Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why Christians Made Jesus God?

Is believing in the Deity of Jesus That Important for a Christian?

By Abraham Israel

Q: How have Christians made Jesus God? Where did the idea come from?

A: These are some of the main reasons why Christians believe that Jesus is God and worship Him.

1) By worshiping Jesus as one's Saviour, Christians have made Jesus as their God (Matt 1:21, 23; 9:6). No man has the rights to forgive sins except God. No religious founder or guru has ever claimed to forgive sins.

2) No one has right to be worshiped except God, in this way Jesus is being worshiped by Christians because He is God in the flesh (John 1:14), Jesus himself received worship because He acknowledged this truth (John 9:35-39).

3) Apostle Paul by Divine inspiration wrote that Jesus is not only the reason for all creation but also he is the source of it (Col 1:15-18). The source of creation can be none other than God, this makes Christians to worship Jesus as God.

4) Jesus Himself said that before the Old Testament prophet Abraham was born he was present (John 8:58). He cannot be present nearly 2000 years before he came to this earth if he had not been God.

5) Don't forget that Jesus was killed because he told the truth that he was the Son of God, which to the Jews is God Himself (Matt 26:63-64; John 10:30-33). The Christians believe that he in the only begotten Son of God, which means Jesus is God Himself. This makes the Christian to worship Jesus as God.

Jesus did not claim divinity, but He concealed his divinity.

Jesus concealed His identity that he is God because He wanted to fulfill the mission that he came to fulfill (Matt 16:16, 20). The Bible says that if Satan knew His mission he and his cohorts would not have killed him (1 Cor 2:7-8). Jesus could not have died for and forgiven the sins of mankind if He was not God in the flesh. Why? Only God can forgive sins and bridge the gap between God and man (Col 2:11-15). Angels in heaven cannot die for man because God finds faults with their so called perfection too (Job 4:18). In God's perfect eyes of purity only God the Son who is God Himself can only satisfy His requirement for acquitting mankind from their faults (Hab 1:13; Heb 10:5-7; 1:5).

Because Father God Himself called Jesus as God in the scriptures and foretold it in the Old Testament Times (Heb 1:8), it shows that in order to fulfill the Father's mission for mankind he kept quiet about His preexistence which He had before the creation of this present world [cosmos or universe]. This is why before His death on the Cross in John 17:4-5, Jesus prayed to God the Father to restore the glory of His preexistence after His death for mankind.

To say in a sentence, God prepared a Body for Jesus to reside in this earth and to accomplish His mission, but the person who dwelt in the body is God the Son who is the one and only uncreated being, whose very reason for existence is in Himself (Heb 10:5-7).

Either He is Or He is not

These days lot of people who say they are Christians are becoming very careless about their basic faith and deny the divinity of Christ, yet they claim to be Christians. To me either a person is a Christian if he really believes that Jesus is God, or else he is not a Christian at all even if he claims to be one. The apostles spoke the same thing to the Gnostic's who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ in the first century. Let us see why Christians must believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ,

1) Jesus did not say, 'I am one of the way, and I know the truth and I have life.' If he had said like that, you have the option to believe either He is God or else you can choose not to. But Jesus clearly said,
"I am the way, and the truth and the life" (John 14:6). Jesus Himself claimed this exclusive right of the deity to give life to a person to Himself by saying, "For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will." (John 5:21). This words of Jesus claims exclusiveness which only God could claim. In other words, either Jesus is God as He claims for all who believes or else He is not to the unbeliever. There cab be no middle ground to a true Christian.

2) Jesus Himself said,
"I and My Father are one." (John 10:30). This not only means that Jesus is one in purpose, in mission, in message, in principal, in teaching etc, but also one in materiality, being, essence, Godlikeness, rights, authority, power and divinity. According to the context Jesus speaks about Him giving people eternal life which no one in the universe can be able to snatch out of His hand or His Father's hand (John 10:27-29, 31-33). Who can give eternal life to man except the God who created him? He said these mighty truths so that His sheep's who follow Him can be convinced about His Divinity and equality with the Father. Invariably Jesus Himself wanted His sheep's to follow Him as their God and Lord or else he would have never emphasized these truths which points to His Divinity.

3) When a rich young ruler met Jesus and said to Him,
"16 ... “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”" (Matt 19:16-17). Here in the above passage we see the rich young ruler seeing the purity of God in Jesus he was calling Jesus as 'Good Teacher'. But Jesus was emphasizing that no one is good except God because He wanted to make this man see the power of His divinity in Him so that he can receive eternal life. In other words Jesus was telling this man to either acknowledge Him as God and Lord over His life or just a teacher and a man in the flesh just like any other unbeliever.

