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JESUS’ DEITY PROVEN
By Davis W. Huckabee
This sermon was preached to the First Baptist Church of Kirk, Colorado, on September 11, 1966, of which the writer was then pastor.
Who was Jesus of Nazareth? Was He anything more than a mere historical character that lived some two thousand years ago? Many people would answer this last question in the negative, and some would even argue against the possibility of anyone being anything more than a mortal being that was destined to come on the stage of human history, live for a time and then die and return to obscurity. But history has compelled honest men to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth was a unique being that has left a very large mark on History’s records. So much so, in fact, that we of the twentieth-first century are compelled to look into His life and examine the uniqueness of it. And this will open some inconceivable possibilities.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” (John 1:1). Here is a New Testament text that is reminiscent of Genesis 1:1, and while this One that is here called “The Word” is not identified, only a few verses later in the same chapter He is identified as Jesus Christ. (See John 1:14-18). The Gospel according to John was written much later than the Gospels by Matthew, Mark and Luke, very near the end of the first century according to most scholars. Because of this late date, and the fact that Christianity had had almost seventy years to develop, the language here is much more exalted in regard to Jesus of Nazareth than earlier writings were. But by the same token, heresies concerning Jesus the Christ had also had time to develop during these years. And one of the earliest heresies to plague Christianity was that which pertained to the Person of Jesus Christ. Even while the apostles still lived some men had begun to deny the deity of Jesus Christ, and some of the later books of the New Testament were written expressly to combat the false doctrines of those heretics that later came to be called The Gnostics. Both John and Paul, even while not naming these heretics, make obvious mention of and refuted their views.
Not only so, but the denial of the deity of Christ will be one of the prominent heresies of the end of this age when the Son of God returns from heaven to earth. We are told in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 of the man of sin—the Antichrist—that “he opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Ezekiel 21:25-27 speaks of this same usurpation of kingly crown and high priestly mitre that the final Antichrist will usurp in the latter day. “And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end. Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”
From this latter passage it is to be noted that: (1) It speaks of a “profane, wicked prince of Israel.” This fits the final Antichrist exactly. He shall be an apostate Jew that shall make a covenant with the Jews for seven years, yet he will be a wicked, treacherous man that will betray them. (2) The fulfillment of this will be “when iniquity shall have an end.” This marks the time of this as being when this is one of the things that is brought to pass relative to Israel when that seventieth week is fulfilled, (Dan. 9:24). (3) When this wicked and profane prince is deposed he will not only be deposed from his kingly throne that he has usurped, to which “crown” refers, but also from his high priestly office as well, to which “diadem,” that he will also have usurped, refers. The word translated “diadem” is the same Hebrew word (mitznepheth) that is translated “mitre” in all of its other appearances, and which refers exclusively to the headpiece of the high priest, (See Ex. 28:2-4, 37-39). (4) But God declares that He will overturn all this. (5) And it shall only be for Him whose right it is.
But the Antichrist must either pervert or deny the deity of Christ in order to exalt himself to this position. Thus the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ is not something that is new, nor is it something that is temporary, but is something that will be common in the world until the Lord Jesus returns to put down all rebellion against His sovereign Lordship. Both angels and men have always had the unholy ambition to “be as God,” and they hold this in the face of Jesus’ own holy and sovereign Godhood.
This denial is a very common thing in our present evil world, and there are numerous “Christian” sects with millions of adherents that officially deny the deity of Jesus Christ. And besides these, there are many prominent leaders of the foremost fundamental “Christian” groups that deny it as well. It is not necessary to mention by names all the different religious groups that deny Jesus’ deity, for they are many. It would almost be easier to name the groups that hold to this fundamental truth than those that deny it. All of the Arabic Nations, all of the Oriental Nations, India and its teeming millions, all of the Pacific and Indian Ocean Island Nations and others as whole blocks unite in denying the deity of the Son of Man. And to these may be added great multitudes of people living in “Christian America.” Some years ago when this writer was in his first pastorate in Colorado he saw a survey published in the Denver Post Newspaper in which several questions were asked of the ten or so largest “Christian” denominations in our nation. Some of all these denominations had doubts about Jesus’ deity, but some of these mainline “Christian” denominations had up to sixty percent that doubted it. This survey was taken in the early 1960’s when beliefs were more conservative than they now are some forty or fifty years later, so doubtless a much larger percentage in all of these would now doubt the deity of Jesus Christ.
