CAN JESUS CHRIST BE BOTH MAN AND GOD?
Most Bible-believing Christians would say that the answer to the question posed in the title of this study is yes, because as we read in Luke 1:37, “With God nothing shall be impossible”. Some, however would answer with a no, one can not be both man and God. This paper will present the Scriptural proof that Jesus Christ is both Man and God.
There is no question that Christ was, while on earth, fully Man. The question that we will study in this paper is whether He was also fully God. We will look at the following headings in the search for truth in this all important study:
What Do The Old Testament Prophets Say As To Who The Messiah Will Be?
Christ, The Son of God
The Genitive of Origin
How Did First Century Jews Understand The Title “Son of God”?
New Testament Quotes of Ps. 110:1
Scriptures Which Prove That Christ Is God
Titles of Jehovah Ascribed To Christ
WHAT DO THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS SAY AS TO WHO THE MESSIAH WILL BE?
When Christ made His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem the crowds hailed Him as “the Son of David”. That means, of course that they accepted Him as their King. As the verses quoted below will show, they understood from these Old Testament scriptures, that their King would be God. In other words, they understood these verses to say that Messiah would be God, and so too should all who read them.
We read in Ps. 2:6-7, “Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree; The Lord hath said unto Me, ‘Thou art My son….”.As will be shown in the section below, Jews understood that God’s Son was deity. We have then, in this verse a very clear declaration that the King that God will set on the throne will be God.
We read in Ps. 45:6, “Thy throne O God is for ever and ever; The scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter”. We have in the very first phrase the declaration that the King will be God.
Is. 7:14 reads, “…the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”. “Immanuel” means, of course “God with us”. Again, Jews understood that the Messiah would be God, i.e. “God with us”.
We read in Is. 40:10, “Behold, the Lord God will come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him….”. Again, we have a very clear statement that Jews understood that God would rule. That is to say, because they expected their promised Messiah to rule, they would see that that promised Messiah would be God.
Isaiah 40:3, “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”). We read in Matthew 3:3 a quote of Isaiah 40:3. “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”. 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 that the “voice of him crying in the wilderness” was preparing the way for Jehovah, Who is God. Since Christ was the One for Whom John the Baptist was preparing the way, we must conclude that Christ is Jehovah, i.e. God in the flesh. (For further evidence that Christ is Jehovah, please see the paper on this web-site Jesus Christ Is The Manifestation of Jehovah).
Is. 48:16, “Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was there am I: and now Adonai Jehovah, and His spirit, hath sent me”.
The pronoun “me” in the phrases “Come ye near unto Me and “hath sent me” is obviously in reference to Christ Who was sent by God to the the Saviour of all who believe. So too where we read “i have spoken” the pronoun “I” is also in reference to Christ. So when we read,”from the beginning; from the time that it was there am I”. So also when we read that from the point at which time began, i.e. “from the time that it (time) began,:Christ was there. (Please see the note on Jn. 1:1 below).
I believe that one further passage from the Old Testament will also prove that the Old Testament teaching concerning the Messiah is that He would be God. We read in Gen. 1:1 “in the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth”. We may conclude therefore that Elohim is God. With that in mind, please consider, Zech. 14:4, “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives….”. Verse 5, “And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains…. And Jehovah my Elohim shall come and all the saints with Thee” (should read “Him”). These verses have to do with the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, Christ is Elohim. If Elohim is God, and Christ is Elohim, Christ is God.*
CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD
We are told in Romans 8:14 that “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”. And in Gal. 3:26 we read, “Ye are all the sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”. All believers are sons of God. Does that mean that Christ was no different than any believer, just a man? One difference between Christ and believers is that Christ is “the only begotten” Son of God.
We must understand that Christ was not Joseph’s Son, but God’s. We read in Luke 1:35, “And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the ‘Son of God'”. Let us be very clear on this matter. Christ was called the Son of God because (“therefore”) the Holy Ghost came upon Mary and God was His Father in a very unique way.
