The Only True God and the Deity of Christ – Why Translations Matter Pt. 2b

I continue from where I previously left off (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/21/the-only-true-god-and-the-deity-of-christ-why-translations-matter-pt-2a/).

John isn’t the only inspired writer to identify Christ as the Creator and Sustainer of all creation:

“yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

Pay close attention to the fact of Jesus being the one Lord through whom God brought all things into being. This means that Christ already existed with the Father before the entire creation was made, and must, therefore, be eternal. Paul brings out this point much more clearly in his letter to the Colossians,

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For BY HIM him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created THROUGH HIM and FOR HIM. And HE IS before all things, and IN HIM all things hold together.” Colossians 1:13-17

As well as in the epistle to the Hebrews:

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, THROUGH WHOM also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and HE UPHOLDS the universe by the word OF HIS POWER… And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.’… But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom… ‘YOU, Lord [the Son], laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of YOUR HANDS; they will perish, but YOU remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe YOU will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.’” Hebrews 1:1-3, 6, 8-12

Astonishingly, the inspired author has taken the following Psalm, where David glorifies Jehovah as the unchanging Creator and Sustainer of the entire creation,

“Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you!… But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations… ‘O my God,’ I say, ‘take me not away in the midst of my days— you whose years endure throughout all generations!’ Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.” Psalm 102:1, 12, 24-27

And attributed to Christ, thereby identifying Jesus as the very Jehovah God worshiped by David!

This brings me to my next point. The NT authors, especially John, describe Jesus in the same manner as the OT depicts Jehovah, specifically in his role as the Creator and Sustainer of the whole creation.

For instance, Jehovah is the Source of life and light who illuminates mankind:

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” Psalm 36:9

Jehovah is the Creator who alone sustains and preserves the heavens and the earth, and everything that is within them:

“You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.” Nehemiah 9:6

“who ALONE stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea;” Job 9:8

“Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:” Isaiah 42:5

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the LORD, who made all things, who ALONE stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth BY MYSELF,’” Isaiah 44:24

“I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” Isaiah 45:12

Note the logical implications of the biblical witness to the Deity of Christ and to the nature of Jehovah:

  1. Jehovah God alone created and sustains all creation, being the Source of all life and spiritual illumination.
  2. Jesus Christ is the Word of God who was appointed by the Father to create and sustain all creation, being the Source of all life and spiritual illumination.
  3. Therefore, Jesus is Jehovah God in the flesh.
  4. At the same time, Jesus is not the Father but is personally distinct from.
  5. This means that Jehovah is a multi-Personal Being who eternally exists as the Father and the Son (along with the Holy Spirit).

That Jesus and the Father are essentially one, being coequal in glory and power can be further seen in the next text:

“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” John 17:5

Jesus claims to have shared in the same glory of the Father even before the creation of the world, which is a glory that Jehovah will not grant to anyone,

“For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.” Isaiah 48:11-12 – cf. 41:4; 44:6

A glory that angels ascribe to Jehovah, but can never possess themselves:

“Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:1-2

Interestingly, the risen Lord even ascribes to himself the very titles, that Isaiah above attributed to Jehovah, namely, “the first and the last”!

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’” Revelation 1:17-18

The foregoing explains why Jesus is praised and worshiped as God in an absolute sense:

“Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 20:28-29

Thomas’s confession echoes how David glorified Jehovah:

“Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication, for my cause, my God and my Lord!” Psalm 35:23

Since the only Lord and God that an Israelite can ever acknowledge is Jehovah,

“And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD YOUR God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.’” Exodus 20:1-3

“(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),” Exodus 34:14

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD OUR God, the LORD is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4

“For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.” Micah 4:5

And since Thomas worshiped the risen Christ as his Lord God, this again confirms that Jesus is Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh.

There’s more:

“And we know 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, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God (ho alethinos theos) and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

John has already identified who the eternal life is, namely, Jesus Christ the Son of God who was with the Father and manifested himself to his disciples:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3

Hence, Christ must be the true God seeing that he is the eternal life. Note the logic behind this:

  1. The true God is the eternal life.
  2. Jesus is eternal life itself.
  3. Jesus is, therefore, the true God.

Christ is further described as the God who shed his blood to purchase his church,

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Acts 20:28

The God who is eternally praised,

“To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:5

And as the Great God and Savior of all believers:

“waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:13-14

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” 2 Peter 1:1

Therefore, could the inspired writings be any more explicit in identifying Jesus as Jehovah God Incarnate?

I conclude the discussion with the following chart, which highlights the differences that exist between the English Standard Version and the Authorized King James Version, in respect to specific verses related to the Person and work of Christ. Some of the differences have nothing to do with variant readings, but with a difference in the translation of particular words within the texts themselves. These examples should serve as a caution to the readers that they need to be aware that not all versions read the same, and one must, therefore, make a case for why they prefer one particular variant or translation over the others, and/or stick with passages that are not in dispute.

 

ESV

 

AV

 

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Micah 5:2

 

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” John 1:18

 

“No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” John 3:13

 

“and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:69

 

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’” John 9:35

 

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14

 

“Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,” Acts 2:30

 

“The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him… God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” Acts 3:13, 26

 

“for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel… while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:27, 30

 

“And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” Acts 8:36-38

 

“And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” Acts 16:7

 

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;” Romans 14:10

“and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things,” Ephesians 3:9

 

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,” Ephesians 3:14

 

“submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

 

“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” Philippians 2:6

 

“in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14

 

“bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive… Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:13, 16

 

“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16

 

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15

 

“and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” 1 John 4:3

 

“For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” 1 John 5:7-8

 

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude 1:4-5

 

“to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:25

 

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’… saying, ‘Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.’” Revelation 1:8, 11

 

“These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth… and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.” Revelation 11:4, 8

 

 

 

“But thou, Beth-lehem 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.”

 

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

 

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

 

“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”

 

“If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

 

“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;”

 

“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go… Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

 

“For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together… by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.”

 

“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”

 

“after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.”

 

“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

 

“and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”

 

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

 

“submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

 

“who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:”

 

“in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

 

“forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye… Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

 

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

 

“but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

 

“and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

 

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

 

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.”

 

“to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

 

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty… saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”

 

“These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth… And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”

 

 

 

 

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