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Divine Offices of Christ

Posted by David Cox on October 15, 2022
Posted in AnonymousDeity of Christ 

Introduction

Divine Offices

But we do not need to rest the case here. There is a third unanswerable line of proof that Jesus Christ is God, namely, all the distinctively Divine offices are predicated of Jesus Christ. There are seven distinctively Divine offices. That is to say, there are seven things that God alone can do, and each one of these seven distinctively Divine offices is ascribed to Jesus Christ. The seven distinctively Divine offices are: Creation, Preservation, Forgiveness of Sin, the Raising of the Dead, the Transformation of Bodies, Judgment and the Bestowal of Eternal Life, and each of these is ascribed to Jesus Christ.
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Bryan, W.J. – The Deity of Christ

Posted by David Cox on January 16, 2020
Posted in BDeity of Christ 

The Deity of Christ
by William Jennings Bryan (1860—1925)

This is a very short 1 chapter module by the famous constitutional lawyer, William Jennings Bryan (Presbyterian). In this work he defends the deity of Christ. Byran is known for his attacks against evolution and defending Creationism, as well his his politican efforts against alcohol, as well as a run for president of the United States.

When one considers that for nineteen hundred years the deity of Christ has been the cornerstone of the Christian church, it may seem strange to my readers that they need consider at this time the question: Was Christ God or just a man? But even a casual perusal of the pages of the religious press-not to speak of the secular press-will convince one that the issue between these two views of the Saviour is a very vital one.

There are in nearly all of the Bible-believing churches members, and even ministers-not many, but a few-who openly reject orthodox teachings in regard to Christ’s personality. Besides those who boldly dissent, there is a still larger group of timid doubters who cling to the orthodox terms but give these terms an interpretation which destroys their meaning.

Take, for instance, the word divinity as used in describing the supernatural element of Christ. Until recent years, one claiming to believe in the divinity of Christ would be accepted without question as a real worshiper of the Master. But in recent times some who regard Christ as merely a good man and a great teacher, but entirely human, acclaim His divinity, explaining that He was divine in the sense in which all men have something of divinity in them.

The interpretation which they give to the word divinity robs Christ of His Lordship and makes Him differ from men in general only in the degree to which He approached the perfection of the Heavenly Father.

This, of course, opens the way to as many different valuations of Him as there are members of the dissenting class.

According to the extent of their own apostasy and the courage with which they announced their views, Christ has been described as “the perfect man,” “the most perfect man,” “a man of rare virtue,” “an extraordinary man for His time,” “a teacher of repute,” and the like.

When once a follower of Christ departs from the highest conception of the Master, there is no logical stopping place until he reaches an entire repudiation of Christ as a supernatural being.

The only knowledge we have of Christ is found in the Bible, and a rejection of the Bible’s description of Christ invalidates the authority of every mention of Christ and of every quotation from His words.

One does not care to be guilty of an absurdity, yet it is an absurdity to say, as some do, in substance: “While the Bible writers falsify the record of Christ’s birth and Sonship, still I am willing to believe certain quotations from what Christ is reported to have said; and relying for my information upon these discredited authorities, I am inclined to think that Christ said some things which commend themselves to our judgment and are, therefore, wise.”

Of what value is such an endorsement of Christ?

A few have been frank enough to carry their logic to its ultimate conclusion and classify Christ with ordinary men-even below many men prominent in history.

For instance, a book was published entitled Confessions of an Old Priest, in which the author denies that Christ was born of a virgin, that He spoke words of supernatural knowledge impossible for other men, healed lepers, restored palsied limbs, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, and He Himself ascended from the tomb. He even goes so far as to say:

To the great treasure of human knowledge, it cannot be said that He (Jesus) added anything….In science, literature, government, economics, He seems to have been upon the same level as the average uneducated man of His time….He gave no counsel as to the right ordering of human affairs. He offers no cure or readjustment.

Proceeding, he asks, “Was He good?” and answers as follows:

As an example to copy, His manner of life will not serve….It does not furnish the material….I was driven to confess to myself that His teaching…not only could not but ought not to be followed.

This author thinks that the goal to which religion would seem to be moving is a church “freed from bondage to history, untrammelled by Scripture.”

What a Postmortem Reveals

This author said publicly what many preachers and professing Christians say privately while accumulating the courage necessary to enable them to defy criticism and break with former religious associates.

As a postmortem examination often reveals diseases that were not suspected during the life of the deceased, so confessions, after the repudiation of religion, often disclose an attitude of mind and heart that was concealed from the public for many years.

It is easy to understand why one would hesitate to distress religious associates until his doubts became stronger than his former convictions. It is also easy to respect the honesty of heart of those who prefer to endure criticism and the loss of Christian fellowship rather than profess what they do not believe. But it is not so easy to excuse those who continue to call themselves Christians after they have rejected all that is essential in Christianity and still more difficult to justify those who attempt to deny to a majority of the church-a very large majority-the right to determine the church’s position on matters of doctrine.