Furthermore, Matthew tells us quite specifically in 1:18, that Joseph was not the father of Christ. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost”. *
THE GENITIVE OF ORIGIN
Let us consider the “of” in the titles “Son of man” and “Son of God”. The “of” is, the genitive of origin. So in the title “Son of man”, the “of” tells us that because Christ’s mother was a human being, Christ was a human being when He was born to Mary. He was a man. hence the title “Son of man”. The “of” in the title “Son of God” must tell us the same thing as does the “of” in the title “Son of man”. It tells us that God was Christ’s Father and that makes Christ God. So the genitive of origin tells us that Christ was from man and from God. And the fact that He was from man tells us that He was man, and the fact that He was from God tells us He is God.
I hope the reader will not mind if I add a personal thought here. I sometimes marvel at the vastness of the universe which was created by Christ in His office of Elohim. Not only its vastness but its beauty and the fact that the variety is incomprehensible. And then I consider that the One Who created “all things” actually, out of love for His world, became a Servant in the form of man, and even died a horrible and humiliating death. And what makes me literally weep is that Christ’s humiliation is so misunderstood that it leads some to doubt His deity. *
HOW DID FIRST CENTURY JEWS UNDERSTAND THE TITLE “SON OF GOD”?
It is assumed by many that the title “Son of God” means that Christ was not God, but God’s Son. But, as the scriptures quoted below will prove, that is not how first century Jews understood the title. We cannot assume that what we in the 21st century believe the title to mean is what the first century Jews understood it to mean. And, of course, it is their understanding, not ours that is correct. Let us consider several passages that tell us how first century Jews understood the title “Son of God”.
In Matthew 14:26-33 we read of Jesus walking on water and calming the winds. In verse 33 we read, “Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Of a truth Thou art the Son of God'”. When Christ walked on water He conveyed the truth that as God He has authority over all the elements of the earth. When His disciples saw Him do that, they worshiped Him as God, Who has all authority over the elements. And what they declared in that worship was that He was “the Son of God”. His disciples understood that the title, “Son of God”, referred to His deity.
A similar proof of the fact that the title “Son of God” when used of Christ, means that He is God, is found in John 9:37-38. “When He found him (the blind man whom He had healed), He said unto him, ‘Dost thou believe on the Son of God?’ He answered and said, ‘who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou hast both seen Him and it is He That talketh with thee. And he said, ‘Lord, I believe’. And he worshiped Him“. Once again, the man worshiped Christ once he discovered that He was the Son of God. Only God is worthy of worship. The man was worshiping God and he recognized Him as such when he realized that he had been speaking with “the Son of God”.
Luke 22:70-71 records, in part, the scene of Christ being questioned before His crucifixion. “……..Then said they all, ‘Art Thou then the Son of God?’ and He said unto them, ‘Ye say that I am’. And they said, ‘what need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of His own mouth”. The Lord’s accusers believed that His saying that He was the Son of God was enough to hand Him over to be crucified. Surely, if the phrase “Son of God” meant nothing more than a mere man, this would not have been sufficient evidence to put Him to death. Some might object that Christ never actually said that He was the Son of God, but that is not the point here. The point is that the Jewish leaders questioning Christ understood that the title “Son of God” meant that the Son of God is God and that was sufficient evidence, in their minds, to kill Him.
John 5:18 reads, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God”. The Jews tried to kill Him “because He was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God”.
The Greek word translated “equal” is “isos” As we look at each and every occurrence of that Greek word I believe the reader will agree that it means “the same”. The Greek word is used eight times. Let us first consider the times that it is translated “equal”.
Matt. 20:12, “…These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us…”. This comes in the context of one of the parables of Jesus Christ. The parable tells of each man having received the same amount of payment though they worked a different number of hours. Each man received a penny (vs. 10). Because each man received the same amount, we must understand “isos” in this context, at least, to mean “the same”.
We will come back to Jn. 5:18.
Phil. 2:6, “thought it not robbery to be equal with God”. Please see the discussion of this verse below.
Rev. 21:16, “…and the length is as large as the breadth……The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal“. Given that we are told that the length and height are “as large”, I believe we must conclude that here too, “isos” means that they are the same.
Now let us consider the verses in which the word is not translated”equal”.
Mark 14:56, “For many bare false witness against Him, but their witness agreed not together”. Here the word is translated “agreed”. What is this verse telling us? It is telling us that the witnesses’ accounts were not the same. Again, “isos” is used to mean “the same”.
