Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jesus: a Spirit Born on Earth

Jesus was born from a woman. That means he was a human ONLY.
Jesus prayed to God—
the Personage who is superior to him

Philippians 2:7 says Jesus "emptied Himself" (NASB, NWT, RSV, ASV, and others read the same) or "divested himself" (Murdock) to become a man. (Termed the "Kenosis Event," from the Greek word meaning "empty.") He emptied himself of divine nature to become a man born from a woman, ontologically lower than angels. (John 1:14; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:7, 9) Additionally, Hebrews 2:17 informs us that Jesus was obliged to become like us in all respects (except for sin). (Luke 1:35; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22) He was not incarnated or materialized, he was born.[1] Thus, the end product (a man born from a woman), shows what was emptied or discarded: everything he was before (divine nature as a spirit person). Doesn't that make sense?

Significantly, Jesus is called "the last Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45), for he willingly sacrificed what Adam lost through his disobedience, perfect human life. This perfectly demonstrates that Jesus was only human nature, for after sacrificing himself to match what Adam willfully lost, he had to be resurrected to life. If Jesus' divine nature was still intact, then Jesus never really sacrificed his life (which would not have matched with what Adam lost anyway) and he would not need to be resurrected by his Father, as he could have just revitalized his dead body, or materialized a new human body, much like angels had done prior (Genesis 18:2; 19:1, 12; Joshua 5:13, 14 [likely Michael the archangel]; Judges 13:3, 6; Hebrews 13:2).

Further, at John 6:57 Jesus tells us that his Father sent him to us and he lives because of his Father. No duality or hypostatic union is necessary for Jesus to be real. He looked to his heavenly father, not to his divine nature. This further demonstrates that he was divested of that. But is there anything we can compare this too? Yes:

In the Bible, there are many examples of spirit creatures assuming human form. While some were visionary, others were materializations (see above). Hence, they lived, not as men, but as spirits—as divine beings. Therefore, they could discard their material bodies at will and still be alive. Jesus, on the other hand, was not a materialization. He was born from a woman, from his virgin mother Mary. Therefore, he was not able to dematerialize or discard his body.

The difference between a materialized spirit and the born Jesus is significant, and cannot be stressed enough. Consider:
  • A materialized spirit could never offer himself as a corresponding ransom for the sins of humanity like Jesus did. (1 Timothy 2:5, 6)
  • A materialized spirit could never fully "sympathize with our weaknesses" like Jesus did. (Hebrews 4:15)
  • A materialized spirit is not "lower than angels" like Jesus was, but is still an angel or spirit. (Hebrews 2:7, 9) (See Figure 2.)
  • A materialized spirit could instantly heal injuries no matter how serious, whereas Jesus could not without his God's power. (Acts 2:22; 10:38)[2]
That would severely affect how you would view a test or threat against your physical body. But Jesus could fully "sympathize with our weaknesses" as he was in danger of physical injury, pain, and fatigue. (At John 8:59, Jesus hid himself from physical injury and pain. Likewise, at Luke 4:28-30 he had to forcibly remove himself from a mob to avoid physical injury and an untimely death. Lastly, at Mark 4:38 and Luke 8:23 Jesus was sleeping.) Although he performed miracles with his God and Father's power, he still knew what it was like to be born from a mother and to grow to manhood. (Luke 8:46, 9:43; John 10:32; 1 Corinthians 1:24) Therefore the difference is very much an ontological one. Materialized spirits are ontologically spirits, not humans. The born Jesus was ontologically human, not spirit. (Refer to figures 1 and 2.)