As The Watchman-Examiner said in an editorial: “The Bible and the Bible only can settle the questions at issue. Let fundamentalists and liberals come forth to battle armed with their Bibles.”

Scripture Declares Christ’s Deity

The Bible, from beginning to end, teaches the deity of Christ. In the Old Testament, His coming is foretold, and His divine character is plainly announced. Seven hundred years before His incarnation, Isaiah said He “shall be called…mighty God, The everlasting Father….Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” Isaiah describes also the substitutionary atonement of the promised Messiah.

Matthew announces the virgin birth of Jesus, who was to “save his people from their sins.”

Luke describes in greater detail the conception of Jesus by the Holy Ghost and says that “of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

The Gospel of John begins: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us [men].”

We are also told that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Joh 3:16).

John describes Him as “the only begotten of the Father” (Joh 1:14).

Paul describes Christ as “God… manifest in the flesh” (1Ti 3:16). Paul also says of Christ:
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

“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.”- Php 2:6-11.
Again the great apostle says, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Col 1:19) and “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9).

Christ laid claim to power that only God could possess.

In John’s Gospel we read:
“Jesus answered….

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

“Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”- Joh 8:54-58.
Here we have His own declaration as to His existence with the Father before He took upon Himself the form of man and offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, the people recognized that He spoke “as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

This assumption of authority was manifest in all His utterances. From the very beginning He not only spoke with authority, but He exercised authority, driving the money changers out of the temple because they had made His Father’s house a den of thieves; casting out devils and rebuking the devilishness in man, as when He brought an indictment against those who “devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer.”

Christ and God Identical

He not only declared His pre-existence with the Father, but He identified Himself even more intimately with the Father, saying, “I and my Father are one” (Joh 10:30). And again: “That ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him” (Joh 10:38). We have His word for it that He revealed the Heavenly Father to man:
“If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

“Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me.”- Joh 14:7-11.

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

“For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

“For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

“That all men would honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”- Joh 5:17-23.
That He has power to forgive sin is proven in Luk 5:24-25
“But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

“And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.”
The omniscience of Christ is declared by Paul: “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3).

His immutability is asserted: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb 13:8).

That Christ is to be the Judge of all, in Heaven as well as on earth, is the testimony of Paul: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2Co 5:10).

And also: “The Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom” (2Ti 4:1).

He is to be worshiped as God: “Let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb 1:6).

Christ is to be glorified as God: “To him be glory both now and for ever” (2Pe 3:18); “With all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1Co 1:2).

The dead will rise at His call:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

“…all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.”- Joh 5:25; Joh 5:28.
Peter, in reply to the question, “Whom say ye that I am?” answers, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”; to which the Saviour approvingly rejoins, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

His Deity Establishes Our Duty

The church’s commission-incomparably the greatest commission ever issued to any organization-could only have been announced by one of the Trinity.
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”- Mat 28:18-20.
These words were uttered by our crucified and risen Lord. He had passed through a sham trial and had been treated with a contempt seldom, if ever before, so despicably expressed; He had been mocked and jeered by those who believed Him to be merely a man-an incumberer of the earth at last removed forever; He had been crucified and buried; and then He had risen triumphantly from the grave and had appeared to His disciples and to others. This was His final communion with His followers.

His claim to power was without limit; His Gospel was for every human being; baptism was to be in His name also; His words were to live-every word-and be taught to everybody; He promised to be with His people always, even unto the end of the world; and in His hands was all the power in Heaven and earth.

True or False?

Christ’s claims to divinity were either true or false; there is no middle ground. It is not a question of interpretation, for the language is clear and unmistakable.

Robert E. Speer says:

The question of the deity of Christ is the question of the truth or falsehood of Christianity. Either Jesus was divine, God and man in one historic personality, or He was merely a man.

Was He an impostor? If so, He was the greatest impostor of all time. Think of it; an unlettered Galilean peasant perpetrating so stupendous a fraud for nearly twenty centuries on so large a fraction of the most intelligent of the world’s population!

Not an Impostor!

It is impossible that He should be thought an impostor. Even the Jews who rejected Him do not call Him an impostor; they think Him “deluded.”

The book Jesus, the Jew, contains the following passage:

Yet, these things apart, who can compute all that Jesus has meant to humanity? The love he has inspired, the solace he has given, the good he has engendered, the hope and joy he has kindled-all that is unequaled in human history.

Among the great and good that the human race has produced, none has even approached Jesus in universality of appeal and sway. He has become the most fascinating figure in human history. In him is combined what is best and most enchanting and most mysterious in Israel-the eternal people whose child he was.

The Jew cannot help glorying in what Jesus thus has meant to the world; nor can he help hoping that Jesus may yet serve as a bond of union between Jew and Christian, once his teaching is better known and the ban of misunderstanding is at last removed from his words and his ideal.

