The Deity of Christ: Another Approach

What does the Bible say about the deity of Christ? For centuries, as affirmed at the Council of Nicea, Christians have used a wonderful list of verses to demonstrate from God's Word the deity of Jesus Christ. Here is another very different approach to show the same truth. (This is similar to the "Big Picture" approach used in the overview of the Bible called The Plot.)

Thus Saith the Lord: If we count how many times the Old Testament prophets said, “Thus says the Lord” we find them using that phrase, in the New King James Version of the Bible, about 420 times. The New Testament on the other hand, never once records that phrase. Jesus Christ, with all the red ink devoted to recording His words, never once used that ubiquitous phrase, “Thus saith the Lord.” Rather, Jesus proclaims, “I say to you,” in the Gospels! Not a single “Thus says the Lord,” but rather, “I say to you,” 135 times. The following chart demonstrates biblically that these two phrases, Thus saith the Lord, and I say unto you, indicate the same thing, that God is speaking. For Jesus Christ made it clear that He Himself was at the heart of His teaching. Unlike the righteous priests and kings, prophets and the apostles, the Lord focused His message on Himself:

Christ’s Self-focus:

  • “Follow Me” 19x Mt. 4:19; 8:22; 10:38; 16:24; 19:21; Mk. 1:17; 2:14; 8:34; 10:21; Lk. 5:27; 9:59; 18:22; Jn. 1:43; 8:12; 10:27; 12:26; 13:36; 21:19, 22
  • Pray and act “in My name” 18x Mt. 7:22; 18:5; 18:20; [24:5]; Mk. 9:37, 39, 41; [13:6]; Lk. 9:48; [21:8]; 24:47; Jn. 14:13?14; 15:16; 16:23?24, 26; Acts 9:15
  • “the Holy Spirit” comes “in My name” Jn. 14:26
  • “for My name’s sake” leave family and property Mt. 19:29; or even be killed 5x Mt. 24:9; [Lk. 21:12, 17;] Jn. 15:21; Acts 9:16
  • Believe in the “name of the… Son” and “in the Son” 3x Jn.  3:18, 36; 9:35 and “in Him [Jesus]” 4x Jn. 3:18; 6:29, 40; 8:31
  • “believe in Me” 14x Mt. 18:6; Mk. 9:42; Jn. 3:15?16, 18; 6:35, 47; 7:38; 11:25, 26; 12:44, 46; 14:1, 12; 16:8; 17:20
  • You “are sanctified by faith in Me” Acts 26:18
  • Live “in Me” Jn. 11:26
  • “come after Me” Mk. 8:34; Lk. 14:27
  • Abide “in Me” Jn. 15:2, 4:5, 7 “abide in Me” or else Jn. 15:6 “abide in My love” Jn. 15:9?10
  • “where two or three are gathered,” Jesus is “there in the midst of them” Mt. 18:20
  • So too: “I [Jesus, will abide] in you” Jn. 15:4?5
  • “know that I am He” Jn. 8:28 or “if you do not believe that I am He you will die in your sins” Jn. 8:24
  • Do things “for My sake” Mt. 10:22, 39; even lose your life “for My sake” 4x Mt. 16:25; Mk. 8:35; 10:29; Lk. 6:22
  • “I never knew you, depart from Me” Mt. 7:23
  • “I am willing; be cleansed” Mt. 8:3; Mk.. 1:41
  • ”confess Me” Mt. 10:32; Lk. 12:8
  • Do not deny “Me” 7x Mt. 10:33; 26:34; Mk. 14:30, 72; Lk. 12:9; 22:34; Jn. 13:38
  • Do not be “ashamed of Me” Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26 nor "My words"
  • “love Me” 5x Jn. 14:15, 21, 23?24, 28
  • Do not reject “Me” Lk. 10:16; Jn. 12:48
  • “He who is not with Me is against Me” Lk. 11:23
  • Love Me “more than” your family members Mt. 10:37; [Lk. 14:26]
  • “I… have loved you” Jn. 15:9, 12
  • Be “worthy of Me” Mt. 10:37?38
  • “Come to Me” 5x Mt. 11:28; Lk. 6:47; Jn. 5:40; 6:35; 7:37
  • “I will give you rest” Mt. 11:28
  • “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” Mt. 11:30
  • I am “greater than the temple” “than Jonah” “than Solomon” Mt. 12:6, 41?42
  • I am “Lord even of the Sabbath” Mt. 12:8; Mk. 2:28; Lk. 6:5 [Lord of God's Ten Commandments]
