Category Archives: Christ
The following story was shared by John Newton in a letter to his friend, a theological liberal minister, Thomas Scott, on November 17, 1775. Newton’s role in the theological formation (transformation) of Scott is a remarkable story worth studying in itself. But for now, here’s the story Newton shared with Scott, as published in Newton’s Works (1:596-98):
A most valued friend of mine, a Clergyman now living, had for many years given a rational assent to the Gospel. He labored with much earnestness upon your plan; was very exemplary in his whole conduct; preached almost incessantly (two or three times every day in the week for years), having a parish in the remote parts of Yorkshire, of great extent, and containing five or six different hamlets at some distance from each other.
He succeeded likewise with his people so far as to break them off from outward irregularities; and was mentioned, in a letter to the Society for propagating the Gospel (which I have seen in print) as the most perfect example of a parish priest which this nation, or perhaps this age, has produced. Thus he went on for many years, teaching his people what he knew, for he could teach them no more. He lived in such retirement and recess, that he was unacquainted with the persons and principles of any who are now branded as enthusiasts and methodists.
One day, reading Ephesians 3 in his Greek Testament, his thoughts were stopped by the word ανεξιχνιαστον [unsearchable], in verse 8. He was struck, and led to think with himself to this purpose: The Apostle, when speaking of the love and riches of Christ, uses remarkable expressions; he speaks of heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths, and unsearchables, where I seem to find every thing plain, easy, and rational. He finds mysteries where I can perceive none. Surely, though I use the words Gospel, faith, and grace, with him, my ideas of them must be different from his.
This led him to a close examination of all his Epistles, and, by the blessing of God, brought on a total change in his views and preaching. He no longer set his people to keep a law of faith; to trust in their sincerity and endeavors, upon some general hope that Christ would help them out where they came short; but he preached Christ himself, as the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
He felt himself, and laboured to convince others, that there is no hope for a sinner but merely in the blood of Jesus; and no possibility of his doing any works acceptable to God, till he himself be first made accepted in the Beloved. Nor did he labor in vain. Now his preaching effected, not only an outward reformation, but a real change of heart, in very many of his hearers. The word was received, as Paul expresses it, not with a rational assent only, but with demonstration and power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; and their endeavors to observe the Gospel precepts were abundantly more extensive, uniform, and successful, when they were brought to say, with the Apostle, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God.”
J. I. Packer rather famously wrote, “were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be adoption through propitiation, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that” (Knowing God, 214). Adoption is precious, and that line from Packer is worth memorizing.
But there’s a much broader historical-redemptive context for understanding our adoption as David B. Garner explains in his excellent chapter, “The First and Last Son: Christology and Sonship in Pauline Soteriology,” published in Resurrection and Eschatology (P&R, 2008).
Here is Garner’s thick-and-rich-like-dark-chocolate conclusion. Best enjoyed in small bites:
Behind the creation of the cosmos—and most relevantly here, behind the creation of man—exists the archetypal, eternal sonship of Christ. Man, made in the image of God, a finite replica (ectype) of the eternal, ontologial Son (archetype), is, at creation, necessarily a son of God.
While the fall skewed sonship and alienated the relationship of the created son with the Father, just as man did not completely lose the divine image, he likewise did not lose the broad sense of his sonship. Still sons, but alienated and depraved, the first man and his progeny stood under the curse of their Creator/Father, and were in need of the judicial declaration of God to rectify their sonship status, and the redemptive power of God to restore their sonship constitution, indeed to vouchsafe their eschatological familial telos.
In view of the failure of the first son of God, the realization of this declaration and redeeming power by God’s grace came through the Last Adam, the Son of God par excellence, whose redemptive work provided the reversal of the curse on man and the attainment of adoption for the fallen sons of Adam. In Christ, created sons of Adam become the adopted sons of God.