As illustrative of this apostasy from the faith of our fathers in mainline denominations may be recalled some years ago the notorious “God is dead” controversy. Drs. T. J. J. Altizer (Methodist) of Emory University, and William Hamilton (Baptist) of Colgate University propagated the idea that God had died in our generation. Someone at the time more pointedly said that it was not God that was dead, but these theologians. And another illustration is that Nels Ferre, a guest lecturer to students in a Baptist Theological Seminary, proclaimed his belief that Jesus was the bastard son of Mary and a German soldier that was stationed in Palestine. Nor did any other professor so much as object to his blasphemous statement. Other instances could be cited of so called “Christian” professors and church leaders that rush into print to deny the deity of Jesus Christ. And such men are paid salaries by “Christian Churches” to destroy the faith of the seminary students that will soon go forth to lead the churches!! God pity our nation! And God pity the ignorant churches that tolerate such heresy.
However, though this blasphemous unbelief is common, for the person that will take the Bible at face value, and who is not blinded by a preconceived theory, John 1:1 is an end of all controversy in the matter. Jehovah Witnesses (so-called), unable to maintain their heresy in the light of this verse, translate it in their perversion of the Scriptures “And the word was a god” in plain contradiction to Jehovah’s own word in Isaiah 43:10-11 and the New Testament teaching in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6. Compare Isaiah 44:6 where there are two distinct “Jehovah’s” with Revelation 1:17-18 where Inspiration applies this to Jesus Christ. B. H. Carroll gives the following outline of John 1:1-3.
(1) Absolute eternity of being, “In the beginning was the Word.” (2) Distinct personality, “And the Word was with God”—two persons together. (3) The nature or essence of Deity, “And the Word was God.” The absence of the article in the Greek before “God” in the third predicate clearly shows the meaning. The phrase is not, “the Word was the God,” but “the Word was God,” i.e., in nature or essence, [An Interpretation of the English Bible, The Four Gospels, Vol. I., p. 51.].
There are many other proofs of the Deity of Jesus than this one text, and what a blessed thing it is to contemplate these many and varied proofs of it. The very eternal bliss of man hangs upon this doctrine, for if Jesus was not what He claimed, then man has no hope either here or hereafter, and we would be “of all men most miserable,” (1 Cor. 15:19). The proof of Jesus’ deity is all but overwhelming to the unbiased mind, but it is not a natural thing that will find acceptance with unconverted man, who is utterly incapable of reasoning out such a concept. Jesus’ deity is proven from—
- THE DIVINE TITLES GIVEN TO HIM.
The first of these proofs appears in our text in John 1:1: “the Word was God.” Is there anything ambiguous about this? Is there anything that would give uncertainty about the meaning? Is not the opposite true? Why would any individual want to controvert the testimony of this portion unless he had a preconceived idea that he was unwilling to give up? Or unless he had a bias against the doctrine of the deity of the Son of God. Or unless he was so influenced by the Arch liar as to be unwilling to submit to the truth of Holy Scripture.
This writer once got into a discussion with a Jehovah’s Witness (so-called) about the deity of Christ, and when this passage was presented to him, he refused to believe it. He first tried to say that the Greek language meant that the Word was “another god? When he found that I was learned enough in Greek to not be deceived by his ploy, he then tried to say that this only meant that the Word was “a little god,” or a diminutive god—a mere derivation from God, yet who was not truly God. He was shown that the Greek word theos (God) was the same in both instances except for the case endings which do not affect the root meaning of the word. His bias against the truth was evident in his absolute refusal to believe Scripture under any circumstances.
