In this series of posts (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/jesus-is-the-most-high-god/), I am going to provide further evidence that Jesus is identified as Jehovah Most High. I begin by further explicating the following passage from Hebrews:
“At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light (apaugasma) of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name… Again, when he brings the First-born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.c… but to his Son he says: God (ho Theos), your throne shall last for ever and ever… And again: It is you, Lord, who laid earth’s foundations in the beginning, the heavens are the work of YOUR HANDS; all will vanish, though you remain, all wear out like a garment; you will roll them up like a cloak, and like a garment they will be changed. But yourself, you never change and your years are unendingf” Hebrews 1:1-4, 6
c. Dt. 32:43… f. Ps. 102:25-27 The Jerusalem Bible: Reader’s Edition (JB http://mullumbimbycatholic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Jerusalem_Bible_Readers_Edition.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2Eu6tuvn-LRF6Wk5ULLbqg_XW7i5CN4qttEu2hZVu9AyeIiRyzLpE0d28)
Remarkably, the inspired author ascribes to the Lord Jesus the following OT passages, where angels are commanded to worship Yahweh,
“Rejoice, you heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice you Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people.” Deuteronomy 32:43 Septuagint Version (LXX)
And where David glorifies Yahweh as the unchanging Creator and Sustainer of all creation!
“A prayer of the oppressed one when he is in despair and pours out his concern before Jehovah. O Jehovah, hear my prayer… But you remain forever, O Jehovah, And your fame will endure for all generations… Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; Just like a garment they will all wear out. Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will pass away. But you are the same, and your years will never end.” Psalm 102:1, 12, 25-27 New World Translation (NWT https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/study-bible/books/psalms/102/)
Here’s the Greek rendering of the foregoing Psalm:
“In the beginning You, O Lord, did lay the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands. They shall perish, but you remain: and [they all] shall wax old as a garment; and as a vesture you shall fold them, and they shall be changed. But you are the same, and thy years shall not fail.” Psalm 101:26-28 LXX
The writer also identifies the Lord as the reflection or radiant light of God’s glory, employing the very Greek term used elsewhere to speak of God’s own Wisdom as the reflection of God’s eternal light:
“For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, active, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp, irresistible, beneficent, loving to man, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits; for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things. She is a breath of the power of God, pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; hence nothing impure can find a way into her. She is a reflection (apaugasma) of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power, image of his goodness. Although alone, she can do all; herself unchanging, she makes all things new. In each generation she passes into holy souls, she makes them friends of God and prophets; for God loves only the man who lives with Wisdom. She is indeed more splendid than the sun, she outshines all the constellations; compared with light, she takes first place, for light must yield to night, but over Wisdom evil can never triumph.” Wisdom 7:22-30 JB
Now since God’s light is eternal, the radiance of that light must be eternal as well. And seeing that Jesus is identified as that very radiance this proves that Christ is both eternal and of the same substance of the Father, which brings me to my next point.
Hebrews describes the Son as being the perfect copy, the very exact representation of God’s infinite, eternal nature/substance. Note how the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible renders the verse in question:
“He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:3 (NWT https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/study-bible/books/hebrews/1/#v58001003)
This simply confirms what the attribution of the foregoing OT texts to Christ already established, namely, Jesus is Yahweh God Almighty in the flesh, since the God-breathed Scriptures are clear that there is no finite, temporal being that is like Yahweh, none among the heavenly host who perfectly resembles God:
“there is no god to compare with you, no achievement to compare with yours. All the pagans will come and adore you, Lord, all will glorify your name, since you alone are great, you perform marvels, you God, you alone.” Psalm 86:8-10 JB
“The heavens praise your marvels, O Jehovah, Yes, your faithfulness in the congregation of the holy ones. For who in the skies can compare to Jehovah? Who among the sons of God is like Jehovah? God is held in awe in the council of holy ones; He is grand and awe-inspiring to all who are around him. O Jehovah God of armies, Who is mighty like you, O Jah? Your faithfulness surrounds you.” Psalm 89:5-8 (NWT https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/study-bible/books/psalms/89/)
For Christ to, therefore, be the perfect, exact representation/copy of God’s infinite being, he cannot be a mere creature.
