Did Jesus Christ Pre-exist?

Was Jesus with God before the creation of the earth? Did he enjoy life in heaven with his Father long before he roamed the earth as a man? If this is true, how could he also be the Promised Seed, an actual descendant of Abraham, David and Mary? In Colossians 1 Jesus Christ is called the ‘firstborn of every creature,’ but does this refer to the Genesis creation, or a new creation?

God knows the End from the Beginning

To begin with, Isaiah 46:9-10 tells us something special about God. He says, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done… “

It may be difficult for us to comprehend, but God says He knows the future before it happens. When He began His acts of creation, He already knew ‘the end from the beginning.’

The Word

The record in Genesis 1, repeatedly says ‘God said,’ and it happened. God’s word and His spirit power moved on the surface of the world and brought His incredible plan into effect. We are told in Psalm 33:6-9, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth… let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he SPAKE, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”

If you were to push back time before the first day of creation, everything that has happened since would all be in the mind of God. He knew the ‘end from the beginning.’ Genesis, Psalms and Isaiah tell us that the creation of our planet and all life upon it was accomplished through His spoken word and spirit power.

Was Jesus with God when the Earth was Created?

We read in 1 Peter 1:8-11, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.This passage tells us that the prophets who prophesied about Christ in the Old Testament didn’t understand what they were writing as they recorded the words that God gave them about the Messiah’s sufferings and glory. In the Old Testament there are passages that tell us about Jesus’ inner feelings through the trials he would endure. (See Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 for example) His sufferings and glory were also foretold in the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, the promises made to Abraham, Joseph forgiving his brothers in order to save them, the sacrifices of a perfect lamb, and other rituals of the Law… the colors and symbols of the tabernacle, the Passover feast, Daniel’s prophecies and so much more.

Jesus Christ is ‘seen’ throughout the Old Testament. He fulfilled more than 100 Messianic Old Testament prophecies. God knew exactly what was going to happen to His Son from the beginning of time and even how His Son would feel during those experiences. Our Father’s plan to reconcile the world was clearly outlined and foreshadowed long before it occurred. This is why after Jesus was resurrected, he explained his life, sufferings and purpose based on the Old Testament. (Luke 24:25-27) The Apostle Paul did the same in Acts 26:22-23, saying, “I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”

John 1

When we come to John 1 and read ‘THE WORD’ was with God from the beginning, this ‘beginning’ most likely refers to Genesis 1 when God began to bring His plan for this world into existence. God has no beginning, but our world does. The Greek word for ‘word’ is ‘LOGOS’ which means ‘something said (including the thought), a topic, reasoning, motive, computation…’ Here we have another reference to God’s plan which He had in mind before He began to create. In John 1:14 we are told that the ‘word’ (logos – the plan) became flesh…a man. So, yes, Jesus existed in God’s mind and purpose before creation, but he didn’t become an actual person until he was born. He was a true descendant of Abraham, David and Mary – just as God had promised (Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:30-35)

Gabriel announced to Daniel the coming of Christ in Daniel 8:15-26 and 9:20-27, telling him specific things the Messiah would do in the future.  When Gabriel announced hundreds of years later to Mary in Luke 1:26-33 that she would have a son, the announcement also included the proclamation that this boy who had not yet even been conceived would reign as king. The fulfillment of these kingdom prophecies is still in the future! God’s plan has always been in His mind since the beginning of our creation and He has been gradually working it out through 6000 years of history. 

Others Whom God ‘Foreknew’

Jesus isn’t the only one that God speaks of knowing before birth. John the Baptist was also named and ‘sent’ (John 1:6) before he was conceived. His life’s mission was given to Zechariah in Luke 1:11-20 before he was born.

Jeremiah was also told,  “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Ephesians 1:4-5 tells us that the faithful were also chosen ‘before the foundation of the world’ and have been ‘predestinated’ to adoption. This doesn’t mean the faithful existed as actual people before creation, but simply that God has a supernatural ability to know ‘the end from the beginning.’ While we all have freewill, God knows how everything is going to turn out. As humans we think we are pretty good when we can make accurate two week forecasts of the weather based on the data we collect. We don’t force the weather to happen, we just understand the patterns – and sometimes our forecasts are accurate and sometimes they are not.  The Creator of the world is so far above us!! The Bible is full of completely accurate prophesies concerning the nations of our world, recorded thousands of years before the events occurred or will occur. God knows even what the nations will do! (Ezekiel 36 to 38, Zechariah 12-14; Psalm 83; Joel 3; Isaiah 60-66)

The Firstborn of All Creation

So, how then can it be said that Jesus is the ‘firstborn of every creature’? Surely, Colossians 1 proves that Jesus pre-existed? Let’s examine Colossians 1: 15-18 carefully: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

Note that all the things listed which were ‘created’ by Jesus are not part of the Genesis 1 creation. Instead, Colossians lists ‘thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers.’ This creation sounds more like a kingdom than a creation of plants, trees, animals and humans. Verse 18 tells us that Jesus is the ‘firstborn from the dead’! This is the start of a new creation! Here are a few more references where we are told that Jesus was the firstborn from the dead:

Acts 26:23 “that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

1 Corinthians 15:20 “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.”

Revelation 1:5-6 “and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Notice in the Revelation passage the references to a Kingdom! Jesus wasn’t the first person to be resurrected in the Bible, but he was the first man to rise from the dead and receive God’s gift of immortality! To be a part of the new Creation – a kingdom of ‘kings and priests’ (Revelation 5:9-10) we must also be given the gift of immortality. Jesus was the first to receive this gift, and through his obedience and sacrifice, God has also promised this gift to us. This is the new Creation, of which Jesus is the firstborn and the Creator!

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

If you would like to look into this subject in more detail, click on the handout link below

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