Monday, July 25, 2011

A case for Christ’s pre-human existence

In Matthew 22 Jesus said:
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together Jesus asked them: 42 “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him: “David’s.” 43 He said to them: “How is it, then, that David under inspiration calls him Lord, saying, 44 ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet”’? 45 If, then, David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And nobody was able to say a word in reply to him, and from that day on, no one dared to question him any further.
(See also the parallels at Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44)
Jesus’ argument is either that he has a pre-human existence, or that the Christ does not come from David and he was exposing their error.

However, Matthew’s gospel stresses that Jesus is the son of David and therefore has the genealogical prerequisite to be the Christ! Matthew uses the phrase “son of David” nine times, more than the other gospels (Mark has it two times and Luke three times, John, zero). In fact, Matthew’s messianic genealogy with its formula of three fourteen generations only works if you count David twice![1]

Thus, it seems rather obvious that Matthew used Jesus’ argument to implicitly teach that Jesus had a pre-human existence, since he stressed more than the other gospels that the Christ comes from David.

(Introductory picture from the October 1, 2006 issue of The Watchtower, page 9.)

Additional explanation
When I wrote that Jesus’ argument is either that Christ has a pre-human existence or that the Christ does not come from David, I was writing from the standpoint of when the Psalm was originally composed, as in God speaking to Israel’s appointed angelic Lord (Exodus 23:21; Joshua 5:14; Daniel 10:21, 12:1) who was to be the Messiah. However, Jesus could have also had in mind his exaltation to become David’s future lord. If he meant that, then he was not referring to his pre-human existence. In fact, this is how both Peter and Paul understood it, that it was fulfilled after Jesus’ resurrection and exultation, at Acts 2:32-36 and Hebrews 10:12, 13.

It is also remarkable, and unfortunate, that the Pharisees did not question him further on this. For instance, they could have asked him if the voice in Psalm 110:1 “is an unidentified prophetic voice in the royal court” who is referencing God speaking to the king. (NET Bible footnote.) As it stands though, Jesus was arguing from the standpoint that David himself was speaking under divine inspiration, as in David speaking about his “lord,” the Messiah. (NET Bible footnote on Psalm 110:1.) Thus, “with David being the speaker, this indicates his respect for his descendant (referred to as my Lord).” (NET Bible footnote on Matthew 22:44.)

Interestingly, there is historical support for Jesus being a literal son of David from the historian Eusebius as recorded in his Historia Ecclesiae (Book III, ch. 19-20). There he made reference to how the descendants of Jesus’ half-brother Jude in Emperor Domitian’s time made it known that they were descendants of David.

Recently, with the publishing of “Gabriel’s Revelation” on the “Dead Sea Stone,” the case has been made that the historical Jesus believed that he was not the son of David of the tribe of Judah, but of Joseph of Egypt (an alternate Jewish messianic archetype), and not a descendant of Judah at all—thus Jesus was exposing the error that the Messiah was the son of David, using Psalm 110:1 as a proof-text. However, this case ignores the account of Eusebius above as well as Jesus being the “son” of Joseph husband of Mary—thus fulfilling any alternate Jewish messianic expectations from Joseph of Egypt. It also does not consider the Gospel accounts to be authentic.

Thus, in conclusion, Jesus believed that David was speaking in Psalm 110:1 about the Messiah-figure. This may have been in the past or future tense. Again, it’s a shame no one had the intellectual fortitude to question him further on this.

[1] This solution comes from Insight on the Scriptures under Genealogy of Jesus Christ, Problems in Matthew’s Genealogy of Jesus, where it states:
in counting the names we find that they total 41, rather than 42. One suggestion as to how they may be counted is as follows: By taking Abraham to David, 14 names, then using David as the starting name for the second 14, with Josiah as the last; finally, by heading the third series of 14 names with Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and ending with Jesus. Notice that Matthew repeats the name David as the last of the first 14 names and as the first of the next 14 [Matthew 1:17].
While this is true, another possibility is to count Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) twice in verses 12 and 13. On this last solution, see: Table 1 Matthew’s Genealogy footnote 66 in The Genesis Genealogies: Are They Complete? by Dr. John Millam here:

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Friday, July 08, 2011

Review: The Myth of Junk DNA

"Jonathan Wells' The Myth of Junk DNA, is a well-written book that manages to accomplish two separate tasks: to silence the Darwinists who had claimed that recent genomic discoveries supported their dystopic version of [Stephen Meyer's] The Signature in the Cell; and to bring all of us up-to-date on the breath-taking mysteries being decoded from this most ancient script.
Yet even more spine-tingling is the sense that we are seeing truly dense information storage, something far more elegant than a Donald Knuth computer code. We expected to find something resembling our FORTRAN or machine-code assembly language, but instead we found something far more baroque, far more detailed, far more advanced than even Microsoft Windows. For in 3 Gigabytes, Microsoft barely gets Windows up and running for an expected lifetime of 5 years and it still must be patched monthly for the latest viruses, but in 3 Gigacodons, an entire baby is constructed with a full set of repairs for the assaults of countless viruses and the insults of an 80-year lifetime. If Meyers has shown the cell to have a software signature, then Wells has shown it to be written as poetry in an unknown tongue, replete with rhymes and stanzas and refrains and harmonies we can barely hear. If Meyers taught us to read DNA, Wells teaches us to sing it."

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Daniel's Prophetic Image Update

The image of Daniel 2, seen in the Awake!, May 2011 page 16, depicting the gold head, silver chest and arms, copper belly and thighs, iron legs, and iron and clay feet and toes.

As can be seen by this illustration appearing in the May 2011 Awake! magazine, the iron legs represent the Roman Empire, and the iron and clay feet and toes represent the Anglo-American World Power. No other dominant world powers will appear. Moreover, Daniel 2:41-42 portrays the feet and toes as one "kingdom," and it is noteworthy that the toes are not numbered and are of the same materials as the feet.

This eschatological image therefore assures us that we are living in the last period before the stone, God's Kingdom (Daniel 2:44), replaces human rulership.

Additionally, the fabulous and historic 2011 District Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses explained further, for the first time since the publication of the May Awake!, what the clay signifies. This updated explanation is by far the most lucid, insightful one ever given.

The June 15, 2012 issue of The Watchtower expounds on this 'most lucid, insightful explanation' ever given in two study articles, a two-page color chart, and in a Question From Readers. Thus, it presents in print what was only previously spoken of in the 2011 District Convention, and in fuller detail. This is truly the most convincing explanation of Biblical prophecies ever given!

Portion of the chart on pages 12-13