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In Daniel 3:25, KJV, after seeing the four men in the fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar stopped short of saying that the fourth man was the Son, but rather was “like the Son of God.”

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (My emphasis)

Clearly, Nebuchadnezzar did not recognize the Son by visual cognizance because He had never seen the Son of God. Nevertheless, from the description others had seen of this entity, (Dan 10:5-6 and Rev. 1:12-16) no one could blame him of being wrong in his assessment of His form, “like the Son of God.”

In Psalm 2:2 KJV, we see that the rulers take counsel against the LORD, and against His anointed, but verse 4 either enjoins the LORD and His anointed as ONE, or singles out only one of them as being sitting in the heavens, and indicates that this will be a future event—He shall laugh—shall have them in derision:

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

Psalm 2:5-7 notoriously states shows that the one sitting in the heavens is a speaking Lord who both speaks unto them in His wrath and has set His king upon His holy hill of Zion. Moreover, He is the declarant who will (in the future) declare the decree, Thou art my Son

Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

So, the declarant is the one sitting in the heavens (the WORD of the Lord) who in the future will declare the decree, “the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. So here, the Son-ship appears to be a future event according to both Daniel, 10, as well as Psalm 2. Again, this appears to show the ONENESS of the declarant, the LORD, and the Son. Moses refrained from describing this same declarant as the “Son of God” in Gen. 3:8, but rather, the “voice of the LORD God who was both with God and who was God:

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Yet everywhere I look outside of scripture, claims abound about an eternally existing Son-ship of Jesus Christ that supposedly extends back into eternity past. My question is asking for Hermeneutic proof, aside from commentaries, of Jesus pre-existing as the Son of God before He was made flesh. I have searched the scriptures for more than 40 years without finding such proof.

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  • @Nigel J, If this is indeed about specific text which can be hermeneutically examined, that is exactly what I am looking for. Apr 13 '20 at 1:03
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    @Nigel J , I have clearly raised "specific text" which needs to be hermeneutically examined, not just given assumptions arising out of your, or my biblical topics or a doctrine that I wish top be proved. Surely, something this central to most of our agreed upon doctrine should withstand examination. I am no waco-bird who is trying to establish some new or starage doctrine. Please work with me on this. Apr 13 '20 at 2:15
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    You need to ask one question at a time, one text at a time. That is how the site works. You are attempting to open up a debate on a topic (a particular doctrine).
    – Nigel J
    Apr 13 '20 at 4:26
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    You are right as to how the site works. I am fairly new to this site so I apologize for my failure. The question looms, however, I will have to ask in bits and pieces, one bit at a time. Thanks for advising me through my stubbornness. Apr 13 '20 at 13:35
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    I’m voting to close this question because it really is a "Biblical basis" question related to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, specifically to the phrase "before all ages" that was added by the 2nd Ecumenical Council and related anathemas. Should be migrated to Christianity stackexchange.
    – user33515
    Apr 13 '20 at 23:54
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The passage is in Aramaic and is more accurately translated as the plural, "gods:"

He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25) [ESV]

The majority of translations have either the plural, gods, or a divine being. The Aramaic is אֱלָהִֽין (elahin) and as the Cambridge Bible Commentary notes is always plural:

The rendering ‘the Son of God’ cannot stand: ’ĕlôhim is, indeed, used with a singular force in Hebrew, but the Aram. ’ělâhîn is always a true plural (Daniel 2:11; Daniel 2:47, Daniel 3:12; Daniel 3:18, Daniel 4:8; Daniel 4:9; Daniel 4:18, Daniel 5:4; Daniel 5:11; Daniel 5:14; Daniel 5:23), ‘God’ being in the Aram. of Ezra and Dan. denoted regularly by the sing. ’ĕlâh. The meaning is simply that Nebuchadnezzar saw an angelic figure (LXX, ὁμοίωμα ἀγγέλου Θεοῦ) beside the three youths (cf. Daniel 3:28, ‘his angel’)

Nebuchadnezzar said he saw a "son of gods" or as some translate, a divine being. This is also how the phrase was understood by the Hebrew scholars who translated the Septuagint:

Lo, I see four men unbound and walking in the fire, and no ruin has come to them, and the appearance of the fourth is the likeness of a divine angel. (LXX-Daniel 3:92[25])

This statement was made by a pagan king, not by Daniel. Afterward there is no word from the three Jewish men who were in the furnace as to who was in the furnace protecting them. In fact, Nebuchadnezzar gives his own explanation:

Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. (Daniel 3:28)

What he first called לְבַר־אֱלָהִֽין (son of gods) he says is מַלְאֲכֵהּ֙ (his messenger, or his angel).

