RPM, Volume 20, Number 15, April 8 to April 14, 2018

Jesus Christ is God the Lord

By David Linden

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. (Acts 10:36)

In the 2000 years since Jesus was on this earth, Christians have confessed that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 12:3). In all these years the truths the devil has attacked the most are our teaching on God, and salvation by faith in Christ.

Many people deny there is any God, and many believe there are many gods. Some false teachers promote a god who is one person only, but that god is not the Lord of the Christian faith either. The transcendent God of the Bible is a Spirit Who is holy, perfect, mysterious, and infinite. God is an unchangeable and glorious unity of three equal Persons. There is nothing in all of creation really like Him, and there never could be. Nothing and no one is like God. If any Person of the three were removed, the result would be no God at all. There is only one God, and the Trinity is what this holy God is. He is Who He is (Exodus 3:14), and only God can tell us Who He is, whether we understand or not.

We confess that one of the three, a fully divine Person, became a man and lived among us. Since it is so hard to deny that there ever was a Jesus of Nazareth, we often hear "experts" admit that there was a Jesus, but deny that He is God the Lord. That issue is the subject of this booklet. There are a thousand views of Jesus but only one truth about Him, the teaching of the Bible.

Truth about Christ is at the heart of our faith. Eternal life depends on believing in the true God (John 17:3). Whether we recognize anyone as a brother or sister in Christ depends on how we identify Christ. Who Jesus is, is the key test of orthodoxy or apostasy (1 John 4:1-3). God the Father has set up the Man Christ Jesus as the only Mediator between Himself and us (1 Timothy 2:5). There is no other access to God (John 14:6).

This booklet intends to convince readers that there is great depth to the Bible's teaching that Jesus is the Lord God. My approach to this truth uses many Scriptures to show how emphatic, central, and clear it is. Not many Scriptures state explicitly that Jesus is God, yet in many ways the Scriptures show that He is. Tracing those connections within the Bible must include the Old Testament. The Lord told us that the OT Scriptures testify to Him (John 5:39,46; Luke 24:25,44). In addition, what Jesus said about Himself in the Gospels deserves very special attention. How can anyone be a believer in Christ unless he accepts the words of Christ? To all this, the Lord's apostles add their testimony.

I have provided many references, because I hope this booklet will encourage study of those passages. I have tried to answer only a few denials of our Lord's deity. Jesus Christ Is God the Lord emphasizes the massive Biblical testimony that our Savior is God.

A. Texts that Say that Jesus is God

From the Apostle John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). No one has ever seen God, but God the Only Begotten, who is at the Father's side, has made him known (John 1:18).

In the opening of his Gospel John called Jesus God two times. At the end of that Gospel, John reported that Thomas said to Jesus, 'My Lord and my God!'" (John 20:28). This same apostle ended one of his letters with, "We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20). So four times John applied the word God to Jesus.

From the Apostle Paul: Paul said that from the people of Israel "is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen." (Romans 9:5). In Titus 2:13, Paul spoke of the coming of Christ as "the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…" In Greek grammar when two titles share the same article, they refer to the same person. Titus 2:13 actually says: "THE great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ." If it had said the God and the Savior, then it would be speaking of two persons – one called God and the other called Savior. But Titus 2:13 is speaking of one Person, the God/Savior, Jesus.

From the Apostle Peter: In 2 Peter 1:1 Peter wrote of Christ as "our God and Savior" in a way very similar to Paul's words in Titus 2:13.

From the Writer of Hebrews: The Father says to the Son, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever…" (Hebrews 1:8). It is not surprising that Jesus is called God, because only One Who is God can be "the radiance of God's glory" (Hebrews 1:3), and that is what the Son is.

The Surprise

Even though these verses show that Jesus is called God, this important fact is not the greatest proof. In one place the devil is called the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), and humans might be called gods (though rarely) because they were leaders, as in John 10:34,35. The word God is not the Lord's personal name. When the Bible says "God" it means the Lord Himself, especially in relation to His exalted position above all others. In a workplace, people may speak of the boss, the one with that position, but boss is not the boss's real name. The Apostle Paul's usual way to speak of the Father is God, and Jesus as Lord as in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6. Only twice does Paul use the term God for Jesus. That brings us to what really is the strongest evidence that Jesus is the Lord God.

B. New Testament Texts that Apply "Jehovah" to Jesus

The chief reason to believe that Christ is the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8) is the way the NT calls Him Lord. Sometimes the Greek word for Lord (kurios) simply means "Sir". That is a proper way to address many people in this world, but it does not imply that they are God! (See Matthew 25:11.) The NT uses kurios to indicate Sarah's respect for her husband (1 Peter 3:6). She did not mean that Abraham was the Lord. However, in certain places when Lord was used for Jesus, it meant that He is a Person the OT calls "LORD". Those texts are the clearest proof that Jesus Christ is also the Lord God!

We begin by identifying NT texts that quote OT texts in such a way as to identify Jesus as the LORD God of Israel. With this truth firmly in place, we will be more certain of what the apostles meant when they spoke of Jesus as Lord. If Jesus has the right to be called by the Name of God – a Name no one else may have – then He really is God! The Bible tells us that the Father wants the entire creation to confess Jesus that way (Philippians 2:9-11). We must honor the Son in the same way we honor the Father (John 5:23).

LORD or Lord in the Old Testament

In the OT, the Name of God is always given in English Bibles as LORD 1 in four capital letters. That is God's Name (Yahweh), 2 not His title or position. There are other words used in the OT that mean high position. One of them (Adonai) is also translated "Lord" (but without four capitals). Psalm 110:1 has the Name and a title: "The LORD says to my Lord…"

1. The Way Philippians 2 Quotes Isaiah 45

Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. (Isaiah 45:21-23)

"… God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)

In Isaiah 45 the LORD is speaking. As in Deuteronomy 4:35,39, He declares there is no other God apart from Him and no other Savior. Both God and Savior are used of Jesus in the NT, which would be inappropriate if Jesus cannot be identified with the LORD in Isaiah 45. The major announcement in Isaiah 45 is so important that God swears to its truth. He announced that every knee will bow before Him as God, and every tongue will confess by His Name. In this way the Lord God of Israel indicated that He would be recognized by all the earth. The Apostle Paul was obviously familiar with this passage in Isaiah 45. He applied to Jesus the very words God used to declare Himself as God alone. It would be terrible for Paul to do this unless it is true. Paul said further that Jesus has been exalted to the highest place. Of course, the throne of God is the highest place. The way for the Father to give Jesus the highest recognition is to give Him the highest Name. Every Jew knew what that would be. It was the sacred Name "LORD". All the world will confess that very truth – that Jesus Christ is Lord. To recognize Him as Lord glorifies and pleases the Father, Who is determined that all the world should bow before Christ.

2. The Way 1 Peter 3 Quotes Isaiah 8

Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall … Isaiah 8:12-14

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord … (1 Peter 3:14, 15)

Peter quoted Isaiah 8 where the LORD told the people not to fear what others feared. They should fear only the LORD. To sanctify the LORD they must make a distinction. Only the LORD was to be their trust, not whatever others turned to for help. Who should be set apart in the heart as Lord? At this point the Apostle inserted Christ into the OT quotation! This was not an accident. Instead of saying "Set apart the Lord in your hearts," he said, "Set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts." Peter deliberately identified Christ as the LORD of Isaiah 8.

3. The Way Hebrews 1 Quotes Psalm 102

Hebrews 1:5-13 contrasts the Son with angels and equates him with God. It quotes Psalm 45, telling us that it is about the Son: "But of the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.'" After calling the Son God, it then quotes Psalm 102, calling Him Lord. Psalm 102:25 says, "In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth…" But Hebrews 1:10 adds "O Lord," because the Name LORD is already in the Psalm in previous verses. The Psalmist was speaking to the LORD when he said, "In the beginning you laid the foundation of the earth…" By adding "O Lord", Hebrews 1 equates Jesus with the LORD God of the Old Testament, the Creator.

4. Other OT References to the LORD Applied to Jesus in the NT

Deuteronomy 10:17 says, "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome…" Now consider that Jesus is called the "King of kings and Lord of lords" in Revelation 17:14 & 19:16.

Isaiah 40:3-5 predicted a man would come as a voice in the desert, telling the people to "prepare a way for the LORD…a highway for our God". John the Baptist introduced Jesus as that LORD. When he quoted Isaiah 40 he gave his wonderful understanding of Who Christ was (John 1:23,29-34; see also Matthew 3:3; 11:10).

The LORD Who spoke the words of Proverbs 3:12 is Christ in Revelation 3:19.

In Zechariah 12:10, the LORD spoke of a time when They will look on me, the one they have pierced… The Apostle John tells us this Scripture was fulfilled in the death of Jesus. So when people looked on the pierced body of Jesus, it was the Lord God of Israel they stared at (John 19:35-37).

In Romans 10:9, salvation comes by confessing Jesus as Lord. The apostle supported that position by quoting Joel 2:32: "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." The Lord in Romans 10 is Jesus, and in Joel 2 it is Yahweh.

Compare Isaiah 6:1-3 with John 12:39-41. Do not miss John 12:41 where Isaiah saw Jesus' glory when He saw the Lord high and lifted up! (In Isaiah 6:1 it is the respectful term Adonai, but in 6:3 it is Yahweh.) When Isaiah saw the LORD, he saw the glory of Jesus!