While the entire redemptive-historical development and realization of redemptive sonship organically derive from his messianic sonship, Christ’s pre-temporal constitution plays the prior, ultimate role. In fact, all biblical sonship flows from an anterior, ontological principium—the eternal Son of God, in whom the ectypal, typological, and antitypical sonships find their raison d’être.
This principium of christological sonship unites the sonships of Adam, of Israel, of the incarnate Christ, and of the eschatologically adopted believer in covenantal, redemptive-historical continuity. The first Adam finitely replicates the First Son; the Last Adam fulfills the telos of the first created son. In this way, Christ is not only the eternal Son, he is also the archetypal Adam. Further, by his covenantal obedience as the Last Adam, he became the glorious, exalted, eschatological Son of God in power (Rom. 1:4).
We see therefore in Pauline soteriology an exhaustively christological cast, wherein the filial, ontological, and redemptive-historical are securely tethered in Christ the Son of God, the Source, Epicenter, and Consummator of all reality. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First Son and the Last. (279)
From the sermon of Octavius Winslow (1808–1878) titled “The Vitality of the Atoning Blood”:
The moment the ransomed and released soul enters glory, the first object that arrests its attention and fixes its eye is the interceding Savior. Faith, anticipating the glorious spectacle, sees him now pleading the blood on behalf of each member of His Church upon earth.
“By His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” [Hebrews 9:12]
“For Christ has not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, NOW to appear in the presence of God for us.” [Hebrews 9:24]
There is blood in heaven! the blood of the Incarnate God! And because it pleads and prays, argues and intercedes, the voice of every sin is hushed, every accusation of Satan is met, every daily transgression is forgiven, every temptation of the adversary is repelled, every evil is warded, every need is supplied, and the present sanctification and the final glorification of the saints are secured.
“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” [Romans 8:33–34]
Draw near, you Joshuas, accused by Satan!
Approach, you Peters, whose faith is sifted!
Come, you tried and disconsolate!
The mediatorial Angel, the pleading Advocate, the interceding High Priest, has passed into the heavens, and appears before the throne, for you.
If the principle of the spiritual life in your soul has decayed, if your grace has declined, if you have ‘left your first love,’ there is vitality in the interceding blood of Jesus, and it prays for your revival. If sin condemns, and danger threatens, and temptation assails, and affliction wounds, there is living power in the pleading blood of Immanuel, and it procures pardon, protection, and comfort.
B. B. Warfield, The Saviour of the World (1914), 247–49:
He came to save every age, says Irenæus, and therefore He came as an infant, a child, a boy, a youth, and a man. And there is no age that cannot find its example in Him.
We see Him, the properest child that ever was given to a mother’s arms, through all the years of childhood at Nazareth “subjecting Himself to His parents.”
We see Him a youth, laboring day by day contentedly at His father’s bench, in this lower sphere, too, with no other thought than to be “about His father’s business.”
We see Him in His holy manhood, going, “as His custom was,” Sabbath by Sabbath, to the synagogue,—God as He was, not too good to worship with His weaker brethren. And then the horizon broadens.
We see Him at the banks of Jordan, because it became Him to fulfill every righteousness, meekly receiving the baptism of repentance for us.
We see Him in the wilderness, calmly rejecting the subtlest trials of the evil one: refusing to supply His needs by a misuse of His divine power, repelling the confusion of tempting God with trusting God, declining to seek His Father’s ends by any other than His Father’s means.
We see Him among the thousands of Galilee, anointed of God with the Holy Ghost and power, going about doing good:
with no pride of birth, though He was a king;
with no pride of intellect, though omniscience dwelt within Him;
with no pride of power, though all power in heaven and earth was in His hands;
with no pride of station, though the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Him bodily;
with no pride of superior goodness or holiness:
but in lowliness of mind esteeming every one better than Himself,
healing the sick,
casting out devils,
feeding the hungry,
and everywhere breaking to men the bread of life.
