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Berean Christadelphians


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The argument has been made since Hye this year, that the Berean Christadelphians do not understand the doctrine typically called God manifestation. The doctrine of God manifestation is the middle ground between two extremes, the Trinity which affirms that Jesus is “very God,” and Unitarianism, which affirms that Jesus is a mere man, usually the son of Joseph and only called the son of God in a highly spiritual sense.

This principle is outlined in our statement of faith as follows:


VIII.--That these promises had reference to Jesus Christ, who was to be raised up in the condemned line of Abraham and David, and who, though wearing their condemned nature, was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience, and, by dying, abrogate the law of condemnation for himself and all who should believe and obey him (1 Cor. 15:45; Heb. 2:14-16; Rom. 1:3; Heb. 5:8-9; 1:9; Rom. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 8:3-4; Heb. 2:15; 9:26; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 7:27; 5:3-7; 2:17; Rom. 6:10; 6:9; Acts 13:34-37; Rev. 1:18; John 5:21-22, 26-27; 14:3; Rev. 2:7; 3:21; Heb. 25:21; Heb. 5:9; Mark 16:16; Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:22; Psa. 2:6-9; Dan. 7:13-14; Rev. 11:15; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 14:9; Eph. 1:9-10).

IX.--That it was this mission that necessitated the miraculous begettal of Christ of a human mother, enabling him to bear our condemnation, and, at the same time, to be a sinless bearer thereof, and, therefore, one who could rise after suffering the death required by the righteousness of God (Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35; Gal. 4:4; Isa. 7:14; Rom. 1:3-4; 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:14-17; 4:15).

X. That being so begotten of God, and inhabited and used by God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh--yet was, during his natural life, of like nature with mortal man, being made of a woman, of the house and lineage of David, and therefore a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam's transgression, including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature (Matt. 1:23; 1 Tin\m. 3:16; Heb. 2:14; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 2:17).


God manifestation is the doctrine which affirms that Jesus is the Christ which had been prophesied from the foundation of the world. It is the doctrine that the Logos or Holy Spirit, was made flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and then worked in and through Jesus, to manifest (reflect) the power, wisdom, and character of the Eternal Deity, and to issue fiats pertaining to the salvation of mankind through the perfected Christ-man. It is the Logos that, as the prophesied Christ-man, pre-existed, not the man Christ Jesus. Therefore as the pre-existent Christ-man, the Logos could make statements in the Old Testament concerning itself, and which prophesied of Christ, though Jesus was not yet born. Likewise, in the New Testament, after the birth of the man Christ Jesus, the Logos working through Jesus, could speak of the antecedent existence of the Christ-man as if it were Jesus himself, since Jesus and the Father were one in purpose: That purpose being the development of the multitudinous Christ-man.

God manifestation is the doctrine which affirms that the Logos in becoming flesh and known as the man Christ Jesus, clothed himself with the seed of Abraham and David, a consequence of Jesus’ virgin birth of Mary. This flesh was the veil in which the Logos clothed itself, as no man can look upon Deity and live. This flesh from a human mother was necessarily unclean, defined as “sin’s flesh,” and identical in every point to the flesh common to his brethren. It was by this process that Jesus would be created with a completely independent volition, and therefore could be tempted in all points like us.

But being made of sin’s flesh did not destroy the divine characteristics inherited from his Father. The Spirit and the flesh were not divided, but became one person. And over Jesus’ lifetime these divine characteristics, guided by the Holy Spirit, were put to the proof, and proved to be superior to the flesh’s weaknesses which he bore, so that at the end of his life, no one could convict him of sin. Jesus then voluntarily went up on the cross, destroying the flesh (the diabolos,) and exhibiting to the world, the righteousness of God. The great statement made on the cross was: This is how human nature should be treated, according to the righteousness of God. It is only fit for destruction. This statement became the basis for the forgiveness of sin, and for the perfecting of the Christ-man.

Apart from God’s work in the divinely orchestrated creation called the son of Man, salvation would have been impossible. Flesh and blood, born by the will of man, would always prove too weak to have rendered the perfect sacrifice for sin. Thus, the truth of Mary’s statement at the birth of Jesus: “my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”


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The complaints against the Berean Christadelphian’s understanding of this subject appears two fold. The two points can be defined as:

  1. How it was that wisdom and knowledge was obtained by Jesus.
  2. Whether Jesus could have been tempted by the flesh he bore.

To the first point, I don’t know that Berean Christadelphians have dwelt much on the question, or that the lack of discussion indicates a lack of understanding.  I’m not sure how one might know the answer to this question. Jesus had a knowledge that amazed his peers from a very young age. Clearly his knowledge was a product of the Holy Spirit. Now, was this knowledge directly from the Holy Spirit, or was this knowledge indirect from the character of the spirit allowing him to learn divine principles far in excess of what a normal man might do, accounting for the Scriptural testimony:

“by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many...”

I don’t know how one might tell, and I don’t know what difference it would make. However he learned, it would appear that that learning was a process.

  • Luk_2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled (literally: being filled) with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
  • Luk_2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man
  • Heb_5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

These verses would seem to indicate that the growth and development of Jesus was a process, though the exact nature of the process we do not know. We do know that however he learned, it was by the grace of God. The idea of a process is further strengthened by the Psalms, which Jesus said, were written about him. Here we see the Christ-man in the Psalms pleading for understanding, something that we cannot envision if he was directly sealed.

  • Psa 25:4 Shew me (Make me to know) thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.
  • Psa 39:4 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
  • Psa 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
  • Psa 73:22-24 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
  • Psa 119:125 I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
  • Psa_119:66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

That the development of Jesus was a process, by the grace of God, would appear to be the idea of Christadelphians from its foundation. Directly to this point, bro. Roberts wrote in an answer to one:

W. H. H.—John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15): how much more Jesus, the word made flesh, whose shoe latchet he was not worthy to stoop down and unloose. But there are degrees and different forms of manifestation of the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4–6). The growing babe, the obedient son, the faithful carpenter, would show the Spirit in character which was afterwards shown in works of power, and finally in the personal glory of the incorruptible “filled with all the fulness of the God-head body” (Col. 2:9).



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Reply with quote  #3 
"The argument has been made since Hye this year, that the Berean Christadelphians do not understand the doctrine typically called God manifestation."

I am a Berean Christadelphian and I think I understand the doctrine of God Manifestation.  So to be clear, has the argument to which you are responding been made against all Berean Christadelphians, to most Berean Christadelphians or only to a few Berean Christadelphians.  Whereas I am sure I will enjoy your efforts to shed light and understanding on this vital doctrine, I may particularly pay closer attention if I understand specifically whether this is a broad argument against Berean Christadelphians or a targeted argument.[smile]

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi bro.Dale,

I would say the complaints have been very general.  Typical might be this statement:

"As far as brethren and sisters taking issue with the phrase 'Christ is divine' is concerned, we can only lament the poor understanding that brethren and sisters have."

I don't think questioning one who claims "Christ is divine" in our Trinitarian world,  shows a lack of understanding of God Manifestation.  Certainly there is a sense in which Jesus was "God with Us," but as a manifestation, or reflection, or exhibition of the Eternal Father, not as the Eternal Father Himself.  


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The second point is much more difficult. And it would be true, that the way some are insisting that we must understand God Manifestation based on this point, this is different than what we understand. The problem appears to be rooted in what I previously felt was a rather innocuous argument. Was there an external tempter to Jesus, or were his temptations internal? I’ve been witness to a great many discussions on the subject, but couldn’t really understand why some felt this such a significant question. I was more prone to put it in the same class as “Did the flood cover the whole earth” or “Is Enoch still alive?”

To me, these questions, whichever way you come down on them, make little difference in the over all scope of things. From a personal standpoint, the statement that “the devil departed from him for a season” would seem to me to indicate the presence of an individual with Christ, who could depart from him. But to the point of whether or not an external tempter was necessary for temptation to occur at all, which seems to be the significant point of discussion, it didn’t appear to me that it mattered. And it certainly did not ever seem to me to be a significant point in the doctrine of God manifestation. Christ was tempted like us. That is the point.

All temptation, to truly be temptation, must be internal. This is the divine definition of the matter. “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed.” So whether an external force stimulated this lust, or his own internal thoughts stimulated this lust appeared to me to be irrelevant. Thoughts were stimulated within the mind of Jesus which the Holy Spirit called “temptation,” and that was the point. Temptations, whether enticed by the world around us, or from our own minds, come from within. In order for Jesus to be tempted “in all points” like us, he too had to fight the diabolos within him. And he had to be tempted by all the things that tempt us.

In the doctrine of God Manifestation, the greatest problem over the history of the truth has been an unwillingness among brethren to accept ALL that the Scriptures have written concerning Jesus. And admittedly, some of it sounds quite contradictory. But in reading divine testimony concerning the work of the Eternal Father through Jesus, if we begin to find some reason to exclude Jesus from some aspects of it; we are on the path to one extreme or another. When men began refusing to believe all that Jesus testified about the Logos or Holy Spirit within him, such as how it was that he “came down from heaven,” or how, born after John, he was before John; they excluded the Eternal Father from the process, and concluded Jesus was a mere man, the son of Joseph. And likewise, refusing to believe all that the spirit has testified concerning his trials and temptations, has led men to theories of “No Willism,” “Semi-Spiritism,” and in the case of the world, “Trinitarianism.”

I have heard it said, quite remarkably I believe, that Jesus would not have been tempted by women, as men are. How can we understand the statement “tempted in all points like us,” and then place limits on what those temptations might have been?” Certainly there is no Scriptural record of such a temptation, so how could we know? But the first temptation to the man being the enticement of a woman, can we imagine the temptation of Adam by Eve in the garden, not to have been recorded as a profound warning to Jesus? Why the emphasis in the Proverbs, the purpose of which is the Father’s training of Jesus, concerning the danger of immoral women, and the blessing of moral women, if he was immune from such temptation?

Once we begin speculating about limits on the flesh Jesus bore, limits not common to mankind, we begin to rob him of his great victory over sin and make him of a different nature than us. And to say he did not have to fight the diabolos the same way we have to fight the diabolos, when Scriptures are clear that he did, is just such a robbery.

To justify the idea that Jesus did not wrestle with the diabolos, the way we are called upon to wrestle with the diabolos, we are pointed to an article by bro. John Thomas from 1852. The article was published in the Herald of the Kingdom, in four installments, under the title “The Bible Doctrine Concerning the Tempter, Considered.”

A contemporary magazine had complained to bro. Thomas, that in Elpis Israel, written four years earlier, bro. Thomas had not defined in enough detail, who the devil was. It was complained bro. Thomas had been “general and indefinite.” Bro. Thomas agreed with his critic, saying:

But I did not lay a heavy hand upon the subject, knowing how much “the Devil” is respected by some, worshipped by others, and venerated in some way by nearly all. Not that this abstractly considered would have deterred me from giving him his due; for I have no favor for him though he may approach me as a minister of righteousness, a professor of Sacred History, or an angel of light; I see in him only one causing men to fall, and an adversary to the truth, that is, to the gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus. I wished to get this all important topic systematically before the British public, as I am now endeavoring to do before the American, in Elpis Israel; therefore, I did not wish to offend their prejudices by being too explicit touching their idol, lest they should close the book before they got at “the things of the kingdom of God.”

So the defined purpose of the article was to supply the deficit to the subject of the diabolos, of which Elpis Israel set forth a general and adequate, if incomplete dissertation. This bro. Thomas did in spectacular fashion, and of which most of the article was reprinted in 1873 during the “Clean Flesh” controversy generated by Edward Turney, under the title “Tempter and Tempted.” It is a wonderful expose of the diabolos.

When bro. Roberts reprinted this article, he left out a section of this article that dealt with the diabolos, as related to the nature of Christ. The omitted section had three phrases which to my mind, were clearly inconsistent with bro. Thomas’ previous and later teachings. And I would argue, they are clearly contradicted by what is written in the article itself.

Now in the omitted section, bro. Thomas refers back to the last few paragraphs, so I will include them as well.


Now Luke attributes what this concealed adversary suggested to diabolos, or one causing to transgress, but in this case without success; for they were suggestions to Jesus under the workings of sin's flesh, seeing that “he was in all things put to the proof according to the likeness without offence.” The visitor, though styled “devil,” was not diabolos within, as in our case, but an excitant thereof; in “the likeness,” or sin's flesh; therefore his sayings are recorded as those of diabolos. Jesus being begotten of God, as was Adam the first likewise, and not of the will of sin's flesh, the promptings to transgression did not proceed from within. In this the form of sin’s flesh he assumed, differed from the form we possess. The promptings in our case do often proceed from within. In the two Adams they came from without—from the serpent in the one case; and from the angel of light in the other. These occupied for the time the position of the then as yet unbegotten diabolos relatively to their flesh, till the lust they might excite should by the strength thereof bring forth sin, when their personal missions would be terminated, and sin enthroned as the conceived diabolos of the form, or likeness of sin's flesh.

