The Deity of Jesus (Part 3)
June 12, 2018
by Peter Amsterdam
The Deity of Jesus (Part 3)
In the preceding two articles, we saw that the glory, honor, worship, and prayer directed to God the Father are shared by Jesus as God the Son. He also shares the attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence with God. Along with these, Jesus also shares the names of God.
When God spoke to Moses about returning to Egypt to lead the Israelites to freedom, Moses said to God:
“If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”1
The words “I AM” translate the Hebrew word YHWH. These four letters are known as the Tetragrammaton and are pronounced Yahweh. About 1,100 years later, from the third century BC onward, the Jewish people no longer spoke the name Yahweh, as they considered it too sacred to be uttered. Whenever they saw the word YHWH, they would read it as “Adonai,” which meant “Lord.” In most Bible versions, in the Old Testament when “Lord” is used to refer to God, it is printed in all capital letters—LORD, which refers to Yahweh.
The Old Testament makes it very clear that the LORD (YHWH) is the only true God.
Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.2
I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God.3
I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”4
In the Old Testament, people calling on the name of the LORD referred to praying:
What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.5
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.6
[Abram] journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD.7
In the book of Acts, when Stephen was being stoned to death, he called upon Jesus in prayer, referring to Him as Lord.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”8
The apostle Paul, when referring to salvation, wrote:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.9
He then quoted the Old Testament and included: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”10 Throughout the New Testament we see that Jesus is Lord in the same manner that God is Lord.11
Word of the Lord
“The word of the Lord,” is a phrase that appears over two hundred times in the Old Testament. It refers to God’s instructions and teachings, as well as when He spoke to the prophets.
Moses commanded the people of Israel according to the word of the LORD.12
When David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer.13
The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest.14
The word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah.15
The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel.16
Throughout the New Testament, reference is made to Jesus’ teachings as the word of the Lord.
Now when they [Peter and John] had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.17
Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”18
When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.19
Like God’s Word, Jesus’ teachings are called the word of the Lord.
God is referred to as Savior many times in the Old Testament.
I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.20
I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.21
Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.22
I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.23
Jesus is also called Savior throughout the New Testament.
Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.24
I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will. Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.25
We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.26
Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.27
In the book of Titus, Paul speaks of God our Savior three times, once in each of the three chapters, and within the same chapters he also refers to Jesus as our Savior. In the first chapter, Paul wrote of the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior.28 Immediately after this he writes, Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.29
In the second chapter, Paul wrote of waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.30 In chapter three, Paul wrote of God our Savior and Jesus our Savior in the same sentence.
When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.31
The apostle Peter repeatedly referred to Jesus as both God and Savior:
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.32
For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.33
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.34
God is called Savior, and we find that Jesus is also called Savior.
King of kings and Lord of lords
Scripture teaches that God is the ultimate power and there is no power, glory, or majesty greater than His.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.35
The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high.36
As the greatest power, the Lord and God of all, He is referred to as the God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
The LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God.37
Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever.38
In the sight of God, who gives life to everything … I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.39
In the Gospel of John we read of John the Baptist referring to Jesus as the Lamb of God.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”40 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”41
In the book of Revelation, Jesus is also referred to as the Lamb:
“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”42
Later in the book of Revelation, we read this about Jesus:
I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.43
He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.44
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.45
As God is the King of kings and Lord of lords, so is Jesus.
Jesus, like His Father, is Lord, Savior, King of kings, and Lord of lords. His Word, together with His Father’s, is the Word of the Lord.
(This series will conclude in Part Four.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1 Exodus 3:13–14.
2 Isaiah 44:6.
3 Isaiah 45:5.
4 Isaiah 46:9–10.
5 Psalm 116:12–13.
6 Psalm 116:17.
7 Genesis 13:3–4.
8 Acts 7:59–60.
9 Romans 10:9–10.
10 Romans 10:13.
11 The Greek word translated as Lord in the New Testament is kurios. This Greek word can be translated as Sir and Master. It can also refer to LORD when speaking of God/Yahweh. Kurios is used in both ways in the New Testament when referring to Jesus. In John 4:11, the woman at the well called Jesus sir (kurios). In Philippians, kurios is used to speak of Jesus’ full deity as God the Son: At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10–11).
12 Numbers 36:5.
13 2 Samuel 24:11.
14 Ezekiel 1:2–3.
15 Zechariah 1:1.
16 Joel 1:1.
17 Acts 8:25.
18 Acts 15:35–36.
19 Acts 13:48–49.
20 Isaiah 43:3.
21 Isaiah 43:11.
22 Isaiah 45:21.
23 Isaiah 60:16.
24 Luke 2:11.
25 Acts 13:22–23.
26 1 John 4:14.
27 Philippians 3:20–21.
28 Titus 1:2–3.
29 Titus 1:4.
30 Titus 2:13.
31 Titus 3:4–7.
32 2 Peter 1:1.
33 2 Peter 1:11.
34 2 Peter 3:18.
35 1 Chronicles 29:11.
36 Psalm 113:4–5.
37 Deuteronomy 10:17.
38 Psalm 136:2–3.
39 1 Timothy 6:13–16 NIV.
40 John 1:29.
41 John 1:35–36.
42 Revelation 17:14.
43 Revelation 19:11.
44 Revelation 19:13.
45 Revelation 19:16.