This reversed upon Jesus' resurrection to spirit life by his God and Father. (1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Peter 3:18; Galatians 1:1) Back in the spirit realm, Jesus was now ontologically spirit, not human. Thus, when he appeared before his apostles as a resurrected being at Luke 24:36-43, he was now a materialization like angels had done prior.[3] Indeed, he even had to inform them that he was not appearing as a spiritual manifestation, but as a material manifestation. As John describes, Jesus appeared—materialized—in a locked room on two separate occasions, the second for the benefit of Thomas, complete with his stigmata to drive the point home that he was resurrected. (John 20:19, 26, 27, 29)[4][5] In a dynamic demonstration that he was living as a spirit, he ascended to the sky, where a cloud obscured him from view. (Acts 1:9) This was when he discarded his materialized body for the last time.[6]

Figure 1:
Illustrating the "Kenosis Event" of Philippians 2:7.
Figure 2:
Illustrating the difference between human nature and a materialization.
With the later, the spirit person controls the materialization with his transcendent mind. The materialization cannot act independently, and is all that is seen in the physical realm (like the tip of an iceberg).

Emptied but not emptied?
Trinitarianism obviously cannot accept that Jesus emptied or divested himself of what he was prior to becoming a human born from a human. Thus, it should be no surprise to see statements such as the following: "Christ did not 'empty' Himself of Godhood. He did not cease to be what He essentially and eternally was."[7] (Refer to figure 3.) Thus, it maintains that Jesus did not empty himself of what he was prior and unwittingly condemns Paul as a heretic, despite Paul's preemptive condemnation of those who change the gospel he preached of heresy. (Galatians 1:8) What is also overlooked is that Jesus' divine nature or "Godhood" was for a time, four days in fact, in hypostatic union with a zygote in Mary's fallopian tube, as well as in hypostatic union with the rest of the pre-sentient developmental stages. Yet, this ignored and embarrassing situation is avoided by simply believing that Paul spoke the truth, that Jesus divested himself of what he was before becoming a man—a man supported and sustained by his heavenly Father before sacrificing his life and returning to heaven and being restored to his divine nature, exalted in position, and granted immortality.—Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:9; 1 Timothy 6:16.

Figure 3:
The Hypostatic Union of Trinitarianism illustrated.
This highlights how this version of Jesus' ontology has his person and consciousness divided between two realms, one transcendent to the other. (Note, this version of Jesus is not two halves, but "fully" divine and "fully" human. This illustration merely shows the ontological division between these two natures.) Thus, Jesus' human nature brain has to communicate with his transcendent divine nature mind both ways (human to divine and vice versa). Unfortunately for Trinitarianism, it is impossible for the human brain to communicate with a transcendent mind for one person (which is vastly different than prayer). Lastly, when Jesus said "I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am" in John 14:28 and "I live because of the Father" in John 6:57, he was speaking as a person, not as a human nature, as this illustration makes clear (for Jesus is one person with one center of consciousness). Claiming otherwise, that Jesus' human nature is speaking here, unwittingly assigns personhood to nature, giving Jesus two persons to his person. (This is Nestorian heresy condemned at the First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451.) Alternatively, claiming that Jesus was speaking of his human nature unwittingly condemns him as a liar, for he then willfully mislead his audience by withholding the relevant qualification of his divine nature. Yet, Peter assured us that 'no deception was found in his mouth.' (1 Peter 2:22) Also, if Jesus just meant his human nature, then he was telling his audience something that they obviously already knew (as in "the Father is greater than my human flesh"), what he clearly was not doing. Thus Jesus' statement only makes sense if he was speaking about his person, his identity. Therefore, taking everything into account, the inescapable conclusion is that Jesus was speaking as a person about his person.

Footnotes:
[1] Defenders of the incarnation draw attention to the expression at John 1:14: “resided [Greek skayno-o, literally, “tented”] among us,” and claim this shows Jesus was, not a true human, but an incarnation. However, the apostle Peter used a similar expression about himself, and Peter was obviously not an incarnation. (2 Peter 1:13, 14) The bottom line is that people who are born, like Jesus was, cannot by definition be incarnations.

