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REVEALING THE IDENTITY OF ISRAEL’S LORD GOD

The Scriptures testify that YHVH or Jehovah is the only true God:

“For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.” 2 Chronicles 15:3

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. Thus shall you say to them: ‘The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.’” Jeremiah 10:10-12

YHVH is also the only God that an Israelite can confess and believe in:

“The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2

“Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication, for my cause, my God and my Lord! Vindicate me, O LORD, my God, according to your righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me!” Psalm 35:23-24

“I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!” Psalm 140:6

“O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” Isaiah 25:1

“I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, ‘O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,’” Daniel 9:4

“And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” Zechariah 13:9

According to the New Testament, the Father is identified as the only true God, and the very God that Christians are to confess and trust in:

“who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” Galatians 1:4

“To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:20

“remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11

Christ himself referred to the Father as the only true God, and even honored him as his own God:

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” John 5:44

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3

“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling 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, to my God and your God.”’” John 20:17

“Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God… The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels… The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” Revelation 3:2, 5, 12

It is, therefore, clear that the Father is YHVH the only true God.

And yet there is more to the story.

These same God-breathed Scriptures testify that Jesus is also the one true God of all believers:

“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 20:27-29

“waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” 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 by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:… For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:1

Our risen Lord is further described as the Son of God who himself is the true God and eternal life that came forth from the Father to reveal him to us:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of lifethe life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3

“And we know 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, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

Moreover, Jesus isn’t merely described as God in a relative, secondary sense, but in the absolute sense of being God Almighty since he does what only the true God does.

For instance, Christ is identified as the One that brought the entire creation into existence, being the Source of all life and spiritual illumination for whom all things were made:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men… The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and FOR HIM. And 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, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” Colossians 1:13-18

And yet the Hebrew Bible emphatical declares that YHVH alone created and sustains all creation, and that all things exist for his sake and glory:

“who ALONE stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea;” Job 9:8

“Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:” Isaiah 42:5

“I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made… The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” Isaiah 43:6-7, 20-21

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the LORD, who made all things, who ALONE stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by MYSELF,” Isaiah 44:24

“I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host… For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): ‘I am the LORD, and there is no other.’” Isaiah 45:12, 18

We are further told that it is YHVH who is the Source of life and of all spiritual enlightenment:

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” Psalm 36:9

As if this weren’t astonishing enough, the inspired letter to Hebrews describes Jesus in the exact same manner that the Hebrew Bible depicts the one true God YHVH:

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’ Of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.’… But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.’… And, ‘You, Lord [the Son], laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.’” Hebrews 1:1-3, 6, 8a, 10-12

The author has taken the following OT texts where YHVH is identified as the sole Creator and Sustainer of all creation, the One who sits enthroned on high and whom all the angels worship,

“Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people’s land.” Deuteronomy 32:43

“You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of themand the host of heaven worships you.” Nehemiah 9:6

“Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high,” Psalm 113:5

And attributed them to the Son of God!

Hebrews even has the Father himself glorifying his Son in the words of the following Psalm, where the Psalmist magnifies YHVH as the eternal, immutable Creator and Life-giver!

“A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you!… But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations… Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.” Psalm 102:1, 12, 25-27

This helps us appreciate why the inspired writer could speak of the Son being the exact imprint of the Father’s uncreated, infinite substance, an impossibility if the Son were a finite, temporal creature.

After all, there is no created being that perfectly, completely resembles the eternal, infinite character of God Almighty:

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.” Psalm 86:8-10

“Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you?” Psalm 89:5-8

This further explains why the entire creation worships Jesus in the exact same way that they worship the Father:

“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and ALL THAT IS IN THEM, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:8-14

I.e., the Son is not a mere creature, but is separate and distinct from all creation. The Son is, therefore, uncreated and eternal by nature, being equal to God the Father in essence, glory and honor.

The final proof that Jesus is the only true God comes from the repeated visible appearances of YHVH mentioned throughout the Hebrew Bible:

“Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.” Exodus 24:9-11

“And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, “Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, “I will entice him.” And the LORD said to him, “By what means?” And he said, “I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.” Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets. The LORD has declared disaster concerning you.’”  2 Chronicles 18:18-22 – Cf. 1 Kings 22:19-23

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’ And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!’” Isaiah 6:1-5

I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said: ‘Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake, and shatter them on the heads of all the people; and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword; not one of them shall flee away; not one of them shall escape.’” Amos 9:1

According to the NT writings, no one can ever see and/or perceive God apart from Jesus who, as the uniquely begotten God, grants a person that revelation:

“In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’” Luke 10:21-22 – Cf. Matthew 11:27

“No one has ever seen God; the only God (monogenes Theos), who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” John 1:18

“And Jesus cried out and said, ‘Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.’” John 12:44-46

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’ Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.’” John 14:6-11

What this means is that the OT saints were actually seeing Jesus in his prehuman existence whenever God appeared to them visibly.

The foregoing conclusively proves that the one true God of Israel, and hence of all creation, is not a singular Person. Rather, Israel’s true God is a multi-Personal Being who eternally exists as the Father and Son, along with the eternal Spirit:

“how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Hebrews 9:14

AN OBJECTION REFUTED

Someone may object to my assertion that the Son is described as the one true God YHVH because of the fact that he honors the Father as his God and the God of his disciples. See above for the verses.

As such, Jesus cannot himself be the true God while also being in subjection to the true God… or so the argument goes.

This assertion is easily refuted when we keep in mind that the NT writings expressly teach that Christ became an actual flesh and blood human being via his virginal conception and birth from his blessed mother by the Holy Spirit (Cf. Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-35; 2:1-15; Hebrews 10:5-9).

In becoming Man, the Son voluntarily humbled himself to become his Father’s Servant for the express purpose of dying on the cross to procure the ternal redemption of all believers:

“‘All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.’ So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.’” John 6:37-44

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8 New International Version (NIV)

And since YHVH is the God of all flesh,

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

And since the Son, not the Father or the Holy Spirit, became a physical, fleshly Israelite from the tribe of Judah and of the line of David,

“concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 1:3-4

“For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.” Hebrews 7:14

“And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’” Revelation 5:5

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I AM the root and THE DESCENDANT of David, the bright morning star.” Revelation 22:16

It, therefore, shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Son subjects himself to the Father as his God. After all, the Son could not be the perfect Man, nor the perfect human Israelite, if he did not honor the Father as God.

And yet since Jesus is more than a human being it doesn’t come as a shock to find the inspired authors referring to him as both God and Man:

“They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:4-5

Jesus in regards to his flesh, e.g., by virtue of being a Man, is a physical descendant of Israel. And yet at the same time he is the One who reigns over all as the eternally praised God!

Unless indicated otherwise, scriptural citations taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Holy Bible.

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