Nine Proofs That Jesus Is God
John 8:53-39


Copyright © 2021 by
Phillip R. Johnson.
All rights reserved.


Of all the doctrines essential to New Testament faith, the deity of Christ deserves first place. True Christians worship Jesus as God in human flesh. Christianity's first, simplest, and most basic confession of faith implicitly affirms it: "Jesus is Lord" (Romans 10:9).
    Every doctrine distinctive to the Apostolic message (the gospel in particular) hinges on the truth that Jesus Christ is incarnate deity—Alpha and Omega, King of kings, and Lord of lords—truly God and truly man. This is the vital starting point for authentic biblical Christianity.
    But the deity of Christ has been fiercely and relentlessly attacked by an endless parade of cultists and false teachers from the early years of church history. One of the most dangerous and far-reaching attacks on this doctrine came in the early fourth century from a young bishop in the post-apostolic church named Arius. He refused to recognize the deity of Christ. Arius was willing to say that Christ was something more than the average angel, but he emphatically denied that Christ was eternal God. He rejected the plain meaning of John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Instead, Arius said no, there was a time when the Son did not exist. And he propagated his heresy with a popular song that turned his error into a little rhyming ditty:

By the Father he was begot
Because there was a time when he was not.
(His original words, of course, were the Greek equivalent of that).
    It was a pernicious false doctrine, but for a few decades, the prevailing attitude in the church toward Arius's heresy was either reckless acquiescence or blithe indifference. Arianism nearly took over the visible church—until one heroic bishop, Athanasius, boldly spoke out against the error and refuted it by defending the deity of Christ with clear biblical exegesis.
    But Arius's error persists even today among groups that claim fidelity to Christ but formally disavow who he truly is. In our generation perhaps the most visible cult denying the deity of Christ goes by the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" (JWs). They teach in the most emphatic terms that Jesus is not God, but rather that He is the highest of created beings, the archangel Michael come to earth in human form.
    JWs are zealous proselytizers. If they haven't already knocked on your door, they eventually will. They are passionate and generally fearless in promulgating their doctrine. Most of them seem friendly, eager to discuss the Bible, and earnest about what they believe. But they are still propagating the heresy of Arius nearly 1700 years after it was summarily dismissed as a false, unbiblical, and fatally heterodox doctrine.
    JWs are not the only quasi-Christian cult that denies the deity of Christ. A group known as "The Way International," insists that Jesus is simply the best and wisest of men. The founder of "The Way," Victor Paul Wierwille, published a book in 1975 titled Jesus Is Not God. He made the bogus assertion that the doctrine of the Trinity was borrowed from Hindu and Greek religion. According to Wierwille, "We did not exist before the world began. Neither did Jesus Christ . . .. Jesus Christ was with God ([only] in His foreknowledge) before the foundation of the world. [But] Jesus did not [literally] exist."1 He also wrote, "Jesus Christ was not literally with God in the beginning; neither does he have all the assets of God."2
    Unlike JWs, members of The Way International deny the preexistence of Christ as well as His deity. (Jehovah's witnesses do believe that Christ existed in the form of an angel before He came to earth.) But both groups agree in their denial that Jesus is God incarnate, and both groups will compass sea and land to make one proselyte.
    Another well-known cult once notorious for denying the deity of Christ was the WorldWide Church of God, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong. This cult featured a smorgasbord of errors borrowed from other sects. They adopted the Arianism of the JWs. They echoed the Saturday sabbatarianism of the Seventh-Day Adventists. They emulated the legalism that was being taught by the Galatian Judaizers of Paul's day. (In other words, they rigorously followed certain Old Testament ceremonial statutes and imposed those observances on their followers.) They blended all those errors with a cornucopia of false teachings to make a deadly hodgepodge of heresy that they peddled through a syndicated radio broadcast every day of the week on thousands of radio stations worldwide. The cult was extremely wealthy and influential half a century ago—until its leadership ran into trouble with moral scandals. That was followed by infighting and division when the cult's founder died. But the meltdown of the Worldwide Church of God spawned several mini-cults, and most of them still hold onto the original group's denial of Christ's deity.
    The largest, most diverse group of professing Christians who would not affirm the true deity of Christ are theological liberals. They typically claim Jesus was nothing more than a wise but fallible human teacher. Marcus Borg, for example, a liberal Lutheran professor of religion, wrote,
Was Jesus God? No. Not even the New Testament says that. It speaks of him as the Word of God, the Son of God, the Messiah, and so forth, but never simply identifies him with or equates him with God. As John's gospel puts it, he is the Word become flesh—that is, he reveals what can be seen of God in a finite human life. To say, "I believe Jesus was God" (as some Christians do, or think they are supposed to) goes beyond what the New Testament affirms and is thus more than biblical.

