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Is Jesus God?
The Good News – December 1982
Is Jesus God?

by Herbert W. Armstrong

What is the REAL ANSWER? Is Jesus God? Is He the same as Jehovah? Is there more than one God? Here you will find GOD’S answer–from His own Word–as revealed in YOUR BIBLE.

STARTLING as it may seem, there is great confusion today among religious leaders concerning the true nature and office of Jesus Christ–the Savior of the world.

You need not be in doubt! The Bible was divinely inspired to impart TRUTH to those who seek it with honest hearts and minds.

But even this all-important subject has become jumbled in today’s troubled and chaotic world.

Is Jesus God?

Jesus Christ came to pay the penalty for sin in our stead. He gave of Himself, that we might be reconciled to God. How was this made possible?

First, if Jesus had been only human, His death could have paid the penalty for but one other human who had incurred that penalty by transgression of God’s spiritual law (Rom. 6:23).

Since God the Father created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9), and since all things, including man, were made by Jesus Christ, He is our Maker and therefore God, and His life that He gave was of greater value than the sum total of all human beings.

For we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (verse 14, Revised Standard Version).

Also, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not” (verse 10, RSV). Compare these scriptures with I Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:12-19.

Life alone can beget life. This is the absolute law of biogenesis. Since eternal life is the GIFT of God (John 3:16), only a GOD possessing immortality could give it. If Jesus were only human, we could not receive eternal life through Him and He could not be our Savior.

Man does not have eternal life inherent in himself. But, as God “the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” And: “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (John 5:26, I John 5:11-12).

He was also human

On the other hand, Jesus was also human.

Since it is human life that has transgressed God’s law, the law claims human life as its penalty. Contrary to popular present-day teaching, the Word of God states that the wages –the penalty–of sin is DEATH–not eternal life in a so-called hell fire (Rom. 6:23).

When we sin, we break God’s perfect spiritual law, “for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). The penalty for this sin is death. The penalty must be paid. God the Father will not compromise. It must be paid by man.

Therefore, Jesus, who is and was God, who has always existed (John 1:1-2), was actually made flesh (verse 14). He, who was God, actually became human flesh because I John 4:2-3 (RSV) states, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God.”

He was conceived in and born of the human virgin, Mary. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18, RSV).

He was made not only flesh, but human flesh and blood. Notice Hebrews 2:14: “Since then the children are sharers in blood and flesh, himself also in like manner partook of the same” (Ivan Panin translation).

Jesus called Himself the Son of MAN repeatedly, and also the Son of God. Matthew wrote: “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do men say that the Son of man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven’ ” (Matt. 16:13-17, RSV).

Jesus, in nature, is equal with God–“Jesus: who, existing in God’s form, counted not the being on an equality with God ought to be grasped at, but emptied himself … being made in likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6, Panin translation).

He is called God in Titus 2:10, 13. Therefore He is God. The Bible contains so much on these points that the above is a mere fragment of the evidence.

Yes, Jesus is also “Jehovah,” although this word is a mistranslation used in the American Standard Version. The original name, in the Hebrew, contained the consonants YHVH. In writing in Hebrew, vowels were omitted, supplied only in speaking. Thus the precise pronunciation of the name is not definitely known, but today it is commonly assumed to be Yahveh or Yahweh.

The meaning, in English, is “THE ETERNAL” or “THE EVER-LIVING” or the “SELF-EXISTENT.” It is commonly supposed that Yahveh or, as commonly called, “Jehovah” or, as in the Authorized Version, “The LORD” of the Old Testament was God the FATHER of Jesus Christ. This is a flagrant error!

Yahveh was the God of Israel, the only One of the Godhead known to ancient Israel. When He came in human flesh they did not recognize Him. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:10).

Neither did they know God the Father (Matt. 11:27, Luke 10:22, Panin). “No one knoweth … who the Father is, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to REVEAL him.”

In Genesis 1, the Hebrew name translated “God” is Elohim. This is a uniplural name, such as church or family. A church or a family consists of more than one person, yet is one church, or one family.

In this same sense Elohim–the God Kingdom– includes both God the Father and Yahveh, who was the Logos or the WORD of God, and also their Spirit emanating from them, the Holy Spirit, the LIFE, CHARACTER and POWER of God.

Jesus, in praying for the welfare of the Church prayed that its many members might “be ONE as we are one” (John 17:11, 21, Moffatt translation). The Church is ONE body, yet composed of many members (I Cor. 12:12). A husband and wife are ONE FLESH, yet two persons.

The word God has two meanings–the God Kingdom or the God Family, AND the persons composing that Kingdom or Family. Christ and the Father are ONE God, not two Gods –one Elohim. That is why Elohim said, “Let us make man in OUR image” (Gen. 1:26).

