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                          Seven Reasons Jesus is God

 

Of the world’s foremost religions, Christianity is unique.  In the other religions, it is man who must, by some means, find a way to appease the wrath of an angry god.  It is the fairest maiden who is sacrificed, the bravest warrior who is offered for atonement, or some other means whereby man pays the price for pardon.  But in Christianity, it is God in the Person of Jesus Christ who bears the brunt of wrath against sin.  That the Creator would condescend to become like the created in order to resolve mankind’s dilemma with sin is a mammoth concept almost beyond the range of mortal comprehension.  God’s resolution to mankind’s sin problem remains a stumbling block, inciting vigorous denials from those both opposed to Christianity and also some who claim Christianity, but deny one of the central tenants of the faith, i.e., the deity of Jesus Christ.

 

Regarding the nature of Christ, the religion of Islam and Christianity stand firmly opposed to one another.  The vast difference appears from the Qur’an, wherein is stated, “Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger” (5:75).  The Qur’an also claims, “In blasphemy are those that say that Allah [God] is Christ the son of Mary” (5:17; cf. 5:72).  Islamic apologist, Hammudah Abdalati, argued that “Jesus never claimed to be a god or the Son of God” (1975, p. 158); he contended that Christ was not unlike any other great prophet sent as a spokesman for God, e.g., Abraham or Moses.

 

The self-styled “Jehovah’s Witnesses” have greatly influenced the thinking of many over the past one and one half centuries, openly denying the doctrine of Christ’s deity.  In order to promote and defend this position, the Watchtower Witnesses have been forced to translate their own version of the Bible – New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures – wherein many words and phrases have been marginalized and manipulated away from the true meaning of the original language (for evidence of such manipulation, search for online article: A Grossly Misleading Translation by Julius Mantey).  The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a striking example of the fact that those who are so inclined can fabricate a religious theory suitable to their personal satisfaction – thrusting aside all Scriptural evidence relevant to the issue.

 

Regrettably, even some among churches of Christ have misunderstood the true nature of Christ.  Although accepting Him as the Son of God and Savior of mankind, His equality with God and eternal nature as deity are vehemently denied.  These misunderstand the term “Son of God” as descriptive of an eternal (?) relationship that they claim existed between Christ and God.  However, the Scriptures never use the term “Son of God” to describe the pre-incarnate Christ, but it is a title applied to Jesus following His birth in the flesh of man.  The term “Son of Man” (so often used by Jesus) identified Him as true man; the term “Son of God” identified Him as true God (For more information on this subject, see article on this site: Is Jesus the Eternal Son of God?).

 

Notwithstanding the views advocated by Islamists, Witnesses, and all other dissenters who openly oppose the deity of Jesus Christ, the Bible speaks forthrightly concerning this essential doctrinal truth.  The abundance of available evidence is staggering, and to engage in a comprehensive study would literally require an entire volume of material to be examined.  However, for the conscientious Bible student who is searching for truth regarding this vital topic, we propose seven Bible based reasons to believe Jesus is God.

 

Reason # 1

The Old Testament Prophecies Identify the Messiah as God

 

Many prophecies from the Old Testament are clearly Messianic, and some of these are extremely lucid in ascribing deity to the coming Messiah.  For instance, Isaiah 9:6 foretells a child who would become ruler, but careful consideration must attend the names that are attributed to Him.  The prophet announced, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”  

 

This list of names is truly extraordinary!  While each respective name can be shown to represent deity, how could anyone deny that the One promised in this passage is less than God?  The passage unambiguously declares His identity as “Mighty God.”  The humanity of the Messiah is indicated by the terms “child” and “son,” and the Savior’s deity is reflected in the appellations “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father.”  Professor Barry Webb has noted that “the language of verse 6 can apply only to one who is God incarnate” (1996, p. 69).

 

An earlier prophecy by Isaiah reveals the same truth: “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).  According to Matthew 1:23, the name “Immanuel” signifies “God with us.”  This appellation speaks volumes concerning the true identity of Jesus.  In defining the name Immanuel, Gesenius stated, “it is the name of the son who should be born of the virgin, and it designates Him as being truly ‘God over all blessed for ever’” (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament).  The incarnation produced by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary gave the world the man we know by the personal name, Jesus (cf. Matthew 1:21); but the designation, Immanuel, is indicative of His intrinsic essence – deity had appeared in human form (cf. John 1:1, 14).

