Jesus is God - by Dr. C. Matthew McMahonApologetics - A Reasoned Defense of the Christian Faith
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How OT prophecy and NT teaching demonstrate that the Jewish Messiah is God.
If there is a doctrine of the greatest import in the Christian religion, it is the doctrine of Christ’s nature – His divinity and humanity. In this axiomatic doctrine the Christian religion stands alone. The Christian Scriptures, comprised of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, emphasize the need of a Redeemer for men who are steeped in sin. They are dead, lost, and under the wrath of God, awaiting the final judgment for their sin unless the Savior saves them. This Savior is not just a good teacher, or wise man, as some would suppose. The Redeemer of the Christian Bible is God Himself who takes on the flesh of a human man and dies for the sins of His people. He is the unique God-man, one person with two unmixed but attached natures. There is no other religion that emphasizes the Godhead of a Redeemer, and the complexity of the natures of the Messiah. Yes, there were the various mystery-religions of old which, in some form or another, emphasized a deity or a Demi-god who comes to save men, or to help men in some fashion or another – but none of them emphasized the supreme Godhead of one all powerful God who took upon the form of humanity to save some of those dead in sin from the horror of His own wrath. In this, Jesus Christ stands alone. Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha, and other religious figures never made the claims that Jesus Christ made. They never claimed to be God. Jesus Christ was the only man who ever claimed He was God, and backed up that claim repeatedly. Here we find that the Biblical writers affirmed over and over that their Savior was God in the flesh. Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, and the like, all laid claims to being more enlightened than others, or divinely touched, but never that they were God. How could they? How could they make good on their claims? Could they raise the dead? Could they change water to wine? Could they walk on the sea? No. Only Jesus Christ, and Christ alone, claimed He was God.
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the undeniable Biblical witness to the historical fact that Jesus Christ, the only Redeemer of men, is God. He alone made the claims, and the Biblical record makes this known repeatedly.
Old Testament examples of the Messiah as Divine
I begin by using some Old Testament prophecies to prove that the Messiah to come was divine. He was not special in some abstract manner, but God Himself. The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53:1ff is not just a man who dies on a cross. That would be a meaningless death, for many men have died on crosses long before Jesus Christ ever came to earth. Rather, the Old Testament prophecies emphatically confirm and prove the divinity of the Messiah as God.
First, on a preliminary note, it is important to remember that the finite cannot contain the infinite. Human beings do not share in the incommunicable attributes of God in any fashion. Human beings cannot be infinite, everlasting, aseic, immutable, etc. They are limited creatures and cannot become God or take on attributes of God. With the Messiah this is also true. However, God can attach Himself to a human nature without mixing His divinity with the humanity. The attachment is made but without mixing the natures. The human nature continues to be human, and the divine nature is divine, but in one person. The Son of God has two natures; one person in two natures. The full union of this nature is a mystery, but essential and critical according to the Bible. The Scriptures attest to this fact in a variety of instances. I mention this here to say that God cannot share His Godhood in the nature of a man’s humanity. This is critical when looking at the verses concerning the only begotten Son from the Father, and like proofs. God cannot create another God, nor can a man become God. To say this is to cease thinking and enter the realm of fantasy. We are not speaking of Zeus or Hermes, fantastical made up figures who are men with extraordinary powers (like our superheroes of today?). Rather, we are talking about being. God cannot share His being with any other creature. God can only share His being within Himself. We will see, then , that Jesus Christ is God, and that the Son of God is second member of the Godhead in economy, though He has a human nature. The Son is of the same substance as the Father and Spirit, equally and wholly God. Yet, the Son has taken on the nature of a man, the man Jesus Christ. Here Jesus lays claims to being God, the One and only Almighty. Does the Bible prove this to be true? Yes it does, and forcefully.
In the Old Testament there are a number of Scriptures which testify that the Jewish Messiah which was to come is God. For the Israelites, the prophesied Messiah was going to be God Himself. Here we find some of the most memorable Scriptures ever written. The first is Psalm 2:6-12, where a dialogue takes place between God and His begotten Son. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Here we see that the Lord begets His Son. This is the eternal begetting of the Son by the Father. Then, the Son is to be worshipped – for the word “Kiss” means “to bow low before.” The Son, if not worshipped, will be angry and will cause men to perish in their way. The Son has wrath, and the only means of escape is to trust in the Son for deliverance. How could both the Son and the Lord have such qualities? The answer is that the Lord is the Son, and the Son is the Lord, for no mere man would be prophesied over in this way. Only God is able to kindle His wrath as a result of disobedient worship to His divine being.