What about that? Is the deity of Christ an essential doctrine of authentic Christianity? Who did Jesus really claim to be? And what does the Bible say about him? If Scripture were silent or even hazy about the deity of Jesus, we might join Arius, the JWs, Marcus Borg, and a host of other critics of historic Christianity in questioning the deity of Christ.
    But Scripture is neither vague nor mysterious about this doctrine. The Bible categorically teaches that Jesus Christ is God. He is clearly set forth in the inspired text as God. Indeed, his deity is affirmed throughout the New Testament with such clarity and emphasis that those who reject Christ's deity are guilty of rejecting the clear message of God's Word.
    Titus 2:13, for example, says Christians are "waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." That is a plain declaration about the deity of Christ. Here are nine lines of argument that further prove the point.

1. The Old Testament predicted a divine Savior.
    A few well-known passages spoke of Messiah in terms that cannot apply to anyone but God.
    Psalm 2, for example, is a Messianic Psalm and was recognized as such by Jewish scholars centuries before Christ. In Acts 13:33, Paul affirms that this psalm has a messianic meaning. The psalm closes with these verses, "Serve [YHWH] with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him" (vv. 11-12).
    There the phrases "Serve [YHWH] with fear" and "Kiss the Son" are parallel. And as is typical in Hebrew poetic parallelism, this means the two phrases are logical equivalents. "Serve [YHWH]" means "Kiss the Son." Moreover, this psalm presents the Son as Someone in whom believers can take refuge—a Savior who is God's own Son, identical in character and rank with God the Father.
    Psalm 110 is identified as a Messianic Psalm by the writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 5:6; 7:17). Here David calls Him Lord (using the Hebrew word Adonai, which is an emphatic form of the generic word for "Lord." In Scripture this form of the word is never applied to anyone but God. In fact, it is used as a proper name for God.) Jesus Himself quoted that verse in Matthew 22:43-45, applying that title of deity to Himself to demonstrate that He existed before David and was superior to any earthly king.
    Isaiah 9:6 is a clear promise of the Messiah. It gives a string of names that evoke the truth of his deity: "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, [or, "father of eternity"], Prince of Peace." An earlier prophecy by Isaiah, found in Isaiah 7:14, gave Him the name "Immanuel," which literally means, "God with us."
    Micah 5:2 prophesied that Messiah's birthplace would be Bethlehem, and it foretold Him in these words: "From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." That closing expression means "the days of eternity." (That's how it is translated in the New American Standard Bible.) This of course is a description that can only apply to God, who alone is eternal and self-existent.
    In Malachi 3:1-2 we find one of the clearest, most vivid prophecies of the coming Messiah. Mark 1:2 identifies this verse as a prophecy of Christ:

Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says [YHWH] of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.
Notice that it portrays the Messiah as "Lord." (The Hebrew word is the generic form of the word Adon. But when linked to the Temple like this, it can only refer to God.) He is coming to his temple—clearly, the Temple of God. And He is coming to do a work of divine judgment.
    So the Old Testament prophecies about Messiah were full of clues about his deity. The idea was not so prominent that Jews in the Old Testament era immediately recognized that thread of hints and fully understood who Messiah would be. But for New Testament believers looking back, those promises are clear enough that there is no excuse for missing the point they convey.

