What Jesus Said About How He Came

I believe Jesus came from heaven in the flesh, because that’s what He said about himself.

The Son of the Man which is in heaven…John 3:11-19

 

John 3:16 as a simple statement of God’s salvation, yet few quote the context.  The context, as Jesus gave it, is that God the Father gave His Son from heaven.   In fact, He introduces the teaching of John 3:16 by telling them He is about to speak to them of heavenly things.

 

John 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.[1]

John 3:12  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

John 3:13  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of [the][2] man which is in heaven.

John 3:14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

John 3:15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

 

If we just take Christ at His word He clearly speaks of Himself as one who has come into this world from elsewhere. Read through the verses above paying special attention to the bolded phrases.  Jesus is explaining His coming.  There is no reference to Mary as in most scholarly explanations of the incarnation[3].  Neither here, nor anywhere else in the Gospels does Jesus say anything that indicates any part of His being had its source in this world.

 

Look at what He says.  He came down from heaven. He was sent into the world. He is come into the world.  These phrases speak of Jesus as having come to us from outside this world, from heaven above. He never tries to explain Himself as the theologians do – a being with His source in two worlds – rather over and over He simply speaks of having coming down from heaven.

 

The living bread which came down from heaven… John 6:29-69

 

In John Chapter 6, Jesus compares Himself to the manna that God rained down on the Jews in the wilderness[4]. He is the True Bread, the fulfillment of what the wilderness manna only portrayed.   He emphasizes that this True Bread came down from heaven and that that bread is His flesh. 

 

It is important to note that the group that Christ addresses in this chapter contained both unbelieving Jews and disciples of Christ.  At the end of the chapter it is noted that many of his disciples would walk no more with him after He taught about His flesh in truth.  This is a clear example that the teaching of Christ as coming from heaven in the flesh divides the true believers from the tares[5].

 

John 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 6:30  They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

John 6:31  Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

 

These men did not have any trouble believing that the wilderness manna had come down from heaven because this was what was written in the scriptures.  Yet as we will see below, they would not receive it when Jesus says that His flesh came down from heaven. The ability to believe the scriptures on one level and yet reject the deeper truth of the Son of God as the Bread from Heaven shows us in vivid way the difference between those that are taught of God and those who are only taught of men.

 

John 6:32  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

John 6:33  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

John 6:34  Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

John 6:35  And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 6:36  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

John 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 6:38  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

John 6:39  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 6:40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

If we just take Christ at His word He clearly speaks of Himself as one who has come into this world from heaven.  As pointed out previously, never in the Gospels does Jesus say anything that indicates any part of His being had its source in this world.  Think on each of the bolded phrases in this passage. There is no mixing of humanity and God in His explanations of who He is.  He simply says over and over that He came down from heaven. 

 

John 6:41  The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

John 6:42  And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

John 6:43  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

John 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:45  It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

John 6:46  Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

John 6:47  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

 

There are at least two things that we need to notice in John 6.  One is that only the Father can teach us in truth who the Son is.  The second is that the Son came from heaven[6].  These things are really one and the same. That’s the point Jesus is making here. If the Father teaches us who the Son is, He is going to teach us that He came down from heaven.  The evidence that we are truly taught of God is that we believe this simple truth.  If we are not taught of God we will contend with that teaching as did the Jews here.

 

John 6:48  I am that bread of life.

John 6:49  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

John 6:50  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

John 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

 

It is very clear in these scriptures that Jesus means His flesh came from heaven.  He says the living bread came down from heaven and that that bread is His flesh.  This flesh is what He gives for the life of the world[7].  God didn’t give us our own flesh and blood as a sacrifice.  He gave us His flesh and blood.

 

John 6:52  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

John 6:53  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

John 6:54  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:55  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

John 6:56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

John 6:57  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

John 6:58  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

 

Jesus is teaches here that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to enter the kingdom of Heaven.  I don’t want to stray too far from our central theme in order to speak to this.  I’ll just say that my understanding is that Jesus is speaking on two levels here.  One level is that we must feed on His word[8] and make it a part of us, in other words live it out.  On another level He is speaking of the Marriage Feast that believers will be allowed to eat of in the resurrection.  At that Marriage Feast we will eat bread and drink a wine that is of the same substance as Christ’s flesh[9].  Christ spoke of this at His final supper[10] and in Revelation 1:17.  This teaching simply underscores how the teaching of Christ’s flesh is fundamental to understanding many, many teachings of the scriptures.