The divine being may have been the Son of God, but that is a certainty not found in the actual text. Using Daniel 3:25 as a key to establish the history of the Son of God or His identification as such at that moment in time is speculation. If there is a connection to be made, it would appear to rest on the specific entity of מַלְאֲכֵהּ֙; the same term Daniel uses to describe who saved him from the lions (6:22). However, since the identification is not with the Son of God, a similar issue exists.

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    Elahin - One needs to consider the force of elohim here. It is not a plural ; it is a 'composite' as we see in Genesis 1:26. It is misrepresentation to translate the text as 'gods'.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 14 '20 at 6:00
  • @NigelJ 1. elahin is used in 8 other places Daniel (2:11, 2:47, 4:8, 4:9, 4:18, 5:11[x2] 5:14) and it is always plural. 2. Since the passage is in Aramaic, what basis is there for requiring a meaning based on the singular Hebrew (which is plural). IOW since the king spoke, shouldn't the text be taken as such and not as having been spoken in Hebrew and then translated to Aramaic. And if it was taken from Hebrew and if the meaning was singular why was the plural elahin used and not the singlar elah? Apr 14 '20 at 14:52
  • Daniel wrote in Aramaic, which is a dialect of Hebrew.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 14 '20 at 22:08
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    @NigelJ Gesenius identifies the spelling as plural "son of gods." Perhaps the dialect had the ability to better express/distinguish singular and plural. Apr 15 '20 at 4:51
  • If one translates Nebuchadnezzar's words as 'son of Deity' then I think the meaning is clear. There is no need to go into great detail as to what the Babylonians actually worshipped or whether he was, deliberately, expressing what he knew of the God of Israel (who was the God of the three persons in the furnace). It is more than likely that he was expressing something that related to the three in the flames. Why would he expect 'a son of ' Babylonian gods to be in there ? ! ?
    – Nigel J
    Apr 15 '20 at 8:17
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Jesus identifies the source of his gospel message at J 8:38 as something he saw while in spatial proximity with his Father:

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    Aren't you ignoring how Scripture identifies Him as "The Word" before calling Him the Son? Aren't you presuming The Son of God and Only-begotten Son of the Father are saying exactly the same thing (as opposed to the obvious reference to the Trinity)? Scripture uses different terminology historically, don't you have to show those terms mean exactly the same thing from the beginning. I.E. If "He" is first created as the female Wisdom; when did she become the Son of God? Also, if she was begotten as Wisdom in the beginning, how can He be the only begotten Son if not by some later act? Apr 14 '20 at 20:06
  • In other words, if you maintain He was created first but know as something other than Son, you need to identify the point He went from one to the other and be known as the new term and not the other. This question is concerned with the timeline. So if He pre-existed Abraham it could have been as Wisdom. Apr 14 '20 at 20:17
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Jesus said :

εγω και ο πατηρ εν εσμεν [TR] [John 10:30]

I and the Father one are [literal]

I and the Father are one. [YLT]

If the Father is God (and scripture says he is) . . .

and if Jesus is God (and scripture says he is) . . .

then if Jesus says 'I and the Father are one' then he speaks of a divine relationship which must, in the nature of divinity, be eternal.

And if that eternal union ('are one') is a matter of the Father (not just of the divine nature 'God' but of the Person of the Father) . . . .

then that union must, of necessity, be a union of Father and Son (in one Holy Spirit).

What further 'proof' could one possibly ask for ?

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  • Neither the relationship nor the eternal deity of the ONE true God are at question here. The question is when did this relationship begin. Hebrews 1:1-2 is speaking about the WORD of God who "spoke" in "times past" and by whom "He made the worlds." It was only in these "last days" that "He has spoken to us by His Son" even though it was the WORD of the Lord--not yet a "Son" that spoke throughout the Old Testament. Apr 13 '20 at 0:49
  • No, I am looking for scriptural analysis that could show me how a certain "day" fit's into eternity past, and the word "made" don't have the meaning of "made" when it's God's WORD as is raised in the question. Surely, there are many commentaries that argue against my assumed understanding of these two words that are so central to this question, but they--neither their assumptions nor mine--do not qualify for a diligent scientific analysis of their prominent usage throughout schripture. Apr 13 '20 at 2:40
  • @BillPorter Then you should raise one question at a time, one text at a time. That's how the site works.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 13 '20 at 4:28
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John 1.1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Verse 2, the Word was with God in the beginning implies that the Word existed before the creation.