Isaiah 8:14 says that the LORD will become a stumbling stone. In Romans 9:32,33 that stone is the Person predicted in Isaiah 28:16. Peter says this stone is Christ (1 Peter 2:4-8). (See Luke 2:34.)

The LORD proclaimed the Sabbath as His (Exodus 31:12-17), and in Mark 2:27,28, Jesus said of Himself, "the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

The Apostles Paul, Peter, and John, and the writer of Hebrews all speak of Jesus as the LORD of OT Scripture. The strongest evidence that Jesus is the Lord God is the way the NT Scriptures apply that Name to Him! He too has that holy Name which only God may have.

Who has the Name Jehovah? Those who claim allegiance to the Name Jehovah, but deny that Christ is Jehovah (or Yahweh), do not recognize the real Jehovah. They have separated the inseparable Father and Son and have adopted a devilish one-person-only god of their own invention. Then they restrict the Name "Jehovah" to the Father only, the very opposite of what the Father does! There is only one LORD God of Israel. He is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 3

C. Old Testament Evidence: the Angel of the Lord

The Old Testament speaks of a Person sent by the LORD called the Angel of the Lord. Except for the Son of God, angels are His creatures. The word angel simply means messenger, thus angels are God's agents. Christ can be called an Angel/Messenger without being one of God's created angels. This special Angel, called the Angel of the LORD, is often identified as the LORD; yet He is also distinguished from the LORD. The OT never explains the Trinity, even though it is clear in it that the LORD is more than one Person. In fact, in Isaiah 42:1; 48:16; & 61:1, there are three Persons! When we compare this with the NT, we conclude that the Angel of the Lord4 in the OT refers to Christ, sent by the Father as His Messenger.

Genesis 16:7-14: The Angel of the LORD Who spoke to Hagar was the LORD. Yet this Angel spoke of the LORD as another Person (v.11). Hagar saw only the Angel of the Lord and called Him God in v.13. It was the Angel of the LORD Who spoke to her (v.9), yet it was "the LORD Who spoke to her," (v. 13). This is the first mention in the Bible of this Person, Who is called both LORD and God.

Exodus 23:20-33: The LORD said, "See, I am sending an angel ahead of you …" He is usually called "the Angel of the Lord", but in Exodus 23 He is simply "My Angel". 5 Since He has the right not to forgive, He has the prerogative of God alone, and thus He has the rank of God. Note Mark 2:7-12. (See below, He forgave sins.) What this Angel/Messenger says is what God says. He not only speaks for the LORD but as the LORD (v.22). His actions are God's (vv.23,27-30). Two divine Persons are distinguished Who function in unity.

The words "My Name is in Him" (v.21) deserve special attention. This is not like naming someone in honor of another person. Name is a synonym for person, so "My Name is in Him" means "I am in Him". 6 (See John 10:36-38; 14:10,11.) In Deuteronomy 12:11 a dwelling for the LORD's Name is simply a dwelling for the LORD. Since God's Name is repeatedly identified with this Angel, the Name "Yahweh" or "Jehovah" is the Name of this Messenger.

Genesis 22 God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, and then the Angel of the LORD restrained him. He said that Abraham had not withheld his son "from Me" (vv.11,12). So the Angel of the LORD is the LORD to Whom Isaac was about to be offered. In vv.15-17 the Angel of the LORD swore that He would give Abraham many descendants. Hebrews 6:13-18 says it was God Who made that promise, and Exodus 32:11-14 says it was the LORD who made it. It is obvious that the Angel of the LORD is God the LORD.

Other Scriptures:

In Zechariah 1 the Angel of the LORD and the LORD speak to each other (vv.12,13). In v.19 the prophet asked the angel a question. The Angel of the LORD in replying is called the LORD (v.20).

In Hosea 12 the Angel Jacob overcame (v.4) was the LORD God Almighty (v.5).

In Joshua 5 this Person, called in other Scriptures "the Angel of the LORD", appeared this time to Joshua as the "Commander of the army of the LORD" (v.14). He told Joshua what to do, and He is then identified in the text as the LORD (Joshua 6:2).

In Exodus 3 the Angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in the burning bush (v.2). Yet it says that the LORD saw and God called to Moses from within the bush (v.4). In Acts 7:30-32 this Person is called God.

In Judges 6:11-22 three times the Angel of the LORD is identified as the LORD.

In 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 the Angel and the LORD communicate as distinct Persons. These texts also show the LORD sending this Angel.

The use of this title in the Old Testament shows that:

1. The Angel of the LORD was sent by the LORD.

2. This Angel of the LORD is a different Person from the LORD Who sent Him.

3. The Angel of the LORD is identified as the LORD.

The Lord Jesus never used this title for Himself, nor does any other Scripture explicitly identify this title with Messiah, Son of David, or Son of Man. In Malachi 3:1 the word translated messenger appears twice. Both times in the Greek OT it is the word angel (aggelos). 7 The first messenger was to prepare the way for the Lord. That messenger was John the Baptist (Matthew 11:7-15 & Mark 1:1-8). The One John was to introduce was the Lord. He is also called a messenger or angel. He is the Messenger of the Covenant, or the Angel of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1). Thus the last page of the OT identifies Christ as this Angel.

The OT Angel of the LORD fits the NT presentation of Christ. Christ as the Word is the Messenger from God (John 1:1,18). God has spoken in His Son (Hebrews 1:1,2). Christ was sent by His Father (see John 8:42; 10:36), but He is distinguished from His Father. No one but One Who is LORD may claim the unique Name of the LORD, yet Jesus did so. This other Person appears as a unique Angel early and late in the OT, and was born to a human mother in the NT. He too is the LORD God of Israel.

D. Old Testament Evidence: the Shepherd of God's People

The Mighty One of Jacob … the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel (Genesis 49:24)

The Shepherd of Israel is a title of God as in Psalm 80:1: "Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel … you who sit enthroned between the cherubim …" Only the LORD sat enthroned between the cherubim (Psalm 80:4). He is the same LORD David called his Shepherd in Psalm 23:1.

Shepherds may be pastors (Acts 20:28) or rulers. For example, King David became the shepherd of the nation (Psalm 78:70-72). How can we know whether Jesus is more than that kind of shepherd? Does the Bible really present Christ as God the LORD, the Shepherd of God's people?

Jesus' bold answer was, "I AM the Good Shepherd" John 10:11,14. He was claiming to be the Shepherd of Psalm 80. Other NT texts support this. Christ is the Chief Shepherd in 1 Peter 5:1-4 and "that great Shepherd of the sheep" (Hebrews 13:20), to whom glory is due for ever and ever! This is language suitable only for God. The OT presentation of God as the Shepherd is followed by a NT revelation where Christ has the same title three times. He is the Shepherd, not a shepherd, but the chief one above all others.

When the OT speaks of the LORD as Shepherd (Isaiah 40:10,11) and then of Christ as the Shepherd in the NT, it tells us Who Jesus really is. The following Messianic passages all speak of Christ in the role of Shepherd. Since the LORD promises Himself as the Shepherd to come in these texts, this shows that Christ as the LORD God is their fulfillment.

1. The Messianic Shepherd in Micah 5:2-5

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times … He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.

The One to be born in Bethlehem is clearly Jesus Christ, the promised Ruler over Israel (v.2). Matthew says that Micah predicted Jesus (Matthew 2:3-6). Christ will shepherd His flock (v.4), and His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. (See Psalm 72:8.) Further, Micah speaks of His ancient origins, indicating that the coming Ruler was eternal. Micah added that the Messiah would be their peace, a benefit that comes only through Christ (Ephesians 2:14).

2. The Messianic Shepherd in Ezekiel 34

This text has more detail than any other about the LORD as Shepherd. In Ezekiel's time, Israel's selfish shepherd leaders cared only for themselves. They consumed their flock (vv.1-6), but the Lord would rescue His (vv.7-10). The LORD Himself would seek and save the lost (vv.11-22; see Luke 19:10). He would place "over them one Shepherd, my servant David" (v.23). (In this verse, "David" is shorthand for "the Son of David". Ezekiel wrote many years after David died.)

The LORD emphasized His personal involvement as the Shepherd: "I myself will search for my sheep" (v.11); I will look after my sheep (v.12); I will rescue them (v.12); I will bring them (v.13); I will pasture them (v.13), and I will tend them (v.14). In verses 11-22 the Sovereign LORD proclaimed what He would do 15 times. Then He said He would do it by means of His servant David. In promising Himself, He was promising Christ. The "I myself" of v.11 turns into "I will place over them… my servant David" (v.23).

"Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people," declares the Sovereign LORD. "You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God," declares the Sovereign LORD (Ezekiel 34:30,31).

The prophecy of the Shepherd/Messiah coming means the LORD will be with them. (Note the same theme in Ezekiel 37 below.) In Ezekiel 34:31, God declares that the people are His sheep. Then Jesus calls them HIS sheep (John 10:14,26). In speaking this way, Jesus identified Himself as the LORD of those sheep, the fulfillment of Ezekiel 34. He did it in two ways: He claimed that He was the Shepherd, and He claimed that the sheep were His (John 10:11,14,26). Jesus used the specific language of "one Shepherd" (John 10:16) found in Ezekiel 34:23.

