The metaphor confirms the sonship

The metaphor confirms the sonship

I received this message from one sincere brother. I have nothing against him, but I want to interrogate the thought process he is using. I quote him.

“The father-son image of mankind cannot be literally applied to the Divine Father-Son relationship. The term “Son” is used metaphorically it conveys the ideas of distinction of persons and the equality of nature in the context of an eternal, loving relationship.”

Basically, the brother was saying the term Son of God has nothing with being the Son of God as what a son of a man is to a man. The term son simply means there are two distinct persons and that these two distinct persons are equal and are in an everlasting loving relationship.

The problem is, it seems to me the brother is describing friendship or partnership or brotherhood not sonship. Two friends or two partners or brothers are more accurately described as two distinct equal persons in an everlasting loving relationship. The term son has much more than just being distinct, equal, and loving. One wonders why God would allow the use of the term son of God when all he meant was “two equal loving friends/partners/brothers”.

This brother is not the only one who says this. Many professed Christians say the same, including SDAs. Here is another quote.

“The term “Son” is used metaphorically when applied to the Godhead” (Angel Rodriguez, “A Question of Sonship” Biblical Research Institute (of the SDA Church) article)

With this argument, they say that Christ is actually not a Son of God. They say there is no actual father-son relationship between God and His Son. Instead, they say, God and His Son are just two equal persons with no father-son relationship. They say what seems to us as a father-son relationship is just a role-play, for the sake of our salvation.

There are so many things to discuss on this speculative conclusion but we will focus on one thing in this writing. In this writing, we want to look at what is a metaphor and how is a metaphor used in day to day communication among people.

Let us consider this example of a metaphor.

“It snowed so heavily in the night that by morning, a WHITE BLANKET COVERED THE GROUND.”

The words ‘white blanket covered the ground’ is a metaphor for ‘snow covering the ground’. But why is it a metaphor? Because it is comparing the literal covering of blanket over a bed or person with the literal covering of snow over the ground.

In other words, if snow did not literally cover the ground, the metaphor would not be possible. Again in other words, the relationship between the bed and blanket is exactly as the relationship between the ground and the snow in terms of the effect of covering and being covered.

Just to emphasise this point. A metaphor can only be possible if comparison between two literal things or situations is possible. A metaphor would not make sense where there are no literal things to compare. For example, it would not be a metaphor if I said this:

“It snowed so heavily in the night that by morning a STRING COVERED THE GROUND.”

There is no obvious comparison between a literal string and literal snow in terms of literally covering something. A string does not cover but it ties. So there is no way a string can apply metaphorically to snow.

So what we can ascertain is that a metaphor is used where two literal situations are literally comparable. It is necessary to have observable literal characteristics between two things or situations before the metaphor can be derived from the comparison. The term metaphor is an observation that what is literally happening in one situation, is comparable to what is literally happening in another. The similarity of the two literal situations is what makes a metaphor possible.

With that in mind, if the father-son relationship between God the Father and his son is a metaphor of the literal relationship between a human father and a son, then the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God must have literal aspects that reflect the literal father-son relationship of men. That means both relationships must be literal before we can compare them to make a metaphor. That’s the only way we can call it a metaphor. If the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God is not literal, then the terms ‘father and son’ do not apply even in a metaphorical sense.

Therefore, to say the relationship between God the Father and His Son (the Son of God) is metaphorical means one of two things. Those who say this either do not notice their veiled admission that the relationship between the God the Father and the Son is literal sonship, or they do not see that they misuse the term metaphor.

If that which happens literally between a human father and son is not found happening literally between the divine Father and His Son, then the words ‘father and son’ are not the correct metaphors in this case. In other words, if after studying the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God we see that it is all about being two distinct, equal, eternally loving persons, then we have to come to human relationships to find words that represents such a relationship. One thing is sure. Those words would not be ‘father and son’. They should try friends, partners, or brotherhood.

But if that which happens literally between a human father and son happens literally between the divine Father and His Son, then, yes, the Father-Son relationship between God the Father and the Son of God is literal.

