We continue https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/the-biblical-witness-to-the-deity-of-christ-pt-1/ our discussion of the biblical evidence for the essential Godhood of the Lord Jesus.
POSSESSOR OF DIVINE ATTRIBUTES
AND PERFORMER OF DIVINE DEEDS
The NT depicts Jesus as possessing all of God’s essential attributes and carrying out specific divine functions, such as what we see in the following citation:
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And IMMEDIATELY when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things IN YOUR HEARTS? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” Mark 2:5-12
Here Jesus claims to be able to forgive sins, heal diseases, and know what people are thinking within themselves, divine functions and abilities which the OT Scriptures ascribe to God alone:
“Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.” Psalm 44:21
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;” Psalm 103:2-4
“Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)” 1 Kings 8:39 – cf. Isaiah 43:25; Daniel 9:9; Micah 7:18-19
Christ is also said to be omnipresent, and therefore able to personally fill all things with his spiritual presence:
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20 – cf. 28:20
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:22-23
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:7-10
Amazingly, Paul has taken the following OT text and applied it to Christ:
“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” Psalm 68:18
The blessed Apostle identifies the Jehovah God whom the Psalter says ascended on high as the Lord Jesus Christ!
In fact, the Hebrew Bible is quite emphatic about Jehovah being the One who fills the entire creation with his divine presence:
“Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:23-24
Jesus further says that he is just as present with every single believer in the same sense, and to the same degree, that the Father is. The Lord even states this in the same context where he claims to be able to do whatever a person asks in his name!
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, THAT WILL I DO, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I WILL DO IT… At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, AND YE IN ME, AND I IN YOU. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and WE will come unto him, and make OUR abode with him.” John 14:12-14, 20-23
Christ explains that the reason why his disciples will be able to do a greater number of works than he had done while he was on earth is because he would be going to the Father. Once there, the risen Lord will be the One who will then empower his followers to do these miracles in his almighty name. Christ then says that he will love and manifest himself to anyone who truly loves him, and even take up his abode with that person along with God the Father.
Thus, Jesus is basically claiming to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, all of which are attributes that belong to God alone.
Nor is this the only time where Jesus is said to possess such divine qualities:
“For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?” John 16:27-31
The disciples came to the realization that Jesus knows everything and therefore didn’t need anyone to ask him questions in order to test his knowledge. Peter reiterates the point of the Lord knowing all things when, several weeks after Christ’s resurrection, the risen Lord asks him for the third time whether he actually loved him:
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:17
Hence, Jesus was omniscient both before and after his resurrection, even though the Holy Bible tells us that it is God alone who knows all things:
“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” 1 John 3:20
Jesus will also come to judge every person and repay him/her for everything s/he has earned:
“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27
“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first… and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:18-19, 23b – cf. 22:12, 20
Not only do these texts presuppose that Christ is omniscient and omnipotent, they also depict him as doing the very works which the OT teaches that Jehovah will actually do when he comes to judge and rule:
“Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” Isaiah 40:10 – cf. 62:11
“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:10 – cf. 11:20; 29:23; Psalm 62:12; Proverbs 24:12
Finally, the inspired Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is eternal or uncreated, as well as immutable or unchangeable in regards to his divine essence and attributes:
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2
According to Matthew’s Gospel, this prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was born in Bethlehem:
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” Matthew 2:1-6 – cf. Luke 2:4-7
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8 – cf. 1:10-12
Could the Holy Bible be any clearer that Jesus is Jehovah God Incarnate?
CO-EQUAL WITH THE FATHER
If Jesus is indeed Jehovah God who is personally distinct from the Father, who is also said to be Jehovah God, then we should expect that Christ and the Father would be co-equal in essence and glory.
Lo and behold, this is precisely what we learn from the pages of the inspired Scriptures:
“And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear HIS VOIVE, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:16-29
In the above citation, Jesus says that he can do nothing of himself, meaning he cannot act independently and apart from the Father, but can only do whatever the Father does, which is an assertion that no mere creature can make. After all, no one can do the type of works which Jesus mentions unless s/he happens to be God Almighty.
Therefore, like the Father, the Lord has life within himself and can give it to whom he wants. Christ also raises the dead by the sound of his sovereign voice, judges everyone in order to determine their eternal destinies, and receives the same exact honor which the Father receives. And also like the Father, Jesus has the same divine authority to work and act on the Sabbath, something that is forbidden for anyone else.
Christ even refers to himself as the Son of Man, a title which he used more than any other to describe himself. The reason why this is significant is because Jesus was identifying himself as the Son of Man whom the prophet Daniel saw, the One who reigns forever and is to be worshiped by all the nations in the same way that God Most High is supposed to be worshiped:
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should SERVE him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14
Now compare this with the following texts:
“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall SERVE and obey him.” Daniel 7:27
“Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Jah, and rejoice before him.” Psalm 68:4
“The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nahum 1:3
That Jesus was claiming to be this particular Son of Man can be easily demonstrated from the following passage:
“And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.” Mark 14:60-64
By claiming to be the Son of Man of Daniel, the Lord was basically making himself out to be God since the particular figure whom the prophet wrote of and saw is a fully divine Person appearing as a man.
This now brings us to our final section.
Since Jesus is essentially co-equal with the Father, and therefore deserving of the same exact honors that the Father receives, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see Christ being worshiped and prayed to as God.
For instance, Stephen prayed to Jesus to receive him into Christ’s heavenly presence as he was being martyred for the faith, and also asked the risen Lord not to hold this sin against his persecutors:
“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60
Amazingly, Stephen prayed to the risen Christ in the same manner that the OT saints prayed to Jehovah, and in a similar way that Jesus himself prayed to the Father while he was dying on the cross!
“Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Psalm 31:5
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots… And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Luke 23:34, 46
The first Christians were also known for calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus in their worship,
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:” 1 Corinthians 1:2
A practice which began among the Jewish followers of Jesus in Jerusalem, of all places!
“Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to THY saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on THY NAME. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto ME, to bear MY NAME before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for MY NAME’S sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them WHICH CALLED ON THIS NAME IN JERUSALEM, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Acts 9:13-21
This, again, is an act of worship which the OT reserves for God alone:
“And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.” Genesis 21:33
“Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them.” Psalm 99:5-6
“I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:13, 16-17
Jesus is further worshiped by the entire angelic host, by every member of God’s heavenly council:
“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Hebrews 1:6
“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:8-12
Once again, this is a worship which only God is supposed to receive:
“Thou, even thou, art Lord alone… and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” Nehemiah 9:6
“Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.” Psalm 103:20-21 – cf. Revelation 4:1-11
As if this wasn’t astonishing enough, the Scriptures even proclaim that every created thing worships (or shall worship) Christ in the same way they worship God!
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11
“And EVERY CREATURE which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, AND UNTO THE LAMB for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13-14
This simply provides further confirmation that Jesus is not a creature, but the eternal Creator who is separate and distinct from the entire creation, and therefore worthy to receive praise and worship from all his creatures.
In other words, Jesus Christ is Jehovah God Almighty, even though he is personally distinct from both the Father and the Holy Spirit!
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus, come! We believe and confess that you are Jehovah God Incarnate, the eternal and beloved Son of the Father, who became man for our redemption. We love you, Risen Lord of Glory! Amen!