Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
Is Jesus Really God and How Can That Be?
by Tony Warren
S Jesus Christ really God, and how can that be? There are many unbelievers, groups and false religions today that deny this. How can Christ be both God and God's son? We turn to the witness of the holy Scriptures for the answer because this concept is very difficult for most people to comprehend, and yet is the very foundation of Christian faith and practice. Believing in the deity of Jesus Christ is a fundamental part of being a true Christian, but how can we prove Jesus is God? First of all, that's the Spirit's job, but we can say that if Christ was just a man, or even a spectacularly outstanding man, then we are of all men most foolish to be looking to Him to be the Savior. There is no man who could have had every single sin of every child of God laid upon Him, carried them to the cross, suffered death as the wages for those sins, and been risen up from that death free from that curse (Galatians 3:13) of the law that condemns them. There is no man who could purged us all from judgment for our sins, as is required (Romans 6:23) by law. It would take a God to stand in as substitute for man in order to accomplish such a feat. Not another God, but the one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), monotheistic, existing in three forms in order to accomplish His purposes in the earth. In fact, the whole idea of Christ being just a man, prophet or even a "simi-" or lessor god, makes the Christian belief of His atonement for the whole world ridiculous.
When the question is asked, "is Jesus God," the answer is that God declares that He is Jehovah, and beside Him there is no Savior. This word in Isaiah 62 translated LORD is the Hebrew [yehovah]. This is no small indicator as this declaration by God demonstrates two things. Number one, that there is only one Savior (Acts 4:12), and that is Jehovah God. Number two, any claim by anyone of being a Savior is in fact a claim to be Jehovah God. There is no other name whereby anyone may be saved, so Christ has to be God if He is Savior. This is what should be expected because no man, super man or lessor god could accomplish the task of saving us. By its very nature it requires being burdened with all our iniquities, suffer the wages of death for them, and be resurrected from that death without them. Even a non-Christians can understand the bankruptcy of thinking a mere man or prophet could accomplish such a task. When one thinks about that theory seriously, it's quite ludicrous to believe a mere man could have had the world's sins laid upon him and suffer punishment for them. Unless the man Jesus was the very revelation of God (the only one able to be burdened with our sins and withstand the judgment thereof), we have no Savior. That is exactly what God said (word for word) in Isaiah chapter 43 verse 11, "I, even I, am Jehovah; and beside Me, There is No Savior." We have our answer of who could accomplish such a feat to be the Savior of the world. In all reasonableness is, no one but Jehovah God could possibly be the Savior. Which brings us to the question, "how then was Christ God, and yet judged of God for our sins?" And the answer is found in God's faithful word of promise to His people to provide for them a Savior. And yet there was no one that could save. If He alone was the Savior, and the word of promise from God was to stand lawfully, then God would have to provide a Savior by His own arm. If mankind was to put his hope in a mere man for Salvation, then they hope in vain. It is the Lord God Himself who is our only hope of freedom from the bondage of sin. As it is written, He is our only help, as only He can save.
- "Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.
- I, even I, AM the LORD; and beside Me, there is no Saviour."
That word translated LORD is again, yehovah or Jehovah, and He made heaven and earth and all that is therein. Scripture also says that Christ made heaven and earth and all that is therein (John 1:3). Of course there is no contradiction, because as scripture illustrates, Christ is Jehovah God. There is only one God (James 2:19), but God reveals aspects of Himself in the three persons of the Godhead. In three, the purpose and will of God is worked out for man. God is manifested as the Father, as the Son and as the Holy Spirit. The Father shows God revealed in all his omnipotent glory, might and majesty. The Son reveals Him in the revelation of His living Word, the fulfilled promise of the sacrifice and offering for our atonement. The Holy Spirit is God revealed to man as his omnipresent facilitator in performing His will and work throughout the world. This is one God working out His divine purpose in three. Indeed, God has made it clear "from the very beginning" about the plurality of these three in one Godhead.
- "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
- His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
- Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
- Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
- Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:
- The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:"
In the Hebrew text this is plural, not singular. This is making it very clear that there is one God speaking, and yet that one God works out His will for man in three. All throughout Scripture we see this same portrait of one God working out His own divine plan on earth in three.
- "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness..."
Again we see the illustration of the trinity again. Three, from the very foundation of the world, from the time that the beginning was, there was the great pre-existing God, the Lord God and His Spirit God. Very concise, very clear, very unambiguous language showing us the three persons of the Godhead. It's just one more example (of many) of the way God's Word is consistent and in total scriptural harmony throughout. Even as explains that though revealed in three, there is one, as "before Him there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Him." Contrary to what some religious cults claim about lessor gods or multiple gods, God Himself denies this in saying there is "one God," eternally self-existent. That is how Christ could declare to the church that He and the Father are one (John 10:38; John 17:21), and He is always in the will of the Father. With all these Biblical facts, still there are some misguided souls who will insist that "this is not true, and Christ and His Spirit were not there in the beginning with God, and they didn't create heaven and earth." It is a case of simply denying the authority of scripture and of Christ since God refutes this notion completely. The Scriptures are replete with the very same story of the Godhead being revealed in three. These are not isolated or ambiguous verses. Jesus Christ was fully God, who was made of no reputation by leaving the glory He had with the father, to be revealed in the flesh in the likeness of man, in order to be the Savior that only God (as man) could be.
