Question & Answer Forum

Does our Lord possess two natures?

Is this a problem because we are told that we have two natures and these involve a conflict? No such conflict existed with our Lord. He is the indissoluble union of two distinct natures: all that deity is essentially and eternally; all that humanity is essentially and originally, without the possibility of sin.

Historically, the councils at Chalcedony (451) and Constantinople (553) addressed varied errors regarding the unique “substance” of our Lord Jesus Christ. The errors of the Apollinarians (the Lord had no human soul, not truly human), Nestorians (Jesus was indwelt by God, not truly God), and the Monophysites (meaning, “sole nature,” endangering both His full humanity and full deity) forced clear “confessions” regarding the union of deity and humanity in our Lord. These “confessions” affirm the integrity of the union of the two natures in the one Person and the preservation of the characteristics of each nature “without confusion, change, division or separation.” Jesus is “one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures, being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.” This defines the hypostatic union of our Lord in which His underlying (“hupo”) substance (“stasis”) is the union of two eternally distinct “substances”: He is of the same “substance” or essence as God (“very God of very God”), at the same time being of the same “substance” or essence as man (“very man of very man”).

This expresses the profound implications of passages like Luke 1:31-35; John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6-8; Colossians 3:9; Hebrews 1:3, 8.

D. Oliver

Why does 2 Kings 8:26 say Ahaziah began to reign at 22 but 2 Chronicles 22:2 says he was 42?

Commentators attempt to explain this in at least half a dozen ways (see John Gill’s “Expositor”). Here are two of the better suggestions.

1. The 42 years are an ironic connection with the house of Ahab. Omri, Ahab’s father, began his dynasty in Israel about 42 years before Ahaziah was 22 (1 Kings 16:23; 15:10; 22:42; 2 Kings 8:17). The four sentences that follow the statement that Ahaziah was 42 (literally, “a son of 42 years”) all link Judah’s King Ahaziah with Israel’s wicked house of Ahab. “Also,” used twice, shows Ahaziah’s similarity to Ahab’s wickedness (2 Chronicles 22:2-5). The 42 years then make a powerful statement that the character of Ahaziah embodied the wickedness of those 42 years in Israel. However, the expression, “a son of 42 years,” is nowhere else used in this way.

2. 42 is a copyist’s error and should be 22. Commentators, while upholding the inerrancy of Scripture, generally support this view. The difference between the two numbers is a difference between two similar Hebrew characters. 22 appears in some very old manuscripts of the Septuagint, Arabic, and Syraic Scriptures. In fairness, these postdate the Hebrew manuscripts and the absence of 22 in predated Hebrew manuscripts provides no evidence of an error by the scribes renowned for accuracy in copying the Scriptures. This explanation relies on an unsupported supposition.

If forced to choose, I prefer the first.

D. Oliver

Is Hobab in Numbers 10:29 the same person as in Judges 4:11?

Two problems underlie this question: both Raguel and Hobab are called Moses’ father-in-law; one is a Midianite, the other a Kenite. Reuel (Exodus 2:18) is the same word as Raguel (Numbers 10:29) the Midianite, which makes it clear that he was Moses’ father-in-law. Jethro (Exodus 18:1, 27) is another of his names. In Numbers 10:29, Raguel is Hobob’s father, but Hobab is also called Moses’ father-in-law in Judges 4:11. The word translated “father-in-law” in both these cases is also translated “son-in-law” (1 Samuel 18:21, etc.) and “mother-in-law” (Deuteronomy 27:23). It signifies anyone related by marriage. In Judges 4:11, the relationship is brother-in-law. Moses’ father-in-law is both a Kenite (Judges 1:16) and a Midianite (Numbers 10:29), so his son Hobab is the same man in these 2 passages.

D. Oliver

How long will the Spirit abide with believers (John 14:16)?

Mr. Newberry’s margin points out that the literal meaning of “forever” (the Comforter “may abide with you for ever”) is “to the age.” Does this then imply that the Spirit’s relationship to believers in this age remains only until the kingdom age, similar to the servant’s relationship to Rebekah in Genesis 24?

The exact expression, “to the age” appears 28 times in the New Testament. These include 1 Peter 1:25 (“the Word of the Lord endureth forever”) and Hebrews 7:17, 21, 24, 28 (relating to the Lord’s everlasting priesthood), neither of which are limited in duration. John 14:16 is the last of 12 times John uses this expression. Every other time it has the full force of “forever.” For instance, “they shall not perish to the age” (10:28, YLT) doesn’t endanger our eternal security. “Never thirst” (4:14), “live forever”(6:51, 58), “the Son abideth ever” (8:35), and “never see death” (8:51, 52) can’t suggest a future limit. Peter (13:8) wasn’t thinking of the Lord’s future service (Luke 12:37) when he said, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.”

The Spirit’s relationship to believers in this age, the Bride, will never terminate.

D. Oliver