“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21

Jesus Christ was in the centre of the 1888 message, and rightfully so, for He is in the centre of everything that the Bible teaches. Although sin became a part of humanity in the very beginning, God and Christ had already thought of a way of escape for man. The plan of salvation was put into place in order to save men from their sins. There was only one Being in the entire universe who could accomplish this, the only-begotten Son of God. In the next few episodes of this series, we are going to allow the 1888 messengers tell us about Christ and how he accomplished the plan of salvation.

Satan and his kingdom were defeated more than 2000 years ago, but he is still casting a shadow upon what Christ accomplished. His only goal is to confuse our faith and lead us further away from Jesus. He hates everything about Christ, and most particularly, His identity. In the beginning of the series, through the teachings of White, Jones and Waggoner, we established that Jesus Christ was begotten of God in the days of eternity, and that He is, truly and emphatically, the literal Son of God. In this presentation, we are going to focus on the incarnation of Christ and learn more about the mystery of all mysteries.

This subject, just as it is with all the foundational doctrines of Christianity, has been perverted by many, and particularly, by the system which brought in the customs of paganism. There is an interesting concept within Greek and Roman mythology that seems to have crept into Christianity, which many do not realize. Both Greek and Roman mythology have present a long list of heroes, which at different times have interposed to ransom humanity. These so-called heroes are referred to as demigods.

“A demigod or demi-god is a minor deity, a mortal or immortal who is the offspring of a god and a human, or a figure who has attained divine status after death.” {Wikipedia}

These heroes were deified because of the extraordinary abilities they had, abilities or advantages that no one else in humanity possessed, but them. A prime example of this is the Roman hero Hercules who was very well recognized for his strength. Even today, the minds of many are steeped in that mentality because of characters such as superman and others. Satan has used such ideas in order to pervert our understanding of Christ and what He has accomplished for humanity.

We already established that prior to coming to this earth, Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He was fully divine and He was the creator of all things.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:1-3

But the focus of this presentation is to understand Christ past his birth in Bethlehem and answer two vital questions:

Did Christ give up His divinity at the incarnation?
And if not, was Jesus given any sort of an advantage in comparison to the rest of humanity because of His divinity?

These are very important questions and they require a thorough answer, specifically from the 1888 messengers.

Here is what they had to say:

“Also, in the first chapter of John, first verse, it is written: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. That word “with” does not express the reality of the thought as well as another. The German puts a word in there that defines the Greek closer than ours does. That says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was bei God” literally, “The Word was of God.” And that is true. The Greek word conveys the same idea as that my right arm is of me, of my body. The Greek therefore is literally, In the beginning “the word was God.”
This simply illustrates on that side the fact as to what He is on this side. For as on the divine side, He was of God, of the nature of God, and was really God, so on the human side He is of man and of the nature of man and really man. {A.T. Jones, GCB/GCDB 1895, p. 230-231}

“He voluntarily assumed human nature. It was his own act, and by his own consent. He clothed his divinity with humanity. He was all the while as God, but he did not appear as God. He veiled the demonstrations of Deity, which had commanded the homage and called forth the admiration of the universe of God. He was God while upon earth, but he divested himself of the form of God and in its stead took the form and fashion of man.” {A.T. Jones, GCB/GCDB 1895, p. 331.6}

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14.
No words could more plainly show that Christ was both God and man. Originally only Divine, He took upon Himself human nature and passed among men as only a common mortal, except at those times when His Divinity flashed through, as on the occasion of the cleansing of the temple or when His burning words of simple truth forced even His enemies to confess that “never man spake like this man.” {E. J. Waggoner, CHR p. 24}

“Indeed, the fact that Christ is a part of the Godhead, possessing all the attributes of Divinity, being the equal of the Father in all respects, as Creator and Lawgiver, is the only force there is in the atonement. It is this alone which makes redemption a possibility. Christ died “that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18), but if He lacked one iota of being equal to God, He could not bring us to Him. Divinity means having the attributes of Deity. If Christ were not Divine, then we should have only a human sacrifice.” {E. J. Waggoner, CHR p. 43}

“Christ had not ceased to be God when He became man. Though He had humbled Himself to humanity, the Godhead was still His own. Christ alone could represent the Father to humanity, and this representation the disciples had been privileged to behold for over three years.” {Ellen White, DA 663.5}