- "Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there AM I, and now the Lord God, and His Spirit, hath sent Me."
How could God make that statement about Christ if it were not true? Is God a man that He should lie? He couldn't and wouldn't declare this except it were true. In Christ dwells all the fulness of God corporeally and physically. Even as the Apostle Paul denied that Christ was merely a man (Galatians 1:1), but was in union with the Godhead of God the Father. Although Christ left the glory He had with the Father in heaven, abased Himself to become flesh in order to suffer for His people as man (the second Adam), He never abrogated the fullness of the Godhead.
- "..For in Him dwelleth All the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily."
1st John 5:7
These three are one because they are all aspects of the one God of the universe. In other words, there is one God, manifesting Himself in three personages. The "Word" in Scripture is a synonym for Christ (John 1:1-2; Revelation 19:13), the living fulfillment of the oath or promise to man of a Savior. In a real sense, Christ is God's Word of Salvation come to life in the form of man. To deny this revelation of His deity means nothing, while God's Word of salvation is sure, faithful and totally dependable. In time past He declared that He was the Savior, and no one else could be. Accordingly, He became flesh to bring to fruition on earth, that Word of truth. Not a new Word, but that very same Word that was heard to create heaven, earth and all that is therein. As it is written:
- "For there are three that bear record in heaven, The Father, The Word, and the Holy Ghost; And these Three are One!
Here is understanding. The Word was not only with God, but the Word "was God!" Which of course is totally consistent with everything else we read in scripture and contradictory to the denials of men. He was there with Jehovah God in the beginning because there is only one God of creation.
- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God."
If there is only one God, and you are with that God and are that God, then it would be tortuous of Scripture and language to claim that this living Word made flesh was not that God. The Word of God took the form of a man in Christ, in order to make God's Word of salvation a living Word, the only possible Savior of mankind. The three persons of the trinity are one God. The Word was there at the beginning with God because it was God's Word. He wasn't created or come into existence two thousand years ago when He became flesh, He has always been present with God. He became flesh that the oath God made to Abraham might come to fruition, fulfilling the law.
- "The same was in the Beginning with God."
It doesn't say God created a Son or a Son came into existence in the fullness of time, but He was sent in the fu;lness of time. And this could only be done because as part of the glory of God, He was there to be sent as the only Savior of man. As of course we read in verse three of John chapter one of Christ as this creator:
- "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,"
Not only from the beginning was the Word with God and "was God," but as God He was the creator of all (not some) things--and there is nothing that was made that was made by anyone but this God. Clear language that Jesus is self-existent. He was not created, He Himself was before all things and created all things (1st Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), the creator of all things and the firstborn from the dead, Christ is God. It could hardly get much clearer than these unambiguous passages.
- "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made."
Again, this word translated LORD is yehovah God, and so despite some religious groups making claims to the contrary, it doesn't take a Ph.d. in Greek and Hebrew to understand what is being said. As creator of all things, as the only Savior, as the promised Word, Christ had to be Jehovah God.
- "But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
- For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else."
- "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
- And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."
- "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Jehovah God made the earth and the heavens,"
Is this a contradiction of the Scriptures declaring that Christ created all? Not at all. God Spoke His Word and the heaven and earth came into existence. The very same Word of God that we read in John chapter one created all things and was made flesh to dwell among men. If that doesn't make Jesus God in man's eyes, nothing will. He was at the beginning, He was with God, He was God, and He created all things. It is only by faith that we understand these things, and that is the key. John continues in verse 14:
- "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
That which was with God from the beginning, and indeed was God so that He created all things, took on the flesh through the woman Mary and dwelt among men as the only begotten of the Father. All these statements are so unambiguous and unequivocal that the Christian doctrine Christ's divine nature shouldn't even be debatable. At least not among those professing believers, because this truth is the cornerstone of true Christianity. Faith provided by a Savior who is actually powerful enough to save, would by definition have to be a God-Man. Sadly there is debate from some quarters concerning the understanding of this chapter and it is the source of controversy, although unjustifiably. There is this train of thought by a certain religious group that "The Word" in John chapter one is not really talking about Jesus Christ until verse fourteen. This group is fond of saying, "first came the spoken word, then the written word, then the living word, which is Christ." They claim that we've read Jesus into this passage and that He is not mentioned until verse 14 when it says it was made flesh. May I say quite frankly (and without hesitation) that this line of thinking is "preposterous, illogical, and so obviously self serving." The whole context and structure of the passage is both clear and concise, and the preceding verses make that abundantly clear. It is tortuous of Scripture to try and make "The Word" mean anything but the person of Christ both when He was with God and when He was made flesh.
- "and 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."
