Did Jesus exist prior to His birth as a Human Being? If so, who or what was He?


In our last Q&A, we showed that Jesus Christ is God today. As we will show in this Q&A, the Bible also teaches very clearly that Jesus Christ did exist, AS GOD, prior to His First Coming. In fact, there was never a time, prior to His birth as a human being, when Christ did not exist as God. (In future Q&As, we will address the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ; the nature of the Holy Spirit; what Jesus became when He came in the flesh; and the potential of man.)

In our free booklet, “God Is A Family,” we are explaining the following regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ–PRIOR to His birth as a human being:

“Jesus Christ WAS—and IS—God! This is a profound statement that many may not have heard before! Some may well believe that God the Father created everything Himself. Many may have been taught that God is only one being, and that Christ is, at best, an angel, or, that He did not even exist before He was born as a human being. You may have heard those who claim that Jesus Christ is not God, therefore God the Father did not create everything through another God being—Jesus Christ.

“The Bible clearly reveals, however, that both the Father and Jesus Christ ARE God, and that they have ALWAYS been God throughout eternity! Reading from John 1:1, ‘In the beginning was the Word [the ‘Logos’ in Greek, meaning ‘Spokesman’], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ We see that it is Jesus Christ—the ‘Word’—the One who ‘SPOKE, and it was done’ (Psalm 33:9), and the One who later became flesh (John 1:14), who is referred to in John 1:1 as ‘God.’

“Some say that the phrase in John 1:1 should be translated as, ‘The Word was divine,’ in the sense that everything that God says is divine. That proposal is wrong. The Greek word for ‘divine’ is ‘theios,’ while the term for ‘God,’ as used in John 1:1, is ‘theos.’ The term ‘theos’ can only mean ‘God.’ The ‘Word’ was not only ‘divine’—the ‘Word’ was ‘God’…”

We see, then, that the “Word” was a Being called God who was with another Being, also called God–showing that God consists of two Beings–God the FATHER and Jesus Christ the SON. It also establishes that the Son–the One who became flesh–was GOD.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible states the following:

“What he [John] saith of him [is] enough to prove beyond contradiction that he is God. He asserts… His existence in the beginning: In the beginning was the Word. This bespeaks his existence, not only before his incarnation, but before all time. The beginning of time, in which all creatures were produced and brought into being, found this eternal Word in being. The world was from the beginning, but the Word was in the beginning… the Word was God: a distinct person… for he was with God… He that undertook to bring us to God… was himself from eternity with God; so that this grand affair of man’s reconciliation to God was concerted between the Father and Son from eternity, and they understand one another perfectly well in it… He was with God, and therefore is said to come forth from the Father.”

In addition, Philippians 2:5–7 explains that Christ was in the “form of God” and “equal with God” the Father, but that He took the “form of a bondservant,” and came “in the likeness of men.”

We read in John 17:5 that Christ had glory before the world existed–showing that Christ existed as a glorious Being before the world was made. As Philippians 2:6 says, He existed as a divine Being–He was EQUAL with God and therefore God.

As an aside, some commentaries will tell you that the word “form” in Philippians 2:6 (“morphe” in Greek) does not mean to convey the idea that God has form or shape (even though the word “form” or “morphe” is applied in that passage to the “form” of God (verse 6) and to the “form” of men (verse 7) –and nobody disputes that man has form and shape. However, God is ALSO clearly described as a Being with form and shape (compare Numbers 12:8; Exodus 33:18-23)–even though He is a Spirit being and therefore–barring supernatural manifestation–invisible to the human eye. Christ said in John 5:37 that no one has ever seen the “form” of God the Father (compare also John 1:18; 1 John 4:12). Since some, including Moses, saw the “form” of the LORD, it is logical and compelling that they must have seen the form of Christ–the second member in the Godhead.

We are also stating the following in our free booklet, “Jesus Christ–a Great Mystery”:

“Yes, Christ was God before He came to this earth! This all-important statement is supported Biblically in many places. Paul explains in 1 Timothy 3:16: ‘And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD was manifest in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.’

“HOW, exactly, was ‘God’ manifest in the flesh? Some claim that God is just one Being and that He somehow placed some of His thoughts into the mind of a human being called Jesus. But they are wrong. Jesus actually did exist as a God being—a second, individual God being to God, the Father—prior to His birth as a human.”

Colossians 1:16 states that “all things” –visible and invisible–were created “by” and “through” Jesus Christ. We see in John 1:1-3 that “all things” were made through the Word–the Logos–Jesus Christ; and Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:10 tells us that God the Father made “the worlds” or the entire universe and “all things” “through” Jesus Christ.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible points out, regarding Colossians 1:16:

“Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe; of all things visible and invisible; of all things that had a beginning, whether they exist in time or in eternity… he was prior to all creation, to all beings, whether in the visible or invisible world… Now, allowing… Paul to have understood the terms which he used, he must have considered Jesus Christ as being truly and properly God… Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things, therefore Jesus Christ must be, according to the plain construction of the apostle’s words, truly and properly God.”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible comments on John 1:3:

“In this place it is affirmed that ‘creation’ was effected by ‘the Word,’ or the Son of God. In [Genesis 1:1], it is said that the Being who created the heavens and the earth was God. In [Psalm 102:25-28], this work is ascribed to Yahweh. The ‘Word,’ or the Son of God, is therefore appropriately called ‘God’… he was the agent, or the efficient cause, by which the universe was made. There is no higher proof of omnipotence than the work of creation; and, hence, God often appeals to that work to prove that he is the true God, in opposition to idols… The Being, therefore, that ‘created’ all things must be divine; and, since this work is ascribed to Jesus Christ, and as it is uniformly in the Scriptures declared to be the work of God, Jesus Christ is therefore equal with the Father.”

