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What Child Is This?

  

I’ve lately been looking at the sections of the Scripture that pertain to the birth of Jesus (it’s just a coincidence that’s it’s late December).  One of the things I’ve noticed is how much information about this child is given in the various angelic announcements, dreams and prophecies.  Matthew, chapters one and two as well as Luke, chapters one and two, tell us much about who this Jesus is and what he will accomplish.  In Jesus’ adult years, many wondered who he really was–if only they could have been privy to the things that God revealed to Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and Simeon.  Here is a list of some of things God made known to these various individuals:

he was conceived of the Holy Spirit
he will save his people from their sins
he is a ruler who will shepherd God’s people
he will be called out of Egypt
he will be called a Nazarene
he will be great
he will be called the son of the Most High
Yahweh God will give him the throne of his father David
he will reign over the house of Jacob forever
his kingdom will have no end
he will be called the son of God
he is a Savior,
he is the lord Messiah
he is Yahweh’s Messiah
he is God’s salvation
he is a light for revelation to the Nations
he is the glory of God’s people, Israel
he is appointed the the fall and rise of many in Israel

24 Responses to “What Child Is This?”

  1. on 21 Dec 2008 at 4:49 amMark C.

    This is why he made such a big deal about believing in who he was. He asked his disciples “Who do you say that I am?” The Gospel that he preached was about how he was the fulfillment of prophecy, the king of the coming Kingdom, and that Kingdom was near. He preached this for quite some time before ever mentioning his death. In fact when he first mentioned his death, the apostles didn’t understand. Later, of course, they came to understand the significance of his death and resurrection, and that was added to the message they preached. But so many Christians focus exclusively on the death and resurrection and neglect the Gospel message that Jesus himself preached.

  2. on 22 Dec 2008 at 10:17 pmSean

    excellent collection of identification phrases

    it is remarkable how much one can glean from just the birth narratives

  3. on 25 Dec 2008 at 9:50 pmMichael

    he was conceived of the Holy Spirit

    he will be called the son of the Most High

    he will be called the son of God

    Trinitarians believe that Jesus as the Son of God was God incarnate and Biblical Unitarians believe that Jesus as the Son of God was a human being. How then according to Biblical Unitarians is Jesus the Son of God, in title or in substance?

  4. on 25 Dec 2008 at 10:39 pmMark C.

    Trinitarians believe that Jesus as the Son of God was God incarnate and Biblical Unitarians believe that Jesus as the Son of God was a human being. How then according to Biblical Unitarians is Jesus the Son of God, in title or in substance?

    The angel Gabriel explained it quite well in Luke 1:35. The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

    The term “son of God” means he is the offspring of God and not God Himself.

  5. on 25 Dec 2008 at 11:02 pmMichael

    The angel Gabriel explained it quite well in Luke 1:35. The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

    The term “son of God” means he is the offspring of God and not God Himself.

    Response- I just watched the video file John 1:1 by Justin Smith who said that God became a “literal Father” with the birth of Jesus to Mary and you have stated that Jesus is the offspring of God.

    This leads me to surmise that you believe Jesus is the Son of God not in title only but in substance which causes an obvious dilemma.

    How can God who is not a human being become a literal Father to a human being?

    Doesn’t everything reproduce after its kind?

  6. on 25 Dec 2008 at 11:51 pmMark C.

    Here’s something interesting I just discovered. The phrase “after their kind” only occurs four times, all in Genesis.

    Ge 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
    Ge 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
    Ge 6:20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
    Ge 7:14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.

    Two are referring to their creation, and two to their gathering into the ark. None are referring to their reproduction. When God refers to them reproducing it just says they would multiply.

    Ge 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
    Ge 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
    Ge 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
    Ge 9:7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

    As far as I can see, there is nothing about “reproducing after their kind.” That doesn’t mean they don’t reproduce after their kind, it’s just that it wasn’t an issue, especially since at the time nobody was suggesting that anything brought forth something not of its kind.

    In any case, “after their kind” is about God’s creation. There is nothing in the Bible that limits God from producing a human offspring. OT prophecies referred to the coming Messiah as being God’s Son, not being God in human form which would be an unthinkable concept to the Hebrew mind.