Mark 14:59 is the same use as in verse 56.
Luke 6:34, “And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thanks have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again”. Here the word is translated “as much”. In other words sinners want the same amount in payment as they lent out.
Acts 11:17, “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He gave unto us….”. The “like gift” was the gift from the Holy Spirit. In point of fact, it was the same gift.
Now let us consider once again Jn. 5:18. The Jews tried to kill Christ “because He was calling God His own Father, making Himself “equal with God”. Actually, if we are to be consistent in our understanding of “isos” the Jews understood Christ to say that He was the same as God, and that is why they tried to kill Him.
John 19:7, “The Jews answered him, (Pilate) ‘We have a law, and by our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God”. The Jews understood full well that His title “Son of God” meant that He was God, and that’s why they tried to kill Him in John 5, and the reason they gave in John 19 for wanting to crucify Him. We may conclude therefore, that first century Jews understood the title “Son of God to mean that Christ is God.
John 10:31-33 reads, “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of these works do you stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone ye not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God”. Again, we learn from this verse that when Christ told them that God was His Father they took up stones against Him because they understood Him (correctly) to say that He is God.
Acts 9:20, “And straightway he (Paul) preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God”. If this title did not mean that Christ was God, what then would be the importance of Paul teaching that He was the Son of God? It is clear that in this context, “Son of God” means that Christ is God.*
NEW TESTAMENT QUOTES OF PS. 110:1
Psalm 110:1 reads in the KJV, “The Lord (Jehovah) said unto my Lord, ‘Sit Thou at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool”. Let me begin by saying that the phrase “My right hand” is not to be interpreted literally, but figuratively. “At my right hand” is a phrase often used in the Bible to express a position of power, authority and favor. That is proved in the paper on this web-site Sit Thou At My Right Hand.
Ps. 110:1 is quoted in the New Testament seven times. By studying all seven occurrences we will learn a great deal of what this verse has to say about Who Christ is. We will see that this verse is quoted several times by our Lord Himself to prove that Messiah is the Son of God. But it is just as true that Messiah was the Son of man. Both are equally true, and neither truth detracts from the other.
The first time Ps. 110:1 is quoted in the New Testament is in the context of Matthew 22:41-44. In verse 41 we learn that Pharisees were gathered together and Jesus asked them, “What think ye of Christ, Whose Son is He”? And the Pharisees answered, “The Son of David” (verse 42). And our Lord’s answer is significant, “He said unto them, ‘How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool’. If David then called Him Lord, how is He his Son?”
The point Christ was making to these Pharisees was that David refers to the coming Messiah as “Lord” and this proves that the Messiah was going to be much more than only man. (Some believe that the Hebrew word “adoni“translated “Lord” in the phrase “said unto my Lord” is never used of God and therefore proves, in their minds, that Christ is not God since He is referred to in this verse as “adoni”. The paper on “Adoni” will prove from Scripture that the word is indeed used of God). Who could David, the King of Israel have possibly called Lord other than God Himself? No one. Therefore, the lesson of this discourse is that the Messiah, Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Going now to the second time Psalm 110:1 is quoted in the New Testament, we find it in Mark 12:36. Once again Christ asked, this time of the common people, “How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? For David Himself said by the Holy Ghost, ‘The Lord said unto My lord, sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. David therefore, himself calleth Him Lord; and whence is He then his son?” (verses 35-37). This is the same point made in the same way as we read in Matthew 22. That point being that David would not have called his own son “Lord” unless He were God.
Luke 20:41-42 is the third time Ps. 110:1 is quoted and it is quoted to prove the same point as was Matthew 22 and Mark 12. That David would not have called his own son “Lord” unless He was God.
Acts 2:34-35 is the fourth occurrence of the quote and shines a different light on the quote. In this context Peter is making the point stated in verse 30, “Therefore being a prophet (referring to David) and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on His throne”. As mentioned above, Christ is the Son of man and the Son of God. One truth does not negate the other. In this context, Peter is pointing to Christ as the Son of man. So when Peter, in verse 34 quotes Ps. 110:1 it is to show that Christ fulfilled the prophecy given to David, that “the fruit of his loins” will fulfill the prophecy of Ps. 110:1. To suggest that this proves that Christ is the Son of man is true, but we must also consider the other references to this Psalm which were quoted above to prove that Christ is the Son of God. Both are true, neither cancels out the other.
