Some involved immediately responded, "Yes, He is!"
Others quickly retorted, "No, He is not!"
There are compelling points of Scripture on both sides of the debate. After considering all of the passages for and against, my conclusion is the Messiah Yeshua is indeed G-d.
I am quick to note that Messiah's body is not G-d because, at some point, that flesh did not exist, yet G-d has always existed. At some point, His flesh died, but G-d cannot die: He is eternal. Messiah's flesh changed as He grew and matured, and yet G-d never changes.
Early believers created a phrase to describe the unity of an eternal, unchanging G-d with a finite, changing man: hypostatic union. Yeshua is the union of the Spirit and soul of the eternal G-d with the flesh of a man.
My personal opinions and descriptions notwithstanding, consider these observations from Scripture:
|G-d [אלהים, Elohim] is the Creator.
|Yeshua is the Creator.
|G-d [י-ה-ו-ה, Y-H-V-H] is the First and the Last.
|Yeshua is the First and the Last.
|G-d is the giver of life.
|Yeshua gives Himself life in the resurrection.
|G-d is called "Mighty G-d".
[האל הגדול , El Gibbor]
(Deuteronomy 10:17, Nehemiah 9:32, Isaiah 10:21, Jeremiah 32:18)
|Yeshua is called "Mighty G-d".
[האל הגדול , El Gibbor]
|G-d declares He is the "I AM".
|Yeshua declares He is the "I AM".
|G-d never changes.
|Yeshua never changes.
|G-d is from everlasting.
|Yeshua is from everlasting.
(Micah 5:2 NKJV)
|G-d is the only Savior.
|Yeshua is the only Savior.
(Luke 2:11, John 4:42, Titus 1:4)
|G-d is Redeemer.
|Yeshua is Redeemer.
|G-d is the Judge of the earth.
(Genesis 18:25, Psalm 94:1-2)
|Yeshua is the Judge of the earth.
|G-d forgives sins.
(Psalm 103:2-3, Mark 2:7)
|Yeshua forgives sins.
|G-d is worshiped by angels.
|Yeshua is worshiped by angels.
G-d alone is glorified.
|Yeshua is glorified by G-d.
(John 17:5, John 5:23, Hebrews 1:8)
Yeshua's Disciples Declare He is G-d
John, in his gospel account, begins with the declaration, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d, and the Word was G-d." (John 1:1)
The "Word" is G-d. This is a plain statement. A = B.
He states that the Word became flesh and dwelt among men. (John 1:14) The Word/G-d took on flesh (Yeshua's body) and dwelt among men.
John declares that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are one in his first epistle. (1 John 5:7-8)
Thomas declares that Yeshua is "my Lord and my G-d" in John 20:28.
There is no evidence in Scripture that Yeshua corrected his statement, nor do any other disciples question it.
Paul Declares Yeshua is G-d
Paul declares that Yeshua exists in the form of G-d (Philippians 2:6) and that G-d was manifested in the flesh of Yeshua. (1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV)
Yeshua Declares He is G-d
Yeshua makes at least three statements that He is G-d.
In John 8:58, Yeshua declares He is "I AM," taking on Himself the label that G-d used for Himself in Exodus 3:14. Yeshua's contemporaries knew He was claiming to be G-d because they took up stones with which to stone Him. If they thought He was an idiot babbling something irrelevant, they would not have tried to stone Him... they would have ignored Him.
In John 10:30, Yeshua declares, "I am the Father are one." Again, Yeshua's contemporaries understand that He is claiming to be G-d, and again they take up stones to stone Him. They make it plain in their declaration "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." (John 10:33)
In Matthew 28:19, Yeshua commands His disciples to make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In doing so, He brings "the Son" (Himself) into a parallel position and equal authority with "the Father" (G-d) and "the Holy Spirit" (G-d).
G-d Declares Yeshua is G-d
G-d bestows upon Messiah the name of Yeshua, which is above every name. (Philippians 2:9-11)
Does that mean Yeshua's name is above G-d's special holy name, YHVH? Yes: Yeshua is the "name which is above every name."
Unless G-d commits idolatry and exalts His creation above Himself, Yeshua must be G-d. It is not idolatry if G-d gives Himself the name above every name. It is entirely fitting and appropriate!
What Scripture Says About G-d
Here are some observations from Scripture about G-d:
G-d has a voice.
