The Deity of Christ
Our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ
"Looking for the blessed hope and
of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ"
What kind of man is this?
His followers had seen Him change water into wine. He had healed lepers. With a word He had caused the lame to walk, the deaf to hear and the blind to see. They had even seen Him bring the dead back to life. They had left everything, their homes and their jobs, to follow Him because they knew He was someone great. Even so, they evidently did not understand who He really was! Only when they saw His power to calm the wind and the sea, did the awesome truth begin to force its way into their thinking.
"And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, 'Lord, save us! We are perishing!' But He said to them, 'Why are you fearful, Oh you of little faith?' Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, 'Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'" (Matthew 8:24-27).
What kind of man is this Jesus of Nazareth?
Jesus is a man
Jesus was so remarkable that some have questioned whether He could even be called a man. Yet the Scriptures clearly teach that Jesus is a man. Many times He is called the Son of Man.1 He is the Son of David.2 He was born of a woman (Luke 1:31; 2:21; Galatians 4:4,5). He came in the flesh3 and anyone who denies this is an antichrist (1 John 4:2,3; 2 John 7).
Is the humanity of Jesus significant? Yes, because the validity of His death as an atonement for sins depends on His being a man (Romans 8:3,4; Hebrews 2:14,15). Christ "had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17).
After His resurrection, Christ was still a man. "Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead" (Mark 9:9). When Jesus appeared to His disciples after He rose from the dead, the following occurred: "But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, 'Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have'" (Luke 24:37-39).
After His ascension, seated at the right hand of the Father, He is still a man. "Hereafter the Son of man will sit on the right hand of the power of God" (Luke 22:69). Stephen, just before he was stoned to death, said: "I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" (Acts 7:56). In 1 Timothy 2:5,6 we learn that there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
At His second coming, He will come as the Son of Man."Jesus said to him, 'It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven'" (Matthew 26:64).4 According to Acts 17:30,31 God has appointed a man to judge the world in righteousness. Referring to the judgement, Jesus says: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). And in John 5:26,27 Jesus explains: "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man."
Yes, Jesus is a man. Yet, He is much more than just a man.
Christ is eternal
The Scriptures teach that Christ became a man, that He became flesh. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).5 This indicates that He existed before He was a man.
He existed as the Word of God in the beginning. "In the beginning was the word" (John 1:1). It does not say the Word came into being in the beginning, but that the word was in the beginning. The Word already existed. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life -- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us" (1 John 1:1,2). "I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning" (1 John 2:13). God's Word existed in the beginning.
In Isaiah 9:6 the Messiah is called "Everlasting Father" (as the source of life, see Isaiah 53:10; Hebrews 2:13).
In Micah 5:2 we read of the Messiah: "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting6." Paul says of Christ in Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things." And in Hebrews 13:8 we read: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Jesus says of Himself in Revelation 1:17, "I am the First and the Last," and in Revelation 22:13 He says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." Jesus explained to the unbelieving Jews: "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58).
Christ is eternal.
Christ created all things
Through the Word, all things were made. "He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:2,3). There were no exceptions! "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:15-17).
Christ Himself is not a created being. We have already learned that He is eternal, from everlasting, the First and the Last. Also, since all things were created through and for Him, He Himself cannot be a created being.
Certain arguments are advanced, however, by some who claim that Christ is a creature.
In Colossians 1:15, the passage we have just read, Christ is called "the firstborn of all creation." Some claim this means that He was the first thing created. The word 'firstborn' can be used figuratively, however, to mean 'first in rank'.7 This has its background in the custom in Biblical times that the firstborn son was highest in rank after his father. In Hebrews 12:23, for example, all Christians are called 'firstborn ones.' This indicates that they belong to God because in the Old Testament all the firstborn were sanctified to the Lord.8 Christ being the 'firstborn' of all creation refers to His authority over all creation because of His relationship with the Father.
Sometimes Revelation 3:14 is quoted, where Jesus calls Himself "the Beginning of the creation of God." The Greek word for 'beginning,' however, can also mean 'origin' or 'ruler'. Christ is indeed the Origin and Ruler of God's creation.