But could honest delusion produce a character who, in “the love he had inspired,” “the solace he has given” and “the hope and joy he has kindled” is “unequaled in human history”?

No, it is impossible to conceive of such a character acting under a delusion. If that were possible, then delusion would be a happier state than reason can create.

King of Kings!

But if not an impostor and if not deluded, how shall we explain Christ? As “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords,” as “the only begotten Son of God” who came down to earth and became flesh, suffered in man’s stead that man might be redeemed from the Fall, and is now at the right hand of God as man’s Intercessor.

Does it make any difference to the church whether it shall preach Christ, the Son of God, or Christ, the son of Joseph?

Yes, the same difference that there is between an infinite God and finite man. If Christ were but a man, He was but one among millions, and that, too, handicapped by false pretense if He were an impostor or by an inexcusable mistake if He were deluded. But if Christ was as the Bible proclaims Him to be, a part of deity, separated from the Father for a few brief years and now reigning with God through eternity, He stands alone among the leaders of men and is the only Saviour as well.

Is it material to the church what its doctrine is to be on this subject? Yes, it determines whether the church is to be a stagnant pool or a living spring-a fountain that pours forth a refreshing and invigorating flood of “the water of life.”

A pool is a pool because it receives from the sloping sides around it and gives forth nothing. A spring is a spring because it is connected with a source that is higher than itself-it is just an outlet for the waters that flow through it from above.

Can there be any doubt as to the effect upon the church of an abandonment of the Bible’s view of Christ?

It is not a matter of prophecy; it is a matter of history. There have always been a few who tried to exalt the human side of Christ while rejecting the divine side, but they have made no headway. Such a doctrine has furnished a refuge for some dissenters who were reluctant to give up Christ entirely, but there has been no propaganda in such a doctrine. It does not beat back the boundaries of heathenism or stir men to the sacrifices that are necessary to the spread of religion.

The story of Jesus, the Son of God, has been translated into every tongue and has been read as if it were actually spoken in the language in which it is read. The story of a man-child named Jesus, if just a worker of magic or a self-deceived visionary, would not have survived the generation in which He lived.

To be a living, vital force, a civilizing influence and a spiritual power, we must be true to the Christ of the Bible. Apostasy means death to the church and despair to civilization, for civilization finds its only hope in the regenerating power of the blood that flowed from Calvary and in the illumination that comes from the Heaven-born wisdom of “the only begotten Son of God.”

Testimonies to Jesus as God

Posted by David Cox on April 13, 2019
Posted in AnonymousDeity of Christ 

[chapter:OT Testimonies] [chapters:300,right]

The very name of “Jesus” means Jehovah is Salvation.

“And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape” (John 5:37). The miracles performed by our Lord were not the only nor the most direct evidence which proved His Deity. The Father Himself had borne witness. The majority of the commentators refer this to the baptism of Christ, when the Father’s voice declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” But we scarcely think this is correct. Immediately following, our Lord went on to say, “Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” What, then, would be the force of Christ here appealing to the Father’s witness at the Jordan if these detractors of His had not heard that Voice? Personally, we think that Christ refers, rather, to the witness which the Father had borne to His Son through the prophets during Old Testament times. This seems to give more meaning to what follows—the Old Testament economy was characterized by an invisible God, neither His voice being heard, nor His shape seen.  Arthur Pink – Exposition of the Gospel of John, Chapter 19.

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (John 5:4546). Our Lord concludes by intimating to these Jews that they would yet have to give an account of their rejection of Him before the tribunal of God, and there they would see as their accuser the great legislator of whom they boasted, but whose testimony they rejected. Here, then, was the final reason why they would not come to Him for life—they believed not the written Word of God.

“There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” How solemn and searching is this! If there is one thing those Jews thought they believed, it was Moses and his writings. They contended earnestly for the law: they venerated the name of Moses above almost all of their national heroes. They would have been ready to die for what Moses taught. And yet here is the Son of God solemnly declaring that these Jews did not believe Moses, and furnishing proof by showing that if they had really believed Moses’ writings they had believed in Christ, of whom Moses wrote. How terribly deceptive is the human heart! “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). O, dear reader, make certain that you believe, really, savingly believe on the Son of God.

“But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:47). How this exposes the “Higher Critics!” If they believe not the writings of Moses, no matter what their ecclesiastical connections or religious professions, it is sure proof that they are unsaved men—men who have not believed in Christ. The Old Testament Scriptures are of equal authority with the teaching of Christ: they are equally the Word of God.  Arthur Pink – Exposition of the Gospel of John, Chapter 19.

[chapter:NT Testimonies] [chapters:300,right]

The NT apostles and disciples captured the mission and person of Jesus Christ. Here we see a multitude of testimonies but all of them center on a few central key concepts that was widely shared, and emphatically preached by the NT Church.

