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JESUS: THE GOD OF ISRAEL HAS COME

The Hebrew Bible testifies that Jehovah alone is the incomparable God in heaven and on earth:

“You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other… Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:35, 39

“so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60

“For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.” 2 Chronicles 15:3

“Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” Psalm 86:8-10

“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.’” Isaiah 43:10-11

“I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:5-6

“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” Isaiah 46:9

“Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.” Jeremiah 2:11

And since he alone is God, Jehovah alone created and gives life to all created things, and is the one and only sovereign Ruler who reigns over the entire heavens and earth:

“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” Deuteronomy 10:17

“See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

“Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,” Psalm 113:5

“Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lordsHis love endures forever.” Psalm 136:2-3

“Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.” Psalm 148:13

“Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth… Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.” Isaiah 37:16, 20

“This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let them foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one… This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth BY MYSELF,” chapter Isaiah 44:6-8, 24

“But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’” Jeremiah 10:10-11

THE NEW TESTAMENT WITNESS

Astonishingly, the inspired Christian Scriptures proclaim that Jesus Christ is the one and only supreme God who humbled himself to be born as a human being in order to redeem his creation:

“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7 – Cf. Matthew 4:12-16; Luke 1:26-35, 78-79

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God [ho Theos] with us’). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” Matthew 1:18-25

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written: But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Matthew 2:1-6

Remarkably, the prophecy mentioned here identifies this Ruler as an eternal Being who condescends to be born of a woman so as to become an Israelite for the purpose of shepherding his people:

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago (miqqedem), From the days of eternity (olam). Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth.” Micah 5:2-4 New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995)

In fact, the foregoing texts ascribe to Jesus the very unique name, characteristics and functions of Jehovah:

“If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you… Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” Psalm 130:3-4, 7-8

“In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.” Isaiah 10:20-21 – Cf. Nehemiah 9:32; Psalm 24:8; Jeremiah 32:18

“LORD, are you not from everlasting (miqqedem)? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, LORD, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.” Habakkuk 1:12

The [N]ew [T]estament has more to say:

“‘Return home and tell how much God (ho Theos) has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus (ho Iesous) had done for him.” Luke 8:39

Luke is clear that Jesus is the God who had done so much for the demoniac. Once again, Christ is described in ways that the OT speaks of Jehovah:

“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” Psalm 66:16

And here’s how our Lord describes his relationship to God and believers:

“‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’ Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’” John 10:27-33

Jesus attributes to himself the unique abilities and roles that the Hebrew Bible assigns to Jehovah alone:

“Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,” Psalm 95:6-8 NASB1995

“Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” Isaiah 43:13

These are not the only places where the inspired Scriptures call Jesus God in contexts which clearly equate him with Jehovah Almighty:

“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said TO HIM, ‘My Lord and my God (ho Kyrios mou kai ho Theos mou)!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 20:27-29

Thomas worships the risen Christ as his Lord and God, even though Jehovah is the only Lord God whom an Israelite can confess and trust in:

“Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord (elohay wadonay).” Psalm 35:23

“Wake up! And pay attention to my trial, my God and my Lord (ho Theos mou kai ho Kyrios mou), to my case!” Psalm 34:23 LXX

Jesus is the God who redeemed a people to be his flock by his blood which he shed for the forgiveness of their sins:

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Acts 20:28 – Cf. Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14

And yet Jehovah is the God who went out to purchase and redeem a people for himself:

“O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? Remember the nation you purchased long ago, the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed—Mount Zion, where you dwelt.” Psalm 74:1-2

Christ is also the eternally praised God,

“Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” Romans 9:5

And the very great God who ransomed a people for his own possession due to his being an impartial righteous Savior:

“while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (tou megalou Theou hemon kai Soteros Iesou Christou), who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:13-14

“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (tou Theou kai Soteros hemon Iesou Christou) have received a faith as precious as ours:” 2 Peter 1:1

Jesus is even said to be the true God and eternal life!

“We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life (ho alethinos Theos kai zoe aionios).” 1 John 5:20

That John is describing Christ as the true God is confirmed by what he wrote at the beginning of his epistle:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life (ten zoen ten aionion), which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3

The Son is the Word of life, the life, and that very eternal life whom John and the disciples saw and physically handled. This proves that Jesus is the true God spoken of at the conclusion of the inspired letter.

This explains why Jude could refer to Jesus as being our only sovereign God and Lord:

“For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into indecency, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ (ton monon despoten Theon kai Kyrion hemon Iesoun Christon).” Jude 1:4 World English Bible (WEB)

“… and our only Master, God, and Lord — Jesus Christ — denying,” Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

If the foregoing is still not enough to convince readers that the NT depicts Jesus as God Almighty in the flesh, then the next set of texts should leave no doubt whatsoever:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind… The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and FOR HIM. He IS BEFORE all things, and IN HIM all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:13-20

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” Colossians 2:9

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven… And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’… But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God (ho Theos), will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.’… He also says, ‘In the beginning, Lord [the Son], you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.’” Hebrews 1:1-3, 6, 8-12

Christ is described as the eternal, unchangeable Creator and Sustainer of all creation who possesses the complete divine essence as he rules forever as the God-Man with a glorified, immortal physical body!

This explains why Hebrews has God the Father praising his Son in the words of the following Psalm, which glorifies Jehovah as the immutable Creator and Preserver of the heavens and the earth!

“Hear my prayer, LORD; let my cry for help come to you… But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations… So I said: ‘Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.’” Psalm 102:1, 12, 24-27

As if this wasn’t enough to establish Jesus’ identity as Jehovah God Almighty who became a man, Christ is even said to be the only sovereign Lord of lords and the immortal First and Last, the very names which the OT attributes to Jehovah alone!

“to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which HE will bring about at the right time—HE WHO is the blessed and ONLY Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is HE ALONE WHO has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:14-16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen… When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:5-6, 17-18

“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” Revelation 17:14 – Cf. 19:16

Hence, Jesus Christ is truly Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh, being the uniquely beloved Son of the Father and the eternal Companion of the Holy Spirit!

Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come!

Unless noted otherwise, biblical quotations taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible.

FURTHER READING

Jesus Is Yahweh: Examining the New Testament Use of Old Testament Passages to Demonstrate the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus as Yahweh: Examining Paul’s use of Lord in reference to Christ

ENDNOTES

(1) There is a variant here since some of the early Greek copies do not have the word “God,” which is why some modern translations render the text in the following manner:

“For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (ton monon despoten kai Kyrion hemon Iesoun Christon).” Jude 1:4

Nonetheless, this reading still affirms the absolute Deity of Christ since no heavenly creature can be identified as the ONLY Sovereign Lord of believers, especially since the Scriptures proclaim that Jehovah is the only Master dwelling in heaven that believers are to put their hope in:

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” Psalm 73:25

“I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.” Psalm 123:1-2

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