FALSE DOCTRINE: Jesus is Lord but not God
Exodus 3:13-15 (HCSB)
13 Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them?” 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.
John 8:48-59 (HCSB)
48 The Jews responded to Him, “Aren’t we right in saying that You’re a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 “I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor My Father and you dishonor Me. 50 I do not seek My glory; the One who seeks it also judges. 51 I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death—ever!” 52 Then the Jews said, “Now we know You have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death—ever!’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?” 54 “If I glorify Myself,” Jesus answered, “My glory is nothing. My Father—you say about Him, ‘He is our God.’—He is the One who glorifies Me. 55 You’ve never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don’t know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.” 57 The Jews replied, “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.” 59 At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex.
So in the Exodus passage, when Moses asked God what he should tell the Israelites God’s name was, God said, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you”, and then in the John 8 passage, Jesus told the questioning Jews, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am’. In other words, Jesus was claiming to be the same God who sent Moses to the Israelites and therefore the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God Jacob. What else could Jesus have possibly meant by stating, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am’?
The fact that the Jews picked up stones to throw at him shows that they clearly understood the ramifications of what Jesus was saying. They understood that Jesus was claming to be Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. This is why they thought Jesus was guilty of blasphemy and why they thought he deserved to be stoned.
John 18:1-6 (HCSB)
1 After Jesus had said these things, He went out with His disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, and He and His disciples went into it. 2 Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with His disciples. 3 So Judas took a company of soldiers and some temple police from the chief priests and the Pharisees and came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to Him, went out and said to them, “Who is it you’re looking for?” 5 “Jesus the Nazarene,” they answered. “I am He,” Jesus told them. Judas, who betrayed Him, was also standing with them. 6 When He told them, “I am He,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.
In this passage, the phrase ‘I am He’ has the same meaning as the phrase, ‘I Am’ that Jesus used earlier (in John 8) and both of these phrases have the same meaning as the phrase, ‘I Am’ that God used in Exodus.This explains why the people stepped back and fell to the ground. They understood that Jesus was saying, ‘I am Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And maybe they even believed Him. Why else would they step back and fall to the ground?
John 1:1 (HCSB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 (HCSB)
14 The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In John 1:1, John clearly states that the Word was in the beginning, was with God and was God. Then a few verses later John equates ‘Jesus’ to ‘the Word’. So John is clearly stating that Jesus was in the beginning, was with God and was God. What else could John have possibly meant by saying that The Word was God and that Jesus was The Word?
John 5:16-18 (HCSB)
16 Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” 18 This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill Him: not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
Think about it. As humans we all started out as sons or daughters of our fathers. So at first, we were not ‘equal to’ our fathers but were ‘less than’ our fathers because we were not fully grown people yet. In other words, we were not yet ‘equal’ to fully grown humans. When we became men or women we became ‘equal to’ our fathers in that we were fully grown people. So the fact that Jesus said He was ‘the Son of God’ meant that one day He would be ‘equal to’ God, therefore ‘making Himself equal with God’.
John 14:7-11 (HCSB)
7 “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” 8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.
John 20:27-29 (HCSB)
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” 28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”
After Thomas put his finger into Jesus’ side and looked at Jesus’ hands, he said:, ‘My Lord and My God!’. One might say that that does not prove anything because Thomas could have just been confused. But Jesus’ response to Thomas’ response validates his statement. If Jesus was not claiming to be God, he would have most certainly and swiftly corrected Thomas for saying that He was God. Is this what happened? No. Instead, Jesus responds, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”
It is interesting that all of the New Testament passages we have listed so far that make the claim that Jesus is God are from the apostle John (either in his own words or quoting Jesus’ or someone else’s words). Perhaps John ‘specialized’ in this topic of Jesus being God. But was he the only apostle who claimed that Jesus was God?
The writer of Hebrews states:
Heb 1:1-3 (HCSB)
1 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His] Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe. 3 He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word.
The apostle Paul states:
Col 1:15-20 (HCSB)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; 16 because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. 19 For God was pleased [to have] all His fullness dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross — whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Col 2:9-10 (HCSB)
9 For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
Titus 2:11-13 (HCSB)
11 For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Phil 2:5-6 (HCSB)
5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.
Are there any Old Testament prophecies that predict that the coming Messiah would be God?
Isaiah 9:6 (HCSB)
6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.