The Person of Christ - 05 - The Deity of Christ Hebrews, 1st John and Revelation

Chapter 5 - The Deity of Christ
In Hebrews, 1st John and Revelation
Phillip Harding

 

We shall pursue this sublime subject with reverence, being deeply conscious of our limitations. We trust that our consideration of a few passages of scripture will suffice to draw out our hearts in wonder and adoration.

 

HEBREWS 1.

 

This chapter gives us one of the greatest unfoldings of the glories of Christ. The authoritative statements of Divine revelation are deliberate and dogmatic.

 

I.            DIVINE REVELATION THROUGH HIM - “spoken unto us in his Son” (v.2, R.V.). It is not that He is the instrument through Whom God speaks; but that God speaks in the character of Son. Thus the transcendent dignity of the One who brings this final revelation is emphasized. His revelation was complete not fragmentary; final not preparatory. God has fully expressed Himself in the character of Son, Who has appeared before men. The Omniscience of Christ establishes His Deity, for only One Who is Himself God could perfectly reveal God.

 

2.            DIVINE POWER DISPLAYED BY HIM - “by whom He made the worlds . . . upholding. all things by the word of His power     (vs.2, 3, & 10).

 

He is the Creator of the vast universe, the One who has made the ages, the Upholder and Controller of all things. According to His sovereign will and through His omnipotent power, “all things” were brought into being. All that exists owes its existence to Christ. There is a suggestion in the word “ages” (world, v.2, KJV). that not only does the universe owe its existence to Him, but that the very plan and arrangement of the different ages through which it has passed, is passing or will pass, have been determined by Him. As the Upholder of all things He is not only the Creator of the universe, but also the Originator and Lord of its laws, the Bond of its unity and the Axis of its harmony. Christ by His power upholds all things, and will continue to do so until they have reached the end He has determined for them. Such a display of omnipotence clearly proves His deity.

 

3.                  DIVINE GLORY MANIFESTED IN HIM - “the brightness of His glory” (v.3).

 

The word translated “brightness” signifies “to send or shine forth, as of a light radiating from a luminous body” (Vine). Christ is the effulgence, the outshining of God’s glory. One has said, “Christ, in His essential majesty, is the sole expression of Divine light”. The Divine glory, which was seen in the Shekinah Cloud resting on the Tabernacle, is now fully manifested in Christ, the True Shekinah. The glory of God, which no man can see and then live (Ex. 33:18-20), shines forth in its fulness and perfection in Christ. God, in Whom there is no darkness at all, is revealed in all His glory in Christ.

 

4.                  DIVINE ESSENCE BELONGING TO HIM -“the express image of His person” (v.3).

 

The word translated “express image” has the idea of a mark left by a seal the literal translation is, “the very impress of His substance.” So the Son “is both personally distinct from, and yet literally equal to Him, of whose essence He is the adequate imprint” (Vine). Our blessed Lord is God in essence and all the attributes of Godhead belong to Him; nothing less than this is necessary for Him to perfectly manifest God in His nature and character. No attribute of God was, is, or ever will be lacking in Him. Surely as the import of this bursts upon our souls, we shall bow in worship and adoration before our blessed Lord.

 

5.            DIVINE TITLES ASCRIBED TO HIM - “Thy throne, O God ... Thou Lord” (vs. 8-10).

 

a. The Majesty of His Person (vs. 8 & 9). In this quotation from Psalm 45 we have one of the most definite statements concerning the Deity of Christ. It is the Father who testifies to the Deity of the Son, and that testimony cannot be refuted. The very fact that He is God establishes that He is the Eternal and Supreme Sovereign. His kingdom shall know no end or change, since it is established on principles in keeping with His own nature.

 

b.         The Immutability of His Person (vs. 10-12). The quotation is from Psalm 102 where the name “Jehovah” is used and His immutability is emphasized. The Father addresses Him as “Lord,” bearing witness to His Deity, creative power, eternity and immutability. Immutability is an attribute of God alone all else changes, but He changes not. Everything is under His control and dependent upon Him, who is co-equal with the Father, self existent and the sole possesser of inherent life. Because He is immutable, His ability never abates, His character never changes, His faithfulness never fails, His perfections never perish and His virtues never vary.

I John 1. We shall consider only two statements which prove the Deity of Christ, the fact of which is plainly stated in chapter 5:20.

 

1.         THE ESSENCE OF LIFE - “The word of life ... that eternal life” (vs. 1-2).

Three things are presented to us in these statements:

 

a.         Christ is Himself Life- Life inherent (see I John 5:11). As the Father has eternal life essentially, unceasingly and independently of all others, so also has the Son, and as such He is the embodiment of Life.

 

b.         Christ is the Expression of Life Life illuminated. The Life was manifested and seen of men (v.2) - a direct reference to His life on earth, when He was the revelation of divine Life.

 

c.         Christ alone Imparts Life - Life imparted. To have the Lord Jesus Christ is to possess eternal life, for He is the source of that life. We cannot separate Life and the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the Fountainhead from which life eternal flows to all who trust Him.

 

2.         THE ETERNAL FELLOWSHIP - “that eternal life, which was with the Father    (v.2).

 

The preposition translated “with” signifies motion towards, giving the idea of two distinct Persons, co-existent with and in communion with each other. In chap. 4:8, 16, we read that God is love. This He is eternally and essentially; it is the essence of His nature. However, it is impossible for love to be self-contained, for love always flows out. Therefore, that love must eternally have an object which is eternal and capable of reciprocating that infinite love. We see from verse 2, that before the Eternal Life was manifested to men, that Eternal Life was with the Father. Thus the Son is viewed in the infinitely blessed activity of the Life that is inherent in Him. The Son was “with”the Father in the blessed activity of the eternal, infinitely satisfying communion of two Persons equal with each other. Thus in one sweeping statement, His eternity of being and equality with the Father is established. THE REVELATION. We shall look at two ways in which He is presented in this unveiling of Jesus Christ.

 

1. THE ETERNAL ONE - “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Chap. 22:13).

 

As the Alpha and Omega, He is the source and object of all revelation. As the Beginning and the End, He is the source and object of all creation. As the First and the Last, He is the source and object of all life, and as such He has unoriginated and underived self-existence. These three couplets express His Omniscience, Omnipotence and Eternity of Being. A consideration of Rev. 1:8 and Isaiah 44:6 will establish that what is true of the Father is true of Christ, and what is said of Jehovah is said of our blessed Lord.

 

2.         THE MAJESTIC ONE - “The throne of God and of the Lamb” (Chap. 22:1).

The one throne links God and the Lamb forever. From this throne, the centre of all things, Christ will reign in complete oneness with God. Yea, one said, “He reigns with God, He reigns for God. He reigns as God”. The mystery of the Person of Christ gives the assurance that in no way can God and the Lamb be separated. With wonder we see “the crucified One” upon the throne of God.

 

We trust that the result of our feebly tracing the Deity of our Lord in a few passages of Scripture, will result in an increased appreciation of His Person, a deeper affection for Him and a greater obedience to His Word.