Essentially the situation was this: First, the one nerve of the whole matter is that these Christian men had been saved from sin. Seize that fact with all your strength, or you will never comprehend this mighty battle. Second, this salvation from sin they absolutely associated with Jesus Christ and his atonement. Third, they had inherited their Saviour’s own interpretation of the relation existing between his redemptive work and the intrinsic peculiarity of his person. Fourth, this consciousness of our Lord they found essentially repeated in the whole body of apostolic experience, the repetition gaining in force and completeness from first to last.

Fifth, this inheritance from Christ and his apostles exactly fitted and satisfied their own Christian consciousness which was resultant from their own Christian experience. Sixth, out of this combination of features they had gained a conception of Christ which they spontaneously expressed by worshiping him even as they worshiped God. This is a fair practical statement of the inner situation; and it all can be gathered up into a sentence: While up to this time they had no metaphysical view (the most of them) of Jesus Christ, yet, in their redemptional experience, they so regarded him that their hearts went out to him in full worship. Olin Alfred Curtis (1850-1918) – The Christian Faith chapter 16 (1905)

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). This is the last witness which our Lord cites, and, for us, it is the most important. John has long since passed away; the “words” of Christ are no longer before men’s eyes; the voice of the Father is no more heard; but the testimony of the Scriptures abides. The Scriptures testified of Christ, and affirmed His Deity. Their witness was the climax. The Holy Writings, given by inspiration of God, were the final court of appeal. What importance and authority does He attach to them! Beyond them there was no appeal: above them no higher authority: after them no further witness. It is blessed to note the order in which Christ placed the three witnesses to which He appealed in proof of His equality with God. First, there was the witness of His own Divine works. Second, there was the witness which the Father had borne to Him through the prophets. Third, there was the testimony of the Holy Scriptures, written by men moved by the Holy Spirit. Thus in these three witnesses there is a remarkable reference made to each of the three Persons in the Holy Trinity.

“Search the Scriptures” was both an appeal and a command. It is to be read, as in our A.V., in the imperative mood. The proof for this is as follows: First, the usage of the word. The Bible is its own interpreter. If scripture be compared with scripture its meaning will be plain. In John 7:52 we find the only other occurrence of the Greek word (ereunao) in John’s Gospel, here translated “search”; “They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” When the Pharisees said to Nicodemus “Search and look,” they were bidding him search the Scriptures. Thus, in both instances, the word has the imperative and not the indicative force. Again; to give the verb here the indicative force in John 5:39 is to make the first half of the verse pointless; but to render it in the imperative gives it a meaning in full accord with what precedes and what follows. “For in them ye think ye have eternal life.” The pronoun “ye” is emphatic. The word “think” does not imply it was a doubtful point, or merely a matter of human opinion. It is rather as though Christ said unto them, ‘This is one of the articles of your faith: ye think (are persuaded), and rightly so; then act on it. Search the Scriptures (in which you are assured there is eternal life) and you will find that they, too, testify of Me.’ The word “think” does not imply a doubt, but affirms an assurance. (Cf. Matthew 22:42, etc.).

“Search the Scriptures.” Here is a command from the Lord. The authority of His Godhood is behind it. “Search,” He says; not merely “read.” The Greek word is one that was used in connection with hunting. It referred to the hunter stalking game. When he discovered the tracks of an animal, he concentrated all his attention on the ground before him, diligently searching for other marks which would lead him to his quarry. In a similar way, we are to study God’s Word, minutely examining each expression, tracing every occurrence of it, and ascertaining its meaning from its usage. The grand motive for such earnest study is, that the Scriptures “testify” of Christ. May writer and reader give daily heed to this Divine admonition, to “Search” the Scriptures.  Arthur Pink – Exposition of the Gospel of John, Chapter 19.

[chapter:God the Father’s witness to God the Son] [chapters:300,right]

As we pass from chapter to chapter it is ever needful to keep in mind the character and scope of this fourth Gospel. Its chief design is to present the Divine glories of Christ. It was written, no doubt, in its first and local application to refute the heresies concerning the person of the Lord Jesus which flourished toward the end of the first century. Less than fifty years after the Lord departed from these scenes and returned to His Father in heaven, the horrible system of Gnosticism, which denied the essential Deity of the Savior, was spread widely throughout those lands where the Gospel had been preached. Whilst it was generally allowed that Christ was a unique personage, yet, that He was “equal with God” was denied by many. Nor is that very surprising when we stop to think how much there was which would prove a stumbling block to the natural man.