Christ is a contrast to the shepherds who slaughter the sheep in Ezekiel 34:3, and abuse the flock. In John 10 Jesus is the contrast to the abusive shepherds of John 9. In Ezekiel 34 sheep died as a meal for their shepherds, but the Good Shepherd said He would die for His flock (John 10:10,11). With specific language and clear parallels, Jesus affirmed His position as the divine Shepherd over God's flock. The Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy.

3. The Messianic Shepherd in Ezekiel 37:24-27

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.

My servant David refers to the coming Son of David. Only Jesus can be the fulfillment of this promise. Micah 5:5 promises peace, and Ezekiel 37 predicts a covenant of peace. Jesus is the Mediator of that new and everlasting covenant. (See Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:15, 12:24, & 13:20.) Jesus' blood is the blood of the new covenant (Luke 22:20).

The Benediction of Hebrews 13

Ezekiel 37 promised Christ (the Son of David, v.24), a covenant of peace (v.26), in fact an everlasting one (v.26), with cleansing from sin (v.23) and with a new obedience instilled in them (v.24). Hebrews 13:20,21 pronounces a blessing from the God of peace, who acts through the (cleansing) blood of Christ that great Shepherd of the sheep. The result of all this is that God works in our hearts obedience pleasing to Him.

When the LORD said, "…and I will put my sanctuary among them forever" (v.26) He promised that the Son of David would be their prince forever (v.25). Christ is the future Shepherd, King and Prince. This indicates a permanent reconciliation.

Revelation 21:3 says, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." The sanctuary is the Presence of God among His people. When Jesus was made flesh, it was the LORD making His dwelling among men (John 1:14), just as He had in the desert. Jesus was the new tabernacle of God on earth. In Moses' day people saw the glory of God above the former tabernacle (Exodus 40:34,35). When Jesus Christ became flesh, humans could see the glory of God on earth again. The old tabernacle was built so God could be among His people. Later, He put His Presence on earth again by sending Christ, so that whoever saw Him saw the Father (John 14:9). None of this makes any sense unless Jesus was the Lord God in the flesh.

Christ fulfills it all. He claimed to be that "one shepherd". He is the Son of David, the promised Prince, the Mediator of the new covenant, and His presence here was the sanctuary of God on earth.

4. The Messianic Shepherd in Jeremiah 23:1-6

Closely related to Ezekiel 34 and 37 is Jeremiah's prophecy. Both prophets spoke of the same problem in the same time frame. Shepherd-Rulers were destroying the flock. Both prophets predicted a good king to come in the line of David. Jeremiah says that the LORD Himself would gather His flock (v.3), the kind of thing a shepherd does. Then the prophet added that this coming king would be righteous. The fulfillment of Jeremiah 23 is Jesus, the Good (and righteous) Shepherd in the line of David. The LORD said Judah would be saved. This indicates that the coming king would be their Savior. Jeremiah's prediction ends with a beautiful climax; the appropriate Name of this righteous king in the line of David is The LORD our Righteousness.

Does Jeremiah 23:6 teach that Christ is the LORD God? Many people had names that referred to the Lord. For example, Isaiah's name means "the LORD saves". Ezekiel's name means "God makes strong". It never meant that Ezekiel was God. Such names made God-glorifying statements, but they did not describe the person with the name. A name that confesses the LORD is not a claim to being the LORD. "The LORD our Righteousness", however, is descriptive of Christ, as are His four names in Isaiah 9:6. In Isaiah 7:14 Immanuel (God with us) is also a statement about Him (Matthew 1:23). The Name "Jesus" was given because He is the Savior Who "will save His people from their sins."

Jesus is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30), because He is the only One Who has obeyed God's law, In His obedience believers are declared righteous (Romans 5:19). Micah and Ezekiel proclaimed peace through this Shepherd. Those justified by faith in Christ, the LORD our Righteousness, have peace with God (Romans 5:1,2), because He is the righteousness we need (2 Corinthians 5:21).

5. The Messianic Shepherd in Zechariah 13:7

Zechariah prophesied of the Shepherd being struck and the sheep being scattered. Jesus quoted this text about Himself in Matthew 26:31 & Mark 14:27. So Jesus is the Shepherd Zechariah predicted. He is a man yet He is called God's "Companion" (NKJV) or "the man who stands next to me" (ESV). If Jesus is that closely associated with the LORD, He must be more than a man. The Shepherd, Who would be struck and crucified, is the Partner of the Father.

Summary of the LORD as Shepherd:

Jesus said the Scriptures testify about Him (John 5:39). He would be born in the line of David in Bethlehem, the village of David. The Messianic prophecies that the LORD would personally shepherd His flock are fulfilled in Christ. Thus Jesus Christ is the LORD God of Israel, the "one Shepherd" that Ezekiel 34 & 37 predicted. The Good, the Chief, and the Great Shepherd are all titles of the Lord anticipated in the Old Testament and asserted in the New. All three are applied to Christ. To understand these prophesies, we must study carefully John 10.

So Jesus Christ is the Mighty One of Jacob … the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel (Genesis 49:24). Beside those Scriptures that mention the LORD as a Shepherd, some speak of the coming Son of David as God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6). The deity of Christ is not only a NT doctrine; it is the teaching of the entire Bible. Next in the NT we shall see how the Lord Jesus applied great titles to Himself.

E. Four Titles Jesus Used for Himself

1. The Christ.

The word Christ is Greek; in Hebrew it is Messiah and in English, Anointed. The OT mentions this title in two places only: Daniel 9:25,26 and Psalm 2:2. (According to Acts 2:24-27 and 13:32,33 Psalm 2 refers to Christ.) On three occasions Jesus said He was the Messiah (John 4:25,26 & 17:3; Mark 14:61,62). Twice the Lord agreed with those who said He was the Christ (John 11:25-27 & Matthew 16:16). In John 11:25-27 Christ is joined Son of God. By saying he was the Christ, He meant all that Psalm 2 and Daniel 9 said of Him. 8

2. The Son of David

This title appears only in Matthew, Mark & Luke. It occurs more than the word Messiah. The titles are closely connected: "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The Son of David," they replied (Matthew 22:42). The OT declared the Messiah would descend from David (Isaiah 9, 11 & 55; Psalm 89; Amos 9; & Jeremiah 23). The New Testament opens by establishing this human link back to King David. To be the Messiah, He must also be the human King of Israel. (See John 18:37.) We must keep in mind God's insistence that He as God was their King (1 Samuel 12:12). The Psalms (as in Psalm 47) speak of God as King. The OT leads us to expect a divine Person Who will be the human Son of David.

Some OT predictions indicated that the promised One to come is the LORD. (See above: "The Shepherd of God's People".) In Isaiah 7:13,14 & 9:6,7 the coming Son of David is called God. Jesus claimed to be the promised King and Messiah of the OT. Therefore by making such claims, Jesus was claiming to be the Lord God. 9

3. The Son of God.

Of the four titles we are considering, the one that relates most directly to the deity of Christ is "Son of God". Many times (almost 100 in the Gospel of John alone) the Lord Jesus spoke of God as "the Father" or "My Father" (John 5:17). When He did so, He implied that as the Father's unique Son He was the Father's equal (John 5:18). When He spoke of God as the Father of others He said "your Father"; for His relationship He said "My Father" (John 20:17). He used the short form "Son" (Matthew 11:27) more often than "Son of God" (John 10:36). When He said "Son of Man" He was the eternal Son of God commissioned to become a man, yet always retaining the rank of God. When He said "Son" He meant that He was the Father's obedient partner, eternal companion, and perfect reflection. As adopted children we are not the brightness of God's glory, but Jesus is (Hebrews 1:3). By this simple word Son, Jesus meant emphatically that He too, is God and Lord in the indivisible Trinity. (See John 5:19-23 below in The Son Does Everything God Does.)

4. The Son of Man.

There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13,14)

The title Son of Man appears in the four Gospels more than 70 times. This was the title Jesus used of Himself more than any other. In Daniel 7 this great Person, the Son of Man, is distinguished from the Ancient of Days. The Ancient of Days is the Eternal LORD God. So Daniel 7 shows again that the LORD is more than one Person. In Daniel 7, the Father gives Christ full authority (see John 5:27) over the world (note Matthew 11:27; 28:18 & John 3:35). Worship is reserved for the LORD alone (Exodus 20:3-5), yet in Daniel 7 worshiping this Son of Man is proper. When asked in His trial if He was "the Christ, the Son of the Blessed," Jesus replied with Daniel 7:13: " 'I am,' said Jesus. 'And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven,'" (Mark 14:62). Jesus' reply has the emphatic I Am in it, indicating the Name of the Lord. The reaction of His enemies charging Him with blasphemy reveals that they understood His reply. They knew "coming with clouds" implied He would come as God in power to enforce His will. (See Psalm 18:6-15; 97; 104; Isaiah 19:1; & Nahum 1:2-6).