Psalm 110:1 also attests to the dialogue between God and God. David writes, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Jesus uses this quite nicely against the Pharisees when he asks them how this could be David’s Lord and yet his son at the same time. The Messiah will be of the tribe of Judah, David’s son, yet David’s Lord. The wording here must also be noted. The literal translation says “Yahweh said to my Adonai…” The term “Yahweh” is God’s name, literally stated “I am.” Each time the designation Yahweh is used in the Bible through the Old Testament it refers to the “Great I AM”. The title “Adonai” is used in designating God’s supreme position as “Lord.” So Yahweh is speaking to Adonai. Here we see God speaking to God. The writer of Hebrews will use this Psalm a number of times to designate the office of the Messiah as the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. This promise, or oath, made by God to God as Messiah is utterly destructive to those who do not believe in the Trinity. Here the Messiah is, by oath, assigned the Messianic distinction as High Priest of a better covenant. Here God speaks to God. Here we see the eternal counsel at work; David’s son yet David’s Lord.
Dan 7:13 is also a very important verse, and one of my personal favorites. Here we find the title “Son of Man” not as a title of humanity, but of deity. “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” Two figures are present in this vision, one is the Ancient of Days and one is the Son of Man who rides the clouds of heaven, or the shekina glory of heaven. Whoever this Son of Man is, He is divine. In fact, He is so brilliant in His glory that it shines about Him as the clouds of heaven. Thick glory clouds of divine brilliance luster before the Ancient of Days as the Son of Man enters the courtroom of God, and the books of judgment are opened. As we will see, Jesus’ favorite designation of Himself is this title, Son of Man. Jesus certainly knows He is the divine Son of Man who shares in the glory of God. He does, in fact, shine with the brilliance of the glory of God.
In Micah 5:2 we find the prophecy of the Messiah and His birthplace. But not only does it mark the birthplace of the humanity of the Christ, but it also marks the dual nature that the One to be born is everlasting. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” The “goings forth” of the Messiah is “from everlasting.” The Messiah is ascribed an incommunicable attribute of God – eternality or the nature of that which is everlasting. Only God is everlasting. Yet, we see the Messiah is deemed everlasting.
Zech 13:7 is also designates the Messiah with the divine title of God Almighty. When Christ was with the disciples in the garden, and was arrested, the prophecy that the Shepherd would be struck came to pass. “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” The key here is the phrase “and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” This is the Lord speaking of Himself. He is the Shepherd who will turn His hand upon the little ones and gather them back. He is the Messiah who is also the Lord.
One of the more specific prophecies concerning the Messiah is Isaiah 9:6. He we read the well known nativity verse concerning the advent of the Messiah as a child born, and then the designation given to that child. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Here the Messiah is called “Wonderful.” Why is this? An answer can be found in Judges 13 where we find the narrative of Samson’s birth. Manoah and his wife, Samson’s parents, encounter the angel of the Lord. After a long conversation concerning the birth of Samson, Manoah asks the angel’s name. The response in 13:18 is this, “Why askest thou thus after my name , seeing it is wonderful?” The angel’s name is wonderful. Usually angels have names like Gabriel or Michael. But this angel has a name too wonderful to mention. After the Angel of the Lord departs Manoah makes an important statement in Judges 13:22 “We shall surely die for we have seen God.” This Angel of the Lord, whose name is wonderful, is God. This assists us when considering Isaiah 9:6. The Messiah is God, and His name is Wonderful. However, the prophecy in Isaiah does not stop there. The Messiah is not only called Wonderful, as God, but also called “The Mighty God.” If this designation is not explicit enough, the prophecy also deems Him the Everlasting Father. The Messiah is not only the earthly Redeemer, but the Mighty God of the Ages. He is deemed the Everlasting Father, a designation ascribed by Christ to God in the Gospels. The Messiah is designated as God in this prophetic verse of Isaiah 3 times – once subtly as Wonderful, once explicitly as the Mighty God, and once as the Father. The Messiah is God.
Along with Isaiah 9:6 as a beloved prophecy concerning the advent of the Messiah, is the prophecy of Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The Apostle Matthew correctly interprets this in Matthew 1:23 as “God with us.” The prophecy concerns the birth narrative of the Christ, as designated and interpreted by a meticulous Jewish accountant (tax collector) is God. The Christ, born of a virgin, is God.
An additional prophecy concerning the Christ, is Jeremiah 23:5-6. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” The raised seed of David will be a righteous Branch. The Messiah shall be from the lineage of David, and will be raised up by God. However, the Messiah will be called “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” This designation is a title given to God literally as “Yahweh Tsidkenu.” The Messiah is not only raised up by God but called Yahweh is Righteousness. The Messiah is Yahweh. The Messiah is God.
