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Torrey, R.A. – The Deity of Jesus Christ

Posted by David Cox on January 22, 2020
Posted in Deity of ChristT  | Tagged With:

[firstchapter:Title: The Deity of Jesus Christ] [chapters:300,right]

by R. A. Torrey

In this 8 Chapter work, Torrey presents us with the Divine names, attributes, and offices that are applied to Jesus. Other chapters are the equivalence of Jesus and Jehovah, the linkage between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Worship to be given to the Son, and incidental proofs.

Contents

Introduction (this page, below)

1. Divine Names

2. Divine Attributes

3. Divine Offices

4. OT Statements Jehovah= Jesus

5. Linkage of Names for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

6. Divine Worship to be Given to the Son

7. Incidental Proofs of the Deity

8. Conclusion

 

[chapter: Introduction] [chapters:300,right]

“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?…” Matt. 22:41-42.

The question that our Lord Jesus puts here to the Pharisees is the most fundamental question concerning Christian thought and faith that can be put to anybody in any age. Jesus Christ Himself is the center of Christianity, so the most fundamental questions of faith are those that concern the Person of Christ. If a man really holds to right views concerning the Person of Jesus Christ, he will sooner or later get right views on every other question. If he holds a wrong view concerning the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is pretty sure to go wrong on everything else sooner or later. “What think ye of Christ?” That is the great central question; that is the vital question.

And the most fundamental question concerning the Person of Christ is — is Jesus Christ really God? Not merely, is He Divine, but, is He actually God? When I was a boy, to say you believed in the Divinity of Christ meant that you believed in the real Deity of Christ, that you believed that Jesus was actually a Divine Person, that He was God. It no longer means that. The Devil is wise, shrewd, and subtle, and he knows that the most effectual way to instill error into the minds of the inexpert and unwary is to use old and precious words and put a new meaning into them. So when his messengers masquerading as “ministers of righteousness” seek to lead, if possible, the elect astray, they use the old precious words, but with an entirely new and entirely different and entirely false meaning. They talk about the Divinity of Christ, but they do not mean at all what intelligent Christians in former days meant by it. Likewise, they talk of the atonement, but they do not mean at all the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ in our place by which eternal life is secured for us. And oftentimes when they talk about Christ, they do not mean at all our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the actual historic Jesus of the four gospels; they mean an ideal Christ, or a Christ principle.

So our subject is not the Divinity of Christ, but the Deity of Christ; and our question is not, is Jesus Christ Divine, but rather, is Jesus Christ God? Was that Person Who was born in Bethlehem nineteen hundred and twenty-one years ago, and Who lived thirty-three or thirty-four years here upon earth as recorded in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Who was crucified on Calvary’s cross, Who rose from the dead the third day, and was exalted from earth to heaven to the right hand of the Father — was He God manifest in the flesh, was He God embodied in a human being? Was He, and is He, a Being worthy of our absolute faith and supreme love and our unhesitating obedience and our wholehearted worship, just as God the Father is worthy of our absolute faith and supreme love and unhesitating obedience and our wholehearted worship? Should all men honour Jesus Christ even as they honour God the Father (John 5:23). Not merely is He an example that we can wisely follow, or a Master whom we can wisely serve, but is He a God Whom we can rightly worship? I presume that most of us do believe that He was God manifest in the flesh and that He is God today at the right hand of the Father, but why do you believe so? Are you so intelligent in your faith, and therefore, so well-grounded in your faith that no glib talker or reasoner, no Unitarian or Russellite (JW) or Christian Scientist or Theosophist, or other errorist can confuse you and upset you and lead you astray?

It is important that we be thoroughly sound in our faith at this point and thoroughly well-informed, wherever else we may be in ignorance or error, for we are distinctly told in John 20:31 that “these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” It is evident from these words of the inspired apostle John that this question is not merely a matter of theoretical opinion, but that it is a matter that concerns our salvation. It is to confirm and instruct you in your blessed faith, your saving faith in Jesus Christ as a Divine Person.

