Incarnation of Christ

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

This term is not found in Scripture, but the truth that it conveys most certainly is. It refers to the Lord’s taking humanity into union with His Person and becoming a Man. This means that He had a human spirit (John 11:33; 13:2133When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, (John 11:33)
21When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. (John 13:21)
), a human soul (Matt. 26:3838Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. (Matthew 26:38); John 12:2727Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (John 12:27)), and a human “body” (Heb. 10:55Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (Hebrews 10:5)). Yet in doing this, He did not give up His divinity. Thus, He was fully a Man and fully God. This union of the divine and human natures is inscrutable to the mind of man (Matt. 11:2727All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)). We are not asked to understand it, but simply to accept and believe it. This incarnation occurred when Mary “conceived” of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:2020But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 1:20)) and He was “born” into the world (Luke 1:3535And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)). See John 1:1414And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14); Romans 1:33Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; (Romans 1:3); Philippians 2:5-85Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5‑8); 1 Timothy 3:1616And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)a.
The Lord did not simply take a human body as a shell and have His divine Spirit dwell in it—the error of Apollinarianism. There was an actual union between all that there is in Him as a divine Person with all that constitutes a human being. Becoming a Man was an incredible condescension, for this union of the divine and human natures is something that will be forever. The Lord lived and moved and had His being in this world as a Man, and He laid down His life in death as a Man, and thus He passed into the intermediate state (His soul and spirit being temporarily separated from His body), but even in death He was still a Man (Acts 2:2727Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Acts 2:27)). In resurrection, He took His body again and ascended to the right hand of God in a glorified state (1 Tim. 3:1616And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)b)—and He will remain a Man for all eternity!
When Scripture speaks of Christ’s humanity, it carefully guards against the notion that He took part in the fallen sin-nature which we have. For instance, Hebrews 2:1414Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Hebrews 2:14) says, “As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part in the same.” This means that “as” humans take part in manhood (which involves three parts—a human spirit, a human soul, and a human body), Christ also took part “in the same.” In other words, He became a real Man. However, in speaking of Christ’s humanity, the Spirit uses a different word from what He uses to describe our humanity. The "children," the writer says, are “partakers” of flesh and blood. The word in the Greek translated “partakers” (koinoneo) refers to a common equal sharing in humanity. This is true of all men, for we all fully partake in humanity—right down to partaking in the sin-nature. However, when the verse goes on to speak of Christ becoming a Man, the writer uses another Greek word. He says that that the Lord “took part” (metecho) in the same. This word indicates a sharing in something without specifying what degree the sharing went to, and thus points to the fact that when Christ became a Man, His humanity did not go so far as to share in fallen humanity.
Also, Hebrews 4:1515For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) states that the Lord’s humanity was “sin apart.” “Sin” (singular) is often used in the New Testament epistles to indicate the old, fallen sin-nature. This verse, therefore, makes it clear that the Lord didn’t have a fallen human nature, as all the descendants of fallen Adam do (Psa. 51:55Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5)).
The incarnation, therefore, is different from the theophanies in the Old Testament. These were occasions when Christ took a human form and interacted with men for certain purposes. Oftentimes Scripture uses the title “Angel” to indicate this (Gen. 16:7; 18:1-33; 32:24-327And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. (Genesis 16:7)
1And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 16And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. 23And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. (Genesis 18:1‑33)
24And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 31And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. 32Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank. (Genesis 32:24‑32)
; Ex. 3:2; 4:24; 14:192And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2)
24And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him. (Exodus 4:24)
19And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: (Exodus 14:19)
; Josh. 5:13-1513And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? 15And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13‑15); Judg. 6:11-24; 13:3-5; 9-2111And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor. 13And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 14And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? 15And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. 16And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. 17And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me. 18Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. 19And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. 20And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. 21Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. 22And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. 23And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. 24Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. (Judges 6:11‑24)
3And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 4Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: 5For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. (Judges 13:3‑5)
; 1 Chron. 21:18-3018Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the Lord. 20And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. 21And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. 22Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the Lord: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people. 23And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. 24And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. 25So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. 26And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. 27And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. 28At that time when David saw that the Lord had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. 29For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon. 30But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the Lord. (1 Chronicles 21:18‑30), etc.). On those occasions, the Lord appeared in a human form, but it was not the union of the two natures (divine and human) involved in His incarnation.