|Part TwoBY PROFESSOR WILLIAM G. MOOREHEAD, D.D.
UNITED PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, XENIA, OHIO.
|Charles Taze Russell|
|FIRST published in 1886, Millennial Dawn, was the earliest work of Jehovah’s Witness founder Charles Taze Russell.Although much of the book’s content is an embarrassment to present day Witnesses, it still contained many unscriptural notions and false prophecies.In 1911, just three years from Armageddon, Professor William G. Moorehead gave his opinion on the book.Now, in the coming issues of Concern, you can read just what the professor had to say regarding Mr. Russell’s writings.|
IS JESUS A CREATURE?
1. Jesus, in His pre-human existence, was a spiritual being, higher than the angels, but a creature. (vol. I, pp. 177, 178, 179, 188.)
The book expressly teaches that our Lord, prior to His incarnation and during His earthly life, was only a creature, higher in the scale of being than other creatures, but not God. “We are told that our Lord, before He left His glory to become a man, was “in a form of God-a spiritual form, a spirit being; but since to be a ransom for mankind He had to be a man, of the same nature as the sinner whose substitute in death He was to become, it was necessary that His nature be changed. And Paul tells us that He took not the nature of angels, one step lower down than His own, but that He came down two steps and took the nature of man – He ‘became a man’; He ‘was made flesh’. (Heb. 2:16; Phil. 2:7, 8; John 1:14.)”
“Notice that this teaches not only that angelic nature is not the only order of spirit being, but that it is a lower nature than that of our Lord before He became a man; and He was not then so high as He now is, for ‘God hath highly exalted Him’, because of His obedience in becoming man’s willing ransom. (Phil. 2:8, 9.)
He is now of the highest order of spirit being, a partaker of the Divine (Jehovah’s) nature”. The book further asserts: “If this principle be a correct one, it would show that God had no right to create Jesus higher than the angels, and then further to exalt Him to the Divine nature, unless He intended to do the same for all angels and for all men” (p. 188).
There is no mistaking the significance of this teaching. Jesus Christ was originally a created being, but as a reward of His obedience unto death He is now exalted to be God!
This is worse than the doctrine of Arius the Libyan which the Council of Nicea so solemnly condemned, of modern Unitarians which all evangelical Christians repudiate.
Over against this fundamental error, one that does the Lord Jesus infinite dishonour and robs us of an Almighty Saviour, we place the, inspired Word of Scripture, John 1:1′:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” By the Word of course is meant the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Three majestic truths are here set forth: (1). The Word’s eternity – “In the beginning” – the noun is without the article; it is an unmarked, uncounted duration that is meant. “Was”, not came into existence; He was already in ,existence before the creation of the universe; therefore prior to all beginning, in a timeless age which transcends time, in eternity, Christ was.
Millennial Dawn says there was a time when Christ was not; the Apostle John affirms there never was a, time when He was not. (2). His eternal personal existence is maintained: “The Word was with God”; His equality with God, for John goes on to ascribe to Him creation.
(3) His Deity: “And the Word was God.” Most emphatic is the order of the words in the original: “And God was the Word.” Jesus Christ was no subordinate or created being. “Who subsisting in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2.6-ll. R. V.)
It is here taught that Christ existed in the form of God. “The form of a thing is the mode in which it reveals itself; and that is determined by its nature.” John Chrysostom long ago said: “It is not possible to be of one essence and to have the form of another”. Christ existed in the form of God because He Himself is God. Hence the Apostle asserts that He was God’s equal, but in His self-abasement He did not hold fast to this equality but emptied Himself of it, and instead took the lowly form of a bond-servant.
His humiliation presupposes His former dignity and glory. Had He not been infinitely more than a created being, it would have been no renunciation to become a servant; that He already was, according to the blasphemous teaching of Dawnism Out of such a condition He could never have risen.
The highest angel in heaven, far from having to stoop in order to become a servant, is but a servant and can never be aught else.
But the very fact that He did humble Himself, even unto the death of the cross, is positive proof that He was no created being, no mere man, but God over all and blessed forever. (Rom. 9:5)
But even in His amazing self-abasement He did not renounce His glorious attributes as a Divine Person: He veiled them beneath His lowly human garb, save when occasion demanded their display. Both Omnipotence and Omniscience belonged to Him while on earth, and He often exhibited both in the sight of men. The proof of this is abundant and conclusive.