  • Thus He says keep “My commandments” 4x Jn. 14:15, 21; 15:10, 12
  • “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” Jn. 15:14
  • “keep My word” Jn. 14:23?24
  • “He who is not with Me is against Me” Mt. 12:30
  • The angels are “His angels” Mt. 13:41; 16:27 and He commands “His angels” Mt. 24:31; Mk. 13:27
  • The kingdom is “His kingdom” Mt. 13:41 and He calls it “My kingdom” Lk. 22:30
  • Jesus called it “My church” Mt. 16:18 and believers are “My sheep” Jn. 10:14, 27 and they are “His elect” Mt. 24:31; Mk. 13:27
  • Paul is a “vessel of Mine to bear My name” Acts 9:15
  • “all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine” Jn. 17:10
  • “My peace I give” Jn. 14:27 ”in Me you may have peace” Jn. 16:33
  • “My joy” should fill you Jn. 15:11
  • “Who do men say that I am?” Mt. 16:13; Mk. 8:27 “who do you say that I am?” Mt. 16:15
  • Receive “Me” Mt. 18:5; Mk. 9:37; Lk. 9:48
  • “My words” will never pass away Mt. 24:35; Mk. 13:31; Lk. 21:33
  • Tell others about Jesus Mk. 5:19
  • “you belong to Christ” Mk. 9:41
  • Hear “My sayings” and do them Lk. 6:47
  • Jesus has “His own glory” Lk. 9:26; [Jn. 2:11; 16:14] The Son is “glorified” 8x Jn. 11:4; 12:23; 13:31?32; [17:1, 5, 10 24]
  • “He who hears you hears Me” Lk. 10:16
  • Jesus expects praise, from stones if necessary 1x Lk. 19:37?40
  • Return “to Me” Lk. 22:32
  • Be “My disciple” Lk. 14:27; Jn. 8:31; 15:8 Forsake all to “be My disciple” Lk. 14:33 ”you are My disciples” Jn. 13:35
  • “I shall send… the [Holy] Spirit” Jn. 15:26; 16:7
  • The Holy Spirit “will testify of Me” Jn. 15:26
  • We read in John 5 and Luke 24 that “the Scriptures… testify of Me” Jn. 5:39; [Lk. 24:44]
  • “You [Apostles] also will bear witness [of Me] because you have been with Me” Jn. 15:27
  • Paul gives “testimony concerning Me” Acts 22:18; 23:11
  • “the Son gives life to whom He will” Jn. 5:21
  • “seek Me” Jn. 6:26
  • Serve “Me” Jn. 12:26
  • “all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father” Jn. 5:23
  • “I am the bread of life,” “of heaven,” “of God” Jn. 6: 32-33, 35, 41, [48,] 51
  • Just seeing Christ is reason enough to believe [Jn. 6:36] him” Jn. 6:56
  • Drink “My blood” and eat “My flesh” Jn. 6:53?54, 56
  • “I will raise him up at the last day” Jn. 6:40 for He is the resurrection
  • “The world… hates Me” Jn. 7:7
  • “I am the light of the world” Jn. 8:12; 9:5; 12:46
  • “I bear witness of Myself” 1x Jn. 8:13-14, 18
  • “know… Jesus Christ” for “eternal life” Jn. 17:3; [8:19; 10:10, 14]
  • “the Son makes you free” Jn. 8:36
  • “Abraham rejoiced to see My day” Jn. 8:56; “Before Abraham was, I AM” Jn. 8:58
  • Of believers, Christ said, “I know them” Jn. 10:27
  • “I give them eternal life” Jn. 10:28
  • “I am the resurrection and the life” Jn. 11:25
  • I “will draw all peoples to Myself” Jn. 12:32
  • “I will… receive you to Myself” Jn. 14:3
  • Be “Mine” Jn. 14:24
  • “I am the vine” Jn. 15:5
  • “without Me you can do nothing” Jn. 15:5
  • “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you” Jn. 15:16
  • Those who oppress Christians are “persecuting Me” Acts 9:4?5; 22:7?8; 26:14?15
    “because they have not known… Me” Jn. 16:3
  • The Spirit “will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it” Jn. 16:14
  • “All things that the Father has are Mine” Jn. 16:15
  • “the Father… loves you, because you have loved Me” Jn. 16:27
  • “If I will that he remain” Jn. 21:22
  • “I have overcome the world” Jn. 16:33
  • “I am the way” Jn. 14:6
  • “I am… the truth” Jn. 14:6
  • “I am… the life” Jn. 14:6
  • “I will… manifest Myself” Jn. 14:21

