What Does It Mean To Be God’s Son In The Old Testament? (gospel Of John 1:14-15)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)

In vs. 14 it is interesting that the word translated as “dwelled among us” literally could be translated “tabernacled or pitched a tent among us.” While it communicates pretty much the same idea as “dwelling together” in most English translations, it does evoke to a far greater degree the connection between Jesus and the Tabernacle, between God’s presence in the tabernacle of old and the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus, which is central in Christian tradition.

Additionally, in vs. 14 the concept of the sonship of Jesus appears for the first time in this Gospel. It is important to note that in the Hebrew Bible, kings (especially at the time of their coronation) were granted the title the son of God. We read in Psalm 2.7-9:

“‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree. The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

The very act of crowning someone king over Israel is a symbolic act of enormous proportions within Israel’s narrative history. It signified receiving the authority of Israel’s God Himself to rule over Israel and to exercise authority over the nations of the world with the power and the confidence that come from being God’s own son. So while there are other aspects to Jesus’ sonship that should be taken into account when constructing one’s theology, we must keep in mind that the most important aspect must remain – royal authority over all things created.

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© By Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Ph.D.

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  1. Lois Eaton

    Has anyone given serious consideration to the idea that the Christian church may be wrong about the trinity? The capital letter in “Word” in John 1:1 was not in the original Greek. I find Psalm 110 v1 exciting. The Lord – Adonai – speaks with the Lord – Adoni. Also, the trinity doctrine was not accepted into the church until Constantine – who remained a priest of the sun god until the day he died. That is the real reason the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      People (good and godly people) have debated this issue on both sides. If I am asked personally what do I think I think that the trinity as is historically defined in early church history is there in the Scriptures in non-systematized form. If the apostles were read a trinity statement of the later church they would have debated it and much prayer and study (I think) would have accepted it. But that is how I see it. Its just a speculation of course. We will not know things for sure for a long time :-).

  2. […] John 5.19-30 the texts cited from Daniel are then merged with the idea of the Royal Son of God from Psalm 2. (See also Logos Theology in pre-Christian Jewish Tradition and ReReading John 3.:16). […]

  3. Conny Young

    I received a blog post in which you quote John 3:16. What version of the bible are you using? I notice your version says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son….” where as the KJV says “… his only begotten son …” The distinction is subtle but significant because later scriptures teach that we are all sons of god. Begotten has an important meaning to Christians.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I am almost always using ESV (English Standart Version). Only begotten son and only son is the same concept, communicating uniqueness of this relationship in comparison to everyone else.

      1. Rafael

        I have to disagree. The word begotten carries the element of siring. And that is truly unique to the virgin birth. No one else can claim to have been begotten by God. Wasn’t Joseph told this in his vision from God?

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          I agree virgin birth is unique, thought there were other miraculous births in the Bible. But the Son of God is still something that relates largely to the idea of Israel kingship albeit in a new way.

  4. […] however, the connection between the Sonship of God (see previous discussion on the Sonship of God) in this Gospel as based on relevant Old Testament texts, we are forced to come to the conclusion […]

  5. […] current leadership structure was of course talking with Nicodemus at night. His name was Jesus, the Royal Son of God. It was a Judean self-critique that was meant to provoke Samaritan Israelites to challenge their […]