If one refuses to believe John 1:1-3, we may pass on to yet other texts that are equally clear and plain. Hebrews 1:8 tells us in language equally unequivocal that, “Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” This is speaking of the Son of God, and it addresses Him as God. It is a quotation from Psalm 45:6, and the writer to the Hebrews applies it to Jesus Christ. Here again we have incontrovertible proof that Jesus was recognized as God in New Testament days. Neither John 1 nor Hebrews 1 admit of any controversy in this matter, and the person that takes the opposite view, does so only by perverting or outright denying the plain inspired text of Scripture.
But we may go further and notice another of the divine titles that is given to Jesus Christ. He is also called “Lord” in many places. The Greek word for “Lord” (kurios) appears some 750 times in the New Testament, and the majority of them are references to Jesus Christ. In several places this word is used as the equivalent of the Old Testament personal name of God—JEHOVAH. The translators of the Authorized Version were more consistent in this matter than they were in many other Greek or Hebrew words. Commonly they used only one English word to translate numerous Hebrew or Greek words, each of which had different shades of meaning that the one English word could not fully manifest. However, in this matter the translators used “Lord” with lower case letters where the Hebrew has the word adonai, which means master. On the other hand they used the word “LORD” with all capitals to show that the Hebrew word was Jehovah, the personal name of the one true God. (See Isa. 42:8). In many quotations from the Old Testament where the word “Jehovah” appears, the New Testament renders it by the Greek word lazrios, and applies it to Jesus Christ, thus showing that He is the Jehovah God of the Old Testament. An instance is seen in John 12:37-42 where the quotation is from Isaiah 53 that refers to Jehovah. But the application is made to Jesus Christ. What then will these do that deny the deity of Jesus Christ? Will they honestly admit that they have been mistaken and that the Jehovah of the Old Testament reveals Himself as Jesus the Christ? Not as a rule, for as the satirical saying goes, “They have their minds made up, and are not going to be confused by any facts?
Such people often draw their robes of self-righteous indignation about them and play their supposed trump card by saying that this is Trinitarianism, and “Trinity” is not in the Bible! So it will be well at this point to deal with this related matter. Very few of the words of any translation of the Bible are taken from the Inspired text, but only English equivalents are used. And so it is with this matter. The Hebrew word for “God” is commonly Elohim, a word appearing literally hundreds if not thousands of time in the Old Testament. This word is constructed of El, Elah or Eloah, a singular noun that literally means The Mighty One. These singular usages appear only in places where only one of the Persons of the Godhead is intended, an illustration of which is Habakkuk 3:3, where the return of Jesus Christ to earth is intended. These usages are of much less common usage than Elohim. A word of explanation is necessary regarding the Hebrew plurality. In English we only have two numbers—singular and plural—but the Hebrew language is different in that it has three numbers—singular, which refers to one—dual, which refers to two—and plural, which refers to three or more. Thus, the most common word for God, beginning with Genesis 1:1 and ending with Malachi 3:18, is Elohim—with the plural ending, meaning The mighty One that is revealed in three or more Persons. Of course, Inspiration limits the number of Persons that are called Jehovah and that constitute Elohim to three, as we see in Isaiah 44:6 and 11:2 as the capitals “LORD” show in these texts. And never are any others declared to be Jehovah Elohim but these, but this makes God to be a Trinity—a Three In One Deity—one of the great mysteries of the Faith, but a clear article of the Faith nonetheless. It is a form of extreme arrogance for man with his little teacup sized mind to think that he must be able to understand everything about the ocean of God’s being else he rejects it as “impossible.” Many articles of the Christian Faith are infinitely above human ability to fully understand, but they are true nonetheless.
Again Romans 10:13 speaks in the same way of Jesus being the Jehovah of the Old Testament. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This is quoted from Joel 2:32 where the Hebrew text has the personal name JEHOVAH. Yet the New Testament passage is applied by Inspiration to Jesus Christ. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved... For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him,” (Rom. 10:9, 12). There can be no other conclusion than that the One referred to in Joel as Jehovah is the same as the One called Jesus in Romans. Therefore here again we see a proof of Jesus’ deity.