As the Son of Man, Jesus wore this majestic title in poverty and death (Matthew 8:20 & 17:12). He will also wear it in the glory of His Second Coming (Matthew 13:41, 16:27, 19:28; 25:31). 10

There are other titles for Christ, such as the Word (John 1:1,14) and the Savior (John 4:42), but the four above are ones the Lord used of Himself. He also said that He was their Lord (Matthew 12:8) and Teacher, another example of Jesus applying the role of the LORD to Himself. (See Psalm 25:9 and Isaiah 48:17, "I am the LORD your God Who teaches you.") We have one ultimate Teacher (Matthew 23:8-11), and Jesus is that Teacher (John 13:13,14). His use of all of these various titles fit His repeated claim that He was their Lord God.

In the Hour of Trial

Before the Sanhedrin, Jesus affirmed that He was the Son of God, the Son of Man, and the Christ – all three! (Luke 22:69,70; Mark 14:60-62; Matthew 26:63,64). On that same day Jesus acknowledged before Pilate that He was the King of the Jews (Matthew 27:11; John 18:36,37). That is something He would say only if He was affirming that He is the Son of David.

Summary of the Four Titles.

To be the Christ, Jesus had to be the Son of David. The Son of David in Isaiah 7 would be "God with us". The Lord claimed both titles. More often He said He was the Son. His enemies knew such words were a claim of deity, and the Lord never corrected that conclusion, sometimes saying in their presence that He was the Son of God. Most often Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man. Every time He used that title, He was implying, according to Daniel 7, that it was proper for Him to be worshipped as God, and that all authority over all people for all time was legitimately His from His Father.

F. Statements Jesus Made about Himself

Matthew 11:25-28: Only the Son Knows the Father

Jesus said,

I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

In these words Jesus claimed an exclusive knowledge that He and the Father have of each other, shared by no creature. (Like the Son, the Holy Spirit also knows the mind of God, 1Corinthians 2:10,11.) God does not learn since He already knows all things. His infinite knowledge cannot increase. When Jesus claimed He knew the Father in the precise way that God knew Him, He claimed to have the omniscience of God. Only an infinite Person can know the infinite God completely, and that is the knowledge Jesus said He had of God the Father. For Him to say such a thing was to say that He is the Lord God.

The Father and the Son each reveal the other, are able to do so and have the right to do so. The Father withholds and reveals; the Son also reveals to whom He chooses.

These statements implying deity are followed by Christ inviting His hearers to come to Him. After speaking of the Father as Lord of heaven and earth, it would be pathetic for Him to say, "Come to Me" if He were not God. In Isaiah 45:22 the LORD said from heaven: "Turn to me and be saved." Jesus is the Lord God Who had spoken that way through Isaiah, and then later as a man on earth, He repeated that divine invitation with His famous "Come to Me…"

Matthew 28:18-20: The Son Shares the Name of God

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Here Christ does not speak as a mere ambassador of God. He speaks as God commanding God's servants what to do. Such authority was predicted in Daniel 7:13,14. In Matthew 28, Jesus' authority is total and unrestricted; it includes heaven! Can anyone less than God have all authority in heaven? No, never. Then to comfort His disciples, Jesus said He would be with them to the end, which is wonderfully consistent with Jesus being called Immanuel, "God with us".

Christ did not say baptism would be into the names (plural) of each Person, but into one Name (singular) shared by all three. It is not into the name of the Father and the name of the Son. Baptism is into the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Usually even false teachers will admit that the Father has the Name Yahweh (or Jehovah). In Matthew 28, we see that God's Name belongs also to the Son and the Spirit. No creature shares that Name. Jesus never took the Name of the LORD in vain. He was simply asserting His own Name when He taught that it was His. Jesus Christ is the Lord God, so the glorious and awesome Name (Deuteronomy 28:58) is His as much as the Father's. "The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name." (Zechariah 14:9)

John 5:19-23: The Son Does Everything God Does

I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 11

This paragraph may be Jesus' most detailed statement on record concerning His deity. He had been criticized for healing on the Sabbath (John 5:16). This time, instead of defending His Sabbath miracle as a mercy to the needy, He proclaimed that He was only acting as His Father does. He made it clear that it was perfectly proper for Him to do so, AND He added that His divine activities include all that the Father does. The Father has authorized all of this (note Matthew 11:27) and has set Him forward so prominently that whatever honor goes to God should go to the Son as well (v.23).

Jesus is never independent of the Father (v.19). The Father holds back nothing from the Son (vv.19,20). All the secrets of God belong to Christ. (See Deuteronomy 29:29.) Whatever right role or authority belongs to God, belongs to Christ. This includes raising the dead (vv.21; 24-29), choosing who would receive life (v.21), and judging the world (vv.22 & 30). (See also Revelation 6:15-17.) The purpose of all this is that what is unthinkable to God, namely viewing Jesus Christ as anything less than the Lord God, would become unthinkable to us. We are forever to give full honor to Christ the same way we honor God the Father. We cannot honor the Father if we refuse to recognize the true position of His Son.

John 10:27-38: The Son Is One with the Father

"I give them [My sheep] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." (John 10:28-33)

Those who deny the Trinity, but still pretend to agree with the Bible, say that the unity of Jesus and the Father is merely a unity of purpose. (See Objection 6, below.) They deny that Christ claimed personal equality with God. Here in John 10, Jesus spoke of His and the Father's preserving power as My hand/His hand. In this way He claimed mutual possession of the power of God. Both were doing what only God the Savior can do – save and preserve for eternity. Since Christ participates in the omnipotence of God, He is of the essence of God. The keeping work of Son and Father is coordinated because the two Keepers are one. This is similar to Jesus saying, "Trust in God; trust also in Me," in John 14:1. Such language would be terribly arrogant unless both are equally worthy of our trust. Only God has the power of God. Since Jesus' hands, like the Father's, do the same thing, He too is the Lord God. The ability to preserve His flock is the almighty power of both Persons.

In John 5:18 Jesus' claim of Sonship was viewed by His opponents as implying equality with God. This shows that they understood Him. This same reaction happened in John 8:58,59, and now again in John 10. Jesus did not correct them, as if they had misunderstood Him. He did not revise or weaken His lofty claim of the role of God in John 5, or the Name of God in John 8. In John 10:34-38, Jesus added that He was the unique Son, (the Father's very own) sent from heaven, and doing what His Father does. Rather than modify His words, Jesus went on to reaffirm this unity as one in which the Father is in Him and He in the Father. Since Jesus was and is God, when people sensed a claim of deity, He neither retracted such a claim nor reacted as the apostles did in Acts 14:14-18, or the angel in Revelation 19:10.

John 14:8,9: To See Christ Is to See the Father

Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (John 14:8,9)

When Jesus said that to see Him was to see the Father, He was not saying He is the Father. He was saying, however, that all that the Father is, He is. There is no more of God to see in the Father than is found in Christ, because all that God is, Christ is (Colossians 2:9). (See below, "He is the Image of God".)

The I Am's of Jesus

Many Christians recognize that Jesus applied the Name of Jehovah to Himself by the way He said "I Am". (See above "New Testament Texts that Apply 'Jehovah' to Jesus " plus the related footnote.) In Greek, one can say "I am" by using a single word (eimi) without a pronoun. The Name "I AM" is two words (ego eimi) with the pronoun added. "God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: `I AM has sent me to you.' " (Exodus 3:14). In Greek, the underlined I AM is two words. In Isaiah 41:4 & 45:18 the LORD refers to Himself as I AM. Scripture never reports Jesus as saying "I am God". If it had, that would not be as strong as His confessing the divine Name by simply saying, "I Am"!

Jesus used I Am (with both Greek words) to refer to Himself numerous times. The most startling moment was: "Truly, truly," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him…" (John 8:58,59). This was a claim of pre-existence. It fit in well with His repeated claim that He had came from above (John 6:33,38,50,51,58). John 8:58 is Jesus' clearest word that all that the LORD of the OT is applies fully to Him. His contemporaries knew instantly that He had taken the Lord's Name as His own. He was saying that He was the LORD God of Abraham and the Messiah Abraham was waiting for. That is why those unbelievers wanted to stone him for blasphemy.

This should affect our reading of other I Am's in the Gospel of John: 6:35; 8:12; 10:7; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1. But let us not stop there! He was also saying I am something. These I Am's deserve serious consideration. How can anyone be the Bread of Life; the Good Shepherd; the Resurrection and the Life; the Way, the Truth and the Life; and the True Vine through whom life flows – how could anyone be such things without being the ultimate giver and sustainer of life? In other words, how could Jesus be such things without being God Himself? He made this known about Himself by combining the "I Am" Name with abilities only God has.

Such terms as I am the Bread of Life are well-known. In some translations Jesus' strong I AM statements are accompanied by words that obscure rather than reveal what He was saying. Note these two examples:

1. But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." (John 8:23,24; see also 8:28)

2. I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me." (John 13:19,20) 12

In example 1, the original language says, "… if you do not believe that I am" with no further words in that clause. A number of translations add the extra words "the one I claim to be". Likewise in Example 2, the Greek says, "…you will believe that I am" without the extra "He". These translations are attempting to assist in the meaning and to make the language flow more easily, but in my opinion the additions make the meaning less clear. The Greek does not say "you will believe that I am He"; it just says, "… you will believe that I am". This abrupt sentence draws attention to Christ's bold use of God's name for Himself. In Example 1, the context is that Christ is from above. That fits in well with Jesus saying "I am". In Example 2, Jesus' words are parallel to His words centuries earlier when He said through Isaiah, "… before they happened I announced [these things] to you so that you could not say, 'My idols did them'" (Isaiah 48:5). The Apostle John opened his Gospel with the deity of Christ and concluded with it near the end in John 20:28. He also opened and finished his prologue the same way (1:1 & 1:18). I think John intended I Am of Jesus in the Gospel of John to support his emphasis that Jesus is God.

