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Section 2 .. Reasons To Believe/Jesus

 

003white  Index To Section 2.. Reasons To Believe       >        Index To Articles On Jesus         >       Deity Of Christ.. Part II

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The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar,
Or Lunatic? Part II

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

Index To All Three Sections

PART I ... John 1:1, Theos, The Strikingly Significant Parallels between Yahweh In The Old Testament, and Jesus In The New

001orange  PART II ... Three Significant Titles Jesus Claimed For Himself, The Claims Jesus Made, Prerogatives Reserved Solely for God, Jesus' Appeal to Other Witnesses, Worship, Hypocrisy Unlimited? The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hebrews 1:6

PART III ... Rebuttal Arguments..Matthew 19:16-17,Philippians 2:5-8, Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32, Luke 2:52, Colossians 1:15-18, Jesus and The Father, Conclusion
 

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PART II... ON THIS PAGE

Three Significant Titles Jesus Claimed For Himself

Introduction
"I Am"
Son of Man
The Good Shepherd

Son of God... Was Jesus the "offspring" of God?

The Claims Jesus Made
if Jesus was not the Son of God, then He was a pathological liar, the likes of which few of us have ever come across,

Jesus Often Claimed for Himself Prerogatives Reserved Solely for God
Including The Authority To Both Give And Send The Holy Spirit of God!

Jesus' Appeal to Other Witnesses
As Jesus Himself said, His claims did not rest on words alone.

The Opinions of Jesus' Contemporaries
They not only talked the talk, but also walked the walk, which translated into.

Worship
When, from cover to cover, the Scriptures explicitly teach that YHWH alone is to be worshipped...

Hypocrisy Unlimited?
...Does it not seem exceedingly strange that, over and over again, in the New Testament, Jesus was the object of worship?
without any record of Him ever rebuking anyone for doing so

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, proskuneo, and Hebrews 1:6
The Jehovah's Witness Bible translates proskuneo into
, rather than "worship", every time it occurs in reference to Jesus.

 


Three Significant Titles Jesus Claimed For Himself

Introduction
Our understanding of what Jesus said and did, has to be seen through the lens of the era, and of the geographical region He lived in. The beliefs, understanding, and culture of the people He was born to, and was interacting with, also has to be taken into consideration, as are the facts of His unique mission, which was decided by the Father.

Remember Jesus Himself said "I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it" (John 8:28). Although He did not 'toot his own horn', when viewed in terms of a distant land, and an ancient people and culture, Jesus showed that He uniquely identified Himself with God...a fact that was not lost on those around Him. There are several New Testament passages which indicate that Jesus' opponents clearly understood His declaration of equality with God, and accused him of blasphemy.

Remember, Jesus Himself said, "I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it" (John 8:28).There are several New Testament passages which indicate that Jesus' opponents clearly understood His declaration of equality with God, and accused him of blasphemy.

    And for this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did these things on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. [John 5:16-18]

    But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from the Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. [John 10:26-33]

However, three of the titles Jesus gave Himself are particularly significant. The first, when He said He was the "I Am". The second, when He called Himself "Son of Man,  which He did over and over again. And the third, when He called Himself the 'Good Shepherd'.


"I Am"
When Jesus told the Pharisees that any man who kept His Word would never see death [John 8:51], they responded with the fact that Abraham and the prophets had all died, and asked if he (Jesus) thought Himself better than Abraham. To which Jesus replied [Emphasis Added]...

    Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said 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 born, I am. [John 8:56-58]

The reaction of the Pharisees, who immediately tried to stone Jesus [Vs. 59], tells us that His words were considered blasphemy of the most extreme kind. To answer the question of why Jesus' words provoked such an extreme response, we have to travel back in time to the days just preceding the rescue of the nation of Israel from the Egyptians.

When, at the burning bush, Moses was told that he had to go to the Pharaoh, and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, Moses asked what his reply should be in case the children of Israel asked him for the name of the God of their fathers. God answered him thus

    And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. [Exodus 3:14]

It is unlikely that the Israelites would simply want to know the name of their God, especially in the context of the Egyptians individually naming their numerous deities.. The mere knowledge of a name would not have been of much use to them. But, in the tradition of the day, the name of a person often indicated essentially who that person was, and what they were like. It told people something of the nature of the person, or even something of their birth or circumstances.

The "I AM" would have been recognized as the name of the God who exists. The only true God, who is both everlasting and unchanging, not just another nameless Egyptian deity. The "I AM" is the God who was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israelites would not have forgotten under what circumstances God had revealed Himself to the patriarchs, and they would have recognized that it was the very same God who was sending Moses to them (Vs. 15-17).

Perhaps the most striking parallel to the words that Moses heard, is found in the New Testament book of Revelation. Before John revealed "the things which must shortly come to pass", He saluted the seven churches in Asia with words which strongly expressed the eternal aspectof God ... [Emphasis Added]

    Grace to you and peace, from him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits that are before his throne; Revelation 1:4]

So, when Jesus said "Before Abraham was born, I am" [John 8:56-58], He was not only claiming existence prior to Abraham but, even more tellingly, was using the same name that God gave to Himself...


Son of Man.
Many of Jesus' contemporaries believed that the "Messiah" would be a human leader who, one way or the other, would bring about liberation from their Roman oppressors. In other words, a political leader and/or a military leader.

