Jesus: “Before Abraham was, I am,” (John 8:58).
Did Jesus exist prior to His birth? Does the Bible give any clues to answer this question? If so, how does the Bible describe Jesus’ preexistence?
To answer these questions, the study of Christ reaches back before time to examine Jesus in His original state. Most often, the consideration of Christ begins with Old Testament prophecies of Jesus, which foretells His human birth.
At the same time, however, the Scriptures reveal His original grandeur in the heavenlies.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus Christ’s Preexistence
A common misconception traps many who study Christ. That snare relegates Him to His earthly life only. However, in this passage, the Bible calls Jesus as “…being in the form of God,” (Philippians 2:6).
Thus, Christ existed antecedent to His birth to Mary. His birth as a man did not mark the start of life for Jesus. His life predates His earthly birth. The word of God confirms this awesome truth.
For instance, the first two verses of John’s gospel affirm that Jesus Christ, the Word, existed in the beginning with God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God,” (John 1:1-2).
To establish Jesus’ life as beginning with His birth from Mary contradicts the clear teaching of Holy Writ. Christ’s being extends backward and forward into eternity from His physical birth.
Jesus Christ’s Appearance
In His primeval circumstances, Jesus existed, as the text says, “…in the form of God.”
- That preexistent form, however, did not consist of a physical body.
- Nor does the reference describe the human form of Christ on earth as a representation of God’s form.
- Further, it does not mean that Jesus subsisted as a replica of God.
In its literal meaning, the word “form” denotes that in which an essence manifests itself. In the instance of God, His form consists of the visible, glorious light of His divine essence. It describes His majesty, His glory, without human shape. He lives as spirit, (Exodus 33:20-23; John 4:24).
This description, then, expresses the primeval existence of Jesus: a manner equal with God’s appearance, because Jesus lived “…in the form of God.”
Jesus Christ’s Deity
The glory that the preexistent Christ possessed reveals His deity. Jesus shared equality with God by nature. They possessed the same essence. That makes Jesus Christ deity, One of the members of the Triune Godhead. Jesus had this nature from eternity past.
Christ made frequent reference to His oneness with the Father. For example, He openly declared, “I and my Father are one,” (John 10:30P
To Philip, Jesus said,
“…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father…Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (John 14:9-10).
Numerous other Biblical references confirm this astounding fact. Jesus Christ was God.
Jesus Christ’s PrivilegeThe privilege of Christ appears in the phrase, “(He) thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” (Philippians 2:6).
- The form that Jesus held prior to His birth did not come by theft. No high handed action elevated Christ to it. Nor did He obtain it by snatching it, presuming it, or by winning it in some contest.
- Jesus did not regard His privilege as something to hold onto at all costs. In fact, as the context of the passage further states, Christ voluntarily gave it up that He might take another form, a physical one like you and me.
Jesus held His privilege because of His oneness and unity with the Father.
Jesus Christ’s Preexistent Life: Application
- These simple truths lead to some important applications for daily life.
- They detail certain, infallible facts to believe, which bring comfort to the trusting heart.
- They refute common fallacies concerning Jesus, which Christians must reject.
- They outline a pattern of behavior for you and me to follow. The greatest One of all showed the greatest degree of humility toward those who deserved it least. The true child of God will emulate that same conduct.
- These confirm the suitability of Jesus Christ to become the Savior of sinners. No one else can claim an existence with God prior to human birth.
Only Jesus, once in the form of God, took upon Himself human flesh, became the God-man, and sacrificed Himself as a Substitute on behalf of sinners, like you and me, to reconcile to God those for whom He died.
Therefore, you can trust Jesus as your Savior, Redeemer, Lord, and Advocate with God the Father. I pray that God by His Holy Spirit will give you faith to believe upon Jesus today.