Tuesday, September 18, 2012

THE DUAL NATURE OF JESUS OF NAZARETH


THE DUAL NATURE OF JESUS OF NAZARETH
The oldest known icon ofChrist Pantocrator - Saint Catherine's Monastery. The two different facial expressions on either side emphasize Christ'sdual nature as both divine and human.

Chapter One

Introduction of the Fact

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful. Counsellor, The might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)


It would be good to begin our study on the Dual Nature of Jesus of Nazareth with a clear and comprehensive didactic statement of faith taken from The Apostolic Creed.

Concerning Jesus of Nazareth the Creed states:

Who, because of us sinners, and for our salvation, became manifested in flesh. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary. This incarnation not lessening His deity, nor altering His humanity; fully God and fully man, consubstantiated. Therefore, the angel named Him Jesus – Jehovah Savior. As to his deity, He is the same essence, nature and being (homoousios) as the Father. As to His humanity, He is a like essence, nature, and being (homoiousios) with us men. Thereby, and because of generation and redemption, reasonably termed the Son of God.

The dual nature of Jesus is so taught in Scripture that none would hardly attempt to refute it. But, to accept it’s obviously conclusions is a matter left to the bolder souls of the scholars.

 In the subject of “the dual nature” of Christ there is one personage of history which stands out among all the rest; his name was Nestorius. Nestorius was educated in Antioch, and became bishop of Constantinople in 428. In the neighborhood of the capital the monks were especially fond of attributing to Mary the term “theotokos”, Mother of God. To Nestorius this was unacceptable. Nestorius said that she should be called either, “mother of the man Jesus” or “mother of Christ.” His objection, then, was the same as ours is today against the Trinitarians, that being: the conveyance of human attributes to the divine Logos. The Trinitarians have accomplished this by divesting the Logos of deity in order to make Him man; this the Modalistic  Monarchican (Oneness believer) emphatically rejects. Nestorius, as do we, denied that  God (Logos) participated in the sufferings of the human nature of Christ. The Position of Nestorius was that the union in Christ, of God and man, was not a union of essence. He would have said that the two natures are not “homoousios.” According to Nestorius the Divine and the Human entered into a relation of constant co-existence and co-working. The divine Logos took up his abode in the man Jesus. There was a reciprocal connection of the two sets of attributes, a mutual co-operation for the common end, but no communication , no interchange of attributes. Only the smaller fraction of the evangelic affirmations respecting Jesus during His earthly life pertains to Him as at once God and man. Most of them are true of Him either as God exclusively or as man exclusively.

Cyril of Alexandria, a man of vehement temper and intolerant …was quite ready to take up the cause of the adversaries of Nestorius (G. P. Fisher, “History of Christian Doctrine”). Cyril’s position is akin to what we find in most Trinitarian circles today. He asserted a physical (or meta-physical) uniting of the two natures. To Cyril, God, the Logos, BECOMES man. After the Incarnation, according to Cyril, the two natures of God and Man are only abstractly considered, but in concrete reality there was only one: The incarnated nature of the divine Logos. The idea of Cyril is that the flesh, i.e. all the human attributes, have become the attributes of the Logos without the loss of His divine nature. The product is a theanthropic person, not merely God, or merely man, but throughout both in one. There is thus in Christ incarnate a communion of attributes. There is one subject, with ONE NATURE, which is divine-human. According to historian G. P. Fisher, “Nestorius argued that such a conception clashes with the distinction between God and man as to essence; that it annuls the immutability of God by imputing to Him a change of nature …” (See Malachi 3:6; James 1:17.)

Cyril made an ally of the Emperor, Theodosius II, who took sides against the Nestorians. Nestorius was exiled and driven from one place to another; he died about the 440. Fisher states further that the theological school at Edessa refused to acquiesce in the measures of the Anti- Nestorians, and it was broken up. The Nestorians fled into Persia and spread far into the East. Their creed can still, to this day, be found among many groups in that part of the world. We are told that when Muslims conquered that part of the world they were kind toward the churches of Nestorius, while they burned others. The reason? They considered the theology of this creed to teach monotheism.