4) When John the Apostle in the Island of Patmos saw Jesus in His glorious divine unveiling, Jesus clearly said,
"8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”" (Rev 1:8). Here in this preceding verse Jesus Himself declared Himself to be the Almighty Jehovah of the Old Testament times. How do we know for sure? In Isaiah 41:4 Jehovah God declared the same verse claiming the Almightiness of diety for Himself and no other than Him. Any one who denies the whole inspiration of the New Testament writing can only deny Apostle John's Book of Revelation as something imagined and fictious. These apostolic men were not only inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16; 1 Peter 1:11-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21), but also were eye witnesses to each and every event (2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1-3; John 21:24)

5) All the apostles considered the divinity as the very foundation on which they builded a superstructure of apostolic doctrines
(1 Cor 3:11; 1 Peter 1:20, 19; Acts 4:12). For any Christian to deny the divinity of Jesus is to deny all the writing of the apostles in the New Testament. Apostle Thomas called Jesus as God (John 20:28). Apostle Paul who wrote one third of the whole New Testament calls Jesus as Christ and then equates and calls Him as God (Rom 9:5). Again when Paul wrote a pastoral epistle to Titus his apostolic son, he equated Jesus as both Savior and God when he said, "12 ...we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:12-13). Again Peter who is the apostolic rock on whom Jesus built the Church in the first century, who also wrote much of the scriptures next only to Paul and John called Jesus as "God and Saviour" (2 Peter 1:1).

6) Jesus used the word
"Son" to describe His own unique relationship with God the Father and not as a subordinate to God the Father, but as the only begotten of the Father who is of the same essence as the Father Himself (John 1:18; 3:16; 10:30; 14:9). The name "Son" showed that Jesus had a unique relationship with the Father distinct from any other person born in this entire earth since creation. Jesus Himself used the name "Son of Man" to show his humanity and "Son of God" to show His divinity to the human race. He was the one and only true God-man ever born on this earth. This is the reason why when Prophet Isaiah prophesied nearly 700 years before Jesus was born he said, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given..." (Isaiah 9:6). Notice that only the Child on earth was born as any other human being, but the Son of God who resided inside the body was not born but given from heaven. The writer of the Book of Hebrews confirmed this fact when he quoted from the Messianic Psalm 40:6-8 and said that Jesus declared this scripture "5 ..."Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’”"(Heb 10:5-7) to the whole of heaven while He entered in to the world as a baby in the manger (Luke 1:31-32, 35; 2:12). In other words, the Holy Spirit took Jesus and clothed him with human flesh and placed Him in the womb of Mary. This is a clear-cut evidence of the preexistence of the Jesus Christ right from the Old Testament Scripture.

7) When the angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flock by night, he said to them
"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11). Here the word for 'Lord' in Greek is 'Kurios' which means 'supreme in authority and having control over all things, by implication God, Lord, master.' Because the New Testament apsotolic writers wrote with the strong belief that Jesus was pre-existent before the universe came in to existence, they ascribed this term 'Kurios' [i.e. Lord] to Jesus which pointed Jesus to be the same Jehovah of the Old Testament. Several NT references to Jesus as "Lord" are quotations taken right from the Old Testament texts (Joel 2:31-32=Acts 2:20-21, Rom 10:13). These references makes it clear that the apostles meant to give Jesus the title 'Lord' in the highest sense as the Jehovah of the Old Testament. This is the reason 'Kurios' is used in New Testament to represent both God the Father (Matt 1:20; 9:38; 11:25; Acts 17:24; Rev 4:11) and Jesus (Lk 2:11; John 20:28; Acts 10:36; 1 Cor 2:8). From the early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible known as 'Septuagint' which dates back to 3rd century b.c., containing both a translation of the Hebrew and additional and variant material, regarded as the standard form of the Old Testament in the early Christian Church and still canonical in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the apostles used the word 'Kurios' which means "Yehovah" and the reverential "Adonai" and substituted it for Jesus Christ to intentionally represent Him as He is in His Deity and Divinity.

8) The two unique Old Testament prophecies that I believe clearly points to the divinity of Jesus are, first when Malachi the Prophet four hundred years before John the Baptist and Jesus appeared in Judea said,  "Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," Says the Lord of hosts." (Malachi 3:1) and secondly when the prophet Micah who prophecied nearly 750 years before Jesus came, pinpointed the place where Jesus was born saying, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting." (Micah 5:2).  What we see in the first verse made the Jews of Jesus time to expect their Messiah to come suddenly by jumping from the pinnacle of the temple and thus appear to the nation of Israel. Actually this is why Satan took to the pinnacle of the temple and tempted Jesus to jump so that the nation will directly accept him as their Messiah (Matt 4:5-7). But to Jesus it was not the will of the Father to be introduced to the nation of Israel in this manner. The main point is that the Jewish people expected the Messiah to be their Lord Jehovah of the Old Testament from this verse, who will also be the messenger of the New Covenant. This points to Jesus Divinity as prophecied in the Old Testament and as expected by the Jews. In the second verse in the Book of Micah, the place of Jesus birth was foretold and the tribe from which he will come also have been foretold. Then it says that Messiah the ruler who is to come will be the one whose going forth are from of old, from everlasting. Only the Lord Almighty's going forth are from everlasting. This proves the preexistence of Jesus and His Almightiness before he visited the earth two thousand years ago to be the messiah of Israel (Luke 1:68). The Apostle Matthew also used the same verse from Micah 5:2 in his Gospel writings to point the exact fulfillment of the birth place of Jesus (Matt 2:1, 4-6).  

