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The Reformation Herald Online Edition

Jesus, Fully God

Digging Into Doctrine
Jesus, Fully God
A compilation of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy passages, with comments
D. P. Silva
Jesus, Fully God

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ is God in the fullest sense of the word. Some of the main characteristics of the Godhead are: Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence. There are abundant evidences of the divinity of Christ. Let us consider some scriptures:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Here, the Messianic prophet mentions several attributes of Christ, but we will consider just two of them: Mighty God, and Everlasting Father. Maybe this Scripture is one of the most powerful to identify Christ as God. However, there are many other biblical evidences.

Let us compare John 1, verses 1-3, 14, with Genesis 1, verses 1, 2, 26, and 31.

“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 anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John declares that the Word was in the beginning. This Word was with God. This Word was God. All things were created by Him. In Him was life. The Word was made flesh. God became man.

Now, let us consider Genesis chapter 1.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (verse 1). John declares that the Word was with God in the beginning, and that the Word took active part in creation. In Genesis 1:2 Moses says that the Holy Spirit also was present at the creation of the Universe. Then we have: God the Father, God the Word that became flesh (John 1:1, 14), and the Holy Spirit.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Verse 26).

In this Scripture, God said, “Let US make man.” Here we have strong evidence that more than one Divine Agent took part in creation.

In Colossians chapter 1, in referring to Jesus Christ, the apostle explains, “by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell” (Colossians 1:16–18).

Reading the entire passage from Colossians we learn that in Christ we are translated from the power of darkness into His kingdom, we have redemption in His blood shed on the cross of Calvary and that Christ is the image of the invisible God. He created all things in heaven and on earth, He is before all things and by Him all things consist, He is the Head of the body, the church, and in Him is the fullness of the Godhead.

Now, let us consider Philippians 2:5–8 in different Bible versions:

New International Version (NIV): “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death—even the death on a cross.”

Holman CSB: “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.”

In his letter to the Hebrews also, Paul makes clear the full divinity of Christ with these words:

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands” (Hebrews 1:1–10, emphasis supplied).

In these Bible verses, we find strong declarations about the divinity of Christ. Paul affirms that: Christ is the main revelation of God’s character and through Him God created the universe (verses 1 and 2), He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His Person; He upholds all things by His word; He is greatly superior to the angels, since He created them all; The Father commands the angels to worship Christ. Since only God can be worshiped, this is a clear evidence of the divinity of Christ (Revelation 19:10); the Father addresses Jesus Christ as God (verse 8) and Christ laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are works of His hands.

In his letter to Titus, Paul refers to Christ as “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2:13). The same expression is used by Peter when he starts his second letter: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).

In Psalm 50, Asaph describes the second coming of Christ with these majestic words:

“The mighty God [the same expression used in Isaiah 9:6 in regard to Christ], even the Lord, has spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people” (verses 1–4).

“The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they will behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore—humbled Himself to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His Father’s face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on Calvary’s cross. That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe.”1

Some of the most vital attributes of the Godhead—that He is eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, unchangeable, and sinless—are all attributes of Christ. Let us focus on some of these:

1. Eternal

The title of “Everlasting Father” applied to Christ in Isaiah 9:6 has much to do with His attribute as the “eternal One.”

“Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God. . . . In speaking of his pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him.”2

“[Christ] was equal with God, infinite and omnipotent. . . . He is the eternal, self-existent Son.”3

“While God’s Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding His pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with His Father. . . . Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God.”4

“Christ shows [the Jews] that, although they might reckon His life to be less than fifty years, yet His divine life could not be reckoned by human computation. The existence of Christ before His incarnation is not measured by figures.”5

2. Omnipresent

The hand that sustains the worlds in space, the hand that holds in their orderly arrangement and tireless activity all things throughout the universe of God, is the hand that was nailed to the cross for us.

The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. “The Lord’s throne is in heaven” (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present.”6

In His interview with Moses at the “burning bush,” Christ identified Himself as the “I AM”: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14).

“It was Christ who from the bush on Mount Horeb spoke to Moses saying, ‘I AM THAT I AM. . . . Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.’ Exodus 3:14. This was the pledge of Israel’s deliverance. So when He came ‘in the likeness of men,’ He declared Himself the I AM. The Child of Bethlehem, the meek and lowly Savior, is God ‘manifest in the flesh.’ 1 Timothy 3:16. And to us He says: ‘I AM the Good Shepherd.’ ‘I AM the living Bread.’ ‘I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.’ John 10:11; 6:51; 14:6; Matthew 28:18. I AM the assurance of every promise. I AM; be not afraid. ‘God with us’ is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven.”7

Talking with the Jews, “with solemn dignity Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM’ (John 8:58).

“Silence fell upon the vast assembly. The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed as His own by this Galilean Rabbi. He had announced Himself to be the self-existent One, He who had been promised to Israel, ‘whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity’ (Micah 5:2, margin).”8

I am means an eternal presence; the past, present, and future are alike to God. He sees the most events of past history, and the far distant future with as clear a vision as we do those things that are transpiring daily. . . . God gives us an opportunity to exercise faith and trust in the great I AM.”9

Christ used the title “I AM” both before the incarnation (Exodus 3:14) and after it (John 8:58).

God cannot change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

The idea that Christ lost His omnipresence after incarnation implies the thought that He lost an attribute of the Godhead. In this case He would not be fully God anymore, which is impossible.