Continuing with further quotes from our booklet, “God Is A Family”:

“Jesus Christ spoke of His own pre-existence over and over again. At one time, He stated boldly that He—AS God—had lived before Abraham. The Jews were so outraged that they were willing to stone Jesus. Notice the dialogue and the reaction of the Jews to Christ’s words in John 8:56–58: ‘[Jesus said,] “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ When Jesus said, ‘I AM,’ rather than, ‘I WAS,’ the Jews understood that He identified Himself as God—as ‘Yahweh,’ the ‘I AM’ or Eternal of the Old Testament. That is why they ‘took up stones to throw at Him’ (verse 59).”

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary adds the following thoughts:

“‘Before Abraham was, I am’ — The words rendered ‘was’ and ‘am’ are quite different. The one clause means, ‘Abraham was brought into being’; the other, ‘I exist.’ The statement therefore is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did… but that He never came into being at all, but existed before Abraham had a being; in other words, existed before creation, or eternally… In that sense the Jews plainly understood Him, since ‘then took they up stones to cast at Him,’ just as they had before done when they saw that He made Himself equal with God [John 5:18].”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible elaborates:

“‘I am’ – The expression I am, though in the present tense, is clearly designed to refer to a past time… he assumes it as his name, ‘I AM,’ and ‘I AM that I AM,’ [Exodus 3:14]… There is a remarkable similarity between the expression employed by Jesus in this place and that used in Exodus to denote the name of God…The question here was about his pre-existence. The objection of the Jews was that he was not 50 years old, and could not, therefore, have seen Abraham. Jesus replied to that that he existed before Abraham… this declaration corresponds to the affirmation of John [John 1:1], that he was in the beginning with God, and was God.”

The Jews of Christ’s time rejected Him as fulfilling the office of Messiah and the King of Israel. However, prophecy in the books of the Old Testament pointed to the fact that it would be God who would come to deliver them (compare Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23). Jesus told the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). In another instance, following His resurrection, Jesus showed some of His disciples these very proofs: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

In addition, in Luke 10:18, Jesus said that He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven, claiming that He existed when Satan’s rebellion occurred, which happened long before the creation of man.

Again quoting from our booklet, “God Is A Family” :

“Jesus Christ is identified, in Revelation 3:14, as the ‘beginner of the creation of God,’ as it should be correctly rendered… Christ… had no beginning. He is identified in Hebrews 7:1 as ‘Melchizedek,’ the ‘priest of the Most High God.’ Hebrews 7:3 explains that He had ‘neither beginning of days nor end of life.’ Therefore, Revelation 3:14 is more accurately translated as ‘beginning’ or ‘source’ of God’s creation (compare, for instance, Revised Standard Version; New Revised Standard Version; Revised English Bible; and New American Bible). Christ EXISTED as a God being from all eternity, and it was He—the second member of the God Family—who began the creation of everything…”

Note the following excerpts from one of our Q&As, commenting on Revelation 3:14:

“Some claim that God the Father first created His Son, Jesus Christ, and proceeded afterwards to create everything else through Christ. They say that the Word was created, and when that happened, there were no days or time created, so Christ had no beginning of days as such. This is not, however, what the Bible teaches.

“Micah 5:2 talks about the coming Messiah when it states ‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, WHOSE GOINGS FORTH ARE FROM OF OLD, FROM EVERLASTING.’…

“The ‘New Bible Commentary: Revised’ adds the following: ‘… the title “the beginning of God’s creation” (better translated “the principle” or “source” of creation) exalts Christ as Creator above the proud but puny creatures that boast in their self-sufficiency.’…

“The Commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown agrees, pointing out: “‘beginning of the creation of God”–not he whom God created first, but as in Colossians 1:15-18… the Beginner of all creation, its originating instrument. All creation would not be represented adoring Him, if He were but one of themselves. He being the Creator is a strong guarantee for His faithfulness as “the Witness and Amen.”‘…

“In Revelation 22:13, Christ refers to himself as the ‘beginning [arche] and the end [telos].’ If ‘beginning’ suggests that there was a time when Christ did not exist, but that He came into existence as the first being of God’s creation, does ‘end’ indicate that there will be a point at which He will no longer exist? That would be a ridiculous suggestion!

“Based on all the biblical evidence, we can dogmatically state that Jesus Christ had NO beginning. Rather, He is the BEGINNER of God’s creation: God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ, who existed [as God] since all eternity…”

Finally, quoting again from our booklet, “God Is A Family”:

“We read that the Spirit of Christ was IN the prophets of old (1 Peter 1:11)… This proves, too, that Christ existed at that time [as God], prior to His human existence, and that He gave His Spirit to the prophets…”

In conclusion, there can be no reasonable and honest doubt that Jesus Christ was God–since all eternity–before He became a human being. In future Q&As, we will discuss how it can be that both the Father and the Son were and are God, and what exactly their relationship has been towards each other.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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