Veiled In Flesh
By F.J. Turley
Charles Wesley, that great hymn writer, when he wrote his well known and beloved Christmas Carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” made one of the most profound statements in it when he wrote “veiled in flesh the godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity”. No doubt this conveys the greatest truth of the glorious deity of Jesus Christ. If Jesus was anyone less than the eternal God robed in human form then many of His statements and many of those spoken and written about him were not completely accurate. Let us look at this from three viewpoints.
Firstly, He Acknowledged His Diety.
Among the attributes and expectations of any God, be he Jehovah himself or some heathen deity, his followers come to him for three things. They believe that he can forgive their sins and transgressions. Even the most primitive idol worshippers seek their god for his pardon. The Jews believed that only God could grant forgiveness of sins. This is strewn in Mark chapter 2 we have the healing of the palsied man and Jesus said unto him, “Thy sins be forgiven thee” and the pious Jews said “Only God can forgive sins”. This was perfectly true and if Jesus had not have been the one God in flesh he could not have pronounced such a sweeping statement. If Jesus had power to forgive sins and only God can do that gracious work, then he must have been God in the flesh. We know that any God expects and receives worship and adoration. Now of one thing we can be sure that Jesus was both adored and worshipped and never once did he refuse it or rebuke the ones who gave it. Jesus pointed out to Satan in the wilderness “Ye shall worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve”. God alone is to be worshipped and worship to any other person or being is the act of idolatry. Jesus as we have previously said accepted worship on a number of occasions. The sages from the Orient said “We have seen his star and have come to worship Him…” and worship Him they did – Matt. 2:2 and 11. The Leper in Matthew 8 v 2 “Came and worshipped Him…”. Again Matthew 9 v18 we read of the ruler whose daughter was even at the point of death “came and worshipped Him”. After his resurrection in Matthew 28 v9 “His disciples held him by the feet and worshipped Him . .” Could anything be plainer, if Jesus was not the one true God then he should not and ought not to have received worship from anyone.
One other thing a God desires and receives are sacrifices. In order to appease the wrath of their gods heathens will sacrifice even their own children and possessions. We know that Jesus Christ also asked for and received personal sacrifices from his followers. Peter said “Lo we have left all and followed you” They gave up everything to become his disciples. Jesus asked this same thing of the rich young ruler, but he was not prepared to make such an offering to Christ. Mark.10:23-31. Jesus expected all those who would to sacrifice and leave their homes, families, wealth, possessions for His sake and “Take up their cross and follow Him”. If he was not God then He should not have expected such a great oblation. It was not His right to demand thus from them if He were not God. But He was God and therefore desired their sacrificial offerings, and they accepting this fact willingly gave to Him of their all. Therefore we can see that as God, He could forgive sins, be worshipped and receive sacrifices.
Secondly, He Acclaimed His Deity
Jesus left us in no doubt that He himself knew He was God in the flesh. To the utter amazement of the Jews he declared “Before Abraham was I am ” John. 8v58. To ascribe to himself ‘the divine name “I am” was blasphemy to his hearers, but he did not flinch when he said it because he knew it was the truth. The eternal Spirit that indwelt Him was the same person that talked to Abraham, In response to the desire of Philip in John 14 Jesus said “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. . have I been so long with you yet thou hast not known me Philip . . ” Notice the accent on the personal pronoun I and me, not we or us. Jesus could not have been simpler and yet more profound when He said these words. He acclaimed His oneness with God, He said He was the Father revealed in and through the temple of His humanity. He did not say He that hath seen me hath seen the Son, or the Spirit of the Son or the person of the son. What he did say verified his other statement when he said “I and My Father are one” John 1000. It is no lie when we sing “Jesus. . Our Emmanuel” for he was in very truth “God with us”, God among us. There can be no doubting the veracity that Jesus was indeed the One true God, the Jehovah of the Old Testament.
Thirdly, He Allowed Others to Proclaim His Deity.
The prophets and writers in the Old Testament spoke of the coming of their God Jehovah and Jesus fulfilled these great prophecies to the letter. Isaiah said in chapter 9v6 “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and his Name shall be Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father the Prince of Peace” also in chapter 7v14 Isaiah says “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his Name shall be Immanuel”. The prophet Micah says in 5v2 “thou Bethlehem..out of thee shall come forth unto me a ruler in Israel: whose goings have been from of old from everlasting”. Surely if these scriptures apply to anyone they apply to the Lord Jesus. He was born in Bethlehem, He was born of a virgin. The New Testament confirms these facts and He was named Emmanuel. If the child born, the son given was the great and mighty God, the everlasting Father then Jesus must have been He without a doubt. John the Baptist claimed to be the voice in the wilderness “Proclaiming the way of the Lord (Jehovah)”. If he was the forerunner
of Christ then he was indeed making the way for the Lord of Glory. Paul adds weight to this fact when he says “God was in Christ” 2 Cor 5,v 19. No one less than God was in Christ. He also tells the Colossians in 2v9 “All the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwells in Him”. Not some of it, but all of it. Nowhere in the New Testament are we ever told that Jesus was an inferior being, or second being or person, he was always attested as being God in the flesh. This was the wonderful affirmation that came from the lips of Thomas when he cried “My Lord and My God”. We can then sing with every confidence that carol of Charles Wesley.
“Veiled in flesh the God head see Hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.”
And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up to glory” I Tim. 3.16.
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