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Doctrine of Kenosis

October 4, 2014

DOCTRINE OF KENOSIS

A. The Origin of the Doctrine. It is derived from the Greek word KENOO, which means to empty oneself or to deprive oneself of a proper function, Phil 2:7a.

B. The True Humiliation of the Incarnation.
1. During the dispensation of the hypostatic union, our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use of His divine attributes in compliance with the Father’s plan for the Incarnation and the First Advent.
a. This means that Jesus Christ did not use the attributes of His divine nature to benefit Himself, to provide for Himself, to glorify Himself, to act independently of the future protocol plan of God for the Church Age by the compromise of the prototype spiritual life.
b. One compromise of the human nature of Jesus Christ to the prototype spiritual life and there would not be any operational type spiritual life in the Church Age.
c. The objectives of the dispensation of the hypostatic union were related to the human nature of Jesus Christ.
d. To resist this temptation, the human nature of Jesus Christ must not call on the divine nature for help. He had to use the four mechanics of the prototype spiritual life to maintain His human perfection and to be qualified to go to the Cross and be judged for the sins of the world.
2. During the dispensation of the hypostatic union, our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use of His divine attributes in compatibility with His own objectives and purpose in living among men with their limitations. By so doing, He established in His humanity a spiritual life which is the precedent for the Church Age. Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use of His divine attributes, but certain functions of deity continued to function, such as holding the universe together.
3. Jesus Christ gave up the independent exercise of His divine attributes only during the dispensation of the hypostatic union. He did not give up His divine attributes–that is a heresy.
4. During the dispensation of the hypostatic union, our Lord veiled the preincarnate glory of His deity by giving up the outward appearance of God and voluntarily taking on Himself the form of man. The glory of Christ was veiled, but never surrendered. This glory was temporarily revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration, and at Gethsemane there was just a flash of that glory, Jn 18:6.
5. Even though the humanity of Christ in the hypostatic union was perfect and impeccable, nevertheless, the deity of Christ was united with unglorified humanity. Jesus Christ surrendered no attributes of His deity.
a. This is called the doctrine of the humility of Christ. The union of Christ to unglorified humanity is a necessary factor of humiliation.
b. While the deity of Christ was united to a perfect true humanity, He was still subject to temptation, distress, weakness, pain, sorrow, limitation, and to more temptations than we will ever face. Therein lies the truth of the humiliation of the First Advent. He solved these problems from the spiritual life of His humanity by the use of the problem solving devices.
c. The glorification of the humanity of Christ was not completed until He was resurrected, ascended, and seated at the right hand of the Father.
6. The essence of our Lord’s deity is composed of the sum total of His divine attributes, so that a change of attribute would necessarily involve a change of essence, and this is impossible since our Lord is immutable.
7. Therefore, during the hypostatic union, no attribute of our Lord’s divine nature was changed. There was no suppression of divine essence. In the hypostatic union, the divine and human natures are united without transfer of attributes. The divine nature of Christ was not changed by the Incarnation, by being voluntarily restricted.
8. No divine attributes were transferred to His humanity and no attributes of humanity were transferred to His deity. Infinity cannot be transferred into the finite without destroying infinity. The attributes of deity cannot bleed over into humanity and the attributes of humanity cannot bleed over into deity. To rob God of a single attribute of His deity would destroy His divine nature. To rob the humanity of Christ of a single attribute of humanity would destroy His humanity in the hypostatic union.
9. Kenosis Related to the Hypostatic Union.
a. In the hypostatic union, Jesus Christ possessed two natures, one eternal and divine, the other human and generated. Definition of the hypostatic union: In the person of the incarnate Christ are two natures, inseparably united, without mixture or loss of separate identity, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes, the union being personal and eternal.
b. In the hypostatic union, the divine and human natures were united without transfer of attributes. Jesus Christ surrendered no attributes of His deity, but voluntarily restricted the independent use of these attributes in keeping with His purpose of living among men.
