The question was presented in one of the forums as to whether the following scriptures prove that Jesus had a pre-human existence. We are providing here our short comments concerning the scriptures given.
Micah 5:2 – But you, O Bethlehem Eph’rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. — Revised Standard Version.
While this scripture does not definitely say that Jesus existed before his human birth, it does certainly indicate that to be the case.
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John 3:13 – No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
Jesus is telling here of himself, who descended from heaven, and thus could tell of heavenly things. (John 3:12) No man has ascended to heaven, he says, in order to tell of those things, but he, having descended from heaven could speak of heavenly things. This is definitely a scripture that shows that he existed in heaven so as to have learned of “heavenly things” before he descended to the earth.
The phrase “which is in heaven” added to John 3:13 is evidently spurious. However, some think that John added his phrase parenthetically, not as the words of Jesus, but his own words, to show that at the time John wrote this, Jesus was in heaven. Others believe that since the earlier manuscripts do not have the phrase, that a later copyist added it to be understood parenthetically, to denote that Jesus was in heaven, not at the time Jesus spoke his words, but at the time that the copyist added the phrase.
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John 6:38 – For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. John 6:62 – What if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
This scripture provides definite reason to believe that Jesus was in heaven before he came to be in the days of flesh, and that heaven was “where” he was to ascend to, the same “where” that he had been before.
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John 17:1 Jesus said these things, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may also glorify you;
John 17:2 even as you gave him authority over all flesh, that to all whom you have given him, he will give eternal life.
John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
John 17:4 I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do.
John 17:5 Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world existed.
The “world” that Jesus speaks of here is not the dimension in which the angels live (Matthew 18:10), nor is it speaking of the physical universe, but it is the world that was made “through” the one who bears the name, “The Word of the God” (John 1:9,10; Revelation 19:13), the world into which that person came, but which “world” did not recognize who that person was. (John 1:10; 9:5) That “world” does not include the angels, nor the physical planets, etc. This “world” into which Jesus came, Paul speaks of as “the creation” that has been subjected to futility, vanity. (Romans 8:19,20) And then Paul speaks of this as “all creation” groaning and travailing in pain ( although it does not include the angels, nor is it speaking of the physical planets and stars, etc.). (Romans 8:21) It is before this world existed that Jesus was with his Father, and that Jesus had a glory at that time, a glory that he did not have while in the days of his flesh (Hebrews 5:7), although while in his flesh he did have sinless glory of man, a little lower than the angels. (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7,9) Jesus uses the word “glory” in several different ways in his prayer of John 17, but here he speaks of a particular glory, a glory he once had, but that he did not have at the time of his prayer, for why should he pray for that which he already had?
Paul throws some light on this in his answer concerning the question of with what kind of the body the dead are to be raised, when he speaks of the celestial bodies, and their glory, and the terrestrial bodies, and their glory. (1 Corinthians 15:40) Jesus, at the time of his prayer, did have the glory of the terrestrial body, having been crowned with a glory which he maintained free of sin. (Hebrews 2:7) Having been given a body specially prepared by his God (Hebrews 10:5), Jesus had received this human glory from his God and Father, which glory he was giving to his followers. (John 17:22) The glory he had with his God and Father, which he did not have while in the days of his flesh, however, was a different glory, the glory of the celestial, which he prayed for. The point is the glory that Jesus now has at the right hand of his God and Father is a glory of actual sentient being, a glory with his God in the heavens, and thus, he had that same glory with his God before the world of mankind was made.
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Colossians 1:15 – who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Colossians 1:16 – For by him were all things [literally, “the all] created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things [literally, the all] have been created through him, and to him
We will add Colossians 1:17, since it is related:
He is before all things [literally, the all], and in him all things [literally, the all] are held [put] together [in their places].
His being before “the all” that is being spoken of in verse 16 shows that he was the firstborn, because by him were the all created, the ones then mentioned, which includes the angels.
It should be evident that the creation that is being spoken of here includes more than the creation that Paul spoke of in Romans 8:19-21. It refers to the dominions of both heaven and earth, visible and invisible, which would include the angels. It does not necessarily include the physical universe however.
Jesus is the firstborn, the first one to be brought forth, of this creation, and the genitive partitive usage here shows that Jesus is included in that creation being spoken of in Colossians 1:15. He is the firstborn because through him “the all” — TA PANTA – being spoken of in Colossians 1:16 were created, since he was existing before the all being spoken of. — Colossians 1:17.
Some have claimed that Colossians 1:15 is speaking of his being the firstborn of the dead. Colossians 1:15 speaks of Jesus as being the firstborn of God’s creation, not of his being the firstborn from the dead. Colossians 1:15 speaks of his first birth; Colossians 1:18 speaks of his third birth, his birth as the first one to be brought forth from the dead to eternal life. He has this preeminence of also being the first to be born from the dead because he is the first one to be born of God’s creation, and as having the rights of preeminence as the firstborn creature, he was therefore also the first one to be born from the dead.
Of course, his second birth was when he was born as human.
The thought has been expressed that the title “the Son of Man” means that Jesus was the Son of the Person, God. The expression “the son of the man”, is used by Jesus to denote that he is the son of the man David, David’s Lord — the promise messiah (anointed one), the one anointed by Yahweh, the one of David’s Kingly heritage. Prophetically, Jesus, in speaking of his second appearing, said, “the Son of the Man [the son of the man, David, the promised one to inherit David’s throne] will sit on the throne of his glory.” (Matthew 19:28) “They will see the Son of the Man coming on clouds of the sky with power and glory.” (Matthew 24:30) “You will see the Son of the Man sitting at the right hand of Power.” (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69 — The Greek word “Dunamis” has evidently replaced the holy name) Jesus’ reference is Psalm 110:1, wherein David prophetically calls Jesus “my Lord.” — See Matthew 22:41-46.
Some claim that Colossians 1:15 speaks of Jesus as the firstborn of the new creation. Jesus is indeed the firstborn of the new creation (as opposed to the old creation — the human generation through Adam — condemned and irrevocably made crooked by God. (Ecclesiastes 1:15; 7:13) He was the first of the new creation to actually be vitalized as such when God prepared his body in the womb of Mary, when Jesus was begotten by God holy spirit as a human being. — Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 10:5.
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