Was Jesus Truly God?

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Part Four - The Deity of Jesus Christ

 

One of my members came to me the other day and shared how the Jehovah Witnesses had deposited some literature in a reading room at the home he now resides in. He told me he could not get over how straight forward the literature was in declaring that most Christians are wrong in believing that Jesus was God, Second person of the Trinity. This prompts me to ask the questions, was Jesus God and is this doctrine really important to the faith?

Let me begin by addressing the first Question. The Bible clearly states that Jesus was God and part of a triune Godhead know as the Trinity. The passages that make this declaration are numerous and very clear. Let me site just a few as examples.

1) In John 1:1-3, John clearly presents Jesus as being the eternal God who created all things. Note the clear statements that John makes about the Deity of Christ:

a. “in the beginning” – John clearly starts out his book this way to draw the reader back to the first verse of the Bible, Gen.1:1. By doing so John is declaring that the same God who created all things is the God who became a man to save mankind from their sins. Even a JW Greek proffesor admited to me that John had Genesis 1:1 in mind here.

b. “Was the Word.” – John uses the past tense of the verb here to indicating that at the beginning of all things created Jesus already “was” in existence. Before Creation there was no time for time requires a "beginning point" (Gen. 1:1). Therefore anything that existed before Creation had to be eternal, without beginning or ending. The Bible declares only One God is eternal, without beginning and end. Since Jesus existed before Creation therefore He must be the eternal, and since He is eternal, we must conclude that He is God. 

Isaiah drives this point home when he writes a series of names to identify the coming Messiah and he describes the Lord as the “everlasting father” or better translated, “the father of time.” In essence Jesus is the one who began time and Jesus is the one who end time. Thus Jesus speaks of Himself as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending indicating He is Lord and Creator of time and all that exists in time (Rev. 1:18, 11; 21:6; 22:13)

c. “The Word was with God” – the preposition “with”does not carry the full idea in the English that it does in the Greek.  The word means to “dwell on a level equal to someone or something else” and when applied to Jesus it means He dwelt on a level equal with God. The only One who is capable of dwelling on an equal level with God is God Himself for it is impossible for any creation to dwell on a level equal to its Creator. Therefore John's assertion is that Christ dwelt on a level equal with God because He is God..

d. “The Word was God” – Now the Jehovah Witnesses are quick to point out that the Greek word for “God” (theos) does not have a Greek article in front of it. Usually an article in front of a noun in Greek means the word is a proper noun and is either capitalized or the word “the” is added indicating a particular thing or person. This would be the difference between "a president" and "the president." Since the article is not present in this phrase they say that the reading should be “the Word was a god” not the “the God” as it is found in their New World Translation. 

Let us note what every first year Greek student learns. A proper noun in Greek does not have to have a Greek article in order to understood as a proper noun. Normally the article is used but not always. It is not a hard and fast grammatical rule. Even the Jehovah Witness translation recognizes this fact in their translation of “God: in John 1:2, 6, 12 where they treat God with a capital G even though there is no Greek article. They do not follow the very rule they claim mustgovern the translation of John 1:1. The onlyreason they seek to impose it here is because if they do not, the verse totally undermines their theology. In other words, if you do not like what the Bible says, make it say what you want it to say. For a more indepth study of how the Jehovah Witnesses mistranslate the Scrptures in order to conceal the teaching of the deity of Christ click the Icon.

 e. “All things were made by Him”. Once again john is speaking of the Deity of Christ for He is declaring that Christ was the Creator God, spoken of in the OT as the Creator of all things. (v.3)

2) John 8:58, Jesus declares that "before Abraham was, I Am." The phrase "I Am" is the sacred name of God given through Moses in the OT (Ex. 3:14). Jesus was clearly declaring that He was the Jehovah of the Old Testament.

3) In John 10:30-33; 14:10, Jesus says that “He and the Father are One.” Only someone who is equal too and of the same essence with God could make such a statement. The religious leaders of the day understood what He was saying, for they sought to stone Him because he “made Himself God.”

4) Rom 9:5, Christ is described as the “One who is overall, the eternally blessed God.”

5) Phil. 2:6-8, Christ did not think being on an equal level with the other two Members of the Trinity was too important to let go of. He therefore humbled Himself by laying aside the exercise of His divine attributes, to become a man, a little lower than an angel (Heb. 2:7, 9). He did stop here, but He humbled Himself further by become a servant to all mankind”

6) Col. 1:16-17, Christ is declared the Creator and sustainer over all created things clearly indicating that He is God.

7) 1 Tim. 3:16, “God was manifested in the flesh”.

8) Titus 2:13-14, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”

9) 2 Peter 1:1, “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

10) One other proof of the Deity of Christ is the description that John makes of Christ in his gospel. John calls Jesus the “Son of God”. Now this phrase might be a bit confusing if only viewed from the English for the word “son” in English means the offspring of. However, the word that John uses in the Greek is a different word than that of an “offspring,” It is a word that means “of the same essence as” and thus when John called Christ the “Son of God”, he was saying that Christ was of “the same essence as God” therefore making Him equal with the Father, without beginning and end. Now I can support this understanding of the term by the very words of these theologians of Jesus day. In John 5:18 we read, “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.”

It is clear then that Jesus was God, equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit and thus there must be a Trinity as seen in Matthew 28:19-20.

Now the second question. Is it important to believe that Jesus was God. The answer, it is more than just important, it is essential to believe in the Deity of Christ if one hopes to obtain eternal life. I am sorry to say that the Jehovah Witnesses and others who deny the Lord’s Deity will not receive eternal life but will instead spend all eternity in the everlasting lake of fire. I know these are very strong words but this is not founded in my opinion. My opinion does not matter. This is what God says and if God says it, then it must be true. Let me share a couple of references to illustrate my point. Note that the sign of a believer is one who believes that Christ came in the flesh and the one who does not believe this truth is an unbeliever and has the spirit of Antichrist.

1) 1 John 4:2-3, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

2) 2 Peter 2:1-3, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them,

3) 2 John 7-8, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

As you can see, it does matter that you believe that Jesus was God come in the flesh and not a god created by God the Father. Those who deny this cardinal truth show that God does not dwell within them but they are moved by the prince and power of the air, Satan himself. He is the author of the spirit of Antichrist.

Do you believe that Christ came as God and took on a body to become a sinless sacrifice for all of man? Do you believe that you are lost in your sins and condemned already to hell (Jn. 3:18)?

Do you believe that there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation (Eph. 2:8-10)? Have you therefore asked Jesus to forgive you of all your sins and have you put your faith in His promise that He will give you everlasting life? If you haven’t, today would be a marvelous day to do so. Who knows whether this may be our last day on earth. What a shame to be so close to heaven and end up in hell.