    (Interestingly, although this is not an unknown thought in modern Judaism [See Footnote III]. Jewish non-Christian writings which can be used to determine 1st century Jewish thinking, indicate that messianic figures range from king to priest to prophet. Indeed, several writers/communities have MULTIPLE messianic figures (e.g. Qumran, Testament of Levi). These figures can range from simple purely-human Davidic kings (e.g. Psalms of Solomon, 2 Baruch, Sibyl 3?) to the transcendent and pre-existent quasi-divine Savior Kings (e.g. I Enoch, Sibyl 5, Testament of Judah) and all the 'stuff in-between' (e.g. Philo, some of the Qumran materials). [See Messianic Expectations in 1st Century..  Documentation From Non-Christian Sources]

However, this very limited understanding would have made the title a potentially misleading one from Jesus’ viewpoint, therefore, He did not refer to Himself as the Messiah. The title Jesus gave Himself, more frequently than any other, was “Son of Man”, a term that is used about 86 times in the Gospels, most commonly in the Gospel of Matthew.

We tend to think of the expression "Son of Man" as Jesus' affirmation of his humanity. In other words, since Jesus was born a real flesh and blood human, He was simply saying so. For example, in the preface to his book: The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man", Walter Wink, professor emeritus of Biblical interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York city, says

    "The son of the man" is the expression Jesus almost exclusively used to describe himself. In Hebrew the phrase simple means "a human being."  The implication seems to be that Jesus intentionally avoided honorific titles, and preferred to be known simply as "the man," or "the human being." Apparently he saw his task as helping people become more human. [5a]

There is no question that the Bible commonly uses the expression in the human sense. For example Psalm 8:4 says

    What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalm 8:4,

However, it seems hardly necessary that Jesus needed to stress that He was human, considering that He looked like a man, got weary, hungry, and tired, like the rest of us, and was even subject to the same temptations. Besides which, several of Jesus' descriptions of the ‘Son of Man’ suggests that this title is indicative of anything but an ordinary human being.

    When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-32).

"Son of Man" defined as a flesh and blood human being, completely contradicts this description of the Son of Man enthroned in heaven, surrounded by an angelic host and judging all nations. Therefore, it seems evident that there was more to the designation "Son of Man" than first meets the eye. To answer the question of what Jesus meant by the term we have to turn to a conversation between Jesus and the high priest when He was taken before the chief priests and the council... [Emphasis Added]

    And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. [Mark 14:60-64]

The reaction of the high priest was quite extreme, he tore his clothes and asked the council what further need they had for witnesses since they had all heard Jesus' blasphemy, which made Him worthy of death. Apparently, the high priest had no difficulty recognizing that Jesus had just identified Himself with the figure in Daniel's prophecy, which is the only place in the OT where the title “Son of Man” is used of a divine personage... one who I might add, was given perpetual dominion.

    I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. [Daniel 7:13-14]

      Note: Although Ezekiel was often called "son of man", the Hebrew words translated "son" are different. Ezekiel was called son of âdâm (a human being) a word that is used well over 500 times in the Old Testament, while the Being in Daniel 7:13 was said to be like a son of enâsh (a mortal) a word that is used far less frequently (25 times) in the Old Testament.

Not only was it particularly blasphemous that a Galilean peasant would claim for himself the honour of sitting on the right hand of the Ancient of Days, but what must have been particularly significant, was that the figure in Daniel's vision "came on the clouds of Heaven", which is what Jesus said He would do. There are several passages in the Old Testament that describes God coming to earth in a cloud...

    And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and may also believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto Jehovah. [Exodus 19:9]

    And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud; and all the people that were in the camp trembled. [Exodus 19:16]

    And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of Jehovah, so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah. [1 Kings 8:10-11]

    The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall tremble at his presence; and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. [Isaiah 19:1]

    Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are ruined. [Jeremiah 4:13]

    And the glory of the Lord mounted up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord's glory. [Ezekiel 10:4]

...And several passages in the New Testament which describe Jesus Christ as coming in the clouds, sometime in the future

    And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. [Matthew 24:30]

    Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. [Matthew 26:64]

    And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. [Mark 13:25-27]

    And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. [Acts 1:9-11]

    Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. [Revelation 1:7]

Also notice that the one "like unto a son of man" in Daniel's vision was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom (sovereign power), and all people, nations, and languages would serve him. Not only was He given what God will not give away, but the New Testament tells us that all power is given to Jesus

    And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. [Matthew 28:18]

    which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come [Ephesians 1:20-21]

    Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:9-11]

Additionally, compare the description of the Ancient of Days in the book of Daniel with John's vision of "someone like a son of man" in Revelation 1

    I beheld till thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days did sit: his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire. [Daniel 7:9]

    And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And having turned I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle. And his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the voice of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. [Revelation 1:12-16]

That the passage from Revelation is a description of Jesus is evident from verses 17-18, which say...

    And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last, and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for ever more, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.


Jesus… The Good Shepherd
It first has to be noted that the completely misplaced break between the ninth and tenth chapters of the Gospel of John, gives the impression that each of the chapters is independent of each other. This is not the case. The two chapters, together form one continuous and uninterrupted narrative.

In the ninth chapter, we are told of Jesus showing that He was the "light of the world" by healing a man who was born blind (Vs. 9:1-5). The man's neighbors then questioned him as to how this miracle had come about, and, hearing that Jesus had healed him, brought him to the Pharisees (Vs. 8-17), who again interrogated the man. The formerly blind man, however, stood his ground, categorically stating that were Jesus not from God, he could not have healed him. The Pharisees then excommunicated the man out of the temple, which led to a confrontation between them and Jesus, with the Saviour telling them that He was the "Good Shepherd,” who would lay down His life for the sheep (John 10:11), which statement caused considerable dissension among the Jews (10:19), some of whom insisted that He had a demon and should be ignored, while others did not believe that a demon-possessed man could give sight to a man born blind (10:20-21).