10. From His own free will Jesus Christ did not use His relative attributes to benefit Himself. This is humiliation. The relative attributes were not surrendered, but voluntarily restricted in keeping with the Father’s plan for the First Advent. All the temptations that Satan brought against Christ attacked kenosis, Mt 4. This is why these temptations were unique to Christ.
11. In the fulfillment of the Father’s plan, our Lord did not use His divine attributes to benefit Himself, to provide for Himself, or to glorify Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ utilized the divine provision and problem solving devices that God the Father provided in the function of His humanity on earth. The use of problem solving devices from His divine nature was always compatible with the Father’s purpose for the Incarnation.
12. The humanity of Christ did perform miracles through the power of God the Holy Spirit. He rebuked the storm; converted water into wine; and resuscitated Lazarus by the use of the Spirit’s power.
13. During the First Advent, Christ depended on the provision and power of the Holy Spirit, the power of Bible doctrine, and the power of the problem solving devices, and gave up any independent exercise of certain divine attributes while living among men with their human limitations.
a. Being full of grace and truth (Jn 1:14), the humanity of Christ extrapolated from His own soul problem solving devices. The humanity of Christ had to learn, metabolize, and circulate doctrine in His stream of consciousness just as we must. He concentrated these problem solving devices on the forward line of defense in His soul as an instant reaction force to prevent the conversion of the outside pressure of adversity into the inside pressure of stress in the soul.
b. The problem solving devices used by the humanity of Christ were: the filling of the Spirit, the faith rest drill, grace orientation, doctrinal orientation, a personal sense of destiny, personal love for God the Father, impersonal love for all mankind, and sharing the happiness of God. (We have two additional problem solving devices–rebound and occupation with Christ.)
c. Our Lord did not depend solely on His deity to execute the Father’s plan. He also depended on the One who provided the plan. He depended on what the Father provided. What the Father provided for Him, He provided for us. This included the power of the Holy Spirit, Mt 12:28; Lk 4:14-18.
d. The humanity of Christ submitted voluntarily to the non-use of His divine attributes in order to establish a precedence for the Church Age.
e. He established a spiritual life in His human nature. He did not derive His spiritual life from His divine nature. He depended on God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, just as we do.
f. While the deity of Christ was manifested in the performance of certain miracles, He did not use His omnipotence apart from the glorification of God the Father and the fulfillment of the divine purpose for the dispensation of the hypostatic union. The use of divine power from His divine nature was always compatible with the Father’s plan and purpose for the Incarnation.
14. Jesus Christ possessed eternal, unchangeable glory in His deity, and He acquired through His spiritual life a glory in His humanity. The result of this glory in His humanity was His session at the right hand of the Father.
a. The problem solving devices were attributed to the humanity of Christ but the whole person was the subject. These problem solving devices were in the soul of our Lord from metabolized doctrine circulating in His stream of consciousness.
b. This was His spiritual life and the basis for His being able to bear our sins and remain perfect.
c. The dispensation of the Hypostatic Union established precedence for the protocol plan of God for the dispensation of the Church. That precedence comes to us from the humanity of Christ in Hypostatic Union.
d. By using the problem solving devices in His human soul, our Lord established precedence for the Church Age believer.
e. Not only were the problem solving devices used by the humanity of Christ on the Cross, but more than that, they are available to us. This is part of the mystery of Church Age doctrine. This was never revealed to Old Testament believers.
f. The availability of the problem solving devices is based on certain volitional factors in your life.
(1) Bible doctrine must have number one priority in your life, and Bible doctrine must be more real to you than any situation in life.
(2) The believer must metabolize doctrine through Operation Z in the stream of consciousness for any of those problem solving devices to exist.
(3) The believer must recover quickly the filling of the Spirit and loss of fellowship when it occurs to maintain even the semblance of a spiritual life.
15. The ascension of Christ terminated the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union with the full restoration of the glory of His humanity in hypostatic union. Jesus Christ possessed eternal, unchangeable glory in His deity and acquired eternal and unchangeable glory in His humanity from the moment He sat down at the right hand of the Father.