This day have I begotten thee – Hebrews 1:5

Hebrews 1:5 says “This day have I begotten thee”. Is it talking about that day in a manger, when Mary gave birth to a male child? Some say it means when Christ is referred to as only begotten, it is talking about his birth through Mary, i.e. incarnation.
That is an error for these reasons.
1. Read again Hebrews 1:4-5“Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 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?”Notice that the purpose of Hebrews 1 is to prove the divinity of Christ, i.e. “being made much better than angels”. The evidence that Christ was made better than angels is that God said these words to him “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee”. But by Mary, Christ was “made a little lower than angels (not better than angels) for the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9). So we see two cases where Christ is made something.In Hebrews 1:5 he is made higher than angels. In Hebrews 2:9, he is made lower than angels. These are two different cases. But the quote “This day have I begotten thee” is not applied to Christ being lower than angels. Thee quote is applied to him being made higher than angels. Therefore the quote is not about incarnation, but applies before incarnation.
2. The argument is often made by those who deny the sonship of Christ before incarnation saying, Christ could not be begotten before incarnation because God has no wife and there was no mother before Mary.Do you see the problem here. If begotten is taken to me a husband and a wife and the wife becomes the mother of the son, then by implication Mary was the wife of God. That is the thinking that led to the worship of Mary and to the idea of immaculate conception of Mary. That’s why Catholics say all their doctrines are based on the three-in-one god teaching.But the truth is that Mary was only a vessel for the purpose of creating a body for the only begotten Son of God, to give Christ humanity to unite divinity and humanity in the literal begotten sonship of the Son of God. If he was not a literal Son of God before, the body created in Mary’s womb could not make Him a literal Son of God. It was his already being a literal begotten Son of God that gives us the sonship through of God through him. We are adopted sons of God because our blood brother is a real only begotten Son of God.
3. Hebrews also teaches that by being begotten, Christ became an express image of God.Those who teach that Christ was only begotten through Mary, essentially teach that through Mary Christ became an express image of God’s person (not just character, but person). Now I am not sure if anyone would want to argue that the human body of Christ was the express image of God’s person. At no time does the Bible teach that in the form of a man, Christ was an express image of God’s person. As a man he was an image of God through Adam, and that is not an express image.The Bible teaches that the human body of Christ was the express image of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16) not of God the Father. The only way Christ could be an express image of God is if he was begotten of God as an express image of God before Christ became human. So EGW says this:“A complete offering has been made; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,”–not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” — (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895)Notice that to be begotten put him in the express image of the Father’s person.“From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two [NOT THREE], yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character.” { YI December 16, 1897, par. 5 } (emphasis added)At that, Christ was already an express image of God’s person.
4. Christ human nature was created and was not the express image of God.“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.” { 3SM 129.3}There is no Christ being begotten here. There is creation of human nature. I cannot say I have seen anywhere where begotten as an express image of God is applied to incarnation directly. It is impossible. Why?Like begets like. God begets god. God creates human nature, not beget it. So Christ human nature was created by God but not begotten of God.
The second and related erroneous teaching I read was this and I quote.“The biggest problem is , you apply his “Begotten” to his pre-existence and try to place a beginning point of his life in time immemorial, and run away from him being begotten, as to Earthly Ministry and Salvation oriented.”Notice that the claim made here is that the word begotten does not apply to Christ before incarnation. To expose that error, I give this single quote.“Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and Lucifer, that glorious angel, got up a warfare over the matter, until he had to be thrust down to the earth.” — (Ellen G. White, Ms86, August 21, 1910)Notice that EGW applies the words “only-begotten” before incarnation and independent of incarnation.Simple truth. If God did not have an only begotten son who was the express image of God’s person before incarnation, incarnation would not be able to achieve that in the Son of God. Christ’s human nature was created by God, not begotten. Christ divine nature was begotten of God as the express image of God’s person. This is more than just express image in character. But it is express image in person.So yes, the brethren greatly err on this one. The truth is that Christ was the only-begotten of the Father before incarnation. The detail of how he was begotten, we are not told. Just as much as we are not told how one who is fully God could become a baby in a womb. No-one can understand that detail. It is not for us to resolve the questions of how he was begotten as an express image of God’s person. Neither are we to speculate on that to create doctrines based on what we do not understand and are not given to understand.