After all, God’s being is uncreated and eternal and consists of specific attributes such as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. And since Jesus is said to be THE exact, perfect imprint of God’s eternal substance, this means that Christ must be uncreated, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. There’s simply no way around this.
Moreover, the following OT passages where Yahweh is identified as the object of saving faith,
“All who call on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for on Mount Zion there will be some who have escaped, as Yahweh has said, and in Jerusalem some survivors whom Yahweh will call.” Joel 3:5 [2:32] JB
The One whom men are to taste to see how good he is,
“How good Yahweh is-only taste and see! Happy the man who takes shelter in him.” Psalm 34:8 JB
And the precious stone that causes men to stumble due to their rebellion and disbelief,
“when his hand seized hold of me to turn me from walking in the path that this people follows. Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, do not be afraid of them. It is Yahweh Sabaoth, whom you must hold in veneration, him you must fear, him you must dread. He is the sanctuary and the stumbling stone and the rock that brings down the two Houses of Israel; a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. By it many will be brought down, many fall and be broken, be trapped and made captive.” Isaiah 8:12-14 JB
“That is why the Lord Yahweh says this: See how I lay in Zion a stone of witness, a precious cornerstone, a foundation stone: The believer shall not stumble.” Isaiah 28:16 JB
Are attributed to Christ, i.e., Jesus is the Yahweh whom all must call upon in order to be saved, and he is the stone of stumbling that has become the foundation stone, whom believers are to revere and taste to see how good he truly is:
“If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised HIM from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are II saved. When scripture says: those who believe in HIM will have no cause for shame,c it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask HIS help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.d” Romans 10:9-13
c. Is. 28:16 d. Jl. 3:5 JB
“to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:.” 1 Corinthians 1:2 (NWT https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/study-bible/books/1-corinthians/1/#v46001002)
“grow up to salvation-·now that you have tasted the goodness of the Lord.a The new priesthood He is the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him so that you too, the holy priesthood that offers the spiritual sacrifices which Jesus Christ has made acceptable to God, may be living stones making a spiritual house. As scripture says: See how I lay in Zion a precious cornerstone that I have chosen and the man who rests his trust on it will not be disappointed.b That means that for you who are believers, it is precious; but for unbelievers, the stone rejected by the builders has proved to be the keystone,C a stone to stumble over, a rock to bring men down.d They stumble over it because they do not believe in the word; it was the fate in store for them. 1 Peter 2:3-8
2 a. Ps. 34:8 b. Is. 28:16 c. Ps. 18:22 d. Is. 8:14 JB
“if you do have to suffer for being good, you will count it a blessing. There is no need to be afraid or to worry about them.b Simply reverence the Lordc Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have.” 1 Peter 3:14-15
c. Is. 8: 12-13 (LXX) JB
The God Whom Isaiah Saw
The ease with which the NT writers ascribe OT citations about Yahweh to the Lord Jesus explains why the Apostle John could quote Isaiah 6:10, a verse taken from the vision of Isaiah where the prophet saw Yahweh seated on his throne,
“In the year that King Uz·ziʹah died, I saw Jehovah sitting on a lofty and elevated throne, and the skirts of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were standing above him; each had six wings. Each covered his face with two and covered his feet with two, and each of them would fly about with two. And one called to the other: ‘Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The whole earth is filled with his glory.’ And the pivots of the thresholds quivered at the sound of the shouting, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said: ‘Woe to me! I am as good as dead, For I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of armies himself!’… Then I heard the voice of Jehovah saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for US?’ And I said: ‘Here I am! Send me!’ And he replied, ‘Go, and say to this people: ‘You will hear again and again, But you will not understand; You will see again and again, But you will not get any knowledge.” Make the heart of this people unreceptive, Make their ears unresponsive, And paste their eyes together, So that they may not see with their eyes And hear with their ears, So that their heart may not understand And they may not turn back and be healed.’” Isaiah 6:1-5, 8-10 (NWT https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/study-bible/books/isaiah/6/)
And claim that the Divine Being that Isaiah actually beheld was the Lord Jesus in his prehuman existence!
