Pre-fleshly State of Christ Part 1 of 9 (Series, Harmony of the Gospels)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Pre-fleshly State of Christ

Scriptures: (Hebrews 1:1-14) John 1:1-1

John 1:1-18 (NKJV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.


John begins his gospel with a series of statements affirming the deity of Christ. In contrast to the other gospels, he opens his gospel in eternity past. Matthew, who portrays Christ as the King, begins with a genealogy to prove His Davidic lineage. Mark, who presents Christ as the Servant, begins his gospel with the public activity of Christ as a Servant. Luke, who emphasizes the humanity of Christ, begins his gospel with a lengthy description of the events that led to the birth of Christ. John, who presents Christ as the Son of God, begins his gospel in eternity. He starts out by speaking about the Word—but he does not explain at first who or what the Word is. A word is a unit of speech by which we express ourselves to others. But John is not writing about speech but rather about a Person. That Person is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God has fully expressed Himself to humanity in the Person of the Lord Jesus. By coming into the world, Christ has perfectly revealed to us what God is like. By dying for us on the cross, He has told us how much God loves us. Thus, Christ is God’s living Word to man, the expression of God’s thoughts.

Who was Jesus, and where was He before He came to earth? Who was He before He took on our flesh? The Bible has the answers.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Alternate Translation (TLB): Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God.

Jesus Christ did not have a beginning Himself, but existed from all eternity He is the living Word. He never was created. He had no beginning. (A genealogy would be out of place in this Gospel of the Son of God.) Jesus and God the Father, along with the Holy Spirit, have always had an intimate relationship as the triune God. Jesus is God who took on a human body and nature in order to redeem humanity.

In the beginning was the 1Word. This opening statement is a repetition of the opening statement of the Bible 2 (Gen 1:1). The phrase Was the Word implies that when time began, the Word was already in existence. This unique 3name for Christ (Gr logos) occurs only four times in the New Testament as a name and is utilized only by John the apostle. Since words reveal the thoughts of one person to another, Christ as the Eternal Word is a revelation of God to man.

In the beginning was the Word speaks to his existence, not only before his incarnation, but before all time. The beginning of time, in which all creatures were produced and brought into being, was set in motion by this eternal Word. The world was from the beginning, but the Word was in the beginning. Eternity is usually expressed by being before the foundation of the world. The eternity of God is described in that way in 4Psalms 90:2 and 5Proverbs 8:23. The Word had a being before the world had a beginning. He that was in the beginning never began.

“The Word” is one of the greatest and most profound titles ever applied to Christ. In the Old Testament “The Word” was held in such great reverence that the name of Jehovah was never pronounced. It was such a holy name that they did not use it. Here in these verses, everything that the Old Testament said about Him is captured and He is presented as the one that was present in the beginning. Jesus always existed. We say that He is eternal.

How do you define “eternal”? I can’t tell you how long that is, but if you go as far back into time as you can imagine and put down your marker, it is not far enough, because He was already there. He was there at the beginning of our world and He was there at the beginning of all things.

We call words that are uttered or spoken, speech, and speech is the foremost and most natural indication of the state of the mind. Therefore, Christ is the Word, for by him God has in these last days spoken to us (Heb. 1:2), and has directed us to hear him (Mt. 17:5). He has made known God’s mind to us, as a man’s word or speech makes known his thoughts, as far as he pleases, and no further. Christ is called that wonderful speaker (Dan. 8:13), the speaker of things hidden and strange. He is the Word speaking from God to us and to God for us. John the Baptist was the voice, but Christ was the Word: being the Word, he is the Truth, the Amen, the faithful Witness of the mind of God.

And the Word was with God. The words translated with God (Gr pros on theon) could be rendered “face to face with God.” Two important thoughts emerge from this statement. First, the Word is a distinct person. Second, the Word was enjoying communion and fellowship with another distinct person, God the Father. The Word had a separate and distinct personality. He was not just an idea, a thought, or some vague kind of example, but a real Person who lived with God.

And the Word was God. For fear that, the reader may assume that the Word as a distinct person is less than God, John concludes the verse with an emphatic statement that the Word was completely God. To lend the greatest possible emphasis to the importance of this statement, it literally reads “and God was the Word.” He not only dwelt with God, but He Himself was God.

The Bible teaches that there is one God and that there are three Persons in the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three of these Persons are God. In this verse, two of the Persons of the Godhead are mentioned—God the Father and God the Son. It is the first of many clear statements in this Gospel that Jesus Christ is God. It is not enough to say that He is “a god,” that He is godlike, or that He is divine. The Bible teaches that He is God.

2 He was in the beginning with God.

Alternate Translation (GNB): From the very beginning, the Word was with God.

This verse simply summarizes the deep theological truths revealed in the first verse. It would appear to be a mere repetition of what has been said, but actually, it is not. This verse teaches that Christ’s personality and deity were without beginning. He did not become a person for the first time as the Babe of Bethlehem. Nor did He somehow become a god after His resurrection, as some teach today. He is God from all eternity.

The same person, the very same that we believe in and preach, was in the beginning with God, that is, he was with Him from eternity. In the beginning, the world was from God, since it was created by him; but the Word was with God, as He always had been. The Word was with God in three distinct ways:

1. In His fundamental nature and substance. The Word was God: a distinct person or substance, for he was with God; and yet He was of the same substance, for he was God, 6Heb. 1:3.

2. In His contentment and holiness. There was a glory and happiness that Christ had with God before the world was created—“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was (Jn. 17:5). Before Christ came into the world, He dwelt in heaven with the Father. When the angels looked upon the Lord, they saw all the glory of Deity. To every eye, He was obviously God. But when He came among men, the glory of his Deity was veiled. Though He was still God, it was not apparent to most onlookers. They saw Him merely as the carpenter’s Son.

3. In support and planning. The mystery of man’s redemption by this Word incarnate was hid in God before creation, “and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9).

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