FURTHER EVIDENCE OF THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST
This paper will address three passage that give scriptural evidence of the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those passages are:
I COR. 15:24-28
I COR. 15:24-28
“Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, for He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith ‘all things are put under Him’, it is manifest that He is excepted, Which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him That put all things under Him, that God may be all in all”.
Many interpret the phrase “God may be all in all” as referring to God the Father. That is based, at least in part, on the fact that we are told in this passage that the kingdom shall be delivered up to God the Father. So, many believe that God the Father will be all in all. But the verse says that “God will be all in all”, not “God the Father”. In my opinion, to add “Father” would be incorrect because “Father” is not all that God is. There is no question that the Father is God, but He is not all that God is.
“Father” is one of the many titles of Jehovah (please see the paper on this web-site The Titles Of Jehovah). Even if one sees “Father” as one of the Persons of the Godhead, the Father does not fully describe Who God is. For example, the Bible does not tell us that the Father created the heavens and the earth.We are told in several scriptures that Christ created. My point is that whether one sees “Father” as one of the many titles of God, or as one of the Persons in the Godhead, God the Father is not all that God is. In point of fact, as we will see in the section on Col. 2:9, it is not the Father Who is the fulness of the Godhead, it is Jesus Christ Who is the fulness of the Godhead. I suggest therefore, that we allow this verse to say exactly what it says, i.e. that God will be all in all. It does not say that God the Father will be all in all. But let us continue in the study of this very profound passage in I Cor. 15.
Let us consider the phrase, ” till He hath put all enemies under His feet”. It comes from Ps. 110:1 which reads, “The Lord (Heb. “Jehovah”) said unto my Lord (Heb. “Adoni”) ‘Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool”. The One referred to as “Adoni” in this verse is obviously Christ as it is He that will rule over the enemies of Jehovah.
But Who will put the enemies under Christ? The answer is given at the beginning of this verse, Jehovah will make His enemies the footstool of Christ. But Jesus Christ is Jehovah (please see the paper on this web-site Jesus Christ Is Both Jehovah And The Manifestation Of Jehovah for the Scriptural evidence of that statement). I will quote just one passage from this paper which I believe may help the reader to see that Jesus Christ is Jehovah. We read in Matthew 3:3, “For this is he (John the Baptist) that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His path straight”. This is a quote from Isaiah 40:3 where we read, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah“. (The KJV has “the Lord” but the Hebrew is “Jehovah”.) The one for Whom John the Baptist was preparing the way was Christ. John the Baptist was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah who wrote that he would prepare the way for Jehovah. By comparing the prophecy (Is. 40:3) with the fulfillment of prophecy (Matt. 3:3) we see one reason for believing that Christ is Jehovah in bodily form.
I Co. 15:28 then, tells us that God, Whose name is “Jehovah” (see Is. 42:8) will be all in all. As we consider Eph. 1:10 we will see that Christ will sum up all things. Surely, He Who sums up all things will be “all in all”. That means that what Paul says of God in I Cor. 15:28 is applicable to Christ in Eph. 1:10. Let us now consider that verse for the comparison to I Cor. 15.
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him”. The Greek word translated “gather together” is “anakephalaioomai”. The note on that word in the Companion Bible tells us that it means literally “head up”. The only other time it is used is in Rom. 13:9, “…..and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, ‘Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself'”. Here the word is translated “briefly comprehended”. The note in the Companion Bible defines the word as “sum up”. I believe “sum up” is a correct definition as it fits the literal translation of the word, and it fits its other usage in Romans 13.
Eph. 1:10 tells us that in the dispensation of the fulness of times Christ will sum up all things. As mentioned above, the same One Who “sums up” all things will be “all in all”.
The comparison of I Cor. 15:28 with Eph. 1:10 will show that where Paul speaks of Christ in Ephesians, he speaks of God in I Corinthians. It is true that “all in all” is not exactly the same as “sum up”, but it is obvious that one Person will accomplish both. That is to say, one Person cannot sum up all things and Another be all in all. So what Paul writes in I Cor. 15 of God, he writes of the same Person in Ephesians. In I Cor. 15 it is God, in Eph. 1:10 it is Christ. That leads us to the inescapable conclusion that Christ of Eph. 1:10 is God of I Cor. 15:28.
“For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” What is meant by the term “Godhead”? Many believe it refers to the three Persons of the trinity, i.e. the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But I believe that it refers to the fact that Jesus Christ fulfills every title of Jehovah (please see the paper on this web-site Jesus Christ Is Both Jehovah And The Manifestation Of Jehovah for the Scriptural evidence). However, either way, whether the term refers to three Persons or the many titles of Jehovah, Christ is the fulfillment of the Godhead.Christ could not possibly be the fulfillment of the Godhead unless He is God.
But Charles Welch speaks of Col. 2:9 in his An Alphabetical Analysis saying that it should not be interpreted as proving the deity of Christ. On page 271 of Part 3 of that volume Mr. Welch wrote, “Identical language, pan to pleroma ‘all the fulness’ is found in Ephesians 3:19, Col. 1:9 and 2:9, and these passages cannot be separated and interpreted independently of each other”. But as we consider each of these verses we will see that even though the same phrase (i.e. “all the fulness”) is used in each verse, they teachentirely different truths. In other words, the use of the same phrase does help us in determining the meaning of the phrase, but it does not demand that each verse teaches the same thing. We will study each of these verses in order to determine if the fact that the same phrase is used means that they teach the same truth. If they do not, we may conclude that Col. 2:9 does teach that Jesus Christ, is the fulness of the Godhead, is God.