“Although Jesus77 had performed78 so many miraculous signs before them, they still refused to believe in him, so that the word79 of the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled. He said,80 ‘Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord81 been revealed?’82 For this reason they could not believe,83 because again Isaiah said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart,84 so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their heart,85 and turn to me,86 and I would heal them.’87 Isaiah said these things because he saw Christ’s88 glory, and spoke about him.” John 12:37-41 New English Translation (NET)
Here’s another rendering of the relevant text:
“For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.’ Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.” John 12:40-41 New International Version (NIV)
In other words, according to the inspired Evangelist, Isaiah was actually looking at the preincarnate Christ when he saw Yahweh enthroned in heaven with his very own eyes!
Both liberal and conservative NT scholars readily acknowledge that this is what John is claiming:
88 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Christ) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The referent supplied here is “Christ” rather than “Jesus” because it involves what Isaiah saw. It is clear that the author presents Isaiah as having seen the preincarnate glory of Christ, which was the very revelation of the Father (see John 1:18; John 14:9).
sn Because he saw Christ’s glory. The glory which Isaiah saw in Isa 6:3 was the glory of Yahweh (typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT). Here John speaks of the prophet seeing the glory of Christ since in the next clause and spoke about him, “him” can hardly refer to Yahweh, but must refer to Christ. On the basis of statements like 1:14 in the prologue, the author probably put no great distinction between the two. Since the author presents Jesus as fully God (cf. John 1:1), it presents no problem to him to take words originally spoken by Isaiah of Yahweh himself and apply them to Jesus. (NET Bible https://netbible.org/bible/John+12; underline emphasis ours)
Ver. 41. “This did Isaiah say, when he saw his glory and spoke of him.” John justifies in this verse the application which he has just made to Jesus Christ of the vision of Is. vi. The Adonai whom Isaiah beheld at that moment was the divine being who is incarnated in Jesus. Herein also John and Paul meet together; comp. 1 Cor. x. 4, where Paul calls the one who guided Israel from the midst of the cloud Christ. Some interpreters have tried to refer the pronoun autou, of him, not to Christ, but to God. But the last words: and spoke of him, would be useless in this sense and this remark would be aimless in the context. The Alexandrian reading, “because he saw,” instead of “when he saw him,” is adopted by Tischendorf, Weiss, Keil, etc. But it does not appear to me acceptable. Its only reasonable sense would be: “because he really saw his glory and spoke of Him so long beforehand (a thing which seems impossible).” But this reflection would be very coldly apologetic and quite useless for readers who were accustomed to hear the prophecies quoted. It is much more easy to understand how the conjunction hote, which is quite rarely used, may have been replaced by hoti, which appears in every line, than how the reverse could have taken place. The ancient Latin and Syriac versions are agreed in supporting the received text. The sense of the latter is simple and perfectly suitable. “It was of Christ, who manifested Himself to him as Adonai, that Isaiah spoke when he uttered such words.” John proves that he has the right to apply this passage here. (Frederic Louis Godet, Commentary on the Gospel of John with an Historical and Critical Introduction, translated from the third French edition with a preface introductory suggestions, and additional notes by Timothy Dwight President of Yale [Funk and Wagnals Publishers, New York 1886], Volume 2, pp. 235-236 https://books.google.com/books?id=zx8WAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false; bold emphasis ours)
This, in turn, helps us better appreciate the following text:
“So now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.” John 17:5 (NWT https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/study-bible/books/john/17/#v43017005)
According to John 12:40-41, the glory that Christ shared with the Father from before the creation of the world is the very glory that belongs uniquely to Yahweh himself. I.e., Yahweh’s glory is his visible manifestation, which signifies to those beholding him that the One appearing before them is none other than the one true God of all creation.
And this is the very glory that the prehuman Christ possessed along with the Father, which in turn confirms that both the Father and the Son coexist as the one true God Yahweh!
After all, this glory belongs only to the true God, one that he will never share with a created being since a creature by definition is not the same as or equal to his eternal Creator:
“For my own sake, for my own sake I will act, For how could I let myself be profaned? I give my glory to no one else.” Isaiah 48:11 (NWT https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/study-bible/books/isaiah/48/#v23048011)
With the foregoing in view, we are ready to proceed to the next part of the discussion (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/25/even-more-proof-that-jesus-is-jehovah-god-most-high-pt-1-pt-2/).