We see Him everywhere offering to men His life for the salvation of their souls: and when, at last, the forces of evil gathered thick around Him, walking, alike without display and without dismay, the path of suffering appointed for Him, and giving His life at Calvary that through His death the world might live.
This is the great season when we celebrate the Savior’s incarnation. Which also means it’s that time of the year when strange things are afoot—fruitcake, tensile, and questions about whether Jesus suffered from bed head, used the restroom, or vomited because he had a case of the flu.
Given the striking humanity of the Savior, it is easy to just assume that Jesus must have experienced the stomach virus and vomiting, just like we have experienced. However the question is a bit more complex.
This is one question addressed a long time ago in the book On the Incarnation by Athanasius (c. 293–373). It’s a section worth a more careful look.
Did Jesus get the flu?
Athanasius says no.
Here’s his argument (pages 50–51).
First, he argues that all men who die of ‘natural causes,’ die from some form of illness.
The death of men under ordinary circumstances is the result of their natural weakness. They are essentially impermanent, so after a time they fall ill and when worn out they die.
Yet, in contrast, Jesus died in full strength.
But the Lord is not like that. He is not weak, He is the Power of God and Word of God and Very Life Itself. If He had died quietly in His bed like other men it would have looked as if He did so in accordance with His nature, and as though He was indeed no more than other men. But because He was Himself Word and Life and Power His body was made strong, and because the death had to be accomplished, He took the occasion of perfecting His sacrifice not from Himself, but from others.
Here’s the logic: If Jesus was prone to sickness then he was also prone to natural death. So why not let his 80 years play out and then Jesus could just die quietly in a bed as the Savior? Seems more appealing than the crucifixion. But,
How could He fall sick, Who had healed others? Or how could that body weaken and fail by means of which others are made strong? Here, again, you may say, “Why did He not prevent death, as He did sickness?” Because it was precisely in order to be able to die that He had taken a body, and to prevent the death would have been to impede the resurrection.
Ah, but didn’t Jesus feed the hungry and himself become hungry? Yes, but …
And as to the unsuitability of sickness for His body, as arguing weakness, you may say, “Did He then not hunger?” Yes, He hungered, because that was the property of His body, but He did not die of hunger, because He Whose body hungered was the Lord. Similarly, though He died to ransom all, He did not see corruption. His body rose in perfect soundness, for it was the body of none other than the Life Himself.
Hunger is not a result of the fall—but sickness is. Hunger was born in the stomach of Adam and a garden of delightful food. However, sickness is the birth pang of death. Sickness is an enemy we battle until at some point we become too weak to fight any longer and we succumb to physical death.
In all this, it seems to me that Athanasius was really attempting to preserve the crucifixion. Jesus did not incarnate to waste away by sickness. Instead, Christ maintained his health and strength. To Athanasius, this is what makes the cross so amazing. His strength sets the stage for his crucifixion. It was in the vigor of his remaining strength that allowed him to yell that Jesus gave up his own life (Matthew 27:46, 50). Jesus did not waste away.
So if I understand correctly, here’s his point: The Incarnate Savior was not a dying man, who at some point in his descent towards natural death, determined to die for sinners. Rather, in fullness of human strength, Jesus freely gave his life as a ransom. This is what’s at stake for Athanasius. Jesus never would have died from old age because he did not get sick. Thus, the atonement could never be accomplished through a “natural” death. The question over whether Christ ever got the flu was inseparable from a discussion about the Savior’s cause of death.
Did Jesus ever vomit because he had the flu? Athanasius says no; the crucifixion prevents it. Some say yes; the incarnation assumes it. But of course the simple fact is that Scripture doesn’t tell us, and that is the strongest evidence that should really settle the whole matter in the end.
In the Old Testament, the annual Day of Atonement was the most solemn day on the calendar. Today it’s known as Yom Kippur. In the OT it was a day of purifying. And it was a day set apart for the high priest to enter inside the veil of the Holy Place with the blood a bull and then of a goat. It was a sacrifice in the presence of God to atone for the sins of the people and for the priest himself.