Is Jesus God? Why would any rational thinking person believe that this is not talking about Jesus? Plainly it says "the world was made by Him (10)," and "as many as Believed on His name (12)" were given power to be sons. Why would anyone think the Word is God here (not Christ) and then in verse 14 without so much as a pause, we are told to believe it starts talking about some "other Word" made flesh, which is not God, but Christ? It is almost beyond comprehension, except in the understanding of what indoctrination can do to the rational mind. The will of men to rationalize away anything that they don't choose to believe is simply astounding. The indoctrinated will believe whatever they want, and then refuse to be confused by the facts. Yet honestly, the facts indeed speak for themselves. It's not a question of "if it says this," it's a question of man of God's Spirit hearing what He clearly says. Another method some use to chip away at the authority of the Word, is to attempt to convince people that John 1:1 was a mistranslation (sound familiar), and that it should read "the Word was with divine and the Word was divine." They key on the Greek words, God [theos], and [logos], and claim that it's not really speaking of God or the Word as creator and should be translated divine or some other non-deity. Again, when one is indoctrinated, anything can be used in order to refuse to receive the truth of what is actually written. All that is required is an excuse and the will to obfuscate the issue. Let us simply test this theory of it not being God, by the context of the word and the passage itself.
- "He was in the World, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
- He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
- But as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them which believe on His name:
That sure sounds like "divine" is God doesn't it? It sure sounds like "divine" created all things doesn't it? So try as we may, we cannot force the Scriptures to say something that they do not say, or not say something that they so obviously do say. Indeed, this might fall into the category of adding and taking away from the Word of God, which is condemned by God. That Greek word there [theos] is translated God over 900 times with no problem. Yet because of their indoctrination in the view that Jesus is not God, they arbitrarily decide they want to change it "here" in order to facilitate acceptance of their doctrines. This is the very definition of deceitful (Colossians 2:8-9) deception. Again, let's substitute the word logos.
- "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with divine, and the word was divine. The same was in the beginning with divine. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made."
Again, it is perfectly clear that the [logos] is God, else God isn't the creator, is He? It is not curious that whenever man doesn't want to receive the plain text of the Word of God, it inevitably becomes a "translation problem" or a case where Scripture doesn't actually mean what it actually says (2nd Thessalonians 2:10). Refusing to receive the truth is the nature of deception. The refusal to follow or to witness to the truth of the Word faithfully. Mankind would rather lead the Word than to faithfully follow it. This false gospel does it one way, and another false gospel does it another way, but it always boils down to changing God's Word to suit their own personal agenda, tradition or beliefs. Reading the text of John 1:1 illustrates that their attempted changes "actually" change nothing. Another tactic is to claim that it really should be translated [a] god, not GOD. That also is ridiculous, for there is no article "a" in the Holy Canon there, and no justifiable rationalization for adding one. It's simply another attempt to justify changing God's Word to conform to their own religious ideas. They simply fail to comprehend that if Jesus is not God in their gospel, then they have no Savior. For Besides God (says God), there is no Savior. When we look carefully at this verse, even in the literal Greek, here is what it says there word for word (as best I can type it using an English keyboard)!
- "In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with Divine, and the Logos was Divine. The same was in the beginning with Divine. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made."
en' arche en ho logos kai ho logos en theos kai theos en ho logos
And here is the word for word interlinear rendering of what the Greek means.
en' arche en ho logos kai ho logos en in beginning was the word and the word was theos kai theos en ho logos God and God was the Word
All the rationalization known to man is not going to change what God has inspired written in the Holy Scriptures. Even when trying to supplant God's Word with their own private interpretations, the truth shines through. These aren't obscure words which we can't be sure what the meaning is, they are words used liberally throughout Scripture, and their meanings are common knowledge. Even to Christians without extensive education in the Greek language. Further, Christ spoke clearly of His deity in declaring that to receive Him is to receive God (Mark 9:37), to dishonor Him is to dishonor God (John 5:23), to know Him is to know God (John 8:19), to believe in Jesus is to believe in God (John 12:44), to see Him is to see God (John 12:45) and to hate Christ is to hate God (John 15:23). In light of this, how do we prove Jesus is God? We can't, but God can. We can exhort that people wisely consider the very fact that the Holy Spirir gave birth to Christ, assures us that the Son comes from God and is not merely man. Since there was no earthly father, as the birth was of the Holy Spoirit, by definition the Son cannot simply be a man. He must of necessity be a God-Man. It is important that we understand that Mary only provided flesh, and "everything else" was God. If we think about that carefully and intelligently, we can understand how no sin was passed on to Christ. He took on the flesh, and yet none of the sin inherent in it so that He might be the propitiation for it. In other words, Christ was very literally God in the flesh, not a theophany. The actual promised Seed (Galatians 3:16) via Jehovah God, who is the only one who could be Savior. We are not children of a lessor god through spiritual rebirth in Christ, we are children of Jehovah God.
