Saturday, November 28, 2015
The Deity of Christ
There is no single topic as important as the doctrine of the deity of Christ! Get this one important fact wrong, and your doomed for all eternity! It has always been my main emphasis of study and focus when looking into the word of God through the study of scripture! Lately this focal point has been questioned, challenged, and denied even within the preterist community! What a shame and dissapointment! Preterists who I have held in great esteem have become an utter disappointment in this area! You would think that in the application of sound herminutics, this truth would not need to be challenged, but to my chagrin, it has proven to be a stumbling block for many who I would consider to be wise yet have stumbled in foolishness! Leaving many with a faith that has become shipwrecked, and devoid of truth!
“Professing to be wise, they became fools.” Rom.1:22
I remember many, many years ago, standing in opposition against many in the student center at college debating so called Christians and church groups who denied the deity of Christ! As the president of the campus Protestant Club, I was shocked at how many times this topic came into question and even ended up in heated debates! Fortunately, I was very successful in those debates in my defense. I never in my wildest imagination thought that I would see the day that I would have to defend this simple and basic tenant of our faith both then, and now! Sad to say, many Christian brothers and sisters who once held to the Deity of Christ have denied this truth in view of their eschatology! Eschatology does not need to redefine all areas of our faith! Over the next several weeks, I am going to share some of my studies on this fascinating topic in an effort to help build up your arsenal to defend this monumental truth!
Let me begin by first stating that historically speaking the deity of Jesus was never even challenged in the Christian church until about the year A.D. 190 when a Byzantine leather merchant (Shoemaker / tanner ) named Theodotus denied it! Of course the Judiazers and unbelievers challenged it from the beginning. But I’m speaking of members of the primitive church, those who professed to be Christian and were members of the church of the first couple of centuries. Of such we have both Oriegn of Alexandria Egypt (A.D. 185 -254) and Arius of Alexandria Egypt (AD.250-336) these are the most profound heretics of the early church! It is their repackaged teachings about the person and their anti-deity of Christ concepts that you get lectured on when visited by these so called Christian cults who come knocking on your door! It’s not new, it’s old and just the same old heresy the Christian church had to purge itself from at the end of the first century! It has since reared its ugly head many times being repackaged, renamed, retooled, and unfortunately, re-taught to those unable to discern the truth!
The first step we need to take in getting to the bottom of this conflict, is that we need to know what Christ said of Himself. Likewise, Jesus even said that He through the giving of the Holy Spirit would even later enlighten them with more knowledge that the Apostles were not ready to hear! Even the Apostle Paul would come to revelations of the identity of the person of Jesus and His deity, and write about it!
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” Jn.16:12-14 (NKJV)
So what in fact did Christ say of Himself pertaining to this topic? Did He say that belief in his deity was or is essential to salvation? Yes He did, and I think He made it abundantly clear!
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”John 8:24 (NKJV)
εἶπον οὖν ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν
I said therefore to you that you will die in the sins of you
ἐὰν γὰρ μὴ πιστεύσητε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις
if for not you believe that I AM you will die in the sins
Later in that very same chapter Jesus said:
Jn. 8:58 “Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί”
Truly, truly I say to you before Abraham was born I Am
Now what was the IMMEDIATE RESPONSE? (See Jn. 8:59)
ἦραν οὖν λίθους ἵνα βάλωσιν ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν
Took up therefore stones that to throw (they) upon Him
Why would they want to kill Him by stoning! Why? It’s because He claimed to be God! He literally claimed to be the “I Am” Who was, Who is, and Who always will be! In other words, Jesus said to them that when God spoke to Moses – it was actually Him at the burning bush in Exodus3:14! We will look at many other scriptures of Jesus claiming that He was God in the flesh throughout the upcoming studies, but I want to leave you with an example of the Spirit of truth who Jesus said would guide the apostles into all truth, and glorify Him. (Jn.16:14) Let's look at what the Apostle John wrote as enlightened, and inspired by the Holy Spirit:
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
In beginning was the Word and the Word was with the God and God was the Word. Jn.1:1
In the beginning Jesus was, meaning that as the Father existed eternally, He existed as well. This is clearly brought out in the second verse of John’s Gospel.
οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν
This one was in beginning towards the God. Jn.1:2
The Greek word πρὸς which means “toward” or “with” denotes direction as in being positionally towards something, looking to, moving to, relating to, showing that another personage is in view.
And yet this other one is also called God!The Apostle John never borrowed any of his terminology like “The Word” from Greek paganism, Greek thought, mythology, or philosophy! He used a term found right in his own Bible and theTargums! Notice that he states that the Word was in (the bosom of)God, (Jn.1:18; 14:18) with God, and was God! (Jn.1:1b.) This wordπρὸς shows us separation between the Word and another, namely God the Father, all the while both being the one God! Some like the Jehovah's Witnesses on the other hand, translate the end of this verse as: “and the word was a god.” Their rational is biased on the fact that there is no definite article before the word God (θεὸς ). I will answer that next week when we pick up this study next week. Thanks for your time and I hope you will join me again in the up and coming studies over the next several weeks