Outwardly, to human eyes, Christ appeared to be an ordinary man. Born into a peasant family; cradled amid the most humble surroundings; carried away into Egypt to escape the cruel edict of Herod, and returning later, only to grow to manhood’s estate in obscurity; working for years, most probably, at the carpenter’s bench—what was there to denote that He was the Lord of Glory? Then, as He began His public ministry, appearing not as the great of this world are accustomed to appear, with much pomp and ostentation; but, instead, as the meek and lowly One. Attended not by an imposing retinue of angels, but by a few poor and unlettered fishermen. His claims rejected by the religious leaders of that day; the tide of popular opinion turning against Him; the very ones who first hailed Him with their glad Hosannas, ending by crying, “Away with him: crucify him.” Finally, nailed in shame to the cruel tree; silent to the challenge to descend from it; and there breathing out His spirit—that, that was the last the world saw of Him.

And now by the year A. D. 90 almost all of His original disciples would be dead. Of the twelve apostles who had accompanied Him during His public ministry, only John remained. On every side were teachers denying the Deity of Christ. There was thus a real need for an inspired, authoritative, systematic presentation of the manifold glories of His divine person. The Holy Spirit therefore moved John—the one who of all the early disciples knew Christ best, the one whose spiritual discernment was the keenest, the one who had enjoyed the inestimable privilege of leaning on the Master’s bosom to write this fourth Gospel. In it abundant evidence is furnished to satisfy the most credulous of the Deity of the Lord Jesus. It is to the written Word God now refers all who desire to know the truth concerning His beloved Son, and in it are presented the “many infallible proofs” for the Godhood of our blessed Redeemer. Chiefest of these are to be found in John’s Gospel.

In the chapter we are now studying we find record of a remarkable miracle performed by the Lord Jesus which signally displayed His Divine power. He had singled out a most hopeless ease and by a word had made whole, instantly, one that had suffered with an infirmity for thirty and eight years. Because this miracle had been performed on the Sabbath day, the Jews persecuted the Lord Jesus. In gracious condescension the Lord replied to their criticism by giving them a sevenfold declaration of His equality with the Father. This we examined at some length in maintaining it, so immeasurable is the blessing when received, so tremendous is the stake involved in its loss, God has vouchsafed us the amplest, clearest, fullest evidence.

“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true” (John 5:31). Every commentator we have consulted expounds this verse as follows: The witness which I have just borne to Myself would not be valid unless it is supported by that of others. The law of God requires two or three witnesses for the truth to be established. Therefore if I bear witness of Myself, says Christ, and there is none to confirm it, it is “not true,” i.e., it is not convincing to others. But we most humbly dissent from any such interpretation. The word of a mere man does need confirmation: but not so that of God the Son. To affirm or suggest that His witness must be ratified by the testimony of others so as to establish its validity, is deeply dishonoring to Him. And we are both amazed and saddened that such a view should be put forth by many excellent men.

“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” The key to this verse lies in what has gone before. Divorce it from its context, and we must expect to find it difficult; but examine it in our last chapter; now, in the passage before us, we find that He closed by bringing in the evidence of various unimpeachable witnesses who testified to the veracity of His claims. In view, then, of what is to be found here, there can be no excuse whatever for ignorance, still less for unbelief, upon this all-important subject. So bright was Christ’s glory, so concerned was the Father in the light of its setting, and all becomes clear. This verse simply reiterates in another form what we find the Savior saying at the beginning of the previous verse, can of mine own self do nothing” means, I cannot act independently of the Father: I am so absolutely one with Him that His will is My will; mine, His. So, now, He declares, “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” He speaks hypothetically—”if.” “I bear witness of myself” means, If I bear witness independently of the Father. In such a case, “my witness is not true.” And why? Because such would be insubordination. The Son can no more bear witness of Himself independently of the Father, than He can of Himself work independently of the Father.

“There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true” (John 5:32). This explains the previous verse and confirms our interpretation of it. The “other” who is here referred to as “bearing witness” of Him, is not John the Baptist, as some have strangely supposed, but the Father Himself. Reference, not appeal, is made to John in verses 33, 34. Observe now that our Lord did not here say, “There is One that beareth witness of me” and His witness is true, but “there is another that beareth witness of me.” He would no more dissever the Father and His witness from Himself, than He would bear witness to Himself independently of the Father. This is strikingly confirmed by what we read in John 8: “The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true… Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me” (verses 13-16).

“Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth” (John 5:33). Here our Lord reminds “the Jews” (verse 16) how, when they had sent an embassy unto His forerunner (see John 1:19), that he “bear witness unto the truth.” Notice the abstract form in which this is put. Christ did not say, “He bear witness unto me,” but “unto the truth.” This witness is recorded in John 1:20-27. First, John confessed that he was not the Christ, but simply “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord.” Then, he testified to the presence of One in their midst whom they knew not, One of whom he said, “He it is, who coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” Such was the Baptist’s witness to the delegates of these same Jews.

