The Pre-Existence of Jesus
Was Jesus in heaven before his birth on earth? Many believe in the pre-existence of Jesus and in his divinity.
Phl 2:7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.
8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yes, the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name;
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
These verses in the Philippians -letter are used to prove that Jesus emptied God’s omnipotence and reduced himself to a normal human being. When he humbly obeyed the Father’s assignment to him, until the cross, the Father made him as Acts 2:36 says to the Lord and Christ. But something here is contradictory. Jesus Christ, though exalted (Phl 2:9) above all creatures, is subordinate and submissive to God the Father. This “promotion” then, does not make Him any higher compared even with the former position of Jesus in heaven; this conclusion, provided that Jesus has been pre-existent in heaven before coming to earth. According to the decision of the synod and according to Athanasius’s creed, the Almighty God consists of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
God is one that has always been and always will be. If therefore, Jesus too is the Almighty God, He has always been. He has always been almighty. Hence, He cannot be exalted as He is God! Instead, God the Father was able to raise the man Jesus above of all creation (all angels and all humans -all of them being created). – It seems to me that God exalted Jesus above all creation. The synod exalted Jesus to be God.
1 Cor 10:4 …”the rock was Christ”
The pre-existence of Jesus has attempted to be proven, for example with verse 1 Cor. 10:4. Many see this verse as proof that Christ had lived during Moses’ time and participated in the desert with the Israeli people, as a spiritual rock of the people.
Exo 13:21-22 “The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”
Exo 14:19 The angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them, and stood behind them.
1 Cor 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the fact that all of our ancestors were under the cloud, and they all went through the sea,
2 and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 and all ate the same spiritual food;
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.
Exodus tells about the people of Israel, their long peregrination in the wilderness after their Egyptian slavery. The Lord (or the angel of the Lord) led them in daytime from the pillar of the cloud and at night by the pillar of fire. Then it is told that the cloud moved behind them. Who is this angel of God? Dan 10:21 says: But I will tell you that which is inscribed in the writing of truth: and there is none who holds with me against these, but Michael your prince. According to Daniel, Michael is one of the first angel princes and he is also “your”, i.e. Israel’s protective and guiding angel.
In 1 Corinthians Paul writes: they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. – This is how many Bible scholars think that Christ acted as a spiritual leader, the rock of Israel. Some have drawn such a far-reaching conclusion that Jesus Christ is, according to this description, the God of the Old Testament, Jehovah.
I do not believe in such conclusions. It is clear from the Bible that Christ has not spoken to the people of Israel in the past, during Israel’s peregrination, but only in later times; Heb 1:1 God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. – The Hebrews verse testifies to us that Jesus did not speak to Israel “long ago” as in Moses’s time. If Jesus did not speak to the fathers in ancient times, he could not have acted at that time as the spiritual support or as the rock of the Israeli people. During the time in the wilderness, Moses was the leader of the people of Israel and the prophet of God. What does Paul mean by saying that the spiritual rock was Christ? Maybe it was a promise of the future; the people drank water from the spiritual rock. Rev 21: 6 states … I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give a drink from the spring of the water of life to the one who is thirsty.