 

Micah 5:2 foretold Bethlehem as the birthplace of the coming Messiah, and it described Him with these profoundly significant words: “From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”  Suffice it to say that only God is “from the days of eternity,” yet this passage speaks of Jesus who would be born of the virgin, Mary, in the town of Bethlehem.  The humanity of Christ is reflected through His birth in Bethlehem; His deity is expressed through His relationship to God, i.e., He is one who has existence in eternity.  Clearly we are to understand from this inspired testimony that Jesus is God of eternity past, but who determined to come in the flesh of man as Messiah, saving His people from their sins. 

 

Psalm 2 was recognized as Messianic by Jewish scholars many centuries before Christ appeared.  In Acts 13:33 the apostle Paul affirms Psalm 2 as speaking of Christ (cf. Hebrews 1:5, 5:5).  Psalm 2 closes with imperative instructions:  “Worship Jehovah with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:11-12).  In this passage, the phrases “worship Jehovah with reverence” and “Do homage to the Son” are parallel statements, carrying exactly the same meaning.  To “Do homage” means to offer “reverential worship,” which is the precise wording of the opening phrase.  This Psalm commands worship to be directed to the Son, Jesus Christ.  In that God alone is to be worshipped (cf. Matthew 4:10), the Old Testament prophecies reveal Jesus is God.

 

Christ became the Son of God in the incarnation (Luke 1:35), and all the rulers of the nations are warned to offer reverential worship to the Son, in whom, if one takes refuge, he will be blessed.  In the New Testament, Paul says every spiritual blessing is bestowed upon those who are in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3).  He further speaks concerning “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I might gain Christ, and may be found in Him” (Philippians 3:8, 9).  Since Psalm 2 equates the Messiah with Jehovah, and following the incarnation He became the Son who was openly worshipped (see Reason #5) in distinct fulfillment of Psalm 2:12, we must believe that Jesus is God.

 

Reason # 2

The Scriptures Identify Jesus as Jehovah

 

The prophet Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up.  He expressed great fear that he would die, lamenting, “for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of host” (Isaiah 6:1-5).  From this we learn that the “Lord” of verse one is the “King, the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts” of verse five.  While most English versions translate the word “Lord” into both verses, there is a distinction to be made.  The word “Lord” in verse one is from the Hebrew word adonai (used some 300 times).  In verse five, the word “LORD” is from the Hebrew YHWH (Yahweh; found 6,823 times), sometimes translated as “Jehovah” (see ASV).  To distinguish between the two words, notice how the word “Lord” translated from adonai is spelled with the final three letters in lower case.  When the Hebrew word is YHWH - indicating “Jehovah” - the word “LORD” will be written with all capital letters; hence the visual difference “Lord” or “LORD.” 

 

When Isaiah saw the Lord, he saw “the King, LORD (Jehovah) of hosts.”  Jehovah spoke to Isaiah in verses 8-10; however, these words are quoted by Jesus in the New Testament regarding the Jews among whom He was living.  By inspiration, John then records, “These things said Isaiah, because he saw His glory; and he spoke of Him” (John 12:41).  Whose glory did Isaiah see?  It is irresistible that Isaiah saw Jehovah, yet John claims Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus, demonstrating that he considered Jesus to be Jehovah.  From this inspired New Testament interpretation, we must accept that Jesus is the Jehovah whom Isaiah saw sitting on His throne. 

 

In the familiar passage concerning John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, we will again see that Jesus is called Jehovah.  The prophet wrote, “The voice of one that crieth, “Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of Jehovah; make level in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).  The Holy Spirit moved Matthew, Mark, and Luke to say this was spoken of John the Baptist who came to prepare the way for Jesus (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4).  Isaiah said the way was to be prepared for Jehovah, even saying it would be for God.  If we believe the Bible, we must believe that Jesus is Jehovah God, for Jesus is the One for whom John prepared the way. 

 

Malachi 3:1 also describes the work of John the Baptist as preparing the way for the Messiah: “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’ says Jehovah of hosts.”  The speaker in this passage is Jehovah of hosts, and through the use of the first person pronouns, “My” and “Me,” Jehovah foretells of the way being prepared for His own coming.  Mark 1:1-11 identifies this verse as a prophecy of Jesus Christ.  John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ by gathering “all the land of Judah, and those from Jerusalem” (Mark 1:5) that they might witness the consecration of Jesus as Messiah (cf. John 1:31).  In further fulfillment of the prophecy, Christ appeared suddenly in the temple as Lord, overturning the tables of the thieves who were corrupting the temple (John 2:13-16).  These New Testament applications of Old Testament prophecies reveal that Jesus is the Messiah who is identified as Jehovah.

