A True Son and God His Father
Jesus’ actions on a number of occasions revealed Him to be the Son of God. Sister White wrote, “The flashing forth of His divinity in the cleansing of the temple, His miracles of healing, and the lessons of divine truth that fell from His lips, all proclaimed that which after the healing at Bethesda He had declared before the Sanhedrin, — His Sonship to the Eternal.” (DA 231)
At one point the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus. Read what God’s prophet wrote as to their reason:“ The whole nation called God their Father, and if Jesus had done this in the same sense in which they did, the Pharisees would not have been so enraged. But they accused Jesus of blasphemy, showing that they understood that Christ claimed God as His Father in the very highest sense.” (RH March 5, 1901)
Whenever we read the Scriptures, it is encouraging to realize that the Spirit of God inspired so many men of diverse backgrounds, education and occupations to write in such a way that the Scriptures are not ambiguous nor contradictory, but clear and complementary. They mean as they sensibly, literally read, except for passages containing symbols, but new hermeneutical teachings have caused confusion and division. Here is how God’s prophet addresses this point:
“The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared, ‘Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.’ The language of the Bible should be explainedaccording to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. Christ has given the promise, If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad, and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.” (RHJune 28, 1906)
Yes, “the language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning,” and especially when the same truth is taught in two or more different verses. For example, Jesus explained to His disciples about His being begotten of the Father. John 16:27-28 records His words:“For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Twice in those two verses, He made it clear that He was begotten in eternity. “I came out from God.”“I came forth from the Father.” Then in John 17:8, Jesus confirmed to His Father that the disciples believed that He was begotten.“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them,and have known surely that I came out from thee,and they have believed that thou didst send me.”
John 8 contains an exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees that leaves no doubt about the topic. Jesus had repeatedly referred to God the Father as His Father. The Pharisees, knowing He was talking about literal divine Sonship, refused to acknowledge His divine lineage. They answered sarcastically in terms of His earthly parentage: “We be not born of fornication….” The topic was birth, or literal parentage. The Pharisees rejected the truth Jesus was trying to tell them, in order that they might be saved.
Those verses are simple enough that even a child can understand them, but those who want to bring in “another Jesus”claim they do not mean what they say, because a role-playing, metaphorical Jesus better fits their“misleading and confusing” theology. (RHJune 28, 1906)
The true Father-Son relationship between God and Christ couldn’t be put more simply than this:“God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son.”(8T 268) This is not even a hint of role-playing in that passage. It emphasizes a real Father-Son relationship.
Somewhere way back in eternity, pre-dating even creation, Jesus was begotten or somehow came forth from the Father. The Almighty Father God has always been, which is something we humans with such a finite intellect cannot understand clearly. Deut. 29:29 does teach us clearly, though, that “the secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever,” So God tells us that we can understand what He has revealed in His Word and by His prophets. We are not to speculate or use conjecture to explain what God has not revealed. He has revealed that Jesus is the begotten Son of God, but He has never revealed that there are three coeternal Gods in eternity that chose to play roles. That, indeed, is going beyond what God has revealed and is the result of intellectual philosophy found in “books of a new order.”Those books, along with the speculation and confusing reinterpretations of Scripture found in them, must be soundly rejected.
Let us look at what Proverbs 8 & EGW declares:
Micah wrote of Jesus, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [origin] have been from of old, from everlasting [Margin: ‘the days of eternity’]” (Micah 5:2). The Revised Standard Version translates it, “Whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.” The origin of the Son of God was in the days of eternity. He was begotten before anything was created, even before time as we know it, in the days of eternity.
In the first verse of Proverbs eight, it says that wisdom is speaking. Who is wisdom? Verse 8 tells us that He has a mouth and speaks, and verse 17 says that He loves. Paul wrote, “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Christ is Wisdom, and is speaking in Proverbs chapter eight.
He says, “When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth” (Proverbs 8:24, 25). The 1965 Bible in Basic English says, “When there was no deep I was given birth, when there were no fountains flowing with water. Before the mountains were put in their places, before the hills was my birth.”
The Hebrew word חול, which was translated “I was brought forth,” is a verb. Hebrew verbs can be found in many different forms. In the Old Testament, this particular verb was used in six different forms. They are Qal, Polel, Pulal, Hophal, Hithpolel, and Hithpalpel. Depending upon what form is used for this verb, the meaning of the word can be completely changed. For example, when this Hebrew verb חול is used in the Qal form, it means “to dance, to twist, to writhe, to whirl, to whirl about” (Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Lexicon). It is obvious from the context that this definition would not apply in Proverbs 8:24, 25, and it could not apply because the Hebrew word חול is used, in these verses in the Pulal form. The definition for the Pulal form is the only definition that can apply here. This definition is as follows: “to be born, to be brought forth” (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon), “to be made to writhe, be made to bear, to be brought forth” (Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Lexicon). This verb in this form is only used three places in the Bible, and here are the other two places where it is used: “Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made [Hebrew: חול in the Pulal form] before the hills?” (Job 15:7). “Behold, I was shapen [Hebrew: חול in the Pulal form] in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). As we can plainly see, the term “brought forth” in Proverbs 8:24, 25 can mean nothing other than being begotten, or born.