 

John 6:59  These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

John 6:60  Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

John 6:61  When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?

John 6:62  What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

John 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:64  But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

John 6:65  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

John 6:66  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

John 6:67  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

John 6:68  Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

John 6:69  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

 

Not just the Jewish religious leaders murmured at the teaching of Christ’s flesh as having come from heaven.  Many of those who had been disciples were offended and left off following Him because He taught this.  This is a teaching that separates, which again helps us understand why John would use it as the basis for trying the spirits[11]. 

 

In verses 63-65, Jesus again returns to the idea that only the Father, through the Spirit of God, can draw a man to believe in the Son of God in truth.  When someone has truly been taught of God, they will be able to understand and receive the teaching of Christ as the Bread from Heaven. Thus Peter, a man imperfect in his understanding yet truly drawn of God, accepted that Jesus’ flesh came down from heaven.  Other disciples, those who had not been taught of God, went away and walked no more with Him when they heard this teaching.

 

Jesus’ response to their murmuring is simply to refer them back to where He came from, saying, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?”  In other words, Jesus says to them, would you believe that I came down from heaven if you saw me ascend back to heaven?  This is more than just saying would you believe me if you see me rise from the dead.  It is saying would you believe me if you saw me ascend back up and sit back down on the throne of God in heaven.[12]

 

Few of those in Christian churches have trouble taking the scriptures at face value when they say that if you ate from the Tree of Life you would live forever.  Few have trouble taking the scriptures at face value when they say that the Spirit of God came down from heaven in a bodily shape like a dove at the baptism of Christ (Luke 3:22).  Few have trouble taking the scriptures at face value when they say that an entire city, the New Jerusalem, comes down from God out of heaven (Revelation 21:2).  Few have trouble believing that Jesus will return bodily from heaven.  Yet many stumble and try and explain away what Jesus clearly says here about Himself and His flesh.  Why is that?  Could it be that this is indeed the way to try the spirits, and separate those who have been taught of God from those who have been turned aside to another Jesus[13]? 

 

But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me…John 7:27-29

 

John 7:27  Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.

John 7:28  Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.

John 7:29  But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

 

In these verses Jesus is speaking to the men of Jerusalem out of frustration with their unbelief.  He isn’t saying here that they really knew where He was from, at least not in the sense that they had received it and believed it in their hearts.  What He is saying is that they know where He is from because it had been proclaimed to them by men like John the Baptist,[14] and by Jesus Himself, and by the Father as he goaded them toward salvation.  Jesus sums up the message of where the Christ would come from in verse 29.  The message is simple; the Christ comes from the Father.

 

Verse 27 gives us insight into where the Jews were in a general way relative to the Messiah.  They didn’t know where the Messiah would come from.  The enemy[15] – Satan – has done this, but how?  The scriptures tell us He did this through religious leaders and what came to be the commonly accepted Jewish mainstream doctrine[16].  Did Satan stop this line of attack with the Jews, or would we expect him to have continued this strategy with the Gentiles?  It is naive to think he would not have continued it with the Gentiles.  Could perhaps this be the explanation behind why people today are not aware of the teaching of Christ as the Manna from above?

 

Ye are of this world; I am not of this world…John 8:13-27

 

In John 8:13-27 Jesus separates Himself from those of us who are born of this world.  Theologians teach that Jesus was both God’s Son and Mary’s son.  They believe His spirit came from God and His flesh came from Mary.  If Jesus was this hybrid being, of Mary’s earthly flesh and of God’s heavenly Spirit, then why does Jesus so clearly deny that He is of this world in this scripture?  Let the scriptures speak.

 

John 8:13  The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.

John 8:14  Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.

John 8:15  Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.

 

The Pharisees were men who were rejecting the drawing of God’s Spirit to faith in His Son. Jesus points out that not being able to tell where Jesus came from is an indicator of their true spiritual state.  These men believed they followed the God of Israel.  They were the conservatives of their day.  They were zealous for the God of Israel.  Yet they judged after the flesh, in other words they judged based on what they understood from their own natural intellect[17].  Read the words of religious men as they seek to explain the union of the divine and humanity – the immaculate conception as it is called – and you’ll see a similar inability to understand the simple truth of where Jesus came from.

