Monday, September 26, 2011

The Deity of Jesus the Christ

 A recent encounter with a Jehovah's Witness prompted me to go on a search for specific Scriptures which speak of the deity of Jesus.  I was awed at the the depth and breadth of the Scriptural testimony to the divine nature of Christ.  Below is a list of some of the passages that I found most significant.

Verses that explicitly refer to Jesus as God:

 "For to us a child is born,
        to us a son is given;
    and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
        and his name shall be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
        Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
(Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

"...waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,"  (Titus 2:13 ESV)

"For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily..."  (Colossians 2:9 ESV)

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life."  (1 John 5:20 ESV)

    “'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
        and they shall call his name Immanuel'”
    (which means, God with us).
(Matthew 1:23 ESV)

"To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen."  (Romans 9:5 ESV)

Verses that show the superiority of Jesus over the angels:

"For to which of the angels did God ever say,
    'You are my Son,
        today I have begotten you'?
"Or again,
    'I will be to him a father,
        and he shall be to me a son'?
"And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
    'Let all God's angels worship him.'
"Of the angels he says,
    'He makes his angels winds,
        and his ministers a flame of fire.'
"But of the Son he says,
    'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
        the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
    You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, has anointed you
        with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.'
"And,
    'You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
        and the heavens are the work of your hands;
    they will perish, but you remain;
        they will all wear out like a garment,
    like a robe you will roll them up,
        like a garment they will be changed.
    But you are the same,
        and your years will have no end.'
"And to which of the angels has he ever said,
    'Sit at my right hand
        until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'?
"Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?"
(Hebrews 1:5-14 ESV)

Michael is referred to as ONE of the chief princes:

"The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,"  (Daniel 10:13 ESV)

Jesus, on the other hand, is referred to as the supreme authority:

"'They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.'”  (Revelation 17:14 ESV)

"...that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,"  (Ephesians 1:20-22 ESV)

Michael would not pronounce a judgment on Satan:
 
"But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you.'"  (Jude 1:9 ESV)

Jesus, however, plainly rebuked Satan:

"Then Jesus said to him, 'Be gone, Satan! For it is written,"You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."'" (Matthew 4:10 ESV)

The angels refuse worship:

"I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, 'You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.'"  (Revelation 22:8-9 ESV)

Jesus accepted worship from the wise men (Matthew 2:11), a leper (Matthew 8:2), a ruler (Matthew 9:18), a blind man (John 9:38), "every knee" (Philippians 2:10-11), and angels (Hebrews 1:6)!

Verses that show that the Jews understood Jesus to be claiming divinity:

"But Jesus answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I am working.'  This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."  (John 5:17-18 ESV)

"'I and the Father are one.'  The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, 'I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?' The Jews answered him, 'It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.'"  (John 10:30-33 ESV)

Verses where Jesus refers to Himself as "I am" (which is tied to the name YHWH in Exodus 3):
 
"'Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.'  So the Jews said to him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'"  (John 8:56-58 ESV)

"Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, 'Whom do you seek?' They answered him, 'Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus said to them, 'I am he.' Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them."  (John 18:4-5 ESV)

Verses that show Jesus' ability to forgive sins and His knowledge of all things:

"And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.' Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 'Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?'"  (Mark 2:5-7 ESV)

"'Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.'"  (John 16:30 ESV)

"He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.'"  (John 21:17 ESV)

Old Testament attributes of God the Father that are applied to Jesus in the New Testament:
   
"I am the LORD; that is my name;
        my glory I give to no other,
        nor my praise to carved idols."
(Isaiah 42:8 ESV)

"'And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.'"  (John 17:5 ESV)

------------------

    "I, I am the LORD,
        and besides me there is no savior."
(Isaiah 43:11 ESV)

"...waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,"  (Titus 2:13 ESV)

-----------------

"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
        who formed you from the womb:
    'I am the LORD, who made all things,
        who alone stretched out the heavens,
        who spread out the earth by myself,'"
(Isaiah 44:24 ESV)

"For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him."  (Colossians 1:16 ESV)

-------------

"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

"'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
    the whole earth is full of his glory!'
"And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!'
"Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.'

"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me.' And he said, 'Go, and say to this people:

"'"Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
    keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
    Make the heart of this people dull,
        and their ears heavy,
        and blind their eyes;
    lest they see with their eyes,
        and hear with their ears,
    and understand with their hearts,
        and turn and be healed."'"
(Isaiah 6:1-10 ESV)

"Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
    'He has blinded their eyes
        and hardened their heart,
    lest they see with their eyes,
        and understand with their heart, and turn,
        and I would heal them.'
"Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him."
(John 12:39-41 ESV)

3 comments:

  1. I really appreciate this post! I had an encounter with a JW too recently and it left me with the same desire...to search out the scriptures for all the references to Jesus being God. I spoke boldly to the person saying Jesus was only an arch angel but I wished I would have already had all these scriptures memorized to further convince them. We always need to be ready! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anna.....a very good thought-out study. I'm proud of your ability and desire and hope many read these. I print most of these off for easy access. Love you for the woman-of-God you are. What a joy....Grandmother

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mrs. Tossell-- One good resource I found was the section on JW's in Way of the Master's School of Biblical Evangelism textbook. One of the most helpful points I found was that it is unthinkable for a JW to even consider the possibility of the Trinity or the deity of Christ. So, instead of launching right into a defense of these doctrines, it can be more effective to begin by questioning their belief that Jesus is an angel. There is no Biblical foundation for this belief, and if they can be brought to the point of seeing this, it opens the door to ask who Jesus really is. I'm glad to know that my research might be helpful to others!

    Grandmother-- thank you!

    ReplyDelete