When did our Lord become the “only begotten Son of God?”
<ANSWER>–The pre-human existence of the Lord Jesus is clearly established in the Scriptures. His own testimony of Himself was that He is “The faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” `Rev. 3:14`. We find then that our Lord became the “only begotten Son of God” at the time of his creation, which was before the foundation of the earth, and before the existence of any other thing in creation with the exception, of course, of God Himself, who created or begot Him. In agreement with this thought of our Lord’s pre-existence from the very beginning we read, “He is the image of the invisible God–first born of all creation; because by Him were all things created, those in the heavens and those on the earth, visible and invisible–whether thrones, or lordships, or governments, or authorities: all things were created by Him and for Him, and He precedes all things, and in Him all things have been permanently placed.” (`Col. 1:15-18.`) The thought conveyed by the title, “The Only Begotten Son of God,” is that the Lord Jesus was Himself the only direct creation or begetting of the Heavenly Father.
Will you kindly explain `Philippians 1:23`, “For I am in a strait betwixt two having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better?” (Dorfia)
<ANSWER>–The context shows that the two things in the Apostle’s mind (and which to choose he “wot not”) were life and death. A third thing, however, enters in, which he has no difficulty in deciding is far better than either living in the flesh or dying in the Lord. This he earnestly desired, viz., the coming again of Christ, at whose return he hoped to be changed, made like Him, and be with Him. The Greek word translated “depart” in the above quotation is the same as that translated “return” in `Luke 12:36`, and has the same meaning. Jesus said to his disciples: “If I go . . . I will come again.” In coming again (the Father sending Him–see `Acts 3:20`), He would “depart” from the Father and at the same time “return” to His disciples. Had the Apostle’s words “to depart” been translated “for the returning” they would be equally correct, and would harmonize with the other Scripture.
Since Christ is referred to as the “Prince of Peace” (`Isa. 9:6`) and the angels announced at His birth–“Peace on earth, good will to men” (`Luke 2:14`), how is it that we find the Lord Jesus Himself saying, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? I tell you Nay; but rather division?” (F.W.)
<ANSWER>–The whole history of the Christian Era has been one of bloodshed, wars and strife. And these for the most part have been brought about by differences of religious opinions. In `Matthew 24th chapter`, our Lord set forth a wonderful prophecy relating to the conditions that would develop in the world down to the time when He would return to establish His own Kingdom or government in the earth. There would be wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, famines, pestilences; and then, in the very end of the Age “a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” He foretold that His followers would suffer violence; that they would be persecuted and misrepresented; and that even in their own households there would be divisions. The Master’s words are being strikingly fulfilled. They are just as true today as at any time in the past. The Lord never taught that conditions of peace and prosperity would be established in the earth prior to His second coming; but just to the contrary. The object of His coming again is to thoroughly demolish the present evil of things, and then to inaugurate the Creator’s Government which will bring about universal peace and joy and happiness to all the families of the earth. Then Christ the Lord will be the “Prince of Peace;” and then, and not till then, will the angel’s song be realized- -“Peace on earth; good will towards men.”
In the present day enlightenment, if Christ were here in person as at the time of His first advent, do you believe the people would treat Him the same as they did then?
<ANSWER>–There are representatives of Christ in the world today–not those who are merely professing Christians, in name only, but the true, heart-devoted, sincere followers of the Master, and by considering the world’s treatment of these we can safely approximate as to what would be the Lord’s experiences were He to appear in the flesh as at His first advent. The saintly few who humbly walk in the footsteps of Christ, devoting their all in assisting the poor and in preaching the Gospel, are not held in the very high esteem by the people, as a rule. And is not this in harmony with the words of our Lord and the Apostles? (`Mat. 5:10-12`; `Rom. 8:17,18`; `2 Tim. 2:12`; `1 Cor. 1:26,27`.) After all, the common people heard our Lord gladly and marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. They wished to make Him their king on one occasion, and accorded a triumph to Him at the time of His entry into the city of Jerusalem. It was the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of that time, that opposed and persecuted the Lord, and finally induced the multitude to cry out against Him. It is even so now. Worldly people admire an upright Christian man, his sincerity and honesty, even though they might consider him foolish for striving to live up to his faith. But it is the modern Scribes and Pharisees who hate those that are setting forth the true teachings of the Scriptures. Therefore, in view of the foregoing, we have reason to believe that the Master would fare no better in the world today than at His first advent, were He to appear as then.
I know a great many good and honest people who do not even claim to be Christians; why don’t they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?
<ANSWER>–The Apostle Paul declares that “By faith ye are saved.” Some people cannot exercise the quality of faith. The Apostle also declares that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, which means in order to have faith one must study the Word of God and believe it. The Apostle Paul answers this question when he declares that the God of this world (Satan), manifested in this present evil order of things, has blinded the minds of those who do not believe (`2 Cor. 4:4`). The great Adversary, Satan, is the author of so many false doctrines that many good, honest people have become greatly confused by them. One system has taught one doctrine, another class, equally honest, another doctrine, until we have in the world more than three hundred different denominations, all having some truth mixed with much error. Many honest people have been unable to separate the truth from the error, and accept only the truth and reject the error, hence the confusion and refusal to have anything to do with either. If all were to follow the admonition of the Apostle, “Study to show yourself approved unto God,” and not follow man-made theories, there would be less confusion and more who would readily accept the Scriptural teachings.
If all people are to be converted to Christ before he comes to set his Kingdom, why is it written in `Rev. 18`, that “the nations were angry” at his coming?
<ANSWER>–It is a mistake to suppose that the earth will be converted at the time of the second coming of Christ. His coming and the establishment of His Kingdom are for the very purpose of converting the world and uplifting mankind in general out of sin and death conditions which now prevail. In describing the work of Christ, the Apostle mentions this Kingdom, saying, “He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet (all insubordination, etc.). The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (`1 Cor. 15:26`). The anger of the nations at the time of the Second Advent will not necessarily be against the Lord; but rather the spirit of selfishness, which is already prevalent in the world, will break forth as a consuming fire, destroying the social fabric and bringing utter ruin. At that time Messiah’s Kingdom will interpose for the preservation of mankind and for the establishment of a new order of things. This new order of things will result in converting the world to righteousness (`Isa. 11:2-5`). And the peoples of earth “shall beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (`Isa. 2:4`).
Was Christ human and Divine at the same time?
<ANSWER>–The word “Divine” signifies “the nature of God.” The Creator, God, is a Spirit Being glorious and immortal, dwelling in light that is inaccessible to mortal man. One possessing the Divine, immortal nature could never die. The human nature is the highest form of the earthly or fleshly nature. The Divine nature is the highest form of the spirit nature. The spiritual nature is one thing and the fleshly nature is another thing. (`1 Cor. 15: 44-46`.) The blending of the two natures would produce a hybrid nature or being. As to which nature Christ possessed while in the flesh, let the scriptures speak: “The Word (Logos, Jesus) was made flesh.” (`John 1:14`.) “Christ. . . being indeed put to death (A Divine being could not die) in the flesh, but made alive in spirit.” (`1 Pet. 3:18`.) “Since then the children have one common nature of flesh and blood. He also in like manner partook of these; in order that by means of His death He might vanquish him that hath the power of death.” (`Heb. 2:14`; see also `Heb. 2:6,7,9`.) From the Scriptures it is apparent that the Lord Jesus left His spiritual nature and condition when He became the “Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” At His resurrection He received the Divine nature and honor and glory as a reward for His obedience to the Father’s will even unto death. Nature is simply organism, and varies according to the form or quality of the organism. The element of life is always the same.