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Is Jesus God?
By Peter Kamen
 

Over the past six months or so, I have been called upon to address a concept, which seems to have a tendency to find its way into the Church of God from time to time.  While certainly not a new issue (the early New Testament church was forced to address it as a result of encroaching Gnosticism), it has once again surfaced.  The issue involves Jesus and His “pre-New Testament” status. 

This subject is actually a two-pronged issue.  One segment concerns itself with the question “Did Jesus Christ exist in any form prior to His coming and the New Testament era?”  The other segment, which is based on the first,  “Was and is, Jesus God?” 

While this is not a new idea, the "Jesus is/was not God" issue is finding its way into the Church of God in an upfront fashion.  A major publication that addresses the Churches of God has published a series of viewpoints by different authors.  One prominent minister has reportedly held a seminar on the West coast recently to discuss his position that Jesus is not God. 

The purpose of this article is to show that there were in fact two beings known as Jehovah/YHWH in pre-New Testament times and to sow that Jesus Christ was, and is now, God.  We will examine the key Scriptures of this issue, but certainly not every one to which we could allude.  You are encouraged to study your Bible and build on what is presented here. 

It will be most helpful if we establish something of major importance in approaching an issue such as this; that is, this subject must be studied in a contextual manner.  If we are not careful, we can find ourselves becoming entangled in a philosophical ball of yarn, which will serve nothing more than to generate endless questions.  Therefore, let’s begin with some foundational Scriptures. 

God of the Old Testament 

As anyone with the slightest degree of Biblical familiarity knows, the very first scriptural statement, which one encounters is Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”  Here the word translated into “God is yhla or elohiym.  According to Strong’s this word is a plural of [0433] elowahh meaning God or the deity.  Elohiym can be translated as:

·             Rulers or judges

·             Divine ones

·             Angels

·             God, goddess

·             Godlike one

·             Works or special possessions of God

·             The [true] God

·             God  

The bottom line here is, that in the Old Testament, it is impossible to argue that the word “God” is used only in one sense.  We can only be sure of the meaning of the word when we see it in its intended context. 

God of the New Testament 

The opening statement of the Gospel of John affords us an enhanced detail of Genesis 1.  John 1:1-2:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  The Greek word used here for Word is Logos.  Actually Logos is a word that also has multiple definitions ranging from “something said or implied” to “speech” or “speaker”. 

An interesting point derived from one commentary states: “A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus first used to term Logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe.  This word was well suited to John’s purpose in John chapter 1.” (Crosswalk on Line Bible Study). 

So here we have an entity referred to as the Word, who was WITH God, and WAS God.  In verse three, John goes on to tell us that, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” 

The word God, as used here is the Greek word Theos, which means a general name of deities or one true God. 

Who Did The Talking? 

Now there are many incidents recorded in the Old Testament, which show God conversing with man.  Who was this Being that humans conversed and interacted with? 

While there are numerous Scriptures that record such incidents, we will examine a few of the most familiar examples.  

In Genesis 3:8-14, we have the account of where the Lord God spoke to Adam and Eve.  The word Lord used here is the well-known Jehovah/YHWH, or “self-existing one,” and the word God used in this context is Elohiym, which we have examined.  Once again remember, context is important here.  Someone is represented in these verses as a combination of  Self-Existent and one of the definitions of Elohiym, which is plural in nature.  This same combination is again used in Exodus 6:2: “And God [Elohiym] spake unto Moses and said unto him ‘I am the Lord’ [Jehovah].” 

God is revealing Himself as a plural status, or family of self-existent beings.  This is also the case with Deuteronomy 6:4, which is often referred to as proof of monotheism.  Here again, both words are used and the sentence should read, “the Self Existing one” is one Family. 

Getting our Bearings 

Before proceeding, let’s review what we’ve covered, and the context of the same.  We have so far established that the word God, in the Old Testament, is derived from Elohiym, which is plural in its meaning and can be translated in several different ways. 

The opening verses in the Gospel of John provide additional insight as to the plural nature of God by clearly revealing that, the “Word [Logos] was God, and was with God.” 

Someone representing themselves as Elohiym and YHWH [Jehovah or self-existing] has appeared to, and communicated with humans all through the Old Testament writings.  These interactions included conversation, dining, and even wrestling. 

A very important incident recorded in the Old Testament serves to establish the identity of who was interacting with mankind. 

God’s First Conversation with Moses 

In Exodus chapter three, we have the account of God first appearing to Moses in a burning bush.  In Exodus 3:13, Moses inquired of God as to by what name he would say that he had been sent.  God replied in verse 14, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:  and He said, thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you.”  While God had revealed himself via titles such as Elohiym or Jehovah/YHWH, here is an account of God actually identifying himself with a specific name, “I AM”. 

