Christology - Chafer
Christology is the branch of theology dealing with the nature, person,
and deeds of Jesus Christ. In Lewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology,
he depicts seven positions for Christ in the Bible:
1) Jesus Christ is the Pre-Incarnate Son of God.
In the Bible, Christ is called God's "One and only Son (John 3:16),"
the "exact representation (Hebrews 1:3)," God's "Firstborn (Revelation
1:5)," "Elohim," and "Jehovah." Christ is eternal (Micah
5:2), immutable (Hebrews 1:11-12; 13:8), omnipotent (1 Corinthians
15:28; Phil. 3:21), omniscient, and omnipresence. Christ's
works include creation (Romans 11:36, Colossians 1:15-19, Heb. 1:2-12),
preservation, forgiveness of sin, raising the dead, and execution of
Jesus Christ is name as one equal to the others in the
Trinity. In all references to the members of the Godhead,
Christ the Son shares equally with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
In all revealed purposes of God, Christ assumes those parts which only
God can assume. By this we know that He is before all things.
The eternal Messiah of the Old Testament is God, and Jesus Christ is
that eternal Messiah. Jesus Christ is also the Angel of
Jehovah--again, eternal. Christ has existed forever (John
1:1-2, Philippians 2:5-11, Heb. 1:1-3). Since Christ is God,
then He has existed from all eternity.
2) Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Son of God.
About 40% of the Bible is devoted to the theme that Jesus Christ is the
incarnate Son of God. In the Old Testament, prophecies
anticipate His coming. The New Testament records His birth
and childhood which is the basis for much Christian doctrine.
Christ is the divine Son of God; the racial Son of man; the human son
of Mary; the Messianic and Jewish Son of David; and, the redemptive Son
The hypostatic union is the theological term for Christ's being both
divine and human. In this union, the Bible describes Christ's
role as mediator, in His incarnation and His death; His earthly
ministry to Israel as Messiah, Immanuel, and King; His ministry to the
Gentiles as Savior, Judge, and Ruler; and, His ministry to the Church
as Head, Lord, and Bridegroom. His earthly ministry was first
to Israel and the covenant of the kingdom and later to Jews and
Gentiles when He instituted the Church. In His ministries,
Christ held the roles of Prophet, incorporating all His teaching
ministry; Priest, incorporating the sacrifice of Himself for the world;
and, King, which incorporating the whole Davidic covenant together with
the predictions and its fulfillment in His future reign.
The baptism of Christ was, of course, a significant event in His
earthly life. His baptism consecrated Him to the office of
Priest, which endures forever.
Likewise, the temptation of Christ was very important. It was
the crucial attack of Satan against the humanity of Christ, and the
result showed that Christ remained impeccable, staying true to His
Father's will. His actions were in line with His very nature
as God, as determined in eternity.
The transfiguration of Christ was a declaration of the power and coming
of Christ in His kingdom (Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke
9:27). It pictured the glory of the coming kingdom, at a time
when Christ was about to turn from the kingdom ministry to the new
heavenly purpose concerned with a people qualified for glory through
His death and resurrection. So, it was essential to
illustrate that the future of the kingdom endured since He had been
rejected as king.
Christ's scope and purpose in His incarnation was clearly displayed by
His teaching, in both his ministry to Israel and to the
Church. Likewise, His miracles proclaimed that He was indeed
the Messiah (John 15:24), so he was obviously rejected
3) The Efficacious Sufferings, Death and Burial of the Son of God
The actual bearing of the judgments of sin fell upon Christ in the
hours of His suffering which resulted in death (John 19:28).
He said, "It is finished," knowing that all things were now
accomplished, so that the scripture would be fulfilled.
Christ's efficacious sacrifice required the shedding of blood and His
death. Christ's death Christ is the anti-type of every
typical sacrifice such as those found in the Old Testament.
His death determined the nature of that particular type. The
very reason that these Old Testament sacrifices required bloodshed and
death were because of the truth that Christ would be sacrificed in this
way. The Bible records the account of Christ's death in
types; prophecies; historical declarations of the Synoptic Gospels;
declarations of the Apostle John in his Gospel, Epistles, and
Revelation; declarations of the Apostle Paul; testimony of the Apostle
Peter; and, the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Christ was offered in sacrifice by God the Father (Psalm 22:15, John
3:16, Romans 3:25); of His own free will (John 10:17, Hebrews 7:27,
9:14, 10:12); by God the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 9:14); and, by men,
including Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles, and Israel (Acts 2:23;
4:27). Also, Satan contributed to His death (Genesis
3:15). The death of Christ achieved the many objectives
necessary for man's salvation by grace through faith. By His
burial, He carried away the burden of sin, going into the grave as a
sin-bearer, and being resurrected as the Lord of glory.