  7. on 26 Dec 2008 at 7:19 amMichael

    Quote- There is nothing in the Bible that limits God from producing a human offspring.

    Response- Except the fact that God is not a human being and if his offspring is then it is not ontologically his child.

    Quote- OT prophecies referred to the coming Messiah as being God’s Son, not being God in human form which would be an unthinkable concept to the Hebrew mind.

    Response- I believe God fathering a child with a human woman would be just as unthinkable.

    There is a paradox as to how Jesus is the Son of God but the “God can do whatever he wants to” theory ends the search for the solution.

    Trinitarians can use this same excuse to make their point.

  8. on 26 Dec 2008 at 7:33 amSean

    Michael,

    God, as the creator of all things is not limited to create after his own kind or else there would be no plants or animals. Jesus is the second Adam. The difference between their creations was that Adam was formed from the dust and Jesus was begotten in the womb of a virgin.

    Jesus is also Son of God in title because he is the rightful heir to the Davidic throne (Heb 1.5; 2 Sam 7.14; Ps 2.7). The people were expecting the son of God in the sense of a messiah, but the twist for Jesus is that not only is he son of God in title but also God literally was his Father.

  9. on 26 Dec 2008 at 10:19 amWolfgang

    Hi Michael,

    you mention above:
    “Except the fact that God is not a human being and if his offspring is then it is not ontologically his child.”

    As Sean has already pointed out, God brought about the first human being by means of making, forming, creating the whole (apparently “adult”) human being called “Adam” …. and thereby has demonstrated that He is obviously able to not only bring about a “complete adult human being”, but also any part of a human being … such as a male seed of the kind “human”, which then if it is conceived in a woman would bring about a human being that has been “begotten in the womb” rather than being “created as an adult human being” …

    Thus, even in Jesus’ case, the conception took place in accordance with the principle described with “after its kind” (which procreation of living beings normally follows) … A male seed and a female egg, both of the kind “human”, brought about the conception of the human being Jesus … one being contributed by God, the Creator, and the other being contributed by the woman Mary.

    The conception of Jesus is thus not all that “unthinkable” after all ….

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  10. on 26 Dec 2008 at 4:04 pmMichael

    Quote- God, as the creator of all things is not limited to create after his own kind

    Response- Agreed, and with the birth of Jesus to Mary God did not create after his kind.

    Quote- The difference between their creations was that Adam was formed from the dust and Jesus was begotten in the womb of a virgin.

    Response- Agreed, so why does your group teach that God became a literal Father at Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem?

    Quote-… the twist for Jesus is that not only is he son of God in title but also God literally was his Father.

    Response- If Jesus was the ontological Son of God at his birth in Bethlehem then he could not be a human being since his father was not.

    Quote- …creating the whole (apparently “adult”) human being called “Adam” …. and thereby has demonstrated that He is obviously able to not only bring about a “complete adult human being”, but also any part of a human being

    Response- Agreed, but you are trying to make Jesus the ontological Son of God at the birth in Bethlehem, because God has the ability to create a human being is a far cry from fathering one.

    Quote- Thus, even in Jesus’ case, the conception took place in accordance with the principle described with “after its kind”

    Response- Again, if Jesus was the ontological Son of God at the birth in Bethlehem then why could he be tempted, sin and die? That is not his Fathers kind.

    Quote- A male seed and a female egg, both of the kind “human”, brought about the conception of the human being Jesus … one being contributed by God, the Creator, and the other being contributed by the woman Mary.

    Response- The seed God contributed was not of Him; God is not a human being.

    Quote- The conception of Jesus is thus not all that “unthinkable” after all ….

    Response- Jesus being the ontological Son of God at the birth in Bethlehem is impossible.

    Your Jesus is the Son of God in title only.

  11. on 26 Dec 2008 at 4:51 pmJohnE

    Michael,

    Quote- The difference between their creations was that Adam was formed from the dust and Jesus was begotten in the womb of a virgin.

    Response- Agreed, so why does your group teach that God became a literal Father at Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem?

    Are you saying that if a virgin is artificially inseminated by the sperm I produced, I am not the literal father of the child?

    Quote-… the twist for Jesus is that not only is he son of God in title but also God literally was his Father.