The Holy Ghost or Spirit is God. He came to earth to be the Word made flesh in Mary's womb. If God wanted a good man, He could have used John the baptist, but by law redemption requires the righteousness of Jehovah to be our Savior. As the law states that He is the only Savior. No mere man could carry the load or burden of the sins of the world to the cross. A good man (even if we could find such a person) at best could keep himself out of Hell. He could never take on the sins of the world and pay for all the sins of God's chosen, suffer death for them, and be raised up in His own body not seeing corruption, and totally free from that sin. Which is why the Savior had to be God (Isaiah 43:10-11). No one else qualifies to be Savior. Even though it was man who had sinned (which meant that by law it had to be man to pay the price of sin), no man qualified to be able to deliver mankind. So how could flesh be laden and guilty of sin, have the price for it paid in that flesh, and live thereafter free from sin? The only answer is, by God becoming that flesh, becoming or made our sin in that flesh, and being our redemption. His own arm would have to bring salvation to man (Isaiah 63:4-5), because no one and nothing else could. He would have to be our help by coming down from heaven to deliver us from the death that hung over us for our sins. So when we are asked, "How can Christ be both God, and Godís son," our answer is that He had to be God's Son since the birth through Mary was of the Holy Spirit, which is God.
- "now the birth of Jesus was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost."
Here we have the righteous testimony of God declaring that Christ was in the form of God and equal to God (only possible if He was God), thought it not robbery to make Himself of no renown and be "made in the flesh of man so that He could suffer the death of man through the cross. Unambiguously, Christ in the form of God, making Himself in the form of man, in order to be the promised Savior of man. In order to do this, God was made in the flesh of man through Mary, giving us the language of being His Son. He is called the Son of God because He is the promised Seed of redemption for Israel, through Mary and God.
- "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
- Who, Being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
- But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the Likeness of Men:
- And being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
- Wherefore God hath also highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name."
..He that hath an ear, let him hear.The fact is, with careful study in the Scriptures (and the Holy Spirit's guidance) it's very easy to see that Christ is not only God, but had to be God to accomplish His mission. That is to say, if we believe the Scriptures themselves and do not ignore or rationalize away what they clearly declare. For example, Jehovah God says that He is the First and the Last, and Christ confirms in Revelation chapter one verse seventeen that He is the First and the Last, He that liveth and was dead and is alive for forevermore. This is total consistency because Jesus is in fact God, existing before all things and will be after all things. Jehovah God says:
- "..I the LORD, the first and the last; I AM He.
How can Jesus be both God and God's son? In Revelation 1:1 when John heard that voice and turned to see who was speaking to him, who did he see? ..He saw Christ in the midst of the candlesticks speaking to Him and declaring that He was alive, and was dead, and is alive for evermore. This is Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the last, the one and only God. We all understand that there can only be one Alpha and Omega, one First and Last. If Jehovah God says that this is Him, and Christ says that this is Him, then should be obvious that if Scripture is true, Jesus is God. No real mystery, because that is exactly what was promised in God's word, and that is exactly what His people got. The promised Word made flesh! As the true church, we are the Chosen, the witnesses, for we are those who believe that He is God our Savior.
- "saying, I AM Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last..."
Again, reference Philippians 2:6-7 where Jesus was said to be in the form of God, and was made in the likeness of man. Christ had God's form and yet humbled Himself to become man, for the sake of men. So when one asks, "how can Christ be both God and Godís son," the answer is because Mary's child had no earthly father, He was God in the flesh. Therefore, either Jesus was the son of a man or He was the Son of God. In Isaiah God tells us that there was no God formed before Him, neither shall there be after Him, and so all those professing Christians declaring that Christ was some "other god" in heaven are denying the Word that declares there is no other God formed there, neither shall be. There is one God, and Jesus is that God come to earth in all the fullness of the godhead bodily. When we are at peace with the Word, there is harmony and no fighting or warfare with the Scriptures. We simply receive that they say, which is that "other than Jehovah God, there is no Savior." Shall we arrogantly retort, "NO, Your wrong God, Jesus Christ who is "NOT" you, is in fact our Savior?" God forbid! But that is exactly what some people do. The question is, who is right? ..God or man?
- "Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have Chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.
- I, even I AM the Lord; and beside Me, There is No Saviour!"
The fact is (as demonstrated in Isaiah 43:10-11) if God is not our Savior, then we have no Savior! We are in a gospel where the Savior is someone else who obviously doesn't have the power of God to save. When we see Jesus revealed, we see God revealed.
- "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
A good question--a very good question. is Jesus God? They say show us God, and Christ declares that when they see Him, they have seen God. If Jesus wasn't God, the Father, that would be a "blasphemous" statement. So we either make Christ a blasphemer, false prophet and deceiver, or we receive that He is God. In fact, unlike many today, the Jews of that day understood perfectly that Christ was making Himself God, as they took up stones to stone Him for saying that. Christ's words are not ambiguous and so they understood what many today pretend He didn't say. To claim to be the seed of the Father is blasphemous, unless you are truly the seed, having come from the Father.
- "...he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father?"