The Jews then urged Jesus to tell them plainly whether or not He was the Messiah (10:24), to which Jesus responded that He had already told them, but they did not believe the works He did, which were witness to who He was. This unbelief stemmed from the fact that they were not His sheep who knew His voice and followed Him, and who would be given eternal life.

    Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. [John 10:25-30]

The Jews would not have missed all the implications of what Jesus was saying. When our Lord announced that He was the 'Good Shepherd', He was making, in no uncertain terms, two hugely significant points...

1) The religious leaders of the nation Israel, were the bad shepherds who ill-treated and abused the flock, rather than caring for them

    And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, even to the shepherds, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Woe unto the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the sheep? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill the fatlings; but ye feed not the sheep. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought back that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have ye ruled over them. And they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my sheep were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and there was none that did search or seek after them. [Ezekiel 34:1-6]

2) He was the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy.

    therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord (YHVH) [10] Thus saith the Lord (adónây) Lord (YHVH) : Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them.  [11] For thus saith the Lord (adónây) Lord (YHVH): Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.  [12] As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.  [13] And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  [14] I will feed them with good pasture; and upon the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.  [15] I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord (adónây) Lord (YHVH). [16] I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice.  [Ezekiel 34:9-17]

Note that in these verses, it is God the Father (YHVH) who says, like a good shepherd, He Himself will search for His sheep. He will take care of them by feeding them with good pasture, binding the broken, and strengthening the sick. Yet, Jesus was telling them that He was the shepherd who had come to save the lost sheep and give them eternal life. [Also See Matthew 15:24, 18;11 and Luke 19:10].

Not only was Jesus' declaration of equality and oneness with the Father considered blasphemy of the highest order, but the Jewish leadership understood that in quoting the 6th verse of Psalm 82...

    Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), say ye of him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do them, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. [John 10:34-38]

...Jesus was applying the entire Psalm to both them, and Him. They were the realization of the unjust judges in verses 1-7, and He was the realization of verse 8, which said "Arise, O God, judge the earth; For thou shalt inherit all the nations". In other words, the warning of Psalm 82 was being fulfilled in their midst. God had come to judge the judges, or "gods", who would "die like men".

Jesus was warning the Jewish leadership of their impending doom.

Before we go any further, we need to take a moment to clarify a common misconception regarding another one of Jesus' titles...


Son of God... Was Jesus the "offspring" of God?
Although Jesus is called the "Son of God' many times in the Scriptures, as far as I know, He only twice referred to Himself by that term.  (John 5:25; 11:4).

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. [John 5:25]

    But when Jesus heard it, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby. [John 11:4]

The Father Himself called Jesus His "Son" at some very important times, such as Jesus' baptism and at His Transfiguration

    and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. [Matthew 3:17]

    And there came a cloud overshadowing them: and there came a voice out of the cloud, This is my beloved Son: hear ye him. [Mark 9:7]

Many are of the opinion that "Son of God" means Jesus was God's 'offspring', but, in the Bible, while the word "son" is often used in terms of offspring, or biological children, it is also used in a wide variety of other contexts.

Since the word indicates 'a close association with', it is also used in terms of a person's tribe, people, city, and country of birth etc. For example believers who share no blood relationship with Abraham, are called "sons of Abraham" in Galatians 3:7. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said peacemakers 'shall be called "sons of God" [Matthew 5:9]. In Job 1:6 heavenly beings were also called "sons of God" .

Additionally "son" can also mean "sameness", as when a person displays certain characteristics or qualities of something, or someone, else. For example, Jesus referred to James and John as “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17), which may refer to them wanting to call down fire down from heaven on a Samaritan village, that would not receive the Messiah. (Luke 9:53-54). In the same vein, Judas was called the "son of perdition", while other wicked men were called the "sons of Belial".

    While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. [John 17:12]

    Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. [Judges 19:22]

Other people were called sons of peace, sons of the world, and sons of the light.

    And if a son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall turn to you again. [Luke 10:6]

    And his lord commended the unrighteous steward because he had done wisely: for the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light. [Luke 16:8]

Here are a few other examples of the extreme versatility of the word "Son" in the Scriptures...

    A Domestic Servant: And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house (literally a son of my house) is mine heir. [Genesis 15:3]

    A Group of Prophets: And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him. [1 Kings 20:35]

    The Arrow (literally son of a bow) cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. [Job 41:28]

    Anointed Ones: Then said he, These are the two anointed ones (literally sons of oil) , that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. [Zechariah 4:14]

    Foreigners: And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. [Isaiah 60:10]

    Guests of the Bridegroom: And Jesus said unto them, Can the sons of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then will they fast. [Matthew 9:15]

    People: And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. [Matthew 12:27]

Some Christians conclude that Jesus is the Son of God because He was born of the virgin Mary, but conceived by the Holy Spirit. However Jesus did not become the Son of God. Instead, the Son of God, who was long before Mary, or any other human ever existed, became Jesus. This is why He could, as the Son, ask the Father "And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. [John 17:5]

In Matthew 11 Jesus said...

    “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” [Matthew 11:25-27]

The simple phrase "the Son" conveys the idea of an unparalleled, and exclusive, intimacy with the Father. Only Jesus, as the Son, knows God the Father and can reveal Him to us. These words must have shocked His opponents to whom the idea of a human being speaking of God the Father in such a personal way was beyond comprehension.

Furthermore, Jesus made some pretty outrageous claims that few ordinary people would make...


