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The IMAGE and LIKENESS of GOD
The Relationship between GOD, JESUS CHRIST and MAN
PART 2 - Jesus Christ
A. Jesus as God
1. The "Divine being" fully resides in him - bodily.
Colossians 2:9 - The fullness of the divine being / deity [2B-3] resides in bodily form in Christ.
(a) He didn't have merely a "touch of divine spirit" floating around inside him... rather, the "divine being" was present in bodily form.
2. Jesus is (exists as) the visible image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4 - Christ... is the image [1A] of God.
(a) The word "is" (in both of these verses) is from Greek eimi [1A-2] and refers to Jesus' ongoing existence as God's "image." In contrast, the word used to describe humans as "existing" as God's "image," does not seem to have quite the same emphasis.
Colossians 1:15 - He [the Son] is the image [1A] of the invisible God.
(a) He makes visible what God is.
3. In him is the "exact representation" of all that it means to be "God."
Hebrews 1:3 - [The Son] is the radiance [2A-2] of God's glory and the exact representation / imprint [2A] of God's being / nature / substance [2A-1].
(a) All that can be seen of God's glory is visible (or "expressed") in the Son.
(b) The word "being" or "nature" focuses on the "foundation" of what it means to be "God." The exact "substance" that defines "God" is "imprinted" in him.
(c) This word "exact representation" is never used to described the relationship between people (created beings) and God.
4. Jesus is in every way equal to "God."
John 5:18 - Jesus' claim that God was his "Father" indicated that he was equal [9A] to God.
(a) Note that this was the apostle John's evaluation of Jesus' claim! In this context, it was not the same as when people (created beings) call God their "Father."
B. The act of becoming "human" - what did that involve? (Philippians 2:6-8)
1. Jesus existed in the "form" of God.
Philippians 2:6 - He existed in the nature / form [3A] of God.
(a) This is what he looked like in heaven.
(b) Comment about the word "form": Though there is an "external" aspect to this word, there is a greater focus on what is "internal" (that which is expressed by the "external"). Because of this, some translations will use the word "nature." In contrast, the word "appearance" (used below) has a greater focus on what is "external."
2. He let go of his "equality" with God.
Philippians 2:6 - He chose to not cling to his equality [9A] with God., but emptied [9A-1] himself of it.
(a) He let go of it, rather than "grasping" on to it.
(b) This does not mean that he let go of his deity. (He did not stop being God.) Rather, he let go of the glory and honor that naturally belonged to him. He chose to receive humility, shame and dishonor, instead of the glory he had the right to receive. (According to verse 9, he received his glory back, after his resurrection.)
3. He took on the "form" of a servant / slave.
Philippians 2:7 - He took on the nature / form [3A] of a servant.
(a) This is the same word as used above, in reference to his "form" as God. In v. 6, he "existed" in the form of God; here, he "took on" the form of a servant.
(b) The contrast is between "God" and "servant." The "human" aspect hasn't yet been mentioned. (That comes next.) Jesus did not cling to his rights as God. Instead, the "Lord" (which means "Master") over all choose to become the "servant" or "slave" under all.
4. He became "like" a human.
Philippians 2:7 - He was made [6D-1] in the likeness [6D] of a human.
(a) "Likeness" with humans - contrasted with his "equality" with God.
(b) Made - Greek "ginomai" - he "came to be" in the likeness of a human. This is an interesting contrast to what James says about humans (James 3:9), who are made ("came to be") in the likeness of God!
(c) Perhaps this has something to do with his birth. (Some translations say that he was "born" in human likeness.)
(d) More about what it means for Jesus to be "like a human" can be found in "Section C," below.
5. He took on the "physical appearance" of a man.
Philippians 2:8 - He was found in the appearance [4A] of a man.
(a) Even angels are called "servants" or "slaves" (Revelation 19:10; 22:8+). But Jesus chose to be like us humans, not like angels. (Compare with Hebrews 2:14-16.)
(b) When people looked at him, they saw a man. As a man, he humbled himself, became obedient unto death, etc.
C. More about Jesus becoming "like" us
1. He became "like" sinful humans (i.e., in "flesh"), in order to destroy sin.
Romans 8:3 - God sent his Son in the likeness [6D] of sinful man... in this way he condemned sin in sinful man.
(a) The word "man" is actually "flesh," and focuses on what controls us, by way of our desires, inclinations, habits, etc. This is in contrast with being controlled by the "Spirit." Jesus dealt with the sin issue (which had become an inherent part of our nature), so that sin would no longer have power over us.
2. He became "like" us in every way, except for our sinfulness, in order to accomplish this.
Hebrews 2:17 - He had to be made like [6C] his "brothers" (us) in every way (in order to deal with our sins).
(a) This included (among other things): taking on flesh and blood (v. 14), the ability to die (v. 14), and the ability to suffer temptation (v. 18).
3. One big difference: He did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15 - He was tempted in every way, just like [6B] us - yet without sin.
(a) Because of this, he became the perfect high priest... and the perfect sacrifice. (See later passages in the book of Hebrews.)
D. What is his physical appearance now?
1. He now has the glory he originally had... and more!
a. A description of what he now looks like - Revelation 1:12-16 - shows that he is glorious beyond comprehension. We have to use symbolism or comparisons to describe him. An example:
Revelation 1:15; 2:18 - His feet are like [6A] (they "resemble") glowing bronze in a furnace.
b. Because of what he has done on the cross, he is also the eternal king over all.
