Christ Before the Manger: The Life and Times of the Preincarnate Christ By Ron Rhodes. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992. 299 pp. Paper, $13.99.
Christ Before the Manger is a study about our Lord Jesus Christ in His preincarnate state. Using NT passages referring to Christ’s preexistence, Ron Rhodes paints a picture of Him in the OT and before. He has a helpful introductory chapter on the Trinity and then covers Christ’s roles in history as Preserver, Angel of the Lord, Shepherd, Savior, and the Eternal Logos. He gives special attention to how these titles and names relate to and reveal Christ’s deity.
In his chapter on Christ as the Angel of the Lord, Rhodes provides some compelling evidence as to why Christ should be identified as that Angel. He also understands all references to Yahweh manifesting Himself to men as references to Christ, since the Scriptures repeatedly stress that God cannot be seen. One of the primary goals of the author is to establish the eternal preexistence of Christ. This in turn establishes by logical necessity the deity of Christ. Rhodes proves this most convincingly from the relevant passages in both Testaments.
The book also has a number of helpful appendices. It includes a chart of the evidences for Christ’s deity, Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Christ, types of Christ in the OT, His relationship to Melchizedek, an explanation of difficult passages used by non-Trinitarians to deny our Lord’s deity, important creeds about Christ, and a catalog of historical errors that have been taught about Him.
The book is easy to read and devotional as well as informative. Its emphasis on Christ before the manger makes it unique and most helpful regarding the deity of Christ. I recommend it for anyone studying this subject.
R. Michael Duffy