G-d spoke to Adam and Eve, and they heard His voice. (Genesis 2:16-17)
G-d spoke to the children of Israel at Mt Sinai, and they heard His voice. (Deuteronomy 4:12, 33, 5:23-26)
G-d spoke to Moses, and he heard His voice. (Numbers 7:89)
G-d has appeared to humanity in various ways.
The LORD G-d appeared to Moses as a burning bush (Exodus 3:4).
The LORD appeared as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as He went before the Israelites (Exodus 13:21).
Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders saw the G-d of Israel [Hebrew: אלהי ישׂראל, Elohei Yisrael] (Exodus 24:10-11).
G-d has feet.
Beneath G-d's feet was a pavement-like sapphire. (Exodus 24:10)
G-d walks in the midst of the camp of Israel. (Deuteronomy 23:14)
G-d appeared on Mt Sinai with thick darkness under His feet. (Psalm 18:9)
When G-d returns, "His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives." (Zechariah 14:4)
G-d has an image.
G-d created man in His own image (Genesis 1:27).
G-d is conforming us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
G-d is not a man.
G-d is not a man or a son of man (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Job 9:32). We know that Messiah's flesh is not G-d from these passages. It also points to the requirement of a virgin birth: Yeshua is not the son of the union of a man and a woman. Instead, he is the "second Adam" created entirely sinlessly and yet born of woman.
G-d has a Spirit.
G-d has a Spirit [Hebrew: ורוח אלהים, Ruach Elohim] (Genesis 1:2).
Yeshua says that G-d, the Father, is Spirit (John 4:23-24).
G-d has a soul.
G-d has a soul [Hebrew: נפּשׁ, nephesh] (Leviticus 26:11).
No one can see G-d and live.
The LORD declares that man cannot see G-d's face and live (Exodus 33:20).
The disciple John remarked that no man had seen G-d at any time (John 1:18, 1 John 4:12).
These passages affirm that the flesh of Messiah (which was seen) is not G-d.
What Scripture Says About Yeshua
Yeshua is "G-d With Us".
Yeshua is Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23). This is often translated as "G-d with us," but taken literally, the Hebrew word means "with us is G-d."
Yeshua is the Son of G-d.
Numerous passages of the Scriptures refer to Yeshua as "the son of G-d" (Matthew 8:29, 27:43, Mark 1:1, etc.).
Messiah's flesh is not G-d (as we noted above). But, since His flesh is a part of creation, yes, that flesh is the Son, the "offspring, "the creation of G-d. Adam is also called "the son of G-d" (Luke 3:38). Adam's flesh was created by G-d, so he was the son of G-d. Likewise, Messiah's flesh was created by G-d, so he was the Son of G-d: the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15).
Some passages seem to contradict the notion that Yeshua is G-d...but only if taken separately and in isolation from the rest of Scripture.
They should be fairly examined in the context of what has already been established about the deity of the Messiah.
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39)
Using this passage, those who reject the deity of Christ often ask, "If Jesus is G-d, then who is He praying to? Himself?"
As a man, Yeshua was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11, Hebrews 4:15, etc.), and in this particular passage, He was tempted to avoid the pain and suffering He faced in crucifixion. Instead of yielding to that physical temptation, He sought His spiritual source (the Father) to overcome it.
Father and Son
When we think of human fathers and sons, we see two individuals. One of them biologically came from the other.
I view the "Father and Son" language of Scripture as a metaphor that describes the relationship between two parts of one individual:
- The Father is the eternal, non-corporeal part of G-d
- The Son is the physical manifestation of G-d who came from the Father (John 16:27-28)
This choice of words reflects that one (the physical manifestation) came from the other (the eternal spiritual being) and not the other way around.
Some may view this perspective as "Modalism"; however, it is not. Here is the definition of Modalism:
Modalism states that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three modes or forms. Thus, God is a single person who first manifested himself in the mode of the Father in Old Testament times. At the incarnation, the mode was the Son; and after Jesus’ ascension, the mode is the Holy Spirit. These modes are consecutive and never simultaneous. In other words, this view states that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time–only one after another.1
My view differs from this heresy. G-d is a single entity, but the Father, Son, and Spirit are not separate manifestations.
