words from a broken vessel

The Deity of Christ: Fact or Fiction? Part 1

[As mentioned a few months ago, we will be posting apologetic and doctrinal articles in the hope of educating Christians with the truth as found in Scripture. This is part 1 of a 3 part series. It comes from a study I made around 2000 and posted in a newsletter. It can be technical at times, but I make no apologies; it is time we as Christians stretch our minds to learn new things!]

 



buy levitra with priligy [T]he fact that for Christian theology, the great promise of salvation depends on both the deity and humanity of Christ. Unless he is God, he cannot be capable of redeeming humanity, but unless he is also man, there is no reason why the merit of his work should be applied to humanity.”Heresies, by Harold O.J. Brown, Hendrickson Publishers, pg. 188.



 

In this study, we are going to search the Scriptures to examine a centuries old proclamation of true orthodox Christianity: that Jesus is not only the Son of God but is also God Almighty.

Before we begin, some important points before we begin:

  • The main emphasis of this article is not to look specifically into the doctrine of the Trinity, but on the facts revealing the deity of Jesus Christ. However, this study may sometimes overlap into that doctrine, since the two are closely related.
  • There will be many references of objections to this doctrine by a religion known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are known for their anti-Trinitarian and anti-deity of Christ views. By no means are they the only religion that does not believe in the deity of Christ; they are quoted since they are the most well-known, and no doubt the majority of readers are familiar with some of their objections to this subject. The initials “JW” will refer to them.
  • Unless indicated otherwise, all scriptures are taken from The New American Standard Bible (NASB) copyright © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. The initials KJV refer to the King James Version.

 

This doctrine will be examined in the following manner:

  1. Which New Testament scriptures defend the Deity of Jesus Christ?
  2. Which Old Testament scriptures, in light of New Testament fulfillment, reveal Jesus as Yahweh/Jehovah (“I AM”)?
  3. What are the most common scriptural objections against the deity of Jesus Christ?
  4. Final words.

 

 

http://agewellmd-denver.com/new-patient-form/ Which New Testament scriptures defend the Deity of Jesus Christ?

John 1:1          In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

This Scripture is commonly quoted to defend the deity of Jesus Christ. All reliable translations reveal the same doctrine: that Jesus (the Word) was not only with God (the Father) but was God Himself from eternity past. However, there is one translation, The New World Translation, published by the JW headquarters, The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, which translate the last portion of the text as follows: “…and the word was a god.” Some JWs do not realize that they are not the first to believe in that rendition of the text; it was a heretic by the name of Arius. Arius believed that Jesus the Son was a created being that was exalted more than any other of God’s creations but He Himself was different in essence to the Father.[i] Therefore the JW religion can be classed as neo-Arianism.

To find out if the verse in question is translated incorrectly it is necessary to see the scripture in its Greek format. The three clauses of John 1:1 are:

en   archē                    ēn        ho logos

in (the) beginning       was     the Word

 

kai       ho        logos    ēn        pros   ton  theon

and      the       Word   was     with   the  God

 

kai   theos    ēn       ho logos.

and  God     was     the Word.[ii]

 

Here are some important observations about this text:

  1. John’s first two words (in [the] beginning) in Greek give reference to Genesis 1:1 as recorded in the Greek Old Testament known as the Septuagint (LXX): Gen 1:1 In the beginning (en archē) God created the heavens and the earth.
  2. The imperfect tense form of the verb eimi (I am), thus in our text en (was), signifies continuous action in the past. When all things in the universe were created, the Word continually wase. already existed. John is relating to us the eternal existence of Jesus Christ (the Word).
  3. “With” (pros) means face to face, and therefore implies two persons in eternal fellowship.
  4. The word theos in the third clause functions to express what the Word is in His essence or being. “In other words, Jesus is God Himself by His very nature, just as the Father is. The position of theos in 1:1c is before the verb was, and therefore describes what the subject of the clause (ho logos, the article makes it the subject) is ontologically, or in his essential being. Translating 1:1c as “the word was a god,” as Jehovah’s Witnesses do, is therefore erroneous and misleading, for if John wanted to convey the idea that the Word was a god, he would have used ho logos ēn theon, theon ēn ho logos, ho logos ēn theos or ho logos ēn[iii]

 

So why do the JW refuse to properly translate this scripture?

