As we investigate one of the most central and important doctrines of the bible – let’s keep at the forefront of our minds a biblical hermeneutic (way of interpreting scripture). We need to interpret the teachings of man by the word of God – led and taught by the Holy Spirit, not the other way around.
The first point I want to make is that God is extra-dimensional! He sits enthroned in eternity, and is beyond the dimensions we enjoy. He is not limited to them, and therefore shouldn’t be understood exclusively by them. This means that God cannot be comprehended – but he can be apprehended. He can’t be completely understood by the human mind – but he can be partially understood by the human mind.
This opens up two possibilities to us;
- Firstly, we the opportunity to accept what God says about himself – even if we don’t entirely understand it. Essentially, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
- Secondly, we have the choice to reject what God says about himself. To trust in ourselves, and our own ability to reason, exalting our own intellect, wisdom and understanding above even God’s!
The bible tells us that the Lord is one (Deuteronomy 6:4), and that besides him, there is no other. Secondly – Genesis tells us that God (Elohim), is plural – and that is expressed in Genesis when God says; ‘let us make man in our image’ (Genesis 1:26).
So God reveals himself as one God – and beside him, there is no other – but that he himself is plural in his nature. This doesn’t make complete sense to the human mind, granted – and again, we have two options – to reject what God has revealed about himself in an effort to systemize and subject God to the frame work of our experiential reality – or accept what God has said about himself – even though it extends beyond the boundaries of the human mind!
Let’s be honest, we shouldn’t expect God to be limited to the constraints of the creation that he himself brought into existence!
Now, we are going to make our way through scripture, examine the Prophets, Apostles, and even Jesus himself – and discover what they said about Jesus.
Who did Isaiah say Jesus was?
Isaiah had a vision of the Lord, seated on a throne, worshiped by angels!
“I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:1)
The Apostle John quotes Isaiah 6:10 and says;
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” (John 12:40)
But here is where things get interesting! John says; “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him [Jesus].” (John 12:41)
Whose glory did John see? Jesus glory! It was Jesus who was high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
Later Isaiah records a prophecy about Jesus birth!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Isaiah gave Jesus 4 titles; wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace! Isaiah believed that this child would be Mighty God!
Admittedly, there are other passages that use the term ‘god’ or ‘el’ in other contexts, sometimes speaking of idols/demons worshiped by the nations.
But the words; ‘Everlasting Father’ establish a clear context – which is that we are speaking about the most high God.
Who did David say Jesus was?
“Your throne, O God (elohiym), will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.” (Psalm 45:6)
The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 45, and attributes this as a description of Jesus;
“But about the Son he says, your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.” (Hebrew 1:8)
The Psalmist called the Son (Jesus), God!
Who did the Apostle John say Jesus was?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1)
John tells us that the word was God – and that the word became flesh – that is a human being, and dwelt among us – the Son who came from God the Father.
Who did the Apostle Thomas say Jesus was?
“Thomas said to him, My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
Thomas called Jesus both Lord and God; he believed that Jesus was not just Lord, but also God!
Who did Matthew say Jesus was?
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14)
Matthew’s gospel agreed with Isaiah in saying that Jesus will be called ‘God with us’, God in the flesh, God who became man!
Who did Paul say Jesus was?
“In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).
Who did Jesus say he was?
“God said to Moses, I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14) “Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:58)
Jesus claimed he was the one to whom Moses spoke at the burning bush at the time of the Jewish Exodus.
“This is what the Lord says Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17)
Jesus claimed to be the one whom Isaiah spoke of as the first and the last, the only living God!
Did the religious leaders believe that Jesus claimed to be God”?
“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.” (John 5:18)
Scripture here tells us that when Jesus claimed that God was his Father – it was a claim to equality. Jesus presented himself as one who was equal to God!
But even more than that… Jesus conversed with religious leaders and said this;
I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me? “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:32)
The religious leaders recognized that Jesus was not only claiming equality with God, but he claimed ‘to be God’!
Was Jesus Worshiped?
“For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14)
Scripture tells us that God alone is to be worshipped.
“Every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.” (Revelation 5:13)
Jesus is worshiped by all of creation, and scripture tells us that God alone is to be worshipped.
What is the overall Teaching of Scripture?
It’s safe to say that scripture makes room for no grey areas about who Jesus was. Isaiah, David, John, Thomas, Matthew, Paul and even Jesus himself make it absolutely clear.
Even the religious leaders interpreted Jesus words as a claim to divinity. These were the men, who studied the Tenakh (Old Testament), and they knew the seriousness of his claims; but they couldn’t accept it – despite the overwhelming prophetic evidence in his favor.
The historical evidence for Jesus resurrection, alongside the prophetic evidence that demonstrates the way he fulfilled over 300 highly specific prophecies leads us to come to no other reasonable conclusion other than – Jesus is God!