    Response- If Jesus was the ontological Son of God at his birth in Bethlehem then he could not be a human being since his father was not.

    I’m not aware of anybody here making the claim Jesus is the ontological son of God. Did anybody claim that when Jesus was born out of Mary, he had the same essence or nature as God? You seem to be confusing “literal father” with “ontological father”. What an ugly term though, ontology, essence, all pertain to Greek philosophy rather than Christian terminology…

    Response- The seed God contributed was not of Him; God is not a human being.

    Yes it WAS of him. God does not have to be a human being to produce sperm or any other thing related to human nature.

  12. on 26 Dec 2008 at 4:57 pmSean

    I don’t think your philosophical approach is going to work very well. God chose to bring his son into the world by a fresh act of creation in the virgin Mary. This does not limit Jesus ontologically to the substance of the Father any more than Adam or the first tree. Jesus did not have a human father. God played the role of his “biological” father in that he provided the necessary genetic material to begin this new life. Could you please summarize what your position is? I feel like we are going around in circles here.

  13. on 26 Dec 2008 at 5:17 pmMichael

    Quote- Are you saying that if a virgin is artificially inseminated by the sperm I produced, I am not the literal father of the child?

    Response- If you artificially create horse sperm and inseminate a virgin mare then are you the ontological father of the colt that is born?

    Quote- You seem to be confusing “literal father” with “ontological father”

    Response- Can you impregnate a woman with seed not of your essence and you are the literal father?

    Quote- What an ugly term though, ontology, essence,

    Response- Have you fathered any children? Then the ugly term applies to you and everyone else that has fathered children of their essence.

    Quote- Yes it WAS of him. God does not have to be a human being to produce sperm or any other thing related to human nature.

    Response- The ability of God to create does not make the creation “of Him” simply “by Him”.

    Quote- I’m not aware of anybody here making the claim Jesus is the ontological son of God.

    Response- I have.

  14. on 26 Dec 2008 at 5:21 pmMark C.

    Michael,

    You seem to be arguing based on a statement which is nowhere made in the Bible. Nothing in Scripture says that God cannot have a human Son, rather it says that He in fact did. Your argument that it would make him not human because God is not human is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. When you summarize your position as Sean requested, could you provide Scriptural backup for it?

  15. on 26 Dec 2008 at 5:36 pmMichael

    Quote- God chose to bring his son into the world by a fresh act of creation in the virgin Mary. This does not limit Jesus ontologically to the substance of the Father

    Response- Every child is completely connected to their father ontologically, it’s not a limitation simply a fact.

    Quote- God played the role of his “biological” father in that he provided the necessary genetic material to begin this new life.

    Response- Not of His essence and not of His seed.

    Quote- I feel like we are going around in circles here.

    Response- It is your group using the words biological and literal father with definitions that betray their meanings; this is what the Trinitarians do.

  16. on 26 Dec 2008 at 5:50 pmJohnO

    Michael,

    Response- Every child is completely connected to their father ontologically, it’s not a limitation simply a fact.

    This is an assertion that is, again, no where stated. First, the “ontological” category of thought is not found in ancient times. They just plainly do not think in these terms that we do. So to make an assertion (your statement is not a fact, but an assertion) is anachronistic, it is out of place.

    In Second Temple Judaism to be the “son of God” can mean many things. It can mean you are a part of Israel, which is called God’s son, and God’s firstborn. It also means you are the King of Israel (Jn 1.49) according to God’s promise to David. Jesus gives this phrase new meaning, in that God fathered him into this world, as God had done with no other.

  17. on 26 Dec 2008 at 7:37 pmMichael

    Quote- In Second Temple Judaism to be the “son of God” can mean many things. It can mean you are a part of Israel, which is called God’s son, and God’s firstborn. It also means you are the King of Israel (Jn 1.49) according to God’s promise to David. Jesus gives this phrase new meaning, in that God fathered him into this world, as God had done with no other.

    Response- You do not believe that God has had an ontological Son which leaves a Son in title only, like a country or a king so why is that so hard to admit?

  18. on 26 Dec 2008 at 8:34 pmJohnE

    Quote- Are you saying that if a virgin is artificially inseminated by the sperm I produced, I am not the literal father of the child?