When I studied the subject of the Divinity of Christ in the theological seminary, I got the impression that there were a few texts in the Bible that conclusively proved that He was Divine. Years later I found that there were not merely a few proof texts that proved this, but that the Bible in many ways and in countless passages clearly taught that Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh. Indeed, I found that the Doctrine of the Deity of Jesus Christ formed the very warp and woof of the Bible.

[chapter: Divine Names] [chapters:300,right]

The first line of proof of the absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus is that many names and titles clearly implying Deity are used of Jesus Christ in the Bible, some of them over and over again, the total number of passages reaching far into the hundreds. Of course, I can only give you a few illustrations at this time. Turn with me first of all to Revelation 1:17, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.” The text shows clearly that our Lord Jesus was the speaker, and here our Lord Jesus distinctly calls Himself “The First and the Last.” Now this, beyond a question, is a Divine name, for in Isaiah 44:6 we read, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” In Revelation 22:12,13, our Lord Jesus says that He is the Alpha and Omega. His words are, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Now in this same book in the first chapter and the eighth verse the Lord God declared that He is the Alpha and the Omega. His words are, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” In I Corinthians 2:8, the apostle Paul speaks of our crucified Lord Jesus as “The Lord of glory.” His exact words are, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” There can be no question that “The Lord of glory” is Jehovah God, for we read in Psalm 24:8-10, “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” And we are told in the passage already referred to that our crucified Lord Jesus was the King of glory; therefore, He must be Jehovah.

In John 20:28 Thomas addressed the Lord Jesus as his Lord and his God: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” Unitarians have endeavored to get around the force of this utterance made by Thomas by saying that Thomas was excited and that he was not addressing the Lord Jesus, but was saying “my Lord and my God” as an ejaculation of astonishment, just the way that profane people sometimes use these exclamations today. But this interpretation is impossible and shows to what desperate straits the Unitarians are driven, for Jesus Himself commended Thomas for seeing it and saying it. Our Lord Jesus’ words immediately following those of Thomas are, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

In Titus 2:13 our Lord Jesus is spoken of as our “great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” In Romans 9:5 Paul tells us that “Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” The Unitarians have made desperate efforts to overcome the force of these words, but the only fair translation and interpretation of these words are found in our Authorized Version. There can be no honest doubt to one who goes to the Bible to find out what it actually teaches, and not to read his own thought into it, that Jesus is spoken of by various names and titles that beyond a question imply deity, and that He in so many words is called God. In Hebrews 1:8 it is said in so many words, of the Son, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” If we should go no further it is evidently the clear and often repeated teaching of the Bible that Jesus is really God.

[chapter: Divine Attributes] [chapters:300,right]

But there is a second line of proof that Jesus Christ is God, a proof equally convincing, and that is, all the five distinctively Divine attributes are ascribed to Jesus Christ, and “all the fulness of the Godhead” is said to dwell in Him. There are five distinctively Divine attributes, that is, five attributes that God alone possesses. These are Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Eternity and Immutability. Each one of these distinctively Divine attributes are ascribed to Jesus Christ.

First of all, omnipotence is ascribed to Jesus Christ. Not only are we taught that Jesus had power over diseases and death and winds and sea and demons, that they were all subject to His word, and that He is far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come (Eph. 1:20-23), but in Hebrews 1:3 it is said in so many words that He “[upholdeth] all things by the word of his power.”

