“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. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made” (John 1:1-3). With these word John begins his account of the life of Jesus.

It is said that the gospel of Mathew was written for a Jewish audience, Mark for a Roman one, and Luke for the Greeks. But the gospel of John was written for all believers — Jews, Romans, and Greeks. Luke’s account of the Savior’s advent into our world is the most extensive and exhaustive. True to its stated purpose “to write in order,” Luke gives extensive attention to the conception and birth of both John and Jesus, whom John came to be forerunner of. Matthew records the birth of Jesus, although he was silent regarding the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:26-36). Matthew chose rather to record Joseph’s reaction to the news that Mary, to whom he was betrothed, was already with child before he and she had come together. Matthew records the angel’s assurance to Joseph of Mary’s purity, and tells him not to fear to take Mary as his wife, for the child she had conceived was of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18-24). Mark recorded nothing of either John’s or Jesus’ birth but launched into the ministry of John the Baptist and then that of Jesus.

John ignores the genealogies of Jesus which both Matthew and Luke reveal. These genealogies dealt with the flesh He had taken on, and it was John’s purpose to reveal Jesus was co-existent with the Father from eternity. Jesus was “in the beginning” which words echo Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Angels are creatures, created beings (just like man) by God but before the world was formed. In Job 38:7, God asked Job where he was when the foundation of the earth was laid, at which time the morning stars sang together and “the sons of God shouted for joy.” This is all the sacred scriptures reveal about the origin of angels. Therefore we may conclude that God made them at some unknown point in ages past. Still, whether when our world was created or at some point before that when angels were formed, the Word was there and He was the Creator of angels as well the creator of man: “All things were created by him, and without him was not anything made that hath been made.”

John 1 records at least five different ways by which Jesus is identified. John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the “Lamb of God” (Jn. 1:29, 36), a knowledge of His work in the redemption of man which neither of the other gospels specifically indicate John understood, although he certainly did. Then, Andrew identifies Jesus as “the Messiah” when he informed his brother Peter about Jesus (Jn. 1:41). Nathaniel exclaimed that Jesus was “the son of God, king of Israel” (Jn. 1:49) and Jesus calls Himself the “son of man” (Jn. 1:51). However, the Holy Spirit chose to identify Jesus as the “Word of God” (John 1:1, 14). Nor is the gospel of John alone in describing Jesus in such a manner. John calls Jesus the “Word” in both his first epistle and in Revelation. In 1 John 1:1 he wrote, “That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life,” and in Revelation 19:13 John wrote “his name is called the Word of God.” Jesus is the Word of God because He is the expression of the Father’s will, He spoke the world into existence, and He revealed God’s will for man.

One of the astonishing truths about the Bible is the frequency in which we see demonstrated the truth Paul revealed about the scriptures. He wrote that the scriptures reveal all truth and that through them the man of God is “perfect” furnished completely unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17). God, in His divine wisdom, anticipated every false notion that man would advocate regarding both the nature of God and His will for man and supplied a ready answer to that error. John 1:1-3 marvelously demonstrates that truth. In these three verses God supplied material which devastates two false views about God and His nature set forth by man today: the doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus was a created being, the first thing God created.

In similar fashion God destroys the doctrine advocated by United Pentecostals that Jesus is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Notice that John wrote that “all things were created by him and without him was not anything made that hath been made.” The Spirit did not wish His words to be misunderstood for if some should argue that when John wrote “all things were made by him,” that is not to be understood literally that everything was created by Jesus; the Spirit further stated: “And without Him was not anything made that hath been made.” Unless Jesus created Himself, He is not a created being, for whatever was created, was created by Him. On the other hand, when John wrote “and the word was with God and the Word was God,” he indicated that at least two beings are “God” and not just one as the doctrine of the United Pentecostals claim. Truly, “Through thy precepts I get understanding, therefore, I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:104).

Jim McDonald