Is Jesus truly the Son of God or is that just a title for a function He serves? And if He is the Son of God, when did He become so? Was it when He came to this earth or was it sometime in eternity past? Let’s look into what the Bible reveals to us.
“ The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him,” Proverbs 8:22-30.
Isn’t that beautiful? God has revealed to us in these texts that there was a time in eternity past that He possessed the Son. It goes on to say that at some point before anything was created, the Son was brought forth out of the Father and was set up. From that point on, the Son was by the side of His Father, was brought up with Him, and was daily His Father’s delight.
We clearly see here that the Son of God did not become His Son when He was born into the human family by Mary. He became the Son when He was brought forth before anything was created, back in everlasting.
Now notice John 1:11 which talks about when Jesus came to this earth. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” So if we consider Proverbs 8 and John 1 together, we see that there was a time in eternity past when Jesus brought forth from the Father and then there was a time when He came to this earth. These two different events are talked about again in John 8:42.
“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” Proceeded forth and came: these are referring two different things. Jesus talks about them again in John 17:8.
“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”
Here again we see two events: a time when Jesus came out of the Father (proceedeth forth/was brought forth) which was before anything was created, and a time when the Father sent His Son into this world for our salvation.
Consider Hebrews 1:1-8.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 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: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”
This first part of Hebrews is talking about when Jesus was begotten of the Father. The word begotten actually means procreated and generated. These verses tell us that He was begotten in the brightness of God’s glory and in His express image, and as such, He was so much better than the angels and by inheritance received a more excellent name than they.
It also clearly says, “when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world.” It doesn’t say that Jesus became the firstbegotten when He was born of Mary, but that the firstbegotten was brought into the world.
Now take a look at, Hebrews 2:9. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Hebrews 1:4 said that Jesus was “made so much better than the angels,” but verse 2:9 says He was “made a little lower than the angels.” Is there a contradiction here? No, not at all. The first statement is referring to when Jesus was begotten of the Father in His express image. The second statement is referring to when the begotten Son of God came to his earth as a human, “a little lower than the angels,” for our salvation.
We also see this order in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It doesn’t say that God sent a co-God to become His Son by being born of a woman. Instead it says that God gave His only begotten Son. Amazing! Our heavenly Father so loves us so much that He truly gave His precious Son, the delight of His heart, so that we could have everlasting life through Him. This is not a game. This is not a play on words or mere symbolism. The Father actually gave His literal Son. God loves us that much!
So does this mean that Jesus is not God or divine? No, Jesus is God because He is the Son of God. Just as you are human because your parents are human. But just because you’re human doesn’t make you your parent. A father is the father and the child is the child. Both are human but both have their distinct individuality. Is the child less human because he is a child? No. It’s the same with God the Father and His Son, Jesus.
Let’s take a look at John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Here we see two individuals: God and the Word. The Word was with God (Jesus was with His Father), and the Word was God (because He is the Son of God). This makes complete sense.
Jesus “ Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” Phillipians 2:6. Jesus was in the form of God when He was begotten of God. He is equal with God because He is the Son of God and it was given to Him to be equal. “For it pleased the Father that in him should all the fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19.
So far we have presented from a variety of Bible verses that Jesus is the literal Son of God. Now let’s read the record that God Himself gave of Jesus. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Matthew 3:17. Just for clarification on who this was speaking, look at 2 Peter 1:17, “For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Is God a liar? Is He a father or is He pretending to be a father? Is Jesus truly the Son of God or did He just assume the role of a son?
Before you answer, consider this: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son,” 1 John 5:10. It’s important that we be able to believe the record that God gave.
Now let’s look at what others have said about the Sonship of Jesus:
John the Baptist said, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God,” John 1:34.
“Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel,” John 1:49.
The disciples “that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God,” Matthew 14:33.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Mathew 16:16.
Jesus said, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” John 10:36.
You have just read the testimony of God, John the Baptist, the disciples and Jesus Himself, all proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God. So who is it that questions the Sonship of Jesus?
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread…Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down…” Mathew 4:3-6.
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son,” 1 John 2:22.
So it is the devil and antichrist that deny the Sonship of Jesus, which is a denial of the foundation upon which God’s church is built. Remember that Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” Matthew 16:16-18.
Was Jesus saying that He was going to build His church upon faulty, impetuous Peter? Just a few verses later, Jesus says to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me…” Matthew 16:23.
No, Jesus was saying that the foundational truth of His church is that He is the Son of God. Any doctrine (such as the trinity doctrine) that does away with the literal Sonship of Jesus is antichrist. Any church that does not have the literal Sonship of Jesus as their foundation is a church built on the sand, and it will fall.
The great news, the amazing gospel, is that God so loves you and me that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!