Omniscience is also ascribed to Him. We are taught in the Bible that Jesus knew men’s lives, even their secret history (John 4:16-19), that He knew the secret thoughts of men, knew all men, knew what was in man (Mark 2:8; Luke 5:22; John 2:24,25), which knowledge we are distinctly told in 2 Chronicles 6:30 and Jeremiah 17:9-10, that God alone possesses. We are told in so many words in John 16:30 that Jesus knew “all things,” and in Colossians 2:3 we find that in Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Omnipresence is also ascribed to Him. We are told in Matthew 18:20 that where two or three are gathered together in His Name, that He is in the midst of them, and in Matthew 28:20 that wherever His obedient disciples should go, He would be with them, even unto the end of the age, and in John 14:20 and 2 Corinthians 13:5 we are told that He dwells in each believer, in all the millions of believers scattered over the earth. In Ephesians 1:23 we are told that He “filleth all in all.”

Eternity is also ascribed to Him. We are told in John 1:1 that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In John 8:58 Jesus Himself said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Note that the Lord Jesus did not merely say that “before Abraham was I was,” but that “before Abraham was, I AM,” thus declaring Himself to be the eternal “I AM.” Even in the Old Testament we have a declaration of the eternity of the Christ who was to be born inBethlehem. In Micah 5:2 we read, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” And in Isaiah 9:6 we are told of the child that is to be born, “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.” And in Hebrews 13:8 we are told, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

His immutability is also taught in the passage just quoted from Hebrews, and in the first chapter of the same book, in verses eleven and twelve, we find that while even the heavens change, the Lord Jesus does not change. The exact words are, “They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as cloth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

Each one of the five distinctively Divine attributes were ascribed to our Lord Jesus Christ. And in Colossians 2:9 we are told in so many words, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily [in a bodily form].” Here again we might rest our case, for what has been said under this heading, even if taken alone, clearly proves the absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. It shows that He possesses every perfection of nature and character that God the Father possesses.

[chapter: Divine Offices] [chapters:300,right]

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.

Creation is ascribed to Him. In Hebrews 1:10 these words are spoken of our Lord: “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” The context clearly shows that the Lord addressed is the Lord Jesus. In John 1:3 we are told that “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Preservation of the universe and of everything is also ascribed to Him in Hebrews 1:3 where it is said of the Lord Jesus, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person [God’s], 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.”

The forgiveness of sin is ascribed to Him. He Himself says in Mark 2:5-10 when His power to forgive sins was questioned, because that was recognized as a Divine power, “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.”

The future raising of the dead is distinctly ascribed to him in John 6:39,44, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The transformation of our bodies is ascribed to Him in Philippians 3:21. In 2 Timothy 4:1 judgment is ascribed to Him. We are told that He shall “judge the quick and the dead.” Jesus Himself declared that He would be the judge of all mankind and emphasized the fact of the Divine character of that office. In John 5:22,23 He said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” The bestowal of eternal life is ascribed to Him time and time again. In John 10:28 He Himself says, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,” and in John 17:1,2, He says, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” Here then, we have the seven distinctively Divine offices all predicated of Jesus Christ. This alone would prove that He is God, and we might rest the case here, but there are still other proofs of His absolute Deity.

[chapter: OT References to Jesus as Jehovah] [chapters:300,right]

Statements Which in the Old Testament Are Made Distinctly of Jehovah, God, Taken in the New Testament to Refer to the Lord Jesus Christ

The fourth line of proof of the absolute Deity of Jesus Christ is found in the fact that over and over again statements which in the Old Testament are made distinctly of Jehovah, God, are taken in the New Testament to refer to Jesus Christ. We have not time to illustrate this at length, but will give but one illustration where many might be given. In Jeremiah 11:20 the prophet says, “But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.” Here the prophet distinctly says that it is Jehovah of Hosts Who judgest and triest the reins and the heart. And in the 17th chapter and the tenth verse Jeremiah represents Jehovah Himself as saying the same thing in these words, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” But in the New Testament in Revelation 2:23 the Lord Jesus says, “…I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” We are distinctly told in the context that it is “The Son of God” who is speaking here. So Jesus claims for Himself in the New Testament what the Lord in the Old Testament says is true of Himself and of Himself alone. In very many other instances, statements which in the Old Testament are made distinctly of God the Father, are taken to refer to Jesus Christ. That is to say, in New Testament thought and doctrine, Jesus Christ occupies the place that God the Father occupies in Old Testament thought and doctrine.