Why is it that these can understand perfectly that Christ made Himself to be God (and never denied it), and many professing Christians today cannot see this truth? Is it because that like many of the church today, they appear outwardly very pious and sincere, and yet they are sincerely wrong. They understood that Jesus was saying that He was God the father, but what they didn't understand (as many today don't) is that Jesus was indeed God! Therefore, there was no blasphemy. They thought that Christ was a mere man, perhaps a prophet at the most, but they were wrong in their thinking because they didn't search the Scriptures with an open mind and the Spirit of God. They were men of their convictions, but what was their conviction worth? It was worth the same thing that it is worth today if it's not founded upon the sure foundation of the Word of God. Did not Jesus say many would say to Him in that day, "Lord, Lord, didn't we do many great works in Thy name?" He declares that He would answer them, "depart from Me ye who work iniquity.." You see, they may have sincerely thought they were children of God, but they will be sincerely wrong because they hadn't kept God's Word and so missed the whole point. Just as these who wanted to stone Christ for blasphemy had. They read the Scriptures, but they hadn't heard them, not having the Spirit to receive the love in truth. We need to understand that many have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof. When we deny the Word, we deny also the Father and the Spirit. For the Spirit of God works with the Word. That's why the scriptures teach us that the Jews sought to Stone Christ, because unlike many today they clearly understood Christ was making Himself to be God (John 10:33). They thought it blasphemy because what Christ said was just words to them. They had no power because these had no Spirit of God to hear. They chose to "ignore" the body of evidence of both the Scriptures and his miraculous works. Would many today stone Him because He makes himself the Great "I AM," eternally existent. I'm sure they would, not understanding that when they deny that He is God, they deny the power of salvation. When God sent Moses as a type to deliver Israel from bondage, He spoke of this same eternal existence in referencing the promise to Abraham:
- "I and My Father are one!
- Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
- Jesus answered them, many good works have I shewed you from My father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?
- The Jews answered Him, saying, for a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God."
In other words, God is declaring that He is the eternal God who made the promises to Abraham, the one and only incomprehensible, self-existent God (Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 1:8) of all creation. In fact, His name [Y'hovah] (translated LORD in verse 15) is basically a form of the phrase "I Am," meaning He is self-existent, or has always been and shall be. It illustrates the great "I Am" by whom all things consist and have their being. Indeed Christ is actually referencing Exodus 3:14-15 and the promise to Abraham as the great "I Am" when He says:
- "And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
- And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
- And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations."
Before Abraham was, I exist. Once again, clearly, the Jews understood what many today refuse to receive. Namely, that Christ was saying that He was eternal God that existed before Abraham was born. Unlike many today, the Jews didn't pretend He wasn't actually saying it, or that they didn't know for sure what He was saying. They understood Christ claimed to be God and so His claims must be either true, or He is a false prophet. This is something that we seriously need to decide what camp we are in. The Jews understood what Christ was saying, and they thought that it was blasphemy. As indeed it would have been if it weren't true, but Christ spoke the truth. As Christians we cannot have Christ as a righteous prophet and Savior without accepting Him as God. Either Christ was a liar in making this claim, a delusional mad man for thinking He was God, or He was telling the absolute truth. "I AM" is one of the names of God that paint a portrait of His very nature. God is the great I AM and so is Jesus Christ--which is the only reason that He could say righteously, "before Abraham was, I AM!" How could He possibly exist before Abraham was born, "unless" He was not a mere man, but God come down to earth as man?
- "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My Day: and he saw it and was glad.
- then said the Jews unto Him, thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
- Jesus said unto them, Verily Verily, I say unto you Before Abraham was, I AM!
- then took they up stones to cast at Him.."
The word "he" is not in the Bible, it was erroneously added by translators because it was thought to help understanding. In this passage, does God give us this information simply to educate us to the fact that these wicked men just happened to stumble just as Jesus was saying "I AM?" God forbid! They fell to the ground to illustrate the great "I AM" was speaking and His Word as God was with the power of God. Going backward is a sign of being accursed or pending judgment (Genesis 49:17; Psalms 40:14; Isaiah 1:4; 28:13; Jeremiah 7:24; 15:6; Lamentations 1:8) that should await them. As the then present stones of the Temple building, they would be cast down at the Word of the Great I AM. Indeed, by all rights fire from Heaven should have come down to consume them as He spoke, but that couldn't happen because of the will and purpose of God to have Christ be a sacrifice on the Cross. Christ had to go bear the shame of many in His suffering and death. Yet they went backward to signify Israel's judgment at the Word of authority and power of the great all existent I Am. The Lord Jesus Christ confirmed His deity in a hundred different ways, but like the Scribes and Pharisees, many do not hear it by the power of the Spirit. It's certainly not that Scripture doesn't make it clear He was God, it's that some refuse to receive the truth in what God says, nor do they have the Spirit which would guide them into it.
- "As soon then as He had said unto them, I AM [he] they went backward and fell to the ground."
This was a clear, unmistakable reference to Psalms 45:6. Hebrews clearly declares the Son (Jesus) is God [theos] and the throne of His kingdom everlasting. How do you have two Kings ruling in one Kingdom of God, especially when God says He alone is God and there shall be no other God before or after Him. He says he is the First and Last. He says His Kingdom is forever. Do we have two forever Kingdoms ruled by two separate Gods? It makes no sense unless Christ is one with the Father. We cannot force anyone to believe this truth no matter how clearly it is written. The mind will rationalize away absolutely anything that it wants. We can only bear witness to the testimony of the truth of these Scripture, and let the Spirit move whomever it will.