Given below is a late sixth century Christological formula of the Eastern (Nestorian) Church.  You, dear reader may see for yourself the truth of Nestorius’ Christology.

Synod of Mar Sabrisho, AD 596
It seemed good to his fatherhood and to all the metropolitans and bish­ops to write this composition of the faith . . . which accur­ately and plainly teaches us the confession which is in one glorious nature of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and re­veals and shows us the glorious mysteries of the dispensation of God the Word, which at the end of times he perfected and fulfilled in the nature of our humanity, the same by which the heathen are conquered who acknow­­ledge a multitude of gods, and Judaism is judged which does not acknowledge a Trinity of qnome, and all heresy is convicted and con­demned which denies the Godhead and man­hood of our Life-giver, Jesus Christ, accepting it with the exact meaning of the holy fathers, which the illustrious among the ortho­dox, the blessed Theodore the Antiochian, bishop of the city of Mopsuestia, “the Interpreter of the Divine Scriptures, explained, with which all the or­thodox in all regions have agreed and do agree, as also all the venerable fa­thers who have governed this apostolic and patriarchal see of our administra­tion have held, while we anathematize and alienate from all contact with us everyone who denies the nature of the Godhead and the nature of the man­hood of our Lord Jesus Christ, whether through mixture and comming­ling, or compounding or con­fusing, introducing, with regard to the union of the Son of God, either suffering, or death, or any of the mean circumstances of humanity in any way, to the glorious nature of his Godhead, or consider­ing as a mere man the Lordly temple of God the Word, which, in an inexplic­able mystery and an incompre­hensible union, he joined to himself in the womb of the holy Virgin in an eternal, indes­tructible, and indivisible union. Again, we also reject one who introduces a quaternity into the Holy Trinity, or one who calls the one Christ, the Son of God, two sons or two Christs, or one who does not say that the Word of God ful­filled the suffering of our salvation in the body of his manhood. Though he was in him, with him, and toward him in the belly, on the cross, in suffering, and for ever, inseparably, while the glo­ri­ous nature of his God­head did not participate in any sufferings, yet we strongly believe, according to the word and intent of the writings and tradi­tions of the holy fathers, in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, who was begotten before the foundations of the world in his God­head, spiritually, without a mother, and in the last times was born from the holy Virgin in a fleshly manner without the intercourse of a man through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is, in his eternal Godhead and in his man­hood from Mary, one true Son of God, who in nature of his manhood ac­cepted suffering and death for us, and by the power of his Godhead raised up his un­corrupted body after three days, and promised resurrection from the dead, as­cension to heaven, and a new and indes­tructible and abiding world for ever. (Synod of Mar Sabris˚o, AD 596)
Written by Mar Odisho, Metropolitan of N’siwin and Armenia, A.D. 1298
“Qnuma in Greek is called hypostasis, namely, that which underlies the essence, by which the nature is known. And Parsoopa: the Greeks call prosopon: We Easterns, therefore, profess that M’shikha (Messiah) Our Lord is in two Natures in one person. But the question of the Godhead and humanity is brought into discussion in order so as to distinguish the natural properties of each Nature, then of necessity we are led to the discussion of Qnuma (the essence or underlying substance) by which the Nature is distinguished. These facts, therefore, lead us to the indisputable evidence of the existence of two Qnume which are the underlying properties of these (two) Natures, in one person of the Son of God.”



Having shown, as we have, both the Modalist and Nestorian creedal formulas it would be proper at this point to provide the Creed of Chalcedon which details the faith of those churches  that remained united with Rome, Constantinople and the three Roman Orthodox patriarchates of the East (Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem), that under Justinian II at the council in Trullo were organized under a form of rule known as the Pentarchy. Those Protestant bodies that broke from Rome in the Middle Ages would be included within this group. Their creedal formula is as follows:

Creed of Chalcedon                                                                                               
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the unity, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.