In the second Adam's case the testing adversary failed to move him from the stand he had taken of absolute obedience to the will of God, whatever might ensue. He appealed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, but all without effect. The law of the Spirit of life within him was too strong for these appeals. He extinguished their effect by the word of faith, which was his shield, and emerged from the trial undefiled. The tester of his allegiance then left him; and whatever perturbation may have been excited, it subsided into the peacefulness of a conscience void of offence towards God.

OMITTED IN CHDN 1873 In studying Christ's trial it is important not to forget what I have intimated above about his nature; because it was the point of difference in the nature of the two Adams from ours that caused the ordeals they were subjected to, to assume the forms narrated. No one has ever been put to the proof through a speaking reptile since Adam's fall; nor has any one been tried by an angel of light since Jesus successfully resisted his suggestions.— Paul's phrase “in the likeness of sinful flesh”—en homoiomati sarkos hamarlias—I have rendered more literally “in a form of Sin's flesh” “Sinful” is an adjective expressive of the quality of the “flesh,” and signifies flesh full of sin.— This is a form of flesh common to all mankind, and indicated by Paul in the words, “in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” But Adam's flesh before his fall, and the Christ's flesh, were forms of flesh and blood to which the English word “sinful” is inapplicable.— They were not full of sin. The first Adam's was a form in which there was no sin at all, but only a physical weakness inseparable from flesh and blood. Luke styles him “Son of God,” because he was begotten by his Spirit from mother earth. Having transgressed, his weakness was defiled, and became sin, and his flesh “Sin's flesh”—sarx hamartias—a form afterwards inherited by Abraham in common with all mankind. But Christ's was still another form of Sin's flesh than either Abraham's or Adam's before his fall. The homoiomal difference of his flesh from Adam's consisted in its maternity. Adam's came directly from the dust of the ground; Christ's from that form of Sin's flesh styled “the seed of Abraham.” It differed from this, however, in its paternity. Abraham's daughter, Mary, was “begotten of blood, of the will of the flesh, or of man;” but her son Jesus, of the will of God by his creative power, which constituted him a peculiar form of Sin's flesh; and hence the propriety of my more literal rendering of en homoiomati sarkos hamartias—a form of Sin's flesh—even the third form under which flesh and blood has been manifested since the creation- week.

In Heb. 4:15, the phrase “form of Sin's flesh” is expressed by the single word homoiotes, “likeness, resemblance, or similitude;” as, katapanta kath, hornoioteta, “in all things according to the likeness.” One thing may resemble another without being identical in every particular. This was the case with Christ's flesh. It was Sin's flesh so far as its maternity was concerned, but not as to its fatherhood. In this he differed from, the Jews, who had Sin's flesh for their parentage on both sides, which they illustrated in their persecution of their maternal brother, who was “born after the Spirit;” thereby proving that they were the children and slaves of father, Sin, or diabolos. Still Christ's paternity did not destroy the physical likeness of his flesh to Abraham's seed; it only removed from it the reigning principle hereditarily transmitted by the will of man, called diabolos, or “devil.” His flesh, however, was still reduced in strength below that of Adam's original nature, because of its maternal defilement. Hence, to place it on a par with the first Adam's, that there might be equality of strength, Jesus was anointed, or Christened, by which he became “full of the Holy Spirit.” This filling did not destroy the homoiotes or likeness to Sin's flesh. It was still possible for Christ to feel the force and influence of sophistical appeals to the lusts of Sin's flesh with which he was burdened as with “a loathsome disease.” Hence, says the apostle, “he was put to the proof in all things or according to the likeness,” or resemblance of his flesh to his brethren's in its susceptibilities, “without offence.”

There being no reigning diabolos, “devil,” or Sin, transmitted by the will of man in Adam or Christ, as in the flesh of all mankind, that causing not to stand in the truth, or diabolos, is in their cases, and in their's alone, to be referred to the Serpent and the Angle of light. But this does not constitute them what the Gentiles call “the Devil,” or “His Satanic Majesty.”


In these paragraphs, bro. Thomas is clear that the tempter is not the diabolos within Christ, but an excitant thereof. Obviously, that is quite consistent with his overall teaching. The diabolos had to exist within Jesus, in order to be excited. That is the same thing as saying, as bro. Thomas earlier had said in Elpis Israel, that sin could not have been condemned in the flesh of Jesus, had it not existed there. He makes the same point when he writes of Jesus able to feel the force of the temptation. But how, if there is no diabolos in Jesus?

The final sentence of the first paragraph above appears to reverse this idea. He argues that the diabolos is “unbegotten” until transgression takes place. That final sentence is the argument that sin’s flesh is not sin’s flesh until transgression takes place. This is not the consistent teaching of bre. Thomas and Roberts.

But that is the idea which is continued into the omitted section. In the first paragraph of the omitted section, he says that (1) Christ’s nature is different from ours, and (2) that the word “sinful” does not apply to his nature. Then in the third paragraph, bro. Thomas says that since God was his father, this removed from it (his nature) (3) the reigning principle hereditarily transmitted by the will of man, called diabolos.

When I was presented with this article to defend principles relevant to the nature of Christ and God manifestation, I expressed “shock” that anyone from the Bereans should use this article to sustain such a position. I viewed this portion of this article as contradictory to articles, like “The Diabolos in Christ” a collection of bro. Thomas’ articles presented in bro. Growcott’s “Purifying of the Heavenly.” I viewed it as contrary to the virtually countless articles which speaks to Jesus coming in the identical nature as man. I viewed it as contrary to the oft stated principle that sin in the flesh is physical, inherited from Adam, and not something established in the body by moral transgression.

That these thoughts were omitted in a reprint, and the fact that these concepts contradict what went before (in Elpis Israel) and in what came after (in Eureka) and the fact that these thoughts are never again raised (to my knowledge) but rather continually contradicted in the writings of both bre. Thomas and Roberts, I viewed as proof that this was no part of Berean Christadelphian thought.

For making that point, I was asked why I have so much antipathy for bro. Thomas. It is hardly antipathy to consider the sum total of a man’s work, and to discard a portion which is completely out of harmony with the whole. For instance, at this same time in his life, bro. Thomas was arguing that breaking bread with individuals was not fellowshipping them, and that it was wrong to separate from error. Clearly, a few years later, when his associates began describing him as “Ichabod the Iron Bedstead Maker,” making a bed so hard no one could lay in it, he had changed his views on fellowship. Its hardly antipathy to compare the later work of an author with the earlier, to see if some way of harmonizing them is possible, or if a change in position took place.

I had always previously understood the position of those who insisted that an external tempter was necessary, did so based upon the moral superiority of the Word made Flesh. That the knowledge and wisdom and character of Jesus was so wonderful by virtue of his birth, and having been strengthened by the Holy Spirit, that he wouldn’t have generated the temptations from within himself. I never understood ones to be arguing that he was of a different nature than us, one different than either Abraham or Adam, and therefore was physically incapable of generating temptations from within himself.

Bro. Roberts wrote of this controversy, exactly as I see it:

Last of all, a closely printed 20-page open letter from brother McGibbon on the differences that have separated brethren in Melbourne on the nature of Christ. The metaphysics of Christ’s temptation had better be dropped. The confusion arises from the inexactness of terms employed concerning man. Human nature, though the same thing in fundamental features in the millions of mankind, is not in the same identical state of mental development in any two cases.

That is exactly how I have understood the matter. All of us, including Jesus, have identical sinful natures. But we do not all have an identical state of mental (moral) development. By his superior knowledge and wisdom and being a reflection of the character of the Eternal Father due to his being a unique creation by the Eternal Father, that is, being the Word made Flesh and guided by the Holy Spirit, the mind of the spirit at all times dominated and controlled the mind of the flesh. Jesus was not created without the mind of the flesh, but rather with it, to share our common nature for the expressed purpose of over coming it by the mind of the Spirit.




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Reply with quote  #6 

From the Diabolos in Christ.  This was bro. Growcott's conclusion:

Sin was condemned "ritually" and "ceremonially" IN Christ's flesh - not in the sense that it and its condemnation THERE were not realities - but that in being ACTUALLY condemned and destroyed there, it was condemned and (prospectively) destroyed in all his people, and for all time. Sin's condemnation in Christ's "flesh of sin" was not just another type or shadow: it was the climactic once-for-all REALITY which all the types and shadows represented, and without which they were meaningless.

As soon as we say there was no "sin" in Christ's flesh, and/or that the sin in Christ's flesh did not need condemnation and cleansing away, we immediately make him a substitute instead of a representative, a shadow instead of a substance. The essence of the whole transaction is the REALITY of the sin there, and the REALITY of its destruction. Christ DID what all the sacrifices before him merely shadowed. He really and actually destroyed Sin - the Diabolos - and it had to BE THERE in order to be destroyed. It was not just a figure of speech, a type, a shadow, like all the preceding sacrifices.

This was his great victory. He did not just suffer. Lots of people suffer. He OVERCAME. He perfectly, flawlessly conquered, defeated, destroyed the Diabolos within himself: held it bound and powerless all his life, and nailed it in triumph to the cross. The death was the culmination and termination of the struggle and the victory, the perfecting of the essential life-long sacrifice and offering for all sin- stricken mankind, including himself. This is the very heart and power of the Truth of the Gospel of Salvation.

Many - mistakenly fearful of "defiling" and dishonoring Christ - make him just another shadow, destroy his struggle, and rob him of his victory, thrusting him back into the Mosaic rituals and ceremonies. They see a noble "sacrifice" in the shallow sense of the term, a heroic manifestation of selfless love, but they do not see the reality of the Diabolos - Sin-in-the-flesh - put to death within him.

Truly our sins were "laid on him" and he "bore them away." But HOW? Not in mere symbolic ritual, but in the reality of being part of the condemned race, of Sin's Flesh - contending lifelong with that same Diabolos within that slays his brethren. He was made ONE WITH US, in our sin-nature. He THUS "bore our sins IN HIS OWN BODY," that he might, for all (including himself) overcome sin, destroy it bear it away-that we in turn may in the deep wisdom and righteousness and loving mercy of God, be accounted ONE WITH HIM in his victory.

That which Christ actually ACCOMPLISHED in the perfection of the obedience of his life and death, is that which is SYMBOLIZED by animal sacrifices. He is the reality. That which is called "sacrifice" is simply the shadow representing that life and death - a shadow which has no meaning apart from the reality of what he accomplished.

The whole divine purpose of salvation from death - including Christ's own salvation as one of the condemned Adamic race - depended on someone doing just what he did ... overcoming the diabolos and putting it to death: nailing it up in public condemnation before all men to manifest and vindicate God's holiness and Sin's deadliness.

He did not just offer one more "sacrifice." Rather, he was IN HIMSELF everything that "sacrifice" means and teaches and (in shadow) "accomplishes," or, put more clearly, that which the sacrifices represented as being accomplished and needing to be accomplished.

All our conception and understanding of the meaning of "sacrifice" must be derived from WORKING BACKWARDS from his accomplished reality to the shadow. Apart from him and his work and his victory, sacrifice would have had no meaning or purpose, and would never have been instituted at all. -G.V.G.  (The red and red emphasis is added--JP)         


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Reply with quote  #7 

Really, I have not witnessed many attempts to defend the contradictory elements in the omitted section of the 1852 article by bro. Thomas, at least by fundamenatlly sound brethren. I’ve seen brethren pick and choose some of the phrases used by bro. Thomas to defend some idea or other from this article, but when confronted with the contradictory nature of this portion of the article, they make some feeble and generally irrational attempt to explain away the contradictory elements.

For instance, I’ve been exposed to two separate ways of how bro. Thomas’ statement as follows, makes sense:

Still Christ's paternity did not destroy the physical likeness of his flesh to Abraham's seed; it only removed from it the reigning principle hereditarily transmitted by the will of man, called diabolos, or “devil.”

In this sentence, bro. Thomas tells us that Jesus did not inherit the “diabolos” which he has defined here, (and in fact, of which the whole four installments of this article were a proof of) as sinful flesh. We are told by apologists for this portion of the article, that bro. Thomas is not saying that Jesus didn’t inherit the “diabolos” (though that is exactly what he said) but rather he didn’t inherit a “begotten diabolos” or a “reigning diabolos.” Thus, he inherited diabolos, in that he could be tempted, but not “reigning diabolos” so that he could be tempted from within, as we are.

I asked one such apologist if he could find for me anywhere in bro. Thomas’ writings where bro. Thomas makes the distinction between “diabolos” and “reigning diabolos” which he was inferring, and he readily admitted he could not, which is the truth of the matter. But as an example of a “reigning diabolos” he directed me to the following quote from Eureka:

But flesh and blood, or Sin’s flesh, is radically bad. When Paul subjected the nature he possessed in common with all the race of men, to an enlightened scrutiny, he declared that "in his flesh dwelt no good thing". He felt that he bore about a loathsome, leprous, nature, which he styled "a vile body;" so that it caused him to exclaim, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?" (Rom. 7:18, 24; Phil. 3:21). Such a nature is incurable. It is essentially turbulent, rebellious, and prone to evil; and can only be controlled by the power of Divine principles, or an iron despotism. Eur 5:339

It was suggested to me that this was a description of the “reigning diabolos” in Paul, and it was further suggested that this description could not possibly be true of Christ. I was asked, would not this be a description of the reigning diabolos? I answer: Yes, of course it would. But I would not see in any of this a proof that there is a difference between “diabolos” or “reigning diabolos. Both are synonyms for “sin’s flesh,” as bro. Thomas called it in that section of Eureka just quoted. I would see the diabolos reigning in all flesh, to be the explanation of Paul’s expression, “in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.”