 

The Psalmist spoke of Jehovah leading a mighty host of captives out of captivity and ascending on high with His great company following Him (Psalm 68:17-18). The imagery is suggestive of a great king victoriously returning from a battle with the spoils of the conflict in tow.  Although David named Jehovah God as the deliverer who ascended on high, the apostle Paul (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) applied the words to Jesus Christ, stating, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men” (Ephesians 4:8).  The New Testament represents Christ as the mighty conqueror, Jehovah, who defeated Satan in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, leading His train of captives out of sin’s captivity. 

 

One of the most beloved passages of all time begins with these words, “The LORD (Jehovah) is my shepherd” (Psalms 23:1).  Jesus clearly identifies Himself as Jehovah when He states, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14).  The writer of Hebrews also applied this passage to Christ when he wrote, “Now the God of peace… brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord [i.e. Jesus our Jehovah]” (Hebrews 13:20). 

 

Jeremiah 23:5-6 states, “Behold, the days are coming,’ declares Jehovah, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely. And do justice and righteousness in the land.  In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘Jehovah our righteousness.’”  According to this prophecy, the coming King and Savior would be known by the name, “Jehovah our righteousness.”   In the New Testament, John comforted Christians with the following words: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous…” (I John 2:1).  Jesus is the “righteous Branch,” and all who respect the Scriptures will not hesitate to call Him by the name given by God, “Jehovah our righteousness.”

 

Zechariah 12:4 identifies Jehovah as the speaker who communicates the subsequent prophecy, but give special attention to the words of Jehovah related in verse 10.  He says, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced.”  Who was the One who was pierced?  This passage has Jehovah saying “they will look on Me whom they have pierced,” yet John 19:37 specifically applies these words to the crucifixion of Christ when the Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus.

 

Zechariah’s prophecy further indicated that it would be Jehovah who would pour out the Spirit on Jerusalem, but John the Baptist identified Jesus as the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit (John 1:32-34).  Jesus affirmed John’s testimony by informing the apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7).  The New Testament confirms Jesus is Jehovah who spoke the prophecy of Zechariah 12. 

 

One final familiar passage: “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of Jehovah will be delivered” (Joel 2:32).  In order for sinful man to obtain redemption from sin, the name of Jehovah has always been the only name on which men could call.  The name of the Lord was called upon by the family of Adam following the birth of Seth (Genesis 4:26).  Abram built an altar, calling upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:8).  After making a covenant with Abimelech over a well of water, Abraham planted a tamarisk tree, “and there he called upon the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33).  Numerous passages could be examined to prove that the name of Jehovah is the name upon which men must call, e.g., Genesis 26:25; I Kings 18:24; Psalm 116:17. 

 

The prophecy of Joel becomes immediately interesting in this connection, for his prophecy is Messianic, being dated by the apostle Peter as belonging to the events which transpired in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost in the year A.D. 30.  Joel foretold, “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of Jehovah will be delivered” (2:32).  This passage is quoted in both Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 where it is applied to Christ.  Jesus is Jehovah upon whom men must call for salvation, “for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  The only name that has power to save is the name of Jesus Christ, because He is Jehovah.

 

The previous passages are but a sampling of those which may be studied that demonstrate Jesus is called Jehovah in Scripture.  This does not mean that Jesus is the same Person as God the Father, but it does indicate that the appellation “Jehovah” is a designation fitting each Person of the Godhead.  Isaiah 44:6 proves this is true: “Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel and His Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts; ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.’”  This verse offers the unbiased student very strong proof of the Trinity concept of the Godhead.  Two Persons are clearly discernable in this verse: “Jehovah, King of Israel” is the first Person; “His Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts” is the second Person.  The description provided in this verse certainly warrants the deduction that God the Father and God the Son are both characterized as Jehovah. 

 

Throughout the New Testament Jesus is hailed as the Redeemer of mankind (e.g. Titus 2:14; Galatians 3:13).  He is the only Redeemer that God the Father sent into the world.  However, the Redeemer is also identified as “Jehovah of hosts.”  The unity of the Godhead is expressed in clear and unmistakable terms in Isaiah 44:6.  Though two Persons speak, they speak as one God, saying, “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”  Jesus is Jehovah who claims there is “no God besides Me,” for speaking to John at the issuance of The Revelation, Jesus consoled John, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:17, 18).  The phrase “I am the first and the last” belongs uniquely to Jehovah God.  Jesus, in unmistakable terms, identifies Himself as Jehovah.