 

John 8:16  And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

John 8:17  It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.

John 8:18  I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

John 8:19  Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

 

We saw in John 6 that only the Father can teach someone in truth who the Son is[18].  We can’t understand who the Son is solely by hearing a preacher, reading a tract, or even reading the scriptures.  It must be the Father Himself who through His Spirit comes to us and teaches us the truth in our hearts[19].  The law taught that the testimony of two men is true.  The two who testify of the Son are the Son and the Father. 

 

We also learn in these verses that you cannot know the Father in truth unless you know the Son in truth.  It’s all wrapped in together because there is one God.  He has manifested Himself as the Father.  He has manifested Himself as the Son.  He has manifested Himself as the Spirit of God.  He teaches men of this truth and that is what we must receive.

 

John 8:20  These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.

John 8:21  Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.

John 8:22  Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.

John 8:23  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

John 8:24  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 8:25  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.

John 8:26  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.

John 8:27  They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

 

Jesus tells the Jews that they are from beneath, that is from this world, and He is not.  How much clearer could He be?  If part of His being was of this world, would He make a statement like verse 23? 

For I proceeded forth and came from God…John 8:42-47

 

John 8:42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

 

In the verse above Jesus says simply he that proceeded forth and He came from God[20].  There is no mention of coming from God and Mary.  The love of God and the ability to believe the truth of His Son comes from God. 

 

John 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

John 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

John 8:45  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

John 8:46  Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

John 8:47  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

 

These verses show us several things.  They show us that Jesus speaks very plainly and directly.  Those who will hear what He says do so because they have been drawn and taught of God. No man can come to Christ in truth unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). 

 

These verses also show us that the Father of Lies is involved in religion.  His method of attack is to produce lies in the name of the Lord.  Those who are not of God, as described in the previous paragraph, will reject God’s truth and believe the lies of their father the devil.  This should be a very sobering passage for us who press toward the kingdom of God.  The men Jesus was speaking to were a part of a religion that God had originally given to Abraham and Moses in truth and had been passed down through the generations.  Satan had been successful at attacking the teachings of this religion such that it had become shot through with his lies.  These lies were not gross or obvious in nature.  They were not lies that asked the Jews to fall down and worship Baal[21].  Rather they were lies which were easily received by those of a religious tendency and who had a strong background in the same Old Covenant scriptures we have today.  They were lies that were subtle, yet caused these men and the people they led to by and large miss the Messiah when He came to them. 

 

This should give us pause.  It should give us pause because Satan has not stopped this work of seeding the truth of God with his own lies.  Just as he overcame the Jews when the kingdom was directed primarily to them, he will work to deceive the Gentile churches now that the kingdom of God is primarily directed toward the Gentiles.  This should cause us to cling tightly to the test that God has given us to discern the spirits[22]. 

I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world…John 16:27-28

 

John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

 

In John 16:27-28 Jesus states again that He came out from God.  He even breaks it down into two distinct events and puts them in order. First He came out from the Father and then He came into the world[23].  He even compares it to His departure, saying in effect that just as I leave the world and go to the Father, so came I from the Father and into the world. 

 

Notice that in John 16:27 that Jesus associates loving Him with believing that He came out from God.  He says this is the basis for the Father’s love for us.  This same pairing of love and believing that Jesus bodily came out from God is woven throughout the book of 1st John[24]. 

They have known surely that I came out from thee…John 17:5-8

 

John 17:5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was[25].

John 17:6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

John 17:7  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

John 17:8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

 

Jesus teaches us here that a true child of God understands and believes that He came out from God when it is taught to them.  There is nothing here about being the “union of God and man.”  Why are Jesus’ teachings about who He is so lacking in references to His human side if indeed He is as the theologians explain Him?  See the statement below by Leonard Foley and compare it to what we’ve seen that Jesus Himself says.   Ask yourself, is Jesus with His words trying to convey the same ideas concerning His being as Leonard Foley is trying to convey with his words?

