by: Herbert W. Armstrong
STARTLING as it may seem, there is great confusion today among religious leaders concerning the true nature and office of Jesus Christ - the Saviour of the world. You need not be in doubt! The Bible was divinely inspired to impart TRUTH to those who seek it with honest hearts and minds.
What is the real answer? Is Jesus God? Is He the same as Jehovah? Is there more than one God? Here you will find God's answer - from His own Word - as revealed in your Bible.
Is Jesus God?
Jesus Christ came to pay the penalty for sin in our stead. He gave of Himself, that we might be reconciled to God. How was this made possible?
First, if Jesus had been only human, His death could have paid the penalty for but one other human who had incurred that penalty by transgression of God's spiritual Law (Romans 6:23). Since God the Father created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9), and since all things, including man, were made by Jesus Christ, He is our Maker and therefore God, and His life which He gave was of greater value than the sum total of all human beings. For we read, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God; all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1:1-3). And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father (verse 14 -RSV). Also, He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not (verse 10 -RSV). Compare these scriptures with I Cor. 8:6 and Col. 1:12-19.
Life alone can beget life. This is the absolute law of biogenesis. Since Eternal life is the GIFT of God (John 3:16), only a GOD possessing immortality could give it. If Jesus were only human, we could not receive eternal life through Him and He could not be our Savior. Man does not have eternal life inherent in himself. But, as God the Father hath life in himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself. And, God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life (John 5:26 and I John 5:11-12).
He Was Also Human
On the other hand, Jesus was also human. Since it is human life which has transgressed God's Law, the Law claims human life as its penalty. Contrary to popular present-day teaching, the Word of God states that the wages the penalty - of sin, is DEATH - not eternal life in a so-called hell fire (Romans 6:23). When we sin, we break God's perfect spiritual law, for sin is the transgression of the law (I John 3 :4). The penalty for this sin is death. The penalty must be paid. God the Father will not compromise. It must be paid by man. Therefore, Jesus, who is and was God, who has always existed (John 1:1, 2), was actually made flesh (verse 14). He, who was God, actually became human flesh because I John 4:2, 3 -RSV - states, By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. He was conceived in and born of the human virgin, Mary. Now, the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother, Mary, had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18). He was made not only flesh, but human flesh and blood. Notice Heb. 2:14: Since then the children are sharers in blood and flesh, himself also in like manner partook of the same (Ivan Panin translation).
Jesus called Himself the Son of MAN repeatedly, and also the Son of God. Matthew wrote, Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do men say that the Son of man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven' (Matt. 16:13-17).
Jesus, in nature, is equal with God -Jesus Christ: who, existing in God's form, counted not the being on an equality with God ought to be grasped at, but emptied himself . . . being made in likeness of men (Phil. 2:6 Panin translation)
He is called God in Titus 2:10, 13. Therefore He is God. The Bible contains so much on these points that the above is a mere fragment of the evidence.
Yes, Jesus is also Jehovah, although this word is a mistranslation used in the American Standard Version. The original name, in the Hebrew, contained the consonants YHVH. In writing in Hebrew, vowels were omitted, supplied only in speaking. Thus the precise pronunciation of the name is not definitely known, but today it is commonly assumed to be Yahveh, or Yahweh. The meaning, in English, is THE ETERNAL, or THE EVERLIVING, or the SELF-EXISTENT. It is commonly supposed that Yahveh, or, as commonly called, Jehovah, or, as in the Authorized Version, The LORD, of the Old Testament was God the FATHER of Jesus Christ. This is a flagrant error! Yahveh was the God of Israel, there appeared - an actual foretaste, a view ahead into the soon-coming Kingdom of God! As the disciples stood, gazing with awe and wonder at the brilliance of the vision, there came a ..... voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him (Matt. 17:5). But notice, did the scripture say it was God the Father who spoke? No! Read it in your own Bible!
Many have carelessly assumed the Bible says what it does not say! Notice this particular case, where a voice is heard speaking, and yet Christ Himself tells us it COULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE VOICE OF GOD! (John 5:37.) The only logical conclusion in the light of all Scripture is that an angel (messenger) spoke, as one bearing this message from the Father in heaven!
Since it was not God the Father who spoke to Moses, and who even allowed Moses to see His hind parts (Ex. 33:23), then it had to be the Eternal Being who was instrumental in executing God's Word! That was Christ's prior OFFICE, that was His all-important job! Who was the One who SPOKE to Moses? Why the Spokesman, the Logos, of course!
Notice I Cor. 10:4, . . . And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they [the ancient Israelites] drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ!
That certainly clinches it! The One who actually GAVE the laws to the children of Israel from Mount Sinai was the One who later became Jesus Christ! JESUS CHRIST WAS THE LORD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT - THE GOD WHO DEALT PERSONALLY WITH ISRAEL, WHO INSPIRED THE PROPHETS, WHO REVEALED HIMSELF TO THE PHARAOH, TO NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND THE KINGS OF THE EARTH!
Most people have assumed the God of the Old Testament was the Father of Jesus Christ. This is proven by God's own inspired Word to be a great error. As we read in I Cor. 10:4, the ROCK of the Old Testament was Jesus Christ. Remember the word LORD) is actually Yhvh, which means the Ever-Living One, or the Life Self-Existent One. Now see II Sam. 22:2-3 (Revised Standard Version) : He said, 'The LORD Yhvh is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence.'
In Psalm 18:1-2, this same ROCK is Yahveh. When Moses was talking to Yahveh, and asked Him His name (Ex. 3:4, 5,13), He answered that His name was I AM (verses 6, 14) and Yahveh - the Eternal One (verse 15). See also Ex. 6:2, 3. In John 18: 5-8, as soon as Christ made Himself known to the crowd led by Judas as I AM (the he in italics is added without inspiration, and was not in the original), they went backward and fell to the ground. Again in John 8:56-58, Jesus called Himself: I AM.
The person of the Godhead who is our REDEEMER is Jesus Christ. John 4:42 (RSV) contains this: They said to the woman, 'It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the SAVIOR of the world.' See Isaiah 60:16, where Yahveh is called the Redeemer, which is the SAVIOUR, or the Holy One of Israel!
Jesus, the Savior, was the Holy 0ne born of Israel (Jacob). Jesus is the Lord of the Old Testament.
What to DO About It
What an overwhelming truth it is, realize the glorious, the awe-inspiring magnitude of Jesus' pre-human existence ! It should make you realize more fully the tremendous PRICE that was paid that you might have your guilty past blotted out, and the slate wiped clean! GOD HIMSELF, in the person Jesus Christ, paid that penalty!
Think of it!
God the Father sent His own Son down to this mundane sphere of sin and fleshly emotions to suffer for humanity and thereby provide a way of salvation - a way to enter into life eternal! The Life that was poured out on the cross was a human life but it was much more than that - it was also very God LIFE! Jesus was human, but He was also divine! Day and night, while on this earth, Christ must have remembered the tremendous power and glory from eternity He had enjoyed with the Father - and realized it would have been possible to sin, to relent in His battle against human nature, and become eternally lost! The very willpower, the determination and perseverance of Jesus Christ, together with the Divine presence of the Holy Spirit of God, kept Him from falling, that He could become the Savior of the world!
Can you grasp it? Can you comprehend? Your very Creator - the One who gives you every breath of air you breathe, DIED FOR you!
What are you going to DO about it?