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Christ’s Beginning as the Begotten Son of God

Christ uncreated but not of complete eternity:

It is very clear that the book by Uriah Smith (1882 edition) that the prophetess said contains “solid, eternal truth”, teaches that Christ is the literal Son of the living God.

Commenting on Revelation 1:4, Uriah Smith said: ‘The Source of Blessing. "From Him which is, and which was, and which is to come," or is to be, an expression which signifies complete eternity, past and future, and can be applicable to God the Father only. This language, we believe, is never applied to Christ. He is spoken of as another person, in distinction from the being thus described’ (Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, Review and Herald, 1882, p. 430).

Commenting on Revelation 3:14, Uriah Smith said: ‘Moreover he is "the beginning of the creation of God." Some understand by this language that Christ was the first created being, dating his existence far back before any other created being or thing, next to the self-existent and eternal God. But the language does not necessarily imply this; for the words, "the beginning of the creation," may simply signify that the work of creation, strictly speaking, was begun by him. And it is expressly declared that "without him was not anything made that was made." Others, however, take the word [Greek word] to mean the agent or efficient cause, which is one of the definitions of the word, understanding that Christ is the agent through whom God has created all things, but that he himself came into existence in a different manner, as he is called "the only begotten" of the Father. It would seem utterly inappropriate to apply this expression to any being created in the ordinary sense of that term’ (Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, Review and Herald, 1882, p. 487-489).

Commenting on Revelation 22:13, Uriah Smith said: ‘Christ here applies to himself the appellation of Alpha and Omega. As applied to him, the expression must be taken in a more limited sense than when applied to the Father, as in chap. 1:8. Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, of the great plan of salvation’ (Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, Review and Herald, 1882, p. 817).

In summary, we have rediscovered solid eternal truth, that: (1) only God the Father has complete eternity, past and future; (2) Christ was not created, Christ came into existence in a different manner, as the only begotten Son of God the Father; and (3) the expression Alpha and Omega has limited application when applied to Christ than when applied to God the Father. The prophetess said Smith’s book contained “solid, eternal truth” (1MR 61.2); and that which was truth then is truth now, that new truth does not contradict old truth (RH 2 March 1886). But only few Adventists are rediscovering this solid eternal truth.

Christ uncreated had a beginning in eternity

If you go online at the Adventist Pioneer Library, you will find another book by Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus (Battle Creek: Review and Herald Publishing Company, 1898) [LUJ]; the teaching therein is consistent with that in Smith’s book that the prophetess said contains “solid, eternal truth” as already quoted – we quote from (LUJ) as follows:

‘God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be, – a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity, – appeared the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. This uncreated Word was the Being, who, in the fulness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His beginning was not like that of any other being in the universe. It is set forth in the mysterious expressions, “his [God’s] only begotten Son” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9), “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), and, “I proceeded forth and came from God.” John 8:42. Thus it appears that by some divine impulse or process, not creation, known only to Omniscience, and possible only to Omnipotence, the Son of God appeared. And then the Holy Spirit (by an infirmity of translation called .. the Holy Ghost”), the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the divine afflatus and medium of their power, representative of them both (Psalm 139:7), was in existence also’ (LUJ 10.1).

‘John says: “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” Paul to the Hebrews corroborates the words of John. He says that God hath appointed his Son “heir of all things:” that he is “the express image of his person,” the “brightness of his glory,” and that by him “he made the world.” Hebrews 1:2, 3. But to the Colossians he bears a still more definite testimony. In chapter 1:15-17, he says of Christ: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: 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: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”’ (LUJ 12.1).

‘As related to all else, animate and inanimate, all shining worlds that people space, all orders of intelligences, above and below, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, visible and invisible, he antedated them all, as in uncreated being, derived from God, he took his place, as “the only begotten Son” “of the Father.” “In the beginning was the Word.” In point of existence he was thus before them all. And then began creation, of which he was the “beginner.” To all below him he was the Creator. And as to him they owe existence, upon him they lean for constant preservation; for he upholds “all things by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3. On the basis of this relationship, it need not be stated that all worlds and dominions, all ranks and orders of beings, are therefore under his authority and subject to his will. Standing thus at the head of the universe, and all things therein, creator, upholder, and ruler of all, what flight of imagination could span the measure of his glory and power?’ (LUJ 17.2).

