Of course, we have many indications to that truth in the Old Testament, but it was only with the coming of Jesus Christ that it was spoken to humans in plain language that God has the Only-begotten Son.

How is this matter explained in the Catholicism, the Eastern Orthodoxy and main-stream Protestant Christianity?

  • 1
    Revelation was given to Israel. Look how many quotations are taken from the Hebrew scriptures by the apostolic authors in support of the gospel. And what of Jesus' question regarding how could David's Lord be David's son ? He could not be fully known or understood until he actually appeared. But much - oh so much - was already made known by Moses and the Prophets (for those who have eyes to see it !).
    – Nigel J
    Apr 12, 2020 at 20:13
  • @NigelJ - All of what you called revelation falls into the category of indications - sure, they were all later used as quotations, but they were not the revelation compared to how the Son of God was revealed later in the NT. "He could not be fully known or understood until he actually appeared" - That's exactly my question. Why didn't He, the Only-Begotten Son, appear to, say, Adam and Eve?
    – brilliant
    Apr 12, 2020 at 23:06
  • 1
    How do you know he didn't ? How did God communicate with Adam ? Can you tell ? Or can you tell what it means 'the voice of the Lord God walking . . . ?
    – Nigel J
    Apr 12, 2020 at 23:09
  • 1
    David says in the hundred and tenth Psalm 'The LORD said unto my Lord . . . ' David knew two Divine Persons. How did he know them ? And he also knew the Holy Spirit 'Take not thy Holy Spirit from me' Psalm 51:11.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 12, 2020 at 23:18
  • 1
    God's self revelation is progressive. He speaks through creation. He spoke in various times and ways through the prophets. He spoke through types and shadows through the redemption of Israel from slavery and the temple system. In these last days He has spoken most clearly through His Son. You are asking why didn't God fully reveal everything plainly right at the outset. Perhaps it is because it couldn't have been received that way. "If I am speaking to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?" - John 3:11-13 Apr 13, 2020 at 13:12

4 Answers 4


"Why was the revelation that God has the [an] Only Begotten Son not given to the ancient Hebrew people?"

There are two answers to this: it was and it wasn't! Answered in reverse order:

  1. It wasn't. Even though there are many hints, etc, that the coming saviour would be divine, these hints were not sufficient to control the thoughts of the Israelites/Jews in OT times concerning the coming saviour. Why is it that in the OT it is not made even more abundantly obvious that there is more than one person in the Triune Godhead and that the coming saviour would be the Son of God?

It needs to be remembered that in OT times all the surrounding nations worshipped a multiplicity of gods. A main purpose in the OT is to persuade the covenant people of God that there is ONLY ONE GOD. If the OT had spoken much about the coming Saviour being God then the temptation during the OT era would have been to suppose he would be a different god/ another god, that there is more than one God.

Once it has been established by the OT that there is only one God, the teaching of the NT about who Jesus Christ is becomes clear... he cannot be "a god" because the OT says there are no gods except the one true God.

The monotheism of the OT, then, lays the foundation stone of our understanding of the teaching of the NT concerning Christ our Lord. In the early church of the NT period, it was heavily indoctrinated Jewish believers, heavily indoctrinated in the teachings of monotheism, who tell us that Jesus is God made flesh. This lends much greater credibility to the teaching. If the Jews had not been indoctrinated in monotheism then their testimony concerning the deity of Christ could have been easily explained away... in that they were heavily indoctrinated in monotheism their testimony cannot be swept away with unbelieving rationalistic explanations.

The JW teaching that Jesus is "a god" but not "the God" is the kind of teaching which the whole thrust of the OT monotheism is designed to undermine/negate. God the Son, the Son of God, the one true God, became flesh and died for our sins. Praise Him.

  1. "What think you of Christ? is the test,

To try both your state and your scheme;

You cannot be right in the rest,

Unless you think rightly of him.

As Jesus appears in your view,

As he is belovèd or not;

So God is disposèd to you,

And mercy or wrath are your lot.


  1. Some take him a creature to be,

A man, or an angel at most;

Sure, these have not feelings like me,

Nor know themselves wretchèd and lost.