The last prophecy I would like to briefly look at is Malachi 3:1. “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” Here we see that the Messiah is identified as “the Lord” who shall come into His temple. He is the messenger of the covenant and the elect Servant in whom God delights. But it is God Himself! Mark 1:2 affirms this in that the Malachi verse also attests to the coming of John the Baptist, “it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” The messenger comes, then the Lord comes. Luke also notes this in 1:76, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.” Here Luke records that John will be a prophet to prepare the way of the Highest, who is the Lord to come to His temple. The Messiah is God most High.
These prophecies are only a cross section of those which speak of the Messiah as being divine. But every one of them accredit the Messiah as God. The Messiah, or Christ to come, is the Lord God of Heaven and earth. The shadows of the Old Testament Scriptures bear this out. This is also undeniable since the New Testament confirms the Old Testament shadows as historic fact in the person of Jesus Christ.
Select New Testament passages that prove Jesus is Divine
The New Testament makes no qualms about Jesus Christ being the Messiah, or that that the Messiah is God. Jesus claimed this for Himself, and the Apostles claimed this about Jesus, even after He ascended in heaven in all of the New Testament letters to the churches. To deny this is to reinterpret the message of the Bible without reading the text itself – something most people do who hate Christ. To read the text, and deal fairly with it is to see the divinity of Jesus Christ as the one true God.
We begin a short survey of these passages with the often abused text of John 1:1-3. The text states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The Word in this passage is Christ. John is utilizing an affective designation of the eternal Logos for the Gentile/Roman audience who would be reading. Christ as Messiah for a Gentile/Roman would not have been so convincing as the Eternal Word or Eternal Logos as that which came down from heaven. This would have been, and was, an effective tool in teaching Aristotelian and Platonic Gentiles about the One True God. Here we find that the Eternal Word is God Himself. The Greek does not allow for the translation “a God” but rather “God.” The Jehovah Witnesses have butchered the Greek text here, and also have denied their translation through the subsequent verses. For instance, if the text said “a God” then this rendering should be read through the rest of the chapter. The same construction used in verse 1 for Christ is used 13 more times in the chapter for Jehovah Himself. So if the Jehovah’s Witnesses are going to translate verse 1 as “a God” then they must translate the term 13 subsequent times through the passage for Jehovah as “a God.” But they do not because that would damage their false theological grid. They simply deny that Jesus Christ is God by horribly translating the first verse, and then correctly translates the rest of the passage since to refers to Jehovah. This is a Satanic interpretation to deny the deity of the Word. Rather, the Word is God, came from God and created all things. He is the everlasting Logos of God, the very Logic of God himself who came to earth taking on human flesh to save His people.
Further along in the passage of John 1 we find verse 14 stating, “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.” Now here, John not only says that the Word is God, but explains that the Word holds the glory of the Father, and is begotten of the Father. The Word came down from heaven, dwelt among men, and His glory, the glory of God alone, shone among men for a time. We know this since this eternal Word was the form of God Himself, as Philippians 2:6-7 explains, “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 him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Paul speaks of Jesus Christ here. The Messiah is God, and did not think it robbery to be equal with God. To be equal with God is to be God. Think about the attributes of God and the incommunicable nature of those attributes. Only God can be equal with Himself. But God took on the form of a human being, and was made in the likeness of men to save men from their sins.
Paul does not mix words about God taking on human flesh when he says in 1 Timothy 3:16, “And 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.” Who was it that took on human flesh? It was God. It was not a God-like being, but God himself. God acquired the form of a servant. He procured upon Himself a new nature that He did not have before; a human nature.
We know that Jesus is the Christian Savior. We know that from innumerable passages throughout the New Testament that the Apostles believed there was no other name given among men that could save a lost man other than Jesus Christ. This is axiomatic for the Apostles – Jesus is the Savior. It is His sacrifice which saves men. In Acts 20:28 we see Luke’s record of Christ’s work attributed to God Himself, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” The “He” is “God”. God purchased the church with His own blood. Does God have blood? Yes, God has blood in the human nature of Jesus Christ. Christ dies, and His blood is ascribed as God’s blood. They are synonymous. Christians are, in this sense, purchased from everlasting damnation by the blood of God. Luke describes Jesus’ work as that which is done as God. This is true because Jesus is God, and they knew it. Otherwise it would be blasphemy to honor a mere mortal man with the work which God alone can do.