This act of bringing blood behind the curtain was very solemn act. A mis-step and the sacrifice would be rendered unaccepted and the priest could die (Leviticus 10:1–3). In many ways the acceptability of the sacrifice before God was evidenced by the re-emergence of the priest before the people. It’s not hard to imagine the anxiety and the eagerness of those outside the temple awaiting the priest’s return from behind the curtain.
The Day of Atonement is clearly in the mind of the writer of Hebrews in 9:1–10:14 and specifically in 9:27–28 where we read,
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Christ is our High Priest and his sacrifice on the cross for our sins has been made once-for-all. God has accepted the sacrifice as evidenced in the resurrection. But in a sense we are still waiting for our High Priest to emerge before our eyes.
As Christians we have been called to a heightened expectancy similar to that experienced on the Day of Atonement. Our High Priest will one day return before our eyes. And until he does we are called to eagerly await his appearance.
In December of 1662, as he lay dying, Scottish Puritan David Dickson said: “I have taken all my good deeds and all my bad deeds, and cast them through each other in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace!”
Peter O’Brien’s new Hebrews commentary in the Pillar series is delightful and I’ve been reading it straight through. Tonight I have a few moments and I wanted to post his comments on Hebrews 1:3b: “he [Christ] upholds the universe by the word of his power.” This has always been a fascinating text for me (along with Col. 1:17).
Not only is Jesus Christ the agent of creation (v. 2c); he also sustains the universe he has made. This Lord is not like the god of the deists, who, having created the world, then proceeded to let it run on its own. He is personally and continually involved in sustaining it.
Then he adds this:
The immediate context, however, suggests the additional nuance of the Son’s ‘carrying’ all things to their appointed end or goal. The notion of direction or purpose seems to be included. The author, then, is not referring to the passive support of a burden like the Greek god Atlas bearing the dead weight of the world on his shoulders. Rather, the language implies a ‘bearing’ that includes movement and progress towards an objective.
So what is this objective?
Moreover, if this nuance of direction is present,* then the Son’s bearing all things (i.e., time and space) to their appointed ends looks forward to his work of redemption, which is described in the next line (v. 3c). The Son’s sustaining all things is not simply the backdrop to or the precursor of his redemptive work. His cleansing of sins is an important objective of Christ’s providential work.
In other words the picture we get in Hebrews 1:3 is of a Savior who sustains the world for the purpose of dying for the world.
* Some commentators agree (Westcott, P.E. Hughes) but others disagree (Ellingworth). Ellingworth takes “upholds” more along the lines of bearing dead weight or preventing something from falling. O’Brien argues the case contextually by suggestion that “upholds” is in a line of progression that leads to “making purification” and that leads to “sat down.”
Yesterday as a family we hunted used books. Generally I return home empty handed. But while thumbing across the bottom shelf in a dusty corner of a book warehouse I discovered an attractive collection of sermons by Brooke Foss Westcott titled The Victory of the Cross, a remarkably well preserved first edition published in 1888. Westcott was a noteworthy theologian in 19th century England and served as the Bishop of Durham for over a decade.
When we returned home the kids napped and I sunk into my reading chair with hot tea in hand and the snow falling outside the window. Not surprising, Westcott’s sermons are rich with insights, the gems of a life devoted to the serious study of the Bible.
