Jesus Is Jehovah, Part 6: Excursus—Descent into Hell

"The phrase is rare, but it does appear twice in the OT. In Isaiah 44.23 it appears in contrast with heaven: “Sing O ye heavens; … shout, ye lower parts of the earth.” Here it clearly means the earth as distinguished from heaven; grammarians would call this a 'genitive of apposition'—'ye lower parts, that is to say, the earth.'" - Olinger

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Satan Tempts the Christ (2)

Read Part 1.

The second temptation of Jesus in Matthew concerns the protection of God:

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: `He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, `In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:5-6)

The “pinnacle”1 of the temple was one of the highest points in Jerusalem. Perhaps Satan imagined that this place, even though it was absent the Shekinah glory, would spice up the temptation? In any event, the baiting refrain “If you are the Son of God” is more prominent this time, being backed by a “proof-text” from Psalm 91:11-12. In this well-known Psalm the promise of help is to those who abide “in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psa. 91:1). They will be protected from outside evil, not from their own impetuosity. What Satan was doing was misapplying the scripture. This reminds us why context is so important to proper interpretation.

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, `You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” (Matthew 4:7)

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Satan Tempts the Christ (1)

There are so many amazing stories about Jesus in the Gospels that they can vie for precedence and obscure somewhat from our minds their individual greatness. This problem of over familiarity certainly applies to the Temptation of Jesus. I shall follow Matthew’s report:1

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:3-4)

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The Preeminence of Christ in Colossians and Hebrews: An Initial Study

Along with the startling claims of John’s prologue there are other texts in the NT which convey the same essential facts. In Colossians 1 the apostle Paul refers to Jesus this way:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15-17)

And the author of Hebrews writes this:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

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The Preeminence of Christ the Logos in John’s Prologue

Although it is not an annunciation story, it is proper to include here some thoughts about how John begins his Gospel. John self-consciously invokes the creation narrative, but he introduces the “only begotten Son” (Jn. 1:18), Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:17), as the Logos or “Word” as a Principal in the making of the world:

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)

Here the Logos1 is no incidental actor in the Creation Project. He is there at the very beginning of everything. Before Adam, before angels, the Word was present, and He was together “with God.” Verses 14 and 18 make it clear that “God” in the Prologue is God the Father, with the exception of the last part of John 1:1—“and the Word was God.” In that place this Logos is apart from God but is Himself designated as deity.

This either means there are two “Gods,” or it means that God is a plurality: one Being but with more than one “expression.” That is, the apostle declares at the start of his Gospel that the God of the OT is at least a plurality of “Persons” in a single essence.2 And this Word, who John will go on to identify as “Jesus,”—although prior to His being born into the world (Jn. 1:17)—is the one through whom God (the Father) made everything.

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