Verse 3, all things were Made through the Word implies that the Word not only existed before the creation but actively participated in it.

So, yes.

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  • But the question is about the eternal existence of the relationship of Father to Son. Not the eternal existence of him who is called 'Logos'.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 13 '20 at 1:13
  • Exactly, that is the question that needs answered by the specific text I have cited and that all the responses have cited which should be hermeneutically examined. Apr 13 '20 at 1:56
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Origen definitely thought so. In his work Peri Archon (On First Principles), Origen was writing that the Logos must be the same as Sophia in Proverbs 8:22-31. His reasoning was something along the lines: the Wisdom was there in the beginning with God before everything else, so then Sophia is the same Logos, who was in the beginning with God. Therefore, the Son of God was there before anything else was created, before the physical beginning of all things. And how is He "the Son", because there must be a time when there is only father without the son? Origen reasoned that Logos/Sophia was with God before all else, therefore, we speak about the pre-existence of the Son, that is, His being with divinity from eternity.

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The eternity of God (generally as distinct from purely the Father) is simply assumed throughout Scripture. Here I will only summarise the data without being exhaustive.

POINT #1 - God is eternal.

  • Ps 106:48, Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
  • Ps 90:2, Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
  • Neh 9:5, Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.

POINT #2 - Jesus is God and therefore eternal

  • John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (Compare v14 where the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, thus identifying the Word as Jesus.)
  • John 1:18, “…but God the one and only who is at the Father’s side has made him known”
  • John 5:17, 18, “In his defence, Jesus said, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.’ For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was calling God his own Father, making him equal to God.” See also Luke 22:69-71.
  • John 20:28, “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God.’”
  • Rom 9:5, “…Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”
  • Phil 2:5-8, “…Jesus Christ: who, being in very nature God…”
  • Titus 2:13, “…our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
  • Heb 1:8, “About the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever’”.
  • 2 Peter 1:1, “…righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
  • Isa 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

POINT #3 - Jesus Himself claimed pre-existence

  • John 17:5, And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

POINT #4 - The NT takes the unique attributes of Jehovah in the OT (= "LORD") and applies them consistently and repeatedly to Jesus.

  • Creator: Isa 44:24, 45:18, vs, John 1:3, Col 1:16, 17

  • Saviour: Isa 43:3, 11, 45:17, 21, vs, Matt 1:21; Acts 4:12; 2 Tim 1:10; Tit 1:4, 2:13, 3:6; 2 Pet 1:1, 11

  • Glory: Isa 42:8, 48:11, vs, John 17:5, 24

  • Rock: Isa 44:8; Deut 32:3,4,15; Ps 92:15, vs, 1 Cor 10:4; Matt 16:18

  • Shepherd: Psalm 23:1; Eze 34:11ff, vs, John 10:11-16; Heb 13:20

  • First & Last: Isa 41:4, 44:6, vs, Rev 1:17, 18, 22:13

  • Venerable: Ex 20:3, 34:14; Deut 8:19, vs, Matt 2:11, 14:33, 28:9, 17

  • LORD (OT) = Lord in NT: Deut 32:43 (LXX), vs, Heb 1:6; Ps 45:6, 7, vs, Heb 1:8, 9; Ps 102:25 - 27, vs, Heb 1:10 - 12; Ps 22:22, vs, Heb 2:12, etc

The seven times Jesus called Himself "I AM" in the NT strengthen this claim:

• Matt 14:27, Mark 6:50 – “Be encouraged. I am.” [To the frightened disciples in the boat.]

• Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8 – “Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am’”.

• Mark 14:62, Luke 22:70 – “Jesus replied, ‘I am’”. [He was then accused of blasphemy by the Jews and condemned.]

• John 4:26 – “Then Jesus said, ‘I am.’” [To the Samaritan woman at the well. There is a reasonable case for this being identification, but that is a matter of taste.]

• John 6:20 – “But then [Jesus] said to them, ‘I am. Fear not.’” [To the frightened disciples in the boat.]

• John 8:24 – “If you do not trust/believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”

• John 8:28 – “When you will lift up the Son of Man, then you will trust/know that I am.”

POINT #5 - Jesus' commitment to His sacrifice was decided before the world began

  • 1 Cor 2:7, we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
  • Titus 1:2, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
  • 2 Tim 1:9, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
  • 1 Peter 1:20, He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

To this list we could also add Dan 3:25.

Thus, Jesus' pre-existence is fairly solidly established.

