1. THE KEY QUESTION
Who is Jesus Christ is the key element that separates the Truth from all other religions. If you are wrong on Him, it does not matter what you are right on. Not only is history divided by Christ (BC/AD), but so is truth.
The Bible is clear about the Person of Jesus Christ. Unless someone is bent on not believing, then the Bible answers all questions regarding Christ's Deity. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity teaches that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. It also teaches that there is one God, hence the Trinity. It has been said that if we try to understand the Trinity we will lose our mind but if we deny the Trinity we will lose our soul.
2. HE IS CALLED GOD
What better way to begin the documentation of Christ's Deity than to show where the Bible actually calls Him God. If we look at Hebrews 1:8 we notice that it is speaking about the Son when it says, "THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER...." It cannot be more clear than that. One would need to change the verse to avoid the obvious, which is something the Jehovah's Witnesses have done. In their 'translation' it reads, "God is your throne forever...." (NWT).
How can God be a throne? God is not something to be sat upon. It seems like an intentional attempt to rob Christ of His Deity--an awful abomination. What do we know about this New World Translation that the Jehovah's Witnesses use? Walter Martin informs us that "....but let it be remembered that the New World Bible Translation Committee had no known translators with recognized degrees in Greek or Hebrew exegesis or translation" (p. 123). Need we say more about that "translation?"
In John 20:28, Thomas calls Jesus, 'Lord and God.' Jesus never denied that title, nor did He rebuke Thomas for 'taking the Lord's Name in vain,' or 'having another God before God.' Both are Ten Commandments and Jesus certainly would have corrected Thomas if He were not God.
One of the best Scriptures is John 1:1 which says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Now we know by this that the Word is God. Who is the Word? By looking at verse 14 we find that the Word is Christ, because it was He who came and made His dwelling among us. This is another verse the Jehovah's Witnesses have changed to their liking. They 'translate' the verse to read, "a god," and not "God." Again, the audacity to change God's Word to your own agenda! Besides, this leaves them in a corner because Jesus cannot be "a" god. Either He is the Almighty God or no god at all. The Bible says, "Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me" (Is. 43:10). The Scripture leaves no room for "a god." That would be polytheism. There is no God but one and all other gods are idols and not gods at all.
Satan is called the god of this world, but that is like money is a god if we give our lives to it. But Satan, money, power, etc. are not "God" by nature as Christ is. Besides, this "a god" rendering of John 1:1 is not consistent in the Greek nor with any of the major Bible translations. It is only a twisting of God's Word. Walter Martin had this to say about the Watchtower Translation (New Word Translation) as far as their 'translation' of "a god,"
Needless to say, no recognized translators in the history of Greek exegesis have
ever sanctioned such a grammatical travesty as the Watchtower translation and
the Watchtower translators know it. Such a rendition is an indication of markedly
inferior scholarship and finds no basis whatsoever in the New Testament Greek
In John 8:58 Jesus claims that He is the Almighty God. In Exodus 3:14 God says of Himself, "I AM." Now Jesus comes along and says of Himself in John 8:58, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." Jesus knew what He was saying and so did the Jews because in the next verse they picked up stones to stone Him for claiming to be God. The meaning of the verse is clear, but again, the Witnesses have changed it to read, "....I have been," and missed the whole point.
Matthew 1:23 is an interesting verse. Jesus is called Immanuel, which means "God with us." That is exactly what Jesus was--He was God Himself with us in Person in the flesh. John 1:14 is a similar verse that says God took on human flesh. This is the beauty of it all, God took on the nature of man and became the sacrifice for our sins. What a picture of God's heart.
3. HE IS EQUAL WITH GOD
The Jews tried to kill Jesus because He was making Himself equal with God (John 5:18). No one deserves equal honor with God. In John 5:22-23 however, we see Jesus receiving equal honor with the Father, "....in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." The message is clear.
Another verse on the equality of the Father and the Son is Revelation 5:13. It shows equal worship being given to God and to Jesus the Lamb, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever" (emphasis mine). That verse alone can silence all arguments against the Deity of Christ.
In Matthew 28:18 Jesus said that He had all authority in heaven and earth. Now how could that be possible for anybody but God? The evidence for Christ's Deity in Scripture is overwhelming.
Scripture teaches us to glory in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31, 2 Cor. 10:17). Paul, however, in Philippians 3:3 says that we glory in Christ. Paul knew who Christ was. Paul considered all things garbage and loss in order that he might know Christ. Paul gloried in Jesus and boasted in Jesus. To Paul, Jesus was not some lesser god, but the very essence of life itself. In Jeremiah God says, "....but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me...." (9:24).
4. HE RECEIVED WORSHIP AS GOD
Jesus was at least an honest and righteous man. If He was not God then He would not receive glory as God or lead people to wrong conclusions. When the disciples received worship (Acts 10:25, 14:11) and the angel received worship (Rev. 19:10, 22:8-9) they refused the worship. They feared God and knew they did not deserve worship. Jesus, on the other hand, did not refuse worship. In Exodus 34:14 it says, "....for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God...." So why did Jesus receive worship? Because He knew that He Himself was God. He received worship in Mt. 14:33 and 28:9-10. He was worshiped in Mt. 2:11 by the Magi. It says in Hebrews 1:6 that the angels of God should worship Him. Why do we worship Jesus Christ if the Bible says to only worship God? The answer is clear.
