Jesus Christ - God? or God's Son?

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“Whom do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). Christ asked this question to His disciples and received a variety of answers in response. So it has been down through the ages. Men have devised many philosophies to try to explain to their satisfaction who Christ really is.

The doctrine held by the Jehovah’s Witnesses denies the Trinity by claiming that Christ is not God (Jehovah), He is only the son of God. In support of this position they advance a number of reasons and Scripture verses. There is only one God. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deu 6:4). God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). Christ’s own witness of Himself was, “I am the Son of God” (John 10:36). They go on to say that Christ was the first and the only creation of God. “And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him” (Heb 1:6). They also quote First Corinthians 11:3 and 15:28 in an attempt to prove that Christ is inferior to God. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

In the light of these verses, how can we say that Christ, while He is the Son of God, is also God? Come with me as we follow the injunction of Christ, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

The first thing that we would like to note is the fact that there is only one God (Deu 6:4). Jesus quoted this scripture in Mark 12:29 in response to the question, “Which is the first [most important] commandment of all?” Equally important is the fact that God has no equals (Deu 32:39; 2Sa 7:22; Ps 86:10; Isa 43:10; 44:6; 45:18). Keeping these facts in mind, let us look at five proofs that Christ and God are one. Because of the glib way the Jehovah’s Witnesses will explain away the simple verses such as, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30) and, “the Word was God” (John 1:1), we will not note verses such as these.

The first proof of the divinity of Christ is the fact that He was worshiped. The Old Testament Law made it very clear that God alone was to be worshiped (Ex 20:3,5). Christ validated this law in the New Testament when He quoted it to Satan during His temptations in the wilderness (Matt 4:10). John was also reminded of this law on three separate occasions (Rev 14:7; 19:10; 22:9). If Jesus was not God, how could He accept the worship of people as recorded on at least fifteen separate occasions in the Gospels? It is argued that the Greek word translated worship in the New Testament could also mean respect or reverence. In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus gave the parable of the unforgiving servant, and He said that the servant fell down and worshiped his lord. It is contended that when these people worshiped Christ, they were just showing their respect. Note, however, the other times that this word worship is used. Christ used it in speaking to the woman at the well about true worship of God (John 4:23,24). In speaking of Jacob in Hebrews 11:21, this word worship is linked to the Hebrew word that is used in the Old Testament as the common term for worshiping God. The parable Christ gave in Matthew 18:23-35 is the only time in the New Testament that worship was accepted by a man. Peter in Acts 10:25, an angel in Revelation 19:10, and another heavenly messenger in Revelation 22:8, all rejected the worship of another creature. Christ was able to accept worship without violating the Law, and God declared that He was well pleased with Christ. Christ must be equal with God.

The second proof is the fact of who the Scripture says was the Creator. The New Testament clearly states that Christ was the One that created all things (John 1:3; 1Co 8:6; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:10). In John, Corinthians, and Colossians all things are said to be created by Him. Hebrews tells us that the creation is the work of Christ’s hands. Revelation 4:11 describes the worship of a Being that was said to have created all things for His glory. Reading on into chapter 5 reveals Christ as the Lamb approaching this Being, who can then be none other than Jehovah Himself. The prophet Isaiah also spoke of the Creator. In Isaiah 40:28, he spoke of “the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” “I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself” (Isa 44:24). “Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker; … I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens” (Isa 45:11,12). We conclude that Christ is the Creator of all things by His hands, and Jehovah also is the Creator by His hands. How can it be? They are one.

Proof number three rests in the answer to the question, “Who is the King and Redeemer of Israel?” Many Scriptures could be quoted that tell us Christ is the only Savior of mankind, and He will sit on the throne of David as the, King of Israel (Matt 1:21; 21:1-11). In Acts 4:12 the witness is given of Christ, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” If Jesus and Jehovah are not one, how can Jehovah say at least six times in the book of Isaiah that He is the Redeemer of Israel, and that besides Him there is no other (Isa 44:6,24; 45:21-25; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7)? Zephaniah 3:15 speaks of “the king of Israel, even [Jehovah].” So again, the proof becomes clear: either Jehovah or Jesus are one, or someone is lying. God cannot lie (Tit 1:2, Heb 6:18).

A fourth proof is found in the eternal existence of Christ. Micah 5:2 speaks of the One who would come out of Bethlehem to be a ruler in Israel. He describes this Individual as One “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” In Hebrews 7:3 Melchizedek is referred to as “having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God.” When Christ said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58), He was linking Himself to the name Jehovah used for Himself in Exodus 3:14. The Jews very clearly interpreted this statement and sought to stone Christ.

The fifth proof we find in the fact that there is only one God, and Scripture tells us that this God is a jealous God (Ex 34:14). This one God has stated that He will not give His glory to another (Isa 42:8). But what place does Christ have? Philippians 2:6 tells us that it was not robbery for Christ to be equal with God. Beyond that, God gave Christ a name that would demand all mankind to glorify God by worshiping Christ. Christ and God are said to be the temple and light of Heaven (Rev 21:22,23). A single throne is said to be the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev 22:1,3). The characteristics of being the “only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality,” are attributed to Christ (1Ti 6:15,16). Some other names that are used for Christ are Alpha and Omega, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Lord God Almighty, and the Almighty. Is God two-faced, saying one thing and doing something else? Will God say that He will not give His glory to another and do it after all? What happens to God’s jealousy if He allows another to receive recognition equal to Himself in His very presence? Certainly Jehovah would still say as He did in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not.”

In answer to the question, “Who is Christ?” let us never fail to give Christ the glory due Him. Yes, He is the Son of God, but we will also someday have to stand before Him and give account of ourselves to God (Rom 14:10-12). As we face the false doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others, never be afraid to challenge their errors on the authority of the Word. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1Jo 5:7).

Fredericksburg PA
December 1992