So guilty, so helpless am I,

I durst not confide in his blood,

Nor on his protection rely,

Unless I were sure he is God."

(John Newton, Pastor and former slavetrader)

  1. It was. It is revealed in hints, types, and shadows that the coming saviour would be the Son of God, Divine, God made flesh. Especially noteworthy are the following OT scriptures:-

See Genesis 3:15 - the one who will defeat Satan will be a man, but it is impossible that a mere man should be able to defeat Satan, therefore he will necessarily be both Man and Divine.

I will declare the decree: the LORD has said unto me "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee" Psalm 2:7

Job 19:25-26; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Psalm 110 - David knew the Messiah would be one of his own descendants, yet he calls Him "my Lord", knowing He would be more than just one of his descendants; Psalm 45, the whole, esp v 6 and 7 - the Messiah will be divine; Ezekiel 44:2.

  • (1) “It was. That the coming savior would be Divine, God made flesh, is plain from the following OT scriptures” – I didn’t ask about the revelation that the Savior would be Divine or God made flesh. I was asking about the revelation that God has the Only Begotten Son. None of the verses that you have cited even contain the term “Only Begotten Son”. No doubt David knew that the coming Savior would be Divine, he even hinted at the Two of the Godhead by referring to the First and to the Second by the word “Lord”. However, he never said that
    – brilliant
    Apr 14, 2020 at 5:13
  • (2) the Second Lord was the Only Begotten Son of the First Lord. You may say that “it is easy to arrive at that by simply thinking a bit”, but that would still be quite a stretch to call it a plain revelation then. Just compare this to how many times Jesus said plainly and directly in the NT that He was the Only Begotten Son of the Father – the way Jesus revealed that has no comparison with how David had revealed that. In case with Jesus’ words, you don’t need to “think a bit” in order “to arrive” at the idea that He is the Only Begotten Son of God.
    – brilliant
    Apr 14, 2020 at 5:13
  • @brilliant - I get your point and have largely changed the post. Apr 15, 2020 at 7:48
  • Perfect now. Thank you!
    – brilliant
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:00
  • @brilliant - Welcome!! Apr 15, 2020 at 13:31

Why the revelation that God has the Only Begotten Son was not given to the ancient Hebrew people?

The simple biblical answer was written by St. Paul and this passages is the overview embraced by the Universal Church, East and West, and most Christians.

The Gospels of Luke and Matthew and St. Paul explain that the Wisdom of God was purposely hidden from the Ancient Hebrew especially among the wise who embraced a false wisdom.

**God, You Have Hidden These Things From the Wise But Revealed Them to the Childlike – Matthew 11:25-27 and Luke 10:21-24**

“25 At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, God of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will." - (Matthew11:25-27)

St. Paul clearly explained the mystery behind the "Only Begotten Son" was hidden from the wise or among theAncient Hebrew...

Spiritual Wisdom

6Among the mature, however, we speak a message of wisdom—but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of the mysterious and hidden wisdom of God, which He destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it. For if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. - (1Corinthian 2:6-8)

Why didn't God instead of prophesying the coming of Messiah explicitly spoken thru the prophet that the coming Messiah will be the "only begotten Son", not created but will be "Light from Light" and "begotten" not made as written in the Apostles Creed and Athanasian Creed?

The answer can be found in Genesis 3:15 and the ending can be found in 1917 approved Marian apparition in Fatima, Porutgal.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.

Since God had declared a war, a perrenial enmity between Woman vs. Satan and their offsprings or cohorts, God purposely hidden His Divine Plan to the Ancient Hebrew because some of them as Jesus revealed and called them "brood of vipers and hypoctrites" written in Matthew 12:34-37 and Jesus even warned them of the unforgivable sin.

"In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph".