The fifth time Ps. 110:1 is quoted is in I Cor. 15:25. Because it does not shed any light on our study we will not dwell on it. I will however comment on verse 28 as that has sometimes been used to try to prove that Christ is not God. “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”. Some believe that the fact that “the Son” will be subject to “Him” proves that Christ is not God. In the paper on this web-site The Trinity: Is God Three Persons In One? I give my reason for believing that “the Son” in this verse refers to one of the titles of God. It is the office of Son that will be subject to God, Who is Christ.
Going now to the sixth quote of Psalm 110:1 which is found in Heb. 1:13. Let us examine this chapter so that we may put the quote in its context. Note verse 4, “Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they”. Note that it was not something He did that gave Him a “more excellent name” than the angels, it was “by inheritance”. In other words, it was because Who He is, not by what He had done that gave Him that more excellent name. Who is “more excellent” than the angels “by inheritance” if not God? The point of this entire chapter is found in verse 3, “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person….”. Man could never be the “express image of His person”. This can be said only of Christ as the Son of God. Therefore, we may conclude that once again this quote is being used to prove that Christ is God.
The last time the Psalm is quoted in the New Testament is in Heb. 10:13. Here the point is that Christ as priest offered Himself once a sacrifice for sin. This is in contrast to every other priest who because of their own human sin nature could not really satisfy the requirements of God as to making a righteous sacrifice. As in Act 2, the Psalm is quoted to show that Christ is the Son of man. But as is true of Acts 2, this does not cancel out the other truths we have learned in the quotes of the Psalm in the New Testament, i.e. Christ is fully man and fully God.
Let us return to the Psalm in the Old Testament. Does it refer to Christ as God as in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Hebrews one or does it refer to Christ as man as in Acts two and Hebrews ten? I believe that because this verse is used to prove that Christ is the Son of man and also that He is the Son of God, that we have in this verse the use of the figure of speech “double meaning”. That figure of speech is defined in the Companion Bible as, “A word or phrase susceptible of two interpretations, both absolutely true“. In other words, we may understand Ps. 110:1 to say that the Messiah will be fully man and fully God. *
Other Scriptures Which Prove That Christ is God
Matthew 1:23, “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
In point of fact, there is no record of anyone calling Jesus “Emmanuel”. I believe there is an important lesson to be learned from that. It is important to understand that “name” is sometimes used as a figure of speech metonymy of adjunct, which is defined in the Companion Bible as, “When something pertaining to the subject is put for the subject itself”. In this verse the term “name” is used as that which pertains to Jesus, Who is the subject. It is used as a figure of speech for Who Christ is, Emmanuel, i.e. God with us.
John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. The Greek word translated “was” in the phrase “in the beginning was the Word” is “en”. I am indebted to Sam Shamoun for his article on the deity of Christ. He wrote, “en is the imperfect tense of the verb eimi and denotes continuous existence or action in the past. And, “how continuous depends on the context”. The context is about “the Word”. The “Word” is, of course, Christ. Logic and the imperfect tense tells us that Christ, is eternal, i.e. His existence was “continuous”. Only God exists continually. Therefore, Christ, i.e. “the Word”, is God.
Some would object that the last phrase in this verse, i.e. “the Word was God” is misleading because there is no definite article before “theos“, translated “God”. One person of that opinion wrote, “Since the definite article is missing from the second occurrence of “theos” (“God,”) the usual meaning would be “god” or “divine” but when one of them is without the article, it becomes more an adjective than a noun, and describes rather the class or sphere to which the other belongs”.
This idea that the absence of the definite article proves that the second “theos” is not God is just not true. It is one of those things that seems to be passed down from one “scholar” to the next and appears so often that it is taken for fact. Let us, as true Bereans, look at just a few of those occurrences where “theos” is used of God where the Greek does not have the definite article.
Matt. 6:24, “……you cannot serve God and mammon”. There is no article in the Greek before “theos”. Obviously, it is indeed God that one cannot serve along with mammon.
