<Previous

Table of Contents

Next>

What Scripture Says About Salvation

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

Monograph 11:  The Son of The God


 

 

Old Testament background

New Testament usages

 

 

Summary Highlights of Monograph 11

 

 

The previous monograph showed that "God the Son" is not a scriptural term since it never appears in the Bible.  However, the term "the son of the God," in one form or another, was used 50 times in the New Testament. 

 

Why was this term used in regard to Jesus, and what did Jesus do and say as "the son of the God?"  In addition, what is the Old Testament background for the term? 

 

These words had deep meaning to the Jewish followers of Jesus, and they did not use them lightly.  To call someone "the son of the God" was, or could become, a volatile issue.  The reason for this will become apparent as the study continues.

 

Return to top

 

 

Old Testament background

 

Let us begin our scrutiny with II Samuel 7:12-19. 

"And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:  But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.  And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.  According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.  Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?  And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?"

 

Nathan was telling David that when he died, God would appoint Solomon, his son, as king, that God would be Solomon's father, and Solomon would be God's son.  However, David was the biological father of Solomon, not God.  God is the creator of all men, but he is not their sire.  This means that when he became king, Solomon was adopted as God's son.

 

Scripture indicates that whenever a man was anointed to become king, under the authority of God, then that man was also adopted as God's son.  God accepted him into the office of king, and empowered him to do his will in fulfilling the office of king.  The man was king, but God empowered him; and God also punished his iniquity.

 

In these verses, God promised David that there would be no end to his throne.  It would be eternal through his seed, and Solomon would be next after him.  When God said that Solomon would be his son (verse 7:19), it was not a physical relationship, but was simply the way God showed his validation of the anointed one to be king.  In other words, he became God's son by adoption.

 

Psalms 2:6-7 says,

"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.  I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." 

 

Again, the idea of adoption is shown when God appoints someone to be king.  He becomes the anointed one, or christ, or messiah.  These verses in Psalms 2 are some of the scriptures which herald the coming of the one christ, the one messiah, Jesus, the son of The God.  This psalm is considered a messianic psalm, or one foretelling the coming of Jesus as messiah.

 

Psalms 89:20-29 says,

"I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:  With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.  The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.  And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.  But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.  I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.  He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.  Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.  My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.  His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven."

 

In this psalm, God says he will make David his first-born, that David will call him father.  Notice that the term "father" is reserved only for the anointed one.  What a shock it must have been when Jesus told his unlearned disciples to pray, "Our Father, which art in heaven."  They knew that up until then only the kings appointed by God could address him as Father.  Something had definitely changed!  Somehow, in  some way, Jesus was telling them to approach God as his anointed ones.  Were they sons of God?

 

In I Chronicles 17:11-14, God told David through the prophet Nathan,

"And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.  I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:  But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore." 

 

The covenant was repeated again to assure David that his throne would extend forever, and that any of David's heirs who sat upon that throne would be God's adopted sons.

 

In I Chronicles 22:9-10, David told Solomon what God had said:

"Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.  He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever." 

 

Again, God will adopt the one being anointed as his son, and he will be a Father to that king.

 

In I Chronicles 28:6, David said to all the chief men of Israel,

"And he (God) said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father." 

 

Again, the matter of adoption as God's son was a prominent feature when God appointed anyone to be king of Israel.  At this time, the people of Israel would not accept any king without such a confirmation.  David sought Israel's loyalty to Solomon by declaring that God had adopted him (Solomon) even as he had adopted David when he (David) became king. 

 

These samples from scripture should be enough to provide the Old Testament background concerning the term "the son of the God."  The main point is that when God appointed someone to be king, he also adopted that person as his son.

 

Return to top

 

 

New Testament usages

 

We turn now to the New Testament to continue our study, which will also include the terms, "a son of a God" and "a son of the God."  These terms appear 50 times in the New Testament, and all of these scriptures were examined to see what Jesus did as "the son of the God," "a son of the God," or "a son of a God."  We will cite several of them here.

 

In Matthew 14:32-33 Jesus calmed the wind:

"And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." 

 

The original Greek says, a son of a god, or perhaps more correctly, thou art a god's son.

 

Mark 3:11 and Luke 4:41 report that Jesus cast out demons.  When the demons called him "the son of the God," Jesus rebuked them and told them not to make it known.  Luke's version says the demons called him  "christ (the messiah) the son of the God."  Note carefully that the demons equated "the son of the God" with being the messiah, or the christ.  They recognized him as God's anointed one, which means he was adopted as a son and God would be his Father, just as he had been to the other anointed king's of Israel.