By the historical creedal formulas presented above it can be seen that the Lord’s church in differing communities, in all parts of the earth, has universally acknowledged the two natures of Jesus of Nazareth; these being the natures of God and man. Each nature distinct one from the other; each individual nature acting upon, and receiving action from its world without any affect on the alternant nature. E.g. as the creeds have stated: Christ suffered as man, but the deity nature was in no way affected. That is to say: Christ suffered as man, but did not suffer as God. Thus the accusation of patripassianism aimed at Modalism is defeated.


Before we get to Jesus of Nazareth in particular it would be good to review a few of the Old Testament prophets concerning the person of the Messiah (or Christ). Three prophets will be examined: Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Micah.

The prophet Jeremiah foretells of the Messiah’s dual nature  in these terms: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD (YHWH), that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD (YHWH) OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).   The prophet Jeremiah foretells of an incarnation of the very person Yahweh into an offspring of David.  If there would be any doubt as to in whom this promise was fulfilled one needs but to read John’s account to Christ’s words, in Revelation 22:16, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David ….”  Notice that the analogy used by Jesus is that of a ‘family tree’. The same idea is introduced by Yahweh Himself in Jeremiah 23:5-6. Here the concept is clearly one of genealogy.  Jesus said, of Himself, that He was not only the offspring (i.e. the branch: Jeremiah 23:5-6; see also Zechariah 3:8; 6:12), but, that he was also the ROOT of this great Tree of Life. We may get a good look at the ‘family tree’ of Jesus in the gospel of Luke chapter 3 and verses 23-38. It begins with Jesus, the branch, and proceeds through the tree until we arrive at the tap root in verse 38. This genealogy is through Mary, through David, and on to Adam, who, we are told, was the Son of God! Therefore, God Yahweh is the tap ROOT of David’s family tree and Jesus is the BRANCH (offspring).  But in that we have Jesus saying, clearly, in Revelation 22:16 that He was, indeed, both the Root and the Offspring (Branch) we are left with only one unavoidable conclusion, which is: Jesus Christ is, at the same moment, Branch and Root; human and divine; man and God.


Further, there is the witness of the prophet Isaiah concerning the Messiah’s dual nature:

Isaiah 9:6                                                                                                                                                      The Human Messiah                                                                                                                                  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder…”

The God Messiah                                                                                                                                     “…and his name shall be called Wonderful,  Counsellor, The might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”                                                                                                                                                                     


Moreover the prophet Micah also witnesses of the dual nature of the Messiah:

Micah 5:2                                                                                                                                                     The Human Messiah                                                                                                                                      “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me (YHWH) that is to be ruler in Israel;”

The God Messiah                                                                                                                             “…whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”



Chapter Two

Jesus is Yahweh God

The teaching of the dual nature of Jesus of Nazareth we call the doctrine of the Incarnation. The teaching of the Incarnation is the understanding of how Yahweh came to dwell in a human form.  We can discuss the physical manifestations of Yahweh in the Old Testament and call them Theophanies or Tabernacled Presences; but, in respect to the New Testament appearance of Jesus of Nazareth we must say of Him that He is the consummation of all Theophanies and is the ultimate Tabernacled Presence of the Almighty Yahweh.  The Apostle John opens his gospel with the thundering proclamation that, “In the beginning was the Word, …and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, …” ( John 1:1, 14)

As far as the Incarnation is concerned the deity that was tabernacled in Him was the same One Who spoke through the prophet Jeremiah and promised to raise up a Righteous Branch from the descendants of King David Whose name would be THE LORD (YHWH) OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, we are assured that the Incarnated One was Yahweh the Creator.

The following texts will show that the deity which was incarnated in Christ was Father God. In Isaiah 7:14 we have a prophecy concerning Christ: “Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign: Behold , a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.”  This was fulfilled in Matthew chapter one. Matthew 1:23 “…and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”  Emmanuel was an indicator of His proper name. JESUS; which in the Hebrew was Yeshuwah – literally, Yahweh has become Salvation. A fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6 which states that the ”son given” will be “the mighty God, the everlasting Father.”

