Study 7: The Origin of Jesus
Old Testament Prophecies of Jesus | The Virgin Birth | Christ's Place in God's Plan | "In the beginning was the word" | Digressions (The Historical Jesus, "I came down from Heaven", Did Jesus Create the Earth?, "Before Abraham was, I am", Melchizedek) | Questions
Digression 23: "I Came Down From Heaven"
These words, and others like them, are misused to support the wrong idea that Jesus physically existed in Heaven before his birth. The following points, however, must be noted:
1. Trinitarians take these words as literal in order to prove their point. However, if we are to take them literally, then this means that somehow Jesus literally floated down through the skies. Not only is the Bible totally silent about this, but the language of Jesus being conceived as a baby in Mary's womb is made meaningless. Jn.6:60 describes the teaching about the manna as a saying "hard to take in" (Moffatt's Translation); i.e. we need to understand that it is figurative language being used.
2. In John 6, Jesus is explaining how the manna was a type of himself. The manna was sent from God in the sense that it was God who was responsible for creating it on the earth; it did not physically float down from the throne of God in Heaven. Thus Christ's coming from Heaven is to be understood likewise; he was created on earth, by the Holy Spirit acting upon the womb of Mary (Lk.1:35).
3. Jesus says that "the bread that I will give is my flesh" (Jn.6:51). Trinitarians claim that it was the 'God' part of Jesus which came down from Heaven. But Jesus says that it was his "flesh" which was the bread which came down from Heaven. Likewise Jesus associates the bread from Heaven with himself as the "Son of man" (Jn.6:62), not 'God the Son'.
4. In this same passage in John 6 there is abundant evidence that Jesus was not equal to God. "The living Father hath sent me" (Jn.6:57) shows that Jesus and God do not share co-equality; and the fact that "I live by the Father" (Jn.6:57) is hardly the 'co-eternity' of which Trinitarians speak.
5. It must be asked, When and how did Jesus 'come down' from Heaven? Trinitarians use these verses in John 6 to 'prove' that Jesus came down from Heaven at his birth. But Jesus speaks of himself as "he which cometh down from heaven" (v.33,50), as if it is an ongoing process. Speaking of God's gift of Jesus, Christ said "My Father is giving you the bread" from Heaven (v.32 Weymouth). At the time Jesus was speaking these words, he had already 'come down' in a certain sense, in that he had been sent by God. Because of this, he could also speak in the past tense: "I am the living bread which came down from Heaven" (v.51). But he also speaks about 'coming down' as the bread from Heaven in the form of his death on the cross: "The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (v.51). So we have Jesus speaking here of having already come down from Heaven, being in the process of 'coming down', and still having to 'come down' in his death on the cross. This fact alone should prove that 'coming down' refers to God manifesting Himself, rather than only referring to Christ's birth. This is conclusively proved by all the Old Testament references to God 'coming down' having just this same meaning. Thus God saw the affliction of His people in Egypt, and 'came down' to save them through Moses. He has seen our bondage to sin, and has 'come down' or manifested Himself, by sending Jesus as the equivalent to Moses to lead us out of bondage.