The Claims Jesus Made
Some argue that Jesus was a good man, but he was not the Son of God. The problem with this deduction is that, if Jesus was not the Son of God, then He was a pathological liar, the likes of which few of us have ever come across, because...

He Claimed...

To be greater than

    King David: And Jesus answered and said, as he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that the Christ is the son of David? David himself said in the Holy Spirit, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. David himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he his son? And the common people heard him gladly. [Mark 12:35-37]

    The Temple: But I say unto you, that one greater than the temple is here. [Matthew 12:6]

    The Prophet Jonah: The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here. [Matthew 12:41]

    King Solomon: The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here. [Matthew 12:42]


To be not of this world

    And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. [John 8:23]


To have been pre-existent in heaven before His earthly incarnation

    And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven. [John 3:13]

    For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world. [John 6:33]

    What then if ye should behold the Son of man ascending where he was before? [John 6:62]

    And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. [John 17:5]

    Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said 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 born, I am. [John 8:56-58] [See Above]


To be not only uniquely associated with the Father...

    He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. [Matthew 10:40] [Also See Mark 9:37 and Luke 9:48 ]

    I and the Father are one. [John 10:30]

    He that hateth me hateth my Father also. [John 15:23]

    But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. [John 5:17]

    Yea and if I judge, my judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. Yea and in your law it is written, that the witness of two men is true. I am he that beareth witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. [John 8:16-18]

    Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works. [John 14:8-10]

    Even as the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love. [John 15:9]


But to be the unique "Son of God"

    And he began to speak unto them in parables. A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruits of the vineyard. And they took him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and him they wounded in the head, and handled shamefully. And he sent another; and him they killed: and many others; beating some, and killing some. He had yet one, a beloved son: he sent him last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him forth out of the vineyard. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. Have ye not read even this scripture: The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; This was from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes? [Mark 12:1-11]

And to be one with the Father

    it was winter; and Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon's porch. The Jews therefore came round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from the Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. [John 10:23-33. Emphasis Added]

      Note, Jesus claimed to be one with God (Vs. 30). Many of the Jews, including the scribes and Pharisees, certainly understood that Jesus was claiming to be God, not just to believe in, or love,  God. This was the second time they tried to stone Jesus for making the claims He did. See "I Am" above.


To deserve the same honor as the Father

that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. [John 5:23]


To be the only one to have seen the Father

    Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he that is from God, he hath seen the Father. [John 6:46]


To have exclusive knowledge of the Father

    All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him. [Matthew 11:27]

    Jesus therefore cried in the temple, teaching and saying, Ye both know me, and know whence I am; and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. I know him; because I am from him, and he sent me. [John 7:28-29]


To have learned directly from
the Father

    I speak the things which I have seen with my Father: and ye also do the things which ye heard from your father. [John 8:38]


To always please
the Father

And he that sent me is with me; he hath not left me alone; for I do always the things that are pleasing to him. [John 8:29]

And that the Father gave Him universal authority

      even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life. [John 17:2]

To be especially sent by the Father

    Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me. [John 8:42]

    For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. [John 6:38]


To have fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah

    And he said unto them, These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me. [Luke 24:44]

Considering how many prophecies were made about the Messiah, this is an amazing claim. Since, as already shown, the Old Testament connects the Messiah to Yahweh, then Jesus’ claim to Messiahship was also a claim to Godhood.
 

[Also See Why Should We Believe Jesus Was the Messiah, if He Didn’t Fulfill all the Prophecies When He Was Here?]


Last, but far from least, Jesus claimed..

To be able to raise himself from the dead

    Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father. [John 10:17-18]

    Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. [John 2:19-21]

And that He would return in 'the glory of the Father'

    For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. [Mark 8:38]


But, more significantly...


Jesus Often Claimed for Himself Prerogatives Reserved Solely for God

He...

1) Claimed to be Lord Of The Sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 20:9-11, Matthew 12:8)

    And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made. [Genesis 2:2-3]

    Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. [Exodus 20:9-11]

God the Father created the Sabbath day, and stipulated that, on it, no one would do any work, but would rest from his labours, just as He rested from the six days of creation. Yet, Jesus not only condoned His disciples plucking, and eating, ears of grain from the fields on the Sabbath, but also called Himself Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus justified His actions by saying that, God the Father was also at work - even on the Sabbath day, thereby, claiming for Himself a prerogative reserved solely for God. Either He had tremendous gall, or, He was not violating God's law regarding the Sabbath, because He was Himself God, and therefore... Lord of the Sabbath 

       For the Son of man is lord of the Sabbath. [Matthew 12:8]


Claimed The Highest Loyalty From Mankind

...Jesus told His followers that they had to deny themselves to follow Him, and that they had to love Him above all else, including family members

    And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. [Luke 9:23]

    If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. [Luke 14:26]

    Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law: and a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 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 he that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. [Matthew 10:34-39]


2) Claimed To Be Able To Interpret Divine Law On His Own Authority

One very significant fact is, that many of the Old Testament prophets spoke on behalf of God. The phrase "Thus saith the Lord" is used over 400 times in the Old Testament. For example...

