Christian monotheism: One true God

Published on December 31, 2007

By Paogin Mangte

 

December 31, 2007: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD" (Deuteronomy 6:4); "God is one" (Galatians 3:20)

 

Introduction: There is one God. There is only one God. This doctrine is central to the Bible message, for both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach it plainly and emphatically.

 

Despite the simplicity of this message and the clarity with which the Bible presents it, many who believe in the existence of God have not understood it. Even within Christendom many people, including theologians, have not comprehended this beautiful and essential message. Our purpose is to address this problem, and to affirm and explain the biblical doctrine of the oneness of God.

 

Monotheism

 

The belief in only one God is called monotheism, which comes from two Greek words: monos, meaning alone, single, one; and theos, meaning God. Anyone who does not accept monotheism can be classified as one of the following: an atheist who denies the existence of God; an agnostic – one who asserts that the existence of God is unknown and probably unknowable; a pantheist – one who equates God with nature or the forces of the universe; or a polytheist one who believes in more than one God.

 

Ditheism, the belief in two gods, is a form of polytheism, and so is tritheism, the belief in three gods. Among the major religions of the world, three are monotheistic: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Within the ranks of those labelling themselves Christian, however, there are several divergent views as to the nature of the Godhead. One view, called trinitarianism, asserts that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost – but yet one God.

 

Within the ranks of trinitarianism, one can discern two extreme tendencies. On the one hand, some trinitarians emphasize the unity of God without having a carefully developed understanding of what is meant by three distinct persons in the Godhead. On the other hand, other trinitarians emphasize the threeness of the trinity to the point that they believe in three self-conscious beings, and their view is essentially tritheistic.

 

In addition to trinitarianism, there is the doctrine of binitarianism, which does not classify the Holy Ghost as a separate person but asserts belief in two persons in the Godhead. Many monotheists have pointed out that both trinitarianism and binitarianism weaken the strict monotheism taught by the Bible. They insist that the Godhead cannot be divided into persons and that God is absolutely one.

 

These believers in strict monotheism fall into two classes. One class asserts that there is only one God, but does so by denying, in one way or another, the full deity of Jesus Christ. This view was represented in early church history by the dynamic monarchians, such as Paul of Samosata, and by the Arians, led by Arius. These groups relegated Jesus to the position of a created god, subordinate god, junior god, or demigod.

 

The second class of true monotheists believes in one God, but further believes that the fulness of the Godhead is manifested in Jesus Christ. They believe that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are manifestations, modes, offices, or relationships that the one God has displayed to man. Church historians have used the terms modalism and modalistic monarchianism to describe this view as held by such early church leaders as Noetus, Praxeas, and Sabellius.

 

In the twentieth century, those who believe in both the indivisible oneness of God and the full deity of Jesus Christ frequently use the term Oneness to describe their belief. They also use the terms One God and Jesus Name as adjectives to label themselves, while opponents sometimes use the misleading or derogatory designations "Jesus Only" and "New Issue." (The label "Jesus Only" is misleading because to trinitarians it implies a denial of the Father and the Holy Spirit. However, Oneness believers do not deny the Father and Spirit, but rather see Father and Spirit as different roles of the One God who is the Spirit of Jesus.)

 

In summary, Christendom has produced four basic views of the Godhead: (1) trinitarianism, (2) binitarianism, (3) strict monotheism with a denial of the full deity of Jesus Christ, and (4) strict monotheism with an affirmation of the full deity of Jesus Christ, or Oneness. Having surveyed the range of human beliefs about the Godhead, let us look at what the Word of God – the Bible – has to say on the subject.

 

The Old Testament Teaches That There Is But One God

 

The classic expression of the doctrine of one God is found in Deuteronomy 6:4. "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD." This verse of Scripture has become the most distinctive and important statement of faith for the Jews. They call it the Shema, after the first word of the phrase in Hebrew, and they often quote it in English as "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one." (See also the NIV.) Traditionally, a devout Jew always tried to make this confession of faith just before death.

