Jesus Christ in Heaven

Lesson 1.05

Welcome to our Jesus in Heaven Bible Study. Many people have asked, "Was Jesus in heaven and alive before his birth to the Virgin Mary?" Quite a few people believe Jesus didn't exist in heaven before he came to earth as a man. Let's tackle this critical question.

Please read Colossians 1:15-23 before beginning GraspingGod.com's free Bible study lessons, #1.05

Previous lesson: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit #1.04

Preliminary Bible Study Questions:

1) Why is Jesus' pre-existence important?

2) How does knowing the truth about Jesus Christ's nature benefit his followers?

3) What happened to Jesus Christ's role after man sinned?

After becoming a Christian a saved soul eventually learns that Jesus was, in fact, existent before his birth.

There he was, the pre-incarnate Messiah in heaven, in glory with God the Father. Christ was working the creation of the universe.

The pre-existent Jesus in heaven was actively involved in all of the great works of the Christian Trinity.

The history of Jesus Christ includes his pre-incarnate existence, i.e. life before birth. No other person(s) can boast of a pre-existent life. There is no such thing for mere humans like us.

What's the Big Deal?

Why is a pre-incarnate Christ essential teaching for us? There are several reasons why we study such an important matter - I've listed them here:

If Jesus didn't exist before birth, then there is no eternal Trinity.

If Jesus didn't exist before birth, then he isn't God. God is eternal and that requires the Christian Trinity members be eternal, as well.

If Jesus didn't exist before birth, then both he and the Bible are full of lies. The Bible claims Jesus' eternal and pre-existent life in many places, and Jesus claims it for himself, too. God's Word would be a book of fiction if it were dishonest.

As you can see, protecting the true nature of Jesus Christ from false teachings is important (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Additionally, the more truth we know about Jesus the more our admiration of him grows. Knowing truth leads us to praising our God. I know that when I discovered that Jesus is eternal it led me to my knees in adoration and praise.

Evidences of Jesus' Pre-existence

As followers of Christ, we first and foremost hold to the teachings of the Bible, because it is God's word to us. The following passages begin building the case for Christ's pre-incarnate life:

  • Jesus' heavenly origins are set forth in these passages: (John 3:13,31).
  • Jesus' work in creation is well established in the Scriptures. Christ's omnipotence (aka all-power) was on display at the creation of the world (John 1:3). All creation is for Jesus' purposes (Colossians 1:16). Jesus' work with creation is ongoing because he sustains all matter and life (Colossians 1:17). Look at the entire creation as a love gift from the Father to his Son, Jesus (Hebrews 1:2).
  • Jesus' nature is that of God. Jesus is One with the Father and they share equal glory (John 10:30).
  • Jesus' attributes are eternally divine (Colossians 2:9), even after his incarnation (aka human birth).
  • Jesus' pre-existence was attested by John the Baptist (John 1:15,30). Jesus was therefore superior over John and all other prophets.

In summation, the pre-incarnate Jesus in heaven created the angels, humankind, animals, AND the entire universe. Jesus is a member of the Trinity and shares equal glory with the Father and Spirit.

In Jesus' prayer to the Father he shares, "I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began." (John 17:4-5). Christ's pre-existence in heaven doesn't get in clearer than that statement.

Jesus in Heaven: the Only Begotten Son

John 3:16 (NASB) says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." False teachers say this word "begotten" (Greek: monogenes) means that Jesus was a created being and therefore NOT pre-existent, and also NOT fully God.

These people fail to look at the true meaning of monogenes in the original Greek. The word actually means, "pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind." This version of John 3:16 states it better, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."

Jesus was basking in perfect glory with the Father and Spirit prior to any material thing being created in our universe. They were enjoying a love relationship before time began, before space began, and before life was created. We have NO idea what that looked like because the Bible doesn't share that information. Heaven, the home of God, is marvelous and beyond our limited comprehension and wildest imaginations.

The pre-existent Jesus in heaven is definitely hard to comprehend. We don't know if he had a spiritual or physical body. Maybe both, who knows? We really only know that Jesus is eternal, which basically means he existed before time and will be in existence forevermore.

Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." And, "I am the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." From our perspective, Jesus has always existed and will always exist.

Jesus' Roles Changed

Jesus created the angels and the earth with everything on it, including humanity. Unfortunately, the humans destroyed the love relationship they had with God because they disobeyed God's command. Jesus then shifted his roles from being Creator and Sustainer to that of Savior and Mediator.

The rest is history!

Jesus had to leave heaven for a time and become our sacrifice for sin. He accomplished that great mission and returned to be with his Father in heaven. He is now defending his disciples against the accusations of the devil. Don't worry, we'll be studying these great things very soon.

Grasp This!

The fact of Jesus living in heaven prior to creation is a biblical reality. Additionally, many times throughout the Old Testament he revealed himself to certain people. Theologians call these appearances Christophanies.

Jesus usually appeared to people as the Angel of the Lord. He showed himself to Adam, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and many others, but we'll study those things in this lesson: Christ in the Old Testament.

We would love to see him ourselves, for sure, but we'll have to be patient. We're called to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Do you want to be with Jesus in heaven? Tell him so in prayer.

The topic of Jesus' pre-existence should fascinate you. Knowing that your Savior is eternally one with God the Father is life-changing. The knowledge may open up an entire new personal perspective of Jesus. Hopefully, you'll marvel more at Jesus with this new knowledge you possess. Isn't this exciting stuff?!

Join the next lesson: Angels In Heaven #1.06

Bible Study Questions:

1) How would the denial of Jesus in heaven, in his pre-existent state, effect one's salvation?

2) How does Jesus in heaven continue in his role of sustaining the world?

3) What does the phrase "begotten of the Father" mean?

Inspirational Bible Verses:

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11

Faith Quotes!

Faith is not belief without proof, but a continuous gaze of the heart at the Triune God. - A.W.Tozer

The essence of faith is being satisfied with all God is for us in Jesus. - John Piper

Quotes about God:

God is not a theory; he is a person. As such, he is only known and encountered in a total relationship which involves and affects not only our mind but the life and character, too. To know God's dossier is nothing; to know him is everything. - R.T.France

Jesus Christ Quotes:

Therefore let us be fully resolved on this point that, whenever we speak of Jesus Christ we shall lift up our thoughts on high and worship this majesty which he had from eternity, and this infinite essence which he enjoyed before he clothed himself in human flesh. - John Calvin

The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men may become sons of God. - C.S. Lewis

Faith is nothing but believing what God promises or says. Whatever remarkable thing we read of happening in the Old or New Testament, we read that it was done by faith - not by works, not by a general faith, but by faith directed to the matter in hand. - Martin Luther

Prayers of Thanksgiving:

Dear Lord God, The thought that you and your Son are eternal is mind-boggling. I now marvel that you were with Jesus in heaven before creation began. That fact alone causes me to fall on my face before you, praising you, praising your Son, by the power of the eternal Spirit. I'm not worthy, Lord, not even worthy to call you my God. My heart is full of thanksgiving to YOU! In Christ's name. Amen.

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