 

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commanded the apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  The word “name” in this verse is singular in the Greek, but it is connected to three distinguishable Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  These three are united in one holy name that belongs uniquely to God.  Isaiah 44:6 proves that both the Father and the Son share the name Jehovah, speaking in unity as one God. 

 

We have among us today a group of people who style themselves as “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” but the simple truth is they do not witness to the true Jehovah of the Bible.  They reject Jehovah’s own witness that God consist of three Persons: Father, Word (Son), and Holy Spirit.  They also deny that Jesus is Himself Jehovah who came to earth in human flesh as the “Dayspring from on high” (Luke 1:78).

 

Reason # 3

Titles Reserved for God are Applied to Jesus

 

It is extremely interesting to note the abundance of theological doctrine contained in Isaiah 44:6.  Not only does this verse differentiate between Jehovah and His Redeemer, who is also called “Jehovah,” but it reserves for God the unique title, “the first and the last.”  A similar expression is found in Revelation 1:8 where it is again applied to Jehovah God: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  It is unquestionable who wears this particular title, for it could never belong to any created being; it belongs uniquely to God. 

 

The titles “the first and the last” and “the Alpha and the Omega” appear again near the close of the book of Revelation: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:12, 13).  The speaker of these words identifies Himself, saying, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16).  The Bible is its own best interpreter!  Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” because He is God the Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts (Isaiah 44:6). 

 

Another titled reserved for Jehovah is found in Isaiah 10:20 where we find this expression: “Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel.”  The title “the Holy One” belongs to no one less than Jehovah Himself.  In the New Testament, Peter makes the following confession to Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68, 69).  On the day of Pentecost, while preaching about the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter quotes from Psalm 16, applying the words to Christ: “Because You will not abandon My soul to Hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay” (Acts 2:27).  The New Testament positively identifies Jesus to be none other than “Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel.”

 

In Isaiah 43:11, God says, “I, even I, am Jehovah; and there is no savior besides Me.”  The title “Savior,” according to this verse, is reserved solely for God in Scripture.  This passage declares in the most direct terms “I am Jehovah; and there is no savior besides Me.”  That is why Paul does not shrink away from applying the name “God” and the title “Savior” both to Jesus Christ:  “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:11-13). 

 

Deuteronomy 10:17 gives another title which belongs uniquely to God: “Jehovah your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God.”  However, in Revelation 17:14, the title “Lord of lords” is given to the Lamb, Jesus Christ: “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and these who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”  A careful study of the titles that belong exclusively to God will prove to the honest and sincere student that Jesus is God.

 

Reason # 4

Jesus Performs the Works of God

 

It should be obvious to anyone who has ever studied the Bible that Jesus performs the works that only God is able to perform.  For example, Christ created everything that has been created.  John 1:3 says, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”  If this is true, the Word could not be a created being as the Watchtower Witnesses affirm. 

 

Colossians 1:16-17 also presents Jesus as the creator of all things, further ruling out the possibility He could be merely an archangel: “For by Him all thing were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created by Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  Who, but God, can create anything?  It takes unlimited power to create something from nothing, and only God is omnipotent; but Paul says Jesus is the Creator of all that has been created, and in addition, Jesus also continues to exercise His power as God by sustaining His creation. 

 

Jesus also has the power to forgive sin.  This was a huge controversy with those who lived with Jesus.  Matthew 9:2-7 and Mark 2:5-10 depict how the Pharisees were offended when Jesus forgave sins.  In Mark 2:7, they ask, “Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?”  Those who lived with Jesus clearly understood that He spoke as God and did the works that only God can do.  When Jesus declared forgiveness of sins, He openly declared Himself to be God.

 

In Matthew 28:18 Jesus claims all authority for Himself, saying to the apostles, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  Paul states that Jesus has been raised from the dead to sit “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:21).  If Jesus has all authority, where does that leave God?  Who but God has all authority? 