 

In Deuteronomy 6:5, God followed the announcement of the preceding verse with a command that requires total belief in and love for Him as the one and only God: "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." We should notice the importance which God attaches to Deuteronomy 6:4-5. He commands that these verses be placed in the heart (verse 6), taught to the children throughout the day (verse 7), bound on the hand and forehead (verse 8), and written on the posts and gates of houses (verse 9).

 

Orthodox Jews literally obey these commands today by binding tefillin (phylacteries) on their left forearms and on their foreheads when they pray, and by placing mezuzzah on their doors and gates. (Teffilin are small boxes tied to the body by leather straps, and mezuzzah are scroll-shaped containers.) Inside both types of containers are verses of Scripture handwritten in black ink by a righteous man who has observed certain purification rituals. The verses of Scripture usually are Deuteronomy 6:4-9,11:18-21, Exodus 13:8-10, and 13:14-16.

 

Many other Old Testament verses of Scripture emphatically affirm strict monotheism. The Ten Commandments begin with, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7). God emphasized this command by stating that He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). In Deuteronomy 32:39, God said there is no other god with him. There is none like the LORD and there is no God beside Him (II Samuel 7:22; I Chronicles 17:20). He alone is God (Psalm 86:10). There are the emphatic declarations of God in Isaiah.

 


"Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour" (Isaiah 43:10-11).


"I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6).

"Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any" (Isaiah 44:8).

"I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself" (Isaiah 44:24).

"There is none beside me. I am the LORD and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:6).

"There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:21-22).

"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me" (Isaiah 46:9).

"I will not give my glory unto another" (Isaiah 48:11; see also Isaiah 42:8).

"O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth" (Isaiah 37:16).

 

There is only one God, who is the Creator and Father of mankind (Malachi 2:10). There is  only one LORD with one name (Zechariah 14:9). and That name is Jesus (Acts 4:12; Mtt 1:21-23) Because Jesus is "God Emmanuel" (Matt 1:21-23). In short, the Old Testament speaks of God in terms of being one. Many times the Bible calls God the Holy One (Psalm 71:22; 78:41; Isaiah 1:4; 5:19; 5:24), but never the "holy two, the holy three," or the "holy many."

 

A common remark by some trinitarians about the Old Testament doctrine of the oneness of God is that God only intended to emphasize His oneness as opposed to pagan deities, but that He still existed as a plurality. However, if this conjecture were true, why did not God make it clear? Why have the Jews understood not a theology of "persons" but have insisted on an absolute monotheism? Let us look at it from God's point of view.

 

Suppose He did want to exclude any belief in a plurality in the Godhead. How could He do so using then-existing terminology? What strong words could He use to get His message across to His people? When we think about it, we will realize that He used the strongest possible language available to describe absolute oneness. In the preceding verses of Scriptures in Isaiah, we note the use of words and phrases such as "none, none else, none like me, none beside me, alone, by myself," and "one." Surely, God could not make it plainer that no plurality whatsoever exists in the Godhead. In short, the Old Testament affirms that God is absolutely one in number.

 

The New Testament Teaches There Is But One God

 

Jesus emphatically taught Deuteronomy 6:4, calling it the first of all the commandments (Mark 12:29-30). The New Testament presupposes the Old Testament teaching of one God and explicitly repeats this message many times.


"Seeing it is one God which shall justify" (Romans 3:30).


"There is none other God but one" (I Corinthians 8:4).

"But to us there is but one God, the Father" (I Corinthians 8:6).

"But God is one" (Galatians 3:20).

"One God and Father of all" (Ephesians 4:6).

"For there is one God" (I Timothy 2:5).

"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).

 

As we have seen, the whole Bible teaches a strict monotheism. God's people have always been identified with the one-God message. God chose Abraham because of his willingness to forsake the gods of his nation and his father and to worship the one true God (Genesis 12:1-8). God chastised Israel every time she began to worship other gods, and polytheistic worship was one of the main reasons that God finally sent her into captivity (Acts 7:43). The Savior came to the world through a nation (Israel) and through a religion (Judaism) in which the people had finally purged themselves of polytheism. They were thoroughly monotheistic.

 

Today, God still demands a monotheistic worship of Him. We in the church are heirs of Abraham by faith, and this exalted position demands that we have the same monotheistic faith in the God of Abraham (Romans 4:13-17). As Christians in the world we must never cease to exalt and declare the message that there is only one true and living God.

