The Divinity of Christ, part 10
Comparing the works of God and Christ
In the previous post, we concluded where Jesus was essentially telling Philip and the others that, if nothing else, then look at the works that I do, and that should convince you that I and the Father are one. Then, let us do that—let us look at the works of Christ and see if there is evidence from His works to warrant the conclusion that He is God. We shall see how the works of God (the Father) are also ascribed to our Lord Jesus the Christ. Let’s start at the very beginning: the creation.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
… 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
We have already discussed John 1:1 previously, but let’s look at it once again, and see it from another perspective now.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [and let’s insert part of verse 14 here again.]
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
That sounds wholly inclusive to me, don’t you agree? There is nothing that exists which was not made by God. And now, as we drop down to verse 10, it is speaking now of Jesus and it says:
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
This concept of the Word became flesh is reiterated in Colossians 1, along with a second witness that Christ as the eternal God was the Creator. Speaking of Jesus, it says:
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Remember what we just saw in Philip’s little discourse with Jesus? Jesus is the image of the invisible God; in other words, He is God manifested in a body of flesh and blood. This next verse is a marvelous praise to our God, Jesus.
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
he is before all things,… In the Greek, “before” is the preposition pro and it can refer to time or place. Here, the context could be both, but certainly it clearly refers to His eternal existence.
by him all things consist… is another reference to His omnipotence, do you see that?
As the Creator, God is said to be the Lord over all His creation, the Master of the Universe, if you will. God (as the Father and the Word, the pre-incarnate Christ) not only created the material world and all the invisible realms, but He also established the rules, the laws, by which the world and the universe operate. He established the times, the seasons, the weeks and the sabbath rests. He is Lord over it all.
Mark 2:23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Since the Sabbath is a divine institution, this was a clear claim to deity by Jesus. He created it; He is lord over it, and that settles it.
Without the initial Creation, there would have been no other works of God, so creation could be said to be the most important work, but what would be another very important work of God? Let me give you a hint. God created man and man fell. In that regard, then, what would, to us, be a very important work of God? How about redemption and salvation? For the sake of time, we will quote one Old Testament verse for both salvation and redemption. It is found in…
Isaiah 49:25 But thus saith the LORD, [Hebrew: YHWH, Yahweh. And that is all we further we need go in that verse, because we are simply establishing the fact that it is the Father who is speaking; so on to verse 26…]
26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
According to that verse, who is the savior and redeemer? Yahweh, the invisible God. And yet you can go into just about any Christian church in America and ask the Christians who their redeemer and savior is, and they will answer “Jesus Christ.” Are they correct or not? Yes, of course they are. Jesus is the savior of the world and the redeemer of Israel. Let’s look at the epistle to Titus, chapter 3.
Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Okay, who in this verse is identified as the savior? God. Keeping in mind the axiom: if a=c and b=c, then a = b; go back up a few verses to …
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
It is as clear as glass that Jesus is both God and savior.
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,…
Jesus is the redeemer as well. As part of the work of God saving us, He forgives our sins. But just who can forgive sins? Can anyone? Well, yes, with certain limitations. Because if you or my family member or a Christian brother or sister wrongs me; i.e., sins against me, I can forgive him for the trespass against me. But who can forgive sins against God? …Only God, of course. With that in mind, turn to Isaiah 43.
Isaiah 43:16 Thus saith the LORD, […again we’ll truncate that verse because we are just showing that God is speaking through Isaiah here when He says in…]
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Only God can forgive sins in the universal sense. Let’s now compare this Old Testament passage about God the Father forgiving sins with an event in the life of Jesus.
Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies?
Let us pause there to ask: What did the scribes consider blasphemy? The answer follows.
7b who can forgive sins but God only?
They were correct about that point. Evidently, the paralyzed man had sinned, but he had not sinned against Jesus on a personal level. He had not stolen His cloak or anything like that, so Jesus was tendering forgiveness to him in the universal sense.
8 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?
9 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?
10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,…
In other words, by doing this act, Jesus was claiming—and the scribes clearly understood that He was claiming—to be God!
10b (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
So now, as we said at the outset, there is not one place in the Bible where you can find Jesus stating, “I am God.” But yet, as we analyze the things He did say, and we understand the context of how the scribes and Pharisees would have understood Him, Jesus was certainly telling them the truth when they asked Him to tell them plainly and He responded, I have told you already; but you won’t believe.
What would be another work of God? Well, since He is man’s Creator, does it not follow that He has the exclusive right to be the judge on the conduct of His creatures? Let’s look at…
Psalm 50:1 <A Psalm of Asaph.> The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
Clearly, Yahweh-God is declared to be the judge in this Old Testament passage. Let us now compare it to some passages in the New Testament. First, let’s go to Acts 10. In this chapter, we find Cornelius, the centurion, had a vision in which an angel tells him to call for a man named Simon Peter and he would tell him what he must do. Peter comes to Cornelius’ house and in the preaching, Peter says this about Jesus.
Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
So here in the New Testament, it is Jesus who is to be the judge of both the living and the dead. Does that leave anybody out? Let’s go back to the gospel of Matthew, chapter 13. Jesus told many parables—many of them are in Matthew 13—and naturally most of them have reference to Himself in one way or another. In verse 37, for example, Christ is explaining the parable of the sower and the seed.