C. Definition.
1. Kenosis is based on the fact that the union of the deity of Christ to unglorified but true humanity is a necessary factor in His humiliation. The doctrine of kenosis recognizes that during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, our Lord voluntarily restricted the independent use of His divine attributes for the execution of God the Father’s plan, will, and purpose for the Incarnation. He did this in compliance with the Father’s plan for the strategic victory of the angelic conflict. For the plan for the incarnation not only called for the judgment of our sins and the provision of eternal salvation for all members of the human race, but simultaneously for the strategic victory of the angelic conflict.
2. Under the true doctrine of kenosis, our Lord became true humanity in order to fulfill the Father’s plan for the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union. The Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily took on Himself true humanity in order to redeem mankind from sin, in order to propitiate God the Father, and to reconcile mankind to God.
3. Therefore, during the incarnation, Jesus Christ did not even once exercise the independent use of His own divine attributes either to benefit Himself, to provide for Himself, or to glorify Himself.
4. Phil 2:5-8, “Keep on thinking this within yourselves which was also resident in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the essence of God, He did not think equality with God a thing to be seized, but He laid aside His privileges, taking the form of a slave, having come to be in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

D. The Manifestation of Kenosis in our Lord’s Evidence Testing.
1. The true doctrine of kenosis is illustrated by the humanity of Christ in facing evidence testing, Mt 4:1‑10. In all three tests, He utilized the power of the Word provided by the omnipotence of the Father and the power of the Spirit provided in the prototype divine dynasphere. The first test illustrates the principle.
2. In the first test, Mt 4:3‑4, Jesus had gone forty days without food and was extremely hungry. The humanity of Christ was tempted in relationship to the delegated power of the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord used doctrine learned in the prototype divine dynasphere to solve the problem. He did not use His omnipotence to turn the stones into bread.
3. In His state of extreme hunger, Satan said to Him, “If you are the Son of God [and you are], command these stones to be turned into bread.” Jesus Christ as God is infinite, eternal, immutable omnipotence and the Creator of the universe, which Satan recognized. Our Lord had the power to turn the entire universe into bread.
4. But under the doctrine of kenosis, He did not use His omnipotence independently of the Father. He refused to function independently of the Father’s plan. He refused to rely upon His own omnipotence at any time during the incarnation. The false doctrine says He surrendered His omnipotence; not at all. He had it all the time; He simply did not use it. He used only the omnipotence of the Father and the Holy Spirit.
5. Our Lord continued to be hungry, and met Satan’s temptation with the quotation from Dt 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” By this, our Lord established the fact that Bible doctrine had #1 priority in His life, and He used the power of Bible doctrine.
6. The temptation of Satan was designed to lure the humanity of Christ away from reliance upon the omnipotence of the Father for His logistical grace, and upon the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit inside the prototype divine dynasphere.
7. Had our Lord used His own omnipotence to turn the stones into food, He would have operated independently of the Father’s plan. His humanity would have received food, but He would never go to the cross.
8. Our Lord used Bible doctrine to meet the test, the doctrine He had learned inside the prototype divine dynasphere. For according to Lk 2, our Lord “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” That is a reference to His humanity inside the prototype divine dynasphere.
9. Therefore, in kenosis, the humanity of Christ in Hypostatic Union voluntarily restricted the independent use of divine attributes, including omnipotence, in compliance with the Father’s plan for the incarnation.
10. Instead, our Lord’s humanity depended upon two categories of divine omnipotence, which had never before been available on such a grand scale: the omnipotence of the Father in logistical grace support, and the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit only inside the prototype divine dynasphere.
11. This is why our Lord did not use His own omnipotence to turn stones into bread, but instead used Bible doctrine metabolized under the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

E. The False Doctrine of Kenosis.
1. The traditional view says that the relative divine attributes of Christ were surrendered during the First Advent. Kenotic theologians hold that the Logos (Jesus Christ), though retaining His divine self‑consciousness and His imminent attributes (holiness, love, and truth), surrendered His relative attributes (omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence).
2. The gnostic view denies that Christ had a real body or that His body was made of some heavenly substance instead of human flesh.
3. The Lutheran view denies that the incarnation involved any humiliation.

