I was studying Proverbs 8 today and found that the KJV didn’t express the Hebrew very well this time. I was going to make a post describing my study and then I found that E.J. Waggoner did it for me; you can read it in the quote at the end. But here I would like to share some additional thoughts on this passage, especially verses 22 and 23. We are going to see how Jesus is the beginning of everything and why He said, “To this end was I born” (John 18:37). It is truly amazing, but Proverbs 8 actually reveals the reason God begat a Son!
Let’s Begin at the Beginning
First, in regards to the word “beginning.” Notice that the text says, “from everlasting, from the beginning.” Is “everlasting” a point in time? No. It is a span – an infinite one. And in Hebrew parallelism the word “beginning” appears. This shows us that “beginning” is also a span. It is a word that describes something infinite that we as finite creatures cannot fathom; and it is from this realm that only Deity knows that the Son of the infinite God came. More and more, God is convincing me that we should be reverential to the Infinite One and just leave it at that. I publicly repent now of my speculative irreverence.
Jesus was born in that realm – as the Greek Apostolic Bible Polyglot says, “Before the eon” (ages). In other words, that mysterious realm cannot be calculated in time, and we know that “the High and Lofty One … inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15). Can’t we just leave it there? Why do we spend so much time trying to explain our Creator with uninspired words, sometimes arguing with people over it? I would like to now share a piece from Sister White in regards to reverence:
“Those who realize the greatness and majesty of God, will take His name on their lips with holy awe. He dwelleth in light unapproachable; no man can see Him and live. I saw that these things will have to be understood and corrected before the church can prosper.”
— E.G. White, Early Writings, p. 122
Shouldn’t we consider this as we reorganize? Will our efforts be successful if we are continually speaking about God in a casual manner, flippantly trying to describe His eternal realm which only He dwells in?
The Beginning of What?
Moving on, let us take a look at the previous verse in Proverbs 8, again in the Greek, this time in the Brenton version.
“The Lord made me the beginning of his ways for his works.”
We see here that Christ is the Beginning of God’s ways. And notice something here very special. (I just learned this today, and it is literally awesome… it brought my lovely wife to tears.) Christ was made (born from God) for God’s works. Yes! Christ was begotten for a grandiose purpose! It was for God to work in His universe. What kind of works? Creative works! To create what? Now, this is is where it gets glorious! And I give primary credit to God and secondary credit to Ener Cabangis for bringing this to my mind.
Begotten to Create
The answer is in the New Testament. God begot His Son to create a KINGDOM! Here it is:
“Pilate therefore said unto him, Art Thou a King then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a KING. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world: that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice.”
— John 18:37
“To this end,” or to this purpose, was Christ born. No, not in His incarnation; that is not what He said to Pilate, for that was covered by the phrase, “came I into the world”. Christ was begotten from God from that mysterious realm divinely called “everlasting” and “all eternity” (EGW). Why? For the purpose of creating a Kingdom for God! And it was not for Himself, but for us!
Do you see it? God didn’t need a second person in order to “love” as nominal SDAs are saying. God has always had love in His heart, and He inhabiteth eternity. But God had a Son to build Himself a Kingdom of us – an eternal Kingdom of perfect joy! And why through a Son? Because that is how He could express the character of love in His heart, which not only includes justice and compassion but also traits such as humility, submission, and self-sacrifice – all which His Son, His Representative, could manifest on His behalf!
Why Did God Need a Son?
God is not bound to His Law; He has no God to worship and He says, “I kill, and I make alive” (Deuteronomy 32:39). But His Son came into this world “made of a woman, made under the Law” (Galatians 4:4). He demonstrated what the true love of God — the true character of God — looks like in humanity for our Example; hence, “to bear witness unto the truth.”
“Pilate saith unto Him, What is truth?” (John 18:38.) The answer was in the demonstration that followed. Christ died the humble death of the Cross after being anointed with His own blood on His head from a crown of thorns. O wondrous Love! The King died for His Kingdom. That is the truth. The “truth” that the Jews and even His disciples wanted was an earthly kingdom. But Christ has already been anointed King “from everlasting” (Proverbs 8:23). His purpose on earth was to establish an eternal Kingdom that was of no immediate threat to Rome. He must demonstrate the truth of His love – the foundation of His Kingdom. And this wondrous love, hidden in the heart of the Infinite One, could only be perfectly manifest through Another.
Even when the Son of God was called Michael, it was as if He became one with the angels. Thus, God, in the person of His divine Son, becomes one with His creation – something that would be impossible for Him to do in His own person.
How glorious is the manifestation of God in His Son! And this mystery of truth was hidden all this time in the 18th chapter of John – one of the clearest testimonies of Christ being truly born from God from everlasting!
Here Is That Beautiful Quote from Waggoner
“I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment; that I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance, and that I may fill their treasuries. The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” Prov. viii. 20-23.
On this last text it may be remarked that the words “set up” are from one Hebrew word meaning anointed, so that the meaning is the same as in the second psalm, “Yet have I set My name upon My holy hill of Zion.” The word is the same in the Hebrew, and it will he noticed in the margin we have “anointed” as the rendering of the Hebrew. Thus we learn that Christ was the anointed king before the earth existed.
Moreover, the word “in” has really no place in the twentieth verse of Proverbs viii., as there is nothing in the Hebrew to indicate it. So we read, “The Lord possessed Me, the Beginning of His way, before His works of old.” Still further, it should be stated that the word “possessed” is the very same that occurs in Gen. iv. 1, where we read that on the birth of Cain, Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” Therefore putting all these things together, we learn that Jesus was brought forth “from the days of eternity” Micah v. 2, margin), before anything was created, and that He Himself is the beginning of all the ways of God. He is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Col. i. 15. He is the Beginning of everything.
— E.J. Waggoner, Present Truth UK, December 22, 1898