“There were occasions when Jesus stood forth while in human flesh as the Son of God. Divinity flashed through humanity, and was seen by the scoffing priests and rulers. Was it acknowledged? Some acknowledged that He was the Christ, but the larger portion of those who upon these special occasions were forced to see that He was the Son of God, refused to receive Him. Their blindness corresponded to their determined resistance of conviction.
When Christ’s indwelling glory flashed forth, it was too intense for His pure and perfect humanity entirely to conceal. The scribes and Pharisees did not speak in acknowledgment of Him, but their enmity and hatred were baffled as His majesty shone forth. The truth, obscured as it was by a vail of humiliation, spoke to every heart with unmistakable evidence. This led to the words of Christ, “Ye know who I am.” Men and devils were compelled, by the shining forth of His glory, to confess, “Truly, this is the Son of God.” Thus God was revealed: thus Christ was glorified.” {Ellen White, ST May 10, 1899, par. 12-13}

“It was poverty that, as He passed to and fro among the subjects He came to save, scarcely a solitary voice called Him blessed. Scarcely a solitary hand was stretched out in friendship, and scarcely a solitary roof proffered Him shelter. Then look beneath the disguise, and whom do we see?—Divinity, the eternal Son of God, just as mighty, just as infinitely gifted with all the resources of power, and He was found in fashion as a man.” {Ellen White, Lt37-1887.22}

“But although Christ’s divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by His assuming humanity, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness.” {Ellen White, ST May 10, 1899, par. 11}

“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” The Saviour came into the world, outwardly the son of David, not manifesting the full significance of his character. His spirit was subject to that discipline and experience through which humanity must in some measure pass. His divinity was veiled beneath humanity. He hid within himself those all-powerful attributes which belonged to him as one equal with God.” {Ellen White, 3SP 259.1}

“Christ suffered keenly under abuse and insult. At the hands of the beings whom He had created, and for whom He was making an infinite sacrifice, He received every indignity. And He suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness and His hatred of sin. His trial by men who acted as fiends was to Him a perpetual sacrifice. To be surrounded by human beings under the control of Satan was revolting to Him. And He knew that in a moment, by the flashing forth of His divine power, He could lay His cruel tormentors in the dust. This made the trial the harder to bear.” {Ellen White, DA 700.3}

These, among other statements, clearly demonstrate to us that Jesus did not give up His divine nature when He became a babe in Bethlehem. The attributes of divinity were still within him, they were veiled beneath humanity. He had not ceased to be God when He became man. He still had God as His Father, and was divine on the one hand, while having Mary as His mother and being human on the other hand. Jesus was a person of two natures. However, it is imperative for us to understand how these two natures interacted with one another. Was Jesus Christ a demigod while upon the earth? Was His own divine nature used to give Him any sort of an advantage in the fight against sin, so he could be a conqueror? It is important to understand this aspect of the incarnation, because it is directly related to the way we are to overcome. We are given the following counsel:

“Christ had two natures, the nature of a man and the nature of God. In him divinity and humanity were combined. Upon his mediatorial work hangs the hope of the perishing world. No one but Christ has ever succeeded in living a perfect life, in living a pure, spotless character. He exhibited a perfect humanity, combined with deity; and by preserving each nature distinct, he has given to the world a representation of the character of God and the character of a perfect man. He shows us what God is, and what man may become—godlike in character.” {Ellen White, GCB October 1, 1899, Art. B, par. 20}

“The two expressions human and divine were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one, and yet they had a distinct individuality. Though Christ humbled Himself to become man, the Godhead was still His own. His Deity could not be lost while He stood faithful and true to His loyalty. Surrounded with sorrow, suffering, and moral pollution, despised and rejected by the people to whom had been intrusted the oracles of heaven, Jesus could yet speak of Himself as the Son of man in heaven.” {Ellen White, ST May 10, 1899, par. 11}

“Our Lord was tempted as man is tempted. He was capable of yielding to temptations, as are human beings. His finite nature was pure and spotless, but the divine nature that led Him to say to Philip, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” also, was not humanized; neither was humanity deified by the blending or union of the two natures; each retained its essential character and properties.” {16MR 182.1}

We clearly see from the above statements that Jesus was a person with two individualities. This is not something that we can fully comprehend, but we are to accept it by faith for it confirms that a divine person paid the price for our sins. It is also just as important to keep in mind that these two natures were kept completely separate one from another. There reasons for this and we shall now see why:

“I will try to answer this important question: As God He could not be tempted; but as a man He could be tempted, and that strongly, and could yield to the temptations. His human nature must pass through the same test and trial Adam and Eve passed through. His human nature was created; it did not even possess the angelic powers. It was human, identical with our own. He was passing over the ground where Adam fell. He was now where, if He endured the test and trial in behalf of the fallen race, He would redeem Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall, in our own humanity.” {Ellen White, Ms94-1893.6}

