No debate would be feasible tackling an issue that Christ is man. “Christ is man” does not even qualify as proposition since Christ had pre-existence. He was not man such that his “manhood” was only a manifestation from a greater form. A proposition is something offered that can be accepted or denied and therefore must be complete in itself.
Granting that Christ was man, it was only true in His earthly body in his more or less 33 years on earth and after having served a purpose, was subject to a resurrection that enabled him to return to his true form. Such 33 years therefore was only a temporary state. More yet, it was not the beginning of Christ’s existence since he already was before the creation of the world. Therefore, claiming that Christ is man and adding more lies that he was and will remain a man when he comes back is indeed a pack of lies. That is not possible with the frailties of human beings.
Notice this Pasugo of the Iglesia ni Cristo that insists on calling Christ as man: before, now, and later on. On Page 34 of Pasugo dated April 1968 –
To use the word “nature” in describing the being of the Lord Jesus Christ is certainly gross ignorance of the Bible and the meaning of the word nature itself. Before the “nature” that we know existed, the Son of God which will later be called Jesus Christ, existed. And that is according to the Holy Scriptures.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
The Son was with the Father even before the creation of everything that exists.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?
He existed with the Father from “everlasting”
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
The prophesied Messiah whose “going forth have been from everlasting” is undoubtedly Jesus Christ born in Bethlehem of Judea.
One important thing to consider is that the Lord Jesus Christ was born of man, but he was born of God first.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
It was God himself who had begotten the Son.
This was further confirmed by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Hebrews.
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.
People may say that believers are also begotten of the Father; but what is the difference between Jesus Christ being called the “only begotten Son” and “the only begotten of the Father” and of believers being called begotten of God?
The Son is the only begotten of the Father and the only begotten Son in the sense that He came from the being or “the bosom” of the Father.
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
I TIMOTHY 3:16
And without controversy 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.
Believers are begotten not in the sense that they came from the being of the Father but rather by the word of God.
I PETER 1:23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.
The pre- existence of Jesus Christ is very explicitly recorded in the Bible. When we say pre-existence we mean that before He was born or manifested in the flesh, he had already existed – but at a higher level of existence.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
The Scriptures say Jesus Christ taught the prophets of Israel before He was born in the flesh!
I PETER 1:10-11
10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
If Christ did not exist before He was born of Mary, how can His spirit guide the prophets of old? He even guided and followed the Israelites in their wandering in the desert.
I CORINTHIANS 10:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
The claim of the Iglesia ni Cristo that Jesus Christ existed only when He was born of Mary is a blatant lie! On the Pasugo of the Iglesia ni Cristo of April 1939, on Page 21, this is written [Translation ours].
Was there a Christ in the beginning before the world began? The answer is clear – according to what the angel said to Mary – she will conceive and bear a son and will be called Jesus ( Luke 1:31). From the answer of this angel, the Christ started from the womb of the Virgin Mary upon the power of the Holy Spirit., and the child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God (Luke 1:35). If that is the case, why was Apostle Paul saying that Christ is the first of all things created, under his power all things were made, and all things were subject to him? This teaching of Apostle Paul is true because all things created were subject to Christ. But there was no Christ yet but simply a plan that all things created will be subject to him. That is the reason he was born of Virgin Mary.
Observe the word “plan” used. It is an intentional insertion in the thought it wants to convey and that Apostle Paul is even used to lend credence to this “plan” thing. The word is meant to deny the pre-existence of Christ and mark the start of Christ on the womb of Mary. “Plan” is to reinforce the belief that Christ never existed before. Below is the original version in Tagalog.
But Christ is called in the Bible as the wisdom of God.
I CORINTHIANS 1:24
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Such wisdom existed before the creation of everything.
I CORINTHIANS 2:6-7
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
I CORINTHIANS 2:8
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The Lord of glory that was crucified called the wisdom of God is the Lord Jesus.
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
Ministers of Manalo argue that Christ cannot be the wisdom of God because in the Bible, wisdom is being spoken of in the feminine gender. This is another ignorance that is deeply embedded in the minds of the INC ministers. I thought they went to school and had at least some exposure to Spanish and poetry.
Paul E. Koptak, Editor of Living Faith and professor of communication, gave an informed commentary on why Wisdom is referred to as “she.” In sum, he said the use of she was not necessarily driven by any intrinsic femininity of wisdom. His long discussions point out that the practice simply grows out of either of the following: 1) Use of figure of speech called personification, but that Wisdom is not literally a woman because it is not an actual person; 2) Use of genre. What were we reading? A poem of praise? Then we are not reading a technical definition; 3) Gender in language or grammatical gender. He: explains this as follows –
In English, the word wisdom is grammatically neuter, but not so in Hebrew. The Hebrew word is chokmoth, and it is grammatically feminine. In Hebrew, it would have been natural to speak of wisdom as a “she.”