At one point Westcott speaks of the Savior’s suffering. Christ’s sufferings were heavy, not merely because they were aggressive acts personally directed at him but because they were the acts of spiritually blind sinners. We can harden ourselves to opposition, Westcott writes, but Christ did not. He could not. It was his compassion that compounded his suffering. Listen carefully to what Westcott writes:
“We arm ourselves against pain by checking our emotions, by hardening ourselves to opposition, by closing our eyes to the extent of the evil about us. But it was not so with Christ. No isolation of absolute purity separated Him from the outcast, while His sinlessness was the measure of His loathing at sin. Every denunciation of woe which He uttered was wrung from a righteousness which was but the other side of love. The wrongs which He endured were more terrible as a symptom of spiritual blindness in those who inflicted them than as a personal agony. How often when He was threatened, and rejected and reviled, must the prayer have arisen in His heart which found a final expression upon the Cross: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. They knew not, but He knew, and even then He bore the burden of their hardness and unbelief.” (p. 67)
That line, “The wrongs which He endured were more terrible as a symptom of spiritual blindness in those who inflicted them than as a personal agony,” is worthy of reflection. It seems that the Savior’s compassion, in light of the sinner’s ignorance, compounded the Savior’s suffering to a degree that we cannot imagine.
Is Jesus God? Four years ago I developed this into a handout for my college ministry students to help them answer this question for themselves (it’s still pretty rough). Essentially I laid out some of the predominant themes of Scripture in defense of the deity of Jesus Christ. I’ve copied the text here for your use. Reading this again has brought me to worship our glorious Savior! Use the following to defend, exhort, encourage, rebuke, or simply raise your hands in worship! Tony
Jesus said: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
A. The implications of Christ’s deity
B. Straightforward statements of Christ’s deity
C. Granville Sharp’s rule of Greek grammar
D. Jesus in Relation to the Father
E. Work of Jesus Described as God’s Work
F. Comparison Texts
G. Further Topical Considerations
H. Christ Speaking of Himself
I. Summary statement
A. The implications of Christ’s deity
- Forgiveness of sin and personal hope lay in the balance (John 8:24 “unless you believe I AM”; notice the “I AM” context of this statement especially obvious in verse 58).
- Denial of Christ’s deity is a rejection of God in totality (1 John 2:23).
- Note: The Bible tells us there is only one God (Isa. 46:9, Psalm 113:5). The deity of Christ is not modalism, Sabellianism or polytheism.
B. Straightforward statements of Christ’s deity
John 1: “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. … 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. … 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
John 20:28 “Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’”
Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” [God’s blood purchased salvation.]
Romans 9:5 “Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” (NIV)
Hebrews 1:6 “And when He [Father] again brings the firstborn [Christ] into the world, He says, ‘AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.’ 7 And of the angels He says, ‘WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE.’ 8 But of the Son He says, ‘YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.’” [quote of Ps. 45:6-7 makes clear: the Son is God and the angels worship Him]
1 John 5:20 “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. This is the true God and eternal life.”
Isaiah 9:6 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” [See 10:21 uses same phrase (“mighty God”) for the Father.]
C. Granville Sharp’s rule of Greek grammar
Greek grammatical rule stated:
“When the copulative kai [‘and’] connects two nouns of the same case, [viz. nouns (either substantive or adjective, or participles) of personal description, respecting office, dignity, affinity, or connexion, and attributes, properties, or qualities, good or ill], if the article ho, or any of its cases, preceded the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle: i.e. it denotes a farther description of the first-named person …”
Rule in action:
Titus 2:13 “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”
2 Peter 1:1 “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” [See also 1:11; 2:20; 3:2; 3:18]
2 Thessalonians 1:12 “so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
D. Jesus in Relation to the Father
Matthew 11:27 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
John 5:16 “For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.’ 18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” [God works 7 days a week therefore Jesus is free to work on the Sabbath. Notice the details on this relationship in vv. 19-47.]
John 19:7 “The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.’” [Blasphemy, lying about God, was the only verbal crime worthy of death.]
John 10: 30 “’I and the Father are one.’ 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’ 33 The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.’” [Jesus doesn’t deny the accusation.]
John 14:1 “’Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.’ … 6 Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.’ 8 Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ 9 Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.’”
John 17:9 (Jesus’ prayer) “’I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.’” [Jesus and God share glory though God does not share His glory with another (Isa. 42:8; 48:11).]