In the book of Hebrews we find the writer quoting much from the Old Testament to prove the validity of the Messiah’s divinity as God. In 1:8-9 the writer says, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” He is quoting Psalm 45:7, “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Here God is speaking with God. The Anointed One has a throne, and the throne is God’s throne. The writer of Hebrews is proving that Christ is greater than Moses, and greater than the angels, which would have been a shock to the neo-Platonists he is writing against. The neo-Platonists believed in a supreme “One” or perfect being. The “One” has emanations which overflow from the perfect being into lesser beings; i.e. Moses, angels and even good teachers like Jesus. But the writer to the Hebrews proves that the Messiah is the One, the eternal God Himself, and is greater than the angels and greater than Moses.
One of the last general New Testament proofs for the divinity of the Christ is in Luke 22:48. Here Judas betrays the “Son of Man.” Remember, the divine title “Son of Man” is used by Christ over 80 times in the Gospels alone. This is His favorite designation of Himself. “But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” Men have often betrayed one another with horrible results. Think of Benedict Arnold and the fiasco surrounding his betrayal. However, in this instance, Judas, a man, betrays Jesus, the Son of Man. In this historic setting, the wicked and rebellious servant of sin betrays God. Judas has spit in the face of Him who Daniel described as one coming in the clouds of heaven itself! This enhances the betrayal to the infinite degree of wickedness! It would have been better for Judas not have been born than to betray the Son of Man with a kiss. And ironically, the Psalmist had said that we should kiss the Son lest he be angry and you perish in the way. Judas kissed the Son in a wicked manner and is in hell paying for that sin, now, for all eternity.
New Testament designations for Jesus Christ that are attributed to the God of the Old Testament.
There are a number of New Testament passages that are interpreted in light of Old Testament actions that God has performed, but ascribed to Christ. Some of these I hope to explain below. I find them quite helpful in seeing the divinity of the Messiah.
The tempting of the Lord by the Israelites in the wilderness is recorded numerous times. It is so repetitive that sometimes the reader becomes aggravated at the apparent sin of the Israelites in a given narrative. Do they know better or not? Some examples of this are the following: Numbers 14:22, “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice.” Numbers 21:5-6, “And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.” Also Psalm 95:9 “When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work…” The Israelites tempted God, and ultimately were bitten by the serpents in the desert as a judgment. We find the New Testament Apostle Paul linking this with Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:9, “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.” Paul is saying that we as Christians should not put Christ to the test, or tempt Him. Then he links the temptation of the Israelites to tempting Christ. As we should not tempt Christ now, we ought never follow the Israelites who tempted Christ then. His phrase “as some of them also tempted” refers back to the fathers, and the Israelites who tempted God. For Paul, to tempt God is to tempt Christ, for they are one and the same.
Another New Testament verse in light of Old Testament prophecies is Heb. 1:10-11, “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment.” This is a description of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. It is a quote from God’s works recorded through Psalm 102. In Psalm 102:26 it says, “They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.” Here we see the work of God, again, given as the work of Christ in the New Testament.
In John 12:40-41 the Scriptures say, “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him” John is quoting Isaiah 6:9-10. Isaiah spoke of Christ, as John interprets this, when the vision came to Isaiah in chapter 6, “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” The One who is holy, holy, holy on the throne is Christ, according to John, and the inspired Word. This is the meaning of the vision of Isaiah. The angels in Isaiah’s vision say “holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is full of His glory.” The Almighty God is Jesus Christ according to John 12:40-41.
In Isaiah 45:23 the text reads, “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” This is mimicked by the Apostle Paul in Romans 14:11 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” The bowing down is done by men unto the Lord, and the Lord here is Jesus Christ. Paul ascribes the bowing of men to Jesus since the “as I live” and the “unto me” are speaking about God’s redemption in Christ.
One of the classic offers of the Gospel is found in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” In this gracious command Jesus says that men should come unto “who?” He says “unto me.” This “unto me” is Jesus himself. In Isaiah 45:22 Jesus is borrowing the words of the prophet, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” The “unto me” in both passages are parallel. Jesus is affirming His call of the Gospel as God affirms His call in Isaiah. God is the only source of salvation, and Jesus borrows this to show that He is the only source of salvation – Jesus is God.
In the above text, we see Jesus credits God’s words as His own words. In Romans 10:13 Paul writes this same thing on behalf of Christ, concerning Christ’s redemption. Paul writes, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” In Joel 2:32 the prophet states, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” Jesus is again given the same and equal weight in His work and words as God. Only God can be glorified in this way, lest blasphemy be a result. Paul asserts that the words in Joel are in like manner the work of Christ. Jesus, in Paul’s eyes, is God.