 

The Old Testament Testifies That Jesus Is the One True GOD

 

1. Isaiah 9:6 is one of the most powerful proofs that Jesus is God: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father The Prince of Peace." The terms child and son refer to the Incarnation or manifestation of "The mighty God" and "The everlasting Father."

 

2. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be called Immanuel, that is, God with us (Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:22-23).

 

3. Isaiah described the Messiah as both a branch out of Jesse (the father of David) and as the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1, 10; see also Revelation 22:16). According to the flesh He was a descendant (branch) of Jesse and David, but according to His Spirit He was their Creator and source of life (root). Jesus used this concept to confound the Pharisees when He quoted Psalm 110:1 and asked, in essence, "How could David call the Messiah Lord when the Messiah was to be the son (descendant) of David?" (Matthew 22:41-46).

 

4. Isaiah 35:4-6 shows that Jesus is God: "Behold, your God… he will come and save you." This passage goes on to say that when God comes the eyes of the blind would be opened, the ears of the deaf would be unstopped, the lame would leap, and the tongue of the dumb would speak. Jesus applied this passage of Scripture to Himself (Luke 7:22) and, of course, His ministry did produce all of these things.

 

5. Isaiah 40:3 declares that one would cry in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy when he prepared the way for Jesus (Matthew 3:3); so Jesus is the LORD (Jehovah) and our God.

 

6. Micah 5:2 proves that the Messiah is God. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah… out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. "

Thus the Old Testament clearly states that the Messiah and Savior to come would be God Himself.

 

The New Testament Proclaims That Jesus is God

 

1. According to Acts 20:28, the church was purchased with God's own blood, namely the blood of Jesus.

3. Paul described Jesus as "the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13; NIV has "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ").

4. Peter described Him as "God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 1:1; NIV and TAB both have "our God and Savior Jesus Christ").

5. Our bodies are the temples of God (I Corinthians 3:16-17), yet we know Christ dwells in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17).

 

6. The Book of Colossians strongly emphasizes the deity of Christ. "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9; see also 1:19). According to these verses of Scripture, Jesus is not just a part of God, but all of God is resident in Him. If there were several persons in the Godhead, according to Colossians 2:9 they would all be resident in the bodily form of Jesus. We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). Whatever we need from God we can find in Jesus Christ alone. We conclude that the New Testament testifies to the full deity of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus is the Father

 

If there is only one God and that God is the Father (Malachi 2:10), and if Jesus is God, then it logically follows that Jesus is the Father. For those who somehow think that Jesus can be God and still not be the Father, we will offer additional biblical proof that Jesus is the Father. This will serve as more evidence that Jesus is God. Actually two verses of Scripture are sufficient to prove this point.

 

1. Isaiah 9:6 calls the Son the everlasting Father. Jesus is the Son prophesied about and there is only one Father (Malachi 2:10; Ephesians 4:6), so Jesus must be God the Father.

 

2. Colossians 2:9 proclaims that all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus. The Godhead includes the role of Father, so the Father must dwell in Jesus.

 

3. In addition to these two verses, Jesus Himself taught that He was the Father. Once, when Jesus was talking about the Father, the Pharisees asked, "Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also" (John 8:19). Jesus went on to say, "I said therefore unto you, if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). We should note that he in the verse is in italics, which indicates that it is not in the original Greek, being added by the translators.

 

Jesus was really identifying Himself with the "I AM" of Exodus 3:14. The Jews, who did not understand His meaning, asked, "Who art thou?" Jesus answered, "Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning" (John 8:25). However, "they understood not that he spake to them of the Father" (John 8:27). In other words, Jesus tried to tell them that He was the Father and the I AM, and that if they did not accept Him as God they would die in their sins.

 

4. In another place Jesus said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30). Some try to say that He was one with the Father much as a husband and wife are one or as two men can be one in agreement. This interpretation attempts to weaken the force of the assertion Jesus made. However, other verses fully support that Jesus was not only the Son in His humanity but also the Father in His deity.