To this point in this booklet, I have sought to delve into specific Biblical themes. Now I will cover other important topics but with less detail. For example, I say less about Jesus' miracles, because I have wanted to dwell more on words that state He is the Lord God than on the mighty works that show He is. His works also signify His deity. After the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven and His apostles read "You rule the raging of the sea" in Psalm 89:11, they must have thought again of the night when He calmed the sea (Matthew 14:22-33). When it happened they were convinced that He was "the Son of God"; later in reading their Bibles, more and more connections with Christ would become apparent. Everything that shows us Who Christ is, is important. Much that would be helpful is not even mentioned in this brief booklet. We have an entire Bible to learn from. I wrote more on the Angel of the Lord and the Messianic emphasis on Jesus as the Shepherd, because I think that these OT passages are not very familiar to many Christians. The support for the deity of Christ does not depend on just a few verses. Many Scriptures show Who He is. I follow now with more of them "from many angles".

G. From Many Angles

He spoke with divine authority when He said, "I say"

When Jesus taught, it was never (not even once!) "Thus says the Lord…" because He was the Lord and spoke of things that were His. God's prophets never said, "But I say to you…" the way Christ did (Luke 6:46). Note the numerous "I tell you" statements in Matthew 5. When Jesus spoke, it was as the Giver of the law, not as a mere teacher of it. Every time the Prophet Isaiah wrote the phrase "Listen to Me," it was the LORD speaking. In fact, in Isaiah 48:16 & 49:1, it is Christ speaking. Later in His earthly ministry, He spoke the same way as He called for attention to Himself as Lord. (Note the authority in His speaking in Matthew 7:29.)

He is the glory of God

God does not give to others the glory that is His alone (Isaiah 42:8 & 48:11). Yet Jesus claimed that the glory of God was His as well (John 17:3). Because the Word became flesh (John 1:14), mankind could see the Lord of heaven and earth. John says Jesus "tabernacled" among us. The apostle wanted to show this parallel: In Moses' day they built the tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled it (Exodus 40:34-38). When Jesus came, those who saw Him saw the glory of God on earth again, because Jesus was the Only-Begotten full of grace and truth. All will see Him when He comes again to judge the world; at that time He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory (Matthew 25:31). Christ as God possesses the glory of God.

His sense of what belonged to Him

In John 2:16, Jesus said that the temple was His Father's house. In Matthew 21:13 when He quoted Isaiah 56:7 with its "My house", He appeared to speak of the temple as His. (Ephesians 2:19-22 supports this interpretation.) He definitely called the kingdom of God "My kingdom" (Luke 22:30; John 18:36), and the words of God, "My words" (Matthew 24:35). He spoke of the church of God (Acts 20:28) as "My church" (Matthew 16:18)! When anything belongs to God – whether position, possession, prerogative or people – it belongs to Christ.

He forgave sins

Sometimes it was unbelievers who pointed out the significance of what Jesus said. They were right that only God can forgive sins. Forgiveness was announced by the Lord in Mark 2:1-12. (See also Matthew 9 & Luke 5.) Jesus then acted "… that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins," He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."

We can forgive sins against us, but only God can forgive sins against Him. By forgiving sins, Jesus exercised a right and claimed a role belonging to God. Both vengeance (Romans 12:19) and forgiveness are God's, yet both are exercised by Christ: vengeance in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, and forgiveness in Mark 2:7-12. Since Christ has the prerogatives of God, He must be God. The Lord's point here has many examples: if He did what His Father did; then those observing His works should recognize that He is the Son of God! (John 10:36-38).

He accepted worship

Jesus accepted the worship of men (John 9:35-38; Matthew 14:33; 28:9,17; Luke 24:52). In Hebrews 1:6, when God ordered the angels to worship the Son, He was not commanding them to do something wrong. No man or angel ever broke a commandment by worshiping Christ. Revelation records Christ receiving worship, and an angel rejecting it. (5:11-14; 19:10; & 22:8,9).

His mighty works, signs, wonders and resurrection

The miracles of Christ were so many that John points out that he had written only a few (John 21:25). An impressive miracle might benefit an individual privately, but often they were very public as "great crowds" came for healing (Matthew 15:30). "Jesus went through all the towns and villages" and – unlike today's professed healers who do not duplicate His signs and wonders (Acts 3:12; 14:8-18) – He healed "every disease and sickness" (Matthew 9:35). He ordered the winds and waves to obey Him; He multiplied food; He even empowered His disciples to raise the dead. He read minds; He told where the fish would be. The study of the Lord's mighty works of varied types is a vast study. Good Christian ministry will draw attention to it.

The Lord explained, "The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me," John 10:25. "… Even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (John 10:38). Even to His believing disciples He said, "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves" (John 14:11).

Miracles revealed His glory (John 2:11). They supported the message; their power and character identified Jesus as One sent by God (Acts 10:34-43). The message from God included all that Christ said about Himself. No one acting in the power of the Holy Spirit ever made a false claim about himself. Of all the miracles done in Scripture and the persons through whom they happened, only the Lord Jesus professed to be the One Who had come down from heaven.

His resurrection, the sign above all others

When Jesus was asked for a sign, He never did any miracle just to show what He could do. When challenged on His authority to cleanse the Temple in John 2:18, He said His resurrection would be the answer (2:19). In Matthew 12 He faced a similar request, and referred to His resurrection as the ultimate sign. The resurrection vindicated Jesus (Isaiah 50:7-9), and all He claimed. In Matthew 12:28 Jesus claimed that the kingdom of God had arrived in Him. By a great power He delivered the helpless from demons. How could those not convinced by this display come to know that He was God? The miracles they saw should have assured them. The Scriptures were there to direct them. The OT promised divine healings when "… your God will come … to save you, then the eyes of the blind will be opened…" (Isaiah 35:1-6). "He has sent me to heal …" (Isaiah 61:1,2). 13 In the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus was identified as the Son of God with words (John 1:34; 5:33-35). In Matthew 12:15-22 He was identified as the Savior by miracles.

Nevertheless, for some in Jesus' day, this was not enough. The problem was not a lack of clarity but hardness of heart. Jesus would do no more signs for them. He asserted that His resurrection on the third day would be the ultimate proof. Later Paul made the same point: Christ "… was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 1:4). Christ was predicted in the Scriptures centuries in advance. His works were the defeat of the devil; His mercy relieved the needy; His teaching confounded His opponents; His life was sinless; He was properly announced by the great prophet John, and He claimed to be the Son of God. The ultimate vindication was His third-day resurrection, just as He predicted. No one on day four could invite unbelievers in Jerusalem to view the body of the man who said He would rise on day three! He was Who He said He was. We agree with the apostle; the resurrection declares that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God

He is the Image of God

Christ is "the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4), the Word in flesh Whom people could see and touch (1 John 1:1-3). In seeing Christ, men could see the invisible Father (John 12:45; 14:9). The only way this can be is that "in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9). Since this is so, Christ as the image of God is the exact likeness, the full likeness to the Father, not a close similarity. "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being" (Hebrews 1:3). To know Him is to know the Father (John 14:7), because the Son is what the Father is. He too is the Lord God over all (Ephesians 1:20-23).

He is the Creator and Firstborn over all creation

The Bible teaches that the Creator is God. When John 1:3; Colossians 1:15,16; and Hebrews 1:2 all speak of Christ as Creator, there should be no doubt that He too is the Lord God.

All three creation texts above are clear. Creation is by or through the Son. Thus Jesus was active in the entire creation with His Father. This joint activity of Father and Son is typical of all that God does. The Father and Son do not know any other way to live. A creation by the Son acting independently of the Father would be an ugly thing to Christ! All was made by the Father through the Son. Christ was not and could not be the Creator of Himself. The Father did not create the Son first, and then all else by means of Him – as some false teachers say. "Without Him nothing was made" (John 1:3). "All things were created by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16). God's creation is Christ's creation, not only as an accomplishment but also as His possession. He is even the purpose for its existence. The earth is the LORD's (Psalm 24:1), and so it is Christ's. All authority over it is His (Matthew 28:18). (See Objection 2, below, for more about Christ as the Firstborn.)

He is Savior

The Bible often applies descriptions and titles of God to Christ. In Isaiah, God is the Savior, Redeemer, the unique Shepherd, Rock, and Shelter/Shade. In some Scripture, all of these title descriptions of the LORD are applied to Christ. This was not careless writing but deliberate divine revelation. The LORD stresses in Isaiah that only He is God, there is no other God, Rock or Savior (44:8; 45:18,21-23). Thus the Jehovah Witness and Mormon doctrine that Jesus is merely "a god" is false to the core. Many times Jesus is called the Savior in the NT (Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:10; Acts 5:31 & 13:23 and more). When we read of Jesus as Savior, we should remember that the LORD insisted that only He is Savior: "I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior," Isaiah 43:11.