Another Divine title in the Old Testament that is applied to Jesus in the New Testament is “the stone of stumbling and rock of offense.” This is found in Romans 9:33 and 1 Peter 2:8 where both are quotations from Isaiah 8:13-14. Isaiah 28:16 may also be included in this same consideration for it also uses the common metaphor for God of “Rock.” These two passages read as follows. “Sanctify the Lord of hosts (literally Jehovah of hosts) himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, and for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” The words “rock” and “stone” are both common metaphors for God in the Old Testament, and they are often found in the New Testament in reference to Jesus Christ. Let the reader take his concordance and compare the many metaphorical usages of “rock” in the Old Testament, especially in the Books of Deuteronomy and Psalms, with the appearance of “rock” in the New Testament.
This has an especially important bearing upon the proper understanding of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18. Any first century Jew that was the least cognizant of the Old Testament would have instantly recognized that in the usage of “rock” there Jesus was making claim to being the foundation for His church in the sense of being Divine. Almost never is “rock” used metaphorically of a mere man, and absolutely never it is used of something intangible like Peter’s confession. However, it is generally used metaphorically of God in many, many places, and Jesus’ usage of it here is a clear claim to Deity, and would have been recognized as such by most Jews.
Another Divine title from the Old Testament that is applied to Jesus in the New Testament is “the Holy One.” In Hosea 11:9 we read, “For I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee.” From this we see: (1) It is God that is speaking: “I am God.” (2) He says, “I am not man,” i.e., not a mere man speaking in God’s name and with His authority. Some might like to make this the meaning in those passages where Jesus is called God, but this denies that interpretation. (3) He is called “the Holy One.”
Turning to Acts 3:13-14, we find this title applied to the Lord Jesus. “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. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you.” This was also the title prophetically given in Psalm 16:10 and Psalm 89:18-19 to that Person of the Godhead that was to come to earth to be the Redeemer in due time. Jesus alone fulfilled that prophecy.
Again four times in the Book of Revelation Jesus is called “the Alpha and the Omega,” (Rev. 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13). Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, while Omega is the last. It is in effect saying that Jesus is the “first and last,” a title given to Jehovah in the Old Testament. In fact, “first and last” is a title given to Jesus several times in the Book of Revelation, (Rev. 1:11, 17; 2:8; 22:13), and its equivalency to “Alpha and Omega” is shown in the first of these. This is but another of God’s titles in the Old Testament, (Isa. 41:4), that is given to Jesus in the New Testament. “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord (literally Jehovah), the first, and with the last, I am He.” Again, in Isaiah 44:6 this title is associated with several other of the Lord’s names and titles. “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Here are six names and titles of Jehovah, all of which are given to the Lord Jesus in the New Testament. What else can we conclude from these things but that Jesus is essential deity—that He is nothing less than very God Himself in the fullest sense of the word.
In Revelation 1:18 there is yet another Divine title given to Jesus. He is called “The Living One,” as the inspired Greek reads. In Deuteronomy 32:40 Jehovah declares, “For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.” He is therefore the Living One as Jesus claims to be. In claiming to be “The Living One,” is not our Lord Jesus simply claiming to be the great “I AM” of Exodus 3:14, who identifies Himself as Jehovah Elohim in verse 15? “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
The title “I AM THAT I AM” signifies the self-existence and immutability of God. He does not call Himself “The One Who was,” nor does He call Himself “He that shall be,” for these might seem to intimate a changeableness in God. But in calling Himself “I AM,” He presents Himself as the ever-present One—the Living One. Indeed, the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) translates this title by ego eimi ho on, “I, I am the Existing One.” Jesus appropriated to Himself this title in John 8:58 and by it confuted the unbelieving Jews when He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Note carefully the two verbs. Such a statement could honestly be made by no one but God, Who alone lives forever, (Rev. 4:10).