 

5. For example, Jesus stated in John 12:45, "And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me." In other words, if a person sees Jesus as to His deity, he sees the Father.

 

6. In John 14:7 Jesus told His disciples, "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him." Upon hearing this statement, Philip requested, "Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us" (John 14:8). In other words, he asked that Jesus show them the Father and then they would be satisfied. Jesus' answer was, "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, Shew us the Father?

 

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake" (John 14:9-11). This statement goes far beyond a relationship of agreement; it can be viewed as nothing less that the claim of Christ to be the Father manifested in flesh. Like many people today, Philip had not comprehended that the Father is an invisible Spirit and that the only way a person could ever see Him would be through the person of Jesus Christ.

 

7. Jesus said, "The Father is in me, and I in him" (John 10:38).

 

8. Jesus promised to be the Father of all overcomers (Revelation 21:6-7).

 

9. In John 14:18 Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." The Greek word translated "comfortless" is orphanos, which Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines as "bereaved ('orphans'), i.e. parentless." Jesus was saying, "I will not leave you as orphans" (NIV and TAB), or "I will not leave you fatherless: I will come to you." Jesus, speaking as the Father, promised that He would not leave His disciples fatherless.

 

Below are some comparisons which provide additional proof that Jesus is the Father.

10. Jesus prophesied that He would resurrect His own body from the dead in three days (John 2:19-21), yet Peter preached that God raised up Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24).

11. Jesus said He would send the Comforter to us (John 16:7), but He also said the Father would send the Comforter (John 14:26).

12. The Father alone can draw men to God (John 6:44), yet Jesus said He would draw all men (John 12:32).

13. Jesus will raise up all believers at the last day (John 6:40), yet God the Father quickens (gives life to) the dead and will raise us up (Romans 4:17; I Corinthians 6:14).

14. Jesus promised to answer the believer's prayer (John 14:14), yet He said the Father would answer prayer (John 16:23).

15. Christ is our sanctifier (Ephesians 5:26), yet the Father sanctifies us (Jude 1).

16. First John 3:1, 5 states that the Father loved us and was manifested to take away our sins, yet we know it was Christ who was manifested in the world to take away sin (John 1:29-31).

 

Jesus is Jehovah

 

The verses of Scripture demonstrating that Jesus is the Father do not exhaust our proof that Jesus is the one God. Below are twelve verses of Scripture specifically proving that Jesus is Jehovah – the one God of the Old Testament.

 

1. Isaiah 40:3 prophesied that a voice in the wilderness would cry, "Prepare ye the way of the LORD" (Jehovah); Matthew 3:3 says John the Baptist is the fulfillment of this prophecy. Of course, we know that John prepared the way of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since the name Jehovah was the sacred name for the one God, the Bible would not apply it to anyone other than the Holy One of Israel; here it is applied to Jesus.

 

2. Malachi 3:1 says, "The LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant." This was fulfilled by Jesus, whether the literal Temple or the temple of Jesus' body is meant (John 2:21).

 

3. Jeremiah 23:5-6 speaks of a righteous Branch from David – a clear reference to the Messiah – and names Him "The LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. " (See also Jeremiah 33:15-16.) In other words, Jesus is "Jehovah Our Righteousness. "

 

4. Isaiah says, speaking of Jehovah, "His arm brought salvation" (Isaiah 59:16), and "his arm shall rule for him" (Isaiah 40:10). Isaiah 53:1-2 describes the Messiah as the revelation of the arm of the LORD. Therefore, Jesus the Savior is not another God, but an extension of Jehovah in human flesh to bring salvation to the world.

 

5. Isaiah prophesied that the glory of the LORD would be revealed to all flesh (Isaiah 40:5). Since Jehovah said He would not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11), we know He could only fulfill this prophecy by revealing Himself. Indeed, we find in the New Testament that Jesus had the glory of the Father (John 1:14; 17:5). He is the Lord of glory (I Corinthians 2:8). When Jesus comes again, He will come in the glory of the Father (Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38). Since Jesus has Jehovah's glory, He must be Jehovah.