He is that Rock

"For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?" (Psalm 18:31). See also Deuteronomy 32:30,31 and Psalm 78:35, which refer to God as their Rock. Paul says the Rock Who had protected Israel was Christ! (1 Corinthians 10:4).

His Assault on Satan's Kingdom

Jesus cast out demons. He was undoing the rival kingdom so that He might rule as God over God's kingdom. Thus He destroyed Satan's (Matthew 12:25-29; 1 John 3:8). Luke 11:20 tells us that He did this with the finger of God.

How the Apostle Paul Spoke of God and Christ

David Wells shows that Paul repeatedly speaks of God and Christ in the same way (Check the Bible references carefully.)

… If Yahweh is our sanctifier (Exodus 31:13), is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10), is our peace (Judges 6:24), is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), is our victory (Exodus 17:8-16), and is our healer (Exodus 15:26), then so is Christ all of these things (1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 2:14).

If the gospel is God's (1 Thessalonians 2:2,6-9; Galatians 3:8), then that same gospel is also Christ's (1Thessalonians 3:2; Galatians 1:7).

If the church is God's (Galatians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:9), then that same church is also Christ's (Romans 16:16).

God's Kingdom (1 Thessalonians 2:12) is Christ's (Ephesians 5:5);

God's love (Ephesians 1:3-5) is Christ's (Romans 8:35);

God's Word (Colossians 1:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) is Christ's (1 Thessalonians 1:8; 4:15);

God's Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:8) is Christ's (Philippians 1:19);

God's peace (Galatians 5:22; Philippians 4:9) is Christ's (Colossians 3:15; compare with Colossians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; 4:7);

God's "Day" of judgment (Isaiah 13:6) is Christ's "Day" of judgment (Philippians 1:6,10; 2:16; 1 Corinthians 1:8);

God's grace (Ephesians 2:8,9; Colossians 1:6; Galatians 1:15) is Christ's grace (1 Thessalonians 5:28; Galatians 1:6; 6:18).

God's salvation (Colossians 1:13) is Christ's salvation (1 Thessalonians 1:10); and

God's will (Ephesians 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Galatians 1:4) is Christ's will (Ephesians 5:17; compare with 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

So it is no surprise to hear Paul say that he is both God's slave (Romans 1:9) and Christ's (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10);

That he lives for that glory which is both God's (Romans 5:2; Galatians 1:24) and Christ's (2 Corinthians 8:19,23; compare with 2 Corinthians 4:6),

That his faith is in God (1 Thessalonians 1:8,9; Romans 4:1-5) and in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:22), and

That to know God, which is salvation (Galatians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:5), is to know Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). 14

The Opening Chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews

In the beginning of this letter it was vital to distinguish Christ from angels. So speaking of Him as His Son, a way God never addressed angels, the writer of Hebrews vigorously asserted that the Son is God the Lord Whom angels must worship (v.6).

God's Son is the ultimate revelation of the Father (vv.1,2), the heir of all things (v.2), the One through Whom God created the world (v.2), the radiance of God's glory, and God's exact likeness (v.3). With His power He sustains all things (v.3) and has purged our sins (v.3). The Father addressed the Son as both God and Lord (vv.8,10). God's declaration cannot be wrong! As God, the Son rules from an eternal throne (v.8). As the LORD of Psalm 102, the Son created the heavens and the earth. He remains without decay or change forever though the creation itself crumbles with age (vv.10-12; note Hebrews 13:8 and Malachi 3:6). Rewarded for His completed ministry on earth, Jesus has been seated at God's right hand (vv.3,13). The Lord God, Whose unyielding policy is never to share His glory with any competitor (Isaiah 48:11), assigned to the Son His eternal throne. Hebrews 1 ought to be reviewed carefully for its rich presentation of the deity of Christ.

Christ in the Apocalypse: The Revelation of Jesus Christ

The Book of Revelation is God's great gift to show us more of Christ holding the future in His hands. The Holy Spirit finished Scripture by including this final insight about Christ. The glorious figure in the opening vision is Christ. In Revelation, He is spoken of as "the Lamb" more than any other way. Though He is the Lamb Who was slain in the past (5:9), Revelation focuses on the Lamb as the highly exalted Lord. The cross as an event is behind Him; Jesus has ascended and has been glorified. This glorified state is the perspective of the entire book. The Lamb of God Who died once is the Lord Who rules forever.

Revelation shows in much detail what Jesus meant when He left the earth informing His disciples that all authority in heaven and upon earth has been given to Him. In Revelation we see that authority is exercised repeatedly by Christ in heaven as the Ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5). I urge my readers to take time to read Revelation looking simply for what it says of Christ.

The Lord God is the Alpha (Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet) and Omega (the last letter) (1:8), as the LORD said in Isaiah 44:6. Jesus says that He is the first and the last in 1:17,18 and 2:8. He repeated it in 22:12,13 to speak of Himself as Alpha and Omega again. Such words are a clear way to say that He is the Lord God. The Alpha and Omega can be no one else. When all these texts are put together, no other explanation makes sense. Jesus Christ is God the Lord.

Worship is offered to Christ (7:10; 5:13); He shares God's throne, which is called the throne of God and of the Lamb! Thus it is His as well (22:1). The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (11:15).

H. Six Objections to the Deity of Christ (Caution: All six objections are worded the way objectors to the truth would speak!)

Objection 1: "Jesus denied that He was God!"

Many argue from Mark 10:17,18 that the Lord Jesus is not God:

Why do you call me good?…No one is good except God alone." Was Jesus saying in that way that He was not God? Some even suggest Jesus was admitting that He was a sinner! (He was not; see John 8:46.) Note the context: the rich young ruler was seeking what he might do to make eternal life certain. He was searching specifically for what God requires. His question was not about Jesus' character or position but about the way of life necessary for this goal. Thus the Lord directed his attention to God's commandments as God's official statement of requirement for holy human living. The Lord also challenged the careless use of good by a man who did not know Who He was.

Greek grammar shows that Jesus was not making a contrast concerning God and Himself. The contrast was between God and all others, especially between God's standard for life and the opinion of others. To show what God requires of all men who are hoping to please Him, Jesus quoted God's law. That is the place to look. Note how Matthew 19:17 reported this same conversation: "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Therefore we may understand Jesus' reply this way: "Why are you even asking me about what is good? Don't you know that God has already defined the standard of what He requires in His holy commandments? You should not be looking anywhere else." For Jesus to ask the young man why he spoke as he did denied neither Jesus' deity nor His goodness. The contrast was between obedience as dictated by God and any alternative proposed by anyone else.

Keeping God's Commandments to Gain Eternal Life!!

It may appear that we gain eternal life and heaven itself by our obedience to God. If that were the case, there would be only one Man in heaven, the One Man Who qualified, Jesus! We have no acceptable righteousness (Romans 3:10). The Lord in Mark 10:17,18 spoke on the narrow subject that eternal life is based on keeping God's commandments. He never said we can do that or that anyone has ever done so. The publican in Luke 18:9-14 was justified apart from any good works he could point to. The Pharisee who trusted in himself was not justified!

Yet obedience is required and is necessary for eternal life. Here the gospel is simple and wonderful. He came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17). Just as Jesus died for our sins, He also obeyed as our representative so that His obedience can be ours. (We often say that it is imputed to us.) He has taken the charge of our sin and we have been credited with His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The law gives God's standard, and convicts us of sin and failure to obey (Romans 3:19,20). By denying our righteousness (and honesty require that we do so), we are left with only Christ as our hope of eternal life. It is not a bad thing to have Christ as the only hope we have. His obedience has been accepted by God for the believer (Romans 4:25). It has been provided as a gift (Romans 5:17; Philippians 3:9). Therefore by Christ's obedience, not ours, we gain the reward of eternal life (Romans 6:23). It is God's reward for Jesus' law-keeping, not ours. He is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30), the only righteousness we have that satisfies the demands of God's law, and all the righteousness we need.

Objection 2: "Jesus is called the firstborn in Colossians 1:15. That means He was created first; therefore He cannot be the Eternal Lord!"

When the Bible uses such words as Father and Son, we do not imply by this that the Father is older than the Son! It uses other terms to describe God: king, ruler, judge, brother, farmer, shepherd, and warrior. To speak of God as a king does not mean He is king in the same way others are. God is transcendent; He is not like man. These titles are analogies, and so it is with firstborn, a title of authority and privilege.

The firstborn son is the ranking son. In many cultures the oldest son is "number 1" with extra privileges and responsibilities. In the OT the firstborn received a double inheritance. If the first baby born in a family was a girl, and a boy was born later, the position of firstborn transferred to the male, even when he came second or later. Firstborn is a word for rank, not necessarily the order in which children arrived.

In the case of Jacob and his twelve sons, Reuben was the first son born to Jacob (Genesis 29:32; 35:23). Then Reuben lost his firstborn position because of disgrace (Genesis 35:22), so, though much younger than Reuben, Joseph was given the birthright. He rather than Reuben became the father of two tribes in Israel. (See 1 Chronicles 5:1-3). The firstborn in Psalm 89:27 is simply the greatest of all kings, not the first one to appear.