Jn. 1:18 reads, “No man hath seen God at any time….”. There is no definite article in the Greek before “theos”. Obviously, it is indeed God that no man hath seen.
Acts 5:29 reads, “Then Peter…..said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men”. Again, there is not definite article in the Greek before “theos”. Obviously, Peter was saying that they must serve God rather than men.
In short, the Bible does not support the idea that because there is no definite article in the Greek before “theos” in the phrase ” and the Word was God” that the Word was not God.
Is. 48:16 quoted above, also speaks of Christ when time began. That verse reads, “Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was there am I: and now Adonai Jehovah, and His spirit, hath sent me”.
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”
We read in Gen. 1:1 that “In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth”. Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ fulfilled the office of “Elohim”? There is. We read in Zech. 14:4, “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives….”. Verse 5, “And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains….And Jehovah my Elohim shall come and all the saints with Thee”. These verses have to do with the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In short, Jesus Christ is “Elohim”. If Elohim is God and Christ is Elohim, Christ is God.
But the Greek preposition translated “by” in the phrase, “the world was made by Him” is “dia” and bears consideration.
“Dia” is defined in the Companion Bible as, “denotes any cause by means of which an action passes to its accomplishment”. Let us consider a few examples of how the Holy Spirit used this word.
We read in Matt. 1:22, “Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by (Gr. “dia“) the prophet”. We learn from this verse that the prophecy was given by the Lord through (Gr.“dia”) the prophet. Let us consider also Acts 3:18, “But those things which God before had shewed by (Gr. “dia” through) the mouth of all His prophets….”). Obviously “dia” is used in the same sense as it is used in Matt. 1:22.
So Jn. 1:10 tells us that the world was made through Christ. That means that just as prophecy was given by God, Who used the prophets as instruments to bring His message, so too God created all things and used Christ as an Instrument so to speak, to accomplish those acts of creation. But let us not, as too many do, stop there, because there is a great deal more to learn about Who created.
Let us try to pull this together:
John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, Which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him”. * The word translated “declared” means “revealed”. If Christ were not God He could not have revealed God.
However, there is reason to believe that the many texts which read “the only begotten God” are correct. That is to say, there is good reason to believe that this phrase should read, “the only begotten God, Which is in the bosom of the Father”.
Many would argue that because Jesus was a “begotten God”, He was not eternal, i.e. that He had a beginning, He was therefore “ a lesser god”. Let us consider that argument.
“The only begotten God” refers to Christ. Which tells us that Christ is God. That is to say, one verse tells us that Christ is the only begotten Son and another tells us that He is the only begotten God. So logic dictates that He is the Son Who is God. But, again, some would suggest that He is a lesser god because He, unlike Jehovah Who is eternal, had a beginning.
As we consider Jn. 1:1, I believe it will be clear that Christ was not a “lesser god”. “In the beginning was the Word”. The “Word” of course is Christ. I would like to quote a note from Dr. E. W. Bullinger. “Greek ‘logos’. As the spoken word reveals the invisible thought, so the Living Word revealed the living God”. In other words, in the beginning of time Jehovah/Christ, Who is spirit took on a visible form so that He might reveal the invisible God.
Now, let’s consider if this makes the Living Word a lesser god. Jn. 1:1 continues, “And the Word was God”. The translation “a god” has been discussed in the section on Jn, 1:1 and proved there that the absence of a definite article before “Theos”, i.e. “God” does not mean that it should be translated “a god”. So when Christ became the only begotten God, He became the Word, which, we learn in Jn. 1:1, was God. To say that He was a lesser God when this happened is not supported in Scripture. Let me put this in other terms for clarity.
Christ, Who is Jehovah as spirit, is eternal. But “In the beginning” i.e. when time began, Christ took on the form of man, i.e. He became the manifestation of God, i.e. the Word. When Christ became the Word, it could be said that He became “the only begotten God”.
JOHN 2:19 AND 21
We read in Jn. 2:19, “Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up”. Then in verse 21 we read, “But He spake of the Temple of His body”.
We read many times that Christ was raised by the Father, and in the verse quoted above, we read that Christ will raise up His body (“I will raise it up”). There are no contradictions in the Word of God. How should we understand this statement? Once we see that Christ fufills all the offices of Jehovah, including “everlasting Father” (see Is.9:6) we understand this verse. (Please see the paper on this web-site The Trinity: Is God Thee Persons In One? for the Scriptural evidence of this statement).