2. Jesus is called YHWH.
    Confront a well-trained Jehovah's Witness with those prophecies, and he will no doubt argue that in the clearest and most important verses cited so far, the Hebrew expression translated "Lord" is a form of the word Adonai. The JW will say that's not God's proper name, YHWH. They'll claim the use of Adonai is being used as an honorific, recognizing that Jesus is godlike—exalted above all other creatures—even though (as they wrongly suppose) he is not the eternal, self-existent Creator.
    For the sake of argument, let's consider that claim. If any passages in the New Testament quote Old Testament verses using the term YHWH and apply those texts to Christ, that would conclusively destroy the Arian claims underlying the JWs' theology.
    Are there any such verses?
    There certainly are. Psalm 23:1, for example, says, "[YHWH] is my shepherd." Jesus very clearly applied that verse to Himself in John 10:11, 14 when He said, "I am the good shepherd." The writer of Hebrews also applied the 23rd Psalm to Christ in Hebrews 13:20, when he wrote, "The God of peace . . . brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant."
    In Isaiah 6:5, when Isaiah saw his vision of heaven with the Lord high and lifted up, he said, "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, [YHWH] of hosts!" The apostle John, referring to that very text, writes that "Isaiah said these things because he saw [Christ's] glory and spoke of him" (John 12:41).
    In the famous prophecy of John the Baptist found in Isaiah 40:3, Jesus is called Jehovah: "A voice cries: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of [YHWH]; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'"
    Jeremiah 23:5-6 is a crucial text for the doctrine of justification by faith. That verse introduces a new name for God, YHWH Tsidkenu, "YHWH our righteousness." Notice to whom it is applied: "Behold, the days are coming, declares [YHWH], when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land" (v. 5).
    So this is clearly a messianic prophecy. It's talking about Jesus. The text continues: "In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: '[YHWH] is our righteousness.'" (v. 6).
    Joel 2:32 is a familiar passage to any student of the New Testament: "It shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of [YHWH] shall be saved." Both Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 quote that verse, and they apply the title YHWH to Christ.
    So it is a simple fact that Jehovah's Witnesses do not witness to the true YHWH of Scripture. They reject His own witness and the witness of His Word that Christ Himself is YHWH, who came to earth in human flesh.

3. Titles reserved for YHWH are applied to Christ.
    In Isaiah 10:20, we find the expression, "[YHWH], the Holy One of Israel." It is therefore clear that "the Holy One of Israel" is a title that belongs to God alone. But in Acts 3:14-15, Peter tells the men of Jerusalem, "You denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead." So he uses two designations that can only describe God—"the Holy and Righteous One" and "the Author of life"—and he applies those titles to Jesus.
    Isaiah 44:6 is a decisive text about the deity of Christ. There we read, "Thus says [YHWH] the King of Israel and his Redeemer, [YHWH] of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god." That Old Testament verse offers strong evidence of the doctrine of the Trinity, because it differentiates between YHWH and His Redeemer YHWH. But that text also explicitly reserves for Almighty God alone this expression "the first and . . . the last." That title surfaces again in Revelation 1:8, where it is of course applied to Jehovah: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'" Again, there is no question about who owns that title. It is reserved for YHWH and YHWH alone.
    Notice, too that the title can't possibly be shared with any created being: "The Alpha and the Omega, [the First and the Last,] who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." That describes God's eternal self-existence, and to apply it to any mere creature would be to deny its inherent meaning.
    Yet near the end of the book of Revelation (22:13) we read these words again, this time spoken by Jesus Christ: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
    Did you also realize that in all matters spiritual and eternal, the title "savior" is reserved for God alone? Isaiah 43:11 says so in the plainest possible terms. "I, I am [YHWH]; and there is no savior besides Me." That is why Paul, writing to Titus, did not shrink from applying the name God and the word Savior both to Jesus Christ. Remember? The first Scripture proof we cited was Titus 2:13. Here is the larger context of the phrase we quoted: "The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us . . . " (vv. 11-14).
    Zechariah 12:10 includes a fascinating prophecy. The context reveals that Jehovah is the one speaking: "Thus declares [YHWH], who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him . . .. " In verse 10 he says this: "I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn." Who is the one who was pierced? Christ. In fact, John 19:37 specifically applies that text to Christ.
    Deuteronomy 10:17 says, "For [YHWH] your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God." Yet Revelation 17:14 applies the title "Lord of Lords" to the lamb, Jesus Christ: "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."