 

6. Jehovah said, "Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I" (Isaiah 52:6). Yet we know that Jesus is the One that declared the Father, manifested the Father's name, and declared the Father's name (John 1:18; 17:6; 17:26). Jesus declared the LORD's name (Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12). Thus, He must be Jehovah.

 

7. The LORD said, "That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear" (Isaiah 45:23). Paul quoted this verse of Scripture to prove that all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-11). Paul also wrote, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:10).

 

8. Zechariah offers convincing proof that Jesus is Jehovah. In the passage beginning with Zechariah 11:4, "the LORD my God" said, "So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver." In Zechariah 12:10 Jehovah stated, "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced." Of course, it was Jesus who was sold for thirty pieces of silver and who was pierced (Matthew 26:14-16; John 19:34). Zechariah 12:8 says with reference to the Messiah, "the house of David shall be as God." Zechariah also wrote, "The LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee" and describes Him battling against many nations and stepping foot on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:3-5). Of course, we know Jesus is the One coming back to the Mount of Olives as King of kings and Lord of lords to war against the nations (Acts 1:9-12; I Timothy 6:14-16; Revelation 19:11-16).

 

9. When Paul, the educated Jew, the Pharisee of Pharisees, the fanatic persecutor of Christianity, was stricken on the road to Damascus by a blinding light from God, he asked, "Who art thou, Lord?" As a Jew, he knew there was only one God and Lord, and he was asking, "Who are you, Jehovah?" The Lord answered, "I am Jesus" (Acts 9:5).

 

10. Although Moses dealt with Jehovah God, Hebrews 11:26 says that Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. So Moses' God was Jesus Christ.

 

11. Psalm 68:18 depicts a scene m which Jehovah ascends on high and leads captivity captive, yet we know Jesus ascended and led captivity captive. In fact Ephesians 4:7-10 applies this prophecy to Jesus.

 

12. Revelation 22:6 says, "the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel" to John, but verse 16 says, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you." There are yet many more passages of Scripture identifying Jesus with the one Jehovah God. Below is a list of verses that describe Jehovah in certain ways paired with verses that describe Jesus in the same ways. Thus, these verses of Scripture all prove that Jesus is Jehovah.

 

                                                               Jesus is Jehovah (I)

 

Jehovah

 

Jesus

 

1

Almighty

Genesis 17:1

Almighty

Revelation 1:8

2

I AM

Exodus 3:14-16

I am

John 8:58

3

Rock

Psalm 18:2; 28:1

Rock

I Corinthians 10:4

4

Horn of Salvation

Psalm 18:2

Horn of Salvation

Luke 1:69

5

Shepherd

Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:10-11

Good Shepherd, Great Shepherd, Chief Shepherd,

Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 5:4

6

King of Glory

Psalm 24:7-10

Lord of Glory

I Corinthians 2:8

7

Light

Psalm 27:1; Isaiah 60:19

Light

John 1:4-9; John 8:12; Revelation 21:23

8

Salvation

Psalm 27:1; Isaiah 12:2

Only Salvation

Acts 4:10-12

9

Lord of lords

Psalm 136:3

Lord of lords

Revelation 19:16

10

Holy One

Isaiah 12:6

Holy One

Acts 2:27

11

Lawgiver

Isaiah 33:22

Testator of the First Testament (the Law)

Hebrews 9:14-17

12

Judge

Isaiah 33:22

Judge

Micah 5:1; Acts 10:42

13

First and Last

Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12

Alpha and Omega, Beginning and Ending, First and Last

Revelation 1:8; 22:13

14

Only Savior

Isaiah 43:11; 45:21; 60:16

Savior

Titus 2:13; 3:6

15

Giver of Spiritual Water

Isaiah 44:3; 55:1

Giver of Living Water

John 4:10-14; 7:38-39

16

King of Israel

Isaiah 44:6

King of Israel, King of kings

John 1:49; Revelation 19:16

17

Only Creator

Isaiah 44:24; 45:8; 48:13

Creator of everything

John 1:3; Colossians 1:16

18

Only Just God

Isaiah 45:21

Just One

Acts 7:52

19

Redeemer

Isaiah 54:5; 60:16

Redeemer

Galatians 3:13; Revelation 5:9

 

                                                    Jesus is Jehovah (II)

 

