Educating Jesus

“And, most heartbreaking, most breathtaking of all, is His willingness to actually become the veil, the flesh that was torn away to reveal the “naked” mind of the Father, the unhidden face of His mission for a bride for His Son.”

“And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (Genesis 6:6)

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:36-37)

The relationship between the Father and the Son is an eternal to-and-fro. It is this primary “chiasm,” a “there-and-back-again,” a forming and a filling, which gave shape to the Creation Week and every facet of the Word of God and of human life.

Most importantly, it is also the shape of human history. All of antiquity up to the Ascension of Christ was a “forming” which resulted in a Glorified Adam, the Firstfruits. Pentecost began the filling, the maturity of humanity resulting from the maturity of Christ.

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, (Creation)
in bringing many sons to glory, (Division)
should make the founder of their salvation (Ascension)
perfect through suffering. (Testing)
For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. (Maturity)
That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers…” (Conquest)
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
And again, “I will put my trust in him.”
And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” (Glorification)
(Hebrews 2:10-12)

But what if this forming and filling of Creation and Man was intimately linked to the One through whom all things were created? What if all of human history is also a single, but crucial, to-and-fro between the Father and His Son? What if the full intentions of the Father during Old Testament history were not only veiled to humanity, and to the angels (1 Peter 1:12) but also only revealed stage by stage to the Son, who submitted, suffered and matured at every step? What if the ministry of the preincarnate Son was the “credo,” culminating in His “ut intelligam” at the resurrection and Ascension? It would certainly answer some tough questions.

In Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, the narrator refers to a God shocked by the murder of Abel, a God early in history, a God who is a young man:

Cain killed Abel, and the blood cried out from the ground—a story so sad that even God took notice of it. Maybe it was not the sadness of the story, since worse things have happened every minute since that day, but its novelty that He found striking. In the newness of the world God was a young man, and grew indignant over the slightest things. In the newness of the world God had perhaps not Himself realized the ramifications of certain of His laws, for example, that shock will spend itself in waves; that our images will mimic every gesture, and that shattered they will multiply and mimic every gesture ten, a hundred, or a thousand times. (page 192) [1]

In the Creation Week, many have noticed that the firmament was not deemed ‘good.’ Neither was it deemed ‘bad,’ which indicates that it was a temporary veil between heaven and earth, like the cutting of Adam and his division into Eve. Cells divide that they may be united in a greater way. [2] The division, the darkness and deep sleep, is for the purpose of multiplication. The veil hides God’s face, God’s intentions, just as Moses’ face was veiled, and Yahweh was hidden in the tent. Wise rulers like Joseph temporarily hide their faces, veiling their intentions for the purpose of testing their brothers. It is exactly what the Lord did in Eden for the purpose of testing Adam, to qualify him for rule as God’s image, before sending him out with a blessing on the Land and the womb for the filling of the world.

What if the mind of the Father was also hidden by a “firmament,” a great “Covenant blessing” wrapped in a riddle, something good for the Son but not yet complete? Behind it, like Noah, was the naked Father. [3] What if the process of bringing the Son to a “bridal” maturity actually began with the Creation. The act of Creation was the first act of a servanthood, of “putting off” of glory, which continued until the Ascension.

“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you BEFORE THE WORLD EXISTED.” (John 17:4-5)

Nothing was created without the Son, yet not all was revealed to the Son from the beginning. All would be revealed, but not in one go, only little by little, through human history. The firmament was an image of the delegation of the Son by the Father, a garment “stretched out” like Joseph’s robe, a robe that would be bloodied and torn.

I realize this theory might appear to border on open theism, but I am only talking about the Son, not the Father. The Father’s omni-potence has been fully realized in His pleni-potent Son. [4].

Is it possible that the reference to Yahweh’s repenting that He had made man was more than a mere anthropomorphism? Is it possible that when Yahweh told Israel that child sacrifice had never entered into His heart, that He was not simply condescending?

In His life, Jesus demonstrated the good nature of the Father. In His death, Jesus as the torn veil (Hebrews 10:20) demonstrated, revealed, the Father’s intentions. He showed us God’s true face. What if Jesus’ didn’t know the Father’s will as much as we think? What if it was only revealed to Him on a “need to know” basis. His entire life was the same “credo ut intellegam” we must all pass through as sons of God? Certainly, He knew He was going to die in Jerusalem, but what if this was revealed to Him by the Spirit in a way similar to that in which Paul’s future was revealed to him by the prophet? Jesus obeyed God step by step, day by day. He did not know Lazarus was going to die. He did not know that He was going to be abandoned on the cross. He didn’t just humble Himself in heaven and become flesh. He humbled himself and obeyed at every step right from the foundation of the world, from Day 1.

Such a new vision of the full obedience of the Son, blind obedience, beginning with the Creation of Light, has astonishing implications.

