In this part of our response https://answeringallah.com/a-jehovahs-witne…od-almighty-pt-1/ we are going to look at all the places where Jesus is described as ho theos, THE God, in order to demonstrates that the NT does not relegate Christ to the status of some kind of god-like figure, but rather identifies him as Jehovah God Incarnate (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).
In the following passages, the Apostles Paul and Peter identify Christ as ho theos:
“awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory TOU megalou theou kai soteros hemon ‘Iesou Christou (Lit. of THE great God and Savior of us Jesus Christ), who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:13-14
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness TOU theou hemon kai soteros, ‘Iesou Christou (Lit. of THE God of us and Savior Jesus Christ):” 2 Peter 1:1
Both of these texts are examples of what is commonly referred to as a Sharp construction. In 1798 a Christian philanthropist and abolitionist named Granville Sharp wrote a monograph where he outlined six rules concerning how the Greek definite article ho and all of its various cases function in the New Testament, especially as it relates to the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sharp’s first rule states that when two singular, personal nouns that are not proper names are connected together by the Greek conjunction kai (“and”), with the definite article appearing only before the first noun, then both nouns refer to the same person. This rule is often referred to as a TSKS construction, e.g., “the”-substantive(noun)-kai-substantive (noun).
This is precisely what we have here in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, i.e., two singular nouns theos and soteros connected by kai, with the definite article appearing only before theos. As such, Jesus Christ is definitely being identified as God, in fact as the great God over all creation!
This clearly proves that the Apostles believed that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh since the Hebrew Bible clearly testifies Jehovah is the only one great God there is, and the only God who can save anyone:
“There is none like you among the gods, O Jehovah. There are no works like yours. All the nations that you made. Will come and bow down before you, O Jehovah. And they will give glory to your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; You are God, you alone.” Psalm 86:8-10 NWT
“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares Jehovah, ‘Yes, my servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and have faith in me And understand that I am the same One. Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none. I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.’” Isaiah 43:10-11
“Make your report, present your case. Let them consult together in unity. Who foretold this long ago And declared it from times past? Is it not I, Jehovah? There is no other God but me; A righteous God and a Savior, there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, For I am God, and there is no one else.” Isaiah 45:21-22
We suggest reading the following articles for a more thorough discussion on Sharp’s first rule and how it affirms the essential Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Granville Sharp’s Rule: Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 http://vintage.aomin.org/GRANVILL.html
Sharp’s Rule and Antitrinitarian Theologies http://digilander.libero.it/domingo7/SharpsRule.pdf
Sharp Redivivus? – A Reexamination of the Granville Sharp Rule https://bible.org/article/sharp-redivivus-reexamination-granville-sharp-rule
Here is another NT example where Christ is described as ho theos:
“But to the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God (HO theos), endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God (HO theos), your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.’ He also says to the Son, In the beginning, Lord, YOU laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with YOUR hands. They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.’” Hebrews 1:8-12 NLT
Not only does the inspired author identify the risen Jesus as THE God (ho theos) he even took the following Psalm, which describes Jehovah as the unchanging Creator and Sustainer of all creation,
“O Jehovah, hear my prayer; Let my cry for help reach you… But you remain forever, O Jehovah. And your fame will endure for all generations… Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; Just like a garment they will all wear out. Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will pass away.” Psalm 102:1, 12, 25-27 NWT
And applied it to the exalted Christ!
This affirms that Jesus Christ is THE God in the fullest sense imaginable, since only One who is God absolutely and eternally could ever be described as the unchangeable Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and earth.
