In our study this morning, we will be looking at the Old Testament promise that the Messiah would be the Son of God. It is very important to understand the significance of this title and the relationship to God that it implies. Who is called a son of God in the Bible?
1. All mankind. In Malachi 2:10, we are told that, as Creator, God is our Father, and therefore all of those created by Him are considered His children. In this sense, all of us are the “Sons of God” by virtue of our existence.
2. All who have come to Christ by faith. In Galatians 4:4-6, we read that one of the purposes of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf was to make a way for our adoption into God’s spiritual family to take place. This applies to believers of both OT (Roms 9:4) and NT (Eph 1:5). In this sense, all of us we are the “Sons of God” by saving faith in the Messiah.
3. But in a very special sense, the Messiah was to be the one and only “Son of God”. In this sense, there is only one “Son Of God” by virtue of physical birth.
Let’s take a few moments to see how the Messiah would exclusively stand apart from all others as the distinctive “Son Of God”…
Ps 2:7 (KJV)
7) I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ps 89:27 (KJV)
27) Also I will make him [my] firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.
Matt 3:16-17 (KJV)
16) And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matt 17:1-16 (KJV)
1) And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2) And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
3) And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
4) Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
5) While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
6) And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7) And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
8) And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
9) And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
10) And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
11) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
12) But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
13) Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
14) And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a [certain] man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15) Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16) And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
John 1:14 (KJV)
14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Acts 13:32-33 (KJV)
32) And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
33) God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
Heb 1:2-5 (KJV)
2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3) Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4) Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5) For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
Heb 5:5-9 (KJV)
5) So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
6) As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
7) Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8) Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9) And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
When we speak of the Messiah being the “Son Of God”, we are referring to a very unique relationship that exists between God the Father and the Messiah. This uniqueness of this relationship is shown to us by the phrase “the only begotten of the Father” in John 1:14 and 1 John 4:9.
This phrase shows us that the distinctive Sonship of the Messiah rests upon the way in which the Son was brought into the world. He would be the “only begotten” or “the only born” of God the Father.
If we remember, in a previous study of the Messiah, we saw that He would be born of a virgin, with Mary as His mother and God as His Father being directly involved with His conception. This was a matchless event that has, and will, only take place once throughout the history of the world. This is the basic meaning of the Messianic title “The Son of God”, which we will be looking at throughout this study.
In Ps 2:7, we find the promise that the Messiah would be God’s Son, based upon the Father’s role in the Messiah’s conception and birth (“have I begotten thee”) … “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
Also, in Ps 89:27, we find the Lord, as He speaks of King David, making the statement… “Also I will make him [my] firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” This is one example of many, where we find King David being used as a type (a picture, pattern or a model) of the coming Messiah. We are told that the high position of authority held by King David was a pale reflection of the ultimate supremacy that would be given to the Messiah. The Messiah is described as the “firstborn” of God resulting in Him being placed in an exalted position of eternal Kingship over all the authorities of the earth.
In the pages of the NT we find several references to the fulfillment of the Psa 2:7 passage…
In Acts 13:32-33, we find the fulfillment of the Psa 2:7 prophecy proclaimed… “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Here we find that Jesus is identified as the completion of this Messianic prophecy.
Please note that in the context of this statement, the resurrection of Christ is pointed to as another piece of evidence of Christ’s unique sonship. Why is this? We have this question answered in Rom 1:1-4 where the Apostle Paul cites the resurrection of Jesus as a “declaration” of His Sonship… “And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”In other words, when Christ was resurrected from the dead it was undeniable proof of His distinction as the “Son of God”.
In both Heb 1:2-5 and Heb 5:5-9, we find Christ was the fulfillment of this prophecy specifically being mentioned. We find the prophecy mentioned in the context of the deity, obedient work, inheritance and exaltation of Christ. Christ was the obedient Son, who was exalted to the ultimate position of authority by His Father. “…For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”
In Heb 5:5-9, we read of the Sonship of Christ in the context of His Priestly ministry, His obedience unto death on the cross, and the resultant salvation of His people… “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; …but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee…Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
And finally, we find Christ being identified as the “Son of God” through the testimony of God Himself in two different Biblical events…
Firstly, at the baptism of Christ in Matt 3:16-17 … “And Jesus, when he was baptized,…And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Secondly, we also find the personal testimony of God being given at Christ’s transfiguration in Matt 17:1-16 And after six days Jesus…While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him….And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” Please notice in this passage we not only see the personal testimony of God the Father, but also the testimony of Christ, Himself, telling us that He was truly the “Son of God”.
Once again, in this study we have displayed the truth that our Lord and Savior Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. His Sonship is one aspect of His person that separates Himself from all other men who have ever lived on the earth. May we all look to Him in faith with the realization that he is the promised Messiah and the Savior of His people.
1John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.
May the Lord bless our study of His Word.