Matthew 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
So here Jesus is referring to Himself in claiming authority not only over men, but over angels as well. He says he will direct them as to which men are to be cast into the furnace of fire and which people will remain to shine forth in the kingdom. Christ is claiming to be the judge of all men. This is a claim to divinity. In the Old Testament, the Father claims He will judge and in the New Testament, Jesus the Son claims authority to judge. Let us now turn to another work of God which is very precious to all of us who have been given to see that we are the literal descendants of Jacob-Israel; that we are God’s sheep people.
Ezekiel 34:11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; [In this case, the word rendered GOD (in all capital letters, was substituted by the KJV translators for the tetragrammaton, YHWH (Yahweh).] Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
According to this verse, who is going to search for His sheep? Yahweh Himself will do it.
12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
We have already shown (in a previous post) that both Jesus and Yahweh are the great and good shepherd. Look now in Matthew 15. This is Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman who was asking Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus’ first response is this:
Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Let us add to this Jesus’ words in
John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
How many shepherds? One shepherd. This is referring to the chief shepherd because we know that Christian pastors are also referred to as shepherds. So, if there is only one chief shepherd, then who is it, Yahweh or Yahshua? God the Father or God the Son? It is both because they are one and the same.
Jesus is saying here that He is fulfilling the prophecy we just read in Ezekiel 34:12 which stated that Yahweh would seek out His sheep. Isn’t this marvelous where time after time and in text after text, we find Yahweh in the Old Testament equals Yahshua in the New Testament? God the Father in the Old Testament equals Jesus, God the Son, in the New Testament.
At this juncture, let me briefly show you that the objections of the Arians, past and present can be refuted with relative ease. I am not going to spend a lot of time refuting objections because, first of all, there just aren’t that many reasonable objections to begin with.
Secondly, because my purpose in these lectures is to present to you such an overwhelming number and manner of proofs of the divinity of our Lord that anyone who attempts to deny it will be faced with an ocean of cogent objections to his position. But I did say some time back that I would discuss further the one in John 14:28, so please turn there. We have already discussed it, but now I want us to look at it again in the context of this objection.
John 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
“My Father is greater than I.” How does one answer that? It sounds unequivocal on the surface, doesn’t it? Of course it does…when one interprets it from a predetermined position of Arianism. See my blogs on parts 3, 4 and 5 in this series for my discussion of Arianism.
But with the overwhelming abundance of evidence and weight of evidence on the pro-deity side, is there not some way to interpret and harmonize this statement without distorting or stretching the meaning of it? I certainly think there is.
It goes back to the false theory of the eternal sonship of Jesus which we mentioned earlier. That is the key. When Jesus is stating here that His Father is greater than He is, He is speaking as the begotten Son, the man who had a beginning.
Once again, keep in mind the Flatland analogy from my Inner Space/Outer Space series, the idea of how a superior being can lower himself to live and exist among beings who exist in fewer dimensions. With that in mind, then Jesus is essentially explaining to the apostles here: [To avoid misunderstandings, please note that the words are in quotation marks, not that Jesus actually said these words, but I use the quotation marks as a grammatico-rhetorical device to illustrate my point.]
“You see, men, my Father is greater than I am in my present human state. I and the Father are one. We are the same Being, but I deliberately limited myself when I entered the flesh realm so that you could see the one God, who is normally invisible.
“I lowered myself into your three-dimensional world so that you can see me, hear me audibly, touch me—Thomas, you will remember that later—and so that you all can laugh with me, weep with me, walk down dusty roads with me, eat meals and drink wine with me, and so forth.
“I took on a body like you have so that you could more easily relate to God. And so, while I am in this flesh and blood body, My Father and your Father IS greater than me in this body. Do you get it now, Philip?
In 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul is writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and Paul declares.
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
How much more clear do we need it to be? But still, someone might suggest that maybe Jesus the Messiah was only partly God and partly man. By so saying, ye do err. Turn to Colossians 2. In fact, He was fully God and fully man. Speaking of Christ, Paul states:
Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Again, can it be made any more plain than that? He was not partly God. He was fully God. Let me deal with one other objection which I heard one time, and this goes back to our dull apostle, Philip, in John 14:8. I am jesting, of course, about Philip being dull. I am certain he was not alone in his lack of understanding. He was simply the one who spoke up. I would bet the others didn’t get it either. If you were one of the apostles, do you think you would have understood?
John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
“he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” In view of the Flatland, multi-dimensional analogy, I hope that how this is literally accurate is now within your understanding.
Well, I once heard a person quote that phrase and then explain that this really did not mean that Jesus was claiming to be God. According to this person, you see, all Jesus meant by that is explained by this analogy which he then related. It goes like this:
It is like you are at a get-together with friends and all the children are over there running around and playing, and one of your friends says to you:
“Look at little Johnny over there next to his daddy. Doesn’t he take after his dad a lot? He really favors his dad, doesn’t he? Why, if you’ve seen little Johnny, you’ve seen his father.”
My dear brothers and sisters, I guess you will have to choose which analogy makes more sense, mine or this one. But to me, someone might think they can explain away that verse with a simple idiomatic expression like that, but I do not think Jesus meant it that way. Moreover, there is an entire ocean full of other passages which cannot be dismissed in that manner—passages such as I quoted above:
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh,” [1 Timothy 3:16] and “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” [Colossians 2:]
Next, we will continue demonstrating to you by comparing Scripture with Scripture that Jesus IS God.
(To be continued.)