    And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, [Jeremiah 26:4]

However, Jesus never ever did this. He spoke on His own authority, even when interpreting Divine Law, which suggests Divine authority

    Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire. [Matthew 5:21-22]

    .... Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. [Matthew 5:27-28] For More On This Topic See Jesus and The Law


Claimed To Be Able To Forgive Sins (and Healed To Prove He Could)

When a paralytic was brought into the room where Jesus was teaching, He told the man that his sins were forgiven, upon which the scribes accused Him of blasphemy, asking,  "Who can forgive sins but God alone?". Jesus then asked them which was easier... to say a persons sins are forgiven; or to miraculously cause them to walk. He then told the scribes that in order for them to know that the Son of man had authority on earth to forgive sins, He healed the man, who stood, took up his bed, and went home. [Mark 2:1-12]  [Also See Matthew 9:1-8 and Luke 5:17-26]

He also forgave the sins of the woman who anointed His head with oil, and washed his feet with her tears. [Luke 7:36-38]

Only if Jesus was God could He have actually forgiven sins the way He did. Inasmuch as He didn’t just forgive those who sinned against him personally, but forgave sins in a way reserved for God alone. In fact, the claim to be able to forgive sins is a claim to Divinity, especially since He did so outside of the Temple sacrifices.

Once more, the implications were not lost on Jesus' opponents. In their words... “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” [Mark 2:7]


Claimed to Be Able To Grant The Right To Become Partakers of the Divine Nature" 

A comparison of John 1:12 with 2 Peter 1:3-4 shows that becoming "children of God" is synonymous with "partakers of the Divine nature".

    But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: [John 1:12]

    Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that his divine (Gr. theos) power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine (Gr. theos) nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in that world by lust. [2 Peter 1:2-4]

However, what is particularly striking about these two verses is that, 1) Jesus has the authority to give people the right to become children of God. 2) Jesus' "divine power" grants  us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. 3) Jesus grants precious and great promises through which we become partakers of the Divine nature.


Claimed To Be Able To Give Freedom

       If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. [John 8:36]


Claimed To Be Able To Give Eternal Life To The World

    For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world. [John 6:33]
     

    and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. [John 10:28]


Claimed Sinlessness

    And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. [John 8:29]

    Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? [John 8:46]

Which was supported by other Biblical Authors.

    For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. [Hebrews 4:15]

    Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: [1 Peter 2:22-23]


Claimed To Have Authority To Judge The World.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself: and he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. [John 5:25-27]


Claimed That Every Person Will Be Judged By The Message He Brought

    He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day. [John 12:48]


Claimed That His Words Would Outlast The Heavens And The Earth

    Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. [Mark 13:31]

    Note the parallel verse in the Old Testament... "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever". [Isaiah 40:8]


Claimed To Have Authority To Both Give And Send The Holy Spirit of God!

    And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high. [Luke 24:49]

    Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. [John 4:10]

    Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified. [John 7:37-39]

    But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me: [John 15:26]

    Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. [John 16:7]


Claimed to Be Able To Give Authority over the Power of the Enemy:

    Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you. [Luke 10:19]


Claimed That He Had The Authority To Confer A Kingdom
--In the same manner that the Father appointed HIm.

      and I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me, [Luke 22:29]


Claimed To Know of Events Not Occurring On An Earthly Plane

           Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: [Luke 22:31]


Claimed to Be Able To Raise Himself From the Dead

Although there are several verses in the New Testament that speak of God raising Jesus from the dead...

    having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. [Colossians 2:12]

    whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. [Acts 2:24]

    This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. [Acts 2:32]

    be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even in him doth this man stand here before you whole. [Acts 4:10]

    Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, [Acts 10:40]

...Yet, Jesus said that He would raise Himself up.

    Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father. [John 10:17-18]

    Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. [John 2:19-21]


Jesus' Appeal to Other Witnesses
However, what is very important to note, is that Jesus did not simply make spectacular claims, which anyone can do. As Jesus Himself said, His claims did not rest of words alone. In John 5, Jesus appealed to other witnesses. 

John the Baptist
The first witness was the herald that paved His way...

    It is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye have sent unto John, and he hath borne witness unto the truth. But the witness which I receive is not from man: howbeit I say these things, that ye may be saved. He was the lamp that burneth and shineth; and ye were willing to rejoice for a season in his light. [John 5:32-35]

The Scriptures

The second witness was the Father's Word... the Scriptures which testified of Jesus

    But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father that sent me, he hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he sent, him ye believe not. Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; [John 5:36-39]

What Jesus was referring to was the many prophecies in the Holy Scripture, which were made over hundreds of years, and which found their fulfillment in His own short thirty-year life span. Many of these prophecies were fulfilled in a single day. [See Messianic Prophecy on THIS page].

Skeptics often claim that these prophecies were, in fact, history, having actually been written after the events which they pretended to precede. However, as said by Pat Zukeran

    There is strong evidence that the Old Testament canon was completed by 450 B.C. The Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, is dated about two hundred fifty years before Christ. The translation process occurred during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus who ruled from 285 to 246 B.C.{9} It can be argued that a complete Hebrew text from which this Greek translation would be derived must have existed prior to the third century B.C. [See The Dead Sea Scrolls by Pat Zukeran of Probe ministries]


The Works
The third witness was the works He did. If a person claimed to be God, we would expect supernatural confirmation, which Jesus provided... in spades. His miracles demonstrated His power and authority over nature, illness, death, and demons. In the first category, He walked on water (Matthew 14:25), multiplied bread and fish (Matthew 14:15-21), and calmed a storm (Mark 4:35-41). He showed His authority over sickness with His instantaneous healings over incurable diseases such as blindness (John 9), leprosy (Luke 17), deafness (Mark 7) and paralysis (Matthew 9:2-7 and Mark 2). Jesus raised the rulers's daughter from the dead in Matthew 9:18-26, the widow's only son in Luke 7:11-17, and Lazarus in John 11. There are several instances (that we know of) when Jesus demonstrated His authority over demonic entities, forcing them to relinquish possession of a person's body.

