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IS JESUS GOD?
By Gary F. Zeolla
Does the Bible teach that Jesus is God? Is He the LORD (Jehovah)? What follows is a systematic, twelve-point, Biblical defense of the Deity of Jesus Christ.
Numerous verses in the Bible explicitly call Jesus God or ascribe Deity to Him:
Isa 7:14; 9:6; Jer 23:5; Matt 1:22f; John l:l; 5:18; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom 8:9; 9:5; Phil 2:6f; Col 2:9; 1Tim 3:16; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2Peter 1:1.
Jesus acted as possessing the attributes of Deity.
He forgave sin which only God can do (Mark 2:5-12; Luke 7:47-50).
He placed His own words on par with the words of God (Matt 5:27f; 31f).
He spoke as being omniscient (Matt 17:27; Mark 2:8; Luke 9:46f; 11:17; John 1:48; 4:16-18).
He foretold the future (Matt 16:21; 24:25; 26:21-25; 31-25; John 21:18f).
Jesus controlled the weather which is the prerogative of God (Mark 4:39-41, compare Job 38:25-38).
He even promised direction and comfort to His followers based on His omnipresence (Matt 18:20; 28:20 cp. Heb 13:5 see also John 1:48; 3:13).
Attributes of God are ascribed to Jesus by others: Jesus is declared to be:
Omniscient (John 2:23-25; 16:30; 21:17)
Omnipresent (Eph 1:23; 4:10)
Omnipotent (Phil 3:21).
Eternally pre-existent (Isa 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1; Col 1:17)
Immutable ( not able to change--Heb 1:8-12; 13:8).
Acts of God are attributed to Jesus:
Jesus is said to be the Agent of creation (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2); yet, the LORD declares that He creates by Himself (see Isa 44:24). The LORD God breathed the breath of life into humans (Gen 2:7). But Peter proclaims Jesus to be the Prince (or Originator) of life (Acts 3:14 see also John 1:4). Jesus is also the sustainer of the universe (Col 1:17; Heb 1:3).
In the Old Testament, the LORD is the only One who can save people from their sins (Isa 43:25; 44:21; 63:16). As the New Testament opens, an angel declares to Joseph, ". . . you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matt 1:21 see also Eph 1:7). Furthermore, Peter quotes the prophet Joel as saying, ". . . whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). Later, Peter claims that only the name of Jesus can save (Acts 4:12).
Jesus is treated like He is God:
He is worshipped by humans and angels (Matt 14:33; 28:9; John 9:38; Heb 1:6; Rev 5:8-14; cf. Acts 12:20-23; Rev 19:10).
He receives the kind of "service" that is only allowed to God (Rev 22:3f Greek--latreuo; cf. Matt 4:10).
People even pray to Jesus (Acts 7:59f; 2Cor 12:8; 1John 5:13-15).
The Old Testament theophanies (appearances of God) are actually pre-incarnate appearances of Christ. This fact can be established because Jesus tells us, "Not that anyone has seen the Father . . ." (John 6:46). A comparison of John 12:41 with Isa 6:1-5 will confirm it was the Son, not the Father, who appeared to Isaiah. Yet, Isaiah specifically exclaims, ". . . my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts" (Isa 6:5 see also Gen 18; Exod 33:11, 20, etc.).
The Angel of the LORD is an interesting Person in the Old Testament. Sometimes the Angel of the LORD and the LORD are presented as being two distinct Persons (2Sam 24:16f; 1Chron 21:15f, 27). More often, though, the names seem to belong to the same Person (Exod 3:2,4; 13:21; 14:19; Judges 6:12-15; 13:21f).
A similar situation is seem in the Revelation in the relationship of God and the Lamb. God sits on the throne; but, the Lamb "is in the midst of the throne" (Rev 7:10, 17). Later, the throne is said to belong to BOTH God and the Lamb (Rev 22:1, 3). Further, there is no temple in the New Jerusalem ". . . for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple" (Rev 21:22 cp. 1Kings 8:10-13). In addition, the glory of God and of the Lamb illumines the city (Rev 21:23 see Isa 60:19f).
Titles of Deity are held by both God and Jesus; yet, these titles are such that only One can possess them.
"The Alpha and the Omega; the First and the Last" (Isa 44:5; Rev 1:8, 11, 17f; 2:8; 21:66; 22:12-17).
"The King of kings and the Lord of lords" (1Tim 6:16; Rev 17:14; 19:16).
Jesus is said to be the "Rock" who sustained the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. However, Israel at the time believed the LORD their God was their "Rock" (1Cor 10:4; Deut 32:3f; 8:2-5).
In the Pastoral epistles, Paul juxtaposes God and Jesus when referring to "our Savior" (1Tim 1:1; 2:3; 2Tim 1:10; Titus 1:3f; 2:10, 13f; 3:4, 6). But the LORD says, ". . . there is no savior besides Me" (Hos 13:4 see also Isa 43:11).
Passages in the Old Testament that refer to the LORD are quoted or alluded to in the New Testament in reference to Jesus. Compare the following sets of verses:
Deut 10:14; Acts 10:36
Ps 34:8; 1Peter 2:3
Ps 102:25; Heb 1:10
Isa 26:19; 60:1; Eph 5:14
Isa 43:10; Acts 1:8
Isa 45:23; Phil 2:10
Jer 9:24; 2Cor 10:17; Phil 3:3
Jer 17:10; Rev 2:23
Joel 2:32; Rom 10:13
Zech 11:12f; Matt 26:14f
Zech 12:10; John 19:37
Mal 3:1; Mark 1:2.
God uses plural, first person pronouns--"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Gen 1:26). From the earliest times, the Church has interpreted this phrase as the Father speaking to the Son (see The Epistle of Barnabas 5:5, written about 100 AD; see also Gen 11:7). The Lord even freely moves from the singular to the plural--"Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" (Isa 6:8).
And finally, three verses in the Old Testament indicate there are two Persons with the name "the LORD" (Gen 19:24; Zech 2:10f; 3:1) and one passage hints there are two Persons called "God" (Ps 45:7 see Heb 1:8f).
Given this wealth of information, the only logical conclusion is, Jesus is God! He is the LORD. He Himself claimed to be God; the Biblical writers portray Him as One who possesses essential Deity.
Further, Jesus proclaimed, " if you do not believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins" (John 8:24; MKJV, compare Exod 3:14; Deut 32:39; Isa 43:10). The vital question Jesus poses to every person is "But who do YOU say that I am?" (Matt 16:15, emphasis added).
Note: All Scripture references from: The New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, unless otherwise indicated.
Is Jesus God? What Does the Bible Teach? Copyright © 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.dtl.org).
The above article originally appeared in Darkness to Light
newsletter in 1991.
It was posted on this Web site in July 1996.
The Doctrine of the Trinity:
The Doctrine of the Trinity Person and Work of Jesus Christ
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