The Rock Fortress Ministriestherockfortress@gmail.comFind us on YouTube and Facebook15 February 2021

Today have I begotten thee

We can demonstrate from the Bible the following:

  1. The trinitarian argument that the phrase “another comforter” (allos paracletos) means that Christ was speaking about another person other than himself is flawed. It is contrary to John’s own use of the term another. John uses the term another six times (Greek a’llos’ in John 18:15; John 18:16; John 20:2; John 20:3; John 20:4; John 20:8) to refer to himself (John 21:24). So it is not true that the use of the term “another” (allos) must mean that Christ was talking of another person other than himself.
  2. Christ spoke in this manner, the third person (i.e. as if he is speaking of another person) all the time and that is never evidence that he is speaking of another person (Luke 9:26).
  3. It is normal in the Bible to speak of one’s own Spirit as another person (Many examples such as “the spirit of Jacob their father revived” Genesis 45:27, David saying his spirit was overwhelmed as he was Psalms 77:3, David saying his spirit was remembering together with him Psalms 77:6).

We also see this:

  1. The words that Christ spoke were the spirit (John 6:63).
  2. These words are what he breathed on his disciples (John 20:22).Christ himself was sent by the Father in the same way, i.e. he was anointed by the Father’s spirit/words before he was sent (Isaiah 61:1).
  3. The words he spoke were not his, he got them from the Father (John 14:10)
  4. That was the Spirit of the Father that was in him reconciling the world to the Father (2 Corinthians 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself)

Some people honestly misapply Hebrews 5:5 (…Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee) saying the words “begotten” and “today” apply to Christ being born in Bethlehem. I give three points against this error.

  1. The Book of Hebrews has three main parts Chapter 1 divinity of Christ, Chapter 2 humanity of Christ and the rest about the priesthood of Christ. The context of Hebrews 5 points clearly to resurrection as the third begottenness of Christ, i.e. Chirst was born the third time by the Father, when the Father raised Christ from the dead. This is what the phrase “today have I begotten thee” means in that context.
  2. The second point was that, EGW discusses the same verse in the context of Christ ressurection and priesthood (RH December 22, 1891, par. 12 and RH May 25, 1911, par. 6).
  3. But here is a nail in a sure place. Read Acts 13:30-33.

Acts 13:30 “But God raised him from the dead: 31  And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. 32  And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 33  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm,

I do not know if anyone cannot see that Psalms 2:7 (“today have I begotten thee”) refers to the resurrection of Christ as being begotten. According to Paul, the fulfilment of the promise that says “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” is found in the resurrection of Christ.

But what was Christ begotten from the dead as?

1 Corinthians 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

He was begotten the third time as a quickening spirit, i.e. life giving spirit.

Why as a quickening spirit?

So that the merits of his life can be applied to us.

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

That’s what we need to receive, Christ himself by his life giving spirit. Now listen what EGW then says:

“It is not safe to catch the spirit of another. We want the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus Christ.” (Letter 66, April 10, 1894, par.17-18)

The Bible says the same thing.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

So Jesus Christ by His life giving spirit is the:

  1. Comforter
  2. The life of his life { HP 62.4 }
  3. Third person of the Godhead/divinity
  4. Office-work of the Holy Spirit
  5. Etc.

And all those expressions from EGW that many Adventists have thought to be trinitarian. They are not trinitarian expressions.

  1. The three heavenly dignitaries
  2. The heavenly trio
  3. Etc.

There is the Father, the Son in his earthly ministry before resurrection and the Son post resurrection by his quickening spirit (the Comforter, the Spirit which flows from the Father).

This is the knowledge of righteousness by faith. I believe that without this noone can receive the sealing of Revelation 7. This is the message of 1888, the message by which probation almost closed and the end almost arrived. And that’s the message that has been lost and destroyed by adopting three-in-one god wine of Babylon.

The Rock Fortress Ministries

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13 February 2021