NT textual critic Philip W. Comfort comments on the variant readings and proper rendering of Hebrews 1:8-9:
The TR [Textus Receptus] NU [Nestle-Aland and United Bible Society] reading yields this translation of the verse: “But to the Son [he says]: ‘Your throne, O God, and the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom.’” The variant yields one of two translations: (1)”But to the Son [he says]: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of his kingdom’” or (2) “But to the Son [he says]: ‘God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of his [God’s] kingdom.’” The context makes it clear that God is speaking to his Son. Thus, God the Father addresses his Son as “God.” This is the TR NU reading, where ho theos must be understood as a vocative. The variant reading allows for two renderings, the most unusual of which is noted above as a second option for the variant (“God is your throne, etc.”; see RSVmg, NEBmg). But such a reading VIOLATES THE NATURAL SENSE of the Greek and obscures Christ’s deity. God calls his Son “God” and then declares that his throne is everlasting because of his righteousness. The next verse substantiates this affirmation of the Son’s deity, where again the Father addresses the Son with the vocative “O God” (see NEB). As F. F. Bruce (1964, 19) puts it, “our author may well have understood ‘God’ in the vocative twice over in this quotation, the last clause could easily be construed ‘Therefore, O God, has anointed thee with the of gladness above thy fellows.’” (New Testament Translation Commentary [Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, IL 2008], p. 695; bold and capital emphasis ours)
And here is what the late renowned NT scholar F. F. Bruce wrote in regards to the application of Psalm 102:25-27 to the Son:
The words in which the psalmist addresses God, however, are here applied to the Son, as clearly as the words of Ps. 45:6f. were applied to him in vv. 8 and 9. What justification can be pleaded for our author’s applying them thus? First, as he has already said in v. 2, it was through the Son that the universe was made. The angels were but worshiping spectators when the earth was founded,97 but the Son was the Father’s agent in the work. He therefore can be understood as the one who is addressed in the words:
Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth;
And the heavens are the work of thy hands.
Moreover, in the Septuagint text the person to whom these words are spoken is addressed explicitly as “Lord” (“Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth”); and it is God who addresses him thus. Whereas in the Hebrew text the suppliant is the speaker from the beginning to the end of the psalm, in the Greek text his prayer comes to an end with v. 22;99 and the next words read as follows:
He answered him100 in the way of his strength:
“Declare to me101 the shortness of my days:
Bring me not up in the midst of my days.
Thy years are throughout all generations.
Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth….”
This is God’s answer to the suppliant; he bids him acknowledge the shortness of God’s set time (for the restoration of Jerusalem, as in v. 13) and not summon him to act when that set time has only half expired, while he assures him that he and his servants’ children will be preserved forever.102 But to whom (a Christian reader of the Septuagint might well ask) could God speak in words like these? And whom would God himself address as “Lord,” as the maker of earth and heaven?103 Our author knows of one person only to whom such terms could be appropriate, and that is the Son of God.
That our author understood this quotation from Ps. 102 as an utterance of God seems plain from the way in which it is linked by the simple conjunction “and” to the preceding quotation from Ps. 45. Both quotations fall under the same rubric: “But to104 the Son [God says].” If in the preceding quotation the Son is addressed by God as “God,” in this one he is addressed by God as “Lord.” And we need not doubt that to our author the title “Lord” conveys THE HIGHEST SENSE OF ALL, “the name which is above every name.” No wonder that the Son has ascribed to him a dignity which surpasses all the names angels bear. Nor is our author the only New Testament writer to ascribe to Christ the highest of divine names, or to apply to him Old Testament scriptures which in their primary context refer to Yahweh.105
- Job 38:7.
- Gr. kyrie(omitted Aleph* in the LXX text, but restored by Alephc.a.).
- Verse 23 in the MT and LXX.
- The LXX has treated Heb. ‘innah(“he afflicted,” “he humbled”) as ‘anah(“he answered”); the difference is formally one of vocalization.
- The LXX has treated Heb. ‘omar ‘eli (“I say, ‘My God’”) as ’emor ‘elai(“say to me”); again, the difference is purely one of vocalization.
- Cf. B. W. Bacon, “Heb. 1:10-12 and the Septuagint Rendering of Ps. 102:23,” ZNW3 (1902), pp. 280-85. Bacon suggested that the Hebrew, as well as the Greek, text of this psalm formed a basis for messianic eschatology, especially its reference to the “shortness” of God’s days, i.e., of the period destined to elapse before the consummation of his purpose; he found here the OT background of Matt. 24:22, Mark 13:20, and Ep. Barn. 4:3 (“as Enoch says, ‘For to this end the Master has cut short the times and the days, that his Beloved should make haste and come to his inheritance”‘).
- It is unlikely that this passage is primarily responsible for our author’s description of the Son in v. 2 as the one through whom God made the universe–a description which probably owes more to Prov. 8:22-31 than to any other OT passage–but it could be taken as a corroborative testimony for the identification of Wisdom in Prov. 8:22ff. with the Messiah.