But that bro. Thomas taught that Jesus partook of this same flesh of which Paul described, and of which was the home of diabolos is obvious . The following is also from Eureka:

He sees Joshua, the High Priest of the Restoration, angelized, and clothed in filthy garments. That is, he represents the Christ, in the capacity of Jehovah’s Messenger, "the Angel of the Covenant," clothed with "the flesh of sin," in which, Paul tells us, "dwells no good thing." Eur 1:58

Compare the verse as used by bro. Thomas. In the first Eureka quote, the reference is to Paul’s personal lament. This, we all agree, was a description of the “reigning diabolos.” But note the second quote, and how bro. Thomas applies the same verse to the “flesh of sin” and then tells us that this “flesh of sin” was the “filty garments” with which Christ was clothed. So clearly, to the mind of bro. Thomas the filthy garments with which the Christ-man was clothed, was the reigning diabolos, or simply “diabolos.”

As a quote from bro. Roberts pointed out in an earlier post, Jesus’ nature differed in mental capacity, but not in the basic elements of the nature common to mankind. It was by his moral superiority, divinely developed, that he kept the diabolos in his flesh from its desired, royal seat. It is not because diabolos wasn’t there. It was because it was fought and defeated 100% of the time, by the thinking of the Spirit, on its own battleground of sinful flesh.

When we examine Paul’s lament in Romans 7, we learn that the root problem was that Paul had a will, which was contrary to the will of the Father.

“In me, that is in my flesh” dwelleth not good thing, for to will is present with me.”

With this in mind, it would seem a simple thing to compare the words of Jesus to Paul’s, to determine if they both had an independent will which was opposed to the mind of the Father.

We see this most vividly in the garden of Gethsemane, prior to his crucifixion.

Mat 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

If, as alleged, Jesus had no ability to of himself develop a contrary thought to the Father, then where did this desire to not go up on the cross, which Jesus knew was contrary to the Father’s will, come from? Jesus tells us where it came from. It was from his own will, which he says he would not submit to, always doing the Father’s will.

Even as a general principle, Jesus told us:

Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

For this to be true, Jesus, the Word having been made flesh, had to have his own will which he fought bitterly, but all the while kept in perfect subjection to the will of the Father. And this is precisely the way the Christ-man is prophesied in the Psalms.

Psa. 25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.

Psa. 38:4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

Psa.40:12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

Psa.51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Psa 69:5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

And because he was willing to submit to the will of his Father, and to become victorious in this terrible ordeal, he had also this prophesy, to which Jesus personally referred many times. A prophesy of his redemption, though by terrible fire.

Isa. 6:6-7 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

All these prophesies of the Christ-man become completely incomprehensible if the sins and iniquities were not the promptings of the flesh, called sin and iniquities because they existed in his flesh as a consequence of Adam’s sin. They were an inevitable consequence of Messiah being born into the sin constitution of things.


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The purpose of this post is to address the argument that Jesus was "a form" of sin’s flesh, but a different form from either Adam in his novitate, or us. That the form of "sin’s flesh" that Jesus possessed, did not have the diabolos in it. Again I would note that this was omitted from bro. Roberts reprint in 1873, and the argument is never again advanced by bro. Thomas, though as bro. Roberts shows, he contradicts it quite often in both his former and later writings.

I been shown an article by bro. Roberts where he states that most brethren have had to change their views on the sacrifice of Christ, but bro. Thomas never did. The article is advanced as proof of the validity of the 1852 positions. Personally, I have no doubt that bro. Roberts knew exactly what bro. Thomas was trying to say in the 1852 article, and why it came out the way it did. I know if I got to spend time with bro. Thomas, as bro. Roberts did, the question would have been high on my list of things to ask. And that bro. Roberts knew it didn’t come out right, is no doubt the reason it was left off of bro. Roberts reprinting of the article. It had, after all, caused major problems for him and the brotherhood.

In 1873, Edward Turney had actually used bro. Thomas argument concerning the word Homouioma, translated "likeness" in Rom. 8:3, in developing his theory that the flesh of Jesus was "clean" from sin. Those of you who followed the discussion on this message board concerning "Understanding the Atonement" will remember this. He brought forth the argument that Jesus came in a likeness to sinful flesh which was not sinful flesh at all, but only a resemblance. To this, bro. Roberts responded in the Slain Lamb.

And now we have to consider in what sense did Christ come in sinful flesh. I do not go away from that phrase, although "the flesh of sin" is a more literal translation of óáñî áìáñôïõ "Sinful flesh" is the English idiomatic equivalent. Word for word is not always a good translation of any language. There must always be an accommodation to the idiom: and in this, the translators of the English version have shown themselves fitted for their work. Romans 7., immediately preceding, supplies the sense of the words "flesh of sin" used in Rom. 8:3. Galatians 5., and all New Testament allusions to the subject teach that the flesh of human nature is a sinful thing. "Sinful flesh" in English, therefore, represents the Spirit’s idea, which is of more consequence than a lexicographical equivalent. Now Christ took part of the flesh and blood of the children, that he might extirpate in it that which was destroying them. This is the apostolic testimony: "Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil" (Heb. 2:14)—the serpent principle, the death-power in us. Christ took on him the nature of Abraham and David, which was sinful nature. How, then, some say, was he, with sinful flesh, to be sinless? That—(placing the end of the pointer on the sun at the top of the chart)—is my explanation, brothers—that is my explanation! And it is Paul’s explanation. God did it. The weak flesh could not do it. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, that the glory might be to God.

And from the next paragraph:

"What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God (has done), sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh." It was the same flesh, full of the same propensities, and the same desires. But, in Christ, all those desires were kept in subjection to the mind of God, because the Father, by the Spirit, taught him and led him from the beginning. "I do always those things that please Him. I do nothing of myself. I do those things that I have learned of Him." These are his own words. God gave not the Spirit to him by measure; therefore, the praise is entirely of the Father. Christ is God manifested in the condemned flesh (for it is flesh and not life that is condemned), and justified in the Spirit. And in all he did for us, he was individually comprehended. What he did "for us" was not "instead of us," but on our account. The notion that it was "instead of us" is the old orthodox superstition being foisted again upon the brethren. He was born for us. "He hath raised up for us, in the house of David, a horn of salvation." He hath not raised instead of us a horn, but for us; but of course the babe born was born for Himself as well surely. "He hath gone to appear in the presence of God for us;" not instead of us. Begotten of God in the channel of Adamic and Mosaic condemnation, he died on our account, that we might escape, but on his own account as the first-born of the family as well; for, in all things, it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren.

Note bro. Roberts arguments as to the term "likeness of sinful flesh." He specifically says it was the same flesh, with the same propensities, and the same desires. In that same year, due to Edward Turney’s arguments, bro. Roberts went into great detail about the word "likeness." I will reproduce his argument here:

Question 19.—The body of Christ, then, was not under condemnation?

Answer.—Certainly it was; just as much as Mary’s, from which it was formed. As the seed of David according to the flesh, it was weak and mortal. (1) Paul gives prominence to this; and it forms a vital element of the testimony concerning the Messiah. If he was the seed of David according to the flesh, he stood, in the days of his flesh, in all the relations of David, but had some superadded relations, by reason of being the root of David, as well as his offspring (2.) To say that ‘God sent His Son, not in simple flesh, but in the likeness of it,’ is to deny the doctrine which John made necessary for acknowledgment among the first century believers. He said ‘many deceivers are entered into the world who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an anti-Christ. Look to yourselves that ye lose not those things which we have wrought" (3). If it be asked, In what flesh did Jesus come, the answer is, David’s flesh (4); for he is the son of David (5). Still more decisive is the declaration of Paul that he took part of "the same" flesh and blood as that possessed by his brethren (6). Paul does not contradict this in saying that "God sent forth His Son in the ïìïéùìáôé of the flesh of sin." The word ïìïéùìáôé is truly translated "likeness," but it is likeness in the sense of identity, and not in the sense of such a resemblance as should leave room for its not being "the same." This is evident from the derivation of the original word. It comes from the verb ïìùï, to join together, which, when united with a substantive termination, gives the idea of a joining together, resulting in a producing of the same. This is illustrated in ïìïéïìíôñéïò, born of the same mother; ïìïéïðáôñéïò, sprung from the same father; ïìïéïïíóéïò, of like substance, that is, the same substance; ïìïéïëïãéá, uniformity of speech, that is, the same speech; ïìïéïáñêôï, beginning alike; ïìïèíìïò, of one mind; ïìïèåí, from the same place. If the word "like" be substituted for the word "same," in all those cases, we shall have the sense in which Paul speaks of Jesus being sent forth in the likeness ïìïéùìáôé of the flesh of sin. It is the sense expressed in his other declarations, that Jesus partook of the same flesh and blood as the children, and that he was of the seed of david according to the flesh. Even of the brethren, of whose absolute identity with the flesh of sin no question will be raised, Paul uses the apparently loose expression, "We have borne the image of the earthy."—(1 Cor. 15:49.) "Image of the earthy" and "likeness of sinful flesh" are of equal force, and both mean an actual participation of the nature spoken of. The fact that ïìïéùìáôïò is sometimes used in the sense of resemblance, cannot exclude the evidence that, as applied to Jesus, in the matter of sinful flesh, it means resemblance in all particulars "the same." To say that "God sent His Son, not in simple flesh,. but in a likeness of it," is to wrest the word. God sent His Son in the flesh of David, and as that is what would be called "simple flesh," Jesus was sent in simple flesh—the same.

As we can imagine, bro. Roberts would have been severely challenged by his critics for contradicting the usage of the word "likeness" by bro. Thomas. So again in that year, bro. Roberts printed a list of examples where bro. Thomas had referenced the likeness of sin’s flesh, to mean the sameness of sin’s flesh. The first two are before the 1852 article, the balance are after. This will make this post very long, but I want to produce the entire article here. As you go through, look at how many times bro. Roberts quoted bro. Thomas writing of "enticements within" or "incitement" from "within" or some similar expression. That wasn’t the point for bro. Roberts in assembling these quotes, but it does show how much this was a part of bro. Thomas’ overall teaching.


Dr. Thomas at Various Times on the Condemnation of Sin in the Flesh

In Elpis Israel, page 114, the following sentences occur:—"Sin, I say, is a synonym for human nature. Hence the flesh is invariably regarded as unclean. It is therefore written, ‘How can he be clean who is born of woman?’—(Job 25:4.) ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.’—(Job 14:4.) ‘What is man that he should be clean? And which is born of a woman that he should be righteous? Behold, God putteth no trust in His saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh iniquity like water?’ (Job 15:14–16.) This view of sin in the flesh is enlightening in the things concerning Jesus. The apostle says, ‘God made him sin for us, who knew no sin’ (2 Cor. 5:21); and this he explains in another place by saying that, ‘He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3) in the offering of this body once.—(Heb. 10:10, 12, 14.) Sin could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus, if it had not existed there. His body was as unclean as the bodies of those he died for; for he was born of a woman, and ‘not one’ can bring a clean body out of a defiled body; for ‘that’ says Jesus himself, ‘which is born of the flesh is flesh.’—(John 3:6.)

According to the physical law, the seed of the unclean woman was born into the world. The nature of Mary was as unclean as that of other women, and therefore could give only to ‘a body’ like her own, though especially ‘prepared of God.’—(Heb. 10:10, 12, 14) Had Mary’s nature been immaculate, as her idolatrous worshippers contend an immaculate body would have been born of her; which, therefore, would not have answered the purpose of God; which was to condemn sin in the flesh; a thing that could not have been accomplished if there were no sin there.

Speaking of the conception and preparation of the seed, the prophet as a typical person, says, ‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.’—(Psalm 51:5.) This is nothing more than affirming that he was born of sinful flesh and not of the pure and incorruptible angelic nature.

Sinful flesh being the hereditary nature of the Lord Jesus, he was a fit and proper sacrifice of sin; especially as he was himself ‘innocent of the great transgression,’ having been obedient in all things. Appearing in the nature of the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16–18), he was subject to all the emotions by which we are troubled; so that he was enabled to sympathize with our infirmities (Heb. 4:15), being ‘made in all things like unto his brethren.’"