4. Jesus possesses all the incommunicable attributes of God.
    Christ is eternal, as we noted in Micah 5:2, and as we see in the titles applied to him in Revelation 22:13: "the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
    He is omnipresent. In Matthew 18:20, He said, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them"; and in Matthew 28:20, He promised, "behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
    He is omniscient. On the night Christ was betrayed, the disciples told Him, "Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God" (John 16:30). Later, Peter appealed to Christ's omniscience in his own defense, John 21:17: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." In Revelation 2:23 Christ describes Himself as the omniscient Judge of all humanity. He says: "I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works."
    He is omnipotent. Philippians 3:21 says He "will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Hebrews 1:3 says "he upholds the universe by the word of his power."
    He is immutable (unchanging). This attribute could never be true of any created being. Yet Hebrews 1:10-12 quotes God the Father saying that Christ the Son is both immutable and eternal: "You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end." Hebrews 13:8 is another familiar affirmation of the immutability of Christ: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
    In summary, Scripture says Christ embodies every attribute that is true of Jehovah, Colossians 2:9: "In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." And Hebrews 1:3 says Christ "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature."

5. He does the works of God.
    Jesus does works that God alone can do. For example, Christ is the One who created everything that was ever created. John 1:3 says, "All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." If that verse is true, Jesus himself cannot be a created being.
    Colossians 1:16 says the same thing in more detail, ruling out the possibility that Jesus could be a creature of any kind, including an archangel: "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him." Verse 17 takes it a step further and pictures Christ not only as Creator but also as the Sustainer of all things: "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
    He oversees the operation of divine providence. In John 17:1-2, Christ prays to the Father, "Glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him." Ephesians 1:22-23 echoes that, saying that YHWH "put all things under [Jesus'] feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."
    He forgives sin. This was a huge controversy in Jesus' earthly ministry. Matthew 9:2-7 and Mark 2:5-10 give the account of how the Pharisees were offended by the suggestion that Jesus could forgive sins. In Mark 2:7 they ask, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" They understood clearly the implications of His authority, and notice that Jesus did not challenge the truth of their statement that God alone has authority to forgive.
    He has the power to raise the dead and render final judgment. In John 5:22-23, Jesus said, "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." That is a very explicit claim of absolute equality with God the Father, and notice that Jesus even makes the basis of final judgment the issue of whether someone receives His word or not. "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life" (v. 24).
    Acts 10:42 says Christ was "appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead." Acts 17:31 says the same thing. Second Timothy 4:1 says "Christ Jesus . . . is to judge the living and the dead."
    It is He who will bring us into the fullness of glorification. Philippians 3:21 says He "will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." In Revelation 21:5 Christ himself speaks, and He says, "Behold, I am making all things new."

