The Divinity of Christ, part 12
Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father
Now let us return to this idea of the Father saying: “Sit at my right hand, Son, until I make your enemies your footstool.” We know this was and is being fulfilled to this day. First, consider this from the epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 12.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Where is Jesus now? He is seated at the right hand of the Father. We find that also confirmed in Hebrews 1.
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 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;
Let us pause there momentarily to note that it has to be understood that when it says “by whom also he made the worlds,” it refers to the Son in His pre-incarnate existence as the Word. But the writer of Hebrews uses the word “Son” there in order to make the point of the deity of Christ in the rest of this sentence.
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, [Who? Jesus Christ, the Son is…]
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;
There we have it again. When Jesus ascended into the heavenly realm, where did He go? Where is He? Well, I don’t know how much, if any, physical, three-dimensional locality we can assign to it, but in whatever sense it is meant, Jesus is described as being “seated at the right hand of the Father.” But let us not leave this verse without noticing the very important pointers to His deity here. The first part again…
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
Do we see that? The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is the express image of his (the Father’s) person! That phrase “express image” is translated in the New American Standard as…
NAU Hebrews 1:3 … the exact representation of His nature,
And in the New Revised Standard version as…
NRS Hebrews 1:3 He is… the exact imprint of God's very being,
The Rotherham Literal Version reners it thus: that Jesus is…
Hebrews 1:3: …an exact representation of his very being.
Connect this with what we found in part 10, that “in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” and we can know that this just adds further weight that Jesus is God of very God. If we move down to verse 7 and beyond, we will find proof of the divinity of Christ that cannot possibly be explained away in an honest manner.
Hebrews 1: 7 And of the angels he saith,
Who is the “He” speaking here? We must go back to verse one to find out that it is Yahweh, God the Father…
Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
The Father is addressing the Son as God! So, that is another verse where we simply must exclaim: can it be made any more clear than that? This is a passage I have never heard or read of the modern Arians, the anti-deity people even attempting to refute. They simply ignore it. I wonder why.
As we go to John, chapter 10 now, we move to another area of proofs—this is concerning the resurrection of Jesus. Let’s begin with this rhetorical question: who raised Christ from the dead? Most believers will answer that the Father did. I am inclined to agree with that. Because in our understanding, when one is dead, one has no power to do anything, let alone raise oneself from the dead. And yet, because there will always be some degree of mystery to the Trinity, we find this enigmatic statement by our Lord in …
John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh 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 commandment have I received of my Father.
We encounter a further and similar statement by Jesus in…
John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
So, according to these verses, who did Jesus say would raise Him from the dead? He said that not only did He have the power to do it, but that He would do it. That brings us to this issue. As Christians we all believe that not only did God create the entire universe, but that He upholds it by His power and might. So this leads some people to question the deity of Christ because when He died on the cross, if He were God, and “God died,” then the universe should have dissolved into nothingness.
And for this reason, some conclude that Jesus could not be God. We can understand their reasoning. But if they only had read Acts 3 in this connection, they might conclude otherwise. This is Peter telling it like it is to the assembled men of Israel. He tells them…
Acts 3:14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
He is referring to our Lord Jesus Christ, of course, and just to refresh our memories, we found that the title of Holy One is applied to both the Father in the Old Testament and to Jesus in the New Testament. But I digress.
15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
Alright, so Jesus said that He would raise Himself from the dead. Yet Peter, speaking under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, declares that God raised Jesus from the dead. Is there a contradiction? No. But the only way the two can be harmonized is to accept the fact that Jesus is God.
When He died on the cross, was He God? Absolutely. He was fully God and fully man. As we stated earlier, a dead person cannot do anything, so therefore it was Jesus in His oneness with the Father that raised Him from the dead.
Furthermore, the universe is still here, so even though God did die on the cross, God also still existed full and complete in the heavenly realm—in higher dimensions, if you like—and certainly, beyond all dimensions, since He created them all. How God can both have died and yet be still existing is mind-boggling…for us finite mortals.
