Did Jesus Christ Pre-exist His Birth? 1 Peter 1:11

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them (in the prophets) did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV)

1 Peter 1:11 states that “the Spirit of Christ” “was in” the Hebrew prophets, but 2 Peter 1:21 states that that Spirit is the Holy Spirit.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God (the prophets) spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:22)

Jesus Christ is the Spirit of God who came down from heaven to become incarnate as the Christ Child in the virgin in order to save us. This explains the scriptures that speak of Christ pre-existing his virgin birth (John 8:58; John 6:38 “I came down from heaven”). When Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58), he was referring to Himself as the Spirit of God who continued to exist in heaven (John 3:13 says Jesus was still “in heaven” while on earth) while also becoming incarnate as a true man through his virgin mother.

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

The only scriptural reason why Jesus is called the Son is for the reason of his virgin conception and birth. No Trinitarian apologist has ever been able to give me any other scriptural reason why the Son is called the Son other than the New Testament reason given in Luke 1:35. This fact alone rules out the Trinitarian idea that the Son as a Son has always existed as a timeless God the Son before his virgin conception and birth.

According to Trinitarian theology, an alleged timeless God the Son incarnated Himself to become a man in the virgin. However, the scriptures reveal that the Holy Spirit incarnated Himself by performing the act of the incarnation Himself rather than an alleged God the Son. Therefore the scripture has the alleged third member of the Trinity becoming incarnate through the virgin rather than an alleged second God the Son Person.

The only scriptural understanding about the One who came down from heaven to become incarnate is that the Holy Spirit of God the Father Himself descended upon the virgin. That is why Matthew 1:20 reveals that the divinity of Jesus is “out of the Holy Spirit” rather than out of an alleged pre-incarnate God the Son Person. For if Trinitarianism was the correct theological doctrine then we should find that the Christ child was conceived “out of God the Son” rather than “out of the Holy Spirit.”

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is OF (Greek prep. “ek” = “out of”) THE HOLY SPIRIT.” Matthew 1:20 NASB

“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, born OF (Greek prep. “ek” = “out of”) a woman, born under the law…” (Galatians 4:4)

The divinity of Jesus is “out of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20)” rather than out of an alleged pre-incarnate Son while at least part of the humanity of Jesus was produced “out of a woman (Gal. 4:4).” Passages that speak of Christ as the human Son of God in the Hebrew Scriptures speak of him in prophetic anticipation as the future “child born” and “son” that would be “given (Isaiah 9:6). For example, Psalm 22:1 says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Since we know that Christ Jesus as a man spoke these words on the cross in Matthew 27:46, the Messiah could not have actually spoke these words as a pre-incarnate God the Son before his birth. The same is true for all Messianic prophecies. However, there are a few times in which the Scriptures speak of Christ pre-existing his birth during the time of the Hebrew prophets that are clearly not prophetic in nature.

For example, 1 Peter 1:11 says that “the Spirit of Christ” was in the prophets,

“… THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST WHICH WAS IN THEM (the prophets) testified beforehand of the suffering of Christ and the glory that would follow.” KJV

But 2 Peter 1:20 identifies that Spirit as “the Holy Spirit,”

“…no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, but holy men of God spoke as they were MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.” KJV

Here we can see that the apostle Peter identified Christ as the pre-existing Holy Spirit of God Almighty Who spoke through the prophets before also becoming incarnate in the virgin as the man Christ Jesus. Trinitarians are supposed to believe that “the Son is not the Holy Spirit” and “the Holy Spirit is not the Son”, but 1 Peter 1:11 and 2 Peter 1:20 affirm that “the Spirit of Christ which was in” the prophets was “the Holy Spirit” who “moved” them to testify about “the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would follow.” This was why Luke and Matthew identified “the Holy Spirit” as the Spirit who descended on the virgin to become the Christ child (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:20). In like manner, the apostle Paul also spoke of the indwelling Holy Spirit as the same “Spirit of Christ” in passages such as Romans 8:9 and 2 Corinthians 3:17.