 

Leonard Foley – a Catholic Father and author

 

“The Second Person of the Trinity, the Son, abandoned his godness, as it were, and became a real human being, Jesus of Nazareth, one in flesh with the whole human race….On earth Jesus was still the Son of God, eternal God, Jesus is one Person with two natures – one human, one divine – perfectly joined, not mixed.  He is just as truly man as he is truly God.”

What Catholics Believe (1986).

Leonard Foley, St. Anthony Messenger Press

____________________________________________________________________

 

 

Jesus never once taught that He was one in flesh with the human race.  He never once taught that He had two natures.  He taught that He and His Father were one.  He taught that He was not of this world.  He taught that His flesh came down from heaven.   Jesus, the Son of God, was with the Father and was physically manifested – body, soul, and spirit – to us.  That’s what Jesus taught.

 

Let the scriptures speak.


[1] This witness is the witness of the Father and the Son.  See John 8:17-18, Matthew 16:13-17.

[2] The true meaning of the title the Son of Man is in fact the opposite of what most take it to be.  Most take the title the Son of Man to be a reference to Christ’s humanity.  In fact it is a reference to that which is most important about Christ, that He is the Son of God the Father.  See section Because He is Called the Son of the Man.

[3] At the virgin birth, Christ entered this world through Mary, but He was not of her.  That is, He was not of her flesh.

[4] This event is recorded in Exodus 16.  Significantly, in Hebrew the word manna means what is it?  This was pointing to the fact that the Jews – and really the whole world – would not understand the teaching of Christ as the True Manna from heaven.  This helps us understand this event in John 6 and also why John would use this as the basis for trying the spirits. 

[5] See Because this is How We Try the Spirits.

 

[6] Jesus associates the teaching of having come from heaven not with His Spirit – as the world does – but with His flesh.  The world teaches that Jesus’ flesh came from Mary and that His Spirit came from God.  Nowhere in the scriptures is this taught.

[7] See Hebrews 10, particularly verses 5 and 10.

[8] The Word of God is manifested in two ways.  One, Jesus is the Word Made Flesh.  He is and does exactly what the word of God says.  Two, the scriptures are God’s word to us.  They contain the guidance we need to be like Jesus. 

[9] This substance is God’s word manifest in a physical way.  The Tree of Life was manifestation of God’s word. If you ate from it, you would live forever (Genesis 3:22).  Christ’s flesh is a manifestation of God’s word.  The meal we eat at the Marriage Feast will be manifest from God’s word.

[10] Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25

[11] See Because this is How We Try the Spirits.

[12] See Ezekiel chapter 1, particularly verses 26-28.  Ezekiel sees the Son of God seated on the throne of God in Heaven.

[13] 2 Corinthians 11:4

[14] See Because That’s What John the Baptist Said.

[15] Matthew 13:24-30.

[16] Malachi 2, Matthew 16:12,  Matthew 15:3-9.

[17] Interpreting the scriptures using their own natural intellect is typical of false religious leaders – see Jude 10.

[18] John 6:29, 6:44-45.  See also Matthew 11:27.

[19] This is not to say that God doesn’t use individual witnesses, preachers, tracts and the scriptures in His work of teaching us the truth about His Son.  What it means is that only the Father can teach us of His Son in truth, clearing away all the dross. 

[20] John 8:42 is probably the clearest statement indicating how the Son originally came to be.  The Son proceeded forth and came from God.  In this event, which took place in eternity past  prior to the creation, God became a Father and the Son became a son.  This doesn’t mean this is when the Son began to be.  He is eternal because He is God.  It is the point where God decided to manifest Himself in the person of His Son.

[21] There were times in the Old Covenant where the Jews did go so far as to openly worship idols of men and gods of other nations.  The Jews that Jesus dealt with in His day though were in the main seeking to serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  It was this religion, the one that originally was true, that Satan had shot through with lies and that had produced the people Jesus is addressing here.

[22] See Because This Is How We Try the Spirits.

[23] See Because He is the Firstborn of Every Creature.

[24] Jesus made this same association in Matthew 22:37-45.  For a fuller explanation of these verses see section Because that’s How We Try the Spirits.

[25] See subsection The Glory Which He Had with the Father, in the section Because He Appeared to Men Many Times Prior to the Virgin Birth for a discussion of Christ’s glory prior to and after His resurrection.

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