    Response- If you artificially create horse sperm and inseminate a virgin mare then are you the ontological father of the colt that is born?

    First, would you please answer my question before trying to come up with an analogy? Second, your analogy is just wrong. There’s no such thing as “artificially created horse sperm”. And please try to leave the “ontological” part out of this discussion. You are continually knocking off a straw man’s argument here. As I already said, nobody here – but you maybe – is claiming Jesus was born of Mary having the same “essence” and nature as God.

    Quote- You seem to be confusing “literal father” with “ontological father”

    Response- Can you impregnate a woman with seed not of your essence and you are the literal father?

    Are you asking me or God? No, I can’t. You know why? Because I’m not God.

    Quote- What an ugly term though, ontology, essence,

    Response- Have you fathered any children? Then the ugly term applies to you and everyone else that has fathered children of their essence.

    No, the ugly term applies nor to me, neither to anyone else. It is a concept borrowed from pagan Greek philosophy. God does not have an essence, God transcends any “essence”.

    Quote- Yes it WAS of him. God does not have to be a human being to produce sperm or any other thing related to human nature.

    Response- The ability of God to create does not make the creation “of Him” simply “by Him”.

    That’s just an arbitrary conclusion. It is of Him.

    Quote- I’m not aware of anybody here making the claim Jesus is the ontological son of God.

    Response- I have.

    You have what?

  19. on 26 Dec 2008 at 9:03 pmJohnE

    Response- It is your group using the words biological and literal father with definitions that betray their meanings; this is what the Trinitarians do.

    We don’t really care what Trinitarians do. We are not scared off by their theology and we certainly aren’t going to renounce a biblical teaching – like Jesus being the son of God through his birth – because they twist it for their benefit.

    God is the biological and literal father of Jesus because there is a biological link between them, despite the fact that God transcends biology: just as any man is the source, producer and the originator of the genetic material that fertilizes the female egg, God is the source, producer and the originator of the genetic material that fertilized Mary’s egg. He himself has literally fertilized that egg. Just like any man would artificially inseminate somebody with his sperm.

    In fact, God is in certain ways more of a literal father than a man is to his child. Men are programmed to produce sperm. They do not make it consciously, they do not make it intentionally, they don’t know how it’s produced or how to produce it. Whereas God is – and did – exactly the opposite. He is the ultimate literal Father there ever can be.

    Quote- God played the role of his “biological” father in that he provided the necessary genetic material to begin this new life.

    Response- Not of His essence and not of His seed.

    “Essence” again. I wonder why you keep on using pagan concepts, introduced into Christian theology by Trinitarians at Niceea?

  20. on 27 Dec 2008 at 3:37 amMichael

    Quote- This is an assertion that is, again, no where stated. First, the “ontological” category of thought is not found in ancient times. They just plainly do not think in these terms that we do. So to make an assertion (your statement is not a fact, but an assertion) is anachronistic, it is out of place.

    Response- Did they think in terms of their God impregnating women as a means for procreation?

    Quote- Quote- Are you saying that if a virgin is artificially inseminated by the sperm I produced, I am not the literal father of the child?

    Response- If it is your seed then you are the literal father and your seed is made of what you are.

    Quote- As I already said, nobody here – but you maybe – is claiming Jesus was born of Mary having the same “essence” and nature as God.

    Response- I have not claimed that Jesus was the ontological Son of God at his birth in Bethlehem.

    Question- Can you impregnate a woman with seed not of your essence and you are the literal father?

    JohnE response- Are you asking me or God? No, I can’t. You know why? Because I’m not God.

    Response- Again, the “God can do whatever he wants to” theory ends the search for the solution.

    Quote- We don’t really care what Trinitarians do.

    Response- On the main page of this site in the audio and video files at least 20 topics directly name something of Trinitarians and I’m sure most of the other files talk of the Trinity, you really do care what Trinitarians do.

    Quote- God is the biological and literal father of Jesus because there is a biological link between them,

    Response- God is not biological so did he take his seed and manipulate it to be compatible with human beings?

    Quote- God is the source, producer and the originator of the genetic material that fertilized Mary’s egg. He himself has literally fertilized that egg.