6. Jesus receives worship.
    In Matthew 4:10 Jesus Himself told the Devil, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" If Jesus Himself were only a creature, He would have been guilty of rank hypocrisy, for He received worship—frequently. Not once did Jesus ever rebuke anyone for worshiping Him. Never did He refuse anyone's adoration. In fact, He corrected those who scolded others for worshiping Him, as in John 10, when Martha was angry that Mary sat at His feet. And in Matthew 26, He rebuked the disciples for being indignant when a woman anointed Him with expensive ointment. Here is a string of texts that speak of people worshiping Jesus, and in every case he welcomed the worship that was offered to him:

  • Matthew 14:33—"And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you are the Son of God.'"
  • John 9:38—"[The man born blind] said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him."
  • Matthew 28:9—"And behold, Jesus met [the women coming from His tomb] and said, 'Greetings!' And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him."
  • Matthew 28:17-18—"And when [the eleven disciples saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'"
  • John 20:28-29—"Thomas answered him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'"

Jesus' response to Thomas calling him "Lord" and "God" was a warm commendation of his faith.
    Contrast Jesus' response to worship with Peter's response when "Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him" in Acts 10:25. Verse 26 says, "Peter lifted him up, saying, 'Stand up; I too am a man.'" Acts 14:11-18 tells of a similar episode in Paul's ministry, when he and Barnabas refused the worship of an entire crowd. In Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9, the angels refuse worship from the Apostle John. The angel says, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God" (22:9).
    Scripture explicitly states that the Son is to be worshiped. Consider John 5:22-23 once more: "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him."
    Jesus placed Himself on the highest possible level when He made Himself an object of our faith, John 14:1: "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me." It would be high blasphemy for any mere creature to ask people to put faith in him like they put faith in God.
    Perhaps the ultimate proof that Jesus is not an angel is found in Hebrews 1:6. There we are told that when the Father brought the Son into the world, He said, "Let all God's angels worship him."

7. The Bible says Jesus is God.
    If Jesus is God, you would expect the Bible to say so in the strongest of terms. And in fact it does.
    John 1 is a favorite text of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The people who go door to door are all thoroughly trained in how to respond if someone shows them John 1:1-3:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

That is a very strong statement about the deity of Christ. Every Phrase is significant. "In the beginning" harks back to Genesis 1:1 and sets the beginning of John's gospel in eternity past, before anything or anyone was created. B. B. Warfield wrote,
What is declared is that "in the beginning"—not "from the beginning" but "in the beginning,"—when first things came to be, the Word, not came into being, so that He might be the first of those things which came into being, but already was. Absolute eternity of being is asserted for the Word in as precise and strong language as absolute eternity of being can be asserted. The Word antedates the beginning of things; He already was.3
The next phrase, "the Word was with God," only strengthens the assertion of deity in this passage. It means that from all eternity, the Word coexisted with God, alongside Him, in personal communion with Him. In Warfield's words, "He has been from all eternity God's Fellow."4
    This eternal relationship between God and "the Word" is underscored by a phrase in John 1:18, "the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known . . .." Jesus Christ was eternally in the bosom of the Father, somehow distinct from God yet at the same time identical to Him. This is another straightforward declaration of Christ's deity. Furthermore, the whole principle of Trinitarian doctrine is wrapped up in that expression, "the Word was with God."
    But look again at the third phrase in John 1:1. This is the part Jehovah's Witnesses think they have an answer for: "The Word was God." That is precisely and literally what this text says in the Greek. A well-trained Jehovah's Witness will tell you that our translation is faulty. In the Greek, they will tell you, the word "God" lacks any definite article. That's quite right. There's no indefinite article, either. The expression has no article at all).
    But the average JW will try to tell you that in the absence of an article in a construction such as this, the indefinite article must be supplied. If that rule were true, the translation would read: "The Word was a God." But that is bad Greek and a totally unwarranted revision of the expression. The verb was is a copulative verb, sometimes known as a "linking verb." It connects the noun on one side with the noun on the other—like an equal sign connects two sides of a mathematical equation. In other words, "The Word was God" is the proper translation. "God" in that sentence is a predicate nominative. It can properly be translated only the way you find it in practically every English Bible except the one cobbled together by the Jehovah's Witnesses. To insert an indefinite pronoun is both bad Greek and bad grammar.
    In order to obscure the clarity of that verse, the JWs produced their own Bible with a purposely faulty translation. They have a handful of self-styled Greek scholars who tenaciously try to defend their translation. But what these ersatz "scholars" do not tell their own people is that there are dozens of places in their own Bible where they are forced by common sense to violate the very rule they want to try to impose on John 1:1.
    For example, if we followed the JW construction and added an indefinite article every time the definite article is missing, here's what it would do to a couple of verses in the immediate context of John 1:1.
  • "There was a man sent from [a] God, whose name was John" (v. 6).
  • "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of [a] God" (v. 12).

