The Personal Beginning of Jesus
Christ’s Beginning Foretold
God, through the prophets, foretold the beginning of Jesus Christ. These prophecies pointed forward to his coming, but he had not yet come into existence when they were given.
In what is considered by many the first Messianic prophecy, Genesis 3:15 speaks of the “seed” of the woman, who would come in the future and bruise the serpent’s head.
Isaiah 7:14 is a prophecy of Messiah’s birth and beginning, which was fulfilled when Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 1:18-25.)
In Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses said, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.”
Jeremiah 23:5, 6 predicts, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”
God foretold the coming of Jesus Christ, the beginning of Jesus Christ, in these prophecies. Jesus did not begin until he came. All of these prophecies pointed forward to the time Jesus was born. He came into existence when he fulfilled the prophecies pertaining to his first coming.
Forty Two Generations
Jesus came into existence forty-two generations after Abraham.
The teaching of Matthew 1:17 and Daniel 9:25 is this: the Messiah came into existence at a certain time, now approximately 1,970 years ago. “All the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations” (Matt. 1:17). “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” (Dan. 9:25).
Messiah had a definite beginning forty-two generations after Abraham, and sixty-nine weeks of years after the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem; about 4 B.C.
A Natural Birth
Jesus Christ came into existence by the natural birth process of man.
“The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise” (Matt. 1:18). “Birth” is the act or fact of coming into life; the act of bringing forth or producing; origin; or beginning. Verse 21 states, “She shall bring forth a son.” This is how Jesus began life-as a baby. The story is continued in Matthew 2:1, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king.” Jesus’ origin was in the days when Herod the Great was king of Judea, Palestine, B.C. 4, by modern calculations.
The account in Luke gives many details which indicate a natural birth process. The angel told Mary, “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS” (1:31). “Joseph also went up … to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son” (2:4-7)
Jesus the Saviour was born on a particular day, a day the angels knew about, and a day that is on the calendar of man’s time.
Jesus grew from infancy to childhood, to young adulthood, to manhood. He is called a “babe” (Luke 2:12), and a “young child” (Matt. 2:11). “When he was twelve years old” he went to Jerusalem for his first Passover. (Luke 2:42, 43.) It was said of Jesus, “The child | young lad | grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (v. 40). Verse 52 says, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Notice, Jesus increased in wisdom as well as stature or size.
The Bible record of the natural human birth of Jesus is believable and beautiful.
Jesus Was Made It is stated in Hebrews 2:9 that Jesus “was made a little lower than the angels.” He follows the pattern of all mankind, for all men have been made “a little lower than the angels /elohim/” (Psa. 8:5). In whatever way man was made lower, so Jesus has been made lower, too.
Galatians 4:4 reads, “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman.” At the proper time God brought his Son into existence by being made of a woman. The word “made” is the Greek word ginomai, which means to cause to be, to become, to come into being” (Strong). Young says it means “to become, or to begin to be.”
The inescapable conclusion of these verses is that God made Jesus.
The Natural is First
According to 1 Corinthians 15:44-49, God has ordained that the natural is first, and the spiritual last: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” Jesus is then called “the last Adam.” Speaking of mankind in general-Jesus included-inspiration says, That is “not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” The point is emphasized in the next three verses, “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
Some claim that Jesus passed from spiritual to natural to spiritual, but the Bible shows it was from natural to spiritual – as with all men who will be saved.
The Bible account of how Jesus became immortal is very clear: he died, he was buried, and he was raised immortal by the power of God. We follow his pattern in this as well as in all things. We die, are buried, and we will be raised to incorruptibility. The natural is first, then the spiritual.
Greek Words for “Birth”
In the New Testament the Greek words applying to Jesus’ birth imply a beginning.
Matthew 1:1 speaks of “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The word “generation” is from the Greek word genesis, meaning “nativity” according to Strong. According to Young, it means “birth or origin.” As the word means origin, the passage speaks positively of the beginning of Jesus. Jesus Christ is placed in the list of descendants of David and Abraham in a certain place, indicating that is when he began to be.
The word “birth” in Matthew 1:18 is from the Greek word gennesis, meaning birth or nativity. This word is used twice; here in reference to Jesus, and in Luke 1:14 in reference to John the Baptist. The word “birth” in common usage means the act or fact of coming into life, origin, or beginning.
We believe Jesus Christ came into being by birth because: 1) God, through the prophets, foretold his beginning. It was something future. When he came, these prophecies were fulfilled. 2) Jesus had a definite beginning, forty-two generations after Abraham. 3) Jesus is spoken of as being “born” in a natural sense. 4) The Bible says Jesus was “made” and “formed.” 5) The order God has established for one to receive his divine nature is: the natural first, the spiritual last. 6) The meaning of the Greek word for “birth,” etc., supports the thought that Jesus’ birth was his beginning.
Jesus was a mortal man who died and was raised to incorruptibility by his heavenly Father: a pattern for our salvation. How could he, a mortal man, have preexisted as an immortal person? It is contrary to reason and to the Scriptures. Jesus received his life from God. God was before him. He was after God. Jesus’ great eternal nature began at his resurrection.
This article is a reprint from the
The Restitution Herald
VOLUME 60 NUMBER 3—Dec 1970 ©1970
Website: Church of God General Conference – Restitution Herald