We should understand "firstborn" the way the Bible uses the word. The Lord Jesus was not the first thing created; He was there in the beginning as co-Creator (John 1:1-3). Colossians 1:15-18, by using firstborn over all creation for Christ, emphasizes His preeminent position as God the Creator.

Objection 3: "Human limitations show that Jesus is not God!"

At times Jesus was weary, thirsty, and obviously grew in knowledge. Does that make Him less than the Almighty, all-knowing Lord God? No. Jesus said in Matthew 11:27 that He had the same knowledge as the Father. These human limitations (and there are many) were part of His humanity. If Jesus as a man knew everything, He would not be a man at all! Without evidence of human limitations we would find it unbelievable that Jesus was really a man! As God He did not become tired, but as man He did. But only His human body and human mind were weary, not His divine nature. Jesus was one Person, not two persons in one body. Jesus as one Person could tire in weakness, while at the same time He controlled the universe with infinite strength. Though He is the Son, He could still say of Himself, as the one Person He was, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father," (Mark 13:32). With two natures but one self-consciousness, Jesus could speak of Himself as the Son of God He has always been. In Mark 13, Christ did not mean that as God He did not know, but that as the Son Who is a man He did not. It is difficult for us to grasp that Jesus really had two natures, and that both were real. Denying Jesus' deity because of His humanity is an old trick of the Enemy. We should expect to encounter it many times.

Objection 4: "Jesus said His Father is greater, and He obeys the Father, so He must be an inferior Person!"

"My Father …is greater than all…" (John 10:29). When the Lord said this, He was contrasting the Father's supreme power with all enemies, any who would try to snatch God's sheep. Jesus was not contrasting the Father's ability with His own, because in vv.28 & 29 Jesus had just claimed that His power and the Father's have the same effect. His sheep could not be snatched out of either hand.

In John 14:29, when the Lord said, "the Father is greater than I," He was not saying that the Father is greater in essence. Christ as the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8) cannot be inferior to the Father. We must pay attention to the context in John 14:28,29. The disciples should have been glad that Jesus was about to return to the Father. His humiliation was coming to an end. Jesus was speaking in John 14 just prior to His crucifixion. Very soon He would return to the glory He once had in the Father's presence (John 17:5). He had "stepped down" when He descended to the lower, earthly regions (Ephesians 4:9). While Jesus was in this state, the Father was greater, but soon, when He ascended Jesus would share that throne again (Revelation 22:1). Never again would any sinner mock Him or spit in His face. His humiliation would end and His greatness would be like the Father's.

In 1 Corinthians 15:28, "The Son will be made subject to him [the Father]". The Father sent Christ, and He obeyed. Such obedience is the eternal norm that the Son has always had for the will of the Father (John 8:29). His mission was to bring us to the Father (1 Peter 3:18) from Whom we were estranged by sin. Then as reconciled children, we could call Him "our Father" in truth (Matthew 6:9). Christ will hand the redeemed kingdom over to the Father when His mission has been completed. Then the Son, as the adoring Son He has always been, will become subject to the Father Who had put everything under Him. The unchanging respect of Christ for the Father is never diminished. The unbending insistence of the Father that all honor the Son as they do the Father (John 5:23) is eternal. This is evident in that everything will be placed under Christ, so that the Father Whom Christ worships will be all in all. Jesus will have it no other way. In our day many assume that submission is a degrading expression of inferiority. Those suffering in such error do not know the beauty and holiness of the equality, unity and love enjoyed by the Father and the Son.

Objection 5: "Philippians 2:5-11 teaches that Jesus emptied Himself of deity, or at least refused to make any claim that He was God!"

Adam was tempted to be like God (Genesis 3:5). He succumbed to this temptation and reached out to grasp something that was not his. On the other hand, Jesus, though He was God, did the opposite. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness to take His divine power and use it for Himself, He would not turn stones into bread (Matthew 4:3,4). The temptation was like this: "Since you are God, You can do this for yourself." He would not. The Lord was on a mission to save us by His sacrifice. He was not here to use His almighty power to make Himself some lunch. He would not assert His right to what was His (John 8:50).

The chief thing Paul was teaching was how the Lord is a model of unselfish behavior. The apostle wanted the mind of the unselfish Christ to be the model for the decisions of Christians looking out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4). The amazing fact is that this unselfish Person was God Himself, because to be "in the form of God" is to be in the category of God. Only God can be in the form of God! Thus Philippians 2 means that Jesus was genuinely God. By presenting the attitude of Christ, Paul used the ultimate example of humility to show his readers the way they were to treat one another. Jesus did what He was not obliged to do for sinners. He emptied or poured out Himself, meaning He poured out His life (Isaiah 53:12) as a sacrifice on the cross. 15 All this was done for us undeserving and unworthy rebels!

Jesus did not empty Himself of the glory of God. God cannot empty Himself of His nature! In His flesh, Jesus manifested the glory of God (John 1:14); He veiled His glory in His flesh, but He did not set it aside at all. 16 Those who interpret Philippians 2 must remember John 1:14. He could pursue a course of suffering for Himself, a course of shame, humiliation and even crucifixion in order to bring eternal benefit to those He was determined to save. What He seized was the cross, rejecting relief for Himself (Matthew 26:52-54). For such obedience God has ensured that Jesus will receive from His Father's hand a most proper reward, the worship and recognition of the entire creation. Before all intelligent life Jesus will be declared the rightful possessor of the Name above all names. He too is Yahweh, or Jehovah, or the LORD God of Isaiah 45:22,23.

A major help in understanding Philippians 2:5-11 is to focus on the counsel to "do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but instead in humility we ought to consider others better than ourselves" (v.3). Though He was God, Jesus accepted humiliation for His people. Paul was not writing here to explain the incarnation, and he was not teaching that Jesus gave up or rejected His glory as the Lord God. (Note Matthew 17:2.) Instead, the apostle was showing Jesus' humility being a servant. "Though the Lord is the high and lofty One," He "lives with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit." (Isaiah 57:15). Paul wrote that we who are so far below the Lord in rank should have the same humility of mind displayed in the human obedience of Christ.

Objection 6: "Jesus claimed to be one with God, but other humans are one with God too, so His unity with God does not prove He is the Lord God!"

Much of my answer to this is found above in "John 10:27-38: The Son Is One with the Father". Believers in Jesus are united to Christ by the Holy Spirit. Before we believed, we were enemies. We did not have a living union with the Lord while we were "still sinners" (Romans 5:6-11). By God's grace Christ represented those He would save. We were in Him because God chose us in Him before the world began (Ephesians 1:3-12). Often Paul speaks of saved people as being "in Christ". That kind of union happens because God has provided a Savior to represent us. Thus our sin became His and all that He deserves, such as eternal life, becomes ours. Like a marriage God has connected Christ to us and believers to Him. He entered our plight and took our curse because He was joined to us. We receive the blessing He deserves when we are joined to Him.

In His death, Jesus stood in for us under the wrath of God, so we were united to Christ in His death (Romans 6:5). As a result, rescued sinners have been brought into Christ in another sense; we have been made God's children and heirs of the reward He graciously shares with us (Roman 8:16,17). Our new standing with God is in Christ. When we were joined to Christ (Colossians 3:1-3), His holy life began to flow into us by the Spirit. A new and living connection was created. Now Christ is our supporting Vine, and we as branches draw life from Him (John 15:1-8).

This connection with Christ is not a unity of us sharing the essence of God, but a union where God supplies to us life and virtue. Our union does not parallel what is meant by Christ's union with the Father. In that union Christ does whatever the Father does; we do not. He has always been what the Father is, something we will never be. We have a different kind of oneness. He has been identified with us sinners, and we have been identified with Him as our Savior from sin. The moment we receive Him, we belong and have been given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Before that, we were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1), and not part of His family.

Jesus is the Son, never a son. The relationship Jesus has with God the Father is an absolute equality. He was there in the beginning with the Father; we were not. Jesus Christ's eternal oneness with the Father is on the level of God, because Jesus is the Lord God.

I. Conclusion

"What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" Matthew 8:27

The Bible raises this question and gives an abundant answer to it. The entire Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is God the Lord. It began with a promise of a Person to come, the Seed of the woman. He would have to be human if born of a woman. Yet to defeat the devil, He would have to be very powerful! In the first promise of a Savior in the Garden of Eden, the Bible does not say that this Person is God. Yet very soon in Genesis we are introduced to the Angel of the Lord, a person distinct from the LORD, and yet He was called the LORD.

In Psalm 2 an Anointed King, the Messiah, is God's Son Who will rule over all nations. In Daniel 7 one called the "Son of Man" appears as a ruler to be worshipped by all forever. When the LORD declares that He as God will save and shepherd His flock, we find that that royal Shepherd to come is the Son of David. Then the Prophet Isaiah called this One who will sit on David's throne, God! Thus, centuries before the New Testament began, a stream of revelation prepares us to believe in a divine Messiah, Who would become a human being.

Thus the doctrine of the deity of Christ does not begin in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus claimed that the OT Scriptures spoke of Him: "Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms" (Luke 24:44). In these later NT Scriptures Jesus is the Creator of all things. He is called God by a number of NT writers. They applied OT statements to Jesus that were obvious references to the LORD (Jehovah). The apostles had no doubt Who Jesus really is. The apostle John said that Isaiah in seeing the LORD saw Jesus' glory. No part of this booklet is more important than the texts that show that Jesus is "Jehovah" too.

