There is nothing more important, more central, and so hotly disputed than the deity of Christ. Muslim’s believe that Jesus was a prophet, but not God; Mormons believe that Jesus became god distinct from the Father; Mahatma Gandhi believed Jesus to be a “great man”; atheists believe him to be anything from a great man, to a raving lunatic; and Christians believe Jesus to be Jehovah God incarnate.
So what did Jesus claim?
Jesus said “you are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM [He], you will die in your sins” (John 8:23-24). Jesus used Jehovah’s “I AM” covenant name, making His meaning explicitly clear: unless we believe that He is Jehovah God, we will die in our sins. Because of this the Jews picked up stones to kill Him for what they saw as blasphemy.
The claim today is that either Jesus never claimed to be God, and/or, that the prophets never gave the Messiah deity. Indeed, if Jesus came claiming to be God but the Scriptures never said the Messiah would be God, then Jesus would have been a imposter and a fraud; He would not have been the promised Messiah if His claims about Himself were found to contradict the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah.
So, as the Bereans were considered “more noble” because they tested daily everything that was preached to them according to the Word to find out whether or not it was from God, we must give a defense for our belief that Jesus is Yahweh incarnate. And we must remember that giving a defense for the faith we have in Christ is one of the chief tasks given to the Church (1 Timothy 3:15; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Peter 3:15), but to do so we must “study to show ourselves approved” (2 Timothy 2:15[NKJV]). Lazy answers and cliche’s are damaging to the Church because they show through. Clever debate tactics and mudslinging may win arguments, but they will not win souls. We must be able to reason from the wisdom and word of God with those we encounter so that they may receive the faith that is delivered to us by Jesus Christ through the Word of God.
Prefatory Note: if we answer this question only with an experience-based answer (i.e. “I know because He lives within me”), then we haven’t given a defense of Jesus as the promised Savior and Messiah; we have only stated that we have had some kind of mystical encounter, but that says nothing of Jesus Christ. Neither have we given a defense of the faith that will make “faith” possible in the ears of the hearer, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Thus, I put forth this question to answer: “Is Jesus Jehovah GOD?”
Herein is my defense for why I believe from the Word of God that Jesus is Jehovah God (this is my answer to questions like “did Jesus really claim to be God”, “why not call Jesus a prophet/great man”, “the Messiah was never prophesied to be God”, “there is only one God, so Jesus and the Father can’t both be God”):
Firstly, Old Testament prophecies demonstrate that the Messiah bears the names and titles of God:
- “God”: Deuteronomy 4:35 and 6:4 make it known that Jehovah alone is God; in Isaiah 9:6-7 the Messiah is given 5 names; “Wonderful”, “Counselor”, “Mighty God”, “Everlasting Father”, and “Prince of Peace”. See also John 1:1 and Romans 9:5.
- “Savior” & “Redeemer”: Isaiah 43:10-11 says that God alone is “savior”. Again in Isaiah 49:26, Jehovah reveals that by His judgment all living things will know that He alone is “savior” and “redeemer”. See Hosea 13:14, Luke 2:11, John 4:42, and Acts 5:31for further details.
- “Jehovah” (YHWH): Jeremiah 23:5-6 foretells the coming “Branch of Righteousness” and says “Now this is the name by which He will be called: Yahweh our Righteousness”. In the New Testament, Hebrews 1:8-12 also ascribes to Jesus Psalms 102:25-27.
- “I AM”: Exodus 3:14-15 ascribes this title to God. In John 8:23-24, Jesus said that unless you believe He is the “I AM”, you will die in your sins (see also John 8:58-59; 13:19; 18:5-8).
- “Alpha and Omega”: Isaiah 44:6 God takes upon Himself the Hebrew version of the Alpha and Omega, and in Revelation 1:8, 17-18; 2:8; 22:12-13, it is Jesus communicating that He is the Father by bearing the title Alpha and Omega in Himself.
- “King of kings and Lord of lords”: In Deuteronomy 10:17 God takes this title as God of gods and Lord of lords, furthering His message that there is only One God, and in Revelation 17:14 and 19:11-16, Jesus receives this title Himself.
The Scripture then witnesses that Jesus also receives the prerogatives of Deity:
- “Glory”: Isaiah 42:8-11 foretells the glory of God that rests upon the Messiah. We see this reflected in Jesus in John 17:5 and 17:24.
- “Worship”: Exodus 34:14 forbids giving worship to anyone else but God; Jesus refuted Satan in Matthew 4:10 with this commandment. But Jesus received worship at His birth (Matthew 2:2-11), after calming the storm (Matthew 14:31-33, and after His resurrection (Matthew 28:9-10).
- “Saving name”: in Joel 2:32 it was promised regarding the Messiah that “whoever calls on the name of Jehovah shall be saved”. Jesus was given the name by which men may be saved (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13); recall Isaiah 43:10-11 in which we’re told that only Jehovah is “Savior”.
- “Prayer”: Jesus is prayed to and through (John 14:13-14).
- “Faith”: Jesus is also believed on for salvation (John 3:16, 36; Acts 16:31).
- “Forgiveness of Sins”: in Isaiah 53:4-5, 10, and 12, it was foretold that atonement for sin would be made by the Messiah. Psalms 99:8 calls God by the name “God-Who-Forgives”.
Scriptures also demonstrates that Jesus possesses the incommunicable attributes of God:
- “Independence”: only God is all self-sufficient, therefore “aseity” belongs only to God (Ex. 3:14-15); but Jesus possesses aseity in Himself (John 5:26).
- “Eternity”: Micah 5:2 prophesies of the coming Messiah to arise out of Bethlehem and says that He is “from everlasting”. See also Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1-2, and Hebrews 7:3.
- “Immutability” (unchangeableness): Hebrews 13:8 ascribes to Jesus this immutability that is ascribed to Jehovah in Malachi 3:6.
Lastly we must consider Scripture’s witness showing that Jesus performed the works of God:
- “Creation”: Proverbs 8:27-31 uses the archetype of wisdom to illustrate the Christ and says that “When God prepared the heavens, I was there”. In Isaiah 44:24-28 “the Redeemer” is the one who stretched out the heavens “alone” and spreads abroad the earth below. See Job 9:8; John 1:3, 10; 1 Co. 8:6; Hebrews 1:2, 3:3-4 for further study on Christ as the Creator.
- “Judgment”: God alone may sit as the Judge to whom all things are accountable: Zechariah 14 foretells of the coming day of wrath and judgment that God will execute by “His right arm”. In Romans 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; and John 5:22, judgment is shown to be by Christ.
God’s word says in Romans 14:10 that we are all going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of ourselves to Jehovah God, who alone is God. Every soul will witness to God without excuse having His varied testimony to mankind according to His perfect wisdom. When you stand before God, if you have not acknowledged that Jesus is the “I AM”, you will die in your sins (John 8:24).
For further consideration, please see these videos: