Did Jesus Christ Preexist?
Does it really matter if Jesus Christ existed before His incarnation as a human being on the earth? Some will say it does not, but what do the Scriptures say about this most important topic? There are some critical issues that relate directly to His preexistence, not the least of which is the “one God” idea that is currently being promoted by some of the brethren.
Note the following issues:
A. If Christ did not preexist then the Bible is in error and cannot be trusted, for it clearly speaks of His preexistence.
B. If Christ did not preexist then we have no Savior, since the Savior needed to have a sinless Father that gave rise to a sinless Son … to create the perfect sacrifice pictured by the unblemished animals used in sacrifices throughout the Old Testament. To have a sinless son one must have a sinless father, and if Christ’s father was a human being he would have descended from Adam, who would of necessity have passed on his sins to Christ as he did to all of mankind.
C. If someone comes to visit you declaring that Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh — implying directly that He did not preexist — then we are commanded to not fellowship with that person, or even bid him God speed.
John called the people Antichrists who did not believe that Jesus Christ preexisted and was come from the spirit realm, where He had preexisted with the Father; see I John 2:18-23; 4:3; II John 7; II Thessalonians. 2:3-9 (where the Antichrist is called the “son of perdition”). II John 10-11 states that we as Christians are not even to receive someone into our house who does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh, neither are we to bid him “God speed, for he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
The idea of no preexistence of Christ is a necessary component of the common (and erroneous) idea that there is only one Being in “one God.” The proponents of only one God-being claim that the ancient Hebrews were monotheistic, but that claim is erroneous … at least as far as the teachings of the God of the Hebrews are concerned. The ancient Hebrews understood that their God [as Elohim] was comprised of more than one being, as shown in many Scriptures.
a. Genesis 1:26. “And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ….”
b. Psalm 97:9. “For You, Lord, are high above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods [Elohim].” Many gods [Elohim, plural of “god”; Strong 430] are indicated here, Yahweh, or Israel’s God, being above all of the rest, and they are not shown to be mere idols or figments of the imagination. They are equated as gods alongside Yahweh, but inferior to Him.
c. Psalm 45:6-7. “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a right scepter. You love righteousness and hate wickedness: therefore God, your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows.” In each of the three cases that God is used in these verses, the Hebrew word is Elohim [Strong 430]. Since the God of verse 6 is identified with Yahweh, Israel’s God, then the “God, your God” of verse 7 must refer to the Father, for He is the one who anointed the God of verse 6; the superior can only anoint the lesser individual, not vice-versa. This directly proves that at least two members comprise God. However, this verse appears to be saying that Christ, who loved righteousness and hated wickedness, was selected from quite a number of spirits in the God plane to be given the “oil of gladness” (gladness = sason [Strong 8342], “cheerfulness, spec. welcome”). Would not being selected from amongst many companion spirits in the God-realm, to be the announcer of the coming Kingdom of God to men, and to be the Savior of these men, bring much gladness to the Father?
d. Psalm 110:1. “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit You at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Here we have two spirit beings, the first Lord being Yahweh (Strong 5068) and the second Lord being adon (Strong 113). The first Lord is identified as the Father, speaking to the second Lord, Christ, showing two spirit beings within God.
e. Job 1:6. “Now there was a day when the sons of God [Elohim] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” (See also 2:1.) In both references Satan is shown to a “son of God,” as is Jesus Christ shown to be a Son of God (Matt. 14:33; 16:16; 26:63; etc.). Adam is also a son of God, who became the first created human being in Eden (Luke 3:38). All being sons of God, they were spirits within the God plane (Elohim).
f. Deuteronomy 6:4. “Yahweh is our Elohim, be one with Him”. This verse in the King James Version says, “The Lord our God is one Lord”, which does not give the proper sense of the original Hebrew. The Tanakh translates the sentence as follows: “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” This verse implies that there is more than one member within the term God.