But what is important in the context of our present study (can Christ be both God and man) is that Christ tells these Jews that He will raise Himself up, and because we read so many times that the Father raised up Jesus, our Lord leaves no doubt that He does indeed fulfill the office of Father as well as Son. No one doubts that the Father is God, and because Jesus Christ fulfills the office of Father, we must conclude that Jesus Christ is God.
JOHN 3:13 AND JOHN 6:62
John 3:13, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven-the Son of man”. Here our Lord refers to Himself as “the Son of man”. But the fact that no one had been in heaven but God, and Christ came from heaven, proves that Jesus Christ is God.
Jn. 6:62 reads, “…and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before”. We have a clear statement from Christ Himself that He had been in heaven before He came to earth. This separates Him from being only man, because this can be true of God alone.
John 8:58-59 reads, “Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am’. Then they took up stones to cast at Him…”. What did Christ mean by the phrase, “Before Abraham was”? I believe the most obvious reading is that He was saying that He lived before Abraham. A mere man could not have lived before Abraham and still speak to the men of His time. The Jews understood Christ to say that He was no mere man, He was God and that is why they took up stones against Him.
We read in Jn. 19:30, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’; and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost”. This is part of the record of the death of Jesus Christ. How does this help to prove His deity? For the answer to that question we must consider the word “ghost”.
“Ghost” is a translation of the Greek word “pnuema”. Let us consider Luke 4:18, “The spirit of the Lord is upon Me….”. The Greek word translated “spirit” in this verse is “pneuma”. Now let us consider the Old Testament verse from which Luke 4:18 was quoted. That verse is Is. 11:2 which reads, ”The spirit of the Lord is upon Me….”. The Hebrew word translated “spirit” in this verse is “ruach”. In short, we may learn from these two verses that the Hebrew “ruach” means the same as the Greek “pnuema”.
The Hebrew word “ruach” and the Greek word “pneuma” are used in several ways. They are used, for example, in the title “Holy Spirit”, they are used of God, Who is spirit. And they are used of the breath of life. The context will always tell us how we are to understand the word. Let us consider the use of “ruach” and “pneuma” as the breath of life.
Gen. 6:17 and 7:15, “And behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath (“ruach”) of life from under heaven….”. Gen. 7:22, “All in whose nostrils was the breath (“ruach”) of life ….died”.
Let us come back then to Luke 4:18 where we read that Christ gave up the “ghost” (Gr. pneuma, the same word translated “spirit”). I believe it is quite clear that in this context, “pneuma” is used of the breath of life. Now let us consider Ecc. 8:8, “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit: neither hath he power in the day of death… .”. Here too it is obvious from the fact that this verse speaks of the “day of death” that the “spirit” should be understood as the breath of life. (It is true, of course that there are suicides, so man may kill himself, but not by giving up the breath of life, which Solomon wrote no man can do).
We read in Ecc. 8 that no man has the power to give up the spirit, and we read that Christ did exactly that, He gave up the spirit, i.e. the breath of life. If no man can do what Christ did, it is clear that Christ is also God.
In John 20:27-28 we read of Thomas’ acceptance of Who Christ is. And what he says after coming to that realization is important. “And Thomas answered and said unto Him, ‘My Lord and my God’“. Surely, if Christ were not God He would have corrected Thomas . But there is no such correction because Christ is indeed God.
Phil 2:5-8 reads, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal (Gr. “isos“, “the same as”) with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”.
What is the point of this passage? We read of “selfish ambition” (1:15; 2:3) and “vain conceit” (2:3), arguing and lack of consideration for others, (2:4 and 14) and a need for humility, purity and blamelessness (2:3 and 15). The point concerns Christ not grasping at the honor due Him as God, but instead taking upon Himself the office of a servant. Paul was telling these Philippians that they should be like Christ in that just as He did not grasp the honor due Him, but instead humbled Himself to servanthood, so too they should do the same, i.e. humble themselves.