9) When the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream he said that Mary has conceived a Son by the power and creative activity of the Holy Spirit 
whose name is Jesus (Matt 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35). First he said that He will save God's people from their sins. Then he pointed to Isaiah 7:14 and said that people will call Him as 'Immanuel' which means "God [Himself] with us [i.e. humanity]" (Matt 1:20-23). When Gabriel the angel spoke to Mary initially, the arch angel said, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" (Luke 1:28). Notice the phrase "the Lord is with you", it means that God has declared to Mary that the incarnated Jehova the Son Himself has tabernacled inside the body of her as her baby (John 1:14; 2:19-22). All these things point to the deity and the preexistence of Jesus Christ and paints Him as God. When God Himself has declared it through His highest angel and intertwined the message of forgiveness to His deity, then it is by no means a lighter thing to neglect the divinity of Jesus Christ. When God says it, you better believe it or perish as unbeliever.

10) The Apostle John clearly said,"21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also." (1 John 2:21-23). All liars will deny the truth that Jesus is the Christ who was preexistent as God. Antichrist will subtly first deny the deity of the Son of God and then will conceal his hatred for God with his honey like religious words of fervour. Many people who are being deceived by the lies of the devil to deny the deity of Christ in our end time terminal generation are deceived by the same spirit of the Antichrist who is working round the clock like never before, because the time has come for the Antichrist to be revealed very soon to the whole world. He who denies the deity of Christ does not have the Father, because he has made God a liar who has said that Jesus is God in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3). John the Apostle describes about this witness that God gave about the deity of His Son Jesus Christ in 1 John 5:7-9 by saying, "7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son." This 'Word' which John describes as the witness in heaven is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who is now seated at the right hand of God (Eph 1:20), and he was existent with the Father before the universe ever came in to existence as he says in John 1:1, 18. The English translation of 'Word' in Greek is 'Logos' which means 'the Divine Expression of God in Christ' (John 14:9). Wherever John the Apostle uses the word 'Logos', he is intentionally using it to emphasize the divinity and preexistence of Christ. The witnesses in heaven are the trinity, that is 'One God [in essence] but three in person'. On earth the witnesses are the Holy Spirit who connects the reality of heaven to earth and who is the one and only person omnipresent both in heaven and earth, then the water of the word which spoke about Jesus in the Old Testament times and that which Jesus fulfilled for each one of us before God nearly two thousand years ago through His perfect life which He lived on earth (Luke 24:26-27; Matt 5:17-18; Acts 8:35; Eph 5:26; 1 Peter 1:23) and the blood of His sacrifice on the Cross through which he has redeemed us for Himself before God (1 Peter 1:18-20; Rev 5:9; Matt 26:28). So the bottom line is, a Christian cannot deny the divinity of Jesus and yet say that he is believing the truth. 

11) The Holy Spirit will always lead a person who comes to Christ to know the truth of Jesus Divinity by opening the blind spiritual eyes of the spirit-man inside every person who receives Him as his Lord and Savior
(John 16:13-15). A true believer cannot remain in unbelief for very long regarding the divinity of Christ because the Holy SPirit is constantly working out the wrong beliefs and reinstates with the right ones (John 16:8-15; Acts 5:30-32). Those who deny the divinity of Christ will go in to serious error and will seperate themselves by their own deception, hence fulfilling the word, "...“A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22) and also proving that "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. " (1 John 2:19).

Implications of believing the Divinity of Christ Jesus are,

(i) If we want to understand more about God, all we need to do is look on to Jesus, His love, His holiness, His power, His compassion, His sacrifice and His Servant-hood (John 14:9).

(ii) Christ's equality with the Father implies that we should worship Him as He is as our God. He deserves our praise, adoration and obedience as God the Father is worthy of it. Already demons know that Jesus is the Lord of all in the spiritual realm (Mark 1:24; 5:7), but one day all tongues in the entire universe will confess that Jesus is God and Lord of all creation (Phil 2:10-11).

(iii) All humans can be saved because Jesus is not just a finite human being, but a infinite God who gave Himself for us. This infinite God tasted death for us finite human beings who believe Him (Heb 2:9), so that because of His deity in humanity we all can be saved (John 8:24). So I conclude that believing the deity of Christ Jesus is as essential as any other important doctrine for salvation through faith.

Hence the divinity and deity of Jesus Christ is an indispensable doctrinal foundation to the life of a Christian as any other important doctrines we have.  I would like to close this topic by quoting the words of the great evangelist George Whitefield who said, "Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again." O what a wonder!!! Praise the Lord!


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