As the book of John says "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written." [John 21:25].

Even His enemies could hardly deny the miracles that had to have been the talk of the area. Remember the conversation between Jesus and some of the Jews.

    The Jews therefore came round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. [John 10:24-26]

Many of those, who in direct contact with the Savior, and who witnessed at least some of His many miracles, were in no doubt as to who he was. Here is what the Pharisee Nicodemus said to Jesus...

    "...Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him. [John 3:2]

It is impossible to separate Jesus from the works that He did and the miracles that he performed. John plainly tells us that why Jesus worked signs ..

    Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name. [John 20:30-31]

Peter's words on Pentecost were...

    Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; [Acts 2:22]

As Jesus Himself said, He worked miracles in order to substantiate His claims. Therefore His claims which, directly or indirectly, implied that He was God, were verified by His works, and had to be true.

However, in his book, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, John Dominic Crossan, former Catholic priest, and co-founder of the Jesus Seminar wrote that he did not think

    "that anyone, anywhere, at any time brings dead people back to life." [5]

That statement strikes me as being both, the height of patronizing presumption and arrogance, and the height of stupidity. Dominic Crossan does not seem to have the faintest idea of what God can and will do. In fact he seems to be completely clueless as to what the definition of God is. Besides which, neither he, nor anyone else, has the faintest idea of what takes place in every nook and cranny of the globe, at every single moment in time, much less what has transpired over the centuries.. A thousand people could have been raised to life, at some point or another without Crossan ever hearing of it.

If the Biblical accounts of the miracles performed by Jesus were not historical accounts, they would not have survived since many of these miracles were recorded in the very cities in which they occurred, and in the lifetime of both friendly, and hostile, witnesses to the events. Many eye witnesses were literally grilled by those in authority (See John 5), therefore, if any of the claims had been exaggerated or distorted, the scribes and Pharisees would not have missed the opportunity to belittle Jesus' character and reputation, and would have wasted no time broadcasting the information from one end of the nation to the other. The fact is the accounts could not be refuted.

Besides which, legends usually develop generations after the death of the person, making it impossible to verify any of the accounts since the witnesses are long gone. However, the Gospels themselves were written and circulated during the lifetime of the same eyewitnesses, who would have refuted the accounts had they not been accurate. In fact, the New Testament itself would not have existed had the accounts not been true. [See Dating The New Testament and The Impossible Faith]

And, the Bible has proven to be a historically reliable document. [See Why The Bible Cannot Be Legend]

Incidentally, those who dismiss Jesus' claims based on the fact that they do not believe that miracles can occur are usually those who have never experienced a miracle for themselves. [Also See Do Miracles Produce Faith?] /


The Opinions of Jesus' Contemporaries

Simon Peter

    He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. [Matthew 16:15-17]

John The Baptist

    I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing-floor; and he will gather his wheat into the garner, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire. [Matthew 3:11-12]

    And they asked him, and said unto him, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, neither Elijah, neither the prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize in water: in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not, even he that cometh after me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose... And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God. [John 1:25-27, 34]

Assorted People

    After Jesus raised the widow's son, the Bible says that  "...fear took hold on all: and they glorified God, saying, A great prophet is arisen among us: and, God (Gr. theos) hath visited his people. [Luke 7:16]

    The man whom Jesus delivered from demon possession was instructed to return to his house, and declare how great things God (Gr. theos) had done for him. Instead the Bible tells us that the man "went his way, publishing throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done for him". [Luke 8:39 Emphasis Added]

And, if the testimony of these people is not enough, we also have the supernatural knowledge of...

Demons or Evil Spirits

    And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, there met him two possessed with demons, coming forth out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man could pass by that way. And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? [Matthew 8:28-29]

    And straightway there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Nazarene? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And the unclean spirit, tearing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. [Mark 1:23-26]

    And the unclean spirits, whensoever they beheld him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. [Mark 3:11]

Jesus' contemporaries not only talked the talk, but also walked the walk. Their opinion that He was the Son of God was based on what they had heard and seen, and translated into ...


Worship:
The Biblical condemnation of idolatry, usually defined as worship of any cult image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of a monotheistic God, is very strongly worded and found all through Scripture. It is singled out in the Bible as the most abominable of sins, so much so, that the first two commandments state...

    Then God spoke all these words, saying, I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 1] You shall have no other gods before Me.  2] You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me. [Exodus 20:1-5]

From cover to cover, the Scriptures explicitly teach that YHWH alone is to be worshipped. For example...

    But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves. For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: [Exodus 34:13-14]

    Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God. [Leviticus 19:4]

    Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you. [Deuteronomy 11:16-17]

    Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. [1 Kings 12:28-30]

    There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. [Psalms 81:9]

    This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. [Jeremiah 13:10]

    Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. [Daniel 3:28]

Besides which, there are plenty of other passages which forbid worship of, or even allegiance to, all manner of things, including

    Other gods: And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; [Joshua 24:15-16]

    The Host of Heaven: I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; [Zephaniah 1:5] 

    Earthly Riches: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. [Matthew 6:24]

    The Creation: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. [Romans 1:25]

    Other People: And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. [Acts 10:25-26]

    Angels: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. [Revelation 19:10]


Hypocrisy Unlimited?
When God Himself, very explicitly, says that He will never allow another to receive the honor which is due Him alone, nor will He permit graven images to receive praise for what He alone has accomplished....

    I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. [Isaiah 42:8]

    For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. [Isaiah 48:11]

When Jesus Himself said, "only" God was to be worshipped and served....

    Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship (Gr. proskuneo) the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. [Matthew 4:10]

    And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship (Gr. proskuneo) the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. [Luke 4:8]

When in Acts 14, after Paul had healed a man crippled from birth, the crowds thought that he and Barnabas were gods that had come down in the likeness of men, and were therefore prepared to do sacrifice to them. However, Paul was horrified and, renting his garments, told them, in no uncertain terms, that they should "turn from these vain things unto a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea" (Vs. 15).

When it is twice recorded that an angel told the apostle John not to worship him, because he (the angel) was a "a fellow-servant" and only God was to be worshipped. [See Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9].

When Herod was struck down by an angel and eaten of worms, because he did not give God the glory [Acts 12:23-24]...

Does it not seem exceedingly strange that, over and over again, in the New Testament, Jesus was the object of worship? And, not only was He worshipped, but there is no record of Him ever rebuking anyone for doing so, not even when Thomas directly called Him "Theos" (God), in John 20:28. He never sought to correct His followers. He never redirected worship away from Himself as did the angel did in Revelation, and Paul did in Acts 14. Neither was He struck down by an angel for failing to give God the glory, as was Herod in Acts 12:23.

Jesus quite simply accepted the worship of man as the following examples show. (Note the Greek word used in all instances)...

    And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. [Matthew 2:11]

    And behold, there came to him a leper and worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [Matthew 8:2]

    While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a ruler, and worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. [Matthew 9:18]

    And they that were in the boat worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. [Matthew 14:33]

    And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) him; [Mark 5:6]

    And they worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: [Luke 24:52]

    And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) him. [John 9:38]

Exactly the same Greek word is used in the New Testament for worship of God the Father.

    And he arose and went: and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship (Gr. proskuneo); [Acts 8:27]

    By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped (Gr. proskuneo), leaning upon the top of his staff. [Hebrews 11:21]

    and he saith with a great voice, Fear God, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship (Gr. proskuneo) him that made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters. [Revelation 14:7]

In fact, out of the eleven occurrences of the Greek word proskuneo in the Gospel of John, it is used in reference to God the Father ten times. [All Emphasis Added]

    Our fathers worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship (Gr. proskuneo). Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship (Gr. proskuneo) the Father. Ye worship (Gr. proskuneo) that which ye know not: we worship (Gr. proskuneo) that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers (Gr. proskunetes) shall worship (Gr. proskuneo) the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to worship (Gr. proskuneo) Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship (Gr. proskuneo)  him must worship (Gr. proskuneo) in spirit and truth. [John 4:20-24]

    Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship (Gr. proskuneo) at the feast: [John 12:20]

And in reference to Jesus once... [Emphasis Added]

    Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and finding him, he said, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, And who is he, Lord, that I may believe on him? Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and he it is that speaketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped (Gr. proskuneo) him. [John 9:35-38]

Not only was Jesus worshipped with the Father's knowledge, but, as this next verse from Hebrews shows, on His instruction.

    And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship (Gr. proskuneo) him. [Hebrews 1:6]


The Jehovah’s Witnesses, proskuneo, and Hebrews 1:6
In the effort to twist the Scriptures to suit their theology, the Jehovah's Witness Bible translates proskuneo into “obeisance”, rather than "worship", every time it occurs in reference to Jesus. Both words do not mean the same thing.

    Obeisance means an attitude of deference or homage, including a gesture or movement of the body, such as a curtsy, or physically bowing or kneeling to something or someone, which expresses said deference.

    Worship means the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object, and the ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.

Once again, Hebrews 1:6 says...

    And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship (Gr. proskuneo) him. [Hebrews 1:6]

When it comes to this verse, the argument goes something like this... The part about the angels worshipping Jesus is not found in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament. Therefore, if the author of Hebrews was quoting the Old Testament, he was citing the Septuagint, or the Greek version of the Old Testament, which often differs from the Hebrew version. Some believe that Hebrews 1:6 was cited from the Septuagint version of Psalm 97, which says

    Let all them be put to shame that serve graven images, That boast themselves of idols: Worship him, all ye gods (elôhîym). [Psalms 97:7]

However, this is not quite as evident as they would make it out to be, especially Psalm 97 does not seem to have any reference at all to the Messiah. Besides which Psalm 97 uses the word elôhîym (gods), but, in Hebrew, the word usually used for angels is mal'âk (messenger).

Others believe that Hebrews 1:6 is quoted from the Septuagint's rendering of Deuteronomy 32:43, which is considerably longer than the Hebrew version.

    Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: For he will avenge the blood of his servants, And will render vengeance to his adversaries, And will make expiation for his land, for his people. [Hebrew]

    Rejoice, ye heaven, together with him; and let all the angels of God worship him. Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people; and let the children of God be strengthened in him; for he will avenge the blood of his children; he will avenge, and will repay judgment to his adversaries; and those who hate him will he recompense: and the Lord will purge the land of his people [Septuagint. Emphasis Added]

I do not know what Greek word the Septuagint used for "worship" (in bold above). It may very well be the Greek word for “obeisance” or "homage".  But the fact is that it does not matter, one way or the other. Whether or not it was the intention of the author of the book of Hebrews to incorporate the Septuagint wording, the fact that he said it was God's instruction that all the angels (Greek aggeloi) of God worship (Gr. proskuneo) Jesus, puts this sentence into the realm of irrefutable Biblical truth.

So unless we plan on putting the words of the Septuagint above the words of the inspired author of Hebrews, we have to accept that the same worship (proskuneo) was given both the Father and Jesus

    Note: There is considerable difference of opinion as to whether or not the Septuagint was an inspired version. Many believe it was, because of the often repeated claim that Jesus and many of the New Testament authors quoted from the Septuagint, which is very unlikely to be true.. In fact, the story of the seventy elders who translated the Septuagint is a work of fiction. "The Alexandrian Bible is not a single version, but a series of versions produced at various times and by translators whose ideals were not altogether alike. Internal evidence' of this fact may be found in the varying standards of excellence which appear in different books or groups of books. The Pentateuch is on the whole a close and serviceable translation; the Psalms and more especially the Book of Isaiah show obvious signs of incompetence.... In fact, the reader can expect to find large number of actual blunders, due in part perhaps to faulty archetype, but chiefly to the misreading or misunderstanding of the archetype by the translators". [10] [See More About The Septuagint].

    Therefore, while the the Septuagint is sometimes very useful in helping us understand how a certain word is translated from the Hebrew to the Greek, let us try as far as is possible, to use the unquestionably inspired Hebrew version of the Old Testament.


Changing Theology
Apparently the (1992?) Watchtower made the statement that...

    CERTAIN translations of Hebrews 1:6 say: "Let all the angels of God worship him [Jesus]." (King James Version; The Jerusalem Bible)

However, this is not entirely true. The King James (KJV), New King James (NKJV), American Standard (ASV),  New American Standard (NASB), New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), Weymouth, Darby, and several others, all say "worship."

The only exceptions that I have been able to find are the Jerusalem Bible, Young's literal version and, of course, the Jehovah's Witness New World Translation.

    (Note: The Jerusalem Bible, is a Roman Catholic Bible, prepared by the faculty of the Dominican Biblical School in Jerusalem and published in 1961 (The French version was published in 1956), which includes the deuterocanonical books [6]. It's version of Hebrews 1:6 is ... "Again, when he brings the First-born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God pay him homage". [7]

However the Watchtower Organization has not always taught that Jesus is not to be worshipped. On page 216 of the July 15, 1898 edition of the Watchtower magazine it says:

    "Question: The fact that our Lord received worship is claimed by some to be an evidence that while on earth he was God the Father disguised in a body of flesh and not really a man. Was he really worshiped, or is the translation faulty?

    Answer: Yes, we believe our Lord Jesus while on earth was really worshiped, and properly so...It was proper for our Lord to receive worship in view of his having been the only begotten of the Father, and his agent in the creation of all things, including man." [8]

On pages 27-28 of the book, New Heavens and a New Earth (published in 1953), it says:

    "For example, to which one of the angels did he ever say:  'You are my Son; today I have become your Father'? And again: 'I shall be a Father to him, and he will be a Son to me'?  But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: 'And let all God's angels worship him.'" [9]. Besides which, Hebrews 1:6 uses the word "worship" in the 1970 edition of the New World Translation. Ten years later, the New World Translation used "obeisance" in the same verse.

Many Jehovah's Witness will tell you that as time progresses the light gets brighter, and past errors have been corrected. However, if this is the case, then there is no way for present Jehovah's Witnesses to trust that what they are presently being taught is the final revelation. The light could get brighter yet, and what is doctrine today, could, sometime in the future, be seen as errors, and changed. [See Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Worship of Jesus]

Conclusion
If Jesus is not God, but is worshipped without censure, then God has given His glory to "another" and one has to wonder how it is possible that He calls Jesus "Son", declares that He is "pleased" with Him, and even tells Peter, James, and John, to "hear", or pay attention to Jesus

    And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. [Matthew 3:16-17]

    While he was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. [Matthew 17:5]

If Jesus is not God, but was worshipped with His own approval, then He was little more than a lunatic with unparalleled delusions of grandeur... especially considering some of the other things He said. Consider this prayer He made to the Father, in the garden of Gethsemane..

    And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. [John 17:5]

Although He had to know full well that God says He will not share His glory with another. Yet, Jesus clearly says that He shared in God's glory before the creation of the world, and asks that He be restored to that glory.

There are two choices here. a) Either this is the ravings of someone who is mentally deranged, or, b) it is the most clear-cut declaration of the pre-existence, and deity of Christ. that one is ever likely to come across. I opt for the latter, because, as this verse from Revelation shows, Jesus' prayer will certainly be answered. Jesus, as the Lamb, will be given honor, glory, and dominion, for all eternity. [All Emphasis Added]

    saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things are in them, heard I saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshipped. [Revelation 5:12-14]

 

Footnote III... The Messiah in Judaism
This statement by Tracey R Rich is from the Jewish website Judaism 101

    "The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as "mashiach ben David" (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being". [Tracey R Rich. The Messianic Idea in Judaism. http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm]
    [PLACE IN TEXT]


End Notes

[5a] Walter Wink. The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man. Fortress Press (November 1, 2001) [Paperback] Pg 26

[5] John Dominic Crosson, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1994), 95.

[6] http://www.bible-researcher.com/jerusalem-bible.html

[7] New Jerusalem Bible. http://www.catholic.org/bible/book.php?id=65. Emphasis Added

[8] As quoted in Heb. 1:6, "Let the angels do obeisance to him" by Matt Slick of Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.
http://carm.org/heb-16-let-angels-do-obeisance-him

[9] http://www.archive.org/stream/newheavensandnew00watc#page/102/mode/2up/search/worship

[10] Henry Barclay Swete . An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek:  [Paperback] Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (April 8, 2010) Pgs 315-316 OR The Septuagint As A Version. Chapter V. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/swete/greekot.iv.v.html

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Artwork provided courtesy of James "theo" Theopistos.