"Christ left His Throne in Heaven to ... Wait a Minute!"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    "Christ left His Throne in Heaven to ... Wait a Minute!"

    The issue of Christ's unbroken presence in Heaven came up when I was teaching the Hebrews Bible study. This truth is implied in the following verses:


    "
    Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" Heb. 1:3

    • "Upholding" is continuous present. Christ did not cease from upholding all things when he came to Earth, lived the perfect life, died the perfect death. See John Owen's "Commentary" on this verse.

      "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." Col. 1:17

      Same general truth here. The preachers who wax eloquent and preach "Christ left His throne in heaven...etc" assert more (rather, less) than they can prove. Berkhof adds a good point here:

    • "It is better to say that the person of the Son of God became incarnate than to say that the divine nature assumed human flesh." (Systematic Theology, Section three, "The Unipersonality of Christ", p. 323, emphasis in original)

      "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." John 3:13

      And then came across this in my reading of Calvin's Institutes:

      "Another absurdity which they obtrude upon us, viz., that if the Word of God became incarnate, it must have been enclosed in the narrow tenement of an earthly body, is sheer petulance. For although the boundless essence of the Word was united with human nature into one person, we have no idea of any enclosing. The Son of God descended miraculously from heaven, yet without abandoning heaven; was pleased to be conceived miraculously in the Virgin's womb, to live on the earth, and hang upon the cross, and yet always filled the world as from the beginning."

      (Calvin's "Institutes", Bk.2, Ch. 13)

      Awesome teaching here.
    On the basis of verses like John 3:13 we can assume that the Divine Son of God was always present as God - with all that implies - even when he was also a tiny being in the womb of Mary, and when He was dead in the tomb. He was always "upholding all things by the word of His power", Hebrews 1:3, even in those times of seeming powerlessness.

    It is just a mystery. We have to leave it at that.
     
    #1 asterisktom, Jun 7, 2012
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  2. Luke2427

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    Excellent! I agree fully.

    I have enjoyed many times waxing eloquent in my preaching along the lines of this glorious truth.

    The Bible plainly teaches that it is the SECOND person of the godhead who has both created and always sustained the universe.

    I love to preach: While nailed to the cross those hands still held the stars in their sockets! While blinded with blood, sweat and human spittle, those eyes were still in every place beholding the good and the evil!
    Wonder of wonders! The men who lifted the cross with him upon it did so exclusively by the power that he himself granted their limbs!
    The breath they used to curse him came from the person they cursed!
    The sun that baked him there burned only by his own power!

    It truly is a wondrous truth.
     
  3. Iconoclast

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    16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.............
     
  4. agedman

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    This is one of the greatest wonders to ponder and Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in meditation and praise.

    To even have the rational ability to consider in a small portion the undeserved love of this aspect of the cross, it cannot help but also bring a fearful understanding of the enormity of the debt I owe.

    "Father forgive them, they don't know what they are doing" is possibly the greatest understatement in Scriptures.

    While He sustained and maintained even the atomic form for the existence of the nail piercing His skin, He interceded before the Father.

    Is there a greater example that we should emulate in our pitifully petty struggles?

    Is there more to "crucified with Christ" than what has been considered?
     
  5. OldRegular

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    Great post Tom! Answers some questions raised on another thread and it answers a question that has troubled me for sometime. Actually if I had fully consider what I believe about God the question I had would have never been raised.
     
  6. Yeshua1

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    God the father ALWAYS remained upon the throne, and the Son of God, the second person of the truine God DID come to earth incarnated as the God/man jesus...

    While upon earth, the Son was NOT seated in the heavenlies, as that would deny the very basis of the Incarnation, fully God becoming also Fully man!

    Jesus said that he was to be regloried once that he returned to the father, so he was absent from heaven and upon the earth at that time!
     
    #6 Yeshua1, Jun 9, 2012
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  7. Luke2427

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    In what ways he left is father is not clear in Scripture. He did. The Bible says so.

    But regardless of what that means, we do know that it is the Second person of the Godhead who built and sustains the vast cosmos by his own power.

    As fully God, Jesus was still omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent while on the earth the whole time.
     
  8. OldRegular

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    Thanks Luke. Tom's OP and your comments above are very beneficial. God the Son laid aside His Glory in the Incarnation but He never laid aside His Deity.