“But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved” (John 5:34). The Son of God continues to occupy the same high ground from which He had spoken throughout this interview. “I receive not testimony from man” shows that He had not appealed to the witness of John in confirmation of His own declarations. His purpose was quite otherwise: “These things I say, that ye might be saved.” The witness which John had borne to “the truth” was fitted to have a salutary effect on those who heard him. John’s testimony was a merciful concession which God had made to the need of Israel. Christ Himself did not stand in need of it; but they did. God sent His messenger before His Son to prepare the way for Him. His ministry was designed to arouse men’s attention and to produce in them a sense of their deep need of the One who was about to be manifested.

“But I receive not testimony from man.” This word “receive” is explained to us in verse 44 where it is interchanged with “seek.” It means to lay hold of, or grasp at. Christ would not bemean Himself by subpoening human witnesses. His claim to be equal with God rested on surer ground than the testimony of a man. But He had reminded these Jews of what John had said to their representatives on an earlier occasion, and this that they “might be saved,” for salvation comes by believing God’s “witness unto the truth.”

“He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light” (John 5:35). This was most gracious of Christ. John had given faithful witness to the One who was to come after him; and now the Son of God bears witness to him. A beautiful illustration is this of the promise that if we confess Christ before men, so He will yet confess us before God. “A burning and shining light”—more correctly, “lamp,” see R.V.—the Lord calls him. Burning inwardly, shining outwardly. John’s light had not been hid under a bushel, but it had shone “before men.” Ah! dear reader, will the Savior be able to say of you, in a coming day, “He was a burning and shining lamp”? Is the light that is within thee “burning” or is it just flickering? Is your lamp “trimmed,” and so “shining,” or is it shedding but a feeble and sickly glow? Great is the need for burning and shining “lamps” in the world today. The shadows are fast lengthening, the darkness increases, and the “midnight” hour draws on apace. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:1112).

“And ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light” (John 5:35). This provides us with an illustration of the stony-ground hearers of the parable of the Sower. Concerning this class Christ says, “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while” (Matthew 13:2021). Such were these Jews: “for a season” they rejoiced in John’s light. But the difference between real believers and mere professors is not in how they begin but how they end. “He that endureth to the end shall be saved”: enduring to the end is not a condition of salvation, but an evidence of it. So, again, when Christ says, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed:” continuing in Christ’s word is a proof that we are His disciples. We take it that which caused these Jews to “rejoice’’ for a season in John’s light, was the testimony which he bore to the Messiah, then about to appear. This was good news indeed, for to them this meant deliverance from the Roman yoke and the destruction of all their enemies. But when the Messiah was actually manifested He instead announced that He had come to save the lost, and when He demanded repentance and faith, their joy soon faded away.

“But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5:36). Here is the first witness to which Christ appeals in proof of His Deity. His “works” bore unmistakable witness to Him. He gave hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, sight to the blind, cleansing to the leper, deliverance to the captives of the Devil, life to the dead. He walked the waves, stilled the wind, calmed the sea, He turned water into wine, cleansed the Temple single-handed, and fed a great multitude with a few loaves and fishes. And these miracles were performed by His own inherent power. To these works He now directs attention as furnishing proof of His Deity. Quite frequently did He appeal to His “works” as affording Divine testimony: see John 10:253814:1115:24.   Arthur Pink – Exposition of the Gospel of John, Chapter 19.

 

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Jesus’ sonship as a testimony to his Deity

Posted by David Cox on December 23, 2018
Posted in AnonymousDeity of Christ 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses turn the phrase, “Son of God” to mean someone who is inferior to, and after (created) the Father. This is not valid in the light of the teaching of Scripture. Some people wish to make this a minor issue of no importance. 1 John 4:15 it says, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God”. In other words, our confession of Jesus as our Savior which opens salvation to us is specifically a confession of the man Jesus to be the Deity, the Son of God. In Peter’s interchange with Christ, he says…

Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Christ asserts that Peter’s confession of Jesus as the “Son of God” is the foundation of the Church.

If this confession of Jesus as the “Son of God” is so importance as to hinge salvation upon it, then we have understand and place proper importance on the true meaning of this phrase, “the Son of God.”

What does the phrase “son of something” mean?

The phrase “Son of God” occurs in 46 verses in the New Testament (plus an adjective before God in Mark 5:7John 6:69), and only in Dan 3:25 in the OT.

Consider these phrases:

Num 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent”
1Sam 20:30 “thou son of the perverse rebellious woman”.
1Sam 25:17 “for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him”
Eccl 10.17 “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles”
Jer 49:18 “Sodom and Gommorrah… no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it”
Eze 2:1 “he said unto me, Son of man”

This small selection of OT verses where “son of somebody or something” is used shows us that the person who is the son has the character or essence of the father.

The phrase “son of something” is commonly used in the Bible to indicate that a person has the character and essence of someone or something else. If this is a person, for example King David, then the “son of David” means that the person is in the blood line of David, one of his sons. The idea being is that a son has the same character, quality, and essence of his father. When the Bible uses the phrase “son of God” it means that the person (Jesus) has the essence and being of the Father. What the Father is (God), so is His Son (God).

“Besides, it is forgotten, when such language (Son of Man, Son of God) is used, that in biblical phrase the name Son of God supposes nothing which Gen 6:2Job 1:62.1Ps 82:6Hos 1:10Mat 5:9Luke 6:3520:36Gal 3:26

We will now consider other scriptures that support this truth. Here it is necessary to find scriptures where the abstract concept of sonship is the subject matter. It is not sufficient to look at places where the name “Son of God” is mentioned because, as we have seen, it is common to identify a person by a name or title even when referring to occasions when the person did not possess that designation. All the scriptures which say that the Father sent the Son do not prove to those who hold the temporal sonship theory that the Lord was the Son before He was sent, because, they say, the Divine Persons were not known by any distinct names before the incarnation, and therefore can only be referred to by the names they took afterwards.

Hebrews 5: 8. “Though He were Son”. There is no definite article before Son; it is characteristic, and the relationship of Sonship is the prominent thought. “Though He were Son, yet learned He obedience”. As the Son, the experience of obedience was unknown to Him, and so He learned what that experience was by the things that He suffered. In this passage we see that the idea of obedience and subjection was foreign to His Sonship. This is the opposite to the doctrine of temporal sonship which maintains that His Sonship is to be identified with subjection. No, it is not as the Son that He learned obedience, but in spite of His being such. The reason a man is subject and inferior to his father in human relationships is that the son is always the junior, the father obviously being born first. To argue from this that the Lord’s Sonship denotes subjection is plainly wrong for there can be no seniority between Divine Persons. It is another example of trying to understand the Infinite by a comparison with the finite.

Now turn to John 1: 14. The literal translation is “We beheld His glory, the glory of an only begotten with a father”. The glory is that of the abstract relationship rather than that of the Person Himself, that is to say, the glory in this passage is specifically that of His Sonship. This glory shone through the veil of His flesh so that His disciples recognised it. It was His Divine glory.

This will be immediately challenged by those who deny His eternal Sonship. They will say that it is His moral glory, which He had as the Perfect Man. We will, therefore, test this by searching the Scriptures. When those who had to do with Him in His life here were constrained to confess Him as the Son of God, what made them do so? Was it His moral glory or His Divine glory? Let us look at the incidents involved.

(1) Nathanael (John 1: 49) confessed Him as the Son of God and King of Israel. It was His omniscience that opened His eyes. The Lord had shown that He knew some secret that only Nathaniel could have known.

(2) The disciples in the boat. (Matthew 14: 33). The Lord had just shown His Divine power as the Creator and Sustainer of all things, walking. on the water and stilling the wind and the waves. Here we have Him as the omnipotent One.

(3) Martha (John 11: 27). The Lord had just revealed Himself as the Source of Life. Only God is the Source of Life. All other beings receive their life through Him.

(4) The man blind from birth (John 9: 35-38). Here the man is told directly from the Lord Who He is. It is the man’s reaction that is noteworthy as he immediately worships the Son of God showing that he recognised His Deity; for the Lord accepted his worship as offered intelligently. We can contrast this with the man in Matthew 19: 16-17 who said “Good Master”. At once the Lord checked him, because he had ascribed something to Him that only applied to God, without realising that the One he was speaking to was indeed God.

(5) The Centurion (Matthew 27: 54Mark 15: 39). Here the reasons for the centurion’s confession are plainly stated. In Matthew it was due to the severe earthquake, the rending of the rocks and the opening of the tombs. In Mark it is specifically stated that it was due to the Lord’s shouting with a loud voice just before He gave up His spirit. This was remarkable to the centurion who had no doubt seen large numbers of such executions. A man crucified gets weaker and weaker until he cannot speak above a whisper. Here was One who could shout with a loud voice just before He died, showing supernatural strength. It was, therefore, not His moral glory that convinced the centurion, but His Divine glory, as was the case in all the foregoing cases.

We will refer to Peter’s great confession in Matthew 16: 16 and John 6: 69 later.