We look now to Isaiah 9:6 which states: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Cousellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Here, in this one verse we have the two natures of Jesus spread before us in words no sensible person could doubt.  The child that was born, the son that was given (a reference to the cross) was to ALSO be the “Mighty God” and the “Everlasting Father!”  One might ask how can Jesus of Nazareth be at the same moment the Son given and the Everlasting Father who gave the Son? The answer is in His dual nature. Remember the promise that Father God gave to His  prophet Jeremiah, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD (YHWH), that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby his shall be called, THE LORD (YHWH) OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). That the passage from Jeremiah and this one from Isaiah have Jesus in view, both the Modalist and Trinitarian agrees. The Trinitarian, however, must do something very strange to this Isaiah text in order to maintain his doctrine of distinct persons within the Godhead; he must say that Jesus was the “mighty God” in a limited sense: that He was “a” mighty god – with a small “g.” The Modalist’s objection is emphatic, and to this miscarriage of truth he introduces  Revelation 1:8 where Jesus is said to be the Almighty. To say that there is more than one Almighty is a contradiction of terms. There cannot be ‘an’ Almighty,  there can only be ‘the’ Almighty.  Moreover, it is clear to the Modalist that Jesus is called “the everlasting Father” in this Isaiah text. The Modalistic  view has no problem with Jesus being called the “Son” and the “Everlasting Father” at once within the same text;  it is understood that  in His man nature He is called the ‘child born’ and the ‘son given’ and in His God  nature He is the ‘Mighty God and the Everlasting Father.’ Again, the Pluralist view must qualify the term ‘everlasting Father’. He is the Father, they say, not in the same sense as Father God, but in the sense that He has children born unto Him in the new birth;  ‘everlasting’ in the sense that He will always be their Father. To this, the Modalistic objection is forcefully set forth in that:

·       Malachi 2:10 declares that we have but one Father. If the Trinitarian view of Isaish 9:6 is correct we would have not one (as the Bible teaches), but two Fathers; and

·       The Hebrew has no word for ‘everlasting,’ this is an interpolation. The Hebrew could only say: “the child born, and the son given,” was to be, “the Father of eternity.” Now that is much better! The Pluralist say that He was a Father because He had children born to him; in contrast to this the Hebrew says that He is the Father of eternity;  we would ask: What made Him the Father BEFORE children were born unto Him since He has been the Father from eternity?

There is but ONE Almighty God (Isaiah 9:6 – Revelation 1:8); there is but ONE Father of Eternity (Isaiah 9:6 – Malachi 2:10).

For those who say that within the Godhead are different beings, the Modalistic Monarchian can invoke the earliest of Christian creeds (Creed of Nicaea – the formula of the 318) in his defense and in anathematizing the view of different hypostases within the Godhead.

Creed of Nicaea – Formula of the 318 (AD 325)
We believe …in one Lord Jesus Christ, …God from God, light from light, true God from true God, Begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, (homoousion to patri) …But for all those who say, ..the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or is subject to alteration or change – these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.


Tthe above passages have shown Jesus of Nazareth to have been both the Almighty God and the Everlasting Father. We are also told that Jesus is the CREATOR.  In Genesis 1:1 we read that “God created.”  However we are told in John 1:1-3,14 that Jesus (as the logos) created all things.  When we add to these passages Malachi 2:10 which tells us that only ONE created, then we must conclude that Jesus of Nazareth of the New Testament is the Creator of the Old Testament.

In John 20:23 Jesus is called the “Lord and God” by the Apostle Thomas.  “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”  The Greek here is profound, “Ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou.” “The Lord of me and the God of me.”  From this it is clear that the apostles worshipped Jesus as their God. Now, if Jesus was not the ‘Only true God,’ if Thomas was mistaken, if Thomas had his object of worship confused, surely the Lord would have corrected Him. If Jesus was not the Lord God of Israel, the “Only True God” of which He spoke in John 17:3, then surely He would have rebuked Thomas. Jesus had told Satan, in Matthew 4:10, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”   The Lord had rebuked Simon Peter in a similar manner; so, He would have had no problem in rebuking Thomas had he been in error.  But, instead of a rebuke we find a commendation. Notice verse 29, “Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  Thomas had seen Christ and now believed in the resurrection; but, more than that he had proclaimed his faith in Jesus by crying: “ho kurios mou, kai oh theos mou.”