    God through the Apostle Paul tells us:

    Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

    There are distinctions in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, God is One and the nature of the Godhead is such that perfect harmony, in fact, unity of thought must exist within the Triune Godhead.
     
  9. asterisktom

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    Very true. This could indeed be a topic in itself.

    I like also what you said about Him upholding all things on a molecular level even while He was on the Cross. We must always follow Scripture, wherever it leads us.
     
  10. asterisktom

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    I'll just use this response here, first of all, to give thanks for the responses to the OP. Whether we agree or disagree, certainly this is a topic that is worthy of meditation. It is also very prone to wrong treatment.

    The problem here is that the only tools we have to understand this mystery are quite dissimilar.On the one hand, we have the Spirit of Christ which teaches us (all Christians) the Word of God, truths that we never could have discerned other wise. Not only were they not on our radar. Our radars weren't even turned on!

    On the other hand - a decidedly lower hand - we have the tools of logic and human analogy. Very limited, especially seeing that our logic is also limited by our human experience. We like to think it isn't, but it really is. We are much more like infants when it comes to these unfathomables than like Captain Spock.

    With that in mind I am now going to speak out of both sides of my mouth. I believe that there obviously was a separation of the Father from the Incarnated Son. Yet I also believe that the Son of God was also always in Heaven.

    These two things seem contradictory. But I believe them both, because I see them both in Scripture. I suppose that overfine dwelling on either one of these two "contradictions" leads to imbalance.

    I cannot believe that the universe was not upheld by Christ in the Incarnational interim. How could there have been such a change in the upholding - and totally unacknowledged by Scripture - and it make no difference? If Christ's lack of upholding for those few years made no difference (I speak as a fool) what is the use of His upholding it again? It would be superfluous, if truly it was really only the Father's upholding that was needed. And this would bring us right into at least two of the Christological heresies of the early church.

    I just leave it at mystery. I see no other option. But what is not an option is to, for the sake of either my need for mental tidiness or for preachable pulpit fodder, wax eloquent about Christ leaving His throne on glory.
     
    #10 asterisktom, Jun 9, 2012
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  11. OldRegular

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    I will amen that!

    God allows us to understand what is pertinent to our salvation and beneficial to our stewardship. But all praise and thanksgiving to God we cannot begin to comprehend Him.

    For sometime I have tried to put my thoughts on the Doctrine of Grace on paper. As I wrote I had some thoughts about the Incarnation I never had before. They are not profound but?

    The Incarnation: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. [John 1:14, KJV]

    Many people who call themselves Christians frequently, perhaps more often than not, trivialize what actually occurred some 2000 years ago when the Christ Child was born to the Virgin Mary in a stable in the Judean town of Bethlehem. It is true that we celebrate that birth at Christmas and we may, amid the feasting and gift exchange, take a moment to reflect, even marvel, about the birth of the Christ Child. Yet do we comprehend in any way what the incarnation cost God? God the Son for a time laid aside His Glory, but His Deity, His Holiness, He could not lay aside and yet for some 33 years Holy God lived as a man among sinful man and then He went to the Cross..

    We would do well to look beyond the “manger” and consider:

    No Incarnation, No Cross; No Cross, No Resurrection; No Resurrection, No Hope.

    God through the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi informs and instructs us:

    Philippians 2:5-8, KJV
    5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
    6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
    8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
     
  12. percho

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    Did you read my post 156 in Did the Son of God Die relative to Heb 1:3?
    Is not the statement of verse 3 subject to having inherited what he was heir of in verse 2?

    Concerning John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, the Son of man which is in heaven.

    I know no Greek, and with that being said let me ask; γεννηθὲν, from Matt. 1:20 γεγέννηκά from Acts 13:33 Heb. 1:5 Heb. 5:6 begotten speaking of Jesus. What do these words mean concerning Jesus relative to son and father relative to God? Did God beget (whatever that means) a human being as his son?

    How did the son come down from heaven? Was it through being begotten or was it some concept of a triune God person called Word by another God person called Holy Spirit overpowering a virgin and her egg developing into and embryo and then into a fetus and then being brought forth by birth as a man child that was 100% God and 100% man. I have looked for the scriptures for this but am having a little trouble finding them.

    I understand the words for only begotten are totally different from the begotten above and may not be even relative to born but may have meaning of unique or one of a kind, however still when you couple even that with the word son then you circle back to beget/begotten.

    Do you see the problem?
     

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