As a summary, scores of times Jesus uses the personal pronoun My with words like: commandments, sake, words, lambs, sheep, peace, love, joy, voice, name, sayings, kingdom, angels, and church. Three examples powerfully illustrate the point. First, "Abraham rejoiced to see My day..." Secondly, "I know My sheep, and am known by My own." And thirdly, "Assuredly, I say to you... Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." The prophets and John were the messengers; Jesus is the Message, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and put Himself at the center of His message, because He is God.

Bob Enyart presents this material on a BEL radio program
and in his Gospel of John Bible Study
which is downloadable or available on MP3 CD.

The Forest for the Trees: A simple overview of Christ's message shows overwhelmingly that He is the Message. Thus, He is either a blasphemer, or God Himself. Very strong individual verses also show the Deity of Christ. The powerful and traditional deity proof texts far more effectively show Christ's deity when presented along with the big picture of the ministry and message of Jesus Christ. Those traditional passages include John 1:1, 14; 9:38; 20:28; Mat. 2:11; Rom. 9:5; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 1:3, 6, 8; Isa. 45:5, 18, 21 with John 1:3 and Titus 2:13; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 1:8, 18; 5:11-6:1.

The Deity of Christ and Eternal Separation: Two doctrines, the afterlife of eternal separation from God in hell, and that of the deity of Christ, are inextricably linked. Therefore many of those who deny the deity of Christ, including Jehovah's Witnesses, Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, Ronald Hubbard's Scientology, and Christian Science, also deny an afterlife of eternal separation from God. Why? God put eternity in our hearts (Eccl. 3:11) and so only a payment of infinite worth, something greater than the eternal futures of billions of human beings, could suffice to pay the price for our combined sin. When false teachers dismiss eternal punishment in Hades, they then fail to see the necessity of a Sacrifice of infinite worth.

Jesus Is God: The dramatic contrast in the above chart shows Christ’s self-presentation compared to the angels and prophets who present God to the world. These other messengers elevated not themselves, but God. They focused attention, not on themselves but on Him. Godly priests, kings, and apostles focused on God as their motivating message, of course, and not on themselves. Jesus, on the other hand, came speaking about Himself. He submits Himself to the father, willingly, not as a sign of a lesser God, but of His greatness, for as He lowers Himself, He is exalted to the central truth of Creation! (See the above chart.) Thus His I say unto you is the Scripture's Thus Saith the Lord!

Three in the Bible: God exists as three persons in one Godhead, whom we refer to as the Trinity. Thus human beings made in His image also have a triune nature, and the cosmos itself is understood in threes, in the most fantastic ways. Before considering this, first see the Bible's extraordinary use of this number. Christ was three days in the tomb, which Jonah’s three days foreshadowed, as did Abraham’s three days of thinking that he would sacrifice his son Isaac on that same hill called Golgotha and Mt. Moriah (Gen. 22:14; 2 Chron. 3:1). Israel's three patriarchs are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The priestly tribe of Levi is from Jacob's third child (Gen. 29:34), as Leviticus is the third book of the Bible. And the day the law was given, the sons of Levi killed “about three thousand men” (Ex. 32:28), whereas the day the Spirit was given, “that day about three thousand souls were [saved] (Acts 2:41; and see 2 Cor. 3:6). The Hebrew Scriptures comprise three sections, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (Luke 24:44), and God created three archangels. The most noteworthy women are Eve, Sarah, and Mary. The magi brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. Three persons (one being the Son) started their public service at thirty years of age: Joseph (Gen. 41:46), a deliverer of his people; David (2 Sam. 5:4) seated on the messianic throne (2 Sam. 7:12-13); and "Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23). God could have led Esther to fast for two days, or four; and He could have kept Jonah in the whale for one day, or a week, but three days and three nights prefigures God’s plan of salvation for Christ’s time in the grave. For Jesus "rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:4). And thus, the triune Christian God, the mystery of the Trinity, Three Persons in One God, is the one God whose testimony we can trust (answering both the philosophical problem of the origin of the one and the many, and Euthyphro's Dilemma by Socrates), having imprinted our world and even ourselves with His triune nature.

