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God and the Son of God –
Understanding the Difference

Joel Hemphill

We learned from Scripture in my first book that God is one entity, being, person.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord [Moses speaking] (Deut. 6:4). Notice: God is one Lord, not three.
God is not a committee!

“Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord [Jesus speaking] (Mark 12:29).

“For there is one God, and there is none other but he” (Mark 12:32).

“The one and only God…the Father [Jesus speaking] (John 5:44 – 45 NASB).

Father…that they might know thee the only true God [Jesus speaking] (John 17:3).

“Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God [Jesus speaking] (Matt. 19:17).

“To us there is but one God, the Father [Paul speaking] (I Cor. 8:6).

One God and Father of all who is above all” (Eph. 4:6).

“Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10). “If then I be a father, where is mine honor…saith the Lord of hosts?” (Malachi 1:6).

“Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one” (Gal. 3:20).

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).

“For there are certain men crept in unawares…denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4).
(This is Jude the half brother of Jesus writing, and he never believed that his brother was “the only Lord God,” but rather that he is “our Lord Jesus Messiah”).

We learned that the one Most High God, the “Lord God,” has called angels, the Davidic kings, Israel as a nation, the first Adam, Jesus the Messiah, and we who are Christians, “Sons of God.”

“All the sons of God [angels at the time of creation] shouted for joy” [God speaking] (Job 38:7).

“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him” [God to David] (II Sam. 7:14).

“And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn” (Ex. 4:22).

“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1).

Adam, which was the son of God” (Luke 3:38).

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…Beloved now are we the sons of God” (I John 3:1-2).

The Bible clearly teaches that God is one, therefore unique (one and only; single; sole “a unique specimen,” having no like or equal; unparalleled) – the only one in the God family. Since God has no relatives in that sense, it is not kinship but “relationship” that is indicated when someone is called a Son of God. In all cases in the Scripture,  when the phrase “Son of God” is used, it denotes a relationship position.

Jesus – God’s Only Begotten Son

So when Jesus is called “Son of God” again and again in Scripture, does this mean that he is “God” or “God Junior”? No way! It is significant to note that in the Bible he is never called “God the Son.” That is not biblical terminology! The clear answer as to why Jesus is called “Son of God” can be found in Gabriel’s words to the virgin Mary, as recorded in Luke chapter one. This is so very important!

“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore [Greek dio kai -“for that reason precisely”] also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:34-35).

Notice, Gabriel did not tell Mary that God the Father, or God the Son, the second person of a triune God, or an angel, a pre-existent being, was going to move into her womb and come out looking like a baby. This she was not told, and this Mary never believed! She was told and she did believe that the Holy Ghost, the spirit of the Most High God would come over her and through a creative act, without the aid of a man, would produce a baby which “for that reason precisely” would be called “the Son of God.” Note: When you see “Son” in your Bible, written with a capital “S,” it was not written that way in the original, this is a choice made by the editor or publisher and does not affect the meaning of the word “son.” Consider what Paul says in Galatians 4:4:

“When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

The word “made” in this verse is the Greek word “genomai” and means to “generate -to cause to come into being.” So Jesus was generated by the Holy Ghost (his genesis or beginning) in the womb of a virgin, and it was a creative act, and not as most of Christianity has taught in error, an incarnation. The Harper-Collins Bible Dictionary correctly says:

[Incarnation] “refers to the Christian doctrine that the preexistent Son of God became man in Jesus. None of these writers [Matthew, Mark, Luke] deals with the question of Jesus’ pre-existence. Paul does not directly address the question of the incarnation… It is only with the fathers of the church in the third and fourth centuries, that a full-fledged theory of the incarnation develops” (p. 452-453).

Those who believe that Jesus is God Incarnate, God Himself in human flesh, should take a closer look at Luke, chapter two, Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem with Mary and Joseph for dedication “to” God.

“And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished [forty days] (Lev. 12:2-4), they brought him [baby Jesus] to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22). Note: They did not present baby Jesus to himself!

To whom did they present the baby Jesus? “To the Lord [God].” Now look ahead to verse twenty-five.

“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon…and it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” [i.e. “the Lord’s anointed one” – “the Lord’s Messiah”] (Luke 2:25-26). Notice Revelation 11:15: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord [God], and of his Christ [Jesus].”

Back To Simeon

“Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed [praised] God, and said, ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation’ ” (Luke 2:28-30). Note: Simeon is not talking to the baby; he is speaking to the Lord God in heaven who had brought forth His Lord Messiah on earth.

Look At Peter’s Confession

My serious concern is that we have built our churches on the mistaken confession that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, or the second person of a triune God, incarnate. In Matthew chapter sixteen, Jesus promised his disciples that he would build his church, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The Catholic church has taught that Jesus built his church on Peter, but we know it is built on the rock of Peter’s confession. What was Peter’s confession?

“Thou art the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).

“Thou art the Christ” [Messiah -not “God” or “God the Son, second person of a triune God”] (Mark 8:29).

“The Christ [Messiah] of God” (Luke 9:20).

Hemphill, Joel W. (2010). God and the Son of God – Understanding the Difference. In, Glory to God in the Highest (pp. 22-26). Joelton, TN: Trumpet Call Books.

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