Name

Jesus is our:

Scripture

1

Jehovah-jireh (provider)

Provider (of the sacrifice)

Hebrews 10:10-12

2

Jehovah-rapha (healer)

Healer

James 5:14-15

3

Jehovah-nissi (banner, victory)

Victory

I Corinthians 15:57

4

Jehovah-m'kaddesh (sanctifier)

Sanctifier

Ephesians 5:26

5

Jehovah-shalom (peace)

Peace

John 14:27

6

Jehovah-sabaoth (Lord of hosts)

Lord of Hosts

James 5:4-7

7

Jehovah-elyon (most high)

Most High

Luke 1:32, 76, 78

8

Jehovah-raah (shepherd)

Shepherd

John 10:11

9

Jehovah-hoseenu (maker)

Maker

John 1:3

10

Jehovah-tsidkenu

Righteousness

I Corinthians 1:30

11

Jehovah-shammah (present)

Ever Present One

Matthew 28:20

The above lists are not exhaustive, but they are more than adequate to prove that Jesus is Jehovah. There is only one Jehovah (Deuteronomy 6:4), so this means Jesus is the one God of the Old Testament.

The Jews Understood That Jesus Claimed to be God

 

The Jews did not understand how God could come in flesh. They did not understand Jesus on one occasion when He told them He was the Father (John 8:19-27). However, on many other occasions they did understand His claim to be God. Once when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath and credited the work to His Father, the Jews sought to kill Him – not only because He had broken the Sabbath but because He said God was His Father, making Himself equal with God (John 5:17-18). Another time Jesus said Abraham rejoiced to see His day. When the Jews asked how this could be, Jesus replied, "Before Abraham was, I am." The Jews immediately recognized that He claimed to be I AM – the name by which Jehovah had identified Himself in Exodus 3:14 – so they took up stones to kill Him for blasphemy (John 8:56-59).

 

When Jesus said, "I and my Father are one," the Jews sought to stone him for blasphemy, because He being a man made Himself God the Father (John 10:30-33). They sought to kill Him when He said the Father was in Him, again because He was claiming to be the Father (John 10:38-39).

 

When Jesus forgave a palsied man of His sins, the Jews thought He had blasphemed because they knew that only God could forgive sin (Isaiah 43:25). Jesus, knowing their thoughts, healed the man; thereby showing His divine power and proving His deity (Luke 5:20-26). The Jews were right in believing that there was one God, in believing that only God could forgive sin, and in understanding that Jesus claimed to be the one God (the Father and Jehovah). They were wrong only because they refused to believe Jesus' claim.

 

It is amazing that some people today not only reject the Lord's assertion of His true identity, but even fail to realize what He did assert. Even the Jewish opponents of Jesus realized that Jesus claimed to be God, the Father, and Jehovah, but some today cannot see what the Scriptures so plainly declare.

 

Jesus is the One on the Throne

 

There is one throne in heaven and One who sits upon it. John described this in Revelation 4:2: "And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne." Without doubt this One is God because the twenty-four elders around the throne address Him as "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" (Revelation 4:8). When we compare this to Revelation 1:5-18, we discover a remarkable similarity in the description of Jesus and the One sitting on the throne. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8). Verses 5-7 make clear that Jesus is the One speaking in verse 8.

 

Moreover, Jesus is clearly the subject of Revelation 1:11-18. In verse 11, Jesus identified Himself as the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. In verses 17-18 Jesus said, "I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of bell and of death." From the first chapter of Revelation, therefore, we find that Jesus is the Lord, the Almighty, and the One who is, was, and is to come. Since the same descriptive terms and titles apply to Jesus and to the One sitting on the throne, it is apparent that the One on the throne is none other than Jesus Christ.

 

There is additional support for this conclusion. Revelation 4:11 tells us the One on the throne is the Creator, and we know Jesus is the Creator (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Furthermore, the One on the throne is worthy to receive glory, honor, and power (Revelation 4:11); we read that the Lamb that was slain (Jesus) is worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing (Revelation 5:12). Revelation 20:11-12 tells us the One on the throne is the Judge, and we know Jesus is the Judge of all (John 5:22, 27; Romans 2:16; 14:10-11). We conclude that Jesus must be the One on the throne in Revelation 4.