[chapter: God the Father and Son coupled as equals] [chapters:300,right]

The Way the Name of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son Are Coupled Together

The fifth line of proof of the absolute Deity of our Lord is found in the way in which the name of Jesus Christ is coupled with that of God the Father. In numerous passages His name is coupled with the name of God the Father in a way in which it would be impossible to couple the name of any finite being with that of the Deity. We have time for but a few of the many illustrations that might be given. A striking instance is in the words of our Lord Himself in John 14:23 where we read, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Here our Lord Jesus does not hesitate to couple Himself with the Father in such a way as to say “We,” that is, God the Father and I, will come and make our abode with him. In John 14:1 He said, ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” If Jesus Christ was not God, this is shocking blasphemy. There is absolutely no middle ground between admitting the Deity of Jesus Christ and charging Christ with the most daring and appalling blasphemy of which any man was ever guilty.

[chapter: Divine Worship to be Given to Jesus Christ] [chapters:300,right]

There is a sixth line of proof of the absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus. Those already given have been decisive, each one of the five have been decisive, but this, if possible, is the most decisive of them all, and that is that we are taught in so many words that Jesus Christ should be worshipped as God, both by angels and men. In numerous places in the gospels we see Jesus Christ accepting without hesitation a worship which good men and angels declined with fear and which He Himself taught should be rendered only to God (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:52; Matt.14:33; Acts 10:25,26; Rev. 22:8,9; Matt. 4:9,10). A curious and very misleading comment is made in the margin of the American Standard Revision upon the meaning of the word translated “worship” in these passages, and that is that “the Greek word translated worship denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a ‘creature’ or to the ‘Creator.”‘

Now this is true, but it is utterly misleading; for while this word is used to denote “an act of reverence paid to a creature” by idolaters, our Lord Jesus Himself distinctly says, using exactly the same Greek word, “thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” and on the other hand he says in John 5:23 that “all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the father.”

And in Revelation 5:8-13 the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders are represented as falling down before the Lamb and offering worship to Him just as worship is offered to Him that sitteth upon the throne, that is, God the Father. In Hebrews 1:6 we are told in so many words, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”

One night in the inquiry room inChicagoI stepped up to an intelligent looking man at the back of the room and said to him, “Are you a Christian?” He replied, “I do not suppose you would consider me a Christian.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “I am a Unitarian.” I said, “What you mean then is that you do not think that Jesus Christ is a person that should be worshipped.” He replied, “‘That is exactly what I think,” and added, “the Bible nowhere says we ought to worship Him.” I said, “Who told you that?” He replied, “My pastor,” mentioning a prominent Unitarian minister in the city ofBoston. I said, “Let me show you something,” and I opened my Bible to Hebrews 1:6 and read, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” And he said, “Does it say that?” I handed him the Bible and said, “Read it for yourself,” and he read it and said, “I did not know that was in the Bible.” I said, “Well it is there, isn’t it?” “Yes it is there.” Language could not make it plainer. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus, the Son of God, is to be worshipped as God by angels and men, even as God the Father is worshipped.

[chapter: Incidental Proofs of the Deity of Jesus Christ] [chapters:300,right]

The six lines of proof of the Deity of Jesus Christ which I have given you leave no possibility of doubting that Jesus Christ is God, that Jesus of Nazareth is God manifest in a human person, that He is a being to be worshipped, even as God the Father is worshipped. But there are also incidental proofs of His absolute Deity which, if possible, are in some ways even more convincing than the direct assertions of His Deity.

