Four Proofs of the Deity of Christ
The Deity of Christ, bing the subject matter, will be investigated using the Bible as the only source of information. The information garnered for this study is not exhaustive and the texts to be considered are woven together around four strands, viz: The Messiah’s Divinity (from the Old Testament), Individuals’ Testimony, The Apostolic Testimony, and Jesus’ Statements. In the next few paragraphs, I will briefly look into these strands one after the other.
1. The Messiah’s Divinity
In the Old Testament, there is a promised figure known as the Messiah, meaning Anointed, from the Hebrew verb masah, “to anoint”. Also referred to as the “son of man”, the Messiah originates from heaven and is to be served by all nations (Dan. 7:13). His “going forth” is from eternity (Mic. 5:2). The Messiah prophesied is to be honoured by all the kings and rulers of the earth otherwise they will perish through his anger (Ps. 2:6-12). Yahweh said that the Messiah who is the shepherd ofHis flock is His “Associate, Fellow, or Relation” (Zech. 13:7).
The Messiah is referred to as Elohim (Ps. 45:6-7) and David referred to him as “my adon” (Ps. 110:1; Matt. 22:44). Isaiah referred to the Messiah “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6), the same name He calls Yahweh (10:21). The Messiah, in Jeremiah 23:6, is referred to as Yahweh Tsidkenu. In Malachi 3:1, Yahweh said He himself is coming as the adon they are expecting. He further promised to send His messenger ahead of Him and that is John the Baptist who went ahead of Jesus. If Jesus is the Messiah and the Messiah is Yahweh, then Jesus is Yahweh!
2. Testimony by Others
When Mary visited her Aunt Elizabeth, the latter called Mary “the mother of my Lord” (Lk. 1:43). Elizabeth cannot be calling Jesus “Lord” as a means of respect (“sir”) or as a superior (“master”). The Lordship of Jesus over Elizabeth is thus the matter of divinity. The Angels who announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds said that Jesus is the Messiah the Lord (Lk. 2:11). “Lord” here, like in Elizabeth, is used in the absolute sense: the “Lord”, Yahweh! And, John the Baptist said he prepares the way of Yahweh, our God (Jn. 1:23).
3. The Apostolic Testimony
The Apostles who lived and walked with Jesus also had their testimonies about Him. Thomas ended up calling Him “the God of me and the Lord of me” after the post-Resurrection encounter despite his initial doubt (Jn. 20:28). It was not an exclamation; it was a reference to Jesus and Jesus did not rebuke Him. Rather, Jesus affirmed that Thomas’ belief is right about Him and those who share the same belief without seeing Him are blessed. John regarded this response as the dramatic climax of his Gospel. He asserted that he wrote all these so that his readers may also come to believe or keep on believing, as the case may be, that Jesus is the divine Messiah, the Son of God (v. 31).
John quoted Isaiah’s word (Isa. 6:10) and immediately added that Isaiah pronounced those words when he saw Christ’s glory (Jn. 12: 40-41). It is well-known that it was Yahweh that Isaiah saw (Isa. 6:1) but John said it was Jesus that Isaiah saw. The implication, thus, is that John equates the Messiah with Yahweh! Zechariah 12:10 has Yahweh as the one who is pierced and upon whom the house of David will look for salvation but John readily applied this to Jesus’ crucifixion (Jn. 19:35). Invariably, the pierced Yahweh is the crucified Jesus!
In 1 John 5:20, Jesus is described as the only true God in the same way as the Father (Jn. 17:3). Revelations 3:7 further established Jesus the true one as seen in 1 John 5:20. Jesus, the Lamb, and God, the Father, were equally worshipped in the vision of Revelations 5:13. This buttresses Jesus’ claim in John 5:22-23. In fact, salvation is said to belong to God and the Lamb (Rev. 7:10). No mere creature can share these same attributes with God. No wonder, Peter declared Jesus Christ as our God and saviour (2 Pet. 1:2).
4. Jesus’ Statements
In the OT, only God comes on the clouds (Ps. 104:3; Isa. 19:1). Jesus said He, the son of man, will come on the clouds (cf. Dan. 7:13) and, understandably, the high priest accused Jesus of blasphemy, ascribing divine prerogatives to himself (Matt. 26:64f.). Before this time, Jesus had set his authority on almost equal terms with, if not greater than, the OT laws (Matt. 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44). In fact, He prefaced His claims with “But I say unto you” which is an amazing claim to authority greater than Moses and his interpreters. He spoke as God!
Jesus claimed the prerogative to forgive sins (Matt. 9:1-7; Mk. 2:5-7; Lk. 5:17-26; 7:36-50). This prerogative belongs to God alone but Jesus claims it for Himself and even proved it. When people fell at Jesus’ feet to honour Him, He never objected or rejected it (Matt. 28:17). Peter (Acts 10:25-26) and an unnamed angel (Rev. 19:10) both rejected such honour. In another instance, Jesus said that ALL that the Father has is His (Jn. 16:15). When Jesus said ALL, it is certain He didn’t leave anything out!
- Written by Anthony Opeyemi Ibn Fawole, who is a theologian and missionary.
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