John 10:30 is another passage where Jesus is seen to be one and the same as Father God. Here Jesus says, “I and my Father are one.”  The question will, no doubt, be raised:  Is this a oneness in being or in unity. The Modalist will say the former; the Pluralist will say the latter. The Greek word for ‘one’ in this passage is ‘hen.’ According to Vine’s expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Word, Fleming H. Revell, Co. Copyright 1981, page 137: The neuter one ‘hen’ may show a oneness of unity or it may show the cardinal numeral to signify one in contrast to many.  In order to ascertain which, we should look to the context. By this we can determine the manner in which His hearers understood Him. It is safe to say that they were in a more favorable position to discern His meaning than are we, being two thousand years removed from the event. I feel certain the Lord spoke plainly enough for them to get His meaning. I will give the text and include the Jew’s response:

“I and my Father are one.  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.  Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying,  For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy: because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”

The Jews understood well the meaning of Jesus’ words, “I and my Father are one.” They did not understand Him to be declaring a oneness in unity with Father God.  They understood, clearly, that Jesus was saying  He had a oneness with the Father in being. For this they were preparing  to stone Him. They, as so many in our time, could not see beyond His human person.

Here are a few other ‘Jesus is God’ passages from the New Testament:

·       Jesus is called “The Great God” (Titus 2:13).  “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”

·       Jesus is called “God Blessed Forever.”  (Romans 9:5),  “Whose are the Fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.”

·       Jesus is called “The True God.”  (1 John 5:20),  “And we know that the Son of God has come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”

·       Jesus is called “The Only Wise God.”  (Jude 25).  “To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

·       Jesus is called “The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father.”  (Isaiah 9:6),  “For unto us a child is born , unto us a son is given: and government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

In conclusion of this matter we need to consider three last things:

1.     There is but ONE God. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29).  “”Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.”

2.     The ONE Only God is the Father.  (1 Corinthians 8:6),  “…to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him;”

And lastly:

3.     There is but ONE Father.  (Malachi 2:10),  “Have we not all one father; hath not one God created us?” And Jesus said in Matthew 23:9  “for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”

Therefore, from the Scriptures viewed we must deduce that it is impossible to accept Jesus as God unless we can accept Him as the Father.

THE DIVINE NATURE OF JESUS OF NAZARETH IS FATHER GOD.




Chapter Three

Jesus Is Human


To prove that Jesus is God the Father is to prove only half of the truth. It remains to be shown that Jesus is also Man.

·       In Matthew 2:13 we are told that Jesus had dependency upon parents. The fact that He had parents is a testimony to His humanity. Matthew records of His childhood: “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”

·        The CHILD Jesus grew and increased in knowledge according to Luke 2:40, 52, “Ands the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” And also verse 52: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”  Surely, it would be redundant to make comment concerning the application of these passages to the humanity of Christ.

·       The temptation of Jesus is an attestation to His manhood. Matthew 4:1 records vividly the fact of the temptation:  “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”  The writer of Hebrews, also is witness to the fact of the Temptation of Christ:  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  This seems, to this writer, to be significant in showing the sharp distinction between the two natures: how that one nature can be acted upon and react without affecting the other. Nestorius termed it a lack of communion between the two. I say this, because, in the light of the above Scriptures, which make it cloudlessly clear that Jesus was tempted, the Word of God declares that  “…God cannot be tempted…” (James 1:13).  Therefore, the nature of Jesus which was tempted was the man nature. That the God nature was not in any way acted upon by this temptation is shown from Scripture, i.e.  “…God cannot be tempted …”

·       Jesus knew the limitations of man. He knew hunger, thirst and weariness. Matthew 4:2 shows that  He was tempted to turn stones into bread, because He was hungry,  “And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.” John records Jesus at the well of Jacob:  “Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour, There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink” (John 4:6-7).