A passage that is sometimes used (out of context) in attempts to degrade Christ to a creature, is Proverbs 8:22, "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old." Some claim that 'possessed' should be translated 'created' and they then misapply the passage to Christ. In verse one, however, we learn that this chapter is referring to 'wisdom' personified. Proverbs eight is a beautiful poem emphasizing the importance of wisdom. Some commentators suggest that 'wisdom' here is a representation of the Messiah, who is called 'the wisdom of God' in the New Testament.9 But in any case I would ask: Was there ever a time when God was without His wisdom?
Christ is Creator, not creature. He was in the beginning. He is 'I AM' and all things were created through Him.
Christ is the Son of God
The confession of faith of the first Christians was: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Matthew 16:16; Acts 8:37).
Many times in Scripture, Jesus is called the Son of God.10 He is also called the "only begotten" Son of God (John 1:14,18; 3:16). This expression indicates that no one else is 'Son of God' in the same sense that He is. At His baptism the Father declared to Him: "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). When He was transfigured, the Father declared to His disciples: "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!" (Mark 9:7).
For the first Christians, their confession that Jesus was the Son of God was a recognition of His deity. In Matthew 14:33, after Jesus had once again calmed the wind, we read: "Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him saying, 'Truly You are the Son of God.'" When Jesus called God His Father, He made himself equal with God according to John 5:18.
The enemies of Christ also understood this. They told Pilate: "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God." (See also Luke 22:66-71.)
Certain sectarians, however, try to reach the opposite conclusion from the same evidence. They say: Since Christ is the son of God, He cannot be God. But this argument is just as invalid as it would be invalid to say: Since Christ is the son of man, He cannot be a man.
Of course when we read that Jesus is the Son of God, the word 'God' is being used with the specific meaning of "God the Father" (1 Peter 1:2). But the word 'God' is also used in such a way as to refer to the Father (John 6:27) and the Son (John 20:28) and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3,4).
Just as surely as the description "Son of Man" denotes the humanity of Christ, the description "Son of God" denotes His deity.
Christ is God
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
We know that 'the Word' here refers to Christ from what is stated in verse 14: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." It does not say the Word came into being but that the Word was.
From the statement, "the Word was with God," some try to argue that Christ could not be God, since He was with God. But the word 'God' here is used in the sense of "God the Father." And the Son was certainly with the Father in the beginning. The eternal Father has an eternal Son.
"And the Word was God." How can words be plainer? It would be difficult to state this truth more forcefully or clearly.
Yet some do not wish to accept it. They claim that this verse should be translated and the Word was a god. They point out that there is no definite article with the word 'God' in Greek and they claim that this indicates it should be translated a god.
The above argument reveals a lack of understanding of Greek. The definite article is omitted with 'God' in this passage to indicate that 'The Word' is the subject of the sentence. In Greek the order of the words in a copulative sentence does not indicate which word is the subject as it does in English.11 In a copulative sentence in Greek, the subject has a definite article and the object has none.12 Thus, the fact that the word 'God' in this passage does not have an article in Greek indicates nothing more than that 'The Word' is the subject of the sentence rather than 'God'.
When Thomas saw the risen Lord, he knew who Jesus was: "Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.' And Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Thomas because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'" (John 20:27-29).
When Jesus told Thomas to believe, his answer was: "My Lord and my God!" That was Thomas' confession of faith! And Jesus pronounced a blessing on those who would have a like faith.
This text is really a problem for those who deny that Christ is God. The arguments I have heard in attempts to get around the truth of this passage are so ridiculous that I am almost embarrassed to mention them. But since you might hear them as well, I will discuss them anyway.
One man told me that Thomas spoke these words to the Father, not to Jesus. I pointed out to him that the Bible specifically says that Thomas spoke these words ' to Him' (Jesus).
Another man told me that Thomas did say "My Lord" to Jesus, but that he then turned his eyes heavenward and said "my God" to the Father! I pointed out to him, however, that according to the Bible, the whole statement: "My Lord and my God" was directed 'to Him' (Christ).
Someone else once tried to tell me that Thomas was so astonished at seeing the risen Lord, that he spoke these words purely as an exclamation of surprise! I pointed out to him that to use God's name in such a way would be in violation of the third commandment: "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain." I asked him if he really thought Thomas would profane God's name in the presence of the risen Christ? Evidently some can more easily believe that Thomas would blaspheme God at seeing the risen Lord, than believe what Thomas believed: That Jesus is our Lord and God.
