Is Jesus God?23-08-2016 - Posted by Andre Piet
In the previous blog we saw that many bible readers find contradictions in the Scriptures, which are not there. That blog dealt with Gods enemies which are destroyed on the one hand and are reconciled with Him on the other hand. Because the Scriptures teach both, we should not choose between them (or/or) but accept both (and/and). That also became apparent, because if we are able to distinguish between the times, both facts complement each other perfectly.
Yes and no
With the question ‘Is Jesus God?’ it seems again not difficult to perceive a huge contradiction in the Scriptures. Because with the Scriptures in our hands the question can be answered with both yes and no. But here the same rule applies: When the Scriptures teaches both the one and the other, we should believe both. And we should not accept the one and reason away the other or vice versa.
Jesus is not God
When a critical scribe came to Jesus (Mark 12:28-34) and asked Him about the first of all commandments, Jesus answered out of the well-known ‘Sjema Israel’. At which the scribe responded:
And the scribe said to Him, In truth, Teacher, Thou sayest ideally that He is One, and there is no other more than He……And Jesus, perceiving him, that he answered apprehendingly…….
Pay attention: Jesus is addressed as Thou (second-person singular) about the one God as He (third-person singular masculine). If Jesus would claim to be God, than the Scribe should have said: “In truth, Teacher you said that you are one and there is no other more than you” The sole fact that the scribe changes from you (=Jesus) to He (=God), proves that the two are not identical. Because “ there is no other than He”. And this truth is emphasized everywhere. Jesus addresses His Father as “the only true God” (John 17:3). And when he is accused by the Jews that He makes Himself to be God (John 10:33), He contradicts this and claims to be the Son of God instead (10:36). Dozens of times the Scriptures speak of “God the Father” but never of ‘God the Son’. This is unthinkable, because it is explicitly taught: “Nevertheless for us there is one God the Father…” (1 Kor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6). “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). And so on..
The thought that Jesus would be literally God is absurd. Jesus claimed explicitly not to be all knowing (Mat. 24:36). And he prayed to God “not my will but Your will be done” (Luke 22:42). On the cross he exclaimed “….to what have You forsaken me!” (Mat. 27:46). Did God leave God? If Jesus was God, then did God really die on the cross? Was God dead for three days in the grave? Why did He need to be resurrected by God, if He himself is God (Rom. 6:4)? If Jesus would be literally God then it is impossible that He really died and He also would not have needed to be resurrected by God.
Image of God
How simple this truth is, at the same time there are many Scripture verses that certainly identify the Lord Jesus Christ with God. But before I will show this, I want to state up front that this is anything but a theological problem. Whomever understands the unique role and position Jesus Christ received from God, would not expect anything else! In John 1:18 we read:
God no one has ever seen. The only-begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He unfolds Him.
The Son is the one whom unfolds God (whom no one has ever seen). That is why Jesus could say: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Have we seen God then? No and Yes. His is not literally the Father, but in Him we see the Father portrayed. Or like we saw before: Christ Jesus is the one mediator between God and mankind. The one God comes to mankind through Jesus and mankind comes through Him to the one God. In Colossians 1:15 we read the following about “The Son of God’s love”:
…Who is the image of the invisible God….
Here, again: God is the invisible. But God has an image (Gr. Ikon), i.e. someone who represents Him.
Like the portrait of the emperor on a coin, represents the emperor. Of course not literally, as if the emperor would be in your wallet, but as a metaphor. We see, for example, the president of the United States on television or on a picture and we say: That is the president. No one would correct us and say: No the president is in the White House. Because everybody understands it is a metaphor. So, this metaphor concerning the Son of God as God, we find in many Scripture verses. A few examples.
Jesus as God
In Zechariah 12:10 we read (literally translated)
Yet I (=YAHWEH) will pour out on the house of David, And on the dwellers of Jerusalem, A spirit of grace and supplications; And they will look to Me Whom they stabbed, And they will wail over Him as the wailing for an only son, And they will grieve bitterly over Him as one grieving bitterly over a firstborn…
YAHWEH declares: The will look to Me and directly after this: And they will wail over Him. Will the inhabitants of Jerusalem see YAHWEH or someone else? They will literally see the stabbed Messiah as “an only son” (Rev. 1:7). But because this one is Gods Image, they will see YAHWEH, which is metaphorical (like in Zechariah 14:10).
In Isaiah 45:23 YAHWEH has sworn by Himself that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him. Paul cites this in Philippians and says:
9 Wherefore, also, God highly exalts Him, and graces Him with the name that is above every name,
10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean,
11 and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father.
God has given Jesus “the name that is above every name”. That is the name of YAHWEH, because the name of JESUS means: YAHWEH saves. In this name every knee will bow and every tongue shall be acclaiming. Jesus is YAHWEH who saves! Does this mean that the universal acknowledgement of Jesus Christ will be to His own glory? No, Jesus was never concerned about Himself. Philippians 2:11 therefore ends with: “ … to the glory of God, the Father.
It has come full circle
About the ultimate end of the history of salvation we read in 1 Corinthians 15:28:
Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.
The Son is the One through whom God realizes all of His plans. All is out of God the Father, but through the Son (1 Cor. 8:6). When all will have been subjected to the Son, The Son Himself will be subjected. It was God who appointed Christ in order to subject everything and when He has fulfilled this duty, He will be relieved from it. At the end Christ will transfer a perfect kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:24). The Son is withdrawn so that God will be all in all.
Again: yes and no
Is Jesus Christ God? Yes and no. Literally He is the Son of God. Gods image. Gods Mediator. Because there is ONE God, the Father. At the same time he portrays (the invisible) God. So that who sees Him, sees God. But that is metaphorically.
That the Son of God is portrayed as God Himself is not a theological problem. It is a linguistic phenomenon. Metaphors are figures of speech which we can expect to be applied to the One whom the Scriptures describe as Gods image.