….Solomon used the literary tool of personification to extol the inanimate and abstract idea of wisdom as if it were a real person. By doing so, Solomon communicated a vivid illustration of the blessings of being wise. In personifying wisdom, it was necessary to use the appropriate pronouns. Since a person is not referred to as an “it,” Wisdom as an antecedent requires feminine personal pronouns. The grammatical construction is an artifact of the process of personification. In other words, since the word wisdom is feminine (in Hebrew grammar), Wisdom personified becomes a “she” to satisfy the demands of diction—not to add information to its object. (http://www.gotquestions.org/wisdom-she-Proverbs.html#ixzz34dU8QPaV).
The use of “she” therefore to refer to Wisdom is not a license to refuse to acknowledge Christ as the wisdom of God! It is a lousy excuse and an evil one.
The Iglesia ni Cristo agree and teach that Christ is the rock upon whom the church was built. But do they understand what ROCK means if they insist on looking at Christ as man? Their publication, translated as “Revelation,” Page 33 indicates otherwise. In the form of Q and A, they explain –
How did Christ set up his church? Christ was born a new man. Him and those who believed in him. How did Christ bear this new man? In MattHEW 16:18, this is what is said –
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
This is how Christ created a new man: He established his church on a rock. Who is the rock upon which his church is built? In Acts 4:10, 11, it is said –
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
What is the rock? According to Apostle Peter, Christ is the rock. Therefore, Christ established his church on himself because he is the rock. Christ set up on himself his own church, that is what to himself and what is he to the church? In Colossians. 1:18 this is written –
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.
ANG PAGBUBUNGYAG Page 33
The above is their original version. The rock mentioned in Matthew 6:16-18 in the Greek manuscripts is also in the feminine gender. This is what is written in Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries
Feminine of the same as G4074; a (mass of) rock (literally or figuratively): – rock.
Whether it is classified in the feminine gender or not, the Bible has its own interpretation of words. In fact Christ likened himself to a hen. Would you now begrudge his being wisdom of God?
MATTHEW 23:37 (KJV)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
There is no other wisdom of God mentioned in the Bible which existed with God from everlasting except the Lord of glory.
PROVERBS 8:12, 22-31
12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
He was also the wisdom who sent the prophets and the apostles.
Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:
It is very clear in the scriptures that the Lord Jesus Christ was the one who sent the prophets and the apostles.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
If the Son according to the Bible came from the bosom of the Father or from His very being then we are sure that He is not by “nature” a man, but God!
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Man began to exist on earth when God formed him out of the dust of the ground. But it was different with Jesus who did not come from dust.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven, from God more particularly from the bosom of the Father. He was called man when he was manifested in the flesh or has taken the form of a man.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
To believe that Jesus Christ is a mere man from birth up to his coming again is surely denying the truth and salvation.
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
The key to honest learning is to be disciplined beginning with terms and respect the terms as categories change. In Philippians, for example, it is said Christ was in the form of God but took the form of man. Therefore, the first was statehood and the second was mere manifestation. Here’s an excerpt from the website of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
God and man are not of the same category no matter how the Iglesia ni Cristo calls Christ as “a very special man but not God.” If you are a man, you are a man. There is no such thing as “a very special man” that sounds like a category between God and man.
The term “angel” also takes on a higher level (for now) than man. You cannot be applying “angel” to a human being. Angels do not do any preaching. Angels are messengers of God, delivering news, and no human beings are commissioned to deliver messages these days. After Christ, we have the prophets and apostles sent by Christ.
Man may lie but not Jesus Christ.
THE ROMANS 3:4
God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
The Lord Jesus never lied.
I PETER 2:22
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Man may commit sin but not the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus is wiser than Solomon – the man whom God declared to be the wisest man. If Christ was a man, He cannot be wiser than Solomon – since God said no one shall surpass Solomon in all his wisdom and understanding.
I KINGS 3:12
Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
The unknown Christ is heaped with a pack of lies by those who make merchandise of him. The key to knowing Christ is to honor him as he truly is. Jesus Christ as willed by the Father has pre-eminence in everything that exists.
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;
What was called in the Bible as the man Jesus Christ is the body, which He gave as a ransom for sins to mediate between God and men.
I TIMOTHY 2:5-6
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
That body was the entity that was born of Mary.
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
Notice the phrase, “he cometh into the world” implying that He is not of this world, and a body was prepared for Him wherein the spirit Son of God will be manifested.
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
Let us remember that the Lord Jesus Christ never did lie! When He said I am from above, He is revealing the absolute truth about His being. It was affirmed by the apostles.
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
The truth of the matter is that Christ descended (was able to descend) because he originated from above! If you just come from earth, why is there a need to descend?