5. HE IS COMPARED WITH GOD
There are many characteristics of God in the Bible that are likewise given to Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament God is said to be the savior, "I, even I, am the LORD; and there is no savior besides Me" (Is. 43:11). But Jesus Christ is said to be "....the Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14). There are many verses that say Jesus is the Savior (2 Pet. 1:1, Luke 2:11, Titus 1:3-4).
In Isaiah 45:23 God says that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear unto Himself. But we also see in Phil. 2:10-11 that every knee should bow and every tongue confess about Jesus Christ. What other conclusion is there but to say that Jesus is God?
In Isaiah 48:12 and 44:6 God is called the first and the last. Jesus is called the same in Rev. 1:17, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last...." In Deut. 10:17 and Psalms 136:3 God is called the Lord of lords. Jesus is also called the Lord of lords and King of kings, "....and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings...." (Rev. 17:14). We see in the book of Isaiah that God is Israel's King (43:15). Again, when compared with Christ, we see He also is called the King of Israel, "You are the King of Israel" (John 1:49). That was spoken to Him by Nathanael and it is noteworthy that in the next verse Jesus never denied that title.
God is called Judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25, Ps. 50:6). Our Lord and God Jesus Christ is also called the judge in Acts 10:42 and 2 Timothy 4:1. Again, God is portrayed in the Old Testament as our shepherd in Psalms 23 and 100. We see a constant pattern of "God" qualities given to Christ. He is also called the good shepherd, "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11), and the great shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20), and the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4).
Another comparison can be found in Joel 2:32, "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered." This verse is quoted by Peter in Acts 2:21, but we also see it in Romans 10:13 which is in direct reference to Christ. A person would have to purposefully go way out of their way not to see the Deity of Christ woven throughout Scripture.
6. PROBLEM VERSES DISCUSSED
Some say that because Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Mk. 1:1) that He is less than God. But because He is the Son makes Him no less God than the Father. For example, if I have a son, he is a human being just as much as I am. We are of the same nature. Because I am his father makes me no more human than he. In a somewhat similar way, Jesus is God's Son, but He is just as much God as His Father. They are of the same nature. We are sons and daughters of God by adoption, but Jesus is the Son of God by nature.
A verse that is misapplied by some to deny Christ His Deity is John 14:28, "If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I." It is sad that false teachers will set their attention on three or four obscure verses to teach their heresy. Why cannot they focus their attention on the twenty or thirty clear verses that support the truth? Besides, Jesus was not saying that His Father was better than Him, but greater. Jesus was speaking as a human being on earth with obvious limitations. His Father certainly had a greater position at that time, but Jesus was in no way saying that He was not God.
Colossians 1:15 states, "And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation." At first glance it may seem that Jesus was created. However, we as Bible students should not go by first glances. In this context of glorifying Christ, the word "first-born" means, "preeminent," or "chief," or "most important." It does not mean first created. The context alone reveals that. For anyone wanting to do further research on this first-born issue it would be good to look at Genesis 41:51 and 48:14-19, Jeremiah 31:9, and Psalms 89:20, 27 to see that the term first-born in regards to Christ supports His Deity, not the reverse.
To conclude this first-born thought I go to Hebrews 1:6 which says, "And when He again brings the first-born into the world, he says, 'AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.'" We are to only worship God, so the first-born in this context is no one else but God. I believe the point is made to those of rational minds.
The Jehovah's Witnesses seem to manipulate Scripture to their own ends. In Colossians 1:16-17 they insert the word "[other]" in brackets which makes it appear that Jesus was Himself created and then He created all "other" things, "....because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens....All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist....(NWT).
It is apparent that the JW's do not want Christ to be the Creator God. The word "other" is not part of the text, but only an unfortunate, if not wicked, addition. Why cannot they just take the Bible as it is and worship Jesus Christ for who He is?
Speaking of Christ being the Creator, there are clear passages in Scripture that support that teaching. John 1:3, 10 and Colossians 1:16-17 teach that Christ is Creator. In Hebrews 1:8-10 we see Christ is called the Creator. According to the context it is speaking about Christ and it says, "THOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING DIDST LAY THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF THY HANDS." That verse is referring to the Son and therefore clearly proves that Jesus Christ is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
The icing on the cake comes from the book of Revelation. Let us compare 1:17-18 and 22:12-13,
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand
upon me, saying, 'Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living
One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys
of death and of Hades. (1:17-18)
Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man
according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and
the last, the beginning and the end. (22:12-13)
We see that the First and the Last, and the Alpha and the Omega, and the Beginning and the End are all Jesus Christ. Therefore, when we compare these verses with Rev. 1:8, we see that Jesus Christ is the Almighty, "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty'" (see also Rev. 2:8, 21:6-7, 22:7, 12, 16, 20).
If we deny Jesus Christ His Deity we are lost. If we admit His Deity we are not saved until we submit to His Deity. To God be the glory. Amen.
All Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible.
Martin, Walter. Kingdom of the Cults. Ed. Hank Hanegraaff. Bethany House: Minneapolis. 1997.