Biblical Verses That Call Jesus God

In this post, I am going to cite some of the biblical texts that apply the term God to Jesus.

The prophet Isaiah announced that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a Son who would be called Immanuel:

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

The Apostle Matthew provides an inspired commentary and the application of this prophecy and the meaning of the name:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (meth’ hemon HO Theos [THE God]).” Matthew 1:18-23

The foregoing explains the reason why the virgin-born Son is called Immanuel, e.g., Christ happens to be the very God of heaven who came down to be born as a man in order to save his people from their sins.

Matthew reinforces this point of Jesus’ being God in the flesh by concluding his Gospel in the same manner in which he began it, namely, he cites the risen Christ’s promise to continue to be with his people till the end of the age:

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway (ego meth’ hymon eimi), even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:16-20

This helps us appreciate why Isaiah would go on to proclaim that the Messiah is the Mighty God himself coming to be born as a human Child in order to rule on David’s throne forever:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God (El Gibbor), The everlasting Father,The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

The significance and magnificence of this name can be seen by the fact that the prophet identifies Jehovah as the Mighty God in the very next chapter!

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God (El Gibbor).” Isaiah 10:20-21

That even Jewish sources believed that the Child appointed to rule on David’s throne was the Messiah can be seen from the Aramaic paraphrase of Isaiah known as the Targum: 

“The prophet said to the house of David, For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and He has taken the law upon Himself to keep it. His name is called from eternity, Wonderful, The Mighty God who liveth to eternity, The Messiah, whose peace shall be great upon us in His days. The greatness of those who do the law shall be magnified, and to those, that preserve peace. There shall be no end to the throne of David, and of his kingdom, to establish it and build it in judgment and in righteousness from henceforth, even for ever. By the Word of the Lord of hosts this shall be done.” (The Chaldee Paraphrase on the Prophet Isaiah by Jonathan b. Uzziel, translated by Rev. C. W. H. Pauli, Presbyter. London: London Society’s House, 16, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 1871], pp. 30-31 https://books.google.com/books?id=_boCAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false; bold and underline emphasis mine) 

The Deity of Christ and  the Granville Sharp Construction

As I had stated in another post (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/08/pauls-divine-christology-pt-3/), the NT writings employ a particular expression that scholars and grammarians call a Granville Sharp construction. Granville Sharp was an 18th-century Christian abolitionist and philanthropist who produced a monograph in 1798 on the NT use of the Greek definite article as it relates to the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

According to Sharp’s first rule, when two singular personal nouns, adjectives or participles are connected by the conjunction kai (“the”), with the definite article appearing before the first noun/adjective/participle, then both nouns/adjectives/participles refer to one and the same individual.

The following NT passage is an example of this rule where Jesus is explicitly identified as God:

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (tou Theou hemon kai Soteros, ‘Iesou Christou):” 2 Peter 1:1 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Greek literally reads, “of THE God of us and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Since both nouns are singular and connected by the conjunction kai, with the article appearing only before the first noun, they are both describing Christ.

tn The terms “God and Savior” both refer to the same person, Jesus Christ. This is one of the clearest statements in the NT concerning the deity of Christ. The construction in Greek is known as the Granville Sharp rule, named after the English philanthropist-linguist who first clearly articulated the rule in 1798. Sharp pointed out that in the construction article-noun-καί-noun (where καί [kai] = “and”), when two nouns are singular, personal, and common (i.e., not proper names), they always had the same referent. Illustrations such as “the friend and brother,” “the God and Father,” etc. abound in the NT to prove Sharp’s point. In fact, the construction occurs elsewhere in 2 Peter, strongly suggesting that the author’s idiom was the same as the rest of the NT authors’ (cf., e.g., 1:11 [“the Lord and Savior”], 2:20 [“the Lord and Savior”]). The only issue is whether terms such as “God” and “Savior” could be considered common nouns as opposed to proper names. Sharp and others who followed (such as T. F. Middleton in his masterful The Doctrine of the Greek Article) demonstrated that a proper name in Greek was one that could not be pluralized. Since both “God” (θεός, theos) and “savior” (σωτήρ, sōtēr) were occasionally found in the plural, they did not constitute proper names, and hence, do fit Sharp’s rule. Although there have been 200 years of attempts to dislodge Sharp’s rule, all attempts have been futile. Sharp’s rule stands vindicated after all the dust has settled. For more information on the application of Sharp’s rule to 2 Pet 1:1, see ExSyn 272, 276-77, 290. See also Titus 2:13 and Jude 4. (New English Translation [NET] https://netbible.org/bible/2+Peter+1; underline emphasis mine)