 

This is the consistent, primary usage of the term "the son of the God," when the definite article is used with both son and God.  Please note that this does not rule out the other peculiarities of the relationship between God and Jesus, such as the virgin birth; however, the other characteristics are not part of this study.

 

That Jesus was adopted by God as the king of Israel was clearly shown at his baptism: 

"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  (Matthew 3:16-17). 

 

It was after his anointing with holy spirit, that God made this declaration.  After that, Jesus began his ministry to Israel.

 

Luke 4:3-4 relates the temptation of Jesus: 

"And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.  And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." 

 

The devil questioned Jesus' relationship to God by asking if he were "a son," not "the son."  He was insulting Jesus by suggesting that he was just any son of The God, with no special relationship beyond that of others, just another demi-god.  Note, too, that Jesus answered him by telling of his needs as a man, not as the son of The God.

 

Perhaps it would be well to explain that the word "god" as used in the Bible, is not a specific name but a generic term, similar to that of "man."  It has become common practice to use the term "god" as a name, but it is simply a word derived from theos, which means one who is worthy of worship. 

 

The term "god," as used in the Bible, refers to men, angels, the devil, and, of course, the invisible, revealed God.  It is not a name, but denotes that the one being referred to is one of a group called gods.  It is much the same as if I were referred to as man-man would not be my name, but only a classification.

 

In John 1:49, Nathanael said to Jesus,

"Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." 

 

He equated being the son of The God with being king.  Evidently Nathanael knew the tradition of adoption concerning anyone who became king of Israel.  But this adoption does not make the king into God, only his son, and still under the rule of God, as Jesus declared in John 5:19.

 

In John 5:17, Jesus said,

"My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."  This incensed the Jews "because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God" (John 5:18). 

 

The word equal comes from ison, which means that one is equal in quality to another, not that the two are identical persons.  In this case, Jesus said God was his Father, and it was he who empowered Jesus to do his works.  Therefore, Jesus is equal to the Father in his works because they spring from the same source of power.  He was not saying that he and the Father are one and the same person.

 

In the next few verses, Jesus went on to say that he also quickens whom he will (John 5:21); that all judgment has been given to him (John 5:22), which was a prerogative of a king in that day; that the dead shall hear his voice and live (John 5:25); and that the son has life in himself (John 5:26).

 

In John 6:69-70, Peter said to Jesus,

"And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."  

 

Jesus answered by saying,

"Have not I chosen you twelve?" 

 

Being the messiah, or the christ, or the anointed one, or the king of Israel was again equated with being "the son of the God."

 

Jesus admitted that he was the son of the God.  John 9:35-37 says, 

"Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?  He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?  And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee."

 

John 10:36-37 says,

"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?  If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;  Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?  If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.  But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him."

 

The Greek manuscript does not contain the definite article since the predicate precedes the verb and the definite article, though not written, is nevertheless understood.  However, do not lose sight of the fact that Jesus told them they were also gods.

 

Again, as proof, Jesus pointed to his works as being the works of the Father.  He was doing what no other man had ever done, and gave the Father credit for the power.  This would make him equal in quality (of works) to the Father because they were done by the Father through him.

 

This is no different than today when someone is healed after being prayed for.  The credit for the healing work is, or should be, given to God.  At that time, those who prayed for the sick are equal to God in the quality of the performance because God acted through them, although the power was his.  The people who prayed for healing would certainly not claim to be God, but only the channel for his power.  And that is exactly what Jesus claimed.

 

In Mark 14:61-62, the high priest asked him,

"Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?  And Jesus said, I am." 

 

The term "the son of the God" pointed to the fact that Jesus was anointed by God to be king of Israel. 

 

Whenever Jesus admitted to being the son of the God, he was acknowledging this fact.  This was used against him at his trial before Pilate, and was one of the reasons leading to his crucifixion.

 

The next scripture introduces a new element, namely that the high priests were also anointed to their office.  Hebrews 4:14 says,

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God." 

 

This verse says that God not only anointed Jesus as king, but also as high priest.

 

Hebrews 7:1-3 says,

"For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;  To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;  Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." 

 

And, Hebrews 5:6 says that God appointed Jesus a priest like Melchisedec. 

"As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

 

Melchisedec had no recorded father or mother, no lineage, no death, remaining a priest forever.  Melchisedec was obviously a foreshadow of Jesus, who abides as our high priest forever, constantly interceding on our behalf.  [For further commentary on Melchisedec, see our book, The Hidden Meaning in Hebrews.]