[2] At Luke 8:46 Jesus felt power leave him when he was touched and drained of miraculous healing power. He was not the source of that power, it came from his Father and God for Jesus to distribute wisely. Otherwise, what would be the point of feeling a power drain? The power he felt leave him must have come from his Father and God then. (9/9/2016)

[3] Jesus even appeared different in his post-resurrection body, as seen in the accounts at Luke 24:16 and John 20:14, where Cleopas, his friend, and Mary Magdalene did not recognize him at first, but only after hearing him speak (Luke 24:30, 31; John 20:16, 18). Additionally, Mark 16:12 (regardless of its manuscript authority) states that Jesus "appeared in another form [ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ; hetera morphe] to two of them [Cleopas and his friend] walking along," which is apparently explaining why they did not recognize Jesus immediately. This demonstrates that Jesus had sacrificed his body (Hebrews 10:10), and had not taken it back, which the author of Mark 16:12 evidently understood. Thus, it becomes rather obvious (to thinking persons) that Jesus' sacrificed body was simply no longer in existence, as his tomb was empty by divine providence.—Mark 16:5, 6; John 20:3-9. (Refer to Appendices B and C.)

[4] He did not unlock and re-lock the doors undetected, and then quietly and stealthily sneak in among them, or temporarily blind their eyes as a deceiver, but he simply appeared in the room and in their midst both times. This proves he was materializing among them. Denying this point betrays a lack of responsible focus, is ridiculously stubborn, and is a rank absurdity.

The NET Bible offers an enlightening footnote on John 20:19. It states that while the Greek text may literally say "the doors were shut," "'locked' conveys a more appropriate idea for the modern English reader." Additionally, it acknowledges that "it is possible ... that he simply appeared in the middle of the room without passing through the doors at all. The point the author makes here is simply that the closed doors were no obstacle at all to the resurrected Jesus." (It also allows for Jesus silently unlocking the doors or them silently opening by divine intervention, but that would mean Jesus snuck "tiptoe" undetected into their midst, which is conceptually unacceptable and, frankly, laughable.)

[5] Regarding his stigmata, it is interesting and perhaps even noteworthy that his forehead thorn wounds (Matthew 27:29-31; Mark 15:17-19; John 19:2-5) that would have been in plain sight went unnoticed. Surely those deep gashes would have been recorded if they were there. Perhaps this is due to him being discrete with his stigmata and purposefully not displaying his forehead wounds. (His feet wounds also were left unmentioned, accept at Luke 24:39, 40, but this may be due to Jesus keeping his sandals on.) Thus it appears he had control over them and therefore was not appearing with his executed body that he sacrificed.—Hebrews 10:10. (Refer to Appendix C.)

[6] The encyclopedic reference Insight on the Scriptures has an outstanding article titled "Ascension." Regarding Jesus' ascension, and what happened to his materialized body, it states:
While Jesus began his ascent in a physical form, thus being visible to his watching disciples, there is no basis for assuming that he continued to retain a material form after the cloud interposed itself. The apostle Peter states that Jesus died in the flesh but was resurrected “in the spirit.” (1Pe 3:18) Paul declares the rule that “flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” (1Co 15:50; compare also Jesus’ statement at Joh 12:23, 24 with 1Co 15:35-45.) Paul likens Jesus’ ascent to God’s presence in the heavens to the entry of the high priest into the Most Holy compartment of the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement and specifies that on such occasion the high priest carried only the blood (not the flesh) of the sacrificial victims. (Heb 9:7, 11, 12, 24-26) Paul then compares the curtain, which separated the first compartment from the Most Holy compartment, to Christ’s flesh. The high priest in passing into the Most Holy, into God’s typical presence, did not carry the curtain with him but passed through that barrier and beyond it, so that it was behind him. Thus, Paul states that “we have boldness for the way of entry into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, which he inaugurated for us as a new and living way through the curtain, that is, his flesh.”—Heb 9:3, 24; 10:10, 19, 20; compare Joh 6:51; Heb 6:19, 20.
Thus, while Jesus had already completed his passage "through the curtain" at his resurrection into the transcendent spirit realm before God, Jesus discarded his materialized body for the final time at his ascension. As for his method of discarding, he simply disposed of it in such a manner so as it did not fall to the ground below! (Refer to Appendix B for a more detailed analysis.)

[7] "Empty." Vine's Expository Dictionary.