It would tie the preincarnate Son to humanity in a more intimate way. What implicit trust the Son demonstrated as He continued to obey the Father despite the horrors of the Old Testament history. The Old Covenant was administered by angels, so the Son Himself was an angel, “the angel of the Lord,” that is, a servant. [5] The Old Testament history would thus have been a heartbreaking revelation to the Son, just as it was to humanity. Yet His faith in the Father did not waver.

The Son had already humbled Himself in the act of Creation. His humbling would continue by degrees until His death on the cross. His obedience in entering that history as a man and obeying again “unto death” is breathtaking. And, most heartbreaking, most breathtaking of all, is His willingness to actually become the veil, the flesh that was torn away to reveal the “naked” mind of the Father, the unhidden face of His mission for a bride for His Son. It also revealed the Covenant “rainbow” of the love of the Father for us as a multiplication of His “white light” love for the Son.

“…among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor. 2:6-8)

It is no longer the mystery of the mind of God that needs revealing. It is not the mind of God but the mind of Christ.

“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3)

All has now been revealed to Him. He obeyed from the very beginning, and now He truly is Solomon, the king who has sought God with all His heart and obtained an even greater glory, the glory of His Bride.

“It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.” (Prov. 25:2)

[1] See Tearing of the Veil.
[2] The Bible Matrix in the process of gestation on p. 25 of God’s Kitchen. Ascension is a single “coded cell,” and Maturity is multiple “coded cells.”
[3] See Naked Noah.
[4] See Images of God.
[5] James Jordan makes an interesting observation: In the Revelation, to the Old Covenant people who rejected Jesus, Jesus is still referred to as the Angel of the Lord, but to the New Covenant believers, He is the exalted Man, Jesus.

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12 Responses to “Educating Jesus”

  • Steven Opp Says:

    I have a very strong suspicion you are onto something very important. Are you suggesting that every time God speaks in the Old Testament it is the voice of the Son, not the Father, speaking? So we actually never hear a direct word from the Father which isn’t being filtered by the Son’s limited understanding? So you can say, as some do, that God “matured” throughout the Old Testament while still holding that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow?

  • Mike Bull Says:

    You’re sharp, as always.

    Yes. Although there is the “let US go down” language concerning the judgment of Babel.

    I sent this to a friend with the warning that it might sound like heresy. He replied,

    “Not heresy, but quite possible theology. Jesus was perfected through suffering. I agree that something develops in the Son through his experiences. Extending that back in time to the creation is a novel step, but it’s not radical, it’s just an extension of what we already know about Jesus from the new testament. I could be convinced.”

    And I replied,

    “It means his earthly life was a microcosm of all human history, which makes sense if all the world was created in Him and judged in Him. And the idea makes me love Him even more.”

  • Mike Bull Says:

    I’m not sure that the “maturing” of the Son would have affected the words He spoke as the Father’s representative. This is the picture we get in John’s Gospel, and also in Hebrews. The Son IS the infallible Word, yet He is a person, and a Mediator.

    So this means we can’t claim that anything God says in the Old Testament was incorrect. It was perfect for the time and the situation, and the Father who initially spoke those Words knew everything from the beginning, when Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

    The more I chew on it, I’ve found this idea sheds new light, or puts a wonderful new spin, on many texts. Imagine if the Son had no idea what the Father intended when He commanded the sacrifice of Isaac in perfect obedience? Was He the Angel sent to stop it? “Before Abraham was, I am.”

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Here’s another one…

    “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you BEFORE THE WORLD EXISTED.”

  • Steven Opp Says:

    Fascinating, keep going

  • Steven Opp Says:

    Is the word Yahweh more closely related to Jesus than to the Father? The word doesn’t appear in Genesis until after the first creation account. I’ve heard preachers say that the Angel of Yahweh in the OT was Jesus, and I haven’t heard anyone disagree with that. Is it too much of a stretch to simply say Yahweh himself was Jesus? Don’t know my Hebrew grammar too well yet, but could “Angel of Yahweh” be translated “Angel Yahweh”?

  • Steven Opp Says:

    *The significance of Yahweh appearing after first creation account being that the name is connected with creation.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    I’m pretty sure both Leithart and Jordan have written or said that Yahweh was Jesus, being the Word, but they would not take it this far.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Another thought: the final test for Abraham was the offering of his son. Likewise, the final act of servanthood for Jesus would be, in this scenario, the incarnation, a microcosm of the whole.

  • Steven Opp Says:

    Just read this post by Andrew Perriman:

    I’m curious about your take on what he says about Psalm 110. The Lord (Jesus) sitting at the right hand of the LORD (Yahweh) implies they’re not the same person. Thoughts?

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Good point. Seems God isn’t as concerned with identity so much as with roles, which makes Him Trinitarian.

    The “I Am” is the “source” of Covenant authority. To the Son, the Father is the I Am. To the Covenant people, Jesus is the I Am, as He Himself says. Psalm 110 puts the Father at Transcendence and the Son at Hierarchy. But the Son is still transcendent.