1. Our Lord Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Now any one that makes a promise like that must either be God, or a lunatic, or an impostor. No one can give rest to all who labor and are heavy laden who come to him unless he is God, and yet Jesus Christ offers to do it. If He offers to do it and fails to do it when men come to Him, then He is either a lunatic or an impostor. If He actually does it, then beyond a question, He is God. And thousands can testify that He really does it. Thousands and tens of thousands who have labored and were heavy laden and crushed, and for whom there was no help in man, have come to Jesus Christ and He actually has given them rest. Surely then He is not merely a great man, but He is in fact God.

2. Again in John 14:1 Jesus Christ demands that we put the same faith in Him that we put in God the Father and promises that in such faith we will find a cure for all trouble and anxiety of heart. His words are, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” It is clear that He demands the same absolute faith to be put in Himself that is to be put in God Almighty. Now in Jeremiah 17:5, Scripture with which our Lord Jesus was perfectly familiar, we read “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man,” and yet with this clear curse pronounced upon all who trust in man, Jesus Christ demands that we put trust in Him just as we put trust in God. It is the strongest possible assertion of Deity on His part. No one but God has a right to make such a demand, and Jesus Christ, when He makes this demand, must either be God or an impostor; but thousands and tens of thousands have found that when they did believe in Him just as they believe in God, their hearts were delivered from trouble no matter what their bereavement or circumstances might be.

3. Again, the Lord Jesus demanded supreme and absolute love for Himself. It is clear as day that no one but God has a right to demand such a love, but there can be no question that Jesus did demand it. In Matthew 10:37 He said to His disciples, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,” and in Luke 14:26,33, he says. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” There can be no question that this is a demand on Jesus’ part of supreme and absolute love to Himself, a love that puts even the dearest relations of life in an entirely secondary place. No one but God has a right to make any such demand, but our Lord Jesus made it, and therefore, He must be God.

4. InJohn 10:30 the Lord Jesus claimed absolute equality with the Father. He said, “I and my Father are one.”

5. InJohn 14:9 our Lord Jesus went so far as to say, “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He claims here to be so absolutely God that to see Him is to see the Father Who dwelleth in Him.

6. InJohn 17:3 He says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” In other words, He claims that the knowledge of Himself is as essential a part of eternal life as knowledge of God the Father.

[chapter: Conclusion] [chapters:300,right]

There is no room left to doubt the absolute Deity of Jesus Christ. It is a glorious truth. The Saviour in Whom we believe is God, a Saviour for Whom nothing is too hard, a Saviour Who can save from the uttermost and save to the uttermost. Oh, how we should rejoice that we have no merely human Saviour, but a Saviour Who is absolutely God in all of His fulness and perfection.

On the other hand, how black is the guilt of rejecting such a Saviour as this! Whoever refuses to accept Jesus as his Divine Saviour and Lord is guilty of the enormous sin of rejecting a Saviour Who is God. Many a man thinks he is good because he never stole, or committed murder, or cheated. “Of what great sin am I guilty?” he complacently asks. Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ? “No.” Well, then, you are guilty of the awful and damning sin of rejecting a Saviour Who is God.

“But,” you answer, “‘I do not believe that He is God.” That does not change the fact nor lessen your guilt before God. Questioning a fact or denying a fact never changes it, regardless of what Mary Baker Eddy may say to the contrary.

Suppose a man had a wife who was one of the noblest, purest, truest women that ever lived, would her husband’s questioning her purity and nobility change the fact? It would not. It would simply make that husband guilty of awful slander; it would simply prove that man to be an outrageous scoundrel.

So, denying the Deity of Jesus Christ does not make His Deity any less a fact, but it does make the denier of His Deity guilty of awful, incredible blasphemous slander against the Lord God of Heaven. It also proves that you who deny His Deity to be ________________ . I leave your own conscience to finish the sentence thus begun.

 

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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William Carey

Divine Offices of Christ

Posted by David Cox on January 11, 2019
Posted in AnonymousDeity of Christ 

[firstchapter:Introduction] [chapters:300,right]

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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