John 1:1 is the achilles' heel of the Jehovah's Witnesses' theology, and they know it. That is why every JW is taught what to say when it is brought up. But their answers are not at all satisfying to anyone who knows the smallest amount of Greek grammar, and their denial of Christ's deity is easily debunked by what else is said in the immediate context of John 1:1. You needn't be shaken by the Jehovah's Witnesses' arguments on this.
    There are of course other verses in the New Testament that explicitly call Jesus God. Remember, as we saw earlier, that when Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus did not rebuke him, but commended him for his faith (John 20:28-299).
    Both Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 refer to Jesus as "our God and Savior." Romans 9:5 says "Christ . . . is God over all, blessed forever. Amen." Philippians 2:6, says Christ existed from all eternity in the form of God. And 1 John 5:20 says, "We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life."
    One of the best verses to challenge JWs with is Hebrews 1:8, because even in their Bibles, it is a very clear declaration of Jesus' deity. This text quotes God the Father, speaking to his Son, and he says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom."

8. Jesus Himself claims to be God.
    Now, finally, if Jesus is God, we might expect Him to say so. Have you ever wondered why He didn't simply state, "I'm God? I am the great 'I AM.'" and put an end to any possibility of confusion?
    Actually, He did. As a matter of fact, what He says in John 8:58 was to an audience of Jewish theologians was a far more explicit statement than if He had merely said "I am God."
    Here is some context: The Pharisees were becoming uncomfortable with Jesus' claims, beginning to suspect that He was putting Himself on a level of authority no mere man would have any right to. They said:

Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?"
    Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.' But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad."
    So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"
    Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
    So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:53-59)

They understood precisely what Jesus was saying. He was telling them He was God, using the name YHWH Himself had revealed to Moses at the burning bush, "I AM" (Exodus 3:14). If that had not been His meaning—if he were claiming only to be the firstborn angel—He would have said, "before Abraham was born, I was." Instead, He used the sacred name of God in a way only God could use it: "[Amen, amen], I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." Jesus could not have made any stronger claim of deity.
    If space permitted we could delve into the series of statements Jesus made about Himself using this name "I AM"—"I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6); "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14) "I am the door" (v. 9). "I am the bread of life" (John 6:48). "I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). Each one of those statements was a claim of absolute deity.

8. All of Scripture Teaches Us to Submit to Christ as God.
    What we have highlighted here is by no means an exhaustive study of all the biblical reasons to affirm Jesus' deity. It's enough to make the point conclusively. But there is much, much more in Scripture. For example, I haven't even mentioned John 10:30, "I and the Father are one." That's just one more explicit statement from Jesus Christ affirming that he is God.
    So much evidence cannot be swept aside or ignored. You either believe it, or you condemn yourself to an unthinkable eternity. Deny the deity of Christ and you consign your own soul to eternal judgment.
    In John 8:24, Jesus again applies the supreme name of God: "Unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." The Greek text from which that verse is translated has no predicate. In other words, the "he" has been inserted by translators. A more literal translation would be: "Unless you believe that I Am, you will die in your sins." One modern translation renders the gist of Jesus's statement even more clearly with this paraphrase: "You will die in your sins if you do not believe that 'I Am Who I Am.'"
    Jesus is expressly and emphatically holding Himself up as God. He can do that only because He is God. Our response can only be to believe—and join in the worship of Him at whose name every knee shall bow.