Paul also makes this affirmative in Ephesians 4:8-9, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Here he quotes Psalm 68:18, “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” The Psalmist is speaking of God’s works; literally “Yahweh Elohim.” Paul then takes this designation and interprets this as Christ’s work in His ascension to heaven. In Christ’s work of redemption, He gives gifts to men and leads captivity (those dead in sin) captive (now free in Christ). The work of God, again, is attributed to Christ.
Why do all of these New Testament verses that borrow Old Testament prophecies and ideas ascribe God’s work to Jesus Christ? For those who deal faithfully with the text, it is easily seen because Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ accomplishes the same work as God, and makes the same call of salvation as God since only God can act as such. How can this be? We will see how this can be in the next section that proves that Jesus Christ in His varied names, power and attributes is God.
Names, power, and attributes of God given to Christ
If Jesus Christ is God then there should be ample proof in the New Testament to prove this claim. Not only is there ample proof, but there is so much proof that I cannot reproduced it all here. I have taken some selected verses that demonstrate that Jesus Christ is God, contrary to popular opinion.
Names mean much in the Bible. The designation of a name can be critical in identifying a person, or special time and event, from a man’s name. For instance, Ichabod was a name given to a child born in the Old Testament when the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines, and when the high Priest Eli died. It means, “the glory has departed.” Significant? Certainly. So, in like manner, the names of Christ will show forth His character and being.
In 1 John 5:20 Jesus is called the true God, and eternal life itself, “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.” Could this be any more explicit? Jesus is the true God. Paul affirms this in Romans 9:5 where he called Jesus Christ, “God blessed forever.” “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” Jesus is the eternally blessed God. In Titus 2:13, Paul called Jesus “the Great God and Savior.” He says, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Jesus is the Great God and He is Savior. In John 20:28 Thomas gives a two-fold confession, “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” Not only is Christ Lord, but He is also God.
In John 8:58-59, we find a raging discourse between the Pharisees and Jesus. This debate builds up into hatred of Christ on the part of the Jews. The text says, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” Why did they pick up stones to stone Him? Because they knew exactly what was being said. Jesus was claiming to be the deliverer of the Israelites from Egypt. He was the “I Am” who talked with Moses in Exodus 4 at the burning bush. This is enhanced when we remember his previous discussion with them in John 5:17-19 Jesus makes some statements that the Pharisees cannot stand, “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” Jesus does what the Father does. Jesus can do this because He is God. He is on equal terms with the Father, and is able to accomplish the same acts as the Father. If He was not God He would not be able to say this. The Jews understood exactly what he was saying and desired to kill Him. Then came the incident when He blatantly stated He was the “I Am” or Yahweh Himself. With this statement the Jews desired to stone Him. Jesus claimed to be God, and said He was Yahweh Himself.
God is glorious. He alone is most glorious and has a glory only known to Him. It is part of Him. He does not share it with others. But Jesus, in John 17:5 says, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Jesus has a divine glory before the world even existed. The only way such a glory could be ascribed to Christ if he was God.
In John 1:1 Jesus is ascribed attributes of eternity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” He is the Word which is with God from the beginning. That means He is everlasting. He is also the Creator and has the power to create out of nothing. His creative ability proves His Omnipotence. His attributes are the same as God’s attributes because He is God.
Jesus is ascribed attributes of omnipresence as in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” This does not mean that the humanity of Christ is everywhere present, for He would not be really human. His humanity would be swallowed up somehow in the divinity. Or His divinity would be negated if mixed with the humanity. In either case, to attribute a mixing of the natures is to fall into unorthodox heresy. Rather, His divine nature, as God, is everywhere present. He is able to be in the midst of His people wherever two or three are gathered for such purposes. Jesus says “I” proving that He believed He was able to be anywhere in the world at the same time with the two or three gathered together. How could He be in the midst of so many churches on a given day if He was not God?
Not only is Christ omnipresent, but another theological designation may be ascribed to Him called “immensity.” In John 3:13 it says, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” This is such a rich verse. Jesus is not only the one who came down from heaven, but in His divinity, He is still in heaven. The phrase “which is in heaven” demonstrates the immensity of the divine being. Not only is the divine Son in the human nature of Christ walking the earth at that time, but the divine Son continually fills heaven as the immense God of the Ages.