 

By the authority that belongs to Him as God, Jesus will raise the dead and execute judgment.  In John 5:22 Jesus exclaimed, “for not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.”  This is a very explicit claim of deity, for the judgment of all mankind requires omniscience.  Only God has all knowledge, yet the apostles confessed to Jesus, “Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God” (John 16:30).  And when Jesus kept asking Peter if he loved him, Peter said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love you” (John 21:17).  The judgment of all mankind is a work that only an omniscient God can perform, yet the Bible says this is the work of Jesus.

 

Consider also that Jesus will transform the faithful into the fullness of His glory.  Philippians 3:21 says Jesus “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.”  In Revelation 21:5, He says, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  This is certainly the work which only God can perform.  If we believe the Bible, we must believe that Jesus is God on the basis that He performs the work which only God is able to perform.

 

 

Reason # 5

Jesus Accepts Worship

 

When Jesus was tempted by the Devil, He said to him, “Begone Satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Matthew 4:10).  If Jesus is nothing more than a created being, He is guilty of blatant hypocrisy based upon the fact that He Himself received and accepted worship.  Not once did Jesus ever rebuke anyone for worshipping Him, nor did He ever refuse anyone’s worship.

 

In fact, Jesus corrected those who wanted to scold others for sitting at His feet (Luke 10:38-42), and in Matthew 26:6-13, He rebuked the disciples for being indignant that a woman had anointed Him with expensive ointment.  Carefully consider the following verses, keeping in mind that the Lord God alone is to be worshiped; yet observe how often Jesus received and accepted worship.

 

1. “And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him” (Matthew 2:11).

 

2. “And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean’” (Matthew 8:2).

 

3. “While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshiped Him” (Matthew 9:18).

 

4. “Then came she and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me’” (Matthew 15:25).

 

5. “And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!” (Matthew 14:33).

 

6.And he [man born blind] said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him” (John 9:38).

 

7. “And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him” (Matthew 28:9).

 

8. “And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful” (Matthew 28:17).

 

9. “When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb [Christ]…” (Revelation 5:8).

 

10. “Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28).  Take note of how Jesus responds to being called God by Thomas: “Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29).  Thomas believed Jesus was God, and confessed Him to be God.  Jesus accepted this worshipful address, even blessing those who believed that He was God without having seen the evidence Thomas was privileged to witness.

 

Contrast Jesus’ response to worship with Peter’s actions when “Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him” (Acts 10:25).  The following verse says, “Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I, too, am just a man.’”

Acts 14:11-18 describes a similar episode in Paul’s ministry when he and Barnabas refused the worship of an entire crowd who were prepared to offer oxen and garlands as a sacrifice to them.  These men rent their own clothing as they cried out their adamant refusal to be worshiped. 

 

Even the angelic beings refused the worship of John as he fell before them in Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9.  In 22:9, the angel told John, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.”

 

Not only did Jesus accept worship, but He placed Himself on the very highest level when He made Himself the object of our faith: “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).  To believe in God is to believe in Christ, for He is God.  The Bible explicitly states that Jesus is to be worshiped:  “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:22-23; cf. Psalm 2:12).  It is impossible to worship God acceptably if Christ is not honored in the worship.

 

Every act of obedience by the Christian is an act of worship in honor and recognition of Jesus as God.  In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus commanded His chosen apostles, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and made disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Our baptism is an act of worship to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; for these three Persons are the one true God of the Bible. 

 

The ultimate proof that Jesus is not a created angel of any kind is found in Hebrews 1:6 where the Father commands, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.”  If Jesus is but an angel as the Watchtower Witnesses assert, this command of the Father would have Jesus worshipping himself; but the obvious truth of this passage is that the Father commands all the angelic beings to worship Jesus because He is God.

 

Reason # 6

The Scriptures Affirm Jesus is God

 

It has already been shown that when Thomas addressed Jesus as “My Lord and my God,” Jesus commended him for his faith (John 20:29).  In Philippians 2:6, Paul declares that Jesus is “existing in the form of God” (ASV).  The Greek word rendered “existing” is huparchon, a present tense participle.  The present tense denotes the existence of Christ in the form of God as a sustained existence, one that was in no manner interrupted by the incarnation.  Paul wrote these words about thirty years after the ascension, but He spoke of Christ “existing” in the form of God even while He maintains His identity as Man in the role of Mediator (I Timothy 2:5).  A. T. Robertson contrasts the difference between the present tense existence of Christ as deity and His “becoming” (aorist tense) in the likeness of man (1931, p. 445).  There was a time when Christ did not exist as man, but there has never been – nor ever will there be – a time when He is not God.