Enter Jesus 

There are numerous Messianic Prophecies in the pages of the Old Testament, but one in particular gives a rather comprehensive description of Christ's part in God’s plan, and is found in the ninth chapter of the book of Isaiah. 

Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” 

Verse 7 goes on to describe His everlasting kingdom.  All of the above titles include the true, or self-existent God.  This alone should quell all arguments as to whether or not Jesus is God.  But there is even more solid scriptural evidence, which establishes Jesus as God, and links Jesus to the one who represented himself as God in the Old Testament. 

Jesus and The Father 

Jesus cited many references to His Father.  The fifth chapter of the gospel of John contains Jesus’ testimony of His relationship to, and with the Father.  One very important Scripture in Jesus’ testimony is found in verses 36-37, 

But I have greater witness than that of John:  for the works which the Father has given me to finish, that I do, bear witness of me that the Father has sent me.  And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.   

So, the one who was interacting with humans throughout history had to be the Word, the one who became Jesus Christ! 

Some Additional Proofs 

We still have additional Scriptures, which show beyond any doubt, that the one who became Jesus Christ was the member of the God family, who spoke with man. The Apostle Paul devoted a set of Scriptures to explain the very mind and nature of Jesus Christ and the example that has been given to us.  We will quote from the Living Translation Philippians 2:6-10, 

Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had, though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God, he made himself of nothing he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form, and in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.  Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name [remember, Jesus praying to the Father to return him to the glory, which he had with the Father before the world was? John 17:5], so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth. 

“The fact of the matter is that Jesus is the Son of God and He is God, even as our children are our own flesh and blood.  Jesus is a God by virtue of being a member [Son] of the God family." 

The “I AM” Connection 

Yet another proof (and in this author’s opinion, one of the strongest) consists of two accounts of Jesus identifying Himself as the “I AM” who had spoken to Moses.  In John Chapter 8:56, Jesus talking to the Jews stated, 

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.  Then said the Jews unto him, you are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?  Jesus said unto them, truly, truly, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM. 

John chapter 18 records the betrayal and arrest of Jesus.  In verse 3 we read, 

Judas then having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came forth with lanterns and torches and weapons, Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them; “Whom do you seek?” And they answered him, Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus said unto them ‘I AM’!  “He” is in italics indicating that it is not in the original manuscript.  As soon as He had said, “I AM,” they went backward and fell to the ground! 

Jesus identified Himself as the very God, who had spoken to mankind from the beginning, and the power of His name ruled for the moment. 

Jesus Now 

As we all know, Jesus was crucified and died for the sins of all mankind, thus becoming our Savior.  The Epistle of Hebrews offers a comprehensive and detailed explanation of exactly what Jesus accomplished with His first coming, death, and resurrection.  A study of this book is highly recommended.  

In themselves, the first four verses of chapter 1 offer a synopsis of Christ's purpose and current status. 

God who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by a Son whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.  Who being the brightness of 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; Being so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Jesus came to:

    (1) Preach the Gospel of the kingdom of God

    (2) Be our Savior

    (3) Grant us direct access to God by replacing the Levitical priesthood and thereby

          becoming our High Priest

    (4) Become the First Born of many brethren

    (5) Become the author, finisher, and captain of our salvation. 

Jesus In The Future of God’s Plan 

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus proclaimed to His disciples, ”All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”  In 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 we read,  

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order:  Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  Then comes the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.  For he has put all things under his feet.  But when he says all things are put under him, it is manifest that he [the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under him [Christ].  And when all thins shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son himself also be subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 

This set of Scriptures specifically states, that Jesus will be subject to God the Father and will rule over all of creation directly under the Father. 

From this last point, some have reasoned that these verses show that Jesus is not God, because He will never be God, as God is God.  The fact of the matter is, Jesus is the Son of God and He is God, even as our children are our own flesh and blood.  Jesus is a God by virtue of being a member [Son] of the God Family!  This is the entire purpose of the Word becoming flesh—that God could die for the sins of mankind and reconcile us to become members of the God family as well.  This is the ultimate fulfillment of the plan of God. 

In Revelation 21 we see the new heavens and earth, the holy city descending from heaven, and God the Father now dwelling among His people.  This is in fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus now having delivered up everything to the Father.  And in Revelation 21:5-7 we read: “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new.  And he said unto me, It is done, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  He that overcomes shall inherit all things [Hebrews 2:8] and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 

In conclusion, God has a beautiful plan by which He is going to add many children to His family, yes; they will become Gods, themselves (2 Corinthians 6:18, Matthew 13:43).  No, they will not be God the Father; anymore than any of us can ever be our fathers and they will not have power over Jesus.  As we have seen, He, the Word, was with God and was God from the beginning.  He is now our elder brother and will always be so.  To lose sight of these facts is to lose the precious insight, which God has revealed concerning His magnificent plan.



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