“Sabbath forenoon the Lord blessed me in speaking upon the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, that in His human nature He bore temptation and overcame in our behalf. If He withstood temptation in His divine power, then He could not be tempted in all points like man, for it [would] be He was tempted as a God rather than as a man. God opened before me most precious light upon the Scriptures. I was greatly refreshed in my own soul, and I am convinced the Lord blessed the people greatly as they listened to the words spoken.” {Ellen White, Ms29-1887.25}

“Not without a struggle could Jesus listen in silence to the arch-deceiver. But the Son of God was not to prove His divinity to Satan, or to explain the reason of His humiliation. By conceding to the demands of the rebel, nothing for the good of man or the glory of God would be gained. Had Christ complied with the suggestion of the enemy, Satan would still have said, Show me a sign that I may believe you to be the Son of God. Evidence would have been worthless to break the power of rebellion in his heart. And Christ was not to exercise divine power for His own benefit. He had come to bear trial as we must do, leaving us an example of faith and submission. Neither here nor at any subsequent time in His earthly life did He work a miracle in His own behalf. His wonderful works were all for the good of others.” {Ellen White, DA 119.3}
“It was not any part of the mission of Christ to exercise his divine power for his own benefit, to relieve himself from suffering. This he had volunteered to take upon himself. He had condescended to take man’s nature, and he was to suffer the inconveniences, and ills, and afflictions, of the human family. He was not to perform miracles on his own account. He came to save others. The object of his mission was to bring blessings, and hope, and life, to the afflicted and oppressed. He was to bear the burdens and griefs of suffering humanity.” {Ellen White, RH August 18, 1874, par. 4}

“’If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.’ He promised that if Jesus would do this, he would acknowledge his supremacy and no longer contest his claims. The archdeceiver hoped that under the force of despondency and extreme hunger, Christ would lose faith in his Father, work a miracle in his own behalf, and take Himself out of his Father’s hands. Had He done this, the plan of salvation would have been broken; for it was contrary to its terms that Christ should work a miracle in his own behalf. Throughout his life on earth, his power must be exercised for the good of suffering humanity alone. As man’s representative, He was to bear the trials of man, leaving a perfect example of submission and trust in God.” {Ellen White, BEcho November 15, 1892, par. 2}

Friends, Jesus Christ was not a demigod. He was not a minor deity. He was fully divine upon the earth, because of his own divine nature, but He was also fully human because that was the requirement for the plan of redemption. This is partly why He is called the second Adam. In addition to this we will now see that He did not receive any benefit from within Himself and that His overcoming was that of a real human being.

“Bear in mind that Christ’s overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity. His imputed grace and power He gives to all who receive Him by faith. The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man.” {Ellen White, 3SM 139.4}

“We are led to make wrong conclusions because of erroneous views of the nature of our Lord. To attribute to his nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, is to destroy the completeness of his humanity. The obedience of Christ to his Father was the same obedience that is required of man. Man cannot overcome Satan’s temptations except as divine power works through humanity. The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what God in his own divine person could do, but what he could do through humanity. Through faith man is to be a partaker of the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset. It was the Majesty of heaven who became a man, who humbled himself to our human nature; it was he who was tempted in the wilderness and who endured the contradiction of sinners against himself.” {ST April 10, 1893, par. 3}

“The prince of this world cometh,” said Jesus, “and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character. {DA 123.3}

And here is a statement by A. T. Jones that puts the same thoughts together.

“Christ depended in the Father all the time… He who made the worlds was there in His divine presence all the time, but never did He allow Himself to appear at all or to do anything at all that was done. That was kept back, and when these temptations came upon Him, He could have annihilated them all with the assertion–in righteousness of His divine self. But if He had done so, it would have ruined us. To have asserted Himself, to have allowed Himself to appear, even in righteousness, would have ruined us, because we who are only wicked never would have had anything before us then but the manifestation of self. Set before men who are only wicked, manifestation of self, even in divine righteousness, as an example to be followed and you simply make men that much more confirmed in selfishness and the wickedness of selfishness. Therefore, in order that we in our wicked selves might be delivered from our wicked selves, the divine One, the holy One, kept under, surrendered, emptied all the manifestation of His righteous self. And that does accomplish it. He accomplished it by keeping Himself back all the time and leaving everything entirely to the Father to hold Him against these temptations. He was Conqueror through the grace and power of the Father, which came to Him upon His trust and upon His emptying Himself of self.” {A.T. Jones, p. 17, Para. 33, GC1895}

Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, whose self-righteousness was more than sufficient to conquer and defeat the snares of Satan, died to Self. What manifestation of the divine character. He defeated Satan as a man, a man who put His trust in His heavenly Father. He was truly fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He fought as a man and passed through the same test and trial Adam and Eve went through and came out victorious. This is the Christ we serve. May God help us to understand the significance of Christ’s two natures and never make a mythological demigod of Him.

“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2