 

1 John 3:8 says,

"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.  For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." 

 

If read in context, this refers to he who practices sin and is "out of the devil," or is a follower of the devil.  Destroying the works of the devil would mean turning such people to the practice of righteousness, or to becoming a follower of him who is righteousness.

 

The scriptures indicate that "the son of the God" did or said many things.  He calmed the winds.  He cast out evil spirits and admonished them not to tell people that he was the christ, the son of the God.  He answered the devil.  He said Nathanael would see angels ascending and descending upon "the son of the man."  He said that the son of the God does nothing of himself.  He quickens whom he will.  He has been given all judgment.  He said the dead shall hear his voice and live.  He said the son has life in himself.  He chose the twelve.  He healed the blind man.  He raised Lazarus.  He said he did the works of his Father.  He passed through the heavens.  He remains a high priest forever.  He came to undo the works of the devil.

 

Jesus did these as the son of man.  Any good concordance will enable one to extend this list to quite some length.  In fact, Jesus did most of his work in his role as the son of man, not his role as the son of The God. For example, he died as the son of man, not the son of The God.  His role as the son of man was to identify with mankind, and he died representing the whole human race.  His role as the son of The God was to be king.  However, he did not take on his role as the son of The God until after his resurrection.

 

Acts 13:32-33 says,

"And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." 

 

This point will be explained further in the next monograph.

 

John 10:30 is another scripture commonly cited to prove that Jesus is God: 

"I and my Father are one." 

 

Thayer (p. 186) says, "En einai (are one), to be united most closely (in will, spirit)."  Jesus was not claiming to be God, but simply telling the Jews what he had also said at other times: that he did nothing or said nothing except what the Father told him or showed him.

 

The works in question in this context were equal to those of the Father because the power was from him.  Jesus was united so closely to the Father in will and spirit that he could be used in this manner by the Father, The God.  Therefore, Jesus was able to give a full representation of the Father.  However, he never claimed to be The God.  He was the image of The God, a representative of The God, a manifestation of The God, but he was not The God.

 

Return to top

 

 

Summary Highlights of Monograph 11

 

#  "God the Son" is not a scriptural term since it does not appear in the

     Bible.  However, the term "the son of the God," was used many times.  

#  Scripture indicates that when a man was anointed to become king,

     under the authority of God, then that man was also adopted as God's

     son.

#  The covenant was repeated again to assure David that his throne would

     extend forever; and that any of David's heirs who sat upon that throne

     would be God's adopted sons.  

#  The matter of adoption as God's son was a prominent feature when

     God appointed anyone to be king of Israel.  The people of Israel would

     not accept any king without such a confirmation.  

#  The main point is that when God appointed someone to be king, he

     also adopted that person as his son.  

#  Jesus was adopted as a son and God would be his Father, just as he

     had been to the other anointed king's of Israel.  This is the consistent

     usage of the term "the son of the God," when the definite article is used

     with both son and God.  

#  It was after his anointing with holy spirit (at his baptism), that God

     declared Jesus to be his son.  

#  His (Jesus) adoption as king does not make the king God, only his son,

     and still under the rule of God, as Jesus declared in John 5:19.  

#  The word "god," as used in the Bible, is not a specific name but a

     generic term.  It has become common practice to use the term "god" as

     a name, but it is simply a word derived from theos, which means one

     who is worthy of worship.  

#  Jesus said God was his Father, and it was he who empowered Jesus to

     do his works.  Therefore, Jesus is equal to the Father in his works

     because they spring from the same source of power.  He was not

     saying that he and the Father are one and the same person.  

#  The term "the son of the God" pointed to the fact Jesus was anointed

     by God to be king of Israel, the messiah, the christ.  

#  God not only anointed Jesus as king, but also as high priest.  

 

#  Jesus did most of his work in his role as the son of man, not his role as

     the son of The God.  He died as the son of man, not as the son of The

     God.  His role as the son of man was to identify with mankind, and he

     died representing the whole human race.  His role as the son of The God

     was to be king.  However, he did not take on his role as the son of The

     God until after his resurrection.  

#  Jesus was able to give a full representation of the Father.  However, he

     never claimed to be The God.  He was the image of The God, a

     representative of The God, a manifestation of The God, but he was not

     The God.

 

RETURN TO TOP OF PAGE

 

 

© 2009, Fred Kenison and Merrill Douglass. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.