The church knows only that the Son of God is the second person of the Godhead, distinct from the person of the Father, which results in a belief in a Son of God born from eternity. Since this is everywhere accepted and is about God, there is neither ability nor permission to think about this matter at all intelligently, not even about what it means to be “born from eternity.” This is because people who think about it intelligently inevitably find themselves saying, “This is completely beyond me. Still, I say it because everybody else says it, and I believe it because everybody else believes it.” They should realize, though, that there is no Son from eternity; rather, the Lord is from eternity. Only when they realize what “the Lord” means and what “the Son” means can they think intelligently about a triune God.
As for the fact that the Lord’s human side—conceived by Jehovah the Father and born of the Virgin Mary—was the Son of God, this is obvious from the following in Luke:
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, from the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. Having come in, the angel said to her, “Greetings, you who have attained grace. The Lord is with you; you are blessed among women.” When she saw him, she was troubled by what he said and considered what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary: you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive and bear a Son, and you will call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest.” But Mary said to the angel, “How will this take place, since I have not had intercourse?” The angel replied and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will descend upon you, and the power of the Highest will cover you; therefore the Holy One that is born from you will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:26–35)
This passage says “you will conceive and bear a Son. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest,” and again, “The Holy One that is born from you will be called the Son of God.” We can see from this that it is the human nature conceived by God and born of the Virgin Mary that is called “the Son of God.” In Isaiah,
The Lord himself is giving you a sign. Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a son, and she will call his name “God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14)
We can see that the Son born of the Virgin and conceived by God is the one who will be called “God with us” and is therefore the one who is the Son of God. There is further support for this in Matthew 1:22, 23. In Isaiah:
A Child has been born to us; a Son has been given to us. Leadership is upon his shoulder; and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
It is the same here, since it says “A Child has been born to us; a Son has been given to us,” who is not a Son from eternity but a Son born into the world. We can see this also from what the prophet says in verse 6 there and from the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:32, 33), which are similar. In David:
“I will proclaim concerning the statute, ‘Jehovah has said, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”’” Kiss the Son or he will become angry and you will perish on the way. (Psalms 2:7, 12)
It does not mean a Son from eternity here either, but a Son born in the world, because this is a prophecy about the Lord who is going to come. So it is called a statute about which Jehovah was making a proclamation to David. “Today” is not “from eternity” but is in time. In David:
I will place his hand on the sea. He will cry out to me, “You are my Father.” I will make him the firstborn. (Psalms 89:25, 26, 27)
This whole psalm is about the Lord who is going to come, which is why it means the one who will call Jehovah his Father and who will be the firstborn—therefore the one who is the Son of God. The same holds true elsewhere, when he is called “a shoot from the trunk of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1), “the branch of David” (Jeremiah 23:5), “the seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15), “the only-begotten” (John 1:18), “a priest forever” and “the Lord” (Psalms 110:4, 5).
The Jewish church understood “the Son of God” to mean the Messiah whom they were awaiting, knowing that he would be born in Bethlehem. We can see from the following passages that they understood “the Son of God” to be the Messiah. In John:
Peter said, “We believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:69)
In the same:
You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is going to come into the world. (John 11:27)
The high priest asked Jesus whether he was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said, “I am.” (Matthew 26:63, 64; Mark 14:62)
These things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. (John 20:31; also Mark 1:1)
“Christ” is a Greek word and means “anointed,” which is what “messiah” means in Hebrew. This is why it says in John, “We have found the Messiah (which is translated, the Christ)” (John 1:41). And in another passage, “The woman said, ‘I know that the Messiah is coming, who is called the Christ’” (John 4:25).
I pointed out in the first chapter [Sections 1–7] that the Law and the Prophets (or the whole Word of the Old Testament) are about the Lord, so the Son of God who is going to come cannot mean anything but the human nature that the Lord took upon himself in the world. It follows, then, that this is the meaning of the Son mentioned by Jehovah from heaven when Jesus was being baptized: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22), since his human nature was being baptized. Likewise when he was transfigured: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear him” (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35).
Then there are other passages as well, such as Matthew 8:29; 14:33; 27:43, 54; Mark 3:11; 15:39; John 1:18, 34, 49; 3:18; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4.
from The Lord, Section 19
Sections 1-4: Published 2/8/2018-2/12/2018