Want Some Answers ???
Dear Mr. Mansfield,
Thanks for lesson 8, your letter [13 Nov.2000] and booklet – “The Godhead Explained”. I’m looking forward to the next lesson. Your letter had a brief comment on one of my answers in lesson 7. The rest was generalized comment to all students. So I would like to comment on that brief note. After all, students should ask and research or they will be clones. Most bible teachers encourage robust exegesis. You wrote,
“We apologize for taking some time to answer your letter, but your answer sheet unfortunately was misplaced. We hope you are enjoying our Bible Course as we progress through some of the important principles contained in the Scriptures. Your answers to the questions sent with Lesson 7, were successfully completed and are enclosed for your further interest."
You answered my “answer sheet” but not my “letter”. In lesson 7 Q.1 I answered “his nature was common to all mankind. Yet the Bible indicates it was different. ‘He was in the beginning with God” [Jn.1:1-2]”. This part you crossed out as wrong. Why, is John wrong? Jesus walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, calmed the wind, waves, angels worshipped Him [Heb.1:6], ‘never man spake like’ Him, and ‘he was with God in the beginning” and sinless. Are the lessons telling me, he’s just another Joe? Could anyone say, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me shall never die” and make sense? You wrote,
“In respect to understanding the scripture, we need to be careful that we don't try and make the bible teach something that it doesn't. In question 1, in what way was the Lord of different nature to our selves? Yes certainly he differed to us in that he was sinless, but 2 Corinthians 5:21 (the verse you suggest) reveals that despite this fact, that he was sinless; he was of the same nature as ourselves.
We both agree, He’s sinless. I suspect you are avoiding the verse, “He was WITH God in the beginning” [Jn.1:2]. When you hear of someone that was “with God in the beginning” He’s different, believe me! He took on human flesh. ‘He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him’ [Jn.1:10]. I only referred to 2 Cor.5:21 to indicate one particular aspect of His nature - ‘sinless’. If you looked up the other verses mentioned [ie Jn.7:46 9:32 1:10] His difference is obvious. Lesson 7 tries to paint Jesus as nothing more than man, and ignores the hundreds of verses that complete the picture. You wrote,
“ –he wasn’t immortal or divine (see Hebrews 2:14)”
Heb.2:14 does not deny His divinity. But says “God” (2:12-13) took on human form (v.14 see Jn.1:14) and so became capable of suffering. His pre-incarnate past is clearly shown in 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". He could say, “Before Abraham was, I am" [Jn.8:58] And, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made’. [Jn.1:1-3] We might call this, His Eternal Sonship, not “common to mankind”.
Lesson 7 says His nature was such that He “was in need of redemption from death, just as those he came to save” [pg2]. What verse proves that? The Word of life [Ph.2:16 1 Jn.1:1] didn’t need redemption from death, “Nobody takes my life but I lay it down” [Jn.10:18]. You wrote,
“Perhaps you could look up a few versions of the Scriptures to ascertain that this verse (2 Corinthians 5:21) in fact indicates that Christ was an offering for sin nature”.
They also indicate Christ was "different" (as I wrote in lesson 7 Q.1) - “had no sin” NIV “without sin” GN “sinless Christ” LB “did not know sin” NAB “knew no sin” AB. If that’s not clear from 2 Cor.5:21 consider Heb.4:15 7:26 1 Pe.2:22. You wrote,
“What nature did Christ have if it was not human nature (mortal)? If he had divine nature at that stage (immortal) how could he die?"
And "how could he die?" Jesus as man died but Jesus as God could not and did not die [Heb.2:9,14]. It is the physical body that dies the spirit does not die for it returns to God. Are all things possible with God? Then why do you consider it impossible that He could assume human form of flesh and blood?
It appears to me Jesus really believed He was God. Those who wrote the historical accounts of Jesus' life were thoroughly Jewish. The accounts themselves clearly certify that the witnesses' natural tendency was to see Jesus in a conquering messianic, not a divine messianic, posture. Even on the night of Jesus' arrest, the disciples brought swords to Jesus (Lk.22:38). As devoted worshippers of Yahweh, it must have been quite difficult for them to report some of the things Jesus said and did which attributed deity to Himself. I’ll give you three verses and you can explain them.
 In Mt.12:6, Jesus says to the Pharisees, "I say to you, that one greater than the Temple is here." How much greater? Look at verse 8. Referring to Himself, Jesus asserts, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." How can anyone be Lord of the Sabbath except God who instituted it? This is a direct claim to deity.
 In Mt.23:37, Jesus speaks as though He has personally observed the whole history of Jerusalem: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."
 In Mk.2:1,2, Jesus tells a paralyzed man, "My son, your sins forgiven." Some scribes sitting there caught the obvious intent of Jesus words and reasoned: Why does this man speak in this way? He is blaspheming; who can sins but God alone? Jesus challenged them: Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven"; or to say, Arise, and take up your pallet and walk? But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." And He healed the paralytic. The implication is obvious. No one forgives sin but God. Anyone could say he is able to forgive sin; but Jesus proved He had the authority to forgive sin when He healed the paralytic. Jesus was clearly claiming deity for Himself
John 5:23 "All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father, which hath sent him." Col 2:9 "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."