Another man explained to me that Thomas in his astonishment did address these words to Christ, but that what Thomas said was not true. I pointed out that Thomas said these words in reply after Jesus told him to believe. And I then asked him why Jesus, instead of correcting Thomas, pronounced a blessing on all who would have the same faith!
When the disciples saw that Jesus had authority over the winds and the sea, they began to wonder who He really was. After His resurrection, they knew. And Thomas put it into words, when the Lord told him not to doubt, but to believe: "My Lord and my God!"
In Isaiah 9:6 the Messiah is called: "Mighty God."
We as Christians should be "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
To the Son it is said in Hebrews 1:8, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your Kingdom."
And Peter addresses his second letter: "To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1).
Christ is Jehovah
Jehovah (probably more correctly, "Jaweh") is a Hebrew name for God which means "The Ever-Existing One." The word means "I WAS, I AM and I SHALL BE."
An explanation of the origin of the Name is found in Exodus 3:13,14. "Then Moses said to God, 'Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you" and they say to me, "What is His name?" what shall I say to them?' And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent me to you."'"
The inspired writers of the New Testament, when quoting Old Testament passages, follow the practice of the Septuagint translators and always translate the Hebrew name 'Jaweh' (Jehovah) with the Greek words for 'Lord' or for 'God'.13 This means that the actual name 'Jaweh' or 'Jehovah' does not occur at all in the New Testament. 'Lord' and 'God' are inspired translations of 'Jaweh'.
Certain people teach that 'Jaweh' (or 'Jehovah') refers solely to God the Father and not to Christ.
The inspired writers of the New Testament, however, in their use of Old Testament passages, apply the Holy Name, Jaweh, the Ever-Existing One, to the Son as well as to the Father.
In Isaiah 40:3 we find a prophesy of the work of John the Baptizer: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD [Jaweh]; make straight in the desert a highway for our God." According to Mark 1:1-4, the LORD for whom John was to prepare the way, is Christ.
In Isaiah 8:13,14 we read that "the LORD [Jaweh] of Hosts" (13) will be "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel." According to Peter, this stone of stumbling is Christ (1 Peter 2:7,8).
In Psalm 102:12-27 we read that the LORD (Jaweh) will endure forever (12) although the earth and the heavens will perish (25,26). In Hebrews 1:10-12 this passage is quoted in reference to Christ.
In Isaiah 44:6 we read this exalted proclamation: "Thus says the LORD [Jaweh], the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD [Jaweh] of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God." In Revelation 1:17 Jesus says: "I am the First and the Last."
In Psalm 24:10 we read an important question, and the answer: "Who is this King of glory? The LORD [Jaweh] of hosts, He is the King of glory." In 1 Corinthians 2:8 and in James 2:1 Christ is called "the Lord of glory."
In a vision Isaiah saw "the King, the LORD [Jaweh] of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5). In reference to this passage, John says in John 12:41 that Isaiah saw the glory of Christ.
In Joel 2:32, after the passage where God promised to pour out His Spirit on all flesh, the promise is also made "that whoever calls on the name of the LORD [Jaweh] shall be saved." In Romans 10:8-13 this passage is quoted and applied to Christ.
Not only the Father, but also the Son, is Jaweh (the Ever-Existing One). In the light of this we understand why Jesus said to the Jews: "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). The Jews understood what He meant as well, and tried to kill Him. Both the Father and the Son are 'I AM'.
Christ is Savior
In Isaiah 43:11 we read: "I, even I, am the LORD [Jaweh], and besides Me there is no savior."
In the New Testament we learn much about our Savior. We read that the Father is our Savior.14 We also read that Christ is our Savior.15 In Titus 3:4-7 both of these truths are stated in one passage: "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
How can both the Father and the Son be Savior when we read in Isaiah 43:11, "I, even I, am the LORD [Jaweh], and besides Me there is no savior." This is true because, as we already have learned, both Christ and the Father are "I AM". And there is no other Savior than He.
Christ is called "our Lord and Savior" (2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:2,18) and "our God and Savior" (Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1). Christ is the Savior of the world (John 4:42) and there is salvation in no other name (Acts 4:10-12). Besides the LORD [Jaweh] there is no Savior (Isaiah 43:11). This can be true because both the Father and the Son are "I AM".