- "But unto the Son He saith, Thy Throne O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom."
This is consistently following God's declaration that besides him, there is no Savior. Those claiming they have a Savior, but He isn't God, are simply deluding themselves. If they have a Savior who isn't God, then they have a Savior that cannot save. Again,
- "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ."
- "...and there is no God else beside Me; a just God and Savior; there is none beside Me!"
Is Christ a Savior besides God, or should we know no other Savior but God? The Scriptures stand for God's people a testimony of this righteousness.
- "Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt and thou shalt know no God but Me: For there is no Savior besides Me."
- "When Israel was a child, then I loved Him, and called My Son out of Egypt."
The Son Israel is Christ, and all those who are found in Him shall be saved. Salvation is of the Israel of God. Not the political nation, but the Spiritual nation (1st Peter 2:9-10) of those in Christ. Those made Sons of God by the true Israel who is the Son of God. He is "the" Seed to whom the promises were made. Not as to many, but as to ONE. All we have to do is follow the Scriptures "carefully" and the truth shines through as a beacon of light. Of course this is both logically and Biblically the only way to go. We have to follow the Word rather than attempt to lead it where we want it to go. When John the Baptist came preparing the way for Christ, He was preparing the way for the God Jehovah, because that is who Christ was. Scriptures Confirm this:
- "When he arose, he took the young Child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
- and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, out of Egypt have I called My Son."
This is the Fulfillment of the Prophesy of Isaiah,
- "for this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias (Isaiah) saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."
That word translated LORD there is [yehovah] or Jehovah. Clearly, Jesus fulfilled this prophecy of Jehovah God whom John prepared the way for. John had to decrease while Christ increased that God's promise of a Savior be fulfilled. This is the true God the latches of whose shoes John was not worthy to unloose.
- "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God!"
The only one who can baptize or cleanse anyone with the Holy Spirit is God. No one else qualifies. Who has control of the Holy Spirit but God who reveals Himself through His person? God alone cleanses,as there is no one else who can forgive sins but God (Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:7). No One! There is no mortal who can cleanse us from sin (Baptize with the Holy Spirit) but God. Indeed with the myriad of Scriptures confirming that Jesus is God, we might wonder what all the controversy is all about. At least among professing Christians.
- "John answered saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water, but one Mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to Unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost."
1st John 5:20
How can Jesus be God? A better question would be, How can Jesus not be God? Really, who else qualifies as Savior? Is He truly the one within whom we will find redemption and eternal life? Is Jesus God, the promised sign, the miraculous token, the hoped for righteousness from heaven wherein the weary would find their rest from heavy burdens? Our authority on the matter should be the Scriptures, rather than speculation and musings of men.
- "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal Life."
The Hebrew name Immanuel means "God with us." The prophesy of God coming to earth as Savior is made very clear to us when we faithfully receive what is written on the pages of Scripture. From the very beginning, the promise God made to His people was of God coming miraculously, not of a mere man being born. And clearly Scripture tells us this was fulfilled by Christ:
- "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
God with us is what the interpretation of the word Emmanuel means. Unfortunately, as is often demonstrated, man doesn't like God's interpretations, desiring his private interpretations instead. And man's interpretation is that this man was not "God with us" and that all these Scriptures (and more) are simply misunderstandings by the reader. Man makes things ambiguous for his own purposes, but Scripture is unambiguous and very clear on the matter of the coming of the mighty God as Savior. This Child's name was prophesied to be "God with us," demonstrating what was required and that's exactly what Christ was. Names within Scripture carry great significance, and this is no exception. Consistency is the hallmark of truth, while inconsistency and contradiction is the hallmark of error. Was it prophesied that He would be God?
- "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
- Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us!"
There is no one who could be called the everlasting father by God, but the everlasting father! Did not Christ declare Himself, "call no man Father but your Father in Heaven -Matthew 23:9?" How then is Christ called the eternal Father except He be God? Therefore, Jesus, being the mighty God, the Everlasting father, is of course, God. Even doubting Thomas when he put his finger to touch Christ's wounds confessed, "My Lord and my God -John 20:28." As it is written, blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe. I do want to be careful to stress that I don't mean to put forth the idea that I believe that everyone who has some doubts about the deity of Christ is a demon from hell. I am simply stating that contrary to popular opinion, Scripture is clear on the matter, and this is a fundamental truth of the historical church. Yes, there are some legitimate questions that are asked, and these should be addressed honestly by Theologians.