Friends, we are dealing with mysteries which we must confess are ultimately beyond our ability to understand, but that does not mean that we cannot or should not attempt to understand to the extent that our Father allows us to understand.
For example, we understand the principles of higher and lower dimensions by means of the Flatland analogy, as discussed in our series called From Inner Space to Outer Space. With the advent of the computer in the 20th century, perhaps now we can fathom just a bit deeper into the Godhead mystery by analogy to this commonplace tool.
It is, without question, like every other analogy that we could conceive, woefully inadequate when it comes to God, and yet, perhaps it will help us climb another rung or two on the ladder of understanding our God and His true nature.
Without getting into robotics, let us agree that computers, at least in the year 2019, are still stationary machines that have no means of locomotion, no mobility, no physical strength, etc. So in this analogy, we are not likening God’s omnipotence and other divine attributes, but only His omniscience.
We can attempt an analogy in the sense that the Father is like a mainframe computer at headquarters or heaven. Let’s say this mainframe is in Atlanta. In its memory banks, is all the knowledge of the universe. In Cincinnati—or down on earth—is another computer, let’s call it a PC. It is quite limited in size in comparison to the mainframe. The Father shrunk Himself down in order to become one of the descendants of Abraham and David.
Yet, even though this computer is smaller than the mainframe, it has a continuous wireless connection with the mainframe. And the computer in Cincinnati has complete and immediate access to everything in the memory banks of the mainframe. The computer in Cincinnati is a server (servant) for the whole Cincinnati metropolitan area. It is one of those most modern computers which has tremendous parallel processing capabilities.
In other words, while one portion of the computer is working on plotting weather patterns, there is another side of the computer which is working on something else. But all processing paths have a 24/7 wireless connection with the mainframe in Atlanta—the Father in heaven. Then one day, after about 33 years of continuous and perfect operation in service to humanity, a virus comes into the Cincinnati computer. This is Jesus taking on the sin of the world.
There are safeguards so that the virus cannot ride the wireless connection and get back to Atlanta and infect the mainframe. That’s because the firewalls are out of this world. I guess we could say it is one hell of a firewall. ☺
Anyhow, within a very short time, like less than 24 hours, the virus has so ravaged the Cincinnati server PC that one portion of the parallel processing capability is almost totally ruined. That side has lost the wireless connection also. Meanwhile, the other paths are rapidly falling victim to the virus as well—That is Jesus on the cross now—and at some point, the Atlanta mainframe tells the Cincinnati server that there is only one way to solve the situation.
And that is to sever the remaining wireless connection—that’s when Jesus cries out on the cross—why have You forsaken me? And following that, the plug will have to be pulled. That’s when Jesus expires. Then the soldier thrusts the lance into His side. That was to make sure the battery back-up was expired also.
When that happened (and please allow for the purpose of analogy), there was no power to maintain any of the data. In any event, the hard drive had become totally corrupted just before the power went out. The good news is that Headquarters in Atlanta immediately dispatched a couple of messengers to Cincinnati. They took the scenic route and arrived on the third day early in the morning. First they disassembled the old hardware.
Then they pulled the brand new server out of the box and booted it up. It is even more advanced than the old PC. This one is an Apple (but it is pristine, with no bite taken out of it [wink, wink]) so that it comes with interchangeable covers. Some of the friends of the old PC did not recognize the new server as being their old friend in a new body, as it were, until they began exchanging data.
All the old memories were there, completely uncorrupted. It was just like the old server they had known, all the wisdom of the universe was in this new one as well. It was indeed the resurrected server, this time with an incorruptible hard drive and replaceable hardware…End of story.
Obviously, the analogy falls infinitely short of the reality, but I trust that helps somewhat in letting us grasp how Jesus could be fully God and yet could die, and yet the universe did not implode. What an Almighty God we serve!