Peter’s letter employs a Sharp construction four other times, which no serious scholar doubts refer to Christ: 

“For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (tou Kyriou hemon kai Soteros, ‘Iesou Christou) will be abundantly provided for you.” 2 Peter 1:11

“For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (tou Kyriou kai Soteros, ‘Iesou Christou), and they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.” 2 Peter 2:20

“that you should remember the words that were spoken previously by the holy prophets and the commandment of our Lord and Savior (tou Kyriou kai Soteros) spoken through us, the apostles.” 2 Peter 3:2

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (tou Kyriou hemon kai Soteros, ‘Iesou Christou). To Him be glory, both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

The last example is rather amazing seeing that it ends with a doxology to the risen Jesus. Since doxologies are ascriptions of praise to God, this merely reinforces the fact that the inspired Apostle has started off his letter by describing Jesus as the God of all believers. After all, if Peter can offer up a doxology to the risen Christ then he surely would have no problem calling him God.

The blessed Apostle has also attributed to the risen Lord the very language that Isaiah ascribes to Jehovah:   

“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:21-22

Here’s the Greek rendering: 

“If they will declare, let them draw nigh, that they may know together, who has caused these things to be heard from the beginning: then was it told you. I am God, and there is not another beside me; [he who is the] Righteous One and [the] Savior (Dikaios kai Soter); there is none but me. Turn to me, and you shall be saved, you that [come] from the end of the earth: I am God (ego eimi ho Theos), and there is none other.”

Now compare this with what Peter wrote:

“… To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (en dikaiosyne tou Theou hemon kai Soteros, ‘Iesou Christou).” NKJV

This shows that for Peter, Jesus is the righteous God and Savior who summons all the ends of the earth to look to him for salvation.

Interestingly, Christ is even called the Righteous/Just One by Peter and others, which, as we saw, is a title attributed to Jehovah in the Greek version of Isaiah:

“When Peter saw it, he answered the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Or why do you stare at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One (ton Hagion kai Dikaion) and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:12-15 Modern English Version (MEV)

Note how the Apostle describes Christ as the Creator of life who was killed but then resurrected. And:

“Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One (tou Dikaiou); of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:” Acts 7:52

“And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One (ton Dikaion), and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.” Acts 22:14

The above citations make it crystal clear that the inspired Apostle did indeed refer to his risen Lord as the God of all true believers.

And now to my final example:

“For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into indecency, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ (ton monon despoten Theon, kai Kyrion hemon ‘Iesoun Christon).” Jude 1:4 World English Bible (WEB)

This, too, is a Granville Sharp construction, and is therefore another instance where Jesus is said to be God. However, there is a variant reading in the extant copies of this verse, where the word for God doesn’t appear in some of the manuscripts. The following version reflects this fact:

“… and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (ton monon Despoten kai Kyrion hemon ‘Iesoun Christon).” New International Version (NIV)

Instead of identifying Jesus as our only Master, God and Lord, the risen Christ is said to be the believers’ one and only Sovereign Lord. And yet either reading still leaves us with Jude declaring Jesus to be truly divine, since the words Despotes and Kyrios are ascribed to Jehovah God in the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible.