“But you are not in the flesh, but IN THE SPIRIT, if so be that THE SPIRIT OF GOD dwells in you. Now if any man have not THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9

According to Paul, the indwelling “Spirit of God” is “the Spirit of Christ.” Just as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now the Lord IS THE SPIRIT, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).” Just six verses down from 2 Cor. 3:17 Paul wrote, “For we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord … (2 Cor. 4:5).” Therefore the context of Paul’s affirmation that “the Lord is the Spirit” proves that Jesus is the Lord as “the Spirit of truth” who dwelt with the apostles in the flesh, but would later dwell in them in “another” (John 14:16) manifestation of God as the indwelling “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17-18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”).

Paul identified the Spirit of God as that Spiritual Rock who followed the Israelites in the desert which proves that Christ is the pre-incarnate Holy Spirit of God who became incarnate as Christ.

“For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under THE CLOUD (THE SPIRIT) and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses IN THE CLOUD (A TYPE OF SPIRIT BAPTISM) and in the sea (a type of water baptism); and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from that SPIRITUAL ROCK which followed them AND THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

The context of 1 Corinthians chapter ten proves that the Holy Spirit of God Himself was the cloud by day and fire by night Who followed the Israelites in the wilderness and that that “Spiritual … ROCK WAS CHRIST.” It is an undeniable fact that the Hebrew prophets called the God of the Israelites their ROCK which emphatically proves that Jesus existed as the Holy Spirit of God before also becoming a man.

Deuteronomy 32:18 You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth.

Psalm 18:31 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except OUR GOD,

Psalm 18:46 The LORD lives, and blessed be MY ROCK; And exalted be the God of my salvation,

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, MY ROCK and my Redeemer.

Psalm 28:1 A Psalm of David. To You, O LORD, I call; My ROCK, do not be deaf to me, For if You are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit.

Psalm 31:2 Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; Be to me A ROCK of strength, A stronghold to save me.

The New Testament clearly teaches that the divinity of Jesus is “out of the Holy Spirit” rather than out of an alleged God the Son Person.

“…the child who has been conceived in her is OUT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.” Matthew 1:20

The Holy Spirit will come upon you … and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

Why does God’s word say that the Son is called the Son in the first place? The only scriptural answer is the reason found in Luke 1:35. The Son is called the Son of God because of his virgin conception and birth.

The earliest Christian writers of the first century taught that the pre-existent Holy Spirit is the Spirit who became the Son of God.

2 Clement (60-90 AD) 14:3-4 states that the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit which is Christ.”

“… the Holy Spirit … guard the flesh that you may partake of the Spirit. Now if we say that the flesh is the Church as the Spirit is Christ, then verily he who has dishonoured the flesh has dishonoured the Church. Such a one, therefore, shall not partake of the Spirit which is Christ.” (2 Clement 14:3-4)

Clement clearly wrote that the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit which is Christ.”

Hermas and Clement were contemporaries in Rome (60-90 AD) who had heard Peter and Paul minister in Rome (Romans 16:14) before their martyrdoms. Hermas Parable 5:6 speaks of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit which was incarnate as Christ Jesus,

“The pre-existent Holy Spirit which created all things did God make to dwell in a body of flesh chosen by Himself.” (Shepherd of Hermas, Parable 5:6)

Hermas further wrote in Similitude 9:1, “The angel of repentance, he came and said to me, I want to show you what THE HOLY SPIRIT which spoke with you in the form of the church, showed you; for THAT SPIRIT IS THE SON OF GOD.” (Shepherd of Hermas, Similitude 9:1)

Ignatius of Antioch (69 – 110 AD) wrote in Magnesians 15:1,

“Fare ye well in the harmony of God, ye who have obtained THE INSEPERABLE SPIRIT, WHO IS JESUS CHRIST (2 Cor. 3:17; Romans 8:9; John 14:16-18).” (Magnesians 15:1, Roberts-Donaldson Translation)

Wherefore, Clement, Hermas, and Ignatius of the first century church believed that the Holy Spirit is God incarnate as Jesus the Son of God. This is Oneness Modalism, not Trinitarianism. When we consider the fact that all three of these early Christian writers were taught by the original apostles within the first century, it is hard to imagine that their view was different from the original apostles.

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