 

Continuing this same thought in the book of Colossians, Paul insists that “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).  Once again, Paul uses a present tense verb, “dwells” (katoikei), in describing the nature of the ascended Savior.  This simply means that God, with all the eternal attributes associated with His purest essence, exists in the body of Jesus Christ; hence His name, “Immanuel,” which signifies, “God with us.”  Paul describes the body of the risen Lord as the permanent abode of the full compliment of attributes that constitute the nature of deity.  This is why Paul had stated previously: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15).

 

Watchtower Witnesses claim this verse teaches that Christ is the first created being, thus He is not God.  The world’s most renown scholars of New Testament Greek are virtually unanimous in their opposition to the interpretation assigned this verse by the Watchtower Society.  The term “firstborn” does not reflect origin in this passage; rather, it denotes a “superiority of essence” (1993, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, p. 190).  It is a term which carries the idea of priority, preeminence, superiority, and sovereignty.  Paul uses this term to indicate that Christ, as the express image of God, is Himself the preeminent One over all creation. 

 

This explains why Paul follows this statement by saying, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones of dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).  Herein lies the reason why Paul consistently speaks of Christ as God, e.g., “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13);  “…and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God, blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 9:5). 

 

The apostle Peter also speaks of Jesus as God: “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:1).  The apostles were ever diligent to present Christ as the embodiment of deity.

 

The Hebrews writer gives a clear affirmation of the deity of Christ when he quotes God the Father speaking to the Son, saying, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8).  The entire first chapter of Hebrews is written to prove that Christ is superior to any created being, including the angels.  The sixth verse quotes God the Father as commanding all the angels to worship the incarnate Christ.  The reason for this command to worship is made clear in the current verse (1:8).  Jesus is Himself God, and consequently He is deserving of all worship, praise, and adoration that the heavens and the earth can offer. 

 

The apostle John emphasized the divine identity of Jesus as God.  In I John 5:20 he wrote, “We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.”  John opened his gospel with these words:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1-3). 

 

This is a direct and unequivocal proclamation of the deity of Christ.  Every phrase is significant and rich with meaning.  “In the beginning” harkens back to Genesis 1:1 and sets the scene of these opening lines as pertaining to eternity past; before anything or anyone was created.  John assigns the Word an absolute eternal existence by using precise and powerful language that places His existence before the beginning of creation.  Christ was not created as “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach, but John says He was before the beginning of creation, existing with God, and as God. 

 

The phrase, “the Word was with God,” only strengthens the assertion of deity in this passage.  It means that from all eternity, the Word co-existed with God.  The Greek pros (with) denotes a close, intimate relationship between the Word and God.  Here, again, is strong proof of the triune personality of God.  The Word (one Person) was with God (another Person).  However, the next phrase declares the nature of the Word, saying, “The Word was God.” This affirms the deity of Jesus.  Here is a direct, clear, concise acknowledgment that Jesus is God.  He is not the Father, for He was with Him in eternity (John 17:5), but Jesus is God, the second Person of the Godhead. 

 

The Watchtower Witnesses – recognizing this passage as an undeniable assertion of deity for Jesus – were forced to write their own version of the Bible, changing the wording of this and many other verses in an attempt to deny Jesus is God.  They will argue that in the Greek, the word “God” lacks a definite article; therefore, an indefinite article must be supplied, thus making the statement, “the Word was a god.”  They have a handful of Greek scholars who have tried desperately to defend this translation against the overwhelming majority of Greek scholars who oppose this rendering.  Without debating the merits of either side, we will notice one significant fact that the Witnesses’ own “scholars” do not tell their adherents. 

 

While they force this “rule” into the text of John 1:1, they are most inconsistent, for there are dozens of other passages in their own translation where they are forced by common sense to violate the very rule they adamantly impose on John 1:1.  For instance, in John 1:6 (only five verses later), the text reads, “There was a man, sent from God, whose name was John.”  In this statement, the definite article is absent from before the word “God,” but no one – including the Witnesses’ own “scholars” – would argue that this passage should read, “a man sent from a god.”  Again, in verse 12 of this same chapter, it is written that believers are given “the right to become children of God.”  Is there anyone who would claim this verse should say believers are given “the right to become children of a god”?  The same is also true in verse 18 of this chapter where John solemnly affirms, “No man has seen God.”  No one would ever suggest that this verse should read “No man has seen a god.” 