The Son is Equal with the Father
By this we do not mean that the Son is the Father, but that the Son is God even as the Father is God.
In John 5:18 we read the following explanation by John: "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God."
"Philip said to Him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?'" (John 14:8,9).
In John 10:30 Jesus says: "I and the Father are one." Before He became flesh, Christ was "in the form of God" and was "equal with God" (Philippians 2:5,6). In Colossians 1:15 it is stated that "He is the image of the invisible God" which is further explained in verse 19: "For in Him the Whole Fulness was pleased to dwell" (RD). In Hebrews 1:3 Christ is described as the radiation of God's glory and the exact image of His being.
These passages make abundantly clear that the Son is equal with the Father. Some object to this, however, by referring to John 14:28 where Jesus says: "My Father is greater than I." How the Father was greater than Jesus will be explained under the next point.
Christ emptied Himself to become a man
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:5-8).
The same idea is expressed in 2 Corinthians 8:9. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."
An Israelite once told me that he could not possibly believe that a man could be God. And, at first glance this does seem impossible. But I asked him in reply: "But do you believe that it would be impossible for God to become a man?"
And, although it is difficult for us to comprehend such a truth, the testimony of the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments, and the testimony of those who knew Jesus, indicates that this is exactly what God has done that we might be saved.
But, of course, Christ had to deprive Himself in order to take "the form of a servant" and to be "born in the likeness of men."
Many years ago I read in a newspaper that Prince Don Carlos of Spain disguised himself and under an assumed name worked for a time in a coal mine. He wanted to know what it was like to work in a mine and he wanted to know how miners think and feel. But as "Don Carlos" it would have been impossible for him to do this. First he had to empty himself, deprive himself of his royal privileges. What Christ did was much greater, He stepped from heaven down to earth.
In this Biblical truth is found an explanation for numerous texts which are sometimes used in attempts to deny that Christ is God: "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28); "But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Matthew 24:36); "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Mark 15:34); "I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God" (John 20:17).
All such statements of Christ are related to His humanity. Although He was in the form of God, He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant. As a man He served the Father as an example for all men to follow.
That Christ deprived Himself does not mean, however, that He gave up His deity. It means merely that He limited Himself to human modes and form.
During His time on earth He possessed characteristics of God. He knew all things. In John 16:30 His disciples say: "Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God."16
According to Hebrews 1:3 the universe is upheld by His word of power.
He has authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24).
Various passages speak of Christ being exalted. They are sometimes used out of context in attempts to deny His deity. But these statements relate to His return to the Father after His ministry on earth. "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:8,9). After He had humbled Himself, He was exalted. Such texts do not detract from His deity.
According to John 17:4,5 Christ had glory with the Father before the world was made: "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."
We must keep in mind that after the Word became flesh (John 1:14), during His life on earth and even after His resurrection the man Jesus of Nazareth had not yet ascended to the Father. We read this in John 20:17. "Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, "I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God."'"
At His ascension, however, this man, Jesus of Nazareth was exalted to the right hand of the Father (Phil. 2:9-11; Acts 2:32-36; 5:30,31).
According to Philippians 2:6,9 Christ emptied Himself to become a man although He had been in the form of God and in equality with God. In John 17:5 we read that after His death, He was returned to His former glory.
But after His ascension something has been added. He is again in the form of God and on equality with God, but now He is also man. And as a man He serves as Mediator between God and man. "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (1 Timothy 2:5,6).
Since Christ voluntarily emptied Himself of His glory to become a man, it is not valid to use texts related to His humanity as arguments against His deity.
We must worship Christ
We have already seen that Christ is God. It follows then that we must worship Him.
"For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him" (John 5:22,23). When we fail or refuse to give the same honor to the Son that we give to the Father, we are also failing or refusing to honor the Father. They who do not worship Christ are without God.
The first disciples worshiped Christ.
The twelve worshiped Christ. "Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him saying, 'Truly You are the Son of God'" (Matthew 14:33).
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary worshiped Him after His resurrection. "And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, 'Rejoice!' And they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him" (Matthew 28:9).
The eleven worshiped Him just before His ascension. "And when they saw Him they worshiped Him; but some doubted" (Matthew 28:17).
All the angels worship Christ at His coming. "But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: 'Let all the angels of God worship Him'" (Hebrews 1:6).