Appendix
  1. Jesus' Prehuman Memory
  2. Passing Through the Curtain
  3. Fake wounds?
  4. Davidic Ancestry Nullified?
Jesus' Prehuman Memory
Regarding Jesus' Kenosis Event, besides surrendering his life as a mighty spirit being, he also surrendered something near and dear to him: his memories of his life thus far, entrusting them to the care of his Father. However, it appears that these were restored to him at his baptism. This is indicated in the baptism accounts as related in the Synoptic Gospels at Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, and Luke 3:21-22. These all depict the heavens 'opening up', followed by his anointing by the holy spirit in the form of a dove. That his baptismal event also resulted in his prehuman memories being restored to him finds support in that the expression of the 'heavens opening' is a used formula for revelation. This is clearly seen in Ezekiel 1:1, with Stephen in Acts 7:56, and with John in Revelation 19:11. Supporting the understanding that the 'heavens opening up' to him included the revelation of his prehuman memories, is that immediately following his baptism, he found refuge in the wilderness for forty days. (Matthew 4:1-2; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-2) If he did indeed have his precious memories restored to him, then he had much to think about and reminisce! (10/2/2013)


Synopsis: As the High Priest passed though the curtain from the Holy to the Most Holy on Atonement Day with only the blood and not the body of the sacrificed animal, so Jesus presented the value of his sacrificed life and not his body when he passed though the greater spiritual curtain in the presence of the Almighty God Jehovah.

Fake wounds?
Jesus fulfilling Thomas' request to see him and his stigmata

If Jesus appeared in a different body than what he sacrificed, then that would mean he displayed imitation wounds. Therefore, some reason that the resurrected Jesus must have had the same body he sacrificed, otherwise he appeared to his disciples with fake stigmata.

But did the resurrected Jesus always have his execution stigmata?

The only times when the resurrected Jesus appeared with his execution stigmata was when he appeared twice in the locked room as recorded in Luke 24:36-41 and John 20:19-27. Still, even then, there is no indication or mention of his forehead thorn wounds. Most noteworthy is his appearance to Cleopas and his friend in Luke 24:15-31. There Jesus was no doubt gesturing with his hands as he explained to them moving Messianic prophecies from the books of "Moses and all the Prophets." (Luke 24:17) And yet, they did not notice his gaping nail holes that would have been on his wrists or hands as he gestured about. Nor were they distracted by his deep gashes in his forehead. This is best explained by them not being there, as that would have distracted from Jesus' presentation. They only realized it was the resurrected Jesus when he served them bread, and only then by his distinctive identifying mannerisms. Thus, displaying his stigmata would have distracted from his teaching strategy of having them draw the conclusion that he is the resurrected Jesus on their own using their minds and keen observation. (Luke 24:30-31) The same occurred with Mary in the garden. She did not recognize Jesus from any wounds, but from a recognizable mannerism. (John 20:14-16) Again, no hand or wrist wounds were visible as he gestured about, nor any glimpse of forehead gashes. Thus, the only recorded time when he did show his stigmata was in the locked room. This time he desired to be clear with his disciples and not teach them through other means. (Compare with John 16:25, 29, where Jesus switched from teaching in "obscure figures of speech" to "plainly," NET Bible.) It was just a more direct way of teaching, not "fake" as in deception.

Therefore, regardless of how one views Jesus' resurrection, his stigmata on his post-resurrection body are portrayed in the Scriptures as being replicas of the originals. (2/6/2015)


Davidic Ancestry Nullified?
The Gospels present a Davidic ancestry for Jesus. (Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-32) However, when Jesus sacrificed his body with royal ancestry (Hebrews 10:10) and passed through the greater spiritual Temple curtain (see Appendix B), he was by necessity resurrected as a spirit being. (Refer to 1 Corinthians 15:44, 45 and 1 Peter 3:18; and see also Hebrews 5:7, where his human life is in the past-tense, and 1 Timothy 3:16, which distinguishes between his fleshly and spirit life.) However, the messianic prophecies of Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24-25, Jeremiah 30:9 and Hosea 3:5 clearly call the messiah a new King David. How could the resurrected Jesus fulfill that if he sacrificed that body? By way of past experience. As Jesus experienced a human life born into a Davidic ancestry, then he always has that heritage. (4/8/2015)

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