 

While many other examples could be cited, these effectively demonstrate the inconsistency of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny that Jesus is God based upon the absence of the definite article in the very first verse of John’s unique Gospel.  John 1:1 is the Achilles’ heel of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ theology, and that is why they were forced to translate and print their own version of the Bible in order to attempt a removal of the obvious meaning of the original text.  The sincere student of the Bible will never be shaken by the arguments this group makes against the deity of Jesus Christ, for the Scriptures declare throughout their entirety that Jesus is God.

 

Reason # 7

Jesus Claimed to be God

 

If Jesus really is God who came in the flesh of man, we would expect Him to say so.  In a discussion He had with the Pharisees, they were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the claims Jesus was making about Himself.  They recognized that He was placing Himself on a level of authority which no mere human deserved.  Having this concern, they pressed Jesus as to His identity, saying, “Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died?  The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep His word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’ The Jews therefore said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’  Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple” (John 8:53-59).

 

While men today may stumble over the true meaning of His claim, the words of Jesus were not overlooked or minimized by those who initially heard Him.  Consideration must be given to the fact that Jesus was responding to their specific question, “whom do You make Yourself out to be?”  With this in mind, His reply is all the more significant.  Jesus was claiming to be God, using the very name that Jehovah had declared to Moses at the burning bush, i.e., “I AM.”  He could have made no stronger claim in acknowledging His deity.  If Jesus was merely the first created angel, as the Watchtower Witnesses affirm, He would have stated, “…before Abraham was born, I was.”  But when Jesus used the words, “I AM,” He declared Himself to be God who had appeared to Moses on the mountain (cf. Exodus 3:2ff).

 

The expression “I AM” translates the Greek ego eimi.  This is a present tense verb of timeless and unconditional existence.  Abraham was born [aorist tense verb indicating a commencement point for Abraham’s existence], but Christ used the present tense verb, I AM, emphasizing His own eternal existence.  Lenski explained: “As the aorist sets a point of beginning for the existence of Abraham, so the present tense ‘I am’ predicates absolute existence for the person of Jesus, with no point of beginning at all” (1943, p. 670).  Only God has timeless existence with no point of beginning, and He alone is the Existing One; yet Jesus openly declares Himself to be the Existing One (John 8:58).

 

The Greek ego eimi carries the same meaning as the term “I AM” spoken to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14), and that passage represents one of the most emphatic affirmations of God concerning His eternal self-existence to be found in the Old Testament.  Jesus, by using this term, was identifying Himself as God, and there was no mistaking His meaning.  This is why the Jews picked up stones to throw at Him.  On the occasion of another attempted stoning, the Jews announced, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:33).  The Jews sought to kill Jesus on the grounds that they understood He was “making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18).

 

Conclusion

 

These seven reasons for believing Jesus is God constitute only a sampling of the evidence which could be studied.  The biblical evidence for the deity of Christ is overwhelming, conclusive, and irrefutable.  So much evidence cannot be merely swept aside or ignored.  You either believe in the deity of Christ, or you condemn yourself to an unthinkable eternity.  In fact, Jesus plainly states, “Unless you believe that I am, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).  Although the majority of English versions will add the word “He,” making the statement, “I am He,” it should be noted that the word “He” appears in italic print because this pronoun is not in the Greek. 

 

Jesus exclaimed, “Unless you believe that I am” – referring to belief in Him as the eternal, self-existing, one true God.  Jesus holds forth His deity as the object of our faith.  He speaks of Himself as God because He is God – a member of the Timeless Trinity who announced in the very beginning, “Let Us create man in Our image and in Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).  Those who believe Him to be God will surrender themselves in total obedience to His commands, receiving at last the promised blessing of eternal life.  The question of life is this: What do you believe about Jesus…who is He?

 

Tracy White

 

 

 

References:

 

Abdalati, Hammudah (1975), Islam in Focus

             (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications).

 

Balz, Horst & Schneider, Gerhard (1993), Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament

            (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).

 

Gesenius, Wilhelm and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles. Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the 

            Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2003).

 

Lenski, R. C. H. (1943), The Interpretation of John’s Gospel

            (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).

 

Robertson, A. T. (1931), Word Pictures in the Greek New Testament, Vol. 4

            (Nashville, TN: Broadman).

 

Webb, Barry (1996), The Message of Isaiah

             (Downers Grove, Il: Inter-Varsity).

 

                                   Let the Study Continue!

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