  • Can you, please, elaborate on Genesis 3:15?
    – brilliant
    Apr 13, 2020 at 1:44
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    @brilliant See the link on Genesis3:15 and read the footnote. God declared a war, and He purposely hide His Divine Plan because Satan although fallen has still the gift of superb intellect. The Wisdom of God was hidden purposely to Satan first, and to Ancient Hebrew because God will use their blindness in perfectly executing God's Divine Plan which is the Way of the Cross hidden in the mystery of Herbew word "Bereshit" which means "The Son of the Almighty God willingly offered His life thru death on the Cross" (Genesis1:1) Apr 13, 2020 at 1:56

Revelation is... a revealing. God's revelation to humanity began in Eden, after sin entered in, and that's where the first book of the Bible, Genesis, starts (written circa 1446 B.C.). Because sin had brought both literal and spiritual death, God chose to begin revealing how his only-begotten Son would restore all things to perfection and Genesis 3:15 could be taken as the start of that revealing. That revealing culminated in the last book of the Bible, "the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass" (1:1, written circa A.D. 95).

There are two considerations with regard to revealing anything. First, is whether the revealing will be instantaneous - all at once, or gradually building up a picture over time.

Second, is whether those to whom the revelation is given can see it, or whether they are totally or partially blinded. A bit of corrective eye-surgery might be needed along the way.

For a certainty, the Bible shows God gradually revealing more and more of how his only-begotten Son would eventually restore all things. The phrase "only begotten Son" only occurs in the Bible once the Son has become flesh and started dwelling among men (John 1:1-14) so that's why it seems more obscure in Bible books prior to then. It took a few thousand years for God's people to get close enough to God to start seeing the 'picture' he was revealing to them. By the time of Christ, it was as if a huge spotlight had been switched on - to him. Then, with the book of the Revelation, the Big Picture of all that was happening in the unseen heavenly realms was revealed, so that Christians could see the only-begotten Son in all his resurrection glory, defeating all the powers of darkness.

The whole of the Bible is needed to unravel this revelation, so those people who hardly bother with it are hardly going to see anything of God's revelation! Like any good "Who-done-it?" book, the crime is stated at the start (Genesis), the consequences of it shown (over centuries, and as it afflicts all humanity), clues are given as to what God's doing to bring the criminals to justice, then the one who is going to expose the criminals and deliver others appears on the scene, and then he ushers in the Day of Resurrection and Judgment. The last few chapters of the last book of the Bible expose the evil-doers for who they really are (and many of them are invisible to humans, but many humans are doing their bidding).

It's all there - for those with eyes to see. But in this sound-bite generation, which expects things instantly, and for what they want to be virtually dropped into their laps, just for the asking, they will never get it. And why should they? Their ears are closed to the gospel of Christ. To hear plain language, you cannot be deaf.

I'm answering as a Protestant who believes the entire Bible to be the inspired word of God, graciously given to fully equip God's people. By God's word we see light and the way to go, and Jesus is the Light that has come into the world, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. Further, the whole Bible points to him - for those with eyes to see. Sadly, those who pay little attention to the Old Testament won't even see who Jesus really is in the New, for "the new is in the old concealed, and the old is in the new revealed" (so goes an old Protestant saying). Who are we to say God could have explained it differently?


Leibniz and Clarke debated the issue of divine freedom in the 18th century, and others continue the debate. See https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/divine-freedom/

Leibniz espoused the "Principle of Sufficient Reason":

Now, by that single principle, viz. that there ought to be a sufficient reason why things should be so, and not otherwise, one may demonstrate the being of a God, and all the other parts of metaphysics or natural theology.

Clarke argued that Leibniz' definition precluded the existence of agency. No agency, no choice, no freedom. It has been the dominant belief among Christian theologians that God is free. That means within the constraints of his nature of goodness, God can do what he wants with no higher law or philosophical necessity causing or impinging on his choice.

If God chose to withhold from Israel and the rest of humanity the sure knowledge of His trinitarian nature and the future incarnation of His Son, it was His free choice. There is no why to be answered. You can argue consistency with prior actions, with goodness and truth and promises, you can show hints and clues in prophecies, but the whole of it was God's free choice.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
    to search out a matter is the glory of kings. (Proverbs 25:2)

This is not an answer to "Why?", but surely God chose thereby to magnify His glory, and to those select few who understood part of what God had concealed throug their attentive study and prayer, God surely grants glory and favor.

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