Philippians 2: “5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” [Perfect example of humility is Christ – Christ gave up something that was His – equality with God – for us. Grasping for something that is not yours is not humility! Satan tried to grasp equality with God and he was cast out of heaven.]
Hebrews 1:1 “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” [World made by Him. ‘Radiance’ is the outflowing of glory. ‘Exact representation’ = wax figure or signet ring.]
Notice this string in Revelation:
Revelation 1:7 “BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. 8 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” [Reference to Son or Father? | Some say v. 7 is Son, v. 8 is Father.]
Revelation 1:17 “When I saw Him (Christ), I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.’”
Revelation 22:13 (Christ speaking) “’I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’” [Jesus is the Alpha Omega, beginning and end. God is the Alpha Omega, too. There cannot be two Alpha and Omegas. Only one can be first or last – no positions for anyone else! Implication: Rev. 1:8 is Jesus.]
E. Work of Jesus Described as God’s Work
Mark 2:5 “And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’”
Colossians 1:13 “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” [‘Image’ = rules out creation. ‘Firstborn’ = most prominent in authority not denoting beginning. ‘All things … created’ = all inclusive! ‘Before all things’ = eternal.]
Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority” [Not some hint of deity but a state of being God. Not attributes but the fullness. This rebuttal of gnosticism proves that God is both spirit and can take on a human body. All the fullness of God was packaged in Christ]
Revelation 5:13 “And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’” [Worship of Father and Son together!]
F. Comparison Texts
a. Matthew 1:21 to Psalm 130:8, Isaiah 35:4 [God will save His people]
b. Matthew 3:12, Revelation 6:16, Psalm 2:12/Psalm 76:7 [Fear Son/Fear God]
c. Matthew 5:18 to Mark 13:31 [God's Word is eternal / Jesus' Word is eternal]
d. Matthew 25:31-46 to Psalm 50:6, 59:11, 96:13 [Jesus will judge / God will judge]
e. John 1:3 to Isaiah 44:24 [Christ created all things / Yahweh alone created all things]
f. John 1:7-9 to Isaiah 60:9 [Jesus is light / God is light]
g. John 7:37-38 to Jeremiah 2:13 [Christ is fountain of living water / Yahweh the fountain of living water]
h. John 10:11 to Psalm 23:1, Psalm 100:3 [The Good Shepherd]
i. John 12:41 to Isaiah 6:1-10 [The vision of Isaiah – both Yahweh's glory and Christ’s glory]
j. John 13:19 to Isaiah 43:10 [I AM title]; John 8:58; 18:5-6 (notice response of soldiers); 8:24
k. John 14:6 to Psalm 31:5 [Jesus is truth / God is truth]
l. John 14:14 to 1 Corinthians 1:2 [Pray to Jesus]
m. John 14:26 and 16:27 to Romans 8:9, 1 Peter 1:11, Nehemiah 9:20, 2 Samuel 23:2-3 [Spirit of YHWH/God/Christ]
n. John 17:5 to Isaiah 48:11 [Jesus prays to be glorified / Will not give His glory to another]
o. Acts 1:8 to Isaiah 43:10 [Witnesses of Whom?]
p. Acts 4:24 to 2 Peter 2:1 to Jude 4 [Who is our Master? How can you have more than one master unless they are one?]
q. Romans 10:13 to Joel 2:32 [Call on the name of Lord=call upon the name of Christ]
r. Ephesians 4:8-9 to Psalm 68:18 [God leads the captives...]
s. Philippians 2:10-11 to Isaiah 45:23 [Every knee will bow...]