The Dr.’s Reply to a Charge Against Elpis Israel

A newspaper critic having held this up to ridicule, the Dr. replied as follows:—"If, in the days of his flesh, the Lord had not been perfectly human, what resemblance would there have been between the lifting up of the prepared body on the cross, and the lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness? If that body had not been perfectly human in all things like ours, how could God have ‘sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh?’ Is not sinful flesh perfectly human? Is it not ‘flesh of sin?’ This is all the ‘perfect humanity’ men are acquainted with. If the body crucified had not been thus perfectly human, how could sin have been condemned in it? Or how could ‘the Anointed’ ‘his own self have borne our sins in his own body upon the tree?’ Read Rom. 8:2; 1 Peter 2:24, and think upon them.

"To say, then, that Jesus was not made in all things like to this—that he had a better nature—is to say that ‘Jesus did not come in the flesh.’ This is the heresy that Elpis Israel is condemned for not teaching. It is true Elpis Israel affirms that Jesus came in sinful flesh; but that notwithstanding the plague of such a nature, he was obedient in all things—‘did no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth;’ in which sense there was no sin in him; ‘he was without sin;’ thus, ‘he who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.’"

"The reverse is not a modern heresy, but an element of ‘the mystery of iniquity,’ which was festering in ‘the heritages,’ ??? ?????? in the days of the apostles, ‘Many deceivers,’ says John ‘are entered into the world, who confess not that the anointed Jesus is come in flesh. This is the deceiver and the anti-Christ.’—(2 John 7.) In another place he styles these ‘deceivers’ false prophets, or ‘spirits,’ for they professed to have the Spirit and to speak by it, like the Gentile pietists and spiritualists of our day, who make the Word of God of none effect by their foolishness. In John’s time there were those who really had divine gifts; but when did men ever possess the genuine without the world being imposed upon by the counterfeit? It was so in the heritages of the first century; and so great and subtle did the evil become, that the authority of the apostles themselves was imperilled. John, therefore, found it necessary to lay down a rule by which the true might be distinguished from the false. ‘Beloved,’ says he, ‘believe not every spirit,’ or prophet; ‘but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.’ He then gives the rule by which they are to be tried. ‘Hereby,’ continues he, ‘know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that the anointed Jesus came in the flesh, is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that the anointed Jesus is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that of the anti-Christ which ye have heard that it comes, and is now in the world already.’ Here, then, was the heresy, from which has ripened the fruit of the ‘Immaculate Conception’—the latest edition of anti-Christ’s infatuation and stupidity. Its seed was sown by false prophets or teachers. before popes and popery had raised aloft their serpent forms. In the apostles’ day, it existed as a spirit, ‘opposed to the doctrine of Christ,’ which did not acknowledge the distinctiveness of the Father and the Son, but merged them, as Gentile sectaries, of the nineteenth century do, into one. But ‘he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.—(2 John 9.) He maintains the real humanity of Jesus, or the Father by the Spirit, manifested through sinful flesh; or as Paul states it, ‘God manifest in the flesh’—a mystery incomprehensible to the darkness of the anti-Christian apostasy.—(John 1:5.)

This heresy against the proper humanity of Christ is far more subtle than the counterpart of it, which denies his proper divinity. The orthodox have never been slack in excommunicating those who reject this; but they had better look well to themselves; for the ‘sinful flesh’ is as much an element of the divine Jesus as ‘the Spirit.’ In body Jesus only differed from other men in paternity. God was the father of that body, not Joseph; therefore, the body was Son of God, as Luke testifies of the first Adam. The logical consequences resulting from the denial of the true humanity of Jesus, are destructive of the mystery of the gospel; for if the Spirit did not take our nature, but a better nature, then is that better nature not our nature, and redeemed from whatever curse it may have laid under, and been reconciled to God. But if the human nature of Christ were immaculate (excuse the phrase, O reader, for since the Fall, we know not of an immaculate human nature) then God did not ‘send Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh;’ he did not ‘take hold of the seed of Abraham;’ he did not ‘become sin for us;’ ‘sin was’ not ‘condemned in the flesh;’ and ‘our sins were’ not ‘borne in his body upon the tree.’ These things could not have been accomplished in a nature destitute of that physical principle, styled ‘Sin in the flesh.’ Decree the immaculateness of the body prepared for the Spirit (Psalm 40:6; Heb. 10:5), and the ‘mystery of Christ’ is destroyed, and the gospel of the kingdom cases to be the power of God for salvation to those that believe it. If the Son of M an did not live a life of faith, and if he did not experience all the temptations which we feel, then is his life, and his resistance of evil, no example to us. But ‘he was tempted in all things after our likeness without sin;’ this, however, can only be admitted on the ground of his nature and ‘the brethren’s’ being exactly alike: hence

He knows what sore temptations are, For he has felt the same.

Enticements within and persecutions without make up the sum of his ‘sufferings for us,’ leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps: who did no sin ‘neither was guile found in his mouth.’

But, as a last resort against all this, the doctors of the apostasy fall back upon the saying of Gabriel, in Luke 1:35, that the child to be born of Mary was a ‘holy thing,’ and, consequently, of an immaculate nature. But they forget that all the firstborns of Israel were ‘holv things.’ Jesus was Jehovah’s firstborn by Mary; and, therefore, one of the firstborns of the nation; so that the law of the firstborns applied to him equally with the rest. ‘All the firstborns are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast; mine shall they be; I am Jehovah.’ Hence, the holiness of Mary’s babe was not of nature, but of constitution by the law. Gabriel declared his legitimacy in styling it a ‘holy thing’—a declaration ratified by Jehovah Himself, before the multitude, when he acknowledged Jesus as His Son, in whom He delighted.—(Matt. 3:17.)

In conclusion, upon this point, we may remark, that previous to the resurrection of the firstfruits, the Scripture knows nothing of two kinds of flesh, one immutable, immortal, and incapable of acting otherwise than in conformity with the will of the Creator; and another flesh, mutable, mortal, and capable of acting contrary to the will of God; it knows but of one kind of flesh, and pronounces condemnation upon those who deny that in that one kind came the Son of God to do His will, as it is written of Him in the volume of the book. Christ made sin, though sinless, is the doctrine of God—a deep and wonderful scheme that the wisdom and power of Deity could alone devise."

The Dr. in Eureka, Vol. I

"However perfect and complete the moral manifestation of the Deity was in Jesus of Nazareth, the divine manifestation was nevertheless imperfect as concerning the substance, or body of Jesus. This was what we are familiar with as the flesh. It was not angel-flesh, or nature; but that common to the seed of Abraham, styled by Paul...flesh of sin; ‘in which,’ he says, ‘dwells no good thing.’—(Rom. 7:18; 8:3.) The anointing spirit-dove, which, as the Divine Form, descended from heaven upon Jesus at his sealing, was holy and complete in all things; the character of Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, without spot or blemish, or any such thing; but his flesh was like our flesh in all its points—weak, emotional and unclean. Had his flesh been like that of Angel-Elohim, which is consubstantial with the Eternal Spirit, it would have been unfit for the purpose of the Deity in his manifestation. Sin, whose wages is death, had to be condemned in the nature that had transgressed; a necessity that could only be accomplished by the Word becoming Adamic-flesh, and not Elohistic. For this cause ‘Jesus was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death; . . . that he, by the grace of the Deity might taste death for every man.’ For this cause, and forasmuch also ‘as the children (of the Deity) are partakers of flesh and blood, he also likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy that having the power of death, that is, the diabolos,’ or elements of corruption in our nature, inciting it to transgression and therefore called ‘in working death in us.’—(Rom. 7:13; Heb. 2:9, 14.)

Another reason why the Word assumed a lower nature than the Elohistic was, that a basis of future perfection might be laid in obedience under trial. Jesus has been appointed Captain of Salvation in the bringing of many sons to glory. Now these sons in the accident of birth are all ‘subject to vanity,’ with inveterate propensities and relative enticements, inciting and tempting them to sin. A captain, therefore, whose nature was primarily consubstantial with the Deity, could not be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. He would be essentially holy and impeccable, and of necessity good. But a necessitated holiness and perfection are not the basis of exaltation to the glories of the Apocalypse. These are to be attained only by conquest of self under trial from without, by which ‘they come out of great tribulation.’—(Apoc. 7:14.) Its promises are to those who overcome, as their captain has overcome, when it can be said his victory is apocalyptically complete.’—(Apoc. 3:21; 11:15.) Hence, then, ‘it became the Deity to make the captain of the salvation of His many sons perfect through sufferings, and to effect this, he must be of their primary nature, that when the Great Captain and his associates shall rejoice together in the consubstantiality of the Deity, they may all have attained to it upon the principle of voluntary obedience, motived by faith, and maintained in opposition to incitements within, and enticements and pressure from without. The flesh is, therefore, a necessary basis for this; and making it possible for him to be tempted in all points according to the flesh-likeness without sin. Hence, though the Son of the Deity, and heir of all things, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect he became the author of aion-salvation unto all them that obey him.’"

The Dr. in Eureka, Vol. II

"The germ which in after ages was fully developed into the Anti-christ was the denying the Father and the Son.—(1 John 2:22.) This denial was in the sense of not confessing that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh—(2 John 7.) All who hold this damnable tradition (which in our time is an article of ‘orthodoxy’ so called) forsook the fellowship of the apostles, and were manifested as anti-christs. ‘Ye have heard’ says John, ‘that the Anti-christs comes; even now there are many Anti-christs, They went out from us, but they were not of us.’ These where ‘false prophets,’ spirits, or teachers, whose doctrine was ‘that of the Anti-christ that should come, and even now already, ’ says John, ‘is in the world."—(1 Epist. 4:3.) They confessed not, that he whom they called Jesus Christ was a man in the flesh common to all mankind, which is sa?? ?µa?t?a?, sin’s flesh.—(Rom. 8:3.) They maintained that he had another kind of flesh, which was pure, holy and immaculate. They confounded his immaculate or spotless character, with immaculate flesh. This was a fatal heresy; for if Jesus was not crucified in the flesh common to us all, then ‘sin was’ not condemned in the flesh,’ as all the apostles taught, and there has been as yet no sacrifice for sin, and consequently there are no means of remission of sins extant.

"The immaculate nature of Jesus however involved ‘the Fathers,’ and their ‘Father of the Fathers’—pat?? pate???—in the necessity of transforming the mother of Jesus into an immaculate virgin-goddess—immaculate in her conception, and therefore not of the common flesh of Jewish nature. The Deity of the Apostasy was bound to decree this to avoid the inconvenient questions, ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?’—(Job 14:4); and, ‘How can he be clean that is born of woman?’—(25:4.) Job says, ‘Not one’ can do this. But this paragon of virtue knew nothing of the Pope! He undertook to accomplish Job’s impossibility; for nothing is impossible with the Great Blasphemer of the Deity of the heaven! He decreed that the woman Mary was of clean and holy flesh, and therefore the thing born of her was ‘a holy thing,’ spotless flesh untainted of Adam’s sin, though ef, ? pa?te? ?µa?t?? in him all sinned, which an unsophisticated mind would suppose included all liable to death; Eli, Mary, her mother, and Jesus all died, and must necessarily have been included federally in Adam. But these considerations are no difficulty with the Chief Sorcerer of ‘Christendom.’ His magic wand, ‘thus I decree,’ transforms all lies into divine truths, and the grossest absurdities into the sublimest and most adorable mysteries."

In Answer to a Correspondent, in 1866

The Dr. wrote thus on the point, in August, 1866: "The Deity did not die for sin. Why should the Deity die for the transgression of His own law, by the creature formed from the dust by His own hand? DidGod, the Mighty Maker, die For man, the creature’s, sin?

Superstition and ignorance, parent and child of the flesh, say He did; but the Word of Reconciliation affirms no such absurdity. This word saith that ‘Deity condemned sin in the flesh,’ when that flesh died on the cross.

Jesus, or Yahweh Tzidkenu (he who shall be our Righteousness), was Son of the Deity by creation, and the son of man by the flesh developed from Mary, the descendant of David’s substance, without human intervention. Hence, his flesh was the same flesh as the First Adam with which ours is identical."

"The begettal of Yehoshua, or Jesus (he who shall save) by Holy Spirit, or power, and of the will of the Deity, made him ‘more Deity than any other man,’ but ‘not less sin’s flesh’ than we."

"Jesus was ‘more Deity’ than his brethren, in that he was generated independently of the will of the flesh, but not less flesh than they. Truly, as Paul says concerning this subject, ‘great is the mystery of Goldliness: Deity manifested in the flesh, &c."

In a Summary of the Faith, in 1867

3.—"That by this same Spirit, or Power, the Father Spirit, prepared ‘a body, ’ (Heb. 10:5, ) out of the substance of Mary, and named it before its formation, Yah-shua, or Yehoshua, He shall be, the Saviour; in Greek, Jesous, or Jesus; and that when about thirty years old, he was anointed with the same Spirit and with power.—(Luke 1:35; Acts 10:3).

4.—That this Jesus Anointed was the Eternal Invisible Father, by his spirit, manifested in the nature that sinned in Eden’s Garden; that when nailed to the cross the Father forsook him, in withdrawing His Spirit from him (Matt. 27:46); that when he died, his death was ‘the condemnation of sin in the flesh’ (Rom. 8:3); and that in so dying, he bare the sins of his brethren in his own body to the tree."—(1 Peter 2:24).