The “one God” term does not refer to a single individual, but to more than one. The Hebrew word for one in “one God” does not mean one in the numerical sense, but indicates one in the sense of a unity. The word used for one is ecad (Strong 259; “united”). According to the Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, the word can mean “one”, or it can mean “to unite, join oneself together, to collect oneself”. In this sense it is used, for example, in the following instances:
a. Isaiah 65:25. “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together [b’echad].”
b. Ezra 2:64. “The whole congregation together [b’echad] ….”
c. Deuteronomy 6:4. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one [b’echad] Lord ….” In this translation one could say that Elohim (gods) is a united [b’echad] Lord.
d. Ezra 6:20. “For the priests and the Levites were purified together [b’echad] ….”
e. Ecclesiastes 11:6. “… for you know not whether shall prosper either this or that, or whether they both [b’echad] shall be alike good.”
f. Genesis 2:24. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one [echad] flesh.”
God is truly united, as one, even as Jesus Christ would only do the Father’s will (John 5:19). He is presently on the Father’s right hand on His throne in heaven (Acts 2:33), and will bring many sons to glory to sit on His throne after the resurrection, united as very God, younger brothers of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 11:40; Revelation 2:7, 17; 3:12, 20; 21:1-23; I Thessalonians 4:15-17). God is indeed a family (Strong 3965 = patria, “paternal descent, i.e. a group of families or a whole race or nation”), of which the Father, Jesus Christ, and the saints are all a part. Note the following items in support of these facts.
a. Ephesians 3:14-15. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the family [patria] in heaven and earth is named ….”
b. God has designed the family — fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters — as an image of His family interrelationships in the Spirit realm, so we may grow in His likeness to inherit eternal life as kings and priests in the realm of God.
c. John 17:21. “… that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me [Christ], and I in You [the Father], that they [the brethren] also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” Truly a family genetic relationship is shown here amongst God’s people, the Father, and Jesus Christ.
By trying to convince people that “one God” means there is only one individual within the “God head”, Satan promotes the diabolical lie that there is no room for anyone else beside our Father on His throne — which idea Scripture contradicts — and the saints cannot attain a resurrection to become Sons of God as the Father has promised and as Jesus Christ preached. Satan, of course, cannot bear to face the truth that he will be supplanted from rulership on the earth by countless saints — brothers of Christ, the second Adam — who have been called and chosen to rule in Satan’s place.
The Antichrist, who preaches at Satan’s behest that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh and did not exist before His physical life, is spoken against very strongly by God through Paul in II Thessalonians 2:8-12:
“And then shall that Wicked [the Antichrist] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall be strong with the brightness of His coming; even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
There are many scriptures which show that Jesus Christ existed before He was flesh and blood here on the earth. Note the following:
a. I John 4:3. “And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.” This verse indicates that Jesus Christ had to exist somewhere else as a Being before He was made flesh. See also II John 7: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” Coming “in the flesh” indicates that the spirit of Christ, the spirit being the “real being”, was the individual that had existed beforehand. The same can be said for every one of God’s people; see Hebrews 2:14. Come in II John 7 is the Greek word erchomai, meaning “to come from one place into another; to come into”, implying that Christ came from somewhere else (in heaven as spirit) to another place (to earth as physical).
b. John 17:5. “And now, Father, glorify Me with your own self with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Clearly Jesus Christ, who said these words, existed before this present world (cosmos; Strong 2889, “orderly arrangement”, or society) was set in place.
c. John 17:18. “As You have sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” It was the Father who took Christ from His previous existence in the spirit realm and placed Him here in the physical world.
d. John 17:21-25. “… that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in me; and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You have loved Me. Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me.” Christ stated that the Father had “sent Me” … from where? From some place in the physical realm? No, from the spirit realm where He preexisted with the Father. How could the Father love Him “before the foundation of the world” [cosmos] unless He preexisted in heaven with the Father so that He could be loved in that place?
e. Philippians 2:6-8. “… who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God [i.e., a spirit who looked like the Father, and was in His spirit family according to a father-son relationship], but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the stake [stauros, Strong 4716].
f. John 1:15. “John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.” Jesus was born after John the Baptist, so Jesus came into the world “after” John; thus, “He was before me” can only mean that Christ existed before John, in the heavenly realm.
g. John 6:38. “For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” Christ was sent from the spirit realm to live on earth as a flesh and blood human being. See also John 6:42 and 51, where Jesus also said He “came down from heaven.”
h. John 16:27-28. “For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and now come into the world: again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” Here Christ said He came directly from the Father.
i. Ephesians 4:8-10. “Wherefore he says, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)” Clearly Christ, who ascended to the Father in heaven after His crucifixion, first descended to the earth to live amongst men as flesh and blood.
j. John 8:
Verse 12. “I am the light of the world.” See Exodus 3:14 where God calls Himself “I am”.