Since Jesus Christ is God He must, necessarily, be all-powerful. Both Revelation 1:8 and 11:17 show us that Jesus is ascribed attributes of omnipotence. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death,” and also, “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.” Jesus has the keys of death and hell, which means He is all-powerful over death. He is the sovereign Lord over hell and death. The only one who could have this power is God. God is the All-Powerful Sovereign who controls hell and death. Jesus can raise Himself from the dead, and He is in command of those who are dead and in hell as Lord God Almighty.
In John 5:17, Jesus is also ascribed attributes as the Father. “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Jesus works in the same manner as the Father. Again, if He was working the works of the Father, or making Himself equal to accomplishing the same works of the Father, He must be God to accomplish these works. His work is the same quality as the Father’s. The Jews hated these sayings because they knew he was making Himself equal with God. Why? Because Jesus is God and they simply hated the fact.
The Gospels also record that Jesus was omniscient. The Son of God communicated the knowledge that the divine nature possessed to the human nature in certain instances; not completely, but in varied amounts. This could only be accomplished if Jesus was God. And it is not that the writers thought He knew some things, but all things, which is only something God could do. We see this in John 1:48, “Nathaniel saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” Peter says to Him in John 21:17, “Thou knowest all things.” Jesus knew specific details that only God could know. For instance, in Revelation 2:3 we find Him saying, “And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” How could Jesus know all these works about the church at Ephesus? He has to be omniscient to be a searcher of the heart to know their patience, labor, and endurance – not to mention their dispositions concerning their love for Him. Jesus knows all things because He is God.
The writer of Hebrews also makes note that Jesus, the Son, is immutable – He does not change. Hebrews 1:11-12 say, “They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” He is the same, and His years never fail. He remains forever. Jesus is able to remain the same forever because He is God. This does not mean He does not age, or does not grow in His human nature. Rather, it does mean that Christ, as the divine Son of God, in His divinity, never changes.
Not only is Jesus God, but Paul describes His unique makeup as the One who holds the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:9 teaches us this, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” If you desire to see God, then look to Christ. He is the image of the Divine Godhead, and that image, that perfection, is manifest only in Him since He is God. No man could ever claim this – and no man except Jesus Christ has ever done so. Why has no one else done so? They simply cannot back up that claim by their being. They cannot raise themselves from the death, they do not hold the keys to death and hell, they are not almighty, omniscience, omnipresent, etc. But Christ claimed these, backed up those claims, and is ascribed them repeatedly by the writers of the New Testament.
As God, Jesus Christ backs up the claim and acts like God – He is the Creator. Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” This is a very rich text. He creates all things, no matter what they are, even principalities and powers (which may refers to angelic beings). They were created by Him, but also for Him. They are to give Him all the glory, praise and honor His name deserves. But Paul does not stop there – he says all things consist as a result of His sustaining power. The earth, the heavens, the universe itself would fall apart if Christ did not uphold it by the power of His omnipotent will. All things consist through Him, for Him, and by Him.
Jesus is also the One who elects men to salvation. In John 13:18 He elects the apostles, and damns the betrayer, Judas, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.” Judas was not chosen, and thus is deemed the one who lifts his heel against the Anointed.
In 1 Timothy 6:15 Jesus is called Lord of Lords, “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” He is the Potentate, which means He is the all-powerful one. He is the One who holds immortality, and dwells in a pure, unapproachable light. Only God can live in unapproachable light. This is ascribed to Christ. Jesus is the everlasting God who lives in unapproachable light as God.
Jesus has the power to reveal or hide salvation from men. This argues His divinity since all through the Old Testament God is the only one who can save or damn. Matthew 11:26-27 says, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All 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.” If Christ desires to reveal salvation He shall do so, and if He wishes to hide it from other men He may do so. The reason He is able to declare or hide salvation is because He is God. He has the right to give eternal life as He sees fit as in John 5:21b, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” He does not do this to all. He only quickens the elect. And how would a mere mortal man quicken another mortal man? I am personally baffled at how this would be done unless Jesus is God.
Since Christ is omniscient, he answers the prayers of the saints, and only God is able to do this. John 14:13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (cf. 2 Cor. 12:8-9) How could a finite man possibly know all the prayers of the disciples if they prayed in various places and at sundry times? It is impossible unless Jesus is God.
Not only does He disclose salvation to men, and answer prayer, but he also forgives sin. Only God is able to forgive sins. The passage in Matthew 9:6, Mark 2:10 and Luke 5:24 bears this out – He forgives sins and only God can do this. “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” Here the Jews wondered who this man was who said He could forgive sins. So Jesus asks them which is easier, to forgive sins, or cause the man with palsy to rise up and walk. To demonstrate His divinity He accomplishes both, for both are impossible with men but possible with God.
