Thursday, 10 October 2013

Textual Evidence for the Divinity of Jesus

Textual Evidence for the Divinity of Jesus

Mere man? high-ranking angel? or the Son of God.

by John Edwards


16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
GOD was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of
angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world,
received up into glory.

God was manifest in the flesh.  Who was manifest in the flesh?  GOD was, speaking of Jesus.  That is clear.

Of whom can it be said that He was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory?  This is true only of Jesus.  And yet the verse says GOD was.  Evidently St Paul refers to Jesus as GOD.   

According to the flow of the verse, who was justified in the Spirit?  GOD was.  Who was seen of angels?  GOD was.  Who was preached unto the Gentiles?  GOD was.  Who was believed on in the world?  GOD was.  Who was received up into glory?  GOD was.  The subject of the entire verse never changes - it continues to be GOD throughout.  And yet all these incidences are true only of JESUS - they were fulfilled by, and only by, Jesus - whom the context calls GOD.   Therefore Jesus is GOD. 

Manifest in the flesh.   If that's all that the verse said about GOD, some could try to make it mean that God was merely manifesting Himself in the life of a human being by means of an anointing, similar to the way in which Old Testament prophets experienced the Holy Spirit coming upon them.  But the remainder of the list includes items which make no other interpretation possible except that Jesus is GOD. 

When Old Testament saints were filled with the Spirit of God, the Scripture never used terminology as strong as "GOD was manifest in the flesh."  To say, "GOD was manifest in the flesh" is far higher than to speak of the Spirit coming upon or filling a person.  GOD Himself was manifested in the flesh, in a physical body, as the person of Jesus - His wonderful person!  "In Whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily."  Jesus is GOD.


JOHN 1:1-14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...

The Word was both with God and was God.  The Word is Jesus.  Therefore Jesus was God.  That is abundantly clear. 

2 The same was in the beginning with God...

Since He was already in the beginning with God, He stands with God outside of creation, and transcends creation.  He was not a created being.  To be with God, in the beginning, makes Him equal with God.

3 All things were made by him...

He - the Word, Jesus - made all things.  Only God can make all things.

...and without him was not any thing made that was made. 

Nothing exists that Jesus did not make.  Therefore Jesus is not an angel.  He is greater than the angels, for He Himself made the angels.  It also means that God did not create Jesus, or else Jesus must have made Himself.  

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Only Jesus had power to lay down His life and to take it up again.  Only Jesus has power to have life in Himself and to give life to all who come to Him.  Only Jesus will raise us all back to life at the last day.  And that life is the light of all men.

10 ...the world was made by him...

Angels don't have creative power - only God.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

If He were a mere man, or even an angel, it could not be said of Him that He came unto His own.  Mankind belonged only to his Creator.  Israel belonged only to God.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name...

Who can give power to become sons of God but God alone?  Whose Name alone can give power to become sons of God, simply by believing on His Name?  Only God.  If believing on a certain person's name is the vehicle through which we can be given the power to become the sons of God, then that certain person must be God.   Therefore Jesus' Name is declared to be God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...

That's Jesus.  The Word is a person - Jesus.  The Word, the Life, the Light - these didn't just come into some random person - these are the person - Jesus.  The physical person who walked amongst the disciples was not merely a man who contained God, and the Word, and the life and the light - He was God, He was the Word, He was the Life, and He was the Light.  And this was the state of things even before He was born, for He made all things. 

...(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)... 

Peter, James and John were eyewitnesses of His glory, on the mount of transfiguration.  What type of glory?  The glory that was unique to the Son of God.  This was not a glory shared by any archangel nor by any man.  It was the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. 

In what sense was Jesus the only begotten of the Father?  In a lesser sense, it means that Jesus was the only person Who, as to His physical body, was begotten by God.  Adam was made, not born; and the angels also were made, not born.  All of us were born, but through the will of an earthly father and through the will of the flesh, not through God.  Jesus alone was born through the will of the Father alone.  In that sense, as to His physical body, Jesus is the only begotten of the Father.  That makes Him the Son of God.  That makes Him divine.   There never was nor ever shall be any other Who is God come in the flesh.  Only Jesus.  There was and only ever shall be one virgin birth.  Adam is called the son of God, but he was made, not begotten.  Some people believe the angels are also referred to as the sons of God, but they also were made, not begotten.  We are also called sons of God, and we also have been begotten: "Of His own will begat He us" - but it is only our spirit that has been born again.  Only Jesus was physically begotten of the Father.

But there is a higher sense in which Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, quite aside from His physical birth.  The term only begotten has a broader meaning that what we may think.  The Bible calls Isaac, the son of Abraham, "...his only begotten son..." yet we know Abraham already had another son, Ishamael; and later he had other sons too.  Abraham eventually had several sons, but Isaac was unique in that only he was born by promise, the only-born of Sarah.  So the broad meaning of the term only begotten may be qualified by the context.  The Tyndale Translation, 1534 Version translates the Greek word μονογενης υιος as "only son" where the KJV renders it "only begotten son" (John 3:16).  The LXX translates the same Greek word in Psalm 25:16 as desolate, meaning, alone.  So the meaning is that the disciples beheld Jesus' glory, the glory that was unique to the Son of God and He alone.  God has but one Son who is of one substance with the Father and who has the glory of that uniqueness.  That is the unique glory which the disciples beheld in Jesus, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.  I myself have seen a vision of the glory of Jesus.  And I can testify that He is, "...full of grace and truth." 

And Jesus was the first begotten of the dead, when God raised Him from the dead - because Jesus was the first to rise permanently from physical death; the forerunner of the new creation of God. We've been begotten again to a lively hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. So, the new life which we experience in spirit, is the new-creation resurrection life of Jesus, promised us physically in future, experienced now, in spirit, in the present. We are in Him. Raised with Him by baptism. But Jesus was the first. Death hath no more dominion over Him. He nailed to the cross the law of commandments. The enmity. God condemned sin in the flesh. In that way, and on that day, Jesus was begotten again from the dead and declared to be the Son of God with power. So Christ's begottenness was both an event which occurred on a specific day; and it was also a declaration of His eternal Nature.

More texts to come...  

© John Edwards 2008



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