The Son is the only physical manifestation of G-d in His Creation. He:
- walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8)
- appeared to Abram (Genesis 12:7, 17:1, 18:1) and walked between the animal parts (Genesis 15:17)
- appeared to Isaac (Genesis 26:24)
- appeared to Jacob (Genesis 35:1, 9)
- appeared to Moses (Exodus 3:16)
- appeared to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel (Exodus 24:9-11)
- was born to Mary in Bethlehem (Luke 2:7)
Some disagree with this view; however, it is consistent with Scripture and doesn't require any "it's a mystery of faith" response to explain it away.
"But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." (Mark 13:32)
Using the Father and Son distinction described above, this passage informs us that information existed within the infinite Father that had not been conveyed to His finite, physical Son.
"You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28)
Continuing with the Father and Son distinction (above), Yeshua declares He is returning to His infinite source, the Father.
And "...The Father is greater than I" affirms that the infinite source is greater than the finite. To use an analogy: the whole person is greater than the hand.
Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:1-3)
Drawing on the power and authority of His infinite, eternal source, Yeshua seeks glory, authority, and eternal life to bestow on those who were given to Him.
"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23)
Yeshua seeks for those who believe in Him to have the same spiritual connection as He does with His infinite, eternal source.
Jesus *said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" (John 20:17)
Following the same idea as John 14:28 (above): Yeshua is returning to His infinite source and affirms the Father is also Mary's infinite source.
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified." (Acts 2:36)
This passage informs us that the infinite, eternal part of G-d (the Father) established His finite manifestation (the Son) as both Lord and Christ.
From 1 Corinthians
For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. (1 Corinthians 8:6)
This passage is a key element of my view that there is "but one G-d, the Father, from whom are all things."
Yeshua, the Messiah [the physical manifestation of G-d], is the one Lord [He is the only physical being to whom we can bow down and worship as G-d], by whom are all things.
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1-3)
In the beginning of 1 Corinthians chapter 11, Paul points out that there is a hierarchy of authority in the assembly of believers: a "head over" each person.
- G-d [the Father] is the authority over Christ [the Son]
- Christ [the Son] is the authority over every man [the men of the assembly]
- Man is the authority over a woman
This passage informs my view that while the Father and Son are one deity, relationally speaking, the Father is over the Son.
In addition to affirming the unity of Father and Son, some claim that Father and Son are co-equal. For that to be true, such adherents would have to state (with support from Scripture!) that the Son is over the Father. First, there is no such Scriptural support for the claim. Second, this is an impossibility since the two statements are mutually exclusive.
In fact, the next passage explicitly refutes that possibility.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in [fn]Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)
The infinite source [the Father] has "put all things in subjection" to His physical manifestation [the Son]. Paul notes one exception to the "everything" that is subjected to the Son: the Father, Himself.
The Father is never subordinate to the Son.
From 2 Corinthians
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:2-3)
In this passage, Paul affirms the relational hierarchy of G-d the Father over the Son.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. (Ephesians 1:3-4)
In this passage, Paul affirms the relational hierarchy of G-d the Father over the Son.
From 1 Timothy
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
I think this passage states things very plainly:
- There is one G-d
- There is one mediator between G-d and men [the One G-d's physical manifestation]: the man Christ Jesus.
For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
These passages affirm the humanity of the Son [He was tempted] in contrast to the heresy of Modalism (also sometimes called Sabellianism after its chief second-century proponent, Sabellius), which rejected the humanity of Yeshua.
An affirmation of the humanity of His body does not preclude the deity of His spirit.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. (James 1:13)
Many passages of Scripture establish the deity of Yeshua, the Son. Several other passages record or affirm that He was tempted.
This passage plainly states that G-d cannot be tempted.
Rather than conclude that this passage refers to the Father (who has no physical form to suffer temptation), some erroneously apply it to the Son.
From 1 Peter
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:1-3)
In this passage, Peter echoes Paul's affirmation of the relational hierarchy of G-d the Father over the Son.
'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.' (Revelation 3:11-12)
Who is "G-d" over every human being? The Father is. Several passages (above) have established the hierarchy of the Father over the Son and the Son over humanity.
The Father's position over the Son does not preclude the Son from being deity with the Father. As Messiah, Himself proclaimed: "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30)
The Greek word translated as "one" is εἷς [heis- Strong's #1520], and it means the primary numeral: one. It does not mean "in unity" or "in solidarity with." It means one.