In the "One Great Offering," in 1868

"1.—By what phrase is this Offering Scripturally expressed? By the words ‘the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once.’—(Heb. 10:10.)

2.—In what did the offering of this body consist? In the condemnation of sin in the nature that sinned in the Garden of Eden.—(Rom. 8:3.)

4.—Who was the High Priestly Offerer in the crucifixion? The Eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14), upon the principle that what one doth by his instruments, he doth himself; thus Herod, Pilate, the Rulers, Romans and Jews, did whatsoever God’s hand and counsel determined before to be done.—(Acts 18:27, 28.)

5.—What is the Melchizidec High Priest? The Eternal Spirit manifested in the flesh.—(1 Tim. 3:16.)

6.—What was this manifested Priest’s sin offering? "His own body."—(1 Pet. 2:24.)

7.—Where did this Eternal Offerer offer his sacrifice? Upon the cross "without the gate," or "without the camp."—(Heb. 23:12, 13.)

In "Who Are the Christadelphians." 1869

6.—"They believe in ‘one Lord, ’ who is the one God by His eternal Spirit, manifested in sinful flesh for ‘the condemnation of sin in the flesh, named ‘Jesus Christ, ’ who, after his resurrection, was ‘justified by Spirit,’ or ‘made perfect,’ and, forty days afterwards was ‘taken up to the right hand of power."

7.—"They believe that Jesus died for the offences of sinners, and was raised again for the justification of believing men and women, and these obtain justification by faith in the obedience of faith."

In a Letter to "the Rock" While Last in England

"‘Testimony’ says that if the manifestation of Jesus was in sinful flesh, then Jesus was a sinner, and desires to know if I mean to say this? Christadelphians mean to say neither more nor less than Paul saith. This unsurpassed teacher of the truth says that God sent His own Son in the likeness of sin’s flesh, which he declares was the same as ours. Compare Rom. 8:3, with Heb. 2:14–17. And he says, too, in Heb. 7:27: ‘He offered for his own sins and the people’s, when he once offered up himself.’ But what is to be understood by ‘his own sins?’ The sins committed by others and borne in his own body on the cross, as testified in 1 Pet. 2:24, saying ‘who his own self bare our sins in his own body to the tree,’ upon which ‘he became a curse for us.’ In the Mosaic and Christian systems, the unsinning victim is regarded as the sinner, in the sense of being the sin-bearer. Personally, Jesus was ‘holy, harmless, underfiled, and separate from sinners;’ if he had not been so, he would not have been fit for the sin-bearer of the world; the purpose of God being the condemnation of sin in the nature that transgressed in Eden, in the person of one who had himself committed no sin."

Categorical Answers on the Subject a Year Before His Death

3rd.—"Was the flesh of Jesus from his birth by Mary pure, holy, spotless, undefiled? Answer: ‘No.’"

4th.—"Had he not been put to death violently, would he have lived for ever? Answer: ‘No.’"

5th.—"Did he stand in the same relation to ‘the law of sin and death’ as Adam did before he transgressed? Answer: ‘Answered above.’"

6th.—"Can a man be justified who believes the things implied in these questions concerning the nature of Jesus? Answer: ‘The Lord will settle this question at the judgment?’"


Posts: 1,023
Reply with quote  #9 
I think this exhortation by Bro George Gibson and reprinted in the Berean by Bro Growcott says what we have been believing for our lifetime.  Bro Fred

The Word Made Flesh


"God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself”—2 Cor. 5:19




       IN this chapter we are introduced to a deep, but beautiful subject. John calls our attention to the Fountain and Origin of all life, and to the Only Begotten of the Father—His beloved Son through whom He manifested Himself to His chosen people Israel.

       V. 1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."


       This takes us back a long way— "In the beginning." That is, before the record of Creation given by Moses. We must bear in mind that in writing these words, John was addressing a people who realized clearly there is but one God—a fact John well knew.

       Our English version was translated from the Greek. The original for ''Word" is Logos, and the word rendered "God" is Theos. The Romans borrowed this word from the Greeks and called it Deus from which we derive our word "Deity."

       The word Logos signifies "the outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known; also, the inward thought or reason itself." So this word comprehends the ideas both of reason and of speech.


       Then we are informed by John that the Word (Logos) was with God (Theos). This suggests companionship, and we learn from the Proverbs that such was the case. In ch. 8 the Logos, or wisdom-energy of the Father, is personified as His handmaiden—

       "Doth not Wisdom cry? And Understanding put forth her voice? She crieth at the gates . . . Unto you, O men,      I call . . . ye simple, understand wisdom . . . Hear, for I will speak of excellent things . . .

       "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting,   from the beginning, or ever the earth was . . . I was brought forth while as yet He had not made the earth.

       "When He prepared the heavens, I was there; when He set a compass upon the face of the depth: when He    established the clouds above; when He strengthened the fountains of the deep . . .

       "Then was I by Him, as one brought up with Him; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him"                                                                                         (vs. 1-30).

       This, we think, makes clear how the Logos was with God. But John adds, "The Logos was God.” Bro. Thomas explains this—

       "Without Theos, the Logos could have no existence. This may be illustrated by the relation of reason, or    intelligence and speech, to brain as affirmed in the proposition: ‘No brain—no thought, reason or        intelligence.

       "Call the brain Theos; and call thought, reason and understanding intelligently expressed, Logos—and the relation and dependence of Theos and Logos, in John's use of the terms, may be readily conceived.

       "Brain-flesh is substance that underlies thought. So Theos is substance which constitutes the substratum of      Logos. Theos is the substance called Spirit, as it is written: 'Theos is Spirit,' and he who uttered these words is        declared to be himself both substance and spirit."


       Some, however, would have us to believe that as the Logos was with God, and the Logos was made flesh, that Jesus was with God in the beginning as the second person of a triune God, described as "God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost."

       But let us not be mystified by the term Logos. The teaching of John is plain. He does not say that in the beginning was the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was God. What he does say is that the Logos was in the beginning (as we read in Proverbs), and that the Logos was made flesh. The result of this action was the bringing into existence 'the man Christ Jesus,' 'the Son of God.'


       By this method God was 'manifest in the flesh' (1 Tim. 3:16).The flesh, through which God was manifested, was the son of Mary. It was a flesh identical with that of his mother, being—


       "Made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom. 1:3).


John brings the subject of manifestation before us in his first epistle:

       "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have      looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life:

       "For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which      was with the Father, and was manifested unto us" (1 John 1:1-2).


Thus the eternal Father manifested Himself by His Spirit, through the living body of Jesus, who as a child had been developed from his mother Mary in the same manner as any child is developed. This is further elucidated in Jesus' words—

       "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then ye shall know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as the Father hath taught me, I speak these things" (John 8:28).

And again (John 14:10)—

       "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not       of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, HE DOETH THE WORKS."


       In the light of these things, surely it is not hard to understand John as he speaks of the Word, or Logos—that mighty power, energy and wisdom by which all things were made. The declaration in Ps. 139 regarding the eternal power of the Father is to the effect that—though centralized in Him—the Spirit is everywhere present—


       "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven,    Thou art there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.

       "If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me" (vs. 7-10).


       God, by His universal Spirit, fills heaven and earth. Therefore He, being the center of all power and wisdom, expresses His will and performs His purpose by and through the Spirit which irradiates from His glorious Person—

Vs. 2-3: 'The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made."


       This is taken by many to indicate that Jesus was the Creator, but this impression is to a large extent simply a result of the translators' choice of wording. It is clarified in the Diaglott—


       "This [the Logos] was in the beginning with God. Through it [the wisdom-energy of God] everything was   done; and without it not even one thing was done which has been done."


       In vs. 6-10 we have a similar case. We know that Jesus was "the Light," but v. 10 in the common version states that "the world was made by him." "Made" is not in the original. Again the Diaglott is clearer—

       “He was in the world, and the world was (enlightened) through him; and yet the world knew him not."


       Jesus was the Light of the world, and to that fact the prophets testified. Isaiah spoke of Jesus as the Light in 9:1-2, and Matthew quotes this prophecy in the following manner—


       "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, he   came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; that it      might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet saying,

       "The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the   Gentiles: the people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of     death, light is sprung up" (Matt. 4:12-16).

* * *

V. 11: "He came to his own, and his own received him not."


       What a measure of suffering and sorrow is comprehended in these words! Walk with Jesus as he walked in Judea and listen to the Scribes and Pharisees as they sought to entangle him in his talk. Hear them as they cry out, "Thou hast a devil!" Behold them as they take up stones to cast at him. Listen to them as they accuse him of blasphemy, and take counsel to put him to death.

       Go with him to the garden of Gethsemane and see the mob as they take him, bind him, and lead him away to the High Priest. Behold him as he is struck in the face by one of the officers. Listen to Pilate as he tries to free Jesus. He pleads with the people, but they cry out in murderous fury, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"


       Then he was scourged. A Roman soldier picks up a whip of several lashes of leather, to the ends of which were fastened sharp pieces of metal. Then the crown of thorns is crushed upon his head. Then we see him led away to be crucified. Oh, what torture as he hung on the cross in the hot sun. Death was a relief. Yes—


       "He came unto his own, and his own received him not."


       V.12: "As many as received him, to them gave he power (right or privilege) to become sons of God, even to     them that believe on his Name."


       To attain unto this, they must first believe the promises made unto the fathers. They must believe in Jesus, the manifestation of the Father (as we have seen). They must be immersed into his Name, thereby receiving remission of sins and being united to the body of Christ Jesus, thereby becoming Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise (Gal. 3:27-29).

       Brethren and sisters, we are in that position. There is indeed much to be done to maintain our status as sons of God, even—

       "Always abounding in the work of the Lord."

—but, oh, how little compared to him who has done so much for us!


       V 15: "John bare witness of him and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is     preferred before me: for he was before me."


Again the Diaglott expresses the meaning more clearly—

       "This is he of whom I said, He who comes after me is in advance of me [RSV: 'ranks before me'], for he is        my superior."


Then in v. 23 he plainly declares his position in relation to Jesus—

"I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.''

* * *

       Vs. 29-37: 'The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world . . . and I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God . . .

       "Again the next day after John stood, and 2 of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

       “And the 2 disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.''


"Behold the Lamb of God!"

       John recognized that his work was done when Jesus went forth        to preach the Gospel and heal the sick—


       "Ye yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

       "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him,      rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.

       "He must increase, but I must decrease."

* * *

V. 17: "For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.''


       The Law contained the "form of the knowledge and of the truth." It was only a shadow of things to come; a figure for the time then present; the pattern of the things in the heavens; the antitype of the true. But the knowledge and the truth, and the heavenly things themselves, came through Jesus.


       V. 18: "No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he        hath declared Him.”


       Paul confirms this statement of John by saying, "No man hath seen nor can see Him" (1 Tim. 6:16). The Father was revealed by Jesus because the Truth, the Logos-Spirit-Word, in its power, wisdom and fulness, was deposited in Jesus, for said Paul (Col. 1:19)—

       "It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell."


       When John said, "Behold the Lamb of God," two of his disciples heard him, and followed Jesus. He turned to them and asked them what they wanted. I suppose they were so surprised that all they could think of was the question, "Where do you live?" Jesus did not answer their question, but said, "Come and see." They not only saw where he dwelt, but were his guests for the day.

       What an honor! Think how we would feel if we had such an opportunity. But he is not here. However, such an opportunity will come, and it must surely be near. If we meet with the approval of the Lord Jesus at his coming, we too shall be his guests—

       "Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching. Truly I say unto you that he   shall gird himself, and make them to sit down at a table, and will come forth and serve them" (Luke 12).


And even now we have his wonderful, almost unbelievable, promise:

       "If any man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and     make our abode with him."


       Love for God and His Son is the most beautiful, joyful, powerful thing in the world. It transforms everything: turns all sorrow to joy. If we love them (in the true, scriptural, obedient sense), we have them: they dwell with us at every moment.

       Whatever form the conversation of the disciples with Jesus took, the effect is shown by Andrew's action the next morning—

       Vs. 41-42: "He first findeth his own brother Simon and saith unto him. We have found the Messias (which is,   being interpreted, the Christ.)

       "And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou   shalt be called Cephas (which is, by interpretation, A stone)."


       Can you not picture Jesus looking upon Peter with penetrating eyes and saying these few words so full of meaning? Jesus "knew what was in man." Here, in their first meeting, he was no doubt looking past that day and into the future concerning Peter's work.


V. 43: 'The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip and saith unto him. Follow me.''


Philip must have been familiar with the work of Jesus to respond without another word. Of course he lived in the same village as Andrew and Peter, and must have known them. Philip wasted no time:


       V. 45: "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and the

       Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.''


