Evidently it does not matter how plainly I speak, or write. There are those who simply refuse to hear, or read. I truly know how Doug Wilson must feel…daily.

Let’s try this again.

The issue is the exegesis of a particular text of Scripture that is very difficult. Do we say its intended meaning, both as the author wrote it, as the original audience read it, and as we read it today, is to be determined by 1) its immediate context, it’s context in Matthew, and the context of the New Testament and then the Bible first and foremost, or 2) to be simply categorized according to a theological paradigm that would have been unknown to the author and original audience?

This is an issue because the Christian faith is supposed to be proclaimed to all nations, and that means a lot of sharp minds on the other side will point out that taking the second course of action is inconsistent and indefensible. It likewise makes it impossible to critique other authority claims (BoM, Qur’an, etc.). As common as it might be, it is not an option.

Therefore, we are not discussing whether Christ has two natures in one person—no one is arguing against that assertion (though WHY we believe that does seem to be a highly relevant question right now). We are not saying there are not times when the Scriptures refer to Christ’s words or actions that are specifically focused upon one or the other of the natures, that is a given as well (or, at least should be). There is just one issue to be addressed: the meaning of Matthew 24:36.

We observe the progression…man, angels, Son, Father.

[There is no reference to the Holy Spirit, and bringing the Spirit into the text is invalid.  Likewise, on a basic theological level, we must affirm in any context that the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10) and that, since the day and the hour is part of the divine decree from eternity past, Father, Son, and Spirit fully know that day and hour, always have, and always will.  We confuse exegesis with theological formulation when we skip the one step just to get to the next.]

Immediate context includes “heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (highly exalted language connecting Jesus to the origin of God’s revelation), and then the next verse mentions the coming of the Son of Man (Daniel 7).  One could argue Son in 36 is to be seen as Son of Man and therefore emphasize the human nature, however, taking all three verses in context it would seem the coming of the Son of Man would be in reference to the divine scene in Daniel, not a delimiter pointing only to Christ’s human position.

Next, the conjunction of Son and Father is vitally important.  Ask yourself a question: if you were discussing this in face of sharp subordinationist objectors, how would you respond to this line of argumentation:

Are you saying that Matthew 11:27 should be understood, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the human nature except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the human nature of Jesus, and anyone to whom the human nature of Jesus wills to reveal Him”?  Or are you saying that you are baptized into the name, singular, of the Father, the human nature of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? You seem to get to switch back and forth in a very convenient manner without any reference to the context of the passages we are examining.

So how do you respond?  By quoting Chalcedon?  Aquinas? Who will be shown to be inconsistent in their claim to be deriving their beliefs from their sacred text?

So please, feel free to continue quoting all sorts of folks who have just zipped right on past Mt. 24:36 with the “easy, simple, clean” explanation.  But until you put yourself, regularly, in the place of having to present the Trinity and the doctrine of Christ against knowing, well-read opposition, you will never really be dealing with this topic properly.

Please note one last thing. I have emphasized for decades (look at my article on the Carmen Christi from the CRI Journal from a few decades ago) that the Incarnation is not a subtraction, but an addition.  The means by which Jesus “makes Himself of no reputation” is by taking on a perfect human nature (see also my discussion of this with my friend Abdullah Kunde in our debate in New South Whales from eleven years ago), not by a diminishment of His divine nature. Or, as Mike Riccardi wrote in MSJ, Spring 2019, 103, it does not consist “in the shedding of His divine attributes or prerogatives but in the veiling of the rightful expression of His divine glory.”

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