- While pros tous angelousin v. 7 must be rendered “of (concerning) the angels,” that is no reason for not rendering pros ton hyionin v. 8 “to the Son.” Cf. p. 170, n. 64.
- Cf. the application to Christ of Isa. 45:23 in Phil. 2:1Of. (see p. 50, n. 37), and of Isa. 8:13 (“Yahweh of hosts, him you shall sanctify”) in 1 Pet. 3:15 (“sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord”). (The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Epistle to the Hebrews[William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI: Revised edition 1990], pp. 63-64; bold and capital emphasis ours)
This next one comes from Matthew’s Gospel:
“All of this actually came about to fulfill what was spoken by Jehovah (Kyriou – Lit. “by the Lord”) through his prophet, saying: ‘Look! The virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and they will name him Im·manʹu·el,’ which means, when translated, “With Us Is God (Meth hemon HO Theos).’” Matthew 1:22-23 NWT
That it is Christ himself who is being described as THE God that came to dwell with his people is confirmed by how Matthew concludes his proclamation:
“teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And look! I AM WITH YOU (ego meth’ hymon eimi) all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.’” Matthew 28:20 NWT
The same God that came to be with believers promises to continue to remain with all of them till the very end of the age!
“In answer Thomas said TO HIM: ‘My Lord and my God (ho Kyrios mou kai HO Theos mou – Lit. the Lord of me and THE God of me)!’‘” John 20:28 NWT
Thomas worships Christ as his God in the very same context where Jesus refers to the Father as his God and the God of all believers:
“Jesus said to her: ‘Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God (kai Theon mou, kai Theon hymon).”’” John 20:17 NWT
Since Thomas cannot have two Gods, and since the Father and Son are not the same Person, this means that the one true God eternally exists as a multi-Personal Being. In other words, both the Father and the Son make up the identity of the one true God.
What makes this all the more interesting is that John adds the definite article before theos when recording Thomas’ confession, and yet he doesn’t do so when mentioning Jesus’ description of the Father as his God and the God of his disciples. Thus, if the lack of the articles means that A god is in view then this proves that Jesus is THE God whereas the Father is nothing more than A god!
As the following Evangelical scholars put it:
“In identifying Jesus as God, Thomas, of course, was not identifying him as the Father. Earlier in the same passage, Jesus had referred to the Father as his God. It is interesting to compare Jesus’ wording with the wording of Thomas. Jesus told Mary Magdalene, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God’ (theon mou kai theon humon, John 20:17). As in John 1:1 and John 1:18, the Father is called ‘God’ in close proximity to a statement affirming that Jesus is also ‘God.’ Here again, as in John 1:18, we do not see the apostle John distinguishing between the Father as ‘the God’ (ho theos) and Jesus the Son as only ‘God’ (theos without the article). In fact, whereas Jesus calls the Father ‘my God’ without the article (theon mou, 20:17), Thomas calls Jesus ‘my God’ with the article (ho theos mou, 20:28)! One could not ask for any clearer evidence that the use or nonuse of the article is irrelevant to the meaning of the word theos. What matters is how the word is used in context…” (Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Chapter 12. Immanuel: God with Us, p. 143; bold emphasis ours)
So much for Maina’s claim.
The Real Truth of John 1:1: A Muslim Becomes a Bible Expositor http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/john1_1_eb.htm
(1) The following may also be another instance of a TSKS construction where Jesus is called God:
“For you can be confident of this one thing: that no person who is immoral, impure, or greedy (such a person is an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of THE Christ and God (TOU Christou, kai theou).” Ephesians 5:5
Here we have two singular nouns connected by kai, with the definite article appearing before the first noun only.
2 Thessalonians 1:12 may be a further example:
“This is so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him, according to the grace of THE God of us and Lord Jesus Christ (TOU theou hemon, kai kyriou Iesou Christou).”
Note how the following versions render this passage:
“… because of the good will of Yeshua Christ, our God and Lord…” Names of God
“… because of the good will of Jesus Christ, our God and Lord…” GOD’S Word
“… according to the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus, the Messiah.” International Standard Version
“… because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.” New Living Translation
“… in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.” New American Bible Revised Edition
“… according to the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.” Young’s Literal Translation