       Nathanael lived in Cana, a short distance from Bethsaida, and must have been a close friend of Philip. That they had a good knowledge of Moses and the Prophets is evident by their conversation. But when Nathanael heard that Jesus came from Nazareth he was not quite sure. It would be interesting to dwell at length upon this whole incident, but the highlight comes out after his introduction to Jesus, who said of him—


       V. 47: "Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile!"


       A glorious testimony to this faithful man, and a reminder that "all things are naked and opened" to the Spirit of God. Jesus manifested to Nathanael that by the Spirit he had been watching him when Nathanael thought he was alone. It is likely that "under the fig tree" Nathanael had been seeking God in prayer.


       After meeting Jesus, Nathanael was no longer hesitant about where Jesus came from. His chief interest now, and henceforth, was wholly in this wonderful man he had met for the first time, and so he exclaims—


       V. 49: "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel!"


       The response of Jesus (in the last verse of the chapter) takes us back to Jacob as he rested on his way to Padan-aram (Gen.28:12-7)—

       "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the   angels of God ascending and descending on it . .

       "And Jacob awakened out of his sleep, and he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none       other but the House of God!"


       Surely Nathanael’s mind would go to this too, and his understanding of it would open up. This experience of Jacob's was similar to that of Daniel, for they both awoke in a typical resurrection. But when Jacob awakes again after his sleep of centuries, he will see in fact what he then saw in vision, and with Nathanael and the rest of the glorious "cloud of witnesses" from down thru the ages, he will—


       V. 51: ". . see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."


       Heaven and earth will no longer be separated by the ladder of ages, for when the New Heaven and New Earth are established—

       "The tabernacle of God will be with men, and He will dwell with them; and they shall be His people, and God      Himself shall be with them, and be their God.

       "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither any more pain; for the former things are passed away."

As it is written—

       "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath        prepared for them that love Him."                                                     —Editor  Bro George Gibson



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Posts: 924
Reply with quote  #10 

A brother shared a link to this message board in another discussion group, and got this response:

I am not sure why you have chosen to share this here but you are fully aware that this is not an accurate representation of the issues - the temptation, nor sinful flesh nor the Herald 1852 article have been part of the discussion. I am not going to be drawn into debating the issue here but it's important for brethren and sisters to know that Jim's posts are not representative of the issues.

Of course we consider it wonderful, if a little surprising that these posts are not considered to be the issues. That it is argued that they have not even been a part of the discussion is a little baffling. Certainly the temptation of Christ, and a defense of the position that there had to be an external tempter, has been made using the 1852 article on multiple web sites. The point has also been made that those of us who suggest that Jesus’ temptations, regardless of who the tempter was, were internal, cannot explain any number of verses pertaining to the doctrine of God Manifestation. For instance, when a brother suggested it was a matter of different terminology meaning the same thing, he was corrected this way:

...No it is not merely differences in terminology – we have different beliefs. I believe what the pioneers wrote to be the truth and you are contradicting them. You have a different belief in regard to Deity manifestation. The reason I say you contradict these scriptures is because you write of the Lord having a carnal mind or mind of the flesh from which promptings to transgress occurred. None of the scriptures I quoted countenance this – nowhere. There is no passage in scripture to support your view. Your view appears to come from a mis-construction of ‘tempted in all points’. You deny the true force of passages which declare the absolute unity of thought and action between father and son. The Lord’s mind was not merely dominated by the spirit – he was the word made flesh. He was burdened with weak, emotional, sin defiled nature as a son of Adam/Mary. Deity manifest in sin nature. As a different form of sin’s flesh there was no carnal mind or mind of the flesh. Quoting Brother Thomas’ article ‘The Bible Doctrine concerning the Tempter considered’[This is the 1852 article–jp] – ‘the visitor though styled devil was not diabolos within, as in our case, but an excitant thereof, in the likeness of sin’s flesh, therefore his sayings are recorded as those of diabolos. Jesus being begotten of God, as was Adam the first likewise, and not of the will of sin’s flesh, the promptings to transgress did not proceed from within. In this the form of sin’s flesh he assumed, differed from the form we possess. The promptings in our case do often proceed from within’.

So here is a fellow who is very clear that he does consider our position on the temptation of Christ, (that he was tempted from within,) proves us in error on God Manifestation. If we believe that the thinking of the flesh is a physical constituent of the flesh (that the flesh thinks) as clearly taught by bro. Thomas, then this fellow believes we are astray on God Manifestation. He is teaching Christ had sinful flesh, but a different form of sinful flesh than we, one without the diabolos. He referenced a number of verses which he felt proves us wrong. Breaking his paragraph into a list, it would look like this:

By asserting that Yahoshua had a carnal mind [thinking of the flesh–JP] you contradict the following passages of scripture.

  • "Emmanuel, God with us" (Matt. 1:23).
  • "The word made flesh" (John 1:14).
  • "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).
  • "Great is the mystery of godliness, God (or as the Revised Version has it, He who) was manifested in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16).
  • "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. . . . He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14 :9, 10).
  • "The image of the invisible God ... the express image of his person" (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3).
  • For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:38).
  • And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. (Luke 2:40).
  • And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
  • I and my Father are one. (John 10:30).
  • Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:9-10).
  • To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:19).
  • 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. (1 Tim. 3:16)
  • Holy, harmless and undefiled.

I reject the argument that to believe the diabolos was in Christ obliterates the doctrine of God Manifestation, and intend to deal with that on a verse by verse basis, Lord willing.

But moving on with the original complaint, that my posts do not reflect the issue, I agree that "sinful flesh" has not directly been a part of the discussion. Our treatment of the problem is more prospective than actual. If one argues, based on the 1852 article, that Christ could not have been tempted from within because his nature was different from either ours or Adam’s, that it was a nature devoid of a "diabolos;" it is hard to see how you would not accept the rest of the 1852 article’s conclusion that Jesus nature was not sinful.

When we come to a phrase which has been the catalyst to this discussion, "the carnal mind" and we observe brethren denying that the nature of Christ possessed "the thinking of the flesh" or "carnal mind" of Rom. 8:6, which as bro. Thomas explains is merely a synonym for "sin in the flesh," it is difficult to see how this doesn’t ultimately all tie together in a denial that the flesh of Christ was "sinful." Bro. Thomas is quite clear in Elpis Israel that "the thinking of the flesh" is that physical constituent of our nature, called "sin in the flesh."

The carnal mind, or serpent in the flesh, is the subject of a twofold manifestation, namely, individually and collectively. An individual manifestation is more or less observable in persons who "mind the things of the flesh," or "earthly things" (Rom. 8:5; Phil. 3:18-19; Col. 3:2; 1 John 2:15). To do this is to be "after the flesh," and "in the flesh;" of whom, it is testified, "they cannot please God." By a figure, sin is put for the serpent, the effect for the cause; seeing that he was the suggester of unbelief and disobedience to man, by whom it entered into the world. Hence, the idea of the serpent in the flesh is expressed by "sin in the flesh;" which was "condemned in the flesh" when Jesus was crucified for, or, on account of sin, "in the likeness of sinful flesh." In the animal man there dwelleth no good thing. The apostle affirms this of himself, considered as an unenlightened son of the flesh. "In me, that is, in my flesh," says he, "dwelleth no good thing." Hence, whatever good was in him, did not originate from the thinking of the flesh excited by the propensities, and traditions of Gamaliel, but from "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus; " that is, from the influence of "the testimony of God," concerning "the things of the kingdom, and name of Jesus Christ," upon "the fleshly tablet of his heart," most assuredly believed. Submission to this "made me free," says he, "from the law of sin and death." This attests the truth of the Lord's saying, that "if the truth made a man free, he should be free indeed." Sin, though still in the flesh, should no more reign in his mortal body, nor have dominion over him.

We can see from bro. Thomas, that "the thinking of the flesh" (translated in the KJV as the carnal mind) "the serpent in the flesh," and "sin in the flesh" are all the same thing. They are terms representative of that physical condition called "sinful flesh." It is quite illogical to affirm that Christ bore "sin in the flesh," while at the same time denying its synonyms.

Again from bro. Thomas in Elpis Israel:

"...As soon as He was filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1) at His baptism in the Jordan, it immediately drove Him (Mark 1:12) into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Matt. 4:1). This was very remarkable. The Spirit led Him there that He might be put to the proof; but not to tempt Him; for, says the apostle, "let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man" (James 1:13). God, then, did not tempt Jesus; though His Spirit conducted Him thither to be tempted, and that, too, "By the Devil," or the enemy. This enemy within the human nature is the mind of the flesh, which is enmity against God; it is not subject to His law, neither indeed can be (Rom. 8:7). The commandment of God, which is "holy, just and good," being so restrictive of the propensities, which in purely animal men display themselves with uncontrolled violence, makes them appear in their true colors. These turbulent propensities the apostle styles "sin in the flesh," of which it is full; hence, he also terms it "sinful flesh." This is human nature; and the evil in it, made so apparent by the law of God, he personifies as "pre-eminently a sinner," kaq uperbolhn amartwlo (Rom. 7:12, 13, 17, 18). This is the accuser, adversary, and calumniator of god, whose strong hold is the flesh. It is the devil and satan within the human nature; so that "when a man is tempted, he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."

Again we see that "the mind of the flesh," which is again a translation of the words the KJV calls "the carnal mind" of Rom. 8:6, is the enemy within human nature. It is "sin in the flesh." To say that the carnal mind is not within Christ, is to say that Christ did nor bear in his body, "sin in the flesh."

Lastly, here is part of a response bro. Thomas made to those who believe in the immortal soul, and are offended by the notion that flesh thinks.

"‘The thinking of the spirit’ is a divine superaddition to the ‘thinking of the flesh.’ The latter is common to all men and beasts, in a greater or less degree of perfection; while the former is peculiar to the prophets and apostles. and the saints of the living God. This is the reason why there is so much diversity between true believers and the world. The world’s mind is the unenlightened thinking of sin’s flesh, the propensities being ascendant; while that of the true believer is thinking, which results from the understanding and earnest belief of the things of the Spirit of God. In this case, the intellect is enlightened, the sentiments elevated, and God’s truth enthroned..." (Chdn. 1877, pg 292)

Note that bro. Thomas says that the "thinking of the flesh" is common to all men and beasts. This would obviously include Jesus, unless he was of another nature than we. The "thinking of the spirit" is superadded to those trained of God, so that the thinking of the spirit overrides the thinking of the flesh. But the thinking of the flesh is physical, or material (to keep in harmony with bro. Thomas’ response) while the thinking of the Spirit is not physical, but spiritual, overriding (superadded to) the physical.

These writings by bro. Thomas show us that "the thinking of the flesh," "the mind of the flesh," "the carnal mind" are translations of the same term, and are descriptive of the physical quality of the flesh we inherit from Adam. These phrases are synonymous with "sin in the flesh," "serpent in the flesh," or "diabolos" from which temptations within spring. Again, logically speaking, you cannot affirm one term of Christ, and deny the synonyms. [All red and red emboldening in this post is mine.--jp]


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Reply with quote  #11 

We were asked how, in view of our position, we understand a statement made by bro. Roberts in Christendom Astray:

But who was the devil who thus busied himself to subvert Jesus from the path of obedience? The answer is, it is impossible to say positively who he was. As in the case of Job’s Satan, we can only be positive as to who he was not. Various probabilities are suggested by the circumstances of the temptation according to the phase in which they are contemplated. Some think the devil in the case was Christ’s own inclinations; but this is untenable in view of the statement that "When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season" (Luke 4:13). It is also untenable in view of the harmony that existed between the mind of Christ and the will of the Father (John 8:29).

"Untenable" means "not capable of being defended against attack or criticism." The 22 year old bro. Roberts (in 1862) no doubt felt quite comfortable making such a statement. (I remember being 22.) But over time, we all learn that there are very few subjects where someone will develop some sort of attack or criticism. Those who can come to a knowledge of the truth learn to be able to tell valid arguments from invalid arguments, and also the ability to know when no sure argument can be established.

By the end of his life, (in 1898) bro. Roberts wrote this about the Devil:

The Devil


General Principle.—That the Bible devil is the personified antagonism of flesh and blood to God, in various forms and methods.

Uncertain Detail.—What was the particular form of Bible diabolism that Michael encountered in the dispute about the body of Moses? What was the particular form of the Bible devil that tempted Jesus in the wilderness? We cannot positively know, because we are not informed, and because the Bible devil is over and over again a man, an institution, a government, or a desire. We may have an opinion as to who the devil was in these two cases, but it is only an opinion, and a brother must be at liberty to hold whatever opinion commends itself to him in the case, so long as his opinion does not upset the general principle in the case, nor open the door for the supernatural devil of popular theology.

So at the start of his career, he had determined, reasonably I believe that there had to be an external tempter. But by the end, he had heard enough arguments from others to know that there are other, reasonable ways to look at this Scriptural event, and it is simply impossible to be dogmatic. I think he was correct. The best arguments are for an external tempter–not because there has to be one, since no internal temptations were possible by reason of his nature, but because the context in stating the diabolos departed from him for a season would indicate a person, not his internal desires. Also, because for 30 years he successfully controlled the flesh, conforming all thought perfectly to the mind of the spirit; and having now had added the Holy Spirit without measure, this would seem to have made such a temptation most unlikely to have developed from within.

