|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Part seven of a series. Read part six.
Many Christians are surprised to find that the Old Testament contains some of Scripture's strongest declarations of the deity of Jesus Christ.
We continue this series for the purpose of equipping our readers to respond from Scripture whenever someone expresses doubts about, or openly denies, the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our last installment we briefly examined the great declaration of Christ's deity at the very beginning of John's Gospel, and Jesus' eight great "I am" statements about Himself later in the same book.
Today we continue with further evidence focusing primarily on the declarations of Christ's deity in the Old Testament. Jesus is spoken of as "the Son" throughout the Bible, from as early in the Old Testament as the second Psalm. The Holy Spirit further reinforces these declarations in the book of Hebrews, God's great New Testament commentary on Old Testament truth.
The Son in the Old Testament
We have already noted that Jesus is spoken of as "the Son" as early in the Bible as the second Psalm, that great prophecy of the coming of Christ as Redeemer and King:
Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, "You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel."
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalm 2:6-12)
The Person & Work of Christ in Hebrews
Hebrews is the Holy Spirit's great New Testament commentary on Old Testament truth. The writer of Hebrews spends a great deal of time explaining the types and symbols of the Old Testament in light of the incarnation, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All of these things find their fulfillment in Him. In Hebrews chapter one beginning at verse eight, the inspired writer quotes three passages from the Psalms (45:6-7, 102:25-27, and 110:1), and he declares that they all address and describe "the Son," Jesus Christ.
But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions." And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail." But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? (Hebrews 1:8-13)
Christ Before & After His Incarnation
We have further testimony of Scripture supporting these Old Testament declarations of Christ's deity in the Holy Spirit's explanations of the incarnation of Christ -- what took place when God the Son came into the world in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Before His incarnation the Son was, according to Philippians 2:6, in the form of God. The Greek word for "form" is morphe, which means that His outward appearance was in agreement with His inward essence; in other words, Jesus Christ was God in His very essence before He came to earth. Philippians 2:6 also says that He was equal with God. The Greek word for "equal" is isa, which means "the same as." In other words, Jesus is the same as God.
Furthermore, Jesus Himself declared that He is equal with God. We find this at length in John 5 beginning at verse 19:
Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
"I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish - the very works that I do - bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me." (John 5:19-36)
Furthermore, Scripture tells us that in His incarnation, Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, not of a human father, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel." We find this prophecy fulfilled in Luke 1:31-35 and Matthew 1:20. The virgin-born Christ was given the name Immanuel, which means "God with us," as we read in Matthew 1:23.
This, once again, is why Paul declares in Colossians 1:15 that Jesus Christ is the very "image of the invisible God." We read later on in Colossians, in chapter two verse nine, that in the incarnate Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in a body. I submit to you that this statement is the most amazing and monumentally important statement in all the world. In the incarnate Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in a human body. He is fully God and fully man.
Direct Declarations of Deity
Scripture also repeatedly emphasizes the deity of the Son of God by teaching Christ's deity in His names. A few examples:
But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom" (Hebrews 1:8).
When Thomas saw the resurrected Christ after he had expressed his doubts about the reality of the resurrection, and Jesus said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
Paul says that we Christians are "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
Jesus said to the unbelieving Pharisees, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" '? If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?" And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore (Matthew 22:41-46).
Jesus Himself spoke to the unbelieving Jews about His Second Coming, and He said this: "Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live" (John 5:25).
Next: Jesus Possesses Attributes That Only God Can Have
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