In the end every creature shall worship Christ! "Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, 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 who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!' 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, I heard saying: 'Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!' Then the four living creatures said, 'Amen!' And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever" (Revelation 5:11-14).
Let us join the heavenly host and worship the Lamb who was slain and Him who sits upon the throne.
Christ is superior to the angels
In these last days God has spoken to us by His Son, "who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Hebrews 1:3,4).
By emptying Himself to become a man, Christ voluntarily assumed a position which was a little lower than the angels: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." (Hebrews 2:9). Then, at His ascension, He was exalted to His former position, superior to the angels.
We have already learned that we must worship Christ and that all God's angels must worship Him at His coming. Since we are clearly told in Colossians 2:18 and Revelation 22:8,9 that we may not worship angels, this proves that Christ is not Himself an angel. He is above the angels.
According to Colossians 1:15-17 the angels were created through and for Christ: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist."
There are some, however, who claim that Christ is the archangel, Michael. I say claim because this idea is found nowhere in the Scriptures. We do read about the archangel, Michael (Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7). But it is never stated or even implied that Michael is Christ.
For at least two reasons, Michael cannot be Christ.
Christ must be worshiped. Angels may not be worshiped. Thus Christ cannot be the angel, Michael.
Christ and Michael are mentioned separately in Daniel 10:4-14 where we read that Daniel saw "a certain man clothed in linen" (v 5). The description of Christ in Revelation 1:12-16 as He appeared to John corresponds exactly to the description of this 'man' who appeared to Daniel.
Here are the two descriptions.
"I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude" (Daniel 10:5,6).
"And in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength" (Revelation 1:13-16).
This "certain man clothed in linen" states in Daniel 10:13 that the archangel, Michael, had helped him in a battle with the prince of Persia.
Christ is superior to the angels. Christ "has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him" (1 Peter 3:22).
Discussion of misused passages
Now we shall discuss several passages that are often misused in attempts to deny the deity of Christ.
In Matthew 20:23 Jesus says to the sons of Zebedee: "but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father" (Matthew 20:23). Some construe this as an indication that Christ had less authority than the Father. But this passage does not say that Jesus could not grant this privilege because He had too little authority, but because James and John were asking for something which was not for the asking because it had already been determined in God's providence.
In Mark 10:18 Jesus said to the rich young ruler: "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God." Some claim that Jesus with these words denied that He was God. But in reality, Jesus does not forbid this man to call Him good. But He does ask him why he calls Him good, since only God is good. In John 10:11 Jesus calls Himself the good shepherd.
Sometimes the question is asked: "How can Jesus be God since He was raised from the dead by God?" The Scriptures certainly do teach that Jesus was resurrected by the Father (Acts 2:24,31; 10:40; 17:30,31). And those who make this objection usually ask further: "If Jesus is God, did He perchance raise Himself from the dead?" And the Biblical answer to this question is, "Yes!" Jesus did indeed raise Himself (in union with the Father) from the dead! Notice what Jesus says in John 10:17,18. "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." Jesus and the Father are a union. The Father did raise Christ from the dead and Christ took His life unto Himself again.
In 1 Corinthians 8:6 we read: "yet for us there is only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live." Some claim that since there is only one God, the Father, Christ cannot possibly be God. This argument is not logical, however. To be consistent these people would then also have to maintain that the Father is not the Lord, since the verse also says there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ! In reality, this passages proves that Jesus is God with the Father, otherwise He would not be the only Lord!
In 1 Corinthians 11:3 we read: "the head of Christ is God." If this passage proves that Christ's nature is inferior to that of the Father, it also proves that the woman's nature is inferior to that of the man, because the passage also says that the head of the woman is her husband. But the Scriptures teach that man and woman are of one flesh (Genesis 2:23). The man is the head of the woman because his wife voluntarily subjects herself to his God-given authority. The Father is the head of Christ because Christ voluntarily subjects Himself to His Father's will.
In 1 Corinthians 15:28 we read: "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." That the Son is in subjection to the Father only indicates that He does the will of the Father in all things. It does not indicate that the Son is inferior in nature to the Father. The Scriptures also teach that the wife is to be in subjection to her husband, but this does not mean that her nature is inferior to that of her husband.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
This study has been centered on the nature of Christ, not on His relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Yet it is appropriate to briefly state what the Scriptures teach on this.