All of these things are undeniable proofs of the deity of Jesus Christ, and there are many more that could be brought forth. However, these do not stand alone in proving this truth, for we may also prove this from—
- THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES THAT ARE PREDICATED OF HIM
Here as before there are numerous proofs of the deity of Jesus. All of the divine attributes of Almighty God are also predicated of Jesus Christ, but unless we make a specific study for these, we are apt to pass them by without recognizing them as such.
I think that we all recognize omnipotence—all-powerfulness—as an attribute of God alone. There is no way possible for two beings to both be omnipotent for if one is all-powerful, then none other is. Yet Jesus claims this attribute for Himself. Here again we must make a distinction that the Authorized Version does not make. Two different Greek words are both translated “power” except when they appear in the same verse. One (exousia) has to do with authority, while the other (dunamis) has to do with ability. They are found together in Luke 4:36. “And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.” It is questionable whether one can have all authority without also having all ability to exercise that authority. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority (exousia) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Did He also have the ability (dunamis) to exercise this authority? In Revelation 4:8 He is called “the Almighty” (Greek pantokrator). Therefore Jesus must be God, for none but God is “omnipotent” as this same Greek word is rendered in Revelation 19:6. To deny this claim is to deny the Scriptures and to blaspheme the Lord that makes this claim. But to admit this claim is to admit that Jesus Christ is God. The conclusion is inescapable, for Jesus’ omnipotence proves His deity. In Revelation 4:11 this Almighty One is also declared to be the Creator of all things, but John 1:3 traces this work to the Word—to Jesus Christ. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made?” If the Son of God created all things that are created, it naturally follows that He Himself is uncreated, and only God is uncreated. Genesis 1:1 is clear that it was God that created all things. Omnipotence alone could create all things, and omnipotence is an attribute of God alone.
In the second place we fmd Jesus claiming the attribute of omnipresence. In the same Great Commission mentioned before, Jesus concluded by testifying, according to the literal rendering of the Greek. “And lo, I, myself am with you all the days, even unto the consummation of the age.” (Matt. 28:20). If He is with His churches and people all the days until the end of this age, then He must be omnipresent, for His people and His churches are spread throughout the whole earth. “Omnipresence” means to be present everywhere at once, an attribute that is predicable only of Deity. By his very constitution man is restricted as to both time and space, but not so is God. He is above time and space, and is not controlled by either, something that is inconceivable to the human mind simply because we have no experience of either unlimited state. We see our Lord Jesus claiming this attribute again in Matthew 18:20. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The Lord’s churches in the different states of the United States of America, in South America, in the Islands of the Atlantic and Pacific and Indian Oceans, in the Oriental Nations, in European Nations, etc., are all assured of His presence with them. But this would be possible only if He is omnipresent, but this is an attribute only of Deity.
The attribute of omniscience is, in the third place, also predicated of Jesus Christ. Like the two foregoing attributes, this one has the Latin prefix omni that means all, and it is affixed to scientia, the Latin word for knowledge. Men have coined this word for the Divine attribute of all-knowledge, whether real or potential. In John 2:2425 we read: “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” This is in harmony with what we read of Jehovah in Psalm 94:8-11. This is all proof of His omniscience, or the ability to know all things. He possesses this attribute only because He is truly God, for only God can know all things. Hebrews 4:13 also gives evidence of His possession of this attribute. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” He sees all things, and therefore knows all things, for He is omniscient.
Fourth, the attribute of eternity is set forth of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, and only God can be eternal. He was “In the beginning,” (John 1:1), not “from the beginning” as Satan was, (John 8:44). There is a great difference in these two things. Hebrews 1:8 testifies of Christ’s eternity when it says: “But unto the Son he saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” If His throne is eternal, then He too must be eternal, else it was not His throne that was eternal. Any one that antedates “the beginning” is therefore uncreated, and so, eternal, and therefore must be Divine.
The following ten proofs of Jesus’ pre-existence also prove His deity. These are a condensation from Thomas Goodwin’s Treatise on the Knowledge of God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.