- "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulders: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
That is a legitimate question, but the answer is not that difficult to understand. The reason that Christ said, ĎMy Father is greater [meizon] than Ií is to demonstrate His subservient or subordinate position wherein He had to empty Himself to be in the form of Man in order to suffer and be judged of God for the sins of mankind. This refers to His willful position as the lowly suffering servant versus the Fatherís greater position as Judge in Heaven. It does not distinguish betaeen the superior natures of one of two God's, but rather how one God distinguishes Himself in three persons for the accomplishment of His divine will. Philippians 2:5Ė11 states that Christ was equal by nature with God, and willingly lowered Himself to the position of sufferi8ng servant. This so that God might judge man in him, and thus redeem them through his substitutionary sacrifice. Jesus declares that the Father is greater than Him because He left the glory He had as God in heaven, to be abased and humiliated as this suffering servant for His people. When He left paradise and took on the flesh of man that he could be their propitiation for sin, He made Himself the vessel of sin to be judged of God for it on our behalf. Still, the glory that He had as God in heaven, he would have again after His work on the cross was finished. Only then could He ascend back to the throne. As was explained in verses such as found in John chapter seventeen:
"If God is Jesus, then why does Scripture say that God is greater than Christ (John 14:28, I Cor. 11:3)."
It is really no mystery that God is revealing Himself to His people as the Savior who left the glory in Heaven, take on the form of flesh, to be the suffering Savior of man. How can Jesus be both God and God's son? Because the savior could only be God. It is the same thing we read in Philippians chapter two of Him being in the form of God, leaving that to be humbled, unrenowned, made in the likeness of man.
- "And now, O Father, Glorify thou Me with Thine own self with the Glory which I had with thee before the world was."
He was in the form of God, equal to God, and yet came to earth as a servant. Not in the glory of the position of being the Father in heaven, but humbled as the lowly servant. This illustrates why Christ says the Father is greater than He, and Philippians 2:5-7 explains it perfectly. This principle is easily seen even in our world in an imperfect analogy. If someone would be the Pastor of a great church, and yet on wednesdays he could act as counselor for Christian kids, and on fridays he goes out to be a minister and embassador for Christ to other communities. His position as Pastor is a greater position than that of counselor, or ambassador, but that doesn't mean that he can't be the same person because he holds a greater position. He's still the same man, but is working in the world through different outreaches. And with that imperfect analogy of just a man we can better understand the three ministries of God. Imagine if that was the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, God. He could do all those things (and thousands more) simultaneously as One God, "because" He is God. He's not a man that we can apply natural rules where He cannot go beyond what our puny minds can imagine. He's God where supernatural rules are typical and expected. God the Father, is in heaven in all His glory, while God revealing Himself as the Son left that glory He had with the Father in order to be the Savior of man. He had to suffer the wrath that God had decreed upon man for his sins. To do that He had to lower Himself to take on the flesh of manh, be tempted/tried as a man, that man could be made free from the bondage of sin. Yes, there are some things that are hard to understand concerning this, but there is really no confusion in the statements of Christ that the Father is greater, considering all of the Scriptures of Him being equal with God and then lowering Himself to become a servant in the form of man. Of course, there will always be those critics who take these Scriptures that may be difficult to understand and twist them in order to deceive people about these truths. This is to be expected. We've heard other pointed questions like, "if Jesus was God, how could He pray to God? Or was Jesus praying to Himself?" This is the easiest to answer, since it's so obvious that Christ prayed to the Father for our benefit, not His own. Clearly He knew all things--He knew He had to go to the cross and why (Matthew 16:21), He knew who were the chosen and that they would prevail (Luke 22:32), yet He prayed to the Father because He wanted to leave a model for His servants to study and grasp the "how, why and when" of these things. So while some things (like the trinity) may be hard to understand, these type questions are not. They are simply twisted by some people for their own self-serving purposes.
- "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
- Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
- But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man."
2nd Peter 3:16
Another comment that is often made (sarcastically) is that, "if Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. How can God sit besides Himself?" It can be a legitimate question as many people have struggled to understand the relationship between God, the father and the son. However, this is usually asked mockingly. Another good question is, "how can one God be three persons?" First we should note that the ordinary meaning of the word "persons" as it relates to the trinity, is misleading and often misunderstood when applied to the personages of God. Most people would understand the word persons to mean separate human beings, but that is obviously not the case with God. It's not three human beings or even three separate beings, but where one God exists in three diverse yet equal forms in order to carry out His offices as Sovereign (Daniel 2:21), Savior (Matthew 1:23; Luke 2:11-12) and facilitator (John 15:26), the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Scriptures also teaches that Jesus is God by demonstrating that He is the only one who ever possessed all of the attributes of God. For example, He is the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16), is omnipotent (Matthew 8:26-27; Matthew 28:18; John 11:41-44; Luke 7:14-15; Revelation 1:8), is Omnipresent (Matthew 18:20; 28:20; Acts 18:10), is Omniscient (Matthew 16:21; Luke 11:17; John 4:29), He has all rule over everything (Matthew 28:18; Revelation 1:5; 19:16), is before all things and exists eternally (John 1:1; 8:58), is the life of man (John 1:4) and is the personification of truth (John 14:16). Everything that is uniquely God, is uniquely Jesus. The truth is just as the Word of God declares it to be. There are three in the Godhead, and these three are one. Which is also illustrated in the cleansing from sin model in the baptismal formula.
- "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction."