Eph. 3:19 reads, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God“. On page 270 Mr. Welch wrote of this verse, “The prayer of Ephesians 3 is that the believer may be ‘filled with all the fulness of God’ and if to be filled with all the fulness of the Godhead bodily teaches the Deity of Christ in Col. 2:9, what does Ephesians 3:19 teach of the believer?.” I believe that the context must be considered. That is to say, just because the same phrase is used, the same truth is not necessarily taught by it. The context of Eph. 3:19 clearly points to believers, while in Col.2:9 the context clearly points to Christ. The context of Eph. 3:19 tells us that by knowing the love of Christ believers may be filled with all the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ. But Col. 2:9 is an entirely different subject. It is not the believer that is the subject of Col. 2:9, it is Christ. It is not believers who fill up the Godhead, it is Christ. In short, just because the same phrase is used in several passages, does not mean that the context must be ignored. The context concerns very different truths about very different subjects, and the use of the same phrase, in my opinion, does not mean that all the verses that use that phrase must be interpreted as if they all taught the same truth. Again, the use of the same phrase doeshelp us to understand the phrase itself, but it does not demand that they be interpreted as if they all taught the same truth.
The third verse in which the same Greek phrase is used is Col. 1:9, “For this cause we also…..do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”. Again the subject of this verse is believers being filled, not Christ as in Col. 2:9. And this is Paul’s prayer for them, while in Col. 2:9 it is a completed truth that Christ is the fulfillment of the Godhead. Again, the use of the the same phrase helps us to understand the meaning of that phrase, but does not, in my opinion, mean that all verses teach the same truth.
One verse that uses the same phrase but is not mentioned in the quote above from Mr. Welch’s volume is Eph. 1:22-23, but I believe it would be good to consider it. That passage reads, “……and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body, thefulness of Him that filleth all in all”. Many understand this verse to mean that Christ was fulfilled by believers of the dispensation of the mystery, i.e. those believers who make up the “church which is His body”. But that would mean that before the dispensation of the mystery was revealed and before the church was revealed, Christ Himself was lacking in some way. That is to say, if one is filled up at a certain time, obviously before that time he was not filled up, i.e. he was incomplete. Surely Christ was not incomplete before the church was revealed to Paul after Acts 28. As we look at how the Greek word translated filleth” in the phrase “That filleth all in all”, I believe we will see that Christ Himself was not incomplete before Acts 28, His plans were incomplete. That is to say, before the dispensation of the mystery was revealed, His plans for the heavens were incomplete. So the church is the fulness of Christ’s plans, not of Christ Himself.
The Greek word translated “filleth” in the phrase “That filleth all in all” is “pleeroo”. The first occurrence is found in Matt. 1:22 where we read, “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet….”. In this first occurrence, as well as many others, it is prophecy that was fulfilled. In my opinion, “fulfilled” has the sense of “completion”. That is to say, a prophecy is fulfilled when what has been prophesied is completed. Indeed it is translated “complete” in Col. 2:10 and Col. 4:12. Col. 2:10 reads, “And ye arecomplete in Him Which is the head of all principality and power”. And Col. 4:12 reads, “……that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God”. Col. 1:25 also uses the word where it is translated “to fulfill” but obviously is used in the sense of “complete”, “Whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you to fulfill the word of God”. The revelation of the mystery completes the Word of God.
Let us come back to Eph. 1:23. I believe that we have here a use of the figure of speech, Metonymy of the Adjunct which is defined in the Companion Bible as, “when something pertaining to the subject is put for the subject itself”. In this case the subject is Christ, and the something pertaining to the subject are His plans for the ages. I am suggesting that it was Christ’s plans that were completed by the revelation of the church which is His body, it was not Christ Himself that was completed by the church. It could not have been Christ Himself because He was never incomplete.
It may be argued that Christ had divested Himself of His glory when He fulfilled His earthly ministry, but that was reversed as He rose from the dead, not at the revelation of the church.
The point of discussing these passages is to show that the same phrase can be used without it having to teach the same truth. The phrase means the same in each usage, but it does not teach the same truth. Therefore, when we read that Christ is the fulfillment of the Godhead bodily, we may see that statement as further proof of His deity, because only God can fulfill the Godhead.
I Cor. 15:28 speaks of the time when “God may be all in all”. Eph. 1:10 tells us that in the dispensation of the fullness of times Christ will sum up all things. By comparing Scripture with Scripture we see that both passages speak of the same time period, they speak of the same type of fulfillment, and most importantly, they speak of the same Person. In I Cor. that Person is God and in Eph. that Person is Christ. Logic demands that we conclude that Christ is God.
Col. 2:9 tells us that Christ is the fulness of the Godhead bodily. This is simply not possible unless Christ is God.
This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond please e-mail me at: janjoyce @aol.com