Do not think that the eternity of Christ can only mean co-eternal existence with God His Father. The Jews made a similar human mistake. 'Christ shows them that, although they might reckon His life to be less than fifty years, yet His divine life could not be reckoned by human computation. The existence of Christ before His incarnation is not measured by figures' (ST 3 May 1899). Human computation of time is limited to the beginning of creation; before that there is no computation of time, no figures by which it can be measured. Do not ally with Satan to ‘obscure, that Christ was the only begotten Son of God’ (TDG 128.1) based on human view of eternity.

Christ proceeded and came forth from God

The Bible says our God is one: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD" (Deuteronomy 6:4) (see also Mark 12:29, 32). Christ confirms that life eternal is to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom” the one true God and Father “hast sent” (John 17:3). Christ said, “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28); and one of our leading pioneers, explains: ‘The Father was greater than the Son in that he was first. The Son was equal with the Father in that he had received all things from the Father’ (James White, RH 4 January 1881 Par. 2).

The Bible says: "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; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth" (Proverbs 8:22-25). To obscure that Christ is the literal begotten Son of God, and maintain the theory of co-eternal age of Father and Son, many say that Proverbs 8 refers to mere Wisdom, not Christ. But the prophetess confirms Christ is that Wisdom:

‘The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate – a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. [quotes John 1:1, 2]. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father – one in nature, in character, in purpose – the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. [quotes Micah 5:2]. 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’ (Ellen White, PP 34.1, 1890).

'"The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old,” Christ says. “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.” But the only-begotten Son of God humbled Himself to come to this earth. He took the sinner’s place; the guiltless suffered for the guilty. This was the hiding of His glory. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death.”’ (ST 22 Feb 1899).

'Through Solomon Christ declared: “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; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.... 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.”’ (ST August 29, 1900 Par. 14).

The Bible says: “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me" (John 8:42). Most of our ministers, like the Pharisees, deny the meaning of “proceeded forth” and refuse to recognise the Son of God. To them, the prophetess says as to the Pharisees:

‘Jesus, with startling emphasis, denied that the Jews were following the example of Abraham. Said he, “Ye do the deeds of your father.” The Pharisees, partly comprehending his meaning, said, “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” But Jesus answered them: “If God were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” The Pharisees had turned from God, and refused to recognize his Son. If their minds had been open to the love of God, they would have acknowledged the Saviour who was sent to the world by him. Jesus boldly revealed their desperate condition’ (Ellen G White, ST 23 October 1879 Par. 17).

The Bible says: “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). Those who ally with Satan to obscure that Christ is the literal begotten Son of God, and maintain that Christ is of co-eternal age with His Father, think that Christ was referring to God as His symbolic Father, not a literal Father. The prophetess Ellen White confirms that Christ was here claiming God was His Father in the highest sense and the Jews fully understood Him and that is why the Jews wanted to stone Him:

‘Jesus claimed equal rights with God in doing a work equally sacred, and of the same character with that which engaged the Father in heaven. But the Pharisees were still more incensed. He had not only broken the law, according to their understanding, but in calling God “His own Father” had declared Himself equal with God. John 5:18’ (DA 207.3).

‘The whole nation of the Jews called God their Father, therefore they would not have been so enraged if Christ had represented Himself as standing in the same relation to God. But they accused Him of blasphemy, showing that they understood Him as making this claim in the highest sense’ (DA 207.4). ‘Christ claimed God as His Father in the very highest sense’ (Review and Herald, March 5, 1901).

‘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” (Ellen G White, ST 30 May 1895) – here, White echoes and endorses what Waggoner said in 1890 (CHR 12.1), quoted in the next section. ‘The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind’ (Ellen G White, RH 9 July 1895).

Christ begotten Son of God by birth

In 1888, ‘the Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones’ (TM 91.2). Of this message by Ellet J Waggoner, we are told: ‘Messages bearing divine credentials have been sent to God’s people; the glory, the majesty, the righteousness of Christ, full of goodness and truth, have been presented; the fullness of the Godhead in Jesus Christ has been set forth among us with beauty and loveliness, to charm all whose hearts were not closed to prejudice. We know that God has wrought among us’ (1888 673.6). Ellet Joseph Waggoner put the 1888 message in his book, Christ and His Righteousness [CHR] (Review & Herald Pub, 1890), in which we read the following:

‘The Word was “in the beginning.” The mind of man cannot grasp the ages that are spanned in this phrase. It is not given to men to know when or how the Son was begotten; but we know that he was the Divine Word, not simply before He came to this earth to die, but even before the world was created. Just before His crucifixion He prayed, [quotes “John 17:5]. And more than seven hundred years before His first advent, His coming was thus foretold by the word of inspiration: [quotes Micah 5:2, margin]. We know that Christ “proceeded forth and came from God” (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man’ (CHR 9.1)

‘It is true that there are many sons of God, but Christ is the “only begotten Son of God,” and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38, by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Romans 8:14, 15, but Christ is the Son of God by birth. The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated but that it is one which He has by right. He says that Moses was faithful in all the house of God, as a servant, “but Christ as a Son over His own house.” Hebrews 3:6. And he also states that Christ is the Builder of the house. Verse 3. It is He that builds the temple of the Lord and bears the glory. Zechariah 6:12, 13’ (CHR 12.1) – this sonship distinction was echoed and endorsed by White (ST 30 May 1895), quoted in above section.

‘A word of caution may be necessary here. Let no one imagine that we would exalt Christ at the expense of the Father or would ignore the Father. That cannot be, for their interests are one. We honor the Father in honoring the Son. We are mindful of Paul’s words, that “to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8:6; just as we have already quoted, that it was by Him that God made the worlds. All things proceed ultimately from God, the Father; even Christ Himself proceeded and came forth from the Father, but it has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and that He should be the direct, immediate Agent in every act of creation. Our object in this investigation is to set forth Christ’s rightful position of equality with the Father, in order that His power to redeem may be the better appreciated’ (CHR 19.1).

‘The Scriptures declare that Christ is “the only begotten son of God.” He is begotten, not created. As to when He was begotten, it is not for us to inquire, nor could our minds grasp it if we were told. The prophet Micah tells us all that we can know about it in these words, [quotes Micah 5:2, margin]. There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42; 1:18), but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning’ (CHR 21.2).

‘But the point is that Christ is a begotten Son and not a created subject. He has by inheritance a more excellent name than the angels; He is “a Son over His own house.” Hebrews 1:4; 3:6. And since He is the only-begotten son of God, He is of the very substance and nature of God and possesses by birth all the attributes of God, for the Father was pleased that His Son should be the express image of His Person, the brightness of His glory, and filled with all the fullness of the Godhead. So He has “life in Himself.” He possesses immortality in His own right and can confer immortality upon others. Life inheres in Him, so that it cannot be taken from Him, but having voluntarily laid it down, He can take it again. His words are these: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” John 10:17, 18’ (CHR 22.1).

‘Finally, we know the Divine unity of the Father and the Son from the fact that both have the same Spirit. Paul, after saying that they that are in the flesh cannot please God, continues: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9. Here we find that the Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Christ “is in the bosom of the Father” being by nature of the very substance of God and having life in Himself. He is properly called Jehovah, the self-existent One and is thus styled in Jeremiah 23:5, 6, where it is said that the righteous Branch, who shall execute judgment and justice in the earth, shall be known by the name of Jehovah-tsidekenu – THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ (CHR 23.1).

Christ built His true Church upon the pillar of faith in Him as the literal Son of the living God (Matthew 16:13-18). Our leading pioneers taught that: ‘Christ is the Son of God by birth’ (Ellet Waggoner, CHR 12.1, 1890); Christ is ‘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’ (Ellen White, ST 30 May 1895); Christ is God’s Son ‘who was made in the express image of his [the Father’s] person’ (Ellen White, RH 9 July 1895); ‘God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be, – a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity, – appeared the Word’ (Uriah Smith, LUJ 10.1, 1898). Antichrist and those with the spirit of antichrist deny that Christ is the literal Son of God (1 John 2:22-23).

𝐒𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐆𝐨𝐝:

The Son is by and through whom are all things (Colossians 1:16; John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2); The Son created all creatures by the Father’s power (Ephesians 3:9); The Son has the Father’s original life (original, unborrowed, underived) (John 5:26); The Son has the fullness of His Father [Godhead] dwelling in Him (Colossians 2:9; how is the Father [Godhead] in the Son? by the Spirit of the Father being without measure in the Son: John 3:34). Christ is Not created, but “the only begotten Son of God” (John 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9); ever subject to the authority of His Father, the only true God (1 Corinthians 15:27-28; John 17:3).