·       Jesus was a descendant of other men;  Romans 1:3 tells us He was of the seed of David:  “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;” (See Revelation 22:16).

·       The humanity of Christ is seen in the certainty of the human soul and spirit which He possessed.  Here we will look to the Scriptures which demonstrate this truth.  The human soul of the Son of God is seen in Acts 2:31,  “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (See also Matthew 26:38 and Isaiah 53:12).  The human spirit of Christ is recorded in Luke 23:46,  “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said that he gave up the ghost.”

·       Jesus had a human will separate and apart from His divine will.  In the Garden, on the Mount of Olives, we happen upon a scene where a very human ‘will’ is locked in mortal combat with the divine ‘will.’  Here, the human will of Christ is not at all in unity with the divine will.  This we should note:  Jesus was God, therefore, He had a divine will;  Jesus was Man, therefore, He had a human will. Here, in the Garden, the human will is at odds with the divine will.  The only other proposal available is that the will of God the Son, a divine will, is not in agreement with the will of Father God, a divine will; in which case you would have God in distraction, God in bewilderment; God in a mix-up; God in chaos; God in turmoil; God in abasement; and, God in embarrassment. Jesus did pray,  “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).  Two wills are in view here. Jesus said “…not my will, but thine…”  Clearly it was the will of the one praying to live and not to die.  The only interpretation, it seems to this writer, that will keep the integrity of the Deity of Christ intact is that the will that was praying was that of the MAN Christ Jesus.

The human nature that we have been viewing is none other than the Son of God. Galatians 4:4 informs us that the humanity of Jesus is the Son of God,  “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

In conclusion, we have seen that the dual nature of Jesus consist of a Divine, and a Human nature; these qualities being separate and distinct one form the other; acting and being acted upon independently one from the other. We have seen the divine nature is that of Father God, and the human nature to be that of the Son of God.

Chapter Four

Distinctions Between The Two Natures of Jesus

The life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, presented by the four Evangelists, offer a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration to all those who open the pages and apply themselves to reading the story. It is remarkable, however, that so many who read the Gospels come away without really knowing the main character. Some see Jesus of Nazareth in the pages of the Gospels as something more than a man, but not quite God – in the Almighty sense. Others see in the writings of the four Evangelists a Jesus that is indeed the Yahweh of the Old Testament. We may question how these two opposing   opinions of Jesus arise from the same set of Scriptures. The answer is most likely found in the seemingly contradicting presentations given in the Gospels of His life and teachings.  Much of the four Gospels gives an account of Jesus as Isaiah’s “child born and son given,” i.e. the human Christ – the son of David, while a very large part is dedicated to the divine Savior and presents Him in the light of Isaiah’s “ Mighty God and Everlasting Father. “

Sadly, most people do not do close readings of the Gospels – they are prone to read the Bible as one might read, well…. a novel. In such a cursory perusal one is likely to pick up one or the other aspects of the Evangelists’ accountings. So some come away saying, O Jesus was a holy man – more than a mere man really, but not God in the real sense. Others read the last words of John’s Gospel and declare without reservation that Jesus is indeed the Mighty God of the Old Testament.

In reality, both are correct and/but  neither is correct without the other. The Evangelists were faithful to record the life and teachings that emitted from both natures of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was both God and Man.  At times those things we read concerning Him are referencing Him as Man and at times the things concerning Him are referencing Him as God. It is error to read the Jesus-Passages that reference His humanity and feel as though that’s all there is. (Jesus-Passage: any passage of Scripture that references Jesus; were, either He is speaking or is being spoken about.) It is equally error to take the Jesus-Passages that reference Him as God and say that is all there is. Only when the information concerning His humanity and that concerning His deity are fused together do we have the truth concerning Jesus of Nazareth.

The following is a sampling of the seemingly biblical contradictions concerning Jesus. Remember these are not contradictions at all; but, only a demonstration His two natures.

·       Jesus is Omniscient (knows all): In His God Nature that is true (John 21:17; Jude 25); but, in His Man Nature it is untrue (Mark 13:32; Revelation 1:1).