All through the Old Testament God prods men to look to Him to be saved, and put their trust in Him. He has stretched His hand out to a rebellious people all day long. There are those who took up the gift of faith and believed God. Abraham was justified by faith, through his belief in the promises of God. However, in the New Testament Jesus is the object of faith. In John 14:1 He says, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Jesus sets Himself as equal with God. The same belief that people have in God should also be given to Him. Believing in God is believing in Christ because they are the same.
His power is so extensive and awesome that Jesus can call men out of the grave. John 5:28-29 says, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Jesus has such power over death that the sound of His voice can summon the decayed corpses from the ground to hearken unto His voice! And His power in the last day is recorded as so great, that His return shall be a day unlike any other. Matthew 24:20 says, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” He will return in power and great glory. The sun, moon and stars will fall from the sky and His glory will outshine their brilliance. His glory will be so radiant that the shining of the sun would seem dim.
Jesus is God Proven From the Worship Given to Christ
Worshipping God is so important that the Lord spends time through the entire Bible explaining how this should be done by the creature. In Exodus 20:1ff the text reads, “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Here we find the object, means and manner of worship. God alone is to be worshipped and no other gods should be tolerated. To worship other gods is to excite the anger of God upon the rebellious sinner. God is emphatic and explicit that no other gods are to be worshipped because He is the One True Living God of the Ages. All the other gods are but dumb idols. In Deuteronomy 6:13-16 the Moses says, Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.” God is angered when His people are led astray to worship false gods. His anger is kindled like a fire. Judges 2:12 says, “And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.” When this happens the Lord enacts judgment for the sin of His people. Jeremiah 1:16 and 7:18 declares, “And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands…The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” God’s people are to shun the foreign gods of the pagans as in Daniel 3:18, “But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” And even Paul remarks that there is only one true God in 1 Corinthians 8:5, “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” All this is said to show that God alone is to be worshipped. To worship any other but the True and Living God is to break the Law of the Lord and to disobey Him with heinous sin and rebellion.
It is also important to remember that God will not share the glory He has or is exalted in with another. Isaiah 42:8 asserts, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Worshipping the only true God, and none others, is accepted. However, Jesus is often worshipped through the New Testament, and even the Old Testament by way of prophecy. This is a remarkable fact for two reasons, 1) Jesus allowed Himself to be worshipped, which means He was God and knew this, and 2) Only God is to be worshipped as the hundreds of Scriptural passages on the subject prove. He shares in the glory of the Lord. God shares His glory with Him. If Jesus was not God, then on this one point alone the entire Christian faith falls and turns to rubble.
Jesus tells the disciples that they should believe in God as their object of faith. But in John 14:1, as said earlier, Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Belief in God is an act of worship and trust in His name. Jesus says that we should believe in Him as we believe in God. The element of faith is the same. In this trust, Jesus is magnified. The Old Testament prophecy concerning the Son in Psalm 2:12 is helpful in this, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Those who trust the Son are called blessed. He is to be kissed. The Son is to be worshipped and trusted because He is God.
Jesus Christ is also to be honored in the same way as the Father as John 5:22 demonstrates, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” Both are equally honored, and this could not be done unless Christ was God. Otherwise we would give the honor to a mere man that is due to God alone.
Not only do men worship Jesus, but angels are commanded to worship Him as well. Hebrews 1:6 speaks of Christ when it says, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” In fact, angels, men and all creatures are commanded to bow down to Him and worship Him, “all shall bow to Him Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) This is also seen in Revelation 5:13, “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is worshipped forever and ever because he is God.
He was worshipped often: a leper worshipped Him in Mathew 8:2, “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” A ruler worshipped Him in Matthew 9:18, “While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.” The disciples worshipped Him in Matthew 14:33, “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” A Canaanite woman worshipped Him in Matthew 15:25, “Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.” In Matthew 28:9, 17, after the resurrection, the disciples worshipped Him again, “And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.” (The idea that some doubted is utterly amazing!) Demons worshipped Him as with the Gadarene Demoniac, “But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him.” (Mark 5:6) On the road to Emmaus the two disciples worshipped Him in Luke 24:52, “And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” Even a poor blind man who was healed, worshipped Him, “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” (John 9:38)
Jesus allowed men to worship Him, and elicited that worship. This is something an Israelite would have been stone for, and the Jews certainly desire to stone Jesus as a result. Demons, angels, lepers, Gentiles, Jews, his own disciples, and so on, worshiped Him. Over and over we see that Jesus Christ was worshipped, and those who worshipped Him acted accordingly – He deserved to be worshipped because He was God.