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    What needs to be 'proved' is that the Sonship of the Son of God - is eternal. Not just that his Deity is eternal. It is the relationship that is required to be proved, as eternal.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 12 '20 at 23:23
  • @Nijel J, Thank you. I agree with this necessary requirement. However, this question is posted also under the tag, "chronology". I totally agree with your attempted showing of this relationship, yet the examples you stated are again at a point in time when there is no question that the Father and Son relationship existed. This still leaves me at a dead end without a proper showing that before Jesus was made flesh (John 1:14), made of the woman, made under the law. (Gal. 4:3)., was it not necessary that Christ be made under the law in order "to redeem" them that were under the law. Apr 13 '20 at 0:32
  • @BillPorter There is no 'point of time' in regard to 'I and the Father are one'. There is no 'point of time' in the eternal. It is eternal.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 13 '20 at 1:08
  • @ Nigekl J, No question as to the Oneness. No question as to the eternal nature of the both God and the WORD of God. Apr 13 '20 at 1:52
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    I agree with Nigel - precisely because God is eternal and unchanging, the relationship between the Father and Son is eternal. Nevertheless I will update the answer to better reflect this.
    – Dottard
    Apr 13 '20 at 2:02
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Perhaps the answer resides in what it takes to answer the question:

My question is asking for Hermeneutic proof, aside from commentaries, of Jesus pre-existing as the Son of God before He was made flesh.

It seems clear that in the mind of God, Jesus was a Son prior to being made flesh, even if that son-ship might be based on the (yet future) historical fact of the incarnation. So part of the answer resides in how does God (the Father) see the Person Who is to be incarnated.

You mentioned Ps 2:5-7, and though a prophecy of the future, it still shows that God sees Jesus as the Son in history.

Adding to that would be Isa 9:6 (NKJV, bold added):

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Besides being a reference to the Person of Christ as a Son, it is interesting to note that this is the only verse in Scripture that uses the Hebrew term for "give" (נתן) of a child being born. There are instances of "son," "child," or "children" already living being "given" for things (firstborn given to God, Exo 22:28; given back to their fathers, 1 Sam 30:22; desire to be given over for retribution, 2 Sam 14:7; giving of babies to be eaten during a long seige, 1 Kg 3:26-27, 2 Kg 6:28-29; demand to give to an invading king, 1 Kg 20:5; given to the fire of the false god Molech, Lev 18:21, 20:2-4, Ezek 16:21; given as princes of Israel in judgment, Isa 3:4; given over to famine, Jer 18:21; given as payment for prostitution, Joel 4:3). So the implication of the use of the term in Isa 9:6 is that this Son is existing (as in other uses of the term), but being given through birth to Israel (and the world); the parallelism with "a Child is born, a Son is given" shows a relationship such that the birth is the act of giving.

Besides those verses, that Christ was indeed conceived in His incarnate form prior to that incarnation is found in such verses as 1 Pet 1:19-20:

19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

His human blood and act of sacrifice was pre-ordained even before creation came about, even though He was not "manifest" until "these last times." This idea is echoed in Rev 13:8—

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

These verses simply point out that, to God the Father, Christ has been viewed as the incarnate Son in His Person and work from before creation.

So then, what makes Christ a Son to the Father? The Father's view of the Person of Christ or the actual incarnation itself? I would argue God's view, which simply gets manifested in creation's history via the incarnation.

This idea of God's viewpoint being what is reality fits with other people as well. We see the receiving of Christ (by faith) is what gives people a "right to become children of God" (Jn 1:14). So the basis of the relationship is a definite point in history for each person as they come to faith. Yet Eph 1:4 declares of "the faithful in Christ Jesus" (v.1), that

... He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world....

So, do doubt due in part to God's omniscience (which I will not defend here), He views believers as already part of Christ (already His children), even before they existed within creation. So in one sense (yet to be) believers are children of God before faith, even as Christ was a Son prior to incarnation.

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  • That “it seems clear to the mind of God... ” is speculative at best. What seems probable is that God’s plan was to accomplish this Son ship, not that it already existed. Isaiah 9:6 is indeed prophetic, but prophetic of what the PEOPLE say, NOT what God will say. (Isaiah 9:1-10). Begotten is always described in scripture as a point in time that begins the tolling of time (Gen 5:4). Check out all the occasions that God uses the term “I will” and then tell me you think those things had already happened before God actually did them. "Sent" meant to be "made under the law" (Gal 4:4) . Apr 21 '20 at 0:37
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Who recognizes someone they have never seen before BUT the spirit man recognizes what the flesh doesn't. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. Matthew 17:4

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