There is but one God (Deuteronomy 4:35,39; 6:4; Mark 12:32; 1 Corinthians 8:6).
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all referred to in the Scriptures as God (John 6:27; 20:28; Acts 5:3,4).
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are described as acting separately in the Scriptures. For example: the Father gives the Son (John 3:16); the Son returns to the Father (John 14:12); the Father sends the Holy Spirit (John 14:26); the Son sends the Holy Spirit (John 16:7); the Spirit intercedes with the Father (Romans 8:26,27). The Holy Spirit speaks (1 Timothy 4:1), He has a mind (Romans 8:27) and a will (1 Corinthians 12:11). The Holy Spirit refers to Himself as "I" (Acts 13:2).
Although they are referred to as acting separately, they are also described as one: God is Spirit (John 4:24); the Lord (referring to Christ) is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:14-17); the Son and the Father are one (John 10:30). The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are referred to in unison. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen" (2 Corinthians 13:14).
What kind of man is this? Jesus is a man. Christ is eternal. Christ created all things. Christ is the Son of God. Christ is God. Christ is Jehovah. Christ is Savior. The Son is equal with the Father. Christ emptied Himself to become a man. We must worship Christ. Christ is superior to the angels. Although they are distinctive, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one God.
1 The Son of Man: Matthew 8:20; 16:27; 20:28; 26:2,64; Mark 2:28; 9:9,12; 10:33,45; 14:21,61; Luke 5:24; 17:22,24; 18:31; 19:10; 21:36; 22:48,69; John 5:27; 12:34; 13:31; Acts 7:56.
2 The Son of David: Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Matthew 20:30,31; 21:9; 22:41-45; John 7:42; Acts 2:30,31; 13:22,23; Romans 1:3; Revelation 22:16.
3 He came in the flesh: Luke 24:39; John 1:14; Romans 8:3,4; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14,15; 10:5; 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7.
4 See also: Matthew 16:27; Mark 14:62; Luke 17:24.
5 See also: Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:14-17.
6 In Hebrew this is "from the days of eternity." Compare this with the expression "the Ancient of Days" referring to Jehovah in Daniel 7:9,13,22.
7 See Kittel and Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume VI, Page 879.
8 Exodus 22:28f; 34:10f; Numbers 18:15f; Deuteronomy 15:19f.
9 Luke 11:49; 1 Corinthians 1:24.
10 The Son of God: Psalm 2:7 (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5); Psalm 89:27,28; Matthew 2:15; 3:17 (Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22); Matthew 4:3,6 (Luke 4:3,9); Matthew 8:29; 11:27 (Luke 10:22); Matthew 14:33; 16:16; 17:5 (Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; 2 Peter 1:17); Matthew 21:37 (Luke 20:13); Matthew 26:63 (Mark 14:61,62; Luke 22:29); Matthew 27:40,43; 27:54 (Mark 15:39); Mark 3:11; 5:7 (Luke 8:28); Luke 1:32,35; 4:41; 22:70; John 1:34,50; 3:16-18 (John 1:14-18; 1 John 4:9); John 3:34-36; 5:18-23, 26, 27, 30, 32, 36, 37; 6:69; 10:30,36; 11:4,27; 14:7,9,28; 19:7; 20:31; Acts 3:13; 8:37; 9:20; 13:33; Romans 1:3,4,9; 5:10; 8:3,29,32; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 15:24,27,28; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Galatians 1:16; 2:20; 4:4,6; Ephesians 1:3; 3:14; 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 1:1-5; 4:14; 5:5,8; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29; 1 John 1:3,7; 2:22-24; 3:8,23; 4:9,10,14,15; 5:5, 9-13, 20; 2 John 3; Revelation 2:18.
11 Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Hodder & Stoughton, N.Y. 1914, 3rd edition, Page 417.
12 Robertson, Page 767.
13 For examples of this see: Matthew 3:3; 4:4; 27:10; Acts 2:40; Romans 10:13.
14 The Father is our Savior: 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:3; 3:4; Jude 25.
15 Christ is our Savior: Luke 2:11; John 4:42; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:4; 3:6; Revelation 7:10.
16 See also Matthew 9:4; 11:27; John 2:24,25; 21:17; Colossians 2:1-3.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive