, 
Believed on in the world, 
Received up in glory. (I Timothy 3:16)
Although we could spend the rest of this age discussing and arguing the finer points of this miracle, the ultimate question for you is this, "Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" Jesus knows who He is. He does not need us to figure out the answer for His benefit. It is our souls that hang in the balance of this decision. The evidence is freely available, awaiting your decision (John 20:30-31). Will you believe it?
 Trevor Bowen