Revelation 1:13; 14:14 - ... one "like [6A] a son of man."
(a) This term has prophetic significance - see Daniel 7:13.
(b) See also Philippians 2:9-11.
2. Some of the apostles got a temporary glimpse of this glory, when Jesus took them up on a mountain (some time before the crucifixion).
a. Jesus' appearance was "transformed" before them.
Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2 - He was transformed [3D] before them. (His appearance / clothes became dazzling bright.)
(a) In 2 Peter 1:16-18, the apostle makes reference to this occasion.
b. A specific description of his change:
Luke 9:29 - The appearance [5A] of his face changed. (Also, his clothes became bright as lightning.)
(a) Compare this to the description in Revelation 1!
c. Other passages mention people who saw him after his ascension to heaven. Two examples:
(a) Stephen, as he was dying (Acts 7:55-56).
(b) Paul, when Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-5, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:8).
3. Note that, immediately after the resurrection, Jesus did not reveal his glory... he looked just like a "normal" human.
a. At different times, he was (mistakenly) thought to be different people.
Mark 16:12 - After his appearance to Mary Magdalene, he appeared in a different form [3A] to two others.
(a) In that culture, people didn't look into the faces of strangers. Not yet understanding the resurrection, they had no reason to think that he wasn't a stranger!
(b) Mary thought he was the gardener. She wasn't looking directly at him, at the time (John 20:14-16).
(c) The two others (most likely the two described in Luke 24) thought he was a visitor to Jerusalem (Luke 24:18), so they wouldn't have been inclined to look directly into his face. Also, they were kept from recognizing him (v. 16) until their eyes were opened at a later time (v. 31).
E. Some details about Jesus' ministry, which are related to the Old Testament
1. He had a priestly ministry patterned after that of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:4).
Hebrews 7:15 - Jesus... a priest like [6B] Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:3 - Melchizedek was made like [6D] the Son of God
(a) See v. 1-3, for some of the similarities.
(b) The information recorded about Melchizedek was chosen specifically so that it would form a parallel to Jesus. This does not mean that they were exactly the same in these matters. (This is one of the reasons for the word "like.")
(c) For instance, there is no written record of Melchizedek dying; so in a sense (as far as written records are concerned), his priesthood is still ongoing. In "real life," he would have eventually died and his priesthood would have ended. But this lack of records provides a "picture" of the high priest - Jesus - who can no longer die and who really does have an unending priesthood!
2. He had a prophetic ministry comparable to Moses' ministry.
Acts 3:22 - Moses: "God will raise up a prophet from among you, like [6H] me. Pay attention to what he says!" [The context shows that this was fulfilled in Christ.]
(a) Note: Many manuscripts use a synonym for the above word "like," but the message remains the same.
3. There are striking parallels (and contrasts) between Jesus and Adam
Romans 5:14 - Adam, a picture [8A] of the one who was to come (Christ).
(a) See Romans 5 (especially v. 12+), to see some of the parallels and contrasts. See also 1 Corinthians 15.
4. There are many other ways that Jesus' ministry relates to the Old Testament (not listed here).
(a) This includes his "kingly" ministry (and its parallels to King David and various other Jewish kings); the parallels between Jesus and the Old Testament sacrificial system; etc.
F. Some of the parallels/contrasts between the Old Covenant (brought by Moses) and the New Covenant (brought by Jesus)
1. The Law is but a "shadow" of the "realities" that Jesus brought.
Hebrews 10:1 - The Law is a shadow [7A] of the good things to come, not the image / form / reality [1A] itself.
(a) It is not the "form" that causes the shadow.
2. The Old Covenant ceremonial activities are "shadows" of the realities found in Christ.
Colossians 2:17 - [Such things] are a shadow [7A] of what would come; the "reality" (the "body" that casts the shadow) is in Christ.
3. Moses' tabernacle was a "shadow" and "copy" of the heavenly tabernacle that Christ entered.
a. It was a "copy" and "shadow," based on a pattern that Moses was given by God.
Hebrews 8:5 - (Moses' tabernacle) is a copy [10A] and shadow [7A] of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was told to carefully follow the pattern [8A] he was shown on the mountain.
(a) This pattern would have been the instructions given in Exodus 26+.
Acts 7:44 - The tabernacle was made according to the pattern [8A] God gave Moses.
b. The "shadow" could be purified by animal blood, but the "reality" needed purified by Christ's blood.
Hebrews 9:23 (see v. 18+) - The copies [10A] of the heavenly things needed purified with sacrifices (described in the previous verses); but the heavenly things themselves needed better sacrifices (described in the verses that follow).
4. The Law pointed to the truth, but was powerless to destroy sin.
a. It contains the "embodiment" of truth, so we don't dare ignore its message.
Romans 2:20 - You have in the Law the form / embodiment [3C] of knowledge and truth. Do you dare to ignore what it says? (Implication: NO!)
b. However, only Christ could destroy sin.
Romans 8:3 - God sent his Son in the likeness [6D] of sinful man (or "flesh"), to destroy sin in sinful man (or "flesh"). He did what the Law was powerless to do.
Dennis Hinks © 2006
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