Preexistence of the Son
The last area I would like add in as more of a notation than anything else, is the preexistent nature of the Son of God. Here we see that Jesus Christ as the Son of God always was. He is not a created being in the nature of His divinity as the Son, but the Son has attached itself to the created flesh of Jesus Christ. The Bible does not purport an Arianism. Jesus is not the first created being – rather, He is the only self-sufficient Being; the always existing God of boundless infinity.
In John 3:13 we find that the Son ascends and descends from heaven “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” As with His immensity, we see that His origin is “from heaven” and that He “came down” from heaven. His origins are not of the earth, but of heaven. This is reiterated in John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” If this was not true, Jesus Christ would have said he was born of Mary and Joseph to do the will of the Father.
He also attests that no one except for Him has seen the Father, “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.” (John 6:46) This means that Jesus Christ was aware of His divine nature as present with the Father before time was created. Only He has seen the Father. And His residence with the Father is spoken of in John 6:62. Here Jesus will ascend to heaven where he had been before, “What, and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” Then if these words are not clear enough, the eternal Logos of John’s Gospel says this, “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” (John 8:23 ) If this statement was false, the entire Christian religion, and all Christians from the time of Christ until now, have been partakers of a farce. They would show themselves as the most stupid and ignorant people of all time. Rather, the disciples did not run from this statement because they knew the truth of the claim. Not only had Christ proven it, but also they had seen His divinity in the transfiguration.
His claims lay with the eternal residence of the Father as stated in John 8:42, “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” He has close relations with the Father which again prove His divinity from everlasting, “He has seen the Father “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.” (John 8:38) And also John 16:28, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” If the Father is God, and Jesus came out from the Father and shall return to His unique relationship with Him, this argues His eternal preexistence quite nicely as the Son of God. Otherwise, the Father is not divine if Jesus Christ is not divine, for they are one.
In this brief survey, the thinker cannot doubt the claims of the prophecies concerning Christ, the writers of the Bible and their attestation of Christ, the recorded claims of those opposed to Christ (who wanted to kill Him for His claims), those who worshipped Christ, and the claims of Christ Himself. Whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not is not the issue here. The issue is that the prophecies of the Bible, the disciples, the hearers, the followers, the gainsayers and the words of Christ all point to the undeniable fact they these witnesses knew Christ was God. They either hated Him for it, or worshipped Him as a result of it. Jesus Christ knew He was God. He attested to it through His words, actions, and witness of the truth. No one can simply call Christ a good teacher. That is the voice and opinion of the non-thinker. Jesus Christ cannot just be a good teacher or a moral man. That is not in the equation at all. You only have two choices: He is either Lord of heaven and earth, the Righteous Judge of the World, or He is a lunatic and madman, a deceiver worse than the devil. Which are you prepared to call Him?
It is evident in the above material that much of it overlaps. It seemed at times to me to be somewhat repetitive and monotonous. I even wondered whether I should remove some of the content from this article in compassion to the reader and the possibility of cyclical and recurring ideas. But that is exactly the point I have been trying to make! Those who think that Jesus Christ was just a good teacher or moral example do not take into account the witness of the Bible. The Scriptures continually contend for the divinity of Jesus Christ. It is an inescapable fact of the Biblical record.
Think about this, the written Word which confirms these things cannot have been written by demons or devils or wicked men. Demons and devils and wicked men would not have portrayed the goodness of Christ in such a radiant light, nor portrayed Him as the divine all powerful Son of the Living God. They would not have made man so despicable, wicked, and evil, condemned to hell, lost, and damned for all eternity if they had written these pages to deceive men. They certainly would not have written such bad things about themselves and other fellow men, and such wonderful things about Jesus Christ. That makes no sense whatsoever. Nor could the Bible have been solely written by good men or holy angels without the power of the Spirit, for no good man would have written a good book while all the while telling lies by such words to deceive the reader saying “Thus saith the Lord,” and the like, when it was of their own making. They would not turn out to be good men at all, but rather demonic, wicked or evil and then we would be back to our previous point. Rather, the Bible is the witness of God’s self revelation of His Son to lost men, that those dead in sin may look to the Redeemer of men, the God-man Jesus Christ for hope. The testimony of Jesus as God is only means by which men may be saved form the wrath to come. The Lamb’s wrath is of great horror to the lost. They will run to the mountains and call out to the them to cover them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. But the Lord has provided a way of escape to those who desire to flee the destruction that awaits them. The answer is found in Jesus Christ who is the God of the Ages. Look to Him all the ends of the earth and be ye saved!