THE DEITY OF CHRIST
By Larry White
(Originally delivered in Baker City, OR. March 3, 1988)
I. Teaching the deity of Christ.
One serious religious problem that we all have to deal with sooner or later while talking to our neighbors, is the deity of Christ.
In the O.T. there was about 10 or 11 different names for God. They were usually denoting a certain attribute, or a combination of attributes, which would call for a combination of the names.
1. The most widely used of course if the word Elohim.
Gen.1:26 The term here is plural, “The Gods said, Let us make man in our image”. This term is a general one denoting “deity”, even false deities. You can see the term El in many names of people and places.
Beth-el = House of God
Jezre-el = Sown of God
Samu-el = Asked of God
It denoted the powerful one – the Deity
El-Shaddai = God Almighty.
2. Jehovah = JHWH (Yahweh) “I AM” This is Elohim’s self-revelation to the nation of Israel. It denotes self-sufficiency, pre-eminent self-existence.
Isai-ah = Salvation of Jehovah
Jeremi-ah =Exalted of Jehovah
Jo-el = Jehovah is the God.
More about the deity’s makeup wasn’t revealed in the O.T. Paul points out that the divine attributes of God can be clearly seen in the creation.
Rom.1:20 “even his eternal power and Godhead”
The word Godhead = the state of being divine. Godhood, (like Manhood the state of being a man) Godhood is the state of being God.
3. Now in the N.T. we have a clearer revelation of the deity through Jesus Christ.
Col.2:9 “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
In Jesus dwelled in bodily form the fullness of divinity. His wasn’t a copied or reflected light – but in his being was the epitome of the Deity.
This is where you find the Godhead mentioned as three distinct beings.
Mt.3:16-17 Son, Spirit, Father
Mt.28:19 Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Jno.16:7-10 Son, Spirit, Father
-- There is no mention of this in the O.T.
Isa.44:6-8 “and beside me there is no God.”… “you are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yes, there is no God; I do not know any.”
-- There is no mention of all three persons being God.
In the O.T. he was a national God – the God of the Jews. There was no need to reveal anymore than that – it wasn’t needed.
But now the activities of the three need to be spelled out to us because we are no longer slaves in God’s house but are Sons. We now have full activity in the spiritual Kingdom and therefore have a full revelation of God.
II. Scriptures that show the Deity of Christ.
Let’s look at some scriptures that you can use to show the deity of Jesus Christ.
1. His nature is eternal.
JW’s say that Jesus was created. LDS say that he became God.
A. Jno.8:58 Before Abraham became, I am. (not was) The only other person in all of scripture who said this and meant it was Jehovah. (Ex.3:14)
B. Mt.2:5-6 The prophecy concerning the place of his birth. But look at the whole verse.
Cf. Micah.5:2 “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
C. Heb.7:1-3 The son of God is one who has no beginning of days nor end of life.
2. He is called God
A. Isa.7:14 The virgin birth of the Messiah prophesied. Immanuel = Jesus
Mat.1:22-23 Immanuel = God with us.
B. Isa.9:6-7 The mighty God.
C. Jno.1:1 Probably the most famous and for that, the most disputed claim.
JW's New World Translation says, “and the word was [a] god.
The Greek interlinear says, “and God was the word” The indefinite article is not needed in the translation.
D. Jno.20:28-29 Thomas calls him God. (lit. the God of me) Nowhere else is a man called God and calmly accepts it as true.
E. 1Jno.5:20 The true God and life eternal.
F. Heb.1:3 He is the brightness of the father’s glory and the express image of his person.
That’s why he said to Philip “when you have seen me you have see the Father.”
G. Heb.1:4-9 “Your throne O God…” The Father calls Jesus God.
3. He is called the First and the Last
A. Isa.44:6 Jehovah is the first and the last.
B. Rev.1:7-8, 22:13 Jesus is the first and the last.
4. Demonstrated from the OT
Jno.12:37-41 John says that Isaiah saw Christ’s glory.
Isa.6:5 Isaiah saw Jehovah of Hosts.
5. Jesus was accused of making himself “equal with God”
A. Jno.5:18 His own father.
B. Jno.10:33-35 He acts like he is equal.
C. Jesus, in his own estimation before he came into the world, knew that he was equal with
God the father, but he readily gave up that position to become a man and die for us. Phil.2:6-11
6. Jesus is worshipped
A. Acts.10:25-26 Peter refuses worship from Cornelius. “I am also a man.”
B. Rev.19:10 An angel of heaven refuses worship from John the Apostle. “Do not do it, Worship God”
C. Rev.22:9 John does it again and gets the same rebuke, “Worship God.”
D. Mat.8:2 A leper worships Jesus and he accepts it with no rebuke.
E. Mat.9:18 Jairus worships Jesus. No rebuke.
F. Mat.14:33 When Jesus walked on the water to the disciples’ ship, they worshipped him, and still no rebuke.
G. Mat.15:25 The Syro-Phoenician woman worshipped him without rebuke.
H. Jno.9:35-38 The man born blind, that Jesus healed worshipped him and Jesus accepts it.
I. In Mat.4:10 Jesus refuses to worship Satan and tells him that God alone is to be worshipped.
Yet Jesus never, EVER refused other people’s worship of himself.
7. Jesus is the Creator
A. Jno.1:3 That’s a strong negative – no created thing that was ever created, was created without Jesus creating it. JW’s say that Jesus was created. Then how did he create himself?
B. Col.1:15-17 There isn’t anything that he didn’t create. All creation continues to be, by his authority and creative power. (consist = hold together)
Let’s look at some objections the JW’s might throw at you.
1. Their answer to Jesus being the creator is that he was only the beginning of God’s creation and then God created the rest through him.
Proof text = Rev.3:14 “the beginning of the creation of God”
Answer = Take them to Lk.12:11 “rulers” in this verse is the same word as beginning. ARCHE.
Would this then be “synagogues and beginnings and authorities”?
“ARCHE means a beginning. The root “ARCH” primarily indicated what was of worth. Hence the verb ARCHO meant to be first; and ARCHON denoted ruler. So arose the idea of a beginning, the origin, the active cause, whether it be a person or a thing, e.g. (Col.1:18) “who is the beginning the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence.” [Vine’s Expository Dict. of N.T. Words]
So Jesus is the beginning, the origin, the active cause, the ruler of the creation of God.
2. JW’s say that Jesus was the firstborn of all creation, which, to them means that he was created and had a beginning.
Proof text = Col.1:15
Answer = But compare Col.1:15 and Rev.1:5
Jesus is the firstborn in reference to the resurrection. Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren because we will share his image and glory when we are also resurrected. Rom.8:29
So Col.1:15 doesn’t say that Jesus was created but that he has priority and preeminence over all creation.
v.16 For all things were created by him (ORIGIN)
v.17 He is before all things (PRIORITY)
v.18 He is the head (CHIEF) the beginning (ORIGIN) the firstborn from the dead. (SUPERIORITY OF POSITION)
He definitely is Preeminent.
In their New World Translation of the Bible, the JW’s have inserted the word “other” four different times in Col.1:15-17, when the Greek word is not there at all. This is completely unwarranted and a lie. They are adding to God’s word which is severely condemned by God.
But we keep God’s word. And we honor the Son just as we honor the Father as Jesus requested. Jno.5:23
Are we slighting the Father by reverencing the Son? Eph.3:20-21
This preeminent being, this Prince of Life, from whom everything receives it’s existence, equal with God, emptied himself of his glory and came and died a horrible death on a cross as a sacrifice to forgive our sins.
If you by faith receive God’s grace, repenting of your sins and be immersed into him then salvation will be yours through him.