We are not limited to things others said about Christ. We have much that He said about Himself. He said He did all that God does (John 5); He knows all that God knows (Matthew 11), and He shares God's holy Name (Matthew 28). He said He was one with the Father (John 10).

He took all the Messianic titles in the Old Testament for Himself, claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah, the I Am, the Son of David, and very often the Son of Man of Daniel 7. His mighty works revealed His glory. His resurrection proved He is the Son of God He claimed to be. It is not strange then that Jesus allowed those who knew Him to worship Him. This worship became a dominant theme in the Book of Revelation. There Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, is seated with His Father on a throne called "the throne of God and of the Lamb". In light of all this, we understand the angel's words at His birth: "Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, Christ the Lord".

Then why is there such confusion over such a plain truth in the Bible? It is not simple for us to grasp that God is three Persons yet one God, or that the Lord God could become a man. Yet what is not simple is still clear, and is supported by a multitude of Scriptures. Yet many resist this truth. We cannot be saved without faith in Christ, and saving faith cannot exist if the truth of Christ is denied. This doctrine is vital. The devil has a long history of zealous contradiction of Jesus as the living Lord God. Anything that would obscure, deny, confuse or reject it is his wicked tool to keep his captives blinded to the gospel. To serve Christ in a worthy way, Christians have always needed to contend that Jesus Christ is God Who came in human flesh (1 John 4:1-6). To believe what is taught in Scripture in so many ways is all we need to have certainty that Christ is God. We fight the master of deceit and darkness, but we do it with the light of God's Word.

To confess Christ as Lord is essential to true faith and salvation (Romans 10:9, the verse of Scripture through which I was converted to Christ). If we can believe Who He is, then we can take seriously that His sacrifice was for our sins, and that He is our righteousness. Christ will return in great glory; He will raise the dead and judge the world. One happy day, the true knowledge of Jesus Christ will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). Satan will be forced to bow and confess that Jesus Christ really is God the Lord. Everything in life and death, now and forever, for every human being, depends on embracing Jesus as Lord! He warned that all who reject Him as the I Am will die in their sins. Do not reject the Savior God has provided. He is both Creator and Redeemer; no one else can rescue us.

I hope all who study this booklet will accept its truth, based on the Scriptures given, and confess that Jesus Christ is God the Lord. I send it out especially to my beloved brothers and fellow servants in the Philippines, with blessing and grace to all who believe Jesus Christ is Lord and love Him sincerely (Ephesians 6:24).

With glory to our holy, sovereign, saving God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons forever, and all sharing the Name Lord,

Kuya David

Notes:

  1. In this booklet whenever the reference is to the Name of the LORD in the OT, I will use "LORD" (as in English Bibles) rather than Lord. To save space I usually use OT and NT for the Old and New Testaments.
  2. In Hebrew the Name of the Lord is spelled JHVH with four consonants. Many older Bibles in English used to give this as "Jehovah", but that practice has not continued. We know that the vowels used to create the word "Jehovah" were not part of the Lord's Name. For many centuries the Jews, out of respect for God's Name, refused to pronounce it. They would write the consonants but not say it! JHVH (or YHWH) has two "H's" and the Greek language has no such letter, so how would the Lord's Name appear in the Greek NT? (In Greek the h-sound appears as an accent mark, or as part of another letter such as q which is "th" in English.) There is no specific letter for h! The decision was made even before the time of Christ to translate the Divine Name JHVH into Greek by using a polite word of respect. They used kurios; which we translate as "Lord" in the NT. So English Bibles also use a term of respect for the actual Name. It might have been pronounced "Yahweh" or something similar. We are certain of the four consonants, but not its pronunciation.
  3. In this booklet on the deity of Christ, I have written little on the Holy Spirit, Who is also the LORD (2 Corinthians 3:18). He is spoken of as the Spirit throughout the OT, never as an angel. The Spirit is mentioned much more than "the Angel of the LORD". There is good reason to say the Son is the Angel of the LORD. Christ as the Image of His Father has more of a role as the Representative of the Father. Christ is the Spokesman, the Prophet Who speaks face to face with the LORD. The Spirit, knowing the mind of God fully, is always the active, almighty, enabling executor of the agenda of God. Just as the Father does nothing apart from the Son, so the Father and Son do nothing apart from the Spirit.
  4. In Hebrews 3:1, when Christ is called an Apostle (i.e., a sent one) He is not an apostle in the sense that others are. Angel is never used of Christ in the NT. In Luke 1:11 the "angel of the Lord" is Gabriel, a created being. Angels are obedient servant/messengers (Hebrews 1:14). Christ has a more excellent Name than they (Hebrews 1:4).
  5. A false teacher would likely object that an angel is only a created angel, putting Christ on the level of a creature. They do that with the word Son as well, but avoid doing it with the word Father, though all other fathers are created. The Lord uses our language to communicate understanding to us. In Isaiah 42,49,52 & 53, the LORD calls Christ "My servant". We should see that this is an exalted use of a word. In other contexts "servants" refer to mere men or angels. Angel of the LORD is used in an exalted way too.
  6. A Creature may a genuine agent of God. In agency someone speaks for Him in the Name of God. Identity is different; it means having God's Name, because the One with it is God. Only God has the identity of God. See below Objection #6.
  7. The Greek Old Testament is called the Septuagint. It was a translation made by Jewish scholars about 200 BC.
  8. In this section I am following some of the outline and content of chapter two "Jesus Self-Witness" in Jesus, Divine Messiah, the New Testament Witness © 1990 Robert L. Reymond, P & R publishers, Phillipsburg, NJ, since republished by Christian Focus Publications in Scotland (see www.christianfocus.com). Dr. Reymond is my mentor, friend, brother, and former seminary professor. He has granted me plenary permission to use his material.
  9. Jesus allowed others to call Him the Son of David. This happened many times. The Lord never corrected anyone for saying this. He spoke often of the kingdom and indicated that He was its king (Matthew 7:21; 12:25-28; 16:28).
  10. Ezekiel was repeatedly called "son of man", often at the beginning of a new message from the LORD as in Ezekiel 5;1; 6:1; 7:1, etc. By speaking this way the LORD was addressing him as human. In the case of this great figure in Daniel 7, the Lord became human. This title then was used anticipating His incarnation. Christ as this Son of Man of Daniel 7, so different from the man Ezekiel, is worshipped as God because He is God.
  11. The four highlighted conjunctions above are all the same in Greek (gar or gar) Possibly they were arranged to give four elaborations of "the Son doing nothing by Himself, but only what He sees His Father doing". The four clauses then state what the Son does and why.
  12. See also John 6:20 and 18:5-8. In these verses "I Am" (ego eimi or ego eimi) appears four more times.
  13. The Greek verb to save is a word with a wide range of meaning, including to heal. Thus healings portray Jesus as Savior. The likeness includes all of God's attributes and qualities. Jesus could never be the image of God if He were created, for then He would not be eternal. That would be a substantial difference. The difference in the Trinity is that the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father, thus Jesus does not assume the Father's role as His own head. The Father is the Head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; 15:28). Just as a man and a woman are equal in worth, and both are fully human, with the man (like God the Father) as the head of the woman; the Son is fully God, subject to His Father and different in role. They are not different in glory, character, exaltation, worth, or rank, only in the function of role and initiative. Savior: 17:10; 43:3,11,15; 60:16. Redeemer: 44:6;47:4; 49:26; 60:16. Shepherd 40:11. Rock: 8:14; 17:10; 26:4; 44:8. (Note 1 Corinthians 10:4 again.) Shelter/Shade: 4:6, 25:4; & 32:2. Isaiah 32:2 is a distinct prophecy of Christ.
  14. David F. Wells, The Person of Christ (Westchester: Crossway Books, 1984) 64,65.
  15. Paul spoke of his own death as the pouring out of a drink offering. This is a different verb in Greek from the one in Philippians 2, yet the idea is similar. Note that Paul was giving up his life in the service of Christ; by doing this he was not ceasing in any way to be a man or to be Paul! Neither did Jesus give up any attribute of what He was as God. He simply gave up His human life on the cross.
  16. This text is much debated and has involved much scholarly argument. I offer here an explanation of what I think it means. I agree with the very helpful explanation found in Reymond's Jesus, Divine Messiah, pp.251-266. Many faithful interpreters of Philippians 2 think that Paul is speaking of the Lord becoming a man. The focus is on the incarnation. I think Reymond has it more accurately that the man who was God did not let His deity stop Him from going to the cross for others. The more traditional view that Christ became the obedient servant by becoming a man is true, but is it what this text is teaching? I doubt that Paul used as an example of humility a situation for which there can be no parallel. How Jesus as a man obeyed is a theme of Paul's found elsewhere (in Romans 5). Then Christ's emptying Himself is very clearly not an emptying of His deity (an absolute impossibility!) but the pouring out of His life in a blood sacrifice. Jesus' words in Luke 22:20 may help here. One can empty a cup by pouring it out. I think that is what Paul meant by Christ emptying Himself.
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