Jesus was "the Son." In Hebrew culture, being "a Son" meant something very specific. Jesus is called the firstborn Son; the preeminent Son. What, then, is "a son"?
Galatians 4:Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
A "child" is not a "son."A child is simply an offspring. But, a son is a male offspring who has come to the age of accountability and has accrued to himself the right to bear the name (authority) of his father. He may now conduct business in the name of his father and use his fatherís authority in transactions. A "child" cannot do that even though he is the heir apparent. He will become the son, in time. But, until he has come of age, he cannot speak, or act, for his father. You will note it says here that an heir, as long as he is a child, under age and not yet come to accountability, "differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all." But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father (see explanation following). Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fullness of the time was come, God (the Father) sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (born a "child," but grew to become a "Son"). To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive sonship (KJV has "adoption").
The word "adoption" is an inappropriate rendering of the Greek word. The word is actually "sonship," and has no relation to what we usually think of as "adoption." Sonship was a custom in Israel. When a child came of age his father declared Him publicly to be a son.
Jesusí sonship was publicly declared at the time of his baptism. A voice was heard out of heaven saying, "This is my beloved SON in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
A son is an heir. We, too, become joint heirs with Jesus.
Remember the parable of the prodigal son? He came of age (i.e. became a "son") and demanded his inheritance so that he could go his own way. A "son" is an inheritor. Jesus was a Son in the full sense of the word. He inherited the full kingdom; the full creation of the Father. He inherited responsibility and authority under Yahweh the Father.
Hebrews 1:Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, through whom he also arranged the ages.
The Son is heir of all things because all things are for the Son. Itís very common to hear of a man who builds up his estate, and then turns it over to his son. Jesus was the Heir; the Firstborn. He was the heir of the Fatherís estate (i.e. all of creation).
An heir must receive his inheritance from a benefactor. The benefactor precedes the recipient and logically cannot be the recipient himself.
Now, lets go back to John 1. This is probably the most widely quoted scripture to try to say that Jesus and Yahweh were equal, or somehow co-eternal.In the beginning was the wordÖ (KJV)
Typically, the King James Version is inadequate. "Wordí is not a good translation of the Greek "logos." It should read like this:In the beginning was the communicationÖ
"Logos," in Greek, does not mean merely "a word." It means "communication," or "communicated message," the difference being that "words" do not necessarily always make sense or communicate. I can speak words in volumes and perhaps none of them will reach your heart or your mind or be communicated to you. Godís "logos" is something that communicates Ė and it can come in different forms.In the beginning was the communication, and the communication was for God (Not "with God" but "for God.") And God was the communication (correct according to the Greek text).
In the beginning, God made the communication. The communication was for God and about God. How did the communication appear?
We read in Hebrews 1, that in times past, "God spakeÖ"
He spake! That was the communication! Yahweh spoke to man.
Didnít He speak to Adam? Didnít He speak to Noah? Didnít He communicate with Abraham and Moses? Didnít the law come by word?
In the beginning, there was "the communication." The communication drew man toward God. Manís understanding of Yahweh was limited to the scope of that communication by word.
Yahweh became known to men by virtue of his communication: his logos, if you will. Men couldnít see Him; their understanding of Him was limited; but He made himself partially known to them by his Word of communication; his law.
Men developed their concept of Yahweh from that communication: that LOGOS. The parameters of their mental concept of God were unable to go beyond the limits of that communication: the extent that He revealed Himself. Their understanding was limited, but at least better than before.
Later, that communication was dramatically improved and took on new form. That same "logos" (communication) was vested in flesh. In other words, Yahweh improved his channels of communication to man by making the logos more than just audible or written words. It became more than just thoughts and concepts. Now, this "logos" was vested in the form of a living man. The logos became flesh. The Father himself didnít become flesh, but his logos did. Jesus was groomed to express Godís logos in the life of a mortal man.
That communication lived and walked amongst men. Jesus was the Fatherís Communication: his Declaration to men. He was a living Message from Yahweh Ė more than just words. Jesus was the Expression of Yahweh himself. But, again, "the Declaration of Yahweh" is not equal to "Yahweh himself."
To the limit of manís comprehension, Jesus expressed (declared) Yahweh to us. No, He was not the totality of Yahweh. He was as much of the Father as man could fathom. He was the best possible communication (logos) to man considering our limitations.
Here is another illustration that may provide you with a better grasp of the mental picture I am trying to draw in your mind. Take a photograph of yourself. If you ask someone to identify it, what answer would you expect? Usually, the reply will be "That is you"! But, in fact, the photograph is NOT you Ė it is merely an image of you. It is a two-dimensional image on paper. If you turn it around to the back, you see nothing but white paper. Your back is not there; nor your sides if you turn it sideways. The size is not equal. The composition is different. Nor can it move, or speak. It isnít equal to you even though it resembles you.
To the extent that you can print an image of yourself on a piece of paper, itís pretty accurate. But, itís not really you Ė itís only an "express image" of you. There is much more to you than can be put on the photo paper. You can destroy the picture without destroying yourself. And yet, that image on the paper is thought of as "you."
Thus, it was with Jesus. Yahwehís image Ė his Son Ė was not all of Yahweh, any more than all of you could be in a photograph. If Yahweh cannot be contained in the universe, then how could He have been contained in the mortal person of Jesus? Nonetheless, Jesus was the express image of Yahweh as accurately as he could be expressed in flesh form.