Another idea advanced to support ideas related to the 1852 article come from a section of Phanarosis.

When we contemplate the Cherub before his sealing and anointing, we see only the Son of Mary "the Seed of the Woman," in the words of Moses; and Son of God, in the same sense that Adam was. The New Testament writers give us very little information concerning Jesus during thirty years of his sojourn in the covenanted land. All we learn concerning him after his return from Egypt is, that he dwelt in Nazareth, and was subject to Mary and Joseph; and worked at the trade of his mother’s husband. He knew his real paternity was not of Joseph: he never went to school; yet was he wiser than those who assumed to be his teachers, being filled with wisdom, the grace of God being upon him; and was the beloved of all who knew him (Matt. 1:23; Luke 2:40, 46–52; Mark 6:3; John 8:15; Psalm 119:97–104). He was clearly in an intellectual and moral condition parallel with Adam’s before he transgressed. The "grace of God" was upon Adam, and imparted to him much wisdom and knowledge; but still left him free to obey the impulses of his flesh if he preferred it, rather than the Divine Law. This was the case also with Jesus, who, in his discourses, always maintained the distinction between what he called "mine own self" and "the Father Himself" who dwelt in him by His effluence. "The Son," said he, "can do nothing of himself"; and this he repeated in the same discourse, saying, "I can of mine own self do nothing."? He refers all the doctrine taught, and all the miracles performed to the Father, whose effluence rested upon and filled him. If this be remembered, it will make the "hard sayings" of his teaching easy to be understood.

In reading this, it took awhile for me to figure out what was intended by this quote, in the context of the 1852 article. Then I realized that the phrase "intellectual and moral condition" was linked in the mind of the quoter, to bro. Thomas’ comments on the "intellect" and "sentiment" of Adam in the garden in Elpis Israel. With that in mind I responded:

"He was clearly in an intellectual and moral condition parallel with Adam's before he transgressed."

Obviously, Jesus was always of the same moral condition, parallel with Adam before he transgressed. He was, "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" in a moral sense.

But to say he was in the same "intellectual" condition as Adam before he transgressed, needs qualification. Understanding "intellectual" to mean "the ability to think and understand ideas at a high level, or involving ideas" (Cambridge Dictionary) then I would suppose all would agree. This, I believe is bro. Thomas’ intent here.

But the intellect of Jesus, as described in Elpis Israel, would have differed from Adam, in that in his novitiate, Adam had no knowledge of sin. The knowledge of good and evil came to Adam in consequent of eating of the tree, which ended his novitiate. Adam , in his novitiate would not have intellectualized upon the temptations of the world, as he had no knowledge of its evils. Jesus, on the other hand, was born into a condition where the knowledge of good and evil was already a fixed principle in the flesh, and manifest in the world around him. His intellect then, would have to consider evil, and the temptations of the world around him, to know to resist them.

So if all bro. Thomas is speaking of is capacity, then true, Jesus as a child was at least as intellectual as Adam before he sinned. But if we are speaking of his intellect in regards to the three philosophical stimulants to the human mind which he explains in Elpis Israel, (propensity, intellect, and sensibility) then no, intellectually Jesus could not have been as Adam in his novitiate, as in his novitiate, there was no knowledge of sin effecting intellect.

To make that statement in Phanerosis, I’m guessing he did not believe that Messrs. Epstein, Lederer, and de Lara had read Elpis Israel, and so would not be confused by the appropriation of a term so closely tied to his explanation of temptation.

This response was met with some version of I have departed from the writings of bro. Thomas etc. My response and the followup complaint was all deleted, which is just as well. But was this response really contrary to the writings of bro. Thomas. All we have to do is look at the way he used the phrase "intellectual and moral" and we see that he is referring to the moral capability of the mind, and not the physically inherited stimulants of the mind. Bro. Thomas wrote in Elpis Israel:

The law of sin and death is hereditary, and derived from the federal sinner of the race; but the law of the mind is an intellectual and moral acquisition. The law of sin pervades every particle of the flesh; but in the thinking flesh it reigns especially in the propensities. In the savage, it is the only law to which he is subject; so that with his flesh, he serves only the law of sin and death. This is to him "the light within"; which is best illustrated by the darkness of Egypt, which might be felt. It was this internal light which illuminated "the princes of the world, who crucified the Lord of glory". It shined forth in the philosophy of Plato, and in the logic of Aristotle, who walked in it while "dwelling in the land of the shadow of death" and it is "the light within" all babes who are born of blood, of the will of the flesh, and of man under the constitution of sin, in all countries of the world.


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From the earliest days of the truth, the doctrine of God Manifestation has been a source of confusion. The confusion is quite justified to readers. It takes awhile to be able to read the pioneers understanding when they are describing the matter in a literal, or perhaps more clearly, an analytical manner; and when one is writing what bro. Roberts called in a "technical" manner.

Technically, the Christ-man is the entire subject of the Scriptures. When the Eternal Father said in Deuteronomy, Hear O Israel, He Who Shall Be Mighty Ones, is One Who Shall Be: The Eternal Father was the He Who Shall Be. The Mighty Ones are a congregation of Eloah, who are made up of Jesus the head, and the saints that have redemption through Jesus. And the One Who Shall Be is the multitudinous Christ-man. One Eloah made up of Elohim or a multitude of Eloah, all having life derived from, and therefore in the Eternal Father who alone has life of Himself.

Technically, all things were created by the Christ-man, that is, by the intent of the Eternal Father to be manifested in a multitude. It was the image of the Eloah in multitude or Elohim, that man was created. It was the Multitudinous Christ-man who was the Cherubim placed in the Garden to divert the man from the tree of life.

Technically, the Christ-man was slain from the foundation of the world, for the redemption from sin.

Technically, the Christ-man had life of himself, since the Eternal Father which had life of Himself intended from the beginning to give life to the Christ-man through Himself.

Literally, Jesus the Christ did not exist prior to his birth from his mother, Mary, circa 7 BC. Literally,, Jesus the Christ grew in wisdom and grace, learning obedience from the things he suffered. Literally, Jesus the Christ, through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot or blemish, for the redemption of mankind, circa 27 BC.

Technically, Jesus was the Logos made flesh, the wisdom, character and power of Theos. Technically, the Logos came down from the Theos, and was in Christ, for the purpose of manifesting Theos or The Eternal Father through Christ. Technically Jesus was Eloah, the Everlasting Father.

Literally, Jesus the Christ was given life, derived from the Father, three days following his crucifixion, in whom now dwells the fullness of the Eternal Father, bodily.

When brethren write of God Manifestation, they are either writing of the Christ-man, or the man Christ Jesus, or the Word made Flesh, or the immortalized Jesus who is the head of the Christ-man. Because they are so intimately entwined, deriving wisdom, power, fiat, and life of the Eternal Father; and because these concepts overlap, it is easy to become confused when we think analytically of Jesus, the head of the Christ-man, and the saints, who are the constituents of the Christ-man.

So when the pioneers write of the pre-existence of Christ, they are writing of the Christ-man as recorded in the Old Testament. Or they are writing of the Logos made flesh, who came down from heaven. They are not writing of the man, Christ Jesus. This was well explained in the days of the pioneers, in the Christadelphian Magazine. A reader wrote this to bro. Roberts:



"It appears to me there are inconsistencies between you and Dr. Thomas on the subject of the nature of Christ. You say in your Twelve Lectures, pp. 131 and 132, that:

‘Christ, therefore, though now possessed of inherent life, has been invested with it: it is not, in his case, underived. It is the only great increate, the Father, that can say ‘I am, and there was none else before me.’ ‘Yet though Christ’s is not underived existence, it is more directly divine than the human.’ "He did not exist prior to his birth by Mary.’

Dr. Thomas says, in the Christadelphian (formerly Ambassador), for August last, page 216:

Jesus Christ, in the day of his weakness, had two sidesthe one Deity, the other, man. The Eternal Christ-power veiled in and manifested through the flesh, created from the ground, which flesh had wantonly transgressed the divine law, the penalty of which sent it back into the dust from whence it came. This is Jesus Christ, the true Deity, whom to know is life eternal.’

Now, I need not remind you and the readers of the Christadelphian, that time and talent have been spent to prove the Trinitarian dogma of orthodoxy unscriptural. It has been contended that Christ was ‘not very God, that he did not exist prior to his birth by Mary, but as a purpose with the Deity—that he is not underived.’ If that be the teaching of the Bible, what can be the meaning of Dr. Thomas in styling Christ the Eternal Father-Deity and Man? The Bible-teaching concerning Christ, so far as I apprehend it, is that he was the Son of God, not the Deity; that he was derived—not the Eternal Father! ‘Thou art my Son: to-day have I begotten thee.’ "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ When did he become Christ? Was it at his birth, or his baptism? When did the Deity veil Himself in the flesh? and was it the Deity, or the Spirit of the Deity? Nowhere in the Bible can I find that the Deity styles himself "The Christ" (or anointed.) I understand the Bible teaching concerning God to be that there is but one God, and that He is substanceain , and, therefore, material, yet spirit, and that He must occupy space, or a part of it. I shall be glad if you can harmonize these apparent inconsistencies."


So here is the confusion I just wrote about. And here is bro. Roberts’ response:

Our first remark, in reply to the foregoing, is that there is no contradiction in the several views placed in juxta-position by our correspondent. They are all of them in their place true: they are but different aspects of the same truth. They appear to be contradictory only to those who fail to take a correct view of the terms employed in the expression of them. Dr. Thomas writes technically on the subject: the other work quoted aims at literal definition

And there are more difficulties as well. Bro. Roberts goes on in this article to explain how difficult it is with out human, finite minds, to grasp things that are Eternal. Our concepts of the term "God," "Spirit," and "Anointed" are at best limited and incomplete. This, by itself, necessarily limits our understanding of the subject. But getting back to the source of the confusion, bro. Roberts defines it quite clearly this way.

Of Jesus Christ, the individualized and intelligent manifestation of the Father, then, it is true that "though now possessed of inherent life, he has been invested with it; it is not, in his case, underived"—(Twelve Lectures, p. 131, 132); and that "he did not exist prior to his birth by Mary." There is nothing inconsistent with this in the statements of Dr. Thomas:

(a) "Jesus Christ, in the days of his weakness, had two sides, the one Deity and the other man."

(b) "The Eternal Christ-power, veiled in and manifested through the flesh, created from the ground" in Eden, &c.

(c) "This is Jesus Christ, the true Deity, whom to know is life eternal."

(a) Dr. Thomas does not say that the two sides of the Christ were 1st, the divine Son; 2nd, man. He affirms that which the Scriptures declare—that his two sides were 1st, the Father who was manifested in him, and 2nd, the medium of manifestation—the man who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, begotten by the Spirit. This manifestation of the divine in the human was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was not the human or the divine separately, but both in combination, constituting the Son.

(b) What then, it is asked, is the meaning of "the Eternal Christ-power, veiled in and manifested through the flesh?" The meaning is evident when the language is correctly understood. The "Christ-power" has no reference to the character or individuality of Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother, who learned obedience by the things that he suffered; but to the power that was before him, and of which he was the incarnation. Who is the Eternal Christ-power? Why, the Father, who is Spirit, and everywhere present. Then why obscure the subject by this mode of description? There is a reason. But first, it is no real obscuration, though the matter can be otherwise expressed. Whence sprung "Jesus Christ," understood in the most superficial way? From Eternal Power. Would there have been such a man, but for the power of the Spirit upon Mary? No. What determined his character and gave him his power? That to which he owed his existence, which was the eternal power of the Father exerted by the Spirit. It is, therefore, no inaccuracy to term that antecedent power, the "Eternal Christ-power." There would have been no Christ but for that power. But the reason for keeping this aspect well in the foreground: well, that is to be found in the tendency on the part of some—having but a superficial apprehension of the truth—to ignore the divine element in Jesus, and teach falsehood concerning him, in saying that he was a mere man, though begotten of the Spirit, having but the nature of his mother, and not of his Father, or that he was the Son of Joseph. The forms in which truth are expressed are always affected by the attitude of heresy.

(c) Jesus was the true God in manifestation. The angels who spoke to the fathers were so also; and hence, relatively to men, are described as God.—(Judges 2:1–3.) The angel in the bush said "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."—(Ex. 3:6.) When three angels presented themselves to Abraham, it is said that "Jehovah appeared" unto him.—(Gen. 18:1.) So with "the angel on the Mount Sinai that spoke to Moses," (Acts 7:38, ) and many other cases. There is nothing inappropriate in this. These were the official manifestations of the Eternal Power of the Universe to the fathers. The fact that Eternal Power was the speaker is kept in the foreground, but this does not exclude the minor fact that the mediums of speech were created intelligences. So Christ being the Father veiled in our flesh is styled the Deity, but this does not exclude the fact that literally, he is but the manifestation of him, viz., the Son of God, the man Christ Jesus. The two aspects co-exist. Indeed, there is a trinity in the case, though not the Trinity. Jesus is "the Father, (manifested in a) Son (by the) Holy Spirit;" and in combination "these three are one." Hence, in being "baptized into Jesus Christ" (Rom. 6:3) we are "baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."—(Matt. 28:19.) When we are in Christ, we are "in God," (1 Thess. 1:1, ) because he is in the Father. "The head of every man (in Christ) is Christ, and the head of Christ is God."—(1 Cor. 11:3.) "All things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God."—(1 Cor. 3:23.) God is the great head, Christ is the mediator. In due time God will be all in all. "Then shall the Son also himself be subject unto Him."—(1 Cor 15:28.)