Verse 18. “I am One who bears witness of Myself ….”
Verse 21. “I am going away ….”
Verse 23. “You are from beneath; I am from above …. I am not of this world.”
Verse 24. “… if you do not believe that I am ….”
Verse 28. “… then you will know that I am ….”
Verse 42. “I proceeded forth and come from God.”
Verse 57 and 58. “… before Abraham was, I am.”
In these verses of John 8, Christ identified Himself with the God who claimed He was the “I am” who talked to Moses from the burning bush, and also claimed that He existed before Abraham. The Jews understood what He meant, and as a result they tried to stone him!
k. Luke 10:18. “And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” This fall is recorded in Isaiah 14:12, so Christ had to exist long before His birth as a human to be able to witness this event.
l. I Corinthians 10:1-4. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” This passage clearly shows that Christ was the One that nurtured Israel in the wilderness, and He therefore long preexisted His time as flesh and blood on the earth.
m. Micah 5:2. “But you Bethlehem Ephratha, 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 old, from everlasting”. Jesus Christ is said here to have existed “from everlasting”, so He had to eternally exist before His sojourn upon the earth. This fits with Isaiah 9:6, which states that the government of God will increase endlessly throughout eternity.
n. John 1:1-5, 14. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not …. And the Word [Jesus Christ] was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” It is clear that the Word is equated with Jesus Christ in this Scripture, and that He created the things we see around us. This requires that He preexisted his physical sojourn on earth by at least thousands of years, since the earth was redesigned about 4,000 years before Christ was born. Genesis 1:26 states, “And God [Elohim] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …,” a statement showing that the Father and the Son [Christ], and perhaps other God-beings, were directly involved in the earth’s recreation, since Elohim as used in this passage is a plural noun.
o. Matthew 14:33. “Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped Him, saying, Of a truth You are the Son of God.” Only deity can be worshiped, and Christ did not prevent the disciples from worshipping Him. This shows that the story of Luke 1, the virgin conception of Mary by the Father, is accurate.
p. Luke 1:34-35. “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be [the birth of Jesus to her], seeing I know [have had sexual intercourse with] not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.” Here the process of introducing the spiritual conception of Jesus Christ into Mary’s egg is predicted as coming directly from the Father, who would “come upon her” and “overshadow her”. The essence of a living human is the spirit of that person, so this spirit of Christ had to preexist with the Father, and was given to Mary’s egg by the Father at His conception. (See Paul’s statement in Philippians 1:23.)
q. Colossians 1:13-18. “… who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.”
The modern-day teaching of Christ not preexisting is highly similar to the beliefs of gnosticism that infected the early Church. See Prophecy Flash!, Volume 7, Number 3, pages 40 to 43, for an excellent review of this subject.
If a person rejects the preexistence of Jesus Christ before His human birth, he must also reject the clear teachings of God’s word in many places, and twist Scripture to fit his thinking. He must also presume that Jesus was born with sin by a human father, and thus would be unable to fulfill the awesome responsibility of being the perfect sacrifice for sin. Besides, his view of God as a family having more than one being is impossible to achieve, even though Scripture teaches that God is a family [patria].
Jesus Christ came from the spirit realm where He was with the Father, to live a sinless life in the flesh. He divested Himself of that spirit existence to become fully flesh, like us, as John 1:14 states: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us ….” If this had not been the case He could not have become the sacrifice for our sins. He succeeded in overcoming, and willingly gave His life for us. Are we willing to accept that person fully into our lives and live as He did, and sit at the end of days on the Father’s throne?
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For truly He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His Brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.”
Paul W. Syltie August 26, 2003
Revised August 26, 2010