F. Objections to the False Doctrines of Kenosis.
1. It is impossible for deity to surrender an attribute without changing the character of the essence from which it came. For example, to remove any color from light destroys light. Heb 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Therefore, to rob God of any attribute would destroy His deity. If Christ did not possess all the attributes of divine essence, then he did not possess true deity in the first place. It is impossible to subtract any attribute without destroying the total essence.
2. There is no logical basis for distinguishing between relative attributes and absolute attributes as being more or less essential to the deity of Christ. The absolute attributes imply the necessity of the relative attributes.
3. There are three categories of absolute attributes: spirituality, infinity, and perfection.
a. Spirituality includes the life and personality of God.
b. Infinity includes self‑existence, immutability, and His unity.
c. Perfection includes His holiness, truth, and love.
4. The relative attributes of God include:
a. Attributes related to time and space: eternity and immensity.
b. Attributes related to creation: omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence.
c. Attributes related to moral beings: veracity and faithfulness, which are related to His truth; mercy and goodness, which are related to His love; and justice and righteousness, which are related to His holiness.
5. If one category of attributes is necessary for deity, it logically follows that all others are also necessary.
6. The purpose of the Gospel of John is to prove the deity of Christ, that He remained deity during His incarnation, that omnipresence continued in the flesh. Jn 1:48, 3:13.

G. The True Concept of Kenosis.
1. During the First Advent, Jesus Christ was both undiminished deity and true humanity in one person.
2. Therefore, as undiminished deity, Christ did not surrender His divine attributes or empty His deity.
3. However, Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use of His relative attributes in compliance with the Father’s plan for the incarnation. This was the issue in His wilderness temptations.
4. Therefore, Christ did not use His divine attributes for His own glory. He didn’t give up His deity, but voluntarily surrendered the independent expression of that deity when it would hinder the Father’s plan.
5. To execute the Father’s plan for the First Advent, the humanity of Christ relied on the divine dynasphere, logistical grace, the ministry of God the Holy Spirit, and the Bible doctrine in His soul.
6. Consequently, the independent expression of His deity and the independent exercise of His divine attributes was not “a gain to be seized and held,” so that the Father’s plan for the First Advent would be neutralized.
7. Therefore, Christ voluntarily took on Himself the form of a servant in order to redeem man from sin, reconcile man to God, and propitiate the Father.
8. In fulfilling the mission of the First Advent, Jesus Christ did not exercise His divine attributes to benefit Himself, to provide for Himself, or to glorify Himself.

H. The Factors of Kenosis.
1. Christ gave up the outward appearance (SCHEMA) of God, but not the essence (MORPHE) of God, Phil 2:7.
2. Christ voluntarily took upon Himself “the likeness of mankind,” Phil 2:7.
3. For this reason He prayed for glorification of His true humanity, Jn 17:5.
4. Jesus Christ had not emptied His deity or His divine glory, but at that point He had not yet achieved the strategic victory of the angelic conflict.
5. Therefore in Jn 17:5, Christ was praying for battlefield victory for His humanity, not for restoration of His divine glory, which had never been taken from Him.

I. Part of the kenosis is the sustaining ministry of God the Holy Spirit to the humanity of Christ.
1. Isaiah prophesied that a power system would come, i.e., that God the Holy Spirit would indwell a human and fill the soul. Jesus Christ was the first one to receive this ministry. Isa 11:1‑3, 42:1, 61:1.
2. This ministry of the Holy Spirit is related to the virgin birth in Mt 1:20; Ps 40:6ff; Heb 10:5.
3. Christ was constantly filled with the Spirit from birth, Jn 3:34.
4. The filling of the Holy Spirit is related to the baptism of Jesus, Mt 3:13‑17.
5. It is related to His public ministry, Mt 12:18, 28; Lk 4:14‑15, 17‑18, 21.
6. The omnipotence of the Holy Spirit sustained Jesus Christ while bearing our sins on the cross. (See Doctrine of Omnipotence.)
7. The Holy Spirit’s ministry to Christ is continued as the agent in resurrection, Rom 8:11; 1 Pet 3:18‑19.
8. This same ministry and power is transferred to the royal family, Jn 7:38‑39, 16:13‑14; 2 Cor 3:1‑3; Eph 3:16‑17.