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    The Eternal Son of God

    I must first emphasize the basic fact that the person who is called Jesus of Nazareth did not commence his existence when Ha was born in Bethlehem, even as He did not end His existence when He was nailed to the cross on Calvary. If He were a mere man who began and closed His life just as I do, I could not have implicit confidence that He has any more power than I have, and therefore I should hesitate to commit myself unreservedly to Him. I might be willing to receive such help as by experience I found Him able to render, but how could I believe that He could completely deliver me from the enemy of my soul who has proved himself to be stronger than I am? I am sure that I should often be overwhelmed with doubt and fear if Jesus of Nazareth were only a human being, even though He were the supreme realization of the highest and best in humanity. I need a Saviour who can exercise more than human power.SOTW 14.1

    But I do not need to have any questioning about this matter. I accept His own statement of His eternal existence made in these simple but wondrous words: “Before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:58. Any one who is not familiar, as the Jews were, with the Scriptures of that time, which we designate now as the Old Testament, may not at once catch the full significance of this claim to pre-existence on the part of Jesus, and will perhaps be amazed to learn that He who talked with the Jews was the same person who talked with Moses at the bush. It may be well worth our while to examine again the record of this experience of the man of God, as it is given in Exodus:SOTW 14.2

    “The angel of Jehovah 1Wherever in the Authorized Version the word “Lord” is spelled with a capital L and ord in small capitals, thus, Lord, in the American Revised Version it is rendered “Jehovah.” It is a different Hebrew word which is translated “Lord” both in the Authorized and the Revised Version. appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, ... I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.... Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:2-10.SOTW 15.1

    Moses hesitated to undertake such a mission, and said: “When I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them?” Exodus 3:13. The reply to this question should be directly connected with the words of Jesus to the Jews: “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.” Exodus 3:14, 15. In meditating upon what has been here taken from the record, consider first that at the beginning of the report of this experience the words “Angel of Jehovah,” and “Jehovah,” and “God” are used interchangeably. All three expressions are applied to the same person, who is declared to Blank Page be “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then note further that the statement, “I AM hath sent me unto you,” means “Jehovah ... hath sent me unto you.” We are plainly warranted in the conclusion that I AM is Jehovah, the God of Abraham. So when Jesus declared Himself to the Jews to be I AM, He revealed Himself as the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham manifested in human flesh. This is quite in harmony with the name announced by the prophet Isaiah to be given to the virgin-born son, and by Inspiration applied to Jesus of Nazareth; “They shall call His name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us.” Matthew 1:23.SOTW 15.2

    But the fact that the Jesus of the New Testament is the Jehovah of the Old Testament must not be understood as eliminating the Father, or as a denial of the Godhead-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since the finite cannot comprehend the infinite, it were vain to attempt an analysis of the Godhead, or to liken the perfect union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to a triumvirate of men or even of angels. Neither must we think of the three distinct persons of the Godhead as subject to any of the limitations to which men are subject. To Nicodemus the Saviour said, “No one hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven.” John 3:13.SOTW 17.1

    There was the divine Word made flesh, subject to the limitations of humanity, as a man just as dependent upon the Father as we are dependent upon Him; and yet, as a divine Being, still one with the Father in heaven, as declared in John 17:23. Believe it we must, but explain it, or even fully comprehend it, we cannot; and until we can, we should tread reverently as we approach the subject of the being and nature of the triune God.SOTW 17.2

    This identification of Jesus of Nazareth with Jehovah of the Old Testament opens up a fertile field of study and encouragement. It would be impossible in the limits of this chapter to cover this ground, and I can only indicate in a general way and with a few illustrations, what this may mean to us, and call attention to the solid ground it furnishes for complete confidence in Jesus the eternal Son as a Saviour.SOTW 17.3

    When we are tempted to doubt the power of Jesus to save us from sin and from sinning, we may call to mind that it was as Jehovah that He delivered His people from the bondage of Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. Here are His words to Moses:SOTW 18.1

    “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah your God, who bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I sware to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am Jehovah.” Exodus 6:6-8.SOTW 18.2

    Do not overlook the suggestion found in this scripture that the power pledged for the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage is the power of the cross, for when Jehovah sent to His people the assurance that He would deliver them “with an outstretched arm,” He clearly fore shadowed His saving act when as the Son of man His arm was stretched out upon the cross for the deliverance of the human family. That His death on the cross brought deliverance to us is made plain in these words:SOTW 18.3

    “Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death He might bring to naught him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14, 15.SOTW 19.1

    The connection between the outstretched arm and death on a cross is plainly revealed in the statement which Jesus made to Peter after His own crucifixion:SOTW 19.2

    “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldst: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldst not. Now this He spake, signifying by what manner of death he would glorify God.” John 21:18, 19. It is the testimony of history that Peter, like his Lord, was crucified, and so the stretched-out arm is interpreted to signify the cross.SOTW 19.3

