How Christ is God?

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L____ wrote:

Hi L____,

It was so good to meet with you in Marshall. I hope we can meet again in the not too distant future.

Thank you for your question concerning Christ telling the Jews ” Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. ” Let’s look closely at that statement by our Lord:

Joh 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
Joh 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
Joh 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
Joh 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Joh 2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

I have quoted the verses around the one you ask about so we could all see that Christ is at this time cleansing and purging the temple of the money changers who had turned the temple into a market place, all for the love of money. Being offended by Christ’s righteous actions, these very same people are asking of Him a sign of His authority for doing these things. Now notice carefully who Christ says is the owner of this temple:

“Make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”

Christ was very careful never to exalt Himself above His Father:

Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Joh 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

Now with the truth of these verses firmly in mind, go back to Christ’s purging of the temple where the Jews are asking Christ for a sign of who He is and by what authority He is doing this purging. Christ has just told them that the temple is “My Father’s house.” With this scenario in mind look at these verses which show what is the relationship Christ has with His Father. Here is the mind of Christ as concerns this relationship.

Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.
Joh 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Joh 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

And what is Christ’s judgment in regards to whence came His authority to cleanse the temple?

Joh 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

How can Christ admit that His Father is greater then He and yet tell these Jews “I will raise it up?” The only way He could possibly do that would be to consider himself “equal with God” in some way:

Joh 5:18 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.
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

“Equal with God” is not the only phrase which is misunderstood by many. Here are a few others:

Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Now if these verses are to be taken as Christ claiming either that He is the same as the Father, or that “the everlasting [ Hebrew- olawm- Greek- aionian] Father… being equal with God… [ and] the Almighty” means that the Godhead consists of two equally immortal heads, then the Truth would be that Christ never really died. And if we believe that Christ never really died, then we can also believe that none of us can ever really die. But this is not how “equal with God” is to be understood. We are told exactly how this is to be understood.

Always remember Christ’s own Words:

Mat 13:52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

The ‘new’ can never be properly understood without a knowledge of the ‘old.’ The old will always shed much light on the new. So here is what the Old Testament tells us is meant by phrases like “equal with God… the everlasting Father… [ and] the Almighty” when referring to Christ. Here is how these verses must be understood:

Gen 41:40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

“Only in the throne” is the Father greater than Christ. In every other way Christ is called “the everlasting Father… equal with God… [ and] the Almighty.” Now Christ can say “I will raise it up” simply because “the Father has given to the Son to have life within Himself.” Not that the Son IS life, but the Son had the Father within Him. Had Christ not had the Father within Himself, He could never have been resurrected from among the dead. But Christ did have the Father within Him, and therefore it was impossible for death to hold Him.

Joh 10:38 … Though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Now have I said that Christ was or is not immortal? No, I have not! We are told to “have the mind of Christ.” And just look at where we are told to do so:

Php 2:5 For, let this mind be in you that is also in Christ Jesus,
Php 2:6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God,
Php 2:7 but did empty himself, the form of a servant having taken, in the likeness of men having been made,
Php 2:8 and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death– death even of a cross,
Php 2:9 wherefore, also, God did highly exalt him, and gave to him a name that is above every name,
Php 2:10 that in the name of Jesus every knee may bow– of heavenlies, and earthlies, and what are under the earth–
Php 2:11 and every tongue may confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [ YLT]

[ I embolden the letters ‘did empty Himself’ only to show that Christ had to give up His immortality for a season or there would be nothing being “emptied.” Read the paper Is God A Trinity? to see how Christ and His Father relate to one another. Christ and His Father had this all planned “before the foundation of the world. It was “through Christ” that the Father created the aions. That is why Christ can be called the “Olawm Father.” The Father gave it to Christ to lay down and to take up His life.]

So this is the conclusion of all we have learned:

1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Eve, coming out from Adam, shows us Christ’s relationship to His Father. So Paul draws this conclusion:

1Co 11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
1Co 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
1Co 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
1Co 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

I hope this helps you to see how Christ can say “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”. “The Father gave it to Christ” to say this. And so when Christ has accomplished all that Father has given Him to accomplish, here is what He will do:

1Co 15:27 For he [ the Father] hath put all things under his [ Christ’s] feet. But when he [ the Father] saith all things are put under him [ Christ], it is manifest that he [ the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under him [ Christ].
1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him [ Christ], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [ the Father] that put all things under him [ Christ], that God [ the Father] may be all in all.

That is the goal of the universe. It will be accomplished by “the everlasting Father… who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, and to be called The Almighty… in everything but the throne.”

Mike

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