Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Honoring Christ as God


By Sam Shamoun

The Holy Bible ascribes to Jesus parity of honor and status with God the Father. In fact, the Lord himself taught that God’s express will is that everyone grant the Son the exact same honor that they give unto the Father:

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed ALL judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” John 5:22-23

What makes Jesus’ statements so remarkable is that, not only does he receive the same honor as God, but the inspired Scriptures also proclaim that God himself shall come to judge the entire world since all judgment belongs to him alone:

Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.” Deuteronomy 1:17

But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.” Psalm 9:7-8

before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.” Psalm 96:13

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

For Christ to therefore claim that all judgment has been given to him means that Jesus is essentially putting himself in the position and role of God himself.

This brings us to our next point. The sacred writings emphasize that Jehovah is the only God that mankind is to acknowledge and worship:

I am the Lord thy God (ego Kyrios ho Theos sou), which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me.” Deuteronomy 5:6-7

There shall be no strange god among you; neither shall you bow down to any strange god.” Psalm 81:9

Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord (Gr. ho Theos mou kai ho Kyrios mou). Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.” Psalm 35:23-24

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God (Gr. ho Basileus mou kai ho Theos mou): for unto thee will I pray.” Psalm 5:2

For all the peoples may walk, each in the name of his God, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God (Gr. Kyriou Theou hemon) forever and ever.” Micah 4:5

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God (Gr. Kyrios ho Theos mou).” Zechariah 13:9

And since the Father is depicted as God, in fact as the only true God,

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)” Galatians 1:1

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 2 Peter 1:17

It therefore comes as no surprise that Jesus and his disciples worshiped him as their God:

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:21-24

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto MY Father, and your Father; and to my God (Theon mou), and YOUR God (Theon hymon).” John 20:17

And yet we also see Jesus being worshiped by his disciples as well:

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeingJesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” John 9:1-7, 35-38

In these two passages, Christ is depicted as doing what the Hebrew Bible says only Jehovah can do, namely, trample over the seas and winds, and perform miracles such as giving sight to the blind:

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” Psalm 107:23-30

Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 35:3-6

In light of Jesus performing the very deeds that Jehovah carries out, it shouldn’t come as a shock to see the disciples worshiping the risen Christ as their God:

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said UNTO HIM (eipen AUTO), My Lord and MY GOD (ho Kyrios mou kai ho Theos mou). Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:26-29

Noted Evangelical NT Scholar Murray J. Harris brings out the significance and meaning of Thomas’ declaration of faith:

“On occasion Thomas's statement has been interpreted as an exclamation that expresses his praise to God for the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus: 'Praise be to my Lord and my God!' Fatal to this interpretation is the phrase said to him (i.e. Jesus) (eipen auto), which is clearly parallel to the surrounding verses: 'He [Jesus] said to Thomas' (v. 27) and 'Jesus said to him [Thomas]' (v. 29). What we have in verse 28 is not an ejaculation made in the hearing of Jesus but an exclamation actually addressed to him. In effect Thomas is saying, 'You are my Lord and my God.' He recognized that Jesus, now alive from the dead, was supreme over all physical and spiritual life ('Lord') and one who shared the divine nature ('God').

“Was Thomas's cry an extravagant acclamation, spoken in a moment of ecstasy when his exuberance outstripped his theological sense? Not at all. John records no rebuke of Jesus to Thomas for his worship. Jesus' silence is tantamount to consent, for Jews regarded the human acceptance of worship as blasphemous. Indeed, Jesus' subsequent word to Thomas, ‘you have believed’ (v. 29 a), implies that he accepted Thomas's confession of faith, which he then indirectly commends to others (v. 29b). Moreover, John himself has endorsed Thomas's confession, for it stands as his last and highest affirmation about Christ immediately before his statement of purpose in writing the Gospel (vv. 30-31).” (Harris, 3 Crucial Questions about Jesus [Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 1994], pp. 94-95; bold emphasis ours)

Thomas wasn’t the only one to confess Jesus as his God:

as we await the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of OUR GREAT GOD and Savior Jesus Christ (tou megalou Theou kai Soteros hemon ‘Iesou Christou), who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for Himself a special people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13-14 Modern English Version (MEV)

“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of OUR GOD and Savior Jesus Christ (tou Theou hemon kai Soteros ‘Iesou Christou). Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:1-2 MEV

Here again is Harris:

“Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 may be considered together, since both use a stereotyped formula, 'God and Savior,' in reference to Jesus. This was a common formula in first-century religious terminology, used by both Palestinian and Diaspora Jews in reference to Yahweh, the one true God, and by Gentiles when they spoke of an individual god or a deified ruler. In all of these uses the expressions God and Savior invariably denotes one deity, not two, so that when Paul and Peter employ this formula and follow it with the name Jesus Christ, their readers would always understand it as referring to a single person, Jesus Christ. It would simply not occur to them that 'God' might mean the Father, with Jesus Christ as the 'Savior.'” (Ibid., pp. 96-97; bold emphasis ours)

To say that such worship is astonishing would be putting it mildly since, as we saw earlier, the only God, Lord and Savior that an Israelite or any believer was/is supposed to confess and believe in is Jehovah God Almighty.

Therefore, the only way that the Father could ever allow for Jesus’ disciples to worship the risen Lord as their very God is if Christ is Jehovah God in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

That’s not all. The God-breathed Scriptures exhort believers to entrust their very lives to Jehovah alone since he is their God who delivers them from their calamites and preserves them forever:

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness… Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth… But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me… Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the graveO love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:1, 5, 14-15, 17, 23-24

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” Psalm 73:25

Jehovah is also the One who justifies or makes people righteous:

Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Isaiah 45:24-25

And yet according to the Christian Scriptures, believers are to entrust their souls to the risen Christ since he is the One that perfectly preserves all of his followers forever, having the power to grant them everlasting life and to save them from all their calamities:

And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last dayNo man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:39-40, 44

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30

I charge thee therefore before God, and THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, who shall JUDGE the quick and the dead at HIS APPEARING and HIS KINGDOMhenceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which THE LORD, the righteous JUDGE, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love HIS APPEARING At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding THE LORD stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And THE LORD shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 16-18

And it is Christ who justifies believers and makes them holy:

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Romans 5:18-19

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” 1 Corinthians 1:30

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:8-11

Moreover, Christ is the One whom believers are to call upon and pray to, since he is the Hearer of prayer:

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by meAnd whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:1-6, 13-14

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60

unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” 1 Corinthians 1:2

Astonishingly, Stephen and the first Christians prayed to Jesus in the exact same way that the OT saints prayed to Jehovah:

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Psalm 31:5

Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.” Psalm 99:5-7

Even more astonishing than the foregoing is the vision that John saw while in the Spirit, where he beheld every created being in existence worshiping the Lord Jesus in the same exact way that creations worships the Father:

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And EVERY CREATURE which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, AND ALL THAT ARE IN THEM, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, AND UNTO THE LAMB for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:8-14

This perfectly comports with what the blessed Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, where he ascribes to the risen Christ, 

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

The very honor that the prophet Isaiah said Jehovah Almighty shall one day receive from all the inhabitants of the earth:

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isaiah 45:21-23

The foregoing, leaves absolutely no doubt that Jesus is supposed to receive the exact same honor that the Father receives since he is one with the Father in essence, and therefore just as much God as the Father is.

Jesus Christ is Yahweh to the glory of God the Father. Amen and amen!

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural references taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.

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