We are therefore fully justified in asserting that the Lord’s Sonship denotes His Deity and does not pertain to His lowly dependence and obedience as the Perfect Man. A possible reason why some think that the glory of John 1: 14 is moral and not Divine, is the words that immediately follow: “full of grace and truth”. We are sure, however, that the Authorised Version is correct in putting the clause “and we beheld His glory, the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father” in brackets. The words “full of grace and truth” refer to the statement before the parenthesis: “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us”. The parenthesis is put in to show that in spite of the veil of flesh, the Divine glory shone through for His own to see. In saying all this we are not wishing to infer that moral glory is not included in Divine glory for “God is Light”. The idea that we are opposing is that it was exclusively His moral glory as seen in manhood.  Dronsfield, W.R.  – Eternal Son of the Father, Chapter 2

The phrase “Son of God” is exclusively used of Jesus as God

Sons [ben H1121] of God
“Sons of God” = Spirit celestial beings? – Gen 6:4 (Note see Luke 20:36 for a possible clarification)

Children [G5207 huios] of God
Mat 5:9 “peacemakers” in beattitudes; [G3700 huios] Luke 20:36 those participating in the resurrection “neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels; and are the children [G5207 huios] of God, being the children of the resurrection
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Children [G5043 teknon] of God
John 11:52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Rom 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
1Jn 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

Use of the Phrase “Son of God”

“Son of God” is used 48 times in 47 verses (Dan. 3:25Matt. 4:368:2914:3326:6327:404354Mk. 1:13:1115:39Lk. 1:353:384:39418:28;22:70Jn. 1:34493:185:259:3510:3611:42719:720:31Acts 8:379:20Rom. 1:42 Co. 1:19Gal. 2:20Eph. 4:13Heb. 4:146:67:310:291 Jn. 3:84:155:51012f20Rev. 2:18).

Mat 8:29 the demons “what have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Judgment)
Mat 14:33 “came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God” (Worship)
Mat 16:16 “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Being Christ)
Mat 26:63 “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” (Deity)
Mat 27:40 “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (God Power)
Mat 27:43 “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now… for he said, I am the Son of God” (Special relationship with God)
Luke 1.35 “that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (divinity)
John 1:34 “I bare record that this is the Son of God” (Something noteworthy)
John 1:49 “Rabbi thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (Ruler of God’s people)
John 3:18 “condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Perdition for not believing Jesus is Son of God)
John 5:25 “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live” (power to resurrect the dead)
John 10:36 “Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (Deity)
John 19:7 “by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God” (Deity)
John 20:31 “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (Salvation)
Acts 8:37 “If thou believest… I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Salvation)
Heb 4:14 “a great high priest… Jesus the Son of God” (Heavenly Intercession and Priesthood)
1John 5:12 “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (Salvation or Eternal Perdition)

Conclusion

Even though the phrase “sons of God” (huios) is used in the New Testament, it would seem to refer to those who are born again Christians. But the phrase “Son of God” has a very different connotation because it is clearly used as though the understanding is deity, the Messiah.

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
John 5:23 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 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

The point here is that Jesus clearly used the concept that he is the Son of God. At the end he actually uses this phrase to describe himself. The Jews understood this teaching as making Jesus to be God, fully equal with God, Deity. When the Jews use the phrase “son of”, it did not generally mean subordination but rather equality with and identity with the nature of somebody. When the Jews understood his teaching as being equal to God, Jesus did not deny this conclusion and correct their teaching, but rather he defends it. This is situation is again repeated in John 10:30-39.

Jesus’ Sonship means inherit power, right, and authority

It is very important to see that the Scriptures does not use the concept “Son of God” in Hebrew basically, but does use it in Greek. In Greek we have several words for a child. Brephos is a child that is still in the womb, or recently having been born. The focus is on the child’s relationship and closeness to his birth. Paul refers to Timothy’s learning of Scriptures from his childhood 2 Tim 3:14-15 and uses this word here. Another Greek word for child is nepios which is generally used for children at or around age two. The word means without speech, but making noise, and is the word for our English “toddlers”. Paul uses this concept in Eph 4:14when Paul exhorts them NOT TO BE THESE KIND OF CHILDREN. Toddlers are known for being unstable and falling down frequently, and they frequently talk a lot and say nothing, and they don’t really know what they are doing. The word technon is a general word for child between brephos and nepios, and refers to a small child.

The phrase “son of God” is always a different Greek word, huios. This concept does not mean you are a minor child of somebody. It means you are the one who receives the inheritance and control over all that the father has. It means heir of everything. In Bible times, they were not very equable by our ideas today. Instead of a father splitting his goods equally between his children, one child got it all. That child took over the ranch, farm, business, of the father, and continued it essentially taking the father’s place. That child had to continue to take care of his mother, as well as all of his brothers and unmarried and widow sisters. The sisters of this chosen child were to be taken care of much as he would care for his mother. They were not slaves, nor queens (not working). The brothers were people of importance in the business of the family, managing, and administrating things. Rom 8:17 indicates that the saved will be joint heirs with Christ, but our position with Christ is not going to be exactly equal with Christ. We will be in the administration of Christ, ruling with him, but we are never given equality with Christ.

 

32.03.07.02D Christ’s unique relationship with God the Father

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John 1:18 “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He was explained Him” .

Torrey, RA – What the Bible Teaches#Subordination of the Son to the Father
Flavel – The Covenant of Redemption between the Father and the Redeemer (s)
Flavel – The amazing love of God in giving his own Son for us (s)