- We find him to have existed just afore he came into the world, the instance of his conception, (Heb. 10:5). 2. We find him to have existed afore John the Baptist, though John was conceived and born some months afore him, (John 1:15). 3, We find him existing when all the prophets wrote and spake, (1 Pet. 1:11). 4. We find him existing in Moses’ time, both because it was he that was tempted in the wilderness, (1 Cor. 10:9), and it was Christ that was the person said to be tempted by them, as well as now by us, as the word kai “as they also,” evidently shows. 5. We find him existing in and afore Abraham’s time, (John 8:58). 6. We find him existing in the days of Noah, (1 Pet. 3:19). He evidently distinguisheth of two natures, his divine and human, even as Romans 1:3, 4 and elsewhere; and then declares how by that divine nature, which he terms “Spirit,” in which he was existent in Noah’s times, he went and preached to those of the old world, whose souls are now in prison in hell. 7. He was extant at the beginning of the world, (John 1:1). 8. So then we come to this, that he hath been before the creation, yea, from everlasting. 9. If you would have his eternity yet more express, (see Heb. 7:3), where mentioning Melchisedec, Christ’s type, he renders him to have been his type in this. 10. Add to this that in Micah 5:2.
The immutability of Christ also proves His deity. Immutability means the state of being unchangeable, but man is all too changeable, and even the angels are not above this. Because He is finite, man is a constantly changing creature, and generally changing for the worse, unless God’s grace enters to change him for the better. The angels are also finite and therefore are changeable until God confirms them in a state of holiness, as He evidently has done to the elect angels. But God alone is constant, unvarying, unchanging. “... The Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” (Jam. 1:17).
The immutability of God is the ground of hope for man according to Malachi 3:6. “I am the Lord [JEHOVAH], I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” This divine attribute is also applied to Jesus Christ in Hebrews 13:8. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” Jesus’ immutability is another of the signal proofs of His Deity.
The sovereignty of Christ is another proof that we should consider. In Revelation 19:16 He is called “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Surely His sovereignty could not be set forth in any stronger language than this! The mightiest king or lord of the earth has One that is mightier, and to whom he must some day answer. Philippians 2:910 declares this also. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” But is not this the same thing as that which is set forth in Isaiah 45:21-23, which is here quoted? “There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; 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. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear.” This latter verse is quoted in Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10 of Jesus Christ, so that clearly He is the sovereign Jehovah of Isaiah 45.
Finally we consider the holiness of Christ as another Divine attribute. Of the human race we read, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:23). All sin is detraction from the deserved glory of God, and so, robs God of what is His due. “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one,” (Rom. 3:10-12). Even of those that are saved and justified by the blood of Christ we are told: “There is not a Just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not,” (Eccl. 7:20). “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us... If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us,” (1 John 1:8, 10). Even of the angels it is written, “He put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly,” (Job 4:18).
But of Jesus the Scriptures have a different testimony. Never once was there the slightest indication that He ever sinned in any way or degree not in thought, word, act or even by omission. He is called “The Holy One,” (Acts 2:27; 3:14). Man, even in his birth is “shapen in iniquity,” and “conceived in sin,” (Ps. 51:5), but Jesus before His birth was “that holy thing,” (Luke 1:35), nor did His holy character ever deteriorate subsequently. Of man it is said that, “There is no man which sinneth not,” (2 Chron. 6:36), but of Jesus the Scripture witnesses that He “knew no sin,” (2 Cor. 5:21). Man dies as he lives, a sinner, but in His death Jesus “offered himself without spot to God,” (Heb. 9:14). In Revelation 4:8 the four living creatures are seen constantly ascribing holiness to the Lord Jesus Christ in the same exact words as the seraphim used in ascribing holiness to Jehovah in Isaiah 6:3. Surely this is significant!