1st John 5:7
- "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
The baptizing or cleansing is by one God, and yet in the efficacy of these three persons. Again, we can equate (though imperfectly) this to a river of water which forks into three streams. One stream may go forth with the purpose to irrigate the lands and fields, the second stream may go in another direction to power a generator for electricity, and the third stream may run into a reservoir for times of drought. Still, it's all one water from "ONE" stream head, but that one water goes in three different directions to accomplish three different things simultaneously. One water flow, but it reveals itself for three purposes. That doesn't mean it has to be three separate waters, nor that each individual stream of water is not the same source water. All three are one well of water but the well works through three streams. Of course it goes without saying that this is an imperfect analogy (as any would be) but I trust it makes my point. God is one God, but works out his purpose and will in three (the number three in Scripture signifies purpose & will). Anyone can ask rhetorical questions such as, "How can God be sitting beside Himself" if the purpose is to obfuscate? I could likewise ask, "How can God pass by Moses on the mountain, and yet be on the other side of the World also?" It's the same question put in a different scenario. And yet God did pass by Moses and yet was still on the other side of the world. If these professing Christians believe that, then it only proves that their question about the Son and the Father and about sitting at the right hand of God is one of self justification, not really a sincere misunderstanding. Anyone can ask how can God be in China, and in New York at the same time when they don't really believe He is Omnipresent. How can God dwell in Peter, in Paul and John, be making intercession for Luke through His Spirit, and also numbering the hairs on our heads while watching the sparrows at the same time? The answer is, He's God! That's what a God is, otherwise He'd just be a man. Of the asking of questions there is no end, and God says all is vanity. These type questions are usually not questions in a search of an answer or knowledge of truth, they're usually mocking, the product of unbelief, ego/pride and self justification. The mind set is usually one of, "..Let's see him answer this one," or "I'll trip him up with this question." It's more a game than an honest search for truth, and vanity of vanities, all is vanity. I was asked by one mocker:
- "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
"If God can do anything, can He make a rock so big that He can't lift it?"If I say yes, they say "then if He can't lift the rock, then there are things He is not powerful enough to do." Likewise if I say no, the same answer. These are silly self justifying exercises in folly and vanity. What does this question prove? Answer: It proves nothing! We could write 10 books asking rhetorical questions, but it doesn't answer the questions nor solve the basic mysteries. Are we going to receive what God actually says, or are we going to twist His Words until they resemble our own words and doctrines? That is the question. Are we going to accept God's Words as the Words of the wise, or will we build our own doctrines by what seems right in our own eyes.
Yes, that's the conclusion of the whole matter. Believe what God says, keep His Word within you to obey His commandments. We have no ability to make Christ Lord, He is either LORD or He is not Lord. Christ either established the Kingdom of God and is King in that kingdom, or we are of all people most foolish. The truth is, He has established the Kingdom of God. How then is someone who is ruling as King in the Kingdom of God, not God? It makes no sense. How then is it the Kingdom of God? If Christians are to claim that it is the Kingdom of God, and that Christ rules on the throne, then He by definition has to be God. It's not a kingdom of this world but of God, and all Christians have a part in it. We have no right to change the laws and government of this kingdom because Christendom is not a democracy. It's a Kingdom, with a ruling king. Believers are servants of the King, sons by "Grace" not by any right. We worship only God in this kingdom, having come to God the Father through God the Son who made intercession for us. As He has plainly declared:
- "The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
- The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the Master of assemblies, which are given from One Shepherd.
- And further, by there, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
- Let us hear the conclusion of the Whole matter: Fear God, and Keep His Commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
- For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.
John 10:30Here are a few more of many Excellent Bible references to the Deity of Christ!
"I and the Father are one."As we saw, John chapter one is an unmistakable statement as to the eternal existence of the person of the Word of God, who is God and who is the Father, and has been from the beginning. To state (as some do) in respect of John 1:1 that "the Word was a god is irreverent, derogatory to Christ, and is in fact heresy. Those who deny the deity of Christ, deny that He is the Savior, for there is no Savior but God. Since the deity of Christ is unquestionably established by the narrative, there is no need for doubt about His omniscience, omnipotence or work, and no problem in accepting His eternalness. We can and should be very grateful to God, who in His holy Word has supplied us with all the truths that we need. It follows then that we should take every opportunity to first consult the Scriptures for guidance, and to rely on them as authoritative, and to trust in Him who has authored and inspired them. May the gracious Lord give us all wisdom to discern the truths of His Holy Word.Colossians 1:15-17
Mark 2:5, 7, 10
1 Timothy 1:16-17
Psalm 45:6-7 (w/Heb. 1:8, Rev 6:2, 19:12-13)
2 Corinthians 13:14
2 Timothy 4:18
1. The number 3 signifies God's will and purpose (http://www.mountainretreat.org/bible/numbers.html#three).
Copyright ©1998 Tony WarrenFeel free to duplicate, display or distribute this publication to anyone who would like a copy, so long as the above copyright notice remains intact and there are no changes made to the article. This publication can be distributed only in its original form, unedited, and without cost.
For other studies free for the Receiving, Visit our web Site
The Mountain Retreat! http://www.mountainretreatorg.net
Created 4/9/98 / Last Modified 04/14/14
The Mountain Retreat / firstname.lastname@example.org