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Who Is the Biblical Jesus? - Part 1
We live in a day and an age when it is acceptable to twist Bible teachings into whatever we find convenient to believe. Truth is no longer black and white, but has become relative, even within the so-called Christian church. While sharing your faith with someone, have you ever heard them say, “Well, that’s just what you believe. I believe something different.” We all certainly have the right to believe whatever we want, but just because we believe does not and will not necessarily make it true.
The question we are going to examine is, is Jesus God.? In other words, who is the real biblical Jesus? Psalm 12:6 tells us, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” God’s Word is trustworthy. He makes no mistakes. So I will use only Scripture as we explore this topic.
Is there anything wrong with using secular information and history to bolster our position? No, not really, but what I have found is that secular information and historical accounts do not always agree. Accounts and information can be found to strengthen either position. The secular information just does not agree with itself in many instances. To avoid confusion, we will take only what we know to be true – the Bible.
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Is Jesus God or just another created man? To many, the answer may seem elementary, but it is surprising how many people are confused about this issue. To answer the question, we must start at the beginning - literally. We must go back to the book of Genesis. Genesis, which means Beginning is the place to start to unravel the answer to our question, who is the Biblical Jesus?
A Hard Concept
In the creation account beginning in Genesis 1:1 we find an interesting verse – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The word God appears approximately 45 times in the first two chapters of Genesis. Each and every time the Hebrew word used is 'ĕlôhı̂ym, or Elohim. This is the plural form of God.
Now let us take a closer look at these verses. Notice when the creation took place - in the beginning. To be in the beginning, one must be before the beginning. If I am late for a meeting, I am not in the beginning. If I am to be present in the beginning of the meeting, I must arrive before the meeting begins. So the first thing we notice is that God was present before the beginning. The beginning of what? Time. Before the creation God existed only in eternity. We do not have the capacity to understand eternity. It is another dimension. From the beginning of creation we have only known three dimensions: time (the beginning), space (the heaven), and matter (earth). God was before time, space, and matter. (See also Hebrews 1:10).
And just what does that have to do with our question – who is Jesus? Genesis 1:26 continues, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . .” Again, the plural form of God is used. Who is the us? God in His plural form – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This will no doubt bring up other questions. Perhaps I will cover this in another article at some point. For now, suffice it to say that Scripture portrays God as a trinity, three-in-one.
This is a hard concept for mortal man to understand. Just because we do not understand it does not mean it is not true. Again, we are talking about another dimension, and of course, Isaiah 55:8, 9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
The best example I can give of a trinity, although much lacking when compared to the Godhead, is that of a book. A book has height, length, and width. All three are necessary. All are part of the book, but each has a different function. That does not completely describe a trinity, but it is the best I can do. Even though the word trinity is not found in Scripture, the principle is seen over and over again. I am certainly aware many will not see this. We are each responsible for our individual choices, but I believe the Bible teaches that one God exists in three persons, each co-eternal, co-existing, and of one essence.
Realizing that God is being used in the plural form requires us to identify who is involved in the conversation. Jesus is present at this time. Why is this important? Because those that believe Jesus was just a mortal man must see that He existed in eternity past with God, the Father.
How do I know Jesus was present? Consider the following verses. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16, 17). From the context we know that we are talking about Jesus in this verse. I am a Bible literalist except when the context demands otherwise. The word all means all. Jesus created all things in the heavens, all things in the earth from the gigantic galaxies to the invisible electron. The verse also says that He was before all things. He was in the beginning because He was before the beginning.
All Things Were Made by Him
John 1:3 tells us, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” So again we see that Jesus created all things. Nothing was made except by Him. In John 1:10 we read, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him . . . .” (See also Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2; Revelation 4:11).
Those who reject this teaching would not see Jesus as him in this verse. They would question who the Word is in verse 1 of John chapter 1 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Now we must answer the question, who is the Word? The Bible is its own best commentary. If we just read the text and context naturally without interjecting our own thoughts, the Bible tells us who the Word is. John 1:14 - :” And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
I John 1:1 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” Here we see that the One from the beginning or before the beginning was physically handled and seen by the apostles. They referred to Him as the Word of life. John 1:4 says referring to the Word “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Indeed He is the life-giving Word.
Revelation 19:13 is crystal clear – “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. “I John 5:7 goes on to say “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Some would like to disregard this verse completely because they have been misled into believing this is not part of the original manuscripts..
We have only scratched the surface, but this is a good place to stop. In Part Two we will look at many more verses that clearly paint the picture of who Jesus is – Emmanuel, God with us.
- Who Is the Biblical Jesus? - Part 2
One God? Three Gods? A Three in one trinity? Jesus - the Son of God? Jesus - the Son of man? The most documented doctrine also causes much confusion. It's time to sort through the facts