Appendix 1: A Word about the name YHWH

t should be clear by now that Jesus Christ is none other than YHWH of the Old Testament.
    YHWH, of course, is the most common and distinctive of all the proper and personal names for God in the Old Testament. It is first used in Genesis 2:4—and then it appears more than six thousand times before the end of Malachi. The name consists of four Hebrew consonants and is therefore known as the Tetragrammaton (meaning "four letters").
    YHWH is literally unpronounceable, and that's fitting, because it is considered too sacred to be uttered. Indeed, it describes One who is ineffable—too great and too glorious for words.
    Ancient scribes added vowels between the four consonants. The vowels were borrowed from another Hebrew name for God: Adonai (literally "sovereign Lord"). When the Tetragrammaton was preceded by the word Adonai, vowels from Adonai, vowels from the word Elohim ("God") were used instead. So the word was written in Hebrew letters as Yehowah or Yehowih respectively. Jehovah is the more universal transliteration into the Roman alphabet.
    Even with vowel points that would have made it pronounceable, the name was still deemed so sacred that when read aloud, it was replaced with a substitute—Adonai, or alternatively, HaShem, ("the Name"). When the New Testament quotes the old Testament (in Matthew 4:7, for example), YHWH is normally translated with the Greek word for "Lord," kurios. In a few places (such as Matthew 4:4), the New Testament translates YHWH with the Greek word for "God," Theos.
    In most English translations of the Old Testament, YHWH is rendered "Lord" (in capital and small capital letters) to distinguish it from Adonai, which is always translated "Lord" (cap and lower case). Four times in the King James Version of the Old Testament the transliteration Jehovah is used instead of the normal English translation Lord. In Exodus 6:3, for example, God says to Moses, "I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them."
    Of course, YHWH is not the only name for God used in Scripture, but it is his distinctive proper name—the primary name by which God has revealed himself—and therefore it is not to be lent to anyone else. God himself says, "I am [YHWH]; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols" (Isaiah 42:8).

Appendix 2: Historic Christianity and the Deity of Christ

hose who deny the deity of Christ frequently claim that the deity of Christ and Trinitarianism were doctrines imposed on the church in the fourth century by the Nicene Council at the behest of the Roman emperor, Constantine. This argument gained popularity from the fictional account Dan Brown wove into The Da Vinci Code.
    Of course there is no truth to the claim whatsoever. biblically-minded Christians for two millennia have uniformly affirmed that Jesus Christ is God. Around ad 110, Polycarp (a disciple and close associate of the apostle John) wrote an epistle to the church at Philippi. In the benediction to that epistle, he referred to "our Lord and God Jesus Christ and . . . his Father who raised him from the dead." There's far too much Trinitarian truth in that phrase for anyone who denies the deity of Christ.
    Ignatius, another disciple of John's, referred to Jesus as "God in man." He wrote to the church at Ephesus, "our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God's plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit."
    Justin Martyr, another early church leader just one generation later than Ignatius and Polycarp, wrote that "Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God" was the One who originally appeared to Moses in the burning bush.
    Irenaeus, one generation after that, wrote that Christ "was very man, and that He was very God."
    Many additional quotes making the same point could be cited from the early church Fathers, but that should be sufficient to make the point that Christ's deity was a standard feature of Christian doctrine long before the council of Nicea.
    And after Arius challenged that view, it was not just the Nicene council but every significant council, creed, or confession of faith that addresses the question has affirmed both the deity and the humanity of Christ. The definitive creedal statement on the issue was issued by the Council of Chalcedon in 451:

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

    Any lesser view of Christ is not only (as we have seen) patently unbiblical; it is also severely out of harmony with historic Christianity. In short, those who deny the full deity of Jesus Christ are simply not authentic Christians.

1. Victor Paul Wierwille, Jesus Christ Is Not God (New Knoxville, OH: American Christian Press, 1975), 30.
2. Ibid., 5.
3. B. B. Warfield, Faith and Life (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1990 reprint), 87.
4. Ibid., 89.

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