Threes Everywhere: The number three manifested in Scripture turns the Christian's attention outward to see space existing in three dimensions, height, width, and length, as does time in past, present and future. The electromagnetic force operates in positive, negative, and neutral, and in pigment the three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue whereas in light they are red, green, and blue which three blend into the hues of the rainbow. We human beings on this third planet from the Sun experience matter primarily in three states, solid, liquid, and gas. The strongest shape for building is the triangle. Writers often give three examples and artists group in threes as in interior design, sculpting, and even movie directors, as they have the word trilogy (1, 2, 3) but no word for any other number of films. Photographers use the rule of thirds and the language of DNA uses only three-letter words. Everything reinforces the triune aspect of all of existence, a reflection of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. See more at kgov.com/3.

Tripartite Man: And so we humans are body, soul, and spirit (1 Thes. 5:23). For God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…" (Gen. 1:26). So mankind is made in God's image and likeness, image referring to our form, and likeness to our essence as sentient, morally-responsible persons. And unlike animals which look to the ground, men and women stand upright with a heavenly gaze. For the first thing that God created was a form, that is, an image, for the eternal Son to indwell (Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14: Heb. 1:3; 5:5; 10:5; 2 Cor. 4:4; John 1:14; Phil. 2:5-6; 1 Tim. 2:5; Rev. 1:13-18). And in that image "He made man" (Gen. 9:6), and not in the image of apes. "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Gen. 1:27).

The Plurality in God: The very first verse of Genesis presents the plurality of God, with Genesis 1:1 using a plural subject and a singular verb, that is, In the beginning, gods He created the heavens and the earth.  Elohim is the plural of the typical Hebrew word for God, which is El (cherub and seraph for example become plural as cherubim and seraphim, with Elah likely being the dual form, and Elohim being a plurality, in this case, three). So, did Moses make a grammatical error in the first sentence of the first book of Scripture, in what has become not only the world's best-selling book, but in the most well-known sentence in the history of the world by using a singular verb with a plural subject? Of course not. For this was intentional. The Hebrew Scriptures in the most solemn texts presents God as a unified plurality. What grammarians refer to as the "royal we" comes from God's references to Himself using the plural: "Let Us make man in Our image," (Gen. 1:26). The solemn Hebrew prayer, called the Shema Yisroel, to the "one God" uses another plurality. For "The Lord our God, the Lord is One (of plurality)" at Deuteronomy 6:4 uses neither of the expected terms, yachad or even bad, words meaning a singularity, but God's Word uses the word echad, which is one in plurality as used by God at the Tower of Babel, "the people are one," and by Joseph "the dreams of Pharaoh are one," and by Moses, "the people answered with one voice," and back again to the beginning of Genesis at the institution of marriage when God says, "and they shall become one flesh." So this foundation prayer to God does not the use the Hebrew words for one, which mean a singularity (which words are never used in the Bible referring to God), but God describes Himself in the Bible using the One of plurality. So the Shema says: the Jehovah (who is the one God) our Elohim (plural) Jehovah is a Plural Unity! And Deuteronomy 6:4 is the central passage to all theology of God. Then the Scriptures go on to teach that the three persons of the Trinity are God the Father (Isa. 63:16; Isa. 9:6) God the Son (Ps. 2:12; Zech. 12:10 and as in the chart above), and God the Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Isa. 48:16; Isa. 6:3).

And finally, denial of Christ's deity is a central teaching of many of today's cults, including for example the Jehovah's Witnesses, and a lack of understanding of the plurality of the Godhead creates philosophical dilemmas such as the problem of the one and the many and Socrates' pre-Chrsitian era argument against God called Euthyphro’s Dilemma. For, of the teachings from all the world's religions, the only way to answer Euthyphro is by the eternal corroborating testimony of the three Witnesses in the Trinity.

-Bob Enyart, KGOV.com
Pastor, Denver Bible Church

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