Let us consider for a moment the experience of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1–45). Even though Christ was far from the house of Lazarus, He saw what was happening. “Apparently Mary and Martha and the dying Lazarus were left alone. But they were not alone. Christ beheld the whole scene, and after the death of Lazarus the bereaved family was upheld by His grace.” 10

In spite of His human nature, Christ preserved His omnipresence. Let us consider other biblical examples:

Christ promised His presence among His followers even when two or three would meet in His name (Matthew 18:20).

When leaving His disciples in order to return to Heaven, He assured them: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

“Go to all nations, He bade them. Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe, but know that My presence will be there. Labor in faith and confidence, for the time will never come when I will forsake you.”11

At baptism, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, man is laid in his watery grave, buried with Christ in baptism, and raised from the water to live the new life of loyalty to God. The three great powers in heaven are witnesses; they are invisible but present.”12

Observe this point: The three great powers in heaven (God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit) are present at baptism. How could this be? By the omnipresence of all three. Even though Christ keeps His humanity, He never lost any attribute of Divinity.

“The three great and glorious heavenly characters are present on the occasion of baptism…All heaven is represented by these three in covenant relationship with the new life.”13

“The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, powers infinite and omniscient, receive those who truly enter into covenant relation with God. They are present at every baptism, to receive the candidates who have renounced the world and have received Christ into the soul temple.”14

Speaking of the relationship between Christ and His church, the apostle Paul refers to “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, . . . and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:19–23).

This last expression mentioning the fullness of Him that filleth the church includes His omnipresence.

3. Omniscient

As a Divine Being, Jesus is omniscient. During His ministry on earth, He gave plenty of evidence that He knows everything—even secret thoughts and unknown lives. Some examples:

In the experience of forgiving and healing the paralytic, Christ was confronted with the criticism of the scribes and Pharisees, who “said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:3, 4).

Reading the hearts of the people is one of attributes included in the Omniscience that belongs to God alone. And Christ is God.

In another experience, Christ was accused by the same group of Pharisees that he expelled demons by the power of Beelzebub. Matthew wrote that “Jesus knew their thoughts” (Matthew 12:25).

Another remarkable experience happened between Christ and Nathanael, when the latter asked: “Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee” (John 1:48). “He who saw Nathanael under the fig tree will see us in the secret place of prayer.”15

4. Omnipotent

As God, Christ possesses all the attribute of the Godhead—and omnipotence is one of them.

What did Christ say about His omnipotence?

In the Gospel Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus declared: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (verse 18). This quotation doesn’t mean that He lost His divine power during His incarnation, but that He would never use it for Himself. Now, after His resurrection He took possession of it.

One of the most remarkable manifestations of His divine power is regarding the control of life and death. He explained: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:17, 18).

And Paul describes: “Unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). “For in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9, 10). The apostle also refers to “our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).

“[Before His ascension,] Christ assured His disciples that He would be with them; and that if they would go forth in faith, they should move under the shield of Omnipotence. He bade them be brave and strong; for One mightier than angels would be in their ranks—the General of the armies of heaven. He made full provision for the prosecution of their work and took upon Himself the responsibility of its success. So long as they obeyed His word, and worked in connection with Him, they could not fail. Go to all nations, He bade them. Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe and be assured that My presence will be with you even there. Labor in faith and confidence; for the time will never come when I will forsake you. I will be with you always, helping you to perform your duty, guiding, comforting, sanctifying, sustaining you, giving you success in speaking words that shall draw the attention of others to heaven.”16

We thank the Lord that we have a Saviour who is fully God, and able to save the uttermost. He is not just a human being trying to save another human being. He is fully divine, and, as a man, He developed a perfect character that is imputed and imparted to all who trust in Him.

An appeal to our hearts

“What a price has been paid for us! Behold the cross, and the Victim uplifted upon it. Look at those hands, pierced with the cruel nails. Look at His feet, fastened with spikes to the tree. Christ bore our sins in His own body. That suffering, that agony, is the price of your redemption. The word of command was given: ‘Deliver them from going down to perish eternally. I have found a ransom.’

“Know you not that He loved us, and gave Himself for us, that we in return should give ourselves to Him? Why should not love to Christ be expressed by all who receive Him by faith as verily as His love has been expressed to us for whom He died?

“Christ is represented as hunting, searching, for the sheep that was lost. It is His love that encircles us, bringing us back to the fold. . . . Let us praise Him, not in words only, but by the consecration to Him of all that we are and all that we have.”17

References
1 The Great Controversy, p. 651. [Emphasis supplied.]
2 The Signs of the Times, August 29, 1900.
3 Evangelism, p. 615.
4 The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906.
5 The Signs of the Times, May 3, 1899.
6 Education, p. 132. [Emphasis supplied.]
7 The Desire of Ages, pp. 24, 25.
8 Ibid., pp.469, 470. [Emphasis supplied.]
9 Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, p. 21. [Emphasis supplied.]
10 The Desire of Ages, p. 528. [Emphasis supplied.]
11 Ibid., p.822. [Emphasis supplied.]
12 The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1074. [Emphasis supplied.]
13 Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, p. 389.
14 The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1075. [Emphasis supplied.]
15 Ibid., p.141. [Emphasis supplied.]
16 The Acts of the Apostles, p. 29. [Emphasis supplied.]
17 Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 479, 480.