Donald Hochner and Richard Anthony
This title of this article is the most important question you'll read concerning Jesus and his identity. I think this is the foundation of all biblical doctrines and our salvation. We cannot take it for granted, no matter where we coming from or what church we attend.
I do not think we need to be a "rocket scientist" or be an "academic theologian" to figure out who Jesus Christ is. If we let the Bible speak for itself, which God (or Yahweh) has communicated to us, even a little child should able to understand. If we humble ourselves and seek Him with all of our hearts, we may find the Truth.
I have been studying many things concerning church traditions and cults. They have some truth in them but I am not a part of any of those groups. You don't have to agree with everything that I believe, but that won't take away my happiness in sharing my beliefs with you. What you believe is between you and your God. I have my convictions and you have yours. I'm convinced that the doctrine of the trinity is not what the Bible teaches and so I believe it to be false.
There is no prophecy that requires Jesus to be "God," nor does his messianic salvation work of atonement require that he be God. Divine titles are given to Jesus because of His exaltation, just like Moses and angels and others are given Divine titles (like "God," "gods") in the Old Testament.
Many people believe that Jesus is equal in nature with our Father in Heaven. Daniel 11:36 says our Father in Heaven is "the God of gods." Exodus 15:11 raises the question, "Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?" Jesus was called "God," but does that mean Jesus was equal to the Creator Himself? Did not God himself know that men would one day make this claim, that there is one from among men who is equal to God? Did not our Father himself raise the question for negation in Isaiah 40:25, "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One" and in Isaiah 46:5, "To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?" And just so there is no misunderstanding, he included his own Son in the question at Psalms 89:6, "For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?"
Please be sure that when you read it you do so prayerfully, trying to understand what this means for you. We don't need theologians to explain them these things to us. Theologians may be helpful but the Bible has the answer for us to discover. We are His creatures, which the Lord God created to worship Him in spirit and truth.
Important to know about Christ, whose Son is He?
First of all, let us read into the passage in Matthew:
Matthew 22:41-46, "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions."
Notice in verse 44, the words "Lord" and "lord." They are the same Greek word. You might wonder what is the difference? Obviously, Jesus was quoting from Psalm 110:1. Quoting from "The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound,"
"Such a theory involves a misuse of the Hebrew language, which can be cleared up. The two words for "lord" in the sentence "the 'Lord' said to my 'lord'" are significantly different. The first "Lord" is Yahweh. It is quite true that Old Testament texts containing this word are sometimes in the New Testament transferred to Jesus when he functions as an agent for Yahweh (just as the angel of the Lord who exercises the authority of Yahweh is sometimes equated with Yahweh). In Psalm 110:1, however, there is no question that the first Lord mentioned (Yahweh) refers to God, the Father, the one God of Israel (as it does in thousands of texts). The second word for "lord" (here, "my lord") is adoni, meaning, according to all standard Hebrew lexicons, "lord," "master," or "owner," and it refers here to the Messiah. If David had expected the Messiah to be God, the word used would not have been adoni, but adonai, a term used exclusively for the one God.
"There is an enormous difference between adoni, "my master," and adonai, the supreme God. The title adoni ("my lord") is, in fact, never applied in the Old Testament to the one God. In its 169 occurrences it refers only to superiors (mostly men and occasionally angels) other than God. This important fact tells us that the Hebrew Scriptures expected Messiah to be not God, but the descendent of David, whom David properly recognized would also be his lord."
I would like us to look in the Gospel of John because most would say that this Gospel teaches a lot about Jesus as "God the Son", or Jesus as being equal to God (or Yahweh). While you're reading it, ask yourselves if a little child could understand it or would we have to ask a theologian to explain it?
In the Beginning…?
I was taught that John 1:1 was in reference to Genesis 1:1. Until recently, I believed it did, but I now believe it was not so. I believe that Apostle John was referring to the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and you can compare with the other writings of John, for example, 1 John 1:1.
1 John 1:1-3, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
Also compare the above with other passages:
Mark 1:1, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;"
Luke 1:2, "Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;"
Acts 1:21-22, "Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection."
Notice that John 1, Mark 1, Acts 1, and 1 John 1 are talking about the disciples' witness of John the Baptist, the beginning of Jesus' ministry and preaching about the kingdom of God being at hand.
People see "in the beginning" and they think that it must refer to Genesis 1:1 because of the "light" and "darkness" and "all things" language in the subsequent verses. However, I think the whole passage should be understood to be comparing the "new covenant" that Jesus "created" when he appeared and fulfilled the scripture. The "creation" language is just an allusion to Genesis because Jesus is the creator of the "new heavens and new earth."
It's no different than the New Testament calling Jesus the "lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world." The point is not that Jesus "pre-existed" as an animal (a "lamb"), but that his death was analogous to the atoning sacrifice in the Old Testament. Jesus is the "creator" of the "new heavens and new earth" in an analogous sense to the way God the Father originally "created" the "universe" in Genesis 1. The "beginning" of Jesus "creating" was when he was baptized and began to announce "the kingdom of God is at hand." This is where all the Gospels begin his ministry.
Christ is the Son of God, not God the Son
In the New Testament, it is very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God and no where does it teach that He is "God the Son." This was an invention of men some time after the third century. Jesus is the image of God, just like Adam was before he fell into transgression:
Genesis 1:26, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
Adam was not God, was he? Of course not. But Adam was the image of God. When somebody is an "image" of someone else, thet are NOT that someone else, they are only the likeness of that someone else. The very meaning of the word "image" dismisses any possiblility of that image being the one it is meant to represent!
When there is an image of someone or something, that image is similar to the one it represents, but that image cannot be the thing it represents. For example, we are to conform ourselves to the "image" of Jesus Christ, but when we do so, we are NOT Jesus Christ himself...we cannot go around telling others we are Jesus, the Messiah. We are only an "image" of him, which means something similar in some way. Another example is a photographic "image" of a house. That "image" only represents the likeness of the house, but to claim that image itself is the house would be totally innacurate.
Therefore, no "image" can possibly be the same, exact thing it represents. Can you picture Jesus Christ going around saying, "I am an image of Jesus Christ"? Of course not. Why? Because he would be telling others that he was NOT Jesus Christ, but only an "image" of him. Jesus Christ IS Jesus Christ, he is not an "image" of Jesus Christ, but he is the real thing.
Now, with this truth in mind, let us look at these two passages:
Colossians 1:13,15, "...his dear Son:...Who is the image of the invisible God..."
2 Corinthians 4:4, "...lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Notice it says that Jesus is the "image" of God. This word "image" dismisses any possibility of Jesus actually being the same, exact entity that he is an image of. Obviously, Jesus is not God, nor the Creator, but He has pre-eminence of all things. In the Book of Hebrews it is even clearer:
Hebrews 1:1-3, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"
Nowhere does the writer of Hebrews mention that Jesus Himself is God. He says that God spoke in his Son, unlike the way He had spoken to the Old Testament fathers or prophets.
Interestingly, Luke, when writing the genealogy of Mary, says that Adam was called "the son of God" when God created him in the beginning (Luke 3:38). Obviously Adam was just a man, taken from the ground, and he did not have a natural father.
Therefore, Jesus was a man when God begat Him through the Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit and called Him the Son of God. There is a distinction between the Father and the Son. They are not "two or three persons in one." Trinitarians believe that the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, but at the same time Jesus is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit. This is full of contradictions. It is not a mystery: it is an error.
John 1:34, "And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."
John 1:49, "Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."
John 20:31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
Christ is the only begotten Son of God
Matthew 1:16, "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
Matthew 1:20, "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
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."
The Bible made it very clear that Jesus is God's Son, because he has been "conceived." In other words, Jesus began to exist on the day He was "born." Like all sons, his Father precedes him. Mary is to be the mother, but Joseph is not to be the father. The child was conceived by the power of the Highest and called the Son of God. This is biblical teaching. Let's continue to read in the Gospel of John:
John 1:13-14, "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth."
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."
John 3:16-18, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 18:37, "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."
Christ was sent by God the Father
In many passages in the Old and New Testaments, it is said that God sent the prophets, the angels, the apostles, and others. God Himself is the Sender, not the sent one. It doesn't make any sense if God Himself is the Sender and at the same time the sent one. This is illogical.
God sent Moses
Exodus 3:12-15, "And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations."
God sent His angel
Luke 1:19, "And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings."
God sent John the Baptist
John 1:6, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."
God sent Jesus
God sent His only begotten Son in the world, by the power of the Holy Spirit, just like all the others He sent. Therefore, Jesus Himself cannot be "Very God" or co-equal with His Father from eternity. Read the what follows in the Gospel of John:
John 3:34-35, "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."
John 5:17-24, "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 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. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
John 5:36-38, "But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not."
John 7:16, "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."
John 7:28-29, "Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me."
John 8:26-30, "I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him."
John 8:40, "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham."
John 8:42, "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." John 10:17-18, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." John 11:41-42, "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me."
John 14:1, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."
John 14:10, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
John 14:20, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
John 14:28, "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."
John 17:1-4, "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."
John 17:18, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."
John 17:21-23, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
John 20:17, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
The epistles always refer to God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that in the Old Testament, the people of Israel called God "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob."
Romans 15:6, "That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 1:3, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;"
Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"
1 Peter 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"
To be Bible believers, we must therefore believe that Jesus was truly the Son of God, with no physical father whatsoever.
Christ never considering Himself as equal with God
Revelation 1:1, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him (Jesus), to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:"
Revelation 1:6, "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Revelation 3:12, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
Revelation 3:5, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
Compare Revelation 3:5 with::
1 Timothy 5:21, "I charge thee before God (#1), and the Lord Jesus Christ (#2), and the elect angels (#3), that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality."
But what about Phillipians 2:6, which states that Christ did not consider it robbery to be equal with God?
Philippians 2:6, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:"
This verse does not mean that Jesus was the Father. Jesus repeatedly said that he was the "Son" of the Father. And by Jesus being the Son of the Father, that automatically made him equal with the Father, just as a son born of any father on earth makes him equal with his father, according to God's Law, which is why the son is called heir of the father.
John 5:18, "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."
When a son is equal with the father, it does not mean he is the father. Likewise, just because Jesus was equal to the Father because he was His Son, it does not mean he was the Father.
But isn't Christ called 'God'?
Yes, Christ is called "God" in some passages (Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1,14,18; 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:16, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8), but God's servants are called "God" throughout scripture. The word "God" in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew Word "Elohiym," and is attributed to the Creator most of the time this word is used, but not always.
The Hebrew term that is used throughout the Old Testament for "god(s)" is "Elohiym." The New Testament Greek term is "theos." In John 10:34-38, Jesus himself refers to the text of Psalm 82:6 and applies these words to the "Jews" (Pharisees) who were trying to "stone" him for supposedly making a claim to "deity." Of course, Jesus used this passage to show the Pharisees that using the word "God" to describe himself (as "Son of God") is no more a claim to "equality" with God than when the Psalmist uses "Gods" to identify these "leaders of Israel" in the Old Testament . In other words, Jesus was saying "how can you stone me for calling myself the 'Son of God' when the Old Testament uses the term "God" to describe other "men" who are sent by the Father, just like me and you." This just shows that the word "God" is used in different senses and not exclusively for "Yahweh."
For example, the Old Testament judges were called "gods" (Psalm 82:6, John 10:34-36) because they were appointed and commissioned to act as God's agents in ruling and administering justice in his stead among men. In 1 Samuel 2:25, "If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him," the word "judge" here is translated from Elohiym. The word "judges" in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9 is also translated from Elohiym. God even made Moses a "god" (Exodus 7:1). And to reject a prophet of God is the same as rejecting God himself (1 Samuel 8:7).
"Angels" are called "God" many times in scripture as well. The word "angels" in Psalm 8:5 is translated from Elohiym.
Acts 23:9, "...but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God." To fight against an angel is like fighting against God, because he is God's minister.
When Phillip was directed to baptize an eunuch in Acts 8, the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip (verse 26), this angel is described as the Spirit (verse 29) and the Spirit of the Lord (verse 39).
In Exodus 2, when Moses climbed up Mount Horeb, verse 2 says the angel of the LORD appeared in a burning bush. This same angel is described in verse 4 as the LORD and as God. And in verse 6, this same angel is described as "the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Acts 7:30-32,35,38 confirms that this angel is called "God."
The angel of the Lord, who spoke to Jacob in Genesis 31:11, revealed himself as God in verse 13. Then, in the next chapter, after Jacob wrestled with this angel (Genesis 32:24-25), he asked the angel to bless him (verse 26). Then Jacob asked this angel for his name (verse 29), and Jacob said, "...I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (Genesis 32:30), yet is was only God's angel.
In Genesis 18, three men appeared before Abraham. These were actually three angels. Abraham called one of them "Lord" throughout this chapter. You will see two of these angels were sent to Sodom and Gomorrah, and they saved Lot and his daughters from the destruction of these sites. But in Genesis 18, you will see where Abraham talks with God about Sodom and Gomorrah, but it is actually one of these angels he is talking to.
Later, Abraham was told by God to offer his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:1-3), and just as he took the knife to his son:
Genesis 22:11, "And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven,..."
And this angel addresses himself as God (verse 12), and Abraham says he saw the Lord God himself:Genesis 22:14 (Septuagint) "And Abraam called the name of that place, The Lord hath seen; that they might say to-day, In the mount the Lord was seen."
And in the next two verses, we see that the angel of the Lord is spoken of as the Lord himself:
Genesis 22:15-16, "And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD,..."
"Angels" were the vehicles of all divine revelation before the birth of Jesus. As the scripture explicitly says "no man has seen God (the Father) at any time." This is stated emphatically even after the appearance of Jesus on Earth (John 1:18; I Timothy 6:16). Men have only "seen" God the Father in the "sense" that He is represented by "angels" and, of course, the "man" Christ Jesus.