These explanations show the four principle aspects from which God Manifestation can be discussed and explained. From the aspect of the antecedent or prophetic Christ-man, we have very technical explanations. From the aspect of the man, Jesus the Christ we generally have very literal explanations. From the aspect of the Word made Flesh, we have a very Technical explanation. And finally from the aspect of the immortalization of Jesus Christ, we have a very literal explanation.

These aspects do not contradict each other. They simply manifest, or exhibit to us, the Eternal Father, in different, all encompassing ways.  {As always, red, blue and all emboldening of red or blue, are mine--jp]


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Reply with quote  #13 
The weekend is upon us, and it is a Hye quarterly weekend.  I get to cook the afternoon meal on Saturday, so today will be spent in preparation for that, giving me little time to write.  So I thought I would try and produce this article some how, as in its original form, it quite clearly demonstrates the beliefs of the pioneer Christadelphians as regards the Carnal Mind, or thinking of the flesh.

The original article from an 1867 Ambassador had a chart, and the chart made a comparison between Heb. 2:14, Rom. 8:3, to show that the verses were intimately connected and explained the same principle.  It went line by line through the two sections, showing which part of one verse applied to the other.  Relevant to our discussion, it shows that "the diabolos" of Heb. 2:14 corresponds directly to "the Carnal Mind" or Romans 8:6.  So we can see how difficult it is to claim support from the pioneer brethren, while denying that the physical principle of "the thinking of the flesh" or "diabolos" existed within in the man Christ Jesus.

In saying this, I do not intend to mean that those who believe that the expression "thinking of the flesh" is a description of the moral condition of the mind, are in some grievous error.  I think that this is simply a wrong application of the term.  If the term was moral, we would all agree that Christ did not have a morally deprived mind.  But likewise, if the term is descriptive of a physical characteristic of mankind, as taught by the pioneer brethren, we should all agree that he was created to be exactly as you and me, with the thinking of the flesh for the expressed purpose of conquering it, and bringing about it's destruction by putting to death the diabolos, or sin in the flesh.

The formatting for this web site will not allow me to create a chart.  Or perhaps I should say that with my skill level, I cannot produce a chart.  So, I will use the quote tool, to keep the lines separate.  The quotes relevant to Heb. 2:14 will be produced in red.  Those of Romans 8 will be produced in blue.

[QUOTE]Heb. 2:14
Rom. 8:3

Heb. 2:14.—Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.
Romans 8:3.—God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.

that through death
and for SIN (in the margin, by a sacrifice for sin.)

he might destroy HIM
condemn SIN in the flesh, put away sin.—(Heb. 4.

that had the power of death
SIN hath reigned unto death.—(Rom. 5:21.) SIN bringeth forth death.—(Jas 1:15.) The STING of death is SIN —(1 Cor. 15:56.) Death by SIN.—(Rom. 6:12.) The WAGES of SIN is death.—(Rom. 6:23.)

that is the DEVIL (diabolos accuser)
The CARNAL MIND is enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.—(Rom. 8:7.)

It will be pointed out that this article was not by bro. Roberts, which is true.  It is by a bro. Bingley, who ultimately separates from the Christadelphians, and is last noted in the Christadelphian Magazine as a supporter of the Partial Inspirationists.  Still it is certain that bro. Roberts would not have allowed a position to be stated in his magazine, that he felt was error. 

[Color added, emphasis is from the original.--jp]


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Reply with quote  #14 
On another web site, the following response was made to Christadelphos' post:

Just to be clear: The argument is about whether Christ had a carnal mind from which he conceived evil thoughts. This is the doctrine that is being rejected. I am upholding the pioneer writings as the standard of truth revived in the latter days - if a brother thinks this borders on clean flesh then that highlights that he either misreads the nature of the argument, or has departed so far from a true position that he accuses the pioneer brethren of clean flesh error. The truth on this subject can be read on the following link.

In his language, this brother has changed the dynamics of the discussion.  We agree with him, that Jesus did not conceive evil thoughts.  Evil thoughts sprung from within him, which is a different thing than saying Jesus conceived sinful thoughts.  The "motions of sins" in Jesus, was the consequence of his physical nature styled, "the thinking of the flesh," which is poorly translated in the KJV, to be "the carnal mind."  Concerning these "motions of sins," Jesus gave them no quarter.  He drove them from his mind before they could "conceive."  But they were there.  They were very real.  And they no doubt troubled him to a far greater degree than they trouble us, because he had such a greater awareness of the evil of sin, than mere mortals.

In the example used by Christadelphos, Jesus demonstrated an independent will from God, "a thinking of the flesh" based upon what he wanted.  But while he asked his Father to consider another way, he never, ever considered disobeying God's command.  He never "conceived" of a way to accomplish his own will in contradistinction to Divine will.  He was going to submit to Divine direction, whatever it was, though his own will would have been that the Divine plan could have been accomplished some other way.  We know God did not change the plan. Jesus voluntarily submitted to the will of his Father, ultimately crucifying his own will.  His independent volition, while the product of "being made sin," was not transgression.  

As for the brother's accusation that to say that Christ had "the carnal mind" is a contradiction to the writings of bro. Thomas, we have already covered that in depth in this thread.  Clearly bro. Thomas taught that the carnal mind is a physical quality of the flesh.  It is a synonym for "sin in the flesh."  To say that Christ did not have a "carnal mind" is to say that Christ did not have "sin in the flesh."  That is why this teachings borders so closely on "clean flesh."

BUT, we must keep in mind that some brethren do not view the expression "the carnal mind" to be physical, and a synonym for "sin in the flesh" as taught by bro. Thomas.  They view it to be a moral quality.  So they do not believe that they are denying that Christ had "sin in the flesh" when they deny that Christ had "a carnal mind."  

My opinion is that brethren who believe the "carnal mind" is moral, misunderstand the Scripture, but do not teach clean flesh.  The question they should ask themselves is, did Jesus die?  The thinking of the flesh is death.  The thinking of the spirit is life and peace.  Jesus died, so obviously, physically, he bore the thinking of the flesh. That he now lives, is evidence that morally, he was always guided by and obedient to the thinking of the spirit.

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Reply with quote  #15 

Yet another brother has suggested that Christ did not have a carnal mind, or the thinking of the flesh.  I should note that neither this brother, nor the one quoted in my last post, are Berean Christadelphians, though at least one of them has been, briefly, in the past.

The carnal mind is enmity against God, i.e. the thinking of the flesh. If the Lord had committed any of those thoughts recorded in the wilderness (Mt. 4), then he would have been guilty of rebellion against his Father. This shows they were sinful thoughts. Christ was above men, the loins of his mind were continually girded with the Spirit. There has to be one man amongst the sons of Adam that prevailed to conquer sins' flesh. Everything depended on it. This man was the Christ, the Lamb without spot or blemish, not as to the flesh, but as to his mind. Therefore it pleased Yahweh to bruise his only begotten son, that sins' flesh might be put down in every sense and that includes carnal fleshly selfish thoughts which are sin. It is folly to argue that corrupt thoughts would have crossed Christ's mind from his enemies (Pharisees etc). This is another phony argument. Yahweh knows all the thoughts of man, but he is not defiled by them, he will destroy them when he is ready at the appointed time. It is only when a person sympathises with an evil thought, or his flesh is aroused, that he sins. It is not the theoretical knowledge of sin that defiles. Christ knew what an adulterer was but he wasn't defiled. In fact he says that anyone that looks upon a woman to lust (commit adultery in his heart), then he hath sinned in his thoughts.

As an aside, I note the sentence above that says that Christ “was the lamb of God without spot or blemish, not as to the flesh, but as to his mind.”  I don’t understand why brethren who reject the doctrine of the immortal soul which clearly separates mind from body, wish to go back to the roots of these Immaterialists, and separate the flesh from the mind.  It is the flesh that thinks.  The mind and flesh are inseparable.  The thinking of the spirit can over ride the thinking of the flesh, and does in the faithful.  It did perfectly in Jesus.  But the thinking of the flesh is always there and is an inevitable constituent of the body. 

I know some of these brethren become impatient with us when we point out their close proximity to “clean flesh” but this is bro. Roberts addressing the same mistake in the first “clean flesh” teacher, Edward Turney.  The conclusions are different, in fact opposite, to be sure.  Turney believed the flesh was clean, and the mind was sinful.  This brother argues that the flesh is defiled and the mind is pure.  But both make the same mistake of separating the mind from the body, or flesh.

  I [bro. Roberts speaking] will quote from the notes I made. “There is nothing evil in the flesh.” “Sin is not in the flesh, but sin is in the character.”“Sinful applies to the character and not to the flesh.” “We have sin in our character but not in our flesh.” “Sinful is not the proper word to qualify flesh, but qualifies character.” “So ignorant was I on this subject,” he says, “that I expected so and so.” Very well! Now what is character, brothers? Is it not the manifestation of the qualities of the flesh? I could understand an immortal-soulist talking like this; but how you can understand a man talking in this way who recognises that the flesh thinks, and that character is but the outward manifestations of that thinking flesh, is difficult to say. It is a marvellous piece of new-born wisdom to say that “sinful” applies to the character but not to the substance that produces the character. That it does apply to the thing that produces it we shall see. Paul’s definitions are more philosophical than Edward Turney’s; for Paul goes to the root of the matter, and says, that in the flesh dwelleth no good.

But to the main point of did Jesus have a mind from which temptation sprang, or did he have, (what this brother calls “a phony argument”) a mind which could be appealed to by the reasonings of a Satan:  the Scriptural account specifically says that Jesus was tempted.

Luk 4:1-2 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,  Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

The word “tempted” there is “peirazo,” and it is the identical term used when James describes to us what “tempted” means.  James says that every man is tempted (peirazo) when he is drawn away of his own lust (desires) and “enticed,” a word that means “offered pleasure or advantage.”

The brother, in his quote, uses the phrase “committed any of those thoughts.”  In the process of temptation, there is a point where impulses of the flesh are accepted or “impregnated” as it were, to borrow from James’ analogy.  When that occurs, the impulses becomes “thoughts,” and they bring forth sin.  But if the impulse does not “conceive,” then the impulse does not engender “thoughts” giving birth to sin, neither can the impulse be called sin, in the sense of transgression.  The impulse can be called sin in a physical sense, as it springs from sin’s flesh or “the carnal mind,” and this is the sin Jesus lamented in the Psalms, and from which he was purged by the coals from the altar touching his lips.  (Isa. 6:6-7).

Bro. Roberts is very clear that the impulses of the flesh are not sin, they are not the conceived thoughts of sin, in the sense of transgression.

All men are subject to the warfare expressed in the words: “The spirit lusteth against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit.”—(Gal. 5:17.) The best, like Paul, “find a law in their members,” which requires to be kept vigilantly subject to “the bounds prescribed by law,” that is, to the commands of the Spirit. The man who, by the power of faith, “crucifying the affections and lusts,” succeeds in obtaining the victory, is the man who “will obtain the incorruptible crown.”—(1 Cor. 9:25; James 1:12; John 14; Rev. 2:26.) Sowing to the spirit, he will reap life everlasting.—(Gal. 6:8.) The mere impulse to sin is not sin. Sin consists in giving way to impulse in thought or deed. The prophets were men of like passions with ourselves.—(James 5:10, 17.) Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are.—(Heb. 4:15.) There could be no victory if there were no impulse inclining in a forbidden direction.

If, when saying, that the thoughts in the wilderness are “sinful thoughts” and if Jesus had them, he “would have been guilty of rebellion against God,” the brother means that Jesus couldn’t have meditated and contemplated acting upon these thoughts, then we agree.  The lusts would never have “conceived” in Jesus.  But if the brother means that it was impossible for Jesus to have had these impulses at all, these desires to be fed after fasting forty days, and the rationalizing that the fleshly mind can uncontrollably attach to these impulses, then we believe him wrong.  To be tempted is to be drawn away by our own lusts, and enticed.  But if Jesus couldn’t have had these impulses, (regardless of the source of the stimulation of these impulses,) then these impulses couldn’t have enticed his own desires, and he wouldn’t have been tempted. 

James is very clear.  “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts and enticed.  And lust, when it hath conceived bringeth forth sin.”  Here are two states for lust.  Lust which brings temptation.  And lust which conceives and brings forth sin.  The first springs from sinful flesh, and is not transgression, the latter is.  Jesus had to have the first, or he couldn’t have been tempted.  He couldn’t have had the latter, or he wouldn’t have been sinless.
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