·       Jesus is Omnipotent (all powerful): In His God Nature it is true (Heb 1:3); but, in His Man Nature it is untrue (John 14:28).

·       Jesus is Omnipresent (everywhere at once): In His God Nature it is true (Matthew 18:20; Jeremiah 23:23); but, in His Man Nature it is untrue (Matthew 3:16; John 11:1-21).

·       Jesus has All Authority: In His God Nature it is true (Colossians 2:10); but, in His Man Nature it is untrue (1 Corinthian 11:3).

·       Jesus is Lord of All: In His God Nature it is true (Acts 10:36); but in His Man Nature it is untrue (1 Corinthians 15:28).

·       Jesus Resurrected Himself:  In His God Nature it is true (John 2:19-21); but, in His Man Nature it is untrue (Galatians 1:1).

The conclusion of this, then, is that Jesus of Nazareth is both Almighty God and Man in one person although the deity and humanity remain separate and distinct, the one from the other.



Chapter Five

The Test of Deity


Throughout this paper we have been discussing the dual nature of Jesus of Nazareth. It should be quite clear by now that one can not arrive at a correct understanding of who Jesus is without the knowledge of the deity and human natures in Jesus. This knowledge is key; and, in this chapter we will discover how to apply this all important Key.

Some have asked: If, indeed, Jesus has two natures, one divine and one human -  and if He does exist and have being on two separate planes -  How can it be determined which nature, human or divine, any particular Jesus-Passage is referencing? (Jesus-Passage: any passage of Scripture that references Jesus; were, either He is speaking or is being spoken about.)

This question is answered by the following method: The God Test.

The God Test method is simply this: there are five characteristics that are true of God anywhere and at any time (these we will call the God-Absolutes),  if the Jesus-Passage is in disagreement with any one of these five God-Absolutes, that particular Jesus-Passage is referencing His human nature. If, on the other hand, the Jesus-Passage reflects any one of the God-Absolutes, that particular Jesus-Passage is referencing His God Nature.

In the following list are the God-Absolutes:

1.     God has Omnipresence (1 Kings 8:27); 

2.     God has Omniscience (Acts 2:23;1 Peter 1:2; Isaiah 46:10);

3.      God has Omnipotence (Genesis 17:1); 

4.     God is Immutable (James 1:17; Malachi 3:6);

5.     God is Eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27)

The God-Absolutes listed above will be applicable to Jesus as God, but not to Him as Man. Employ these God-Absolutes to determine if a given passage of Scripture is referencing Jesus as God or the Son of God(i.e. Man).

Amen


THE APOSTOLIC CREED

I believe in one God, solitary in being; Maker of Heaven and Earth, and all things therein: by His eternal Word. That is to say: By the breath of his mouth. Thereby, and because of creation, reasonably termed the Father.

Who, because of us sinners, and for our salvation, became manifested in flesh. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary. This incarnation not lessening His deity, nor altering his humanity; fully God and fully man, consubstantiated. Therefore, the angel named him Jesus - Jehovah Savior. As to his deity, He is the same essence, nature, and being as the Father. As to his humanity, he is a like essence, nature, and being with us men. Thereby, and because of generation and redemption, reasonably termed the Son of God.

Who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, was buried, and descended into Hades. Who, in His deity raised Himself from the dead on the third day, ascending to the right hand of the Majesty on High; from which he shed forth His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Thereby, and because of emanation and sanctification, reasonably termed the Holy Spirit.

I believe in the one true saving gospel: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Which saving graces are individually appropriated respectively, through repentance, water baptism with the invocation of Jesus’ name: thereby, washed in his blood; and the infilling of His Spirit as in the beginning.

I believe in the holy, universal, and apostolic Church, the communion of the saints, and the forgiveness of sins; the sacramental mysteries of: Jesus name water baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the laying on of hands. I believe in the resurrection of the body, the catching way of the Church; the physical return of Jesus Christ, eternal judgment and life everlasting.

Apostolically Speaking

Bishop David Igantius