Let us continue with this passage and focus on the contrast in it. That is to say, Paul wrote, “but made Himself…”. So there is a contrast between the phrase before and the phrase after the “but”. The phrase before is, ” thought it not robbery to be equal (Gr. “isos“, “the same as”) with God” but made Himself ….a servant and in the likeness of men”. The contrast is between what Christ was before and after He began His earthly ministry. After He began that ministry He was a servant and a man. What is the contrast with the time before His earthly ministry? He “thought it not robbery to be the same as God”. Let us put that in the positive for clarity. If Christ had thought of Himself as the same as God it would not have been robbery. In other words, He would have been justified in thinking of Himself as the same as God. Further, if the contrast after He began His earthly ministry was that He was a man, He must have been something other than a man before His earthly ministry or there would be no contrast. What else could Christ have been before His earthly ministry if not God?
“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”. We learn from the note on that word in the Companion Bible 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. If Christ is not God, He could not sum up or head up all things in the dispensation of the fulness of times.
“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 of that statement). 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 teach entirely 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, i.e. He 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.
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, the fulness 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 are complete 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, i.e. ellipsis so that we may understand this verse to say, “the church which is His body, the fullness of His plans, Who filleth all in all”. 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.
We read in Titus 2:13 as clear a statement of the deity of Christ as one can hope to find. That verse reads, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. The Greek word translated “and” in the phrase, “appearing of the great God and our Saviour” is “kai” and is often translated “even”. It should have, in my opinion been translated “even” in this verse as well. That opinion is based on the fact that whenever the Bible speaks of “looking for the blessed hope” and of the “glorious appearing” it is always used in reference to Christ. In other words, this verse should read, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God even our Saviour Jesus Christ”.
Yes, there are some who would argue with the translation of the KJV. But when taken along with all the other scriptures that prove the deity of Christ, there is no reason to object to the KJV.
In Hebrews 1:3, the writer says of the Son (verse 2) “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person……”. Dr. Bullinger’s note on the phrase “express image” is helpful. He wrote, “The word means the exact impression as when a metal is pressed into a die, or as a seal upon wax”. Again, if Christ were not God, He could not be the exact impression of God.
Titles of Jehovah Ascribed To Christ
In the paper on this web-site Jesus Christ Is Both Jehovah and The Manifestation of Jehovah I have given many of the titles of Jehovah ascribed to Christ. In my opinion, this goes a long way towards proving that Christ is Jehovah. Some however, object to that reasoning and have said that these titles do not mean that Christ is Jehovah, but only that Christ is doing the Father’s will in fulfilling those titles. Let us look at just two of these titles to see if that objection is valid.
Hosea 13:4, “Yet I am Jehovah thy Elohim….There is no Savior beside Me“. Note Jehovah says, “There is no Savior beside Me”. If Jehovah had sent His Son to be the savior of the world in His stead, He could not have said that there was no savior beside Him. So Jehovah did not relinquish the office of savior by sending His Son. Jehovah became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Job 19:25, “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth”. Note that Job knew that his Redeemer would stand on the earth. That points us to Christ. We know that Jehovah is our Redeemer from these passages and more.
Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth…be acceptable O Jehovah, my strength and my Redeemer”. Is. 41:14, “Jehovah and my Redeemer”. Is. 43:14, “…..I will help thee saith Jehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel…”. We can not say that Christ was only sent to be the Redeemer, because Jehovah is our Redeemer and Jehovah will stand upon the earth. We must conclude therefore, that Christ, who will stand upon the earth is Jehovah our Redeemer. Jehovah is God, Christ is Jehovah in the flesh, Christ is God.*
Our question is; can Christ be both God and Man? There is no doubt in any believer’s mind that Christ was the Son of man. He was fully man, that is proven in any number of ways in the New Testament.
I have tried to show that Christ is/was fully God. He was the Messiah who was prophesied as being God.
He was the Son of God, a title, which when used of Christ, was used in reference to His deity.
There are several passages that show that He was God during His earthly ministry including some in which He Himself claims His deity.
I have quoted passages which ascribe to Christ the titles of Jehovah.
In short, Scripture is clear that Christ is man and Scripture is equally clear that He is God. Therefore, where Scripture is clear we have no choice but to accept it regardless of whether it fits human reason.
*The bold type in the quoted passages were added.
I would like to hear your thoughts. Please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org