 

Revelation 22:3-4 speaks of the throne of God and of the Lamb. These verses speak of one throne, one face, and one name. Therefore, God and the Lamb must be one Being who has one face and one name and who sits on one throne. The only person who is both God and the Lamb is Jesus Christ.

 

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

 

The Book of Revelation contains many other powerful statements concerning the deity of Jesus. God's purpose in having John to write the book was to reveal or unveil Jesus Christ, not merely to reveal future events. In fact, all of John's writings strongly emphasize the oneness of God, the deity of Christ, and the dual nature of Christ. John wrote the Gospel of John so that we would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31). Accepting Jesus as the Son of God means accepting Him as God, because the title "Son of God" simply means God manifested in the flesh.

 

John identified Jesus as God, the Word, the Father, and Jehovah (the I am). All of John's writings elevate the deity of Jesus; the Book of Revelation is no exception. Revelation 1:1 tells us the book is the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Greek for revelation is apokalupsis, from which we get the word apocalypse. It literally means an unveiling or an uncovering. Certainly the book is a prophecy of things to come, but one of the main reasons for this prophecy is to reveal Christ – to show who He really is. The serious Bible student should seek to understand the predictions in the book; but, more importantly, he should seek to understand the reason for these predictions. He should seek to understand the revealing of Jesus Christ in these future events.

 

The Book of Revelation presents Jesus both in His humanity and in His deity. He is the Lamb slain for our sins but He is also the Almighty God on the throne. Below is a list of some of the ways in which the book presents Christ.

 

Jesus in the Book of Revelation

 

Title

Comment

Scripture in Revelation

1

Faithful Witness

Prophet and apostle

1:5

2

Firstbegotten of the dead

 

1:5

3

Prince of kings

 

1:5

4

Alpha and Omega

 

1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13

5

Beginning and Ending

 

1:8; 21:6;

6

One which is, was, is to come

 

1:8; 4:8

7

The Almighty

 

1:8; 4:8

8

Son of man

Same as Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:9

1:13

9

First and last

 

1:17; 22:13

10

He that liveth, was death, is alive for evermore

 

1:18

11

Possessor of the seven Spirits

 

3:1; 5:6

12

One on the throne

 

4:2

13

God

 

4:8; 21:7

14

Creator

 

4:11

15

Lion of tribe of Judah

Humanity

5:5

16

Root of David

David's creator

5:5; 22:16

17

Lamb

Sacrifice for sin

5:6

18

Redeemer

 

5:9

19

Faithful

 

19:11

20

True

 

19:11

21

The Word of God

 

19:13

22

King of kings

 

19:16

23

Lord of lords

 

19:16

24

Offspring of David

Humanity

22:16

25

Bright and morning star

 

22:16

 

Each of these titles and roles is a beautiful revelation of Jesus. Together, they present a portrait of One who came in flesh, died, and rose again but also One who is the everlasting Lord God Almighty. The last chapter of Revelation describes God and the Lamb in the singular (Revelation 22:3-4) and identifies the Lord God of the holy prophets as Jesus (Revelation 22:6, 16). These references tell us that Jesus is the God of eternity and that He will appear with His glorified human body (the Lamb) throughout eternity.

 

God's glory will be the light for the New Jerusalem as it shines through the glorified body of Jesus (Revelation 21:23). These closing chapters of the Book of Revelation describe how God will reveal (unveil) Himself in all His glory to everyone forever. They tell us that Jesus is the everlasting God and that Jesus will reveal Himself as God throughout eternity. Therefore, the book is indeed the revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

Conclusion

Jesus Has All the Attributes and Prerogatives of God

 

If any more proof is needed to demonstrate that Jesus is God, we can compare the attributes of Jesus with the attributes of God. In doing so we find that Jesus possesses all the attributes and prerogatives of God, particularly those that can belong only to God. In His humanity, Jesus is visible, confined to a physical body, weak, imperfect in power, and so on. In His divine nature, however, Jesus is a Spirit; for Romans 8:9 speaks of the Spirit of Christ. In His divinity, Jesus was and is omnipresent.