Holiness has been called the chief attribute of God, and certainly no other attribute outshines this one in Jesus’ life and ministry. From the first to the last, His life was one of holiness, so that He could challenge the most scrupulous and self-righteous of the Pharisees to “convict me of sin,” (John 8:46; literal rendering). His holiness alone, if there were no other attributes, would give evidence of Jesus’ deity. Isn’t it strange, if so be that Jesus is not God, that all of the attributes of God are also attributed to Jesus Christ? But if he is God, as Scripture often declares Him to be, then it is a perfectly natural thing that Divine attributes are so commonly found in Him. But Jesus deity may be further proven from—
- THE DIVINE ACTS ASCRIBED TO HIM
The first of these that we would consider is that which is first in time. Creation
is a divine act, according to Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” But when we turn to John 1:3 we find that the Divine agent for creation was the Word—Jesus Christ. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” This is an advance in revelation over Genesis 1:1. There we learn only that God was the Creator, while here we learn specifically which Person of the Godhead was the agent in Creation. Hebrews 1:1-3 gives us a further advance in revelation. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds: 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” See this same truth declared in Colossians 1:15-17.
Thus we learn from this that He not only created the worlds, but that He also is the sustainer of the universe down to this present time. Now this language leaves no room for quibbling about the meaning. It is clear and to the point. How then can some deny its meaning? Only a willing blindness to the truth explains it. Yet, many do deny this, and it is not necessary to single out any denomination or individual, for there are many that deny Jesus’ deity and endeavor to make Him only an exalted creature—an angel, or even an archangel. But the confutation of this theory comes in the same package with the proof of His deity, for Hebrews 1:4-6 goes on to say, “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” According to this, Jesus is not an angel, but is “much better than angels.” So much better than they that they are commanded to worship Him as their Lord and Creator. And if there is this great disparity between what Scripture shows the Son of God to be and what the angels are, how much more disparity is there between Him being a mere exalted man, as some hold Him to be, and what Scripture declares Him to be? Creation being clearly a divine act, and it being accomplished by Jesus Christ, He is obviously a Divine Being.
In the second place, the forgiveness of sins is a Divine act. Even the Jews recognized this, but being unwilling to admit Jesus’ Deity, they concluded that He was guilty of blasphemy. ‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way unto thine house,” (Mark 2:5-11).
The forgiveness of sins is not given into the hands of man, Romanism and others notwithstanding. Only One has been ordained to be the Savior to give remission of sins, and that One is Jesus Christ. “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins,” (Acts 5:30-31). Not only so, but lest any should conclude that there are others that could perform this same office, the inspired historian has also recorded that, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12). There is nothing other than that which the Lord revealed long ago through His prophet. “There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; 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,” (Isa. 45:21-22).
If there is but one God and Savior, must we conclude that Jesus and all His disciples were mistaken in thinking that He was the Savior? Or must we not rather conclude that Jesus is both God and Savior? Doubtless, for Paul was inspired to say, “Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:13; literal rendering). His Saviorhood proves His deity also.
Jesus’ control of all things is another signal evidence of Jesus’ deity, for Scripture declares that, “By Him all things consist,” (Col. 1:17). The Greek word rendered “consist” means literally “to stand” or “stand with” so that the idea is that in Jesus all things are held together and fulfill their purpose. Even more express is Hebrews 1:3: “...upholding all things by the word of his power.” Scripture records that Jesus sometimes controlled even tornadic storms, as in Mark 4:37-39. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full (more literally, was being filled). And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the winds, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
Modern man has learned much about the weather, and can track storms, and sometimes predict them, but none has ever been able to produce an instant calm out of a storm at sea or on land, yet this was exactly what Jesus did, and it evidences His deity. Long ago prophecy had said of Jehovah that, “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet,” (Nahum 1:3). Even the disciples recognized this as was subsequently shown. “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41).
Finally, Jesus’ resurrection gave evidence of His deity also, for, being God, “It was not possible that he should be holden of death,” (Acts 2:24). His own testimony was of His ability to lay down His life and to take it again. “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father,” (John 10:17-18).
Yet the Scriptures teach us that “Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death,” (Ps. 68:20). And again, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” (Ps. 89:48). And finally the conclusive answer. “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death,” (Eccl. 8:8). These Scriptures eliminate every son of Adam from the class of self-resurrecters. Only God has the power of life. We must conclude therefore that Jesus is God in the fullest sense of the word. This is why He called Himself “the resurrection, and the life,” (John 11:25). There is yet one other great evidence of Jesus’ deity. It is proven from—
- THE WORSHIP PAID TO, AND RECEIVED BY, HIM.