For that matter, even Satan is called "the God" in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
Just because men and angels are called "God" in scripture, it does not mean they are the Father. It means they are appointed and commissioned by the Father to act as His agents.
To give an illustration, when an ambassador for Germany comes to America, Americans say, "Germany said this and Germany said that," even though it was not literally Germany that said this, but an ambassador for Germany. Likewise, when an ambassador for God Almighty says something, people can say "God said this and God said that," even though it was not literally God Almighty that said this, but an ambassador for Almighty God. This is the way scripture uses this term. We can worship "God the Father" in the sense that He is all in all, and all things are subject to Him (even Christ - 1 Corinthians 15:27-28). We now worship the Lord Jesus because "God has highly exalted him and given him a name above every name that every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:9-11) after he completed his obedience to the Father (on earth) and was raised from the dead.
Remember, Our Father in Heaven told Moses he would raise up a Prophet (Jesus) and would put His words in his mouth:
Deuteronomy 18:18-19, "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."As the above passage states, Our Father raised up a Prophet, and Jesus spoke the words that our Father gave him to speak. To me, this does not mean that Jesus was the Father himself. Many attributes are given to Jesus that only our Father has, I agree, but many other people have had similar attributes. Prophets in the Old Testament, for example, have raised the dead back to life...something only our Father can do. Yet, we know those Prophets were not the Father himself, but they were given this power By the Father to do His Will.
But didn't Jesus say he was the Father in John 18:5-8?
John 18:5-8, "They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am [he]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am [he]: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:"
Isn't Jesus's statement "I am" proof that he was the Father? After all, this is the same title that God said from Mount Sinai to Moses:
Exodus 3:14, "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."
Jesus was given his authority by the Father to exercise the Father's Will. For example, when Jesus spoke the words "Lazarus, come forth," and raised Lazarus from the dead, it was really the Father working through Jesus. Similarly, when Jesus spoke those words "I am," He was speaking as if he was the Father himself. You must understand the role of an ambassador.
When an ambassador, minister, servant, etc, does an act in the name of his master, it is not that servant doing the act, but his master. When an ambassador enters into treaty negotiations, and his name is "John," is it John who has that authority? Or it John just given that authority by his master? Is it not the later? Likewise, when somebody does the will of his Master, it might look like that servant is performing that act, when, in reality, it is his Master performing that act through his servant. Jesus was a servant of our Father is heaven.
Now, let me ask you a question. Since you believe Jesus is the same entity that spoke the words "I AM" from Exodus 3:14, let us first establish who spoke these words. Who spoke to Moses at the burning bush? Who spoke the words "I AM THAT I AM" to Moses? Was it the Father? Well, the answer may surprise you.
In Exodus 2, when Moses climbed up Mount Horeb, verse 2 says the angel of the LORD appeared in a burning bush. This same angel is described in verse 4 as the LORD and as God. And in verse 6, this same angel is described as "the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Acts 7:30-32,35,38 confirms that the one who spoke to Moses was an angel.
Therefore, it was not the Father who said "I AM THAT I AM," it was an angel!!! Remember, it was an angel!!! But notice, this angel was speaking with the same authority as if he was the Father himself. Because this angel was a servant, a minister, an ambassador, of the Father. And when a servant speaks for his master, it is really the master who is speaking. The angel was speaking with the authority of the Father, and likewise, Jesus was speaking with the authority of the Father, when they said "I AM."
When the angel who spoke to Moses said "I AM THAT I AM," did that mean that the angel of the Lord was the Father in Heaven? Of course not. Likewise, when Jesus spoke as the Father, does that mean he was the Father? No.
What about Zechariah 12:10?
This is the Father speaking:
Zechariah 12:10, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
Like the passages above show, when someone acts in the name of God, they can be called "God." The Father says that "He" will be pierced, but he is referring to someone who acts in His name. This same passage identifies this someone else as his Son, Jesus Christ, by saying "his only son" (Jesus was God's only begotten Son) and "firstborn" (Jesus was the first born as well).
To demonstrate this concept with another verse, Saul was persecuting believers in Christ by dragging them out of their homes, arresting them, and having them stoned to death (Acts 7:58; 8:1-3; 9:12). Now look at who scripture says was being persecuted:
Acts 9:3-5, "And as he (Saul) journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:"
Jesus said He was being persecuted, but it was really believers in Christ who were being persecuted. This is because they were acting in the name of Christ, and Christ said that whatever you do to his servants, it's the same as doing it to Him:
Matthew 25:40, "...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
This does not mean that believers in Christ were literally Christ himself. Likewise, our Father said people would pierce Him, but it was really his Son, who was acting in His name, who was pierced. This, too, does not mean His Son was literally the Father.
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