Jesus existed prior to His birth and Incarnation; in the form of God. He had equality with God.

He descended from heaven; sent by God.  To become a human being Jesus emptied Himself of the form of God and equality with God.

Pre-existence

Jesus existed before He became a human being.

The Baptist said, “After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me” (John 1:29).

Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

He shared glory with God “before the world was” (John 17:5).

He existed from eternity. 

He is “from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2).

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God” (John 1:1). The “beginning” is the beginning of time.  There was no time when He was not.

He is before all things” (Col. 1:17).

He descended from heaven.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man” (John 3:13).

 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven … I am the bread of life … I have come down from heaven” (John 6:33-38).

What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?” (John 6:62).

I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world” (John 8:23).

He came from God.

Jews questioning Jesus
Jews questioning Jesus

I proceeded forth and have come from God” (John 8:42)

I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father” (John 16:28).

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16)

One hears many times the view that Jesus became God’s begotten Son when He was born as a human.  But John 3:16 indicates that He was God’s only begotten Son prior to His birth as a human being.

He was sent by God. 

“... God did: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin” (Romans 8:3).

In the article Jesus is not the same Person as God many examples are given of the statement that God sent Jesus.  This firstly implies His pre-existence; that He existed prior to becoming a human being.  Secondly it implies His subordination to God; not only as human being, but also in His pre-existence.

Incarnation

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14, NIV).

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (2 John 1:7).

Philippians 2

Philippians 2 contains a revealing passage in which Paul compares the existence of Christ through four phases:

(1) Prior to His birth;
(2) As a human being;
(3) His death;
(4) After His ascension

Prior to His birth Jesus existed in the “form of God” and had “equality with God”.

Jesus “emptied Himself” of the “form of God” and “equality with God” to become a human being.  He remained the same Person as before, but He became a mere human baby, without knowledge or wisdom.  He was truly and fully human; not part God and part man.

The Cross

His Death was a test to see whether He would remain “obedient to the point of death.”  His entire life was a test of obedience.

After His deathGod highly exalted Him.”  He is worshiped by all.  He is again equal with God.

For a further discussion of this passage, see the discussion in the article Jesus emptied Himself.

Articles discussing the question: Is Jesus God?

The three views of the Son
Jesus in Colossians
Does Philippians 2 say that Jesus emptied Himself of equality with God?
In the beginning was the Word. An identification of the “Word” in John 1:1
Jesus is not the same Person as God.
God is the Head of Christ.
The Bible calls Jesus God.
Only Begotten Son of God
God created all things through His Son.

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