 

For example, in John 3:13 Jesus referred to "the Son of man which is in heaven" even though He was still on earth. His omnipresence explains why He could say in the present tense while on earth, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). In other words, while the fulness of God's character was located in the human body of Jesus, the omnipresent Spirit of Jesus could not be so confined. While Jesus walked this earth as a man, His Spirit was still everywhere at the same time.

 

Jesus is also omniscient; for He could read thoughts (Mark 2:6-12). He knew Nathanael before He met him (John 1:47-50). He knows all things (John 21:17), and all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him (Colossians 2:3). Jesus is omnipotent; He has all power, is the head of all principality and power, and is the Almighty (Matthew 28:18; Colossians 2:10; Revelation 1:8).

Jesus is immutable and unchanging (Hebrews 13:8). He is also eternal and immortal (Hebrews 1:8-12; Revelation 1:8, 18).

 

Only God should receive worship (Exodus 20:1-5; 34:14), yet Jesus received worship on many occasions and will receive worship from all creation (Luke 24:52; Philippians 2:10; Hebrews 1:6). Only God can forgive sin (Isaiah 43:25), yet Jesus has power to forgive sin (Mark 2:5). God receives the spirits of men (Ecclesiastes 12:7), yet Jesus received the spirit of Stephen (Acts 7:59). God is the preparer of heaven (Hebrews 11:10), yet Jesus is the preparer of heaven (John 14:3). Therefore, we find that Jesus has all the attributes and prerogatives that belong to God alone.

 

Jesus is everything that the Bible describes God to be. He has all the attributes, prerogatives, and characteristics of God Himself. To put it simply, everything that God is Jesus is. Jesus is the one God. There is no better way to sum it all up than to say with the inspired Apostle Paul, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him" (Colossians 2:9-10).

 

—————————–

Bibliography

 

 

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Bainton, Roland. Early Christianity. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1960.

Bethune-Baker, J.F. An Introduction to the Early History of Christian Doctrine. London: Methuen and Company Limited, 1933.

Bloesch, Donald. Essentials of Evangelical Theology, San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1978.

Brumback, Carl. God in Three Persons. Cleveland, Tenn.: Pathway Press, 1959.

Brunner, Emil. The Christian Doctrine of God. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1949.

Buswell, James, Jr. A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980.

Campbell, David. All the Fulness. HazeIwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1975.

Campbell, David. The Eternal Sonship (A refutation according to Adam Clarke). Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1978.

Chalfant, William. Ancient Champions of Oneness. 1979; rpt. Hazelwood, Missouri: Word Aflame Press, 1982.

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Derk, Francis. The Names of Christ, 2nd ed, Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1969.

Dorner, J.A. Doctrine of the Person of Christ. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1870.

Dowley, Tim, et al. (eds.). Eerdman's Handbook to the History of the Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977.

Durant, Will and Ariel. The Story of Civilization. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935-1967.

Dyrness, William. Themes in Old Testament Theology. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1979.

Ferguson, Paul. God in Christ Jesus. Stockton, Calif.: Apostolic Press, n.d.

Flanders, Henry Jr. and Cresson, Bruce. Introduction to the Bible. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1973.

Foster, Fred. Their Story: 20th Century Pentecostals. Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1981.

Lebreton, Jules and Zeiller, Jacques, Heresy and Orthodoxy, Vol. IV of A History of the Early Church. New York: Collier, 1962.

Magee, Gordon. Is Jesus in the Godhead or is the Godhead in Jesus? N.P., n.d.

Marshall, Alfred. The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958.

Miller, John. Is God a Trinity? 1922; rpt. Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1975.

"Monarchianism, " Encyclopedia Britannica. Chicago: William Benton, 1964.

"Monarchianism, " Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, 1962.

"Monarchianism, " The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Samuel Jackson (ed.). Grand Rapids: Baker, 1963.

Nigg, Walter. The Heretics. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962.

Noss, John. Man's Religions, 5th ed. New York: MacMillan, 1969.

 

The author is the founding Pastor of India-based Oneness Pentecostal Christian Church Inc. (Independent Oneness Biblical Church).

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