t. Colossians 1:16, Ephesians 5:25, 27 to Romans 11:36 [All things are to God and for Him/for Christ]
u. Colossians 1:17 to Acts 17:28 [We exist in God/Christ]
v. Colossians 2:3 to 1 Timothy 1:17 [Only wise God]
w. 2 Timothy 1:12 to Jeremiah 17:5 [Trust in Yahweh / Trust in Jesus]
x. Hebrews 1:3 to 1 Timothy 6:15 [Jesus' power - God is only sovereign]
y. Hebrews 1:10 to Psalm 102:25 [Jesus is Yahweh]
z. Hebrews 13:8 to Malachi 3:6 [God changes not]
aa. James 2:1 to Zechariah 2:5 [Lord of glory]
bb. 1 Peter 2:3 to Psalm 34:8 [Taste that Yahweh is good]
cc. 1 Peter 3:15 to Isaiah 8:13 [Sanctify Yahweh]
dd. Revelation 1:5-6 to Exodus 34:14 [Glorify God/Jesus]
ee. Revelation 1:13-16 to Ezekiel 43:2 [God's voice is the voice of Jesus]
ff. Revelation 2:23 to 1 Kings 8:39 [God searches the hearts]
gg. Revelation 3:7 to Revelation 15:4 [God alone is holy]
G. Further Topical Considerations
- The Name of Jesus (Acts 4:17-18; 5:28, 40-41; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Philippians 2:10-11). Suffering in the name of Christ was an honor, notice they were not suffering in the name of YAHWEH.
- The Worship of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:9, 17; John 9:9; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5). Jesus is worshiped just as God.
- The Meaning of the Greek ‘monogenes’ (“only begotten”) = ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’ not an emphasis on the begetting of a son. Cf. John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9.
- Jesus The Eternal Creator. A part of the creation cannot be the creator.
- The Trinitarian Formulae (1 Thess. 1:3-5, 2 Thess. 2:13, 1 Cor. 2:2-5, 6:11, 12:4-6, 2 Cor. 1:21- 22, 13:14, Rom. 8:26-27, 14:17-18, 15:16, Col. 1:6-8, Eph. 2:18, 3:16-17, 4:46, etc. and etc.) Name of Christ can be used in unison with the names of the Father and Holy Spirit clearly referencing His deity.
H. Christ Speaking of Himself
- Matthew 11:28-30 – Come unto me! Prophets wouldn’t say this.
- John 14:6 – The way, the truth…
- Luke 14:25-26 – Hate father and mother to come to me. Absolute loyalty required. Prophet would require devotion to God not himself.
- Luke 7:36ff in parable of debtor. Jesus is the creditor to which the sin debt is owed. Jesus was sinned against and Jesus forgives.
- John 6:37 – Security of believer in Christ. Authority to cast out or not is authority only possessed by God.
- John 16:14 – The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ. Spirit wouldn’t glorify man.
I. Summary statement
Charles Hodge (Systematic Theology, 2:582) perhaps ends with too strong of statement. But overall this is a helpful conclusion:
“All divine names and titles are applied to Him. He is called God, the Mighty God, the great God, God over all; Jehovah; Lord; the Lord of lords and King of kings. All divine attributes are ascribed to Him. He is declared to be omnipresent [all-present], omniscient [allknowing], almighty, and immutable [unchanging], the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is set forth as the creator and upholder and ruler of the universe. All things were created by Him and for Him; and by Him all things consist. He is the object of worship to all intelligent creatures, even the highest; all angels (i.e., all creatures between man and God) are commanded to prostrate themselves before Him. He is the object of all the religious sentiments; of reverence, love, faith, and devotion. To Him men and angels are responsible for their character and conduct. He required that men should honor Him as they honored the Father; that they should exercise the same faith in Him that they do in God. He declares that He and the Father are one; that those who have seen Him had seen the Father also. He calls all men unto Him; promises to forgive their sins; to send them the Holy Spirit; to give them rest and peace; to raise them up at the last day; and to give them eternal life. God is not more, and cannot promise more, or do more than Christ is said to be, to promise, to do. He has therefore, been the Christian’s God from the beginning in all ages and in all places.”