The Person of Christ - 04 - The Diety of Christ in the Old Testament and Gospels

 

Chapter 4 - The Deity of Christ

In The Old Testament and the Gospels

Sydney Maxwell

 

Every spiritual mind will agree that there are areas of Divine truth, where it ill affords us to speak with dogmatism. However, the subject before us demands dogmatic statements, for the Scriptures are very emphatic regarding the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is absolutely necessary as we view every aspect of that One whom Paul describes as ?The Christ, Who is over all, God blessed forever, Amen? (Rom. 9:5, J.N.D.). The so-called Kenosis theory would have us believe that the Lord Jesus emptied Himself of the attributes of Deity. Whether it is in doctrine or even the language of hymns we must repudiate this and see it as a contradiction to the plain statements of Scripture.

 

The purpose of this article is to restate again the absolute Deity of that One who came from Heaven by way of the manger. We believe we must define Deity as essential nature, the Essence and Being of God. The Scriptures will attest to this with the utmost clarity. We will meditate on this great theme under some simple headings.

 

THE TRUTH OF HIS DEITY

 

It should be clear to us that if there is any doubt as to the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the whole foundation of our hope for heaven would crumble. The death of our Lord Jesus Christ is rendered ineffective if He is only a man. We recall the words of the late Mr. Win. Gilmour, ?God could not die, but the Man who died was God.? We bow our hearts in worship as we contemplate such a wonder. Our redemption depends upon it. Only One who is equal with God could have borne the judgment due to our sins. God owns Him as His fellow (Zech. 13:7). Our Lord confirms this Interpretation of this prophecy (Matt. 26:31). The Deity of the Lord Jesus is affirmed by patriarch (Gen.49:24), psalmist (Psalm 45:6, 110:1), and prophet (Isa. 7:14, 11:10). A threefold cord is not easily broken. We will note the contents of these references later.

 

TITLES OF HIS DEITY

 

In Psalm 24:7-10, the ?King of Glory? is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ coming back into the scene of His rejection and identified as the Lord of Hosts. Without reservation the Spirit of God describes the Saviour, giving Him a title that belongs to God alone (Psalm 59:5, 84:1,3,12). Psalm 45 gives Christ the title of King, and God addresses the King as God, with a throne that is unchangeable and unceasing (v.6). In Psalm 110:4 He is given the title of Priest, and that after a new order. The New Testament quotes both these Psalms as teaching the Deity of the Son (Heb. 1:8, 7:21). Additional evidence is found in the Gospels for the Lord quotes Psalm 110:1 as written of Himself (Matt. 22:41-45, Mark 12:41-44).

 

There are a cluster of titles in Isaiah emphasizing the Deity of that One Pilate described as ?the Man? (John 19:5). In Isaiah 6:3 He is again given the title, the Lord of Hosts. In chapter 7:14 He is both the Sign and the Son and His name is Immanuel. Matthew 1:23 interprets that wondrous name as ?God with us?. What condescending grace! The child who came to Bethlehem is God, visiting His creatures with blessing. In Isaiah 9:6 He is described as the ?child born?, and ?the Son given? and is called the Mighty God, and the Father of Eternity (R.V.). The Lord Jesus is the God of Might, He is the Eternal One, eternity itself proceeding from Him. In Isaiah 11:1 He is the shoot from Jesse but in verse 10 He is the root of Jesse. In humanity He comes from the root of Jesse, in Deity He is the One giving being to Jesse. In Isaiah 40:11 He is the Shepherd and yet is announced to the nations as God (v.9). In Daniel 2:34 He is the Stone cut out without hands. In Zechariah 13:7 He is Jehovah?s fellow (equal), and in the day of His descent to earth He will be known as ?The Lord my God? (Zech. 14:5). What wondrous unfolding of His Deity!

 

THE TESTIMONY OF HIS DEITY

 

We come now to the Gospel of John, sometimes called the golden Gospel because the radiant beams of Deity shine through its pages. The One predicted in the Old Testament is now presented for our meditation. In chapter one we are told that in the fellowship of the Godhead the Word was with God in His own unique Personality, and the Word was God as to His inherent Deity. The creation is attributed to His power, and a reference to Isaiah 37:16 will show that creation came from God Himself, so putting His Deity beyond all dispute.

 

We have the testimony of John the Baptist to His Deity. John says, ?He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for He was before me? (John 1:15, 27). This passage demands the Deity of the Lord Jesus because in verse sixteen He is the Reservoir of Divine Fulness. It is to be noted as well that Godhead cannot be revealed except by One who partakes of the same essence. (v.18).

We will seek to trace the Lord?s own testimony to His Deity. To His enemies He states His Deity emphatically (John 8:24) saying ?If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins?. Later in this same chapter He tells them, ?Before Abraham was, I am? (v.58). Again when they came to arrest Him He said ?I am?. The effect upon them was that they went backward and fell to the ground, without doubt on their faces in forced worship. This is the Divine Name of Jehovah, the great I Am. the eternally self-existent One. He is the great Jehovah Jireb, the provider and sustainer of Divine life (6:35), and He is the provider of light (8:12). He is Jehovah Ropheka, the Lord that healeth thee (9:5). What grace to the blind man! He is Jehovah Rohi, the shepherd giving His life for the sheep (10:11). We draw near to the tomb of Lazarus and hear Him speak as Jehovah Shalom, ?I am the resurrection and the life? (11:25). What peace it imparted to the sorrowing family at Bethany! This verse is a clear reference to the truth of I Corinthians 15:50-52. The physically dead shall live, and the living, wondrous possibility, shall never die.

 

THE TOKENS OF HIS DEITY

 

Such tokens are given, not in words, but in the signs of John?s Gospel that proved His Deity. He gladdens the wedding supper by turning the water into wine (John 2:1­11). Here we have His Omnipotence, an attribute of Deity. In chapter six He feeds the multitude and walks on the sea. In chapter nine He heals the blind man, and in chapter eleven He raises Lazarus. There are many passages where His Omniscience is evident (John 1:48, 2:25, 4:18). His Omnipresence is also stated (John 14:23, Matt. 18:20, 28:20).

 

We conclude this meditation on the lofty theme of His Deity. It is worthy of note, that in the opening verse of John?s Gospel the Word is God, and at the close (20:28) we have the testimony of a man as he worships, ?My Lord and my God.? May we too as we ponder the mystery of this wondrous truth, fall at His feet, and worship Him, who through eternity, will bear the marks of Calvary.

 

?In Thee most perfectly expressed,

The Father?s glories shine

Of the full Deity possessed,

Eternally Divine!?