4) The Resurrection of the Son of God
The Old Testament records the resurrection in types and
prophecies. In the New Testament, this theme is declared by
the predictions of Christ and by the historical fact that He rose from
the dead. He was raised by the Father (Psalm 16:10, Acts
2:27, 31-32, Romans 6:4, Ephesians 1:19-20); by the Son Himself (John
2:19, 10:17-18); and, by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
The apostle John places the resurrection of Christ in a central and
all-important position of Christianity. Where the death of
Christ provides, His resurrection constructs. Through
Christ's death, all penalty of sin is cancelled, and the merit of
Christ is made available. However, by the resurrection of
Christ, the new Headship over a perfected New Creation is established
forever. The importance of His resurrection, and the reasons
for it, cannot be overstated. Christ arose because of what He
is (Acts 2:24); i.e. it is impossible that the Son of God should be
held in the place of death. He arose because of who He is
(Romans 1:3-4). The resurrection proved His position as the
"Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness."
He arose to be Head over all things to the Church (Ephesians
1:22-23). He arose in order to give resurrection life to all
who believe (John 12:24). He arose to be the source of
resurrection power in the lives of His own who are in the world
(Matthew. 28:18, Romans 6:4, Ephesians 1:19-20). He arose
because His work which provided the ground for justification was
completed (Romans 4:25). He arose as the pattern or
first-fruits of all who are saved (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Philippians
3:20-21, 1 Timothy. 6:16). He arose to sit on David's throne,
so as to fulfill all of the covenant promises to Israel (Acts 2:30).
5) The Ascension and Session of the Son of God
The ascension was Christ's departure for heaven, and there are two
important aspects to it. One ascension occurred immediately
after the resurrection when Christ returned into heaven as First-Fruits
and as Priest presenting His blood. The second ascension was
that of His final departure from the earth to assume His present
ministry in heaven.
The theological term for Christ's present ministry in heaven is His
"session." It guarantees the eternal security of all who are
saved. The aspects of His current session include the
exercise of universal authority, as He said of Himself, "All power is
given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18); Headship over
all things to the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23); His giving and direction
of the exercise of spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians
12:4-31, Ephesians 4:7-11); His ministry of intercession where He
contemplates the weakness and immaturity of His own who are in the
world (Psalm 23:1, Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25); His ministry of advocacy
where He appears in defense of His own before the Father's throne when
they sin (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 9:24, 1 John 2:1); The building of the
place He has gone to prepare for believers (John 14:1-3); and, His
expectation of the moment when the Father will decree the kingdoms of
this world to become the kingdom of the Messiah--not by human works,
but by the resistless, crushing power of the returning King (Hebrews
6) The Second Coming and Kingdom of the Son of God
Christ's Second Advent will transform the world. (This is
separate and distinct from His coming into the air to gather the Church
to Himself.) His second advent concerns the Jews, the
Gentiles, and angelic hosts including Satan and his angels.
The long-promised, earthly, Davidic kingdom of Christ was offered to
Israel at His first advent, but it was rejected and postponed in the
counsels of God until His second advent. Christ will return
as the Messiah, and he will literally fulfill all prophecies of the
7) The Conclusion of Mediation, and the Eternal Reign of the Son of God
After the 1000-year reign of Christ on His earthly kingdom, in His last
form of mediation, prophecy assures that other transforming events will
occur. Satan will be released from the abyss (Revelation
20:3); armies will be formed to revolt against God again (Revelation
20:7-9); the old heaven and the old earth will pass away (Revelation
20:11); unbelievers will be judged before the great white throne
(Revelation 20:12-15); the new heaven and the new earth will be created
(2 Peter 3:10-14; Revelation 21:1); the bridal city will descend out of
heaven (Revelation 3:12, 21:2, 9-10); and, mediation will be surrender
of mediation. However, Christ will not surrender His reign (1
Corinthians 15:25-28). 1 Corinthians 15:27 indicates that
Christ receives the kingdom and its authority from God the Father, and,
after the mediatorial reign of a thousand years, Christ will continue
reigning forever by the same authority of the Father. It is
the testimony of the Davidic covenant that He shall reign on David's
throne forever and ever (2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:20-37, Isaiah 9:6-7,
Luke 1:31-33, Revelation 11:15).
Owen Weber 2012