Our “Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father” (2 John 1:3) is not the second trinity god! If God the Supreme Being who “sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10) is a trinity and His Son is, therefore, Himself the Supreme Being or He is absolutely co-equal with the Supreme Being, then it implies that His Son Jesus did not truly die. The Supreme Being is described as the one “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (1Tim. 6:15-16). If such applied to Jesus then He did not truly die at the cross, but was very much alive while foisting a delusion on humanity, thus making all our professions about the death and resurrection of Christ mere vanity and illusion. That is how absurd a belief in the trinity is! If you accept the Bible as it reads, you will not deny the Fatherhood of God and Sonship of Jesus, “He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22), and the trinity is an antichrist doctrine!

The Bible is clear that Christ inherited all things from Jehovah, His Father. “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands” (John 13:3), All things: His Father’s life (John 5:26; 6:57), His Father’s name (Heb 1:4; Phil 2:9; Ex 23:21-23), His Father’s glory (John 17:22), His Father’s throne (Rev 3:21), and His Father’s power of authority (John 10:18; Matt 28:18). The benevolence of God “whose name alone is JEHOVAH” (Ps 83:18) in putting His [Jehovah’s] name in His Son (Ex 23:21) and giving Him All things is used by the trinitarians to deny Christ’s Sonship and God’s Fatherhood.

The Son of God was “possessed by the LORD in the beginning of His way, before His works of old” (Prov 8:22); “whose going forth has been from everlasting” "from the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2); “before Abraham was” (John 8:58); “before the mountains and hills” (Prov 8:25); “before the world began” (2 Tim 1:9); "before the world was" (John 17:5); He “proceeded forth” (John 8:42); “was brought forth” (Prov 8:24-25); “came out from God” and "came out from" the Father (John 16:27; 17:8).

The Son of God is “the image of the invisible God” Col 1:15; “the express image of His person” Heb 1:3; "the first begotten" Heb 1:6; "the fruit of [His] body" Micah 6:7; "Son of the most high God" Mark 5:7; “the beginning [Head] of the creation of God” Rev 3:14; “the First-born of every creature” Col 1:15; And we are "the church of the firstborn" Heb 12:23; for by Him “were all things created” Col 1:16.

The Son of God is “by whom [God] made the worlds” Heb 1:2; "God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” Eph 3:9; "For by the word of the LORD were the heavens made" Psalm 33:6; for He was “before all things, and by Him all things consist” Col 1:17; who “upholds all things by the Word of His [God’s] power” Heb 1:3 "by inheritance" Heb 1:4; Who is “in the bosom of the Father” John 1:18; for “he that has seen [Him] has seen the Father” John 14:9; "being in the form of God but not grasping to be equal with God" Phil 2:6; "[His] God and [our] God" John 20:17; “in Whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” Col 2:9; He is “the mighty God” Ps 50:1; Isa 9:6; He was "anointed by [His] God above [His] fellows" Heb 1:9; so that “all the angels of God worship Him” Heb 1:6; “the counsel of peace shall be between them both” Zech 6:13; keeping “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” Eph 4:3; "[he] and [his] Father are one" John 10:30; "[He is] in the Father and the Father in [him]" John 14:10,11.

To the Son of God, “God, even the Father... has put all things under his [Christ's] feet” 1 Cor15:27; "Whom [God] has appointed heir of all things” Heb 1:2; except "He which did put all things under him" 1 Cor 15:27; because “the head of Christ is God” 1 Cor 11:3; "all power is given unto [him] in heaven and in earth" Matt 28:18; The Father has given him "power over all flesh” John 17:2; "All things are delivered unto [him] of [his] Father" Matt 11:27; "that in all things he might have the preeminence" Col 1:18; Therefore "the LORD GOD" said "Mine Angel shall go before you...My name is in him" Exod 23:17-23; “they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” 1 Cor 10:4; “the Angel of His presence saved them...and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old” Isa 63:9.

Whom do 𝐘𝐎𝐔 say that Christ is? If you cannot answer Christ’s question as Peter did, then you truly do not know

Christ as the Son of the living God.

[15] He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? [16] And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. [17] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐞, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐅𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐧. (Matthew 16:15-17)

𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐦𝐚𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐆𝐨𝐝, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐦𝐚𝐲 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞. (John 20:31)


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