Yahveh was the “WORD” or Spokesman of the Godhead–its second member. As soon as God began to SPEAK to man, it was always Yahveh who spoke (translated “LORD” in the Authorized and “Jehovah” in the American Standard Version–see Genesis 2:16, 18 and Exodus 20:2). Almost always it is Yahveh in the original Hebrew–the “WORD” who was made flesh. The proof of this is a long study involving hundreds of passages.

As a fragment of the evidence, compare Isaiah 8:13-14 with I Peter 2:7-8. Isaiah said, “The LORD of hosts”–YHVH– shall be “a stone of stumbling” and “a rock of offence.” Peter said, in quoting this text in reference to Christ, He is “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.” Jesus is the LORD –the Eternal of the Old Testament.

Now compare Isaiah 40:3 with Matthew 3:3 and Mark 1:3. John prepared the way before Yahveh (Isa. 40:3) who was CHRIST (Mark 1:14-15).

In Revelation 1:17 we read: “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.” And in verse 8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Again Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (RSV). Study also Revelation 22:16 for proof it was Jesus speaking.

Jesus Christ calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Now compare these texts with Isaiah 44:6: “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’ ” (RSV).

Now turn to Isaiah 48:11-12, RSV. “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. ‘Hearken to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am He, I am the first, and I am the last.’ ” Verses 17-18 show it was Yahveh speaking.

And also in Isaiah 41:4, RSV: “Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am He.” All of these scriptures show that Yahveh is the first and last. Christ is the Yahveh of the Old Testament.

Christ is the ROCK–the God of the Old Testament

In I Corinthians 10:4, the “Rock” of the Old Testament is called Christ: “For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (verse 4, RSV).

Notice also II Samuel 22:2-3, RSV: “He said, ‘The LORD [Yahveh] is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence.’ ” See also verse 32.

In Psalm 18:1-2, this same “ROCK” is Yahveh. When Moses was talking to Yahveh, and asked Him His name (Ex. 3:4-5, 13), He answered that His name was “I AM” (verses 6, 14) and Yahveh–the Eternal One (verse 15). See also Exodus 6:2-3.

In John 18:5-8, as soon as Jesus identified Himself to the mob led by Judas as “I AM” (the “he” in italics is added without inspiration, and was not in the original), they went backward and fell to the ground.

Again in John 8:56-58, Jesus called Himself “I AM.” For we read, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (verse 58).

The person of the Godhead who is our REDEEMER is Jesus Christ. John 4:42, RSV, contains this:

“They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the SAVIOR of the world.’ ”

“But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20, RSV). Read also Titus 2:10-14, Luke 1:68-69.

That Jesus, the Savior, is Yahveh. See Isaiah 49:26 and 60:16, where He–Yahveh–is also “the mighty One of Jacob” (to be OF Jacob means a son or descendant of Jacob)–the mighty One of all Jacob’s children.

Also, in Isaiah 48:17, Yahveh is called the Redeemer, and “the Holy One of Israel”–the One of Israel who is holy! The same is expressed in Isaiah 43:14: “Thus saith the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Also note the next verse (15): Yahveh is Israel’s Holy One, Creator of Israel, Israel’s King.

Now notice in Acts 3:14-15 that the Christ who was denied was the same “HOLY ONE”–Yahveh! “But ye denied the Holy and Righteous One … the Prince of life” (Panin). See also Acts 2:27 and Mark 1:24.

Christ was David’s shepherd

Who was David’s shepherd (Ps. 23:1)?

In John 10:11, Jesus said He was the Shepherd. Open your Bible also to Hebrews 13:20, RSV: “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep.”

Compare this text with I Peter 2:25, RSV, which says, “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” We also read: “Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory” (I Pet. 5:2-4, RSV).

It is JESUS CHRIST who is coming again in person as KING of kings to rule, and to RESTORE.

In Revelation 19:13-15, RSV, John writes: “He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God… . From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.”

And again John writes, “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb [Christ] will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Rev. 17:14, RSV).

The great Shepherd who is coming to RULE as King of kings is Yahveh.“And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God”–Yahveh or Christ! See Ezekiel 34:11, 30-31.

Now notice Isaiah 2:1-4 and Micah 4:1-4. “It shall come to pass … that the mountain [Kingdom] of the Lord’s [Yahveh’s] house shall be established in the top of the mountains [kingdoms]” –ruling the world. “And he [Yahveh–Christ] shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people,” and then they shall have PEACE.

In almost every Old Testament passage, the LORD Yahveh –the Eternal–is Jesus Christ. Clearly, Jesus is the God of the Old Testament.