When John fell down before the angel to worship him in Revelation 19:10, the angel strictly forbade him to do so, for it would not be seemly for one creature to worship another. So too when Peter came into Cornelius’ house and Cornelius fell down at his feet to worship him, Peter “took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man,” (Acts 10:25-26). Here Peter certainly didn’t recognize his great prerogative as “the first Pope” (?), nor did he act like a pope in refusing to receive this man’s worship. And when the people of Lycaonia tried to worship Paul and Barnabas, they forbade it saying, “Sirs, why do ye these things? We are also men of like passions with you,” (Acts 14:13-15). From all of which we readily see that both angels and spiritual men refused worship in New Testament days because it was not right for them to accept or for men to give it.
But when we consider men’s attitudes toward Jesus, we find a different thing entirely. From the first to the last of His life He was paid, and He received, the worship of men. At His birth, wise men from the east came and worshipped Him, (Matt. 2:2, 11). And at His ascension He was worshipped by His disciples, (Luke 24:50-53), yet never was there a single remonstrance made by anyone at any worship paid to Jesus.
Jesus Himself acknowledged that worship is only to be paid to the Lord God. “Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” (Matt. 4:10). Yet Jesus readily accepted worship from men. What can we conclude from this but that He considered Himself to be God, and therefore worthy of worship?
Add to this the fact that God commands His angels to worship the Son. “And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, “And let all the angels of God worship him,” (Heb. 1:6). Men and angels both acknowledge Jesus’ deity by rendering worship unto Him. Jesus Himself manifested His deity by receiving the worship of His creatures. And the Father showed Jesus’ deity in commanding that He be worshipped. What greater proof could be demanded? Or being demanded, what other proof of Jesus’ deity could be given? If men will not accept this overwhelming burden of proof of Jesus’ deity, they would not accept anything as proof.
There is a big difference in honest skepticism and pure disbelief! The Apostle Thomas was a skeptic until he was confronted by his risen Lord, then all doubt disappeared, and he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God,” (John 20:28). No greater proof of his being completely convinced could be offered than this. Yet, those who are not honest skeptics, but plainly biased disbelievers puerility reject this proof by saying that Thomas was simply swearing in surprise at Jesus’ resurrection.
There are numerous other proofs of the deity of Jesus Christ, for these that we have looked at are only a sampling of proofs. These are sufficient for those that are simply ignorant of the truth, and so, are willing to be convinced by proof. But those that are biased against the truth will not be convinced by any arguments that could be adduced, for their minds are closed to anything but their own warped opinions.
Such wicked rebels against the Lord and His Christ will ultimately be fully convinced, for they will not be dead five seconds before they will be completely convinced of their error in rejecting Jesus’ deity. But it will then be too late, for God’s requirement is that man live by a heaven-wrought faith, not by human reasoning. However, isn’t it strange that men desire to controvert this glorious doctrine of Jesus’ deity? Isn’t it strange that they wish to destroy the most signal proof of God’s love to man, (John 3:14-18)? Could it be that their attempted resistance of this doctrine is due to a futile hope of pulling Jesus down to the level of mortal man so that they will have no responsibility to obey and trust Him for salvation? Man’s way has always been characterized by the phrase, “We will not have this man to reign over us,” (Luke 19:14), and only through divine grace is anyone brought to trust Him. How thankful we should be that we are of that number that have been chosen by grace in eternity past, and conquered by grace in time so as to be brought to be heirs of the grace of God. There is no salvation in or by man, and unless the One called the Savior of man is more than man, yea, the very God of heaven, then we are “of all men most miserable,” (1 Cor. 15:19). This Greek word (eleeinos) has its roots in the word for “pity,” and so, could be rendered “most to be pitied.” But it is not enough to recognize the Deity of Christ. One could fully recognize this, yet still go out into eternal sorrow and suffering if one does not receive by faith the salvation that is in Christ alone.
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