Let us continue with the rest of the verses in Proverbs chapter eight and learn more about the characteristics of Wisdom.
“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 set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: 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; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:26-36).
The speaker here says that He was brought up with the Lord and was daily His delight, and rejoiced always before Him. This is a real Person. He then says, “For whoso findeth me findeth life.” John wrote, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). Jesus Christ is the one speaking about Himself in Proverbs chapter eight. He is truly the Son of God, just as John wrote, “the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 John 1:3).
The terms Father and Son, by definition, indicate the existence of one before the other. This was the understanding of the Israelites. In the book of Proverbs we read: “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4).
Ellen White says Creation is NOT the same as Begotten:
A complete offering has been made; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,”—NOT A SON BY CREATION, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, BUT A SON BEGOTTEN in the express image of the Father's person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. ST May 30, 1895.3
Doug Batchelor says Creation and Begotten ARE the same:
Ellen White says Proverbs 8:24 is talking about Jesus:
And THE SON OF GOD DECLARES CONCERNING HIMSELF: “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting.... 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. PP 34.1
Also to be rejected is speculative reinterpretations in which “begotten” means “unique,” which certainly has not been the ages-old, “usual and customary” understanding of that word. The Bible authors and Ellen White could have used a different word if “begat” or “begotten” wasn’t the best word choice to express the truth they were revealing—but they didn’t. They used the word for their time in history that best fit the reality they were communicating. There is no indication the meaning of the word has changed since the first century AD. More recently, Ellen White wrote in English; her usage of “begotten” was not that long ago, and the meaning of the word certainly hadn’t changed by her time, nor has it changed since her time. It has to do with conception and birth, with procreation or generation. We don’t know how God did it, but we do know what God’s prophet has told us: “The Jews had never before heard such words from human lips, and a convicting influence attended them; for it seemed that divinity flashed through humanity as Jesus said, ‘I and my Father are one.’ The words of Christ were full of deep meaning as he put forth the claim that he and the Father were of one substance, possessing the same attributes.” (ST Nov. 27, 1893; 7ABC 437)
“…The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, is truly God in infinity, but not in personality…..” (UL 367)
Consider this statement about Jesus from pioneer E. J. Waggoner: “He was begotten, not created. He is of the substance of the Father, so that in his very nature he is God; and since this is so, ‘… it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.’ (Col. 1:19) ...While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that he had no beginning, while Christ’s personality had a beginning.” (ST April 8, 1889)
Sister White was never directed by God to challenge this statement; Waggoner wrote the truth believed almost unanimously by our spiritual forefathers. So, you see, when Jesus was begotten of the Father, there were then not one, but two divine Beings of the same substance. What began at that moment when He was begotten was the personality of Jesus. His substance, the material that comprised His form, was 100% the Father’s DNA (Divinity-Nature-Attributes), and His substance is therefore as eternal as the Father’s is. It was Jesus’ personality that had a beginning.
Not only is Jesus’ substance the same as His Father’s, but the life He has is the same life that the Father has. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he givento the Son to have life in himself.”(John 5:26)It came through inheritance. (Heb 1:4)
We read before that all things that exist are of the Father. In other words, He is the source of all things, including His begotten Son. He “of whom are allthings” appointed Jesus to be Creator of all things—the one “by whom are all things.” There are many Scriptures that bear that out: John 1:3; Heb. 1:2; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:13-16; Eph. 3:9; Isa. 44:24; etc.
Ellen White wrote under inspiration of the pre-existence of Christ:“In speaking of His preexistence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him.” (LHU 17). A son comes after the father. The same cannot be said of the father, whether human or divine. A father exists before His son exists; the “close fellowship” between the two cannot begin until the Son comes into existence.
I’ll close with Joseph Bates’ response to his father:
My parents were members of long standing in the Congregational Church, with all of their converted children thus far, and anxiously hoped that we would also unite with them. But they embraced some points in their faith which I could not understand. I will name two only: their mode of baptism, and the doctrine of the trinity. My father, who had been a deacon of long standing with them, labored to convince me that they were right in points of doctine. I informed him that my mind was troubled in relation to baptism. Said he, “I had you baptized when an infant.” I answered that-that might all be according to his faith; but the Bible taught that we must first believe, and then be baptized (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21), but I was not capable of believing when I was an infant. Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossibility for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being. I said to my father, “If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the trinity.” (LELJB 210.1) The Early Life & Later Experience of Elder Joseph Bates--by James White