“Therefore thus says the Lord, the Lord of hosts (Κyrios ho Despotes sabaoth), Woe to the mighty [men] of Israel; for my wrath shall not cease against mine adversaries, and I will execute judgment on mine enemies.” Isaiah 1:24 LXX

“Behold now, the Lord, the Lord of hosts (ho Despotes Kyrios sabaoth), will take away from Jerusalem and from Judea the mighty man and mighty woman, the strength of bread, and the strength of water,” Isaiah 3:1 LXX

In fact, the Greek translation even applies the words Kyrios monos to Jehovah:

“And Esdras said,You are the only Lord (Kyrios monos); you made the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, and all their array, the earth, and all things that are in it, the seas, and all things in them; and you give life all things, and the hosts of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6 LXX

Kyrios monos is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew YHVH labaddeka, i.e., “Jehovah alone”. Hence, for a Greek-speaking Jew like Jude to confess someone as their only Lord is to identify that One as Jehovah since Jehovah is the only Lord that a true believer can ever profess and look to, especially in heaven.   

And yet, according to Jude, it is the risen Christ who sits enthroned in heaven that is the believers’ monos Kyrios, which means the exact same thing that Kyrios monos does. Jude has essentially described Jesus as the Jehovah God of the Hebrew Scriptures, a fact confirmed by what this inspired writer states in the next verse:

“Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that JESUS (ho ‘Iesous), having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude 1:5 NET

Jesus is said to be the One who delivered Israel during the time of Moses and subsequently punished them in the wilderness for their disobedience. One could not ask for a more emphatic witness to Christ’s prehuman existence as Jehovah God!(1)

As the NET Bible’s notes explain:   

tc Most later witnesses (P Ψ 5 88 1175 1611 1735 2492 M sy) have θεόν (theon, “God”) after δεσπότην (despotēn, “master”), which appears to be a motivated reading in that it explicitly links “Master” to “God” in keeping with the normal NT pattern (see Luke 2:29Acts 4:242 Tim 2:21Rev 6:10). In patristic Greek, δεσπότης (despotēs) was used especially of God (cf. BDAG 220 s.v. 1.b.). The earlier and better witnesses (P א A B C 0251 33 81 323 436 442 1241 1243 1739 2344 al co) lack θεόν; the shorter reading is thus preferred on both internal and external grounds.

sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction STRONGLY IMPLIES the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. He is thus to be IDENTIFIED WITH THE LORD GOD, YAHWEH. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4.

tc The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Iēsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel (the NA has “the Lord” instead of “Jesus”). However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from A VARIETY OF EARLY WITNESSES (e.g., A B 33 81 88 322 424 665 915 1241 (1735: “the Lord Jesus”) 1739 1881 2298 2344 vg co eth Or Cyr Hier Bede), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (theos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς (though P has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [theos Christos, “God Christ”] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦς is, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate. The NA text now also reads Ιησοῦς. For defense of this reading, see Philipp Bartholomä, “Did Jesus Save the People out of Egypt: A Re-examination of a Textual Problem in Jude 5, ” NovT 50 (2008): 143-58. (NET Bible https://netbible.org/bible/Jude+1; capital and underline emphasis mine)

The foregoing examples are sufficient in establishing that the inspired Scriptures do in fact describe Jesus Christ as God Almighty in the flesh.

Unless noted otherwise, all scriptural citations are taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.

Endnotes

(1) As the NET text note indicated, this passage has also come down to us with variant readings. The majority of Greek witnesses read Lord instead of Jesus. Yet even this variant still ends up identifying Christ as the Lord who both saved and punished Israel at the time of Moses, since he is the only Lord specifically mentioned within the immediate context:

“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 (kai Kyrion hemon ‘Iesoun Christon). I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord (ho Kyrios), having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” Jude 1:4-5

Thus, no matter what reading one opts for, we still end up with an explicit affirmation of the eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom Jude describes as the human enfleshment and manifestation of Jehovah God Almighty.

2 thoughts on “Biblical Verses That Call Jesus God

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s