“The answer is not difficult to find. Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves tell us why they have adopted their rendering of John 1:1 on page 744 of the afore mentioned appendix [referring to the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, published in 1951 by Watchtower editors]: ‘…it is presumptuous to say…that the sentence should therefore be translated “and the Word was God.” That would mean that the Word was the God with who the Word was said to be. This is unreasonable; for how can the Word be with the God and at the same time be that same God?”

It has thus become clear that the ultimate ground for the Witness translation of this important passage is not the authority of Scripture, but their own rationalistic, anti-Trinitarian theology. What they are saying, in effect, is this: we refuse to accept as Scriptural what our minds cannot grasp!”[iv]


 

John 8:24        Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

In most formal (literal) translations (like the NASB, KJV, etc.), the word He is in italics, indicating that that word in Greek is not in the original text, but was added by the translators to help the reading of the text. Therefore, it can be read, as intended, “…for unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” This format would be accurate in the context of the chapter because in a later verse (John 8:58-59) Jesus repeats the same phrase. In the Old Testament, only One deserved the title “I AM”: Jehovah God (Exodus 3:14). This text also bears a curse on those who refuse to believe that Jesus is God Almighty; they will die in their sins and suffer for eternity! Why? The apostle Paul explains in 2 Cor. 11:3-4 (cf. Gal. 1:6-9):

2 Cor 11:3-4    But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.


 

John 8:58        Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

In agreement with the text declaring the same truth before it (see above), Jesus declares Himself as Jehovah, taking the same title found in Exodus 3:14 in the LXX. Steve Tsoukalas gives further insight to the Greek meaning of the text:

“Before Abraham ever came into existence, Jesus always existed (“I AM”). This is reminiscent of the “come into existence/always existed” contrast between the created order and God in Psalm 89:2 in the LXX (English 90:20): “Before the mountains came into existence…, You [i.e. God] are.” The present tense translated “I AM” and “You are” in John 8:58 and Psalm 89:2 carry the meaning of continuous action, thus, “I always existed” and “You always existed”… Simply put, it is “in the style of deity.” It is representative of the “I AM” statements in the LXX that are attributed to Yahweh. In Deuteronomy 32:39 Yahweh states “Behold, Behold, that I AM.”[v]


 

John 20:27-28 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

In this well-known scripture of “doubting Thomas”, we see this apostle of Christ bowing down and worshipping Jesus Christ as both Lord and God. However, some groups, like the JW, say that in reality Thomas was calling Jesus “My Lord” but speaking to Jehovah when He said, “My God”. While this may fit with their theology, their interpretation of this scripture is incorrect both in the English and the Greek.

If we examine the scripture in English you will notice that John says “…Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and My God”; Thomas’ remark was directed to Christ Jesus. In Greek, this scripture reads:

ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou.

The text is translated into English as “the Lord of me and the God of me.” Jesus is called THE God. Thus, Jesus is Jehovah the Son.[vi] This text is also used to refer the reader to Old Testament passages such as:

Ps 35:23          Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right and to my cause, my God and my Lord.

This scripture in the LXX (the phrases kurios mou and theos mou are in reversed order) is virtually identical in the Greek to Thomas’ remark in John 20:27-28![vii]


 

Titus 2:13        Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

This text is in reference to the future appearing of Christ in both 1 Thess. 4:16-18 and Acts 1:9-11. The usual retort against the belief that the “great God and Savior” statement is directed to Christ Jesus, is that in reality it is talking about Christ coming in God’s power. However, it is obvious by the text that the titles of both God and Savior are directed to Christ Jesus. Steve Tsoukalas explains:

“The English phrase “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” is, in Greek tou megalou theou kai soteros hemon Iesou Christou, the one article (tou) governs the two nouns (theou and soteros).”[viii]

 

NEXT WEEK: Which Old Testament Scriptures, in light of New Testament fulfillment, reveal Jesus as Yahweh/Jehovah (“I AM”)?

 

 

[i] Heresies, by Harold O.J. Brown, Hendrickson Publishers, pg. 107

[ii] Knowing Christ in the Challenge of Heresy, by Steven Tsoukalas, University Press of America, pg. 16.

[iii] All four points were taken from Knowing Christ…by Tsoukalas, pg. 16-19

[iv] The Four Major Cults, by Anthony A. Hoekema, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., pg. 335

[v] Knowing Christ…, Steven Tsoukalas, pg. 21

[vi] ibid.,  pg. 82-83, Footnote 87

[vii] ibid., pg. 83

[viii] ibid., pg. 90, Footnote 9