    But we must note particularly the wondrous power which attended the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. There were the plagues, each one a manifestation of the might of Jehovah. There was the passage of the Red Sea, when “the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left” (Exodus 14:22), but “the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea.” Exodus 14:28. This was a redemptive act, as is indicated in the song which was afterward sung; “Thou in Thy loving-kindness hast led the people that Thou hast redeemed.” Exodus 15:13. There was the manna which was supplied to the great host while they journeyed through the wilderness, a fact prophecy of Him who said: “I am the living bread which came down out of heaven.” John 6:51. There was the water from the rock, the meaning of which is thus stated: “They drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ.”SOTW 19.4

    1 Corinthians 10:4. There were the conflicts with their enemies concerning which Moses said to the people: “Dread not, neither be afraid of them. Jehovah your God who goeth before you, He will fight for you, according to all that He did for you in Egypt before your eyes.” Deuteronomy 1:29, 30.SOTW 20.1

    In all these cases, and many others, Jehovah was revealing the greatness of His power to save His people, and a record was made of these experiences to encourage us to trust the same person, Jehovah-Jesus, revealed in the flesh to deliver us from the bondage of sin. “What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.” Psalm 56:3. Nay, rather, let me say, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid: for Jehovah, even Jehovah, is my strength and song; and He is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2.SOTW 20.2

    When I turn to the record of the works of Jesus of Nazareth, as it is given to us in the four Gospels, I find that the works ascribed to Him are of the same character as those which, according to the testimony of the Old Testament, were wrought by Jehovah. At the beginning of His ministry He read in the synagogue at Nazareth from the prophecy of Isaiah; “He hath sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18); and then He claimed that this prophecy was a forecast of His own mission. “To-day,” said He, “hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4:21. Later in His ministry, when John the Baptist sent messengers to inquire, “Art Thou He that cometh, or look we for another?” Jesus sent back this reply; “Go and tell John the things which ye hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up.” Matthew 11:3-5. Recalling the wonderful works which they had seen Him perform, the two disciples on the way to Emmaus designated Him as “Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.” Luke 24:19. Thus by His deeds of power did Jesus of Nazareth reveal that, as of old, “Jehovah had visited the children of Israel” (Exodus 4:31), and that the Prince of Peace was “mighty God.” Isaiah 9:6. So I give to Him the compound name, Jehovah-Jesus.SOTW 20.3

    In harmony with this interpretation I find that in the Old Testament Jehovah is declared to be the Saviour, and that there is none else. Note these statements; “I am Jehovah thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” Isaiah 43:3. “I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides Me there is no saviour.” Isaiah 43:11. “Who hath declared it of old? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no God else besides Me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:21, 22.SOTW 21.1

    In view of these plain declarations we should naturally expect that in the New Testament Jesus of Nazareth would be recognized as God the Saviour, and so He is. I can refer to only a few of such cases, but they are sufficient: Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Mary, the mother of Jesus, said: “My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Luke 1:47. Under the same inspiration the apostle Paul admonishes us that we should “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, ... looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:10-13. In the same sentence in this same epistle the same writer refers to “God our Saviour” and “Christ Jesus our Saviour” (Titus 1:3, 4), a combination of terms which is certainly full of meaning. So also “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ,” writes of “God our Saviour.” Jude 25. In view of such a wondrous revelation concerning the person of Jesus of Nazareth, I think I am fully justified in referring to the Saviour of the world as ‘the eternal God,” and I find encouragement and assurance in so doing. “If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31.SOTW 21.2

    In the Old Testament I AM is revealed to us in His absolute deity, but when the eternal Word, who “was with God, and ... was God,” “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14), an objective revelation of the I AM was granted to us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who disclosed Himself in such statements as these; “I AM the bread of life” (John 6:48); “I AM the light of the world” (John 8:12); “I AM the door” (John 10:9); “I AM the good shepherd” (John 10:11); “I AM the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25);”I AM the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6); “I AM the true vine” (John 15:1). Jesus of Nazareth, in His life, His death, and His resurrection, as well as in His teachings, was making known to us the I AM of the Old Testament as our Saviour, our Redeemer, and our Friend. And since there is no other Saviour, Jesus Himself declared: “Except ye believe that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24. Surely we ought to be able to say, with a greater fullness than ever before: “God is unto us a God of deliverances.” Psalm 68:20. “The eternal God is thy dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.... Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, a people saved by Jehovah!” Deuteronomy 33:27-29.SOTW 22.1

    “Crown Him the Lord of years,
    The Potentate of time,
    Creator of the rolling spheres,
    Ineffably sublime!
    All hail! Redeemer, hail!
    For Thou hast died for me;
    Thy praise shall never, never fail
    Throughout eternity.”
    SOTW 23.1

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