* Image of God (Gen. 1:26-28; Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Heb. 2:5-18) – In the beginning, God dwelled with man created in His Image. Adam was not “God in the flesh” but he was “like God in the flesh”, and he enjoyed the “Immanuel presence of God” in the Garden. Man made in God’s image was not exalted and confirmed in righteousness through obedience (cf. Psa. 8; cf. Heb. 2:5ff), but sinned and rebelled against his good Heavenly Father and Supreme Lord. Man lost the Immanuel presence of God. But this is not the end of the story…
* Seed of the Woman (Gen. 3:15) – Though man brings the curse upon Himself through sin and rebellion against God, tarnishing the image of God upon him, God promises hope for the future. This reveals God’s graciousness and steadfast love toward His own. Though sin has broken the relationship, God will restore the fortunes of His people through grace (Hos. 6:1). God will dwell with His people again. God will be “Immanuel”, God with us again!
* Son of Abraham (Gen. 12) – God promises to be a God to Abraham and His Offspring, and will bless the whole world through him (Gen. 12:1ff; 15:1ff). Through Abraham, God would bring a son through His supernatural working. From Abraham would come Isaac (“Laughter” that God gives to His own because of His power and grace!), and Jacob/Israel. From Israel, God would bring forth a servant to redeem from sin and rescue His people from their enemies (Zech. 12:1ff).
* “God with us” in the Old Testament: Immanuel Theophanies and Christophanies – God grants a “prelude” to the Incarnation (J. Calvin) in making appearances in human form in the Old Covenant. God the Son appeared as the “Angel/Messenger of YHWH” to Abraham (Gen. 18), Moses (Exodus 3), and Gideon and Manoah (Judges 6, 13). Throughout Israel’s pilgrimage in the wilderness, the Angel of the LORD led them, fed them, blessed them, and mediated on their behalf before God (Num. 22; Judges 2:1; cf. 1 Cor. 10:1-4). These appearances are temporary, not permanent as the Incarnation will be. God through the prophets prepared Israel for one who will be a faithful Israelite, who will be obedient unto death as a faithful servant, but who will also be the LORD Himself (Isaiah 42, 49, 52-53; Zech. 9:9ff; 12:13-13:1).
* Messiah- “Anointed King”– God prepared Israel through a promise of a “Messiah” or “Anointed King” from David’s offspring, who will also be the Son of Man and the LORD of glory (2 Sam. 7:12ff). “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” (Psalm 45, 110); “For unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given…” (Isaiah 9:6-7); “…One like a Son of man…” (Daniel 7:13-14; cf. Hebrews 1). True Israel awaited this “visitation” of God in the flesh, the One who would be her Consolation (cf. Luke 1:68; 2:25; 7:16)…
* “The Mystery of Godliness” (1 Tim. 3:16) – The mystery of godliness is revealed in the fullness of the times (Gal. 4:4), when God the Son was united permanently to humanity in the womb of the virgin (Luke 1:32-35); He was “born of a woman, born under law, to redeem…” (Gal. 4:4-6). Although God the Son had appeared occasionally and temporarily, now God would come permanently in the flesh “…And the Word was made flesh and dwelt in our midst…” (John 1:1-3, 14). All of the Old Testament is about Jesus Christ, HIs life, death, resurrection and ascension. All of the Old Testament revealed “…Things Concerning Himself [Jesus Christ]” (Luke 24:25-27; John 5:39). Though this had been “kept secret…[it has now] been made known…” (Romans 16:25-27). This reminds us of the Deus Revelatus/Deus Absconditus-way (God is revealed/God is hidden) that God chooses to make Himself known progressively throughout redemptive history. The “mystery” is that it was revealed in the Old Covenant, but not as clearly revealed as it would be when Christ Jesus would come to make full sense of it all by His Spirit (“In the Old concealed, in the New revealed…,” Augustine).
* Creation Restored (Rev. 21-22) – God dwells with Man as Glorified Man forever and ever. The Son of God became flesh to live perfectly on our behalf, to die in our place for our sins, to be raised for our vindication, and to be exalted at Prophet, Priest, and King at God’s right hand! Through Jesus’ perfect and completed work, the restoration of all things has begun. Though now we suffer in and with Him, we shall be glorified in and with Him, too! (Rom. 6:1-11; 8:29). This glorious appearing we await with patience and eagerness, living holy lives for Him in service to God and one another! Rejoice, the LORD is Come!! (Tit. 2:11-14). * I am grateful for Graham Coles’ book ‘The God Who became Human’ for many insights! (IVP, 2013).
Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 21: Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect? A. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ,(1) who, being the eternal Son of God, became man,(2) and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, for ever.(3) (1)1 Tim. 2:5,6. (2)John 1:14; Gal. 4:4. (3)Rom. 9:5; Luke 1:35; Col. 2:9; Heb. 7:24,25.
In Christ’s love,