    Response- With whose seed?

    Quote- In fact, God is in certain ways more of a literal father than a man is to his child. Men are programmed to produce sperm. They do not make it consciously, they do not make it intentionally, they don’t know how it’s produced or how to produce it. Whereas God is – and did – exactly the opposite. He is the ultimate literal Father there ever can be.

    Response- I’d stick with the “God can do whatever he wants to” solution.

  21. on 27 Dec 2008 at 5:21 amWolfgang

    Michael,

    you are often writing “Agreed, BUT …”

    This makes it pretty much impossible to have a proper discussion / exchange on a matter or topic … Your above statement displays dishonesty and/or the lack of the ability to express what you actually mean. There is no “agreed” to what someone wrote and then turning around and disagreeing with what you just (supposedly?) agreed to with a “but … ”

    To be honest … I will not engage further with such type of “double” talk. Unless there is a change in your approach, I will leave you with this …

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  22. on 27 Dec 2008 at 10:20 amMark C.

    Luke 1:
    26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,
    27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
    28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
    29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
    30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
    31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
    32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
    33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
    34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
    35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

    Michael, what does this passage say to you?

  23. on 27 Dec 2008 at 11:48 amJohnE

    Quote- Quote- Are you saying that if a virgin is artificially inseminated by the sperm I produced, I am not the literal father of the child?

    Response- If it is your seed then you are the literal father and your seed is made of what you are.

    So if it is God’s seed then He is the literal father. Good. And BTW, I am flesh and blood, my seed is not flesh and blood.

    Quote- As I already said, nobody here – but you maybe – is claiming Jesus was born of Mary having the same “essence” and nature as God.

    Response- I have not claimed that Jesus was the ontological Son of God at his birth in Bethlehem.

    Neither has any of us here.

    Question- Can you impregnate a woman with seed not of your essence and you are the literal father?

    JohnE response- Are you asking me or God? No, I can’t. You know why? Because I’m not God.

    Response- Again, the “God can do whatever he wants to” theory ends the search for the solution.

    Exactly. Or do you want to make this an endless search?

    Quote- We don’t really care what Trinitarians do.

    Response- On the main page of this site in the audio and video files at least 20 topics directly name something of Trinitarians and I’m sure most of the other files talk of the Trinity, you really do care what Trinitarians do.

    You are taking my statement out of context. When it comes to the fact that Jesus was God’s son after his birth from Mary, we don’t really care what Trinitarians do.

    Quote- God is the biological and literal father of Jesus because there is a biological link between them,

    Response- God is not biological so did he take his seed and manipulate it to be compatible with human beings?

    You are taking again my statement out of context. Read the context please. As to your question, God didn’t have to manipulate anything. Nobody knows the mechanics behind what He did for Jesus to be born, but if He created out of nothing a human sperm cell, that is His and it was produced by Him, originating from Him. Yes, IT IS HIS.

    Quote- God is the source, producer and the originator of the genetic material that fertilized Mary’s egg. He himself has literally fertilized that egg.

    Response- With whose seed?

    Please see above.

    Quote- In fact, God is in certain ways more of a literal father than a man is to his child. Men are programmed to produce sperm. They do not make it consciously, they do not make it intentionally, they don’t know how it’s produced or how to produce it. Whereas God is – and did – exactly the opposite. He is the ultimate literal Father there ever can be.

    Response- I’d stick with the “God can do whatever he wants to” solution.

    That’s your choice, please feel free to stick with whatever you feel you should.

  24. on 15 Feb 2009 at 3:18 pmJoseph

    I would say in response to our friend Michael that if he believes that God being the Father of Christ makes Christ equally divine then logically he must also believe that Christ being the Son of Mary would cancel out any type of Divinity. This would result in a half-man half-God.

    His logic is that the offspring of the parent must have the same attributes as the parent.

    This would fly in the face of Trinitarian doctrine because Trinitarians believe that Christ was both fully God and fully man.

    One more point. The sperm that God created needed to be a physical seed, a seed created by God that is put in to the creation, otherwise the egg of Mary would not be able to take in that seed. God is a spirit being, this tells us that God went outside of his “normal state” and dealt only within the physical creation.

    Thoughts?

  

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