(29.) On Christ as the Son of the Highest

(29.) On Christ as the Son of the Highest

(29.) On Christ as the Son of the Highest.

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Highest.” (Luke 1:32).

El Elyon. The terms “Highest” and “Most High” are used interchangeably in the translations of the Scriptures. This title used by the angel Gabriel is an official name of God in the Hebrew Bible: El Elyon. El is a shortened form of God’s name, and Elyon means Highest or Most High. Elyon is used when one wants to affirm God as the most highly exalted, the One who is supreme to all creation, the uppermost sovereign.  When someone wants to elevate God to highest distinction, to honor God as holding supremacy in all the universe, Elyon is the preferred title. When one wants to glorify God as the uppermost God of gods, Elyon is used. When one desires to acknowledge God’s eternal majesty and eminence, Elyon is used. Elyon as a title for God is used frequently in the Hebrew bible, 34 times in total. El Elyon, or God the Highest (Most High), is used twelve times, beginning with the famous interaction between Melchizedek, the “priest of the Most High,” and Abraham (Gen. 14:18-20). Abraham exclaimed the popular title when he said “I have raised my hands to Yahweh, God Most High (Gen. 14:22). For Jesus to be named as “the Son of the Highest” reveals the popularity of that title for God as well as the importance of the birth of Christ.

This title for Christ shows that God Most High/God the Highest carried through from the Hebrew Bible into the times of the early Christians. Most High/Highest was a very favorite way to describe and name God through the centuries. The sheer variety of people that have referred to God as Most High/Highest is staggering, from believers to unbelievers, from angel Gabriel to Lucifer the fallen angel, from demons to saints. Here are just a few of those who described God in such a way as to call Him Most High/Highest:

  • David (Ps. 18:13): “Yahweh thundered from heaven, Elyon uttered His voice.
  • Daniel (Dan. 7:27): “… the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people, the saints of Elyon, God Most High.
  • Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:17): “Elyon, the Most High, rules in the kingdoms of men.
  • Lucifer (Isaiah 14:13-14): “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like Elyon, the Most High.”
  • Zechariah (Luke 1:76): “prophet of the Most High.”
  • the Demoniac (Mark 5:7): Calling out to Jesus, “Son of the Most High God!”.
  • Stephen (Acts 7:48): “The Most High does not dwell in temples made by hand.

Highest to Lowest. It is mind-boggling to consider the depth of God’s love when we meditate on Isaiah 57:15“For thus says the High and Exalted One who lives eternally and whose name is holy, ‘I live in the holy heights but I am with the contrite and humble, to revive the spirit of the humble, to revive the heart of the contrite.” Even in God’s exalted status, He nonetheless yearns for human relationships. He is the Highest and wants to be with us in our lowest state. God is meek in His supremacy. Out of reach, He willingly moves to within our reach. God is the only Being in the universe we can legitimately say is “above it all,” yet He is unafraid to become beneath it all with us. “O God, you are more awesome than your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people.” (Ps. 68:35). “Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly.” (Ps. 138:6).

Children of the Most High. “Love your enemies and do good to them, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High, for He Himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” (Luke 6:35). If we are adopted by God into His family, we assume His nature, and we flesh out His character in the family way. If we are children of the Highest, what does that look like, for example? For one thing, it means we will love our enemies, and we will be generous to a fault in our kindness. Since that’s the way the Most High Father treats people, His children are expected and empowered to do the same thing. And if Jesus is the Son of the Highest, and believers are children of the Highest, what does that say about the relationship between Jesus and His followers? It means that any and every believer can claim Jesus as a brother. Jesus even called His apostles “brothers” in one of His post-resurrection appearances, this time with Mary Magdalene, “Go and find my brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17). The Lord evolved from calling His disciples servants, to friends, and now brothers. Jesus and believers everywhere are siblings in the Father’s family, and are children of the Most High.