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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  - The Claims Jesus Made, The Titles He Gave Himself, And The Worship He Accepted Without Protest

Carol Brooks
 

Detailed Index To All Five Sections

PART I - Introduction and How Jesus Was Viewed By Those Who Knew Him.
Those Who Knew Jesus Referred to Him as the Logos and Theos

PART II - What Jesus Said About Himself
 Considering the claims Jesus made, the titles he gave Himself, and the worship He accepted, the only possible conclusion one can come to is that He suffered from grandiose delusions -  or He was the Son of God as He said.

PART III - Jesus' Claims - Authenticated By Some Very Impressive Evidence
Miracles, Prophecy, and The Strikingly Significant Parallels between Yahweh in The Old Testament and Jesus in the New

PART IV - Rebuttal Arguments
Five passages in particular are often used as proof that Christ was not Deity.

PART V - Explaining The Unexplainable and Conclusion
So how can all this be explained? How can Jesus and the Father be one, yet distinguishable from each other?
Last, but far from least, one has to come to a decision about Jesus.

 

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The Claims Jesus Made

Jesus also claimed to have done what the Father said He Himself would do

Who Was The Alpha and the Omega, The First and the Last, The Beginning and the End"?

Four Significant Titles Jesus Claimed For Himself During His Time on Earth
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.
The third, when He called Himself the 'Good Shepherd'.
And the fourth was the 'Son of God' (a title that needs clarification)

Worship
In spite of the fact that the Scriptures teach that YHWH alone is to be worshipped, Jesus never rebuked anyone for worshipping Him.

 


The Claims Jesus Made
Some argue that Jesus was a "good man", just not the Son of God. Unfortunately, they haven't thought it through.

If you consider some of the claims Jesus made about Himself, you cannot escape the fact that, if He was not the Son of God, He certainly could not be anyone's idea of a 'good man' - His very grandiose delusions obviously symptoms of serious mental problems. 

Here is much of what He said. He claimed

1) To have existed in heaven before His earthly incarnation,

    And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. (John 8:23 NASB)

    "No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. (John 3:13 NASB)

2) To be one with the Father and especially sent by Him

     He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Matthew 10:40), "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) and ""He who hates Me hates My Father also. (John 15:23)

    "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38 NASB)

3) To fulfill all of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah

    Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (Luke 24:44 NASB)

    Note: This is an amazing claim considering how many prophecies were made about the Messiah. Also, the Old Testament clearly connects the Messiah and Yahweh, which means Jesus' claim to Messiahship was also a claim to Godhood. See Messianic Prophecies

4) To be greater than the Temple, Jonah and Solomon,

    "But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here". (Matthew 12:6 NASB)

    "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. "The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here". (Matthew 12:41-42 NASB)

5) Know of events beyond the capabilities of any human

    "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;" (Luke 22:31 NASB)

The Gospels are replete with examples of Jesus' supernatural knowledge. For example, in Matthew 17.27 Jesus knew that the first fish Peter would catch would have a coin in its mouth, enough to pay the temple tax for both of them.

    "However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me." (Matthew 17:27 )

Also note how many times in the New Testament we are told of Jesus "knowing" things that only God could know

    Jesus told Nathaniel that He had seen him under a fig tree and knew him to be a man without guile (John 1.48).

    "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. (John 6:64 )

And that was far from all. In Matthew 24 He warned the disciples about the many signs that would precede His coming, including false christs (Vs. 4-5). Wars, famines, plagues and earthquakes which will be the beginning of sorrows (Vs. 7). Persecution of his followers (24:9-10). Apostasy from the truth and false prophets (Vs. 10-13).  The Spread of The Gospel in all the earth (vs. 14). The Abomination of Desolation (Vs.15). The Severity of the Great Tribulation (Vs. 21-22), Warning against False Christs (24:23-28). The conditions immediately preceding the appearance of the Son of Man, and the fact that He will return "the clouds of heaven with power and much glory" (Vs. 29-31)

6) Interpret divine law on His own authority
The Old Testament prophets spoke on behalf of God. The phrase "Thus saith the Lord" is used over 400 times in the Old Testament. However, Jesus never ever did this. Even when interpreting Divine Law Jesus spoke on His own authority

    "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'you shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell..... "You have heard that it was said, 'you shall not commit adultery'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:21-22. 27-28 NASB)

See Jesus and The Law

7) To be sinless -

    "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? (John 8:46 NASB)

8) To be able to forgive the sins of other people

    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)

9) To be able to give freedom

    "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NASB)

10) Be able to grant eternal life,

    and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (John 10:28 NASB)

11) Have the authority to judge the world

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. (John 5:25-27 NASB)

12) Have the power to send the Holy Spirit

    "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, (John 15:26 NASB)

Jesus also said

13) His words would outlast heaven and earth

     "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. (Mark 13:31 NASB)

    Note the parallel verse in the Old Testament... The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8 NASB)

14) Jesus demanded the highest loyalty from mankind. 

    "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38 NASB)

And That Certainly Wasn't All

15) Jesus claimed to be able to raise himself from the dead

    Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body. (John 2:19-21 NASB)

And He did!  See Section on The Resurrection

16) And that He would return in 'the glory of the Father' accompanied by angels

    "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38 NASB)


Jesus Claimed To Have Done What The Father Said He Himself Would Do
The Father Said He Himself Would Redeem, Forgive, and Grant Eternal Life
The Old Testament very clearly tells us that God the Father 1) Redeems From Iniquities, 2) Has Power To Forgive and 3) Grants Eternal Life
 

    1. O Israel, hope in the Lord (Heb. Yahweh); For with the Lord (Heb. Yahweh) there is loving kindness, And with Him is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. (Psalms 130:7-8 NASB)

    2. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord (Heb. Yahweh),' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord (Heb. Yahweh), "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:34 NASB)

    3. And the testimony is this, that God (Gr. theos) has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11 NASB)

Jesus Claimed to Have Done All Three. (If Jesus was not God then one has to wonder at His audacity)

    1. looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:13-14 NASB)

    2. Seeing their faith, He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." (Luke 5:20 NASB)

    3. and I (Jesus) give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (John 10:28 NASB)


Three Titles
Jesus Also Claimed for Himself Three Titles That Were Given God the Father - The Alpha and the Omega, The First and the Last, The Beginning and the End".

God The Father as The First and The Last
In the book of Isaiah, God speaking through the prophet speaking declared that He is The First and The Last

    "Thus says the Lord (Heb. Yahweh), the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. (Isaiah 44:6 NASB)

    "Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. (Isaiah 48:12 NASB)

Although this is difficult for finite minds to comprehend, the First and The Last is equivalent to saying that never was a time before God - never a time when He was not. There never will be a time after Him - never a time when He will not be. He is eternal, i.e. has always existed, and will always exist... .

Jesus As The First and The Last
What cannot be argued is that in Revelation 1 and 2 Jesus also called Himself the  "First and Last". The next two verses cannot be speaking of God the Father who never died. 

    When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18 NASB)

    "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: (Revelation 2:8 NASB)

It has been theorized that Jesus was called The First and The Last because He was the first and last one raised from the dead by God and every other believer will be raised by Jesus Himself. However, this attempt to explain away the passages from Revelation is a very poor one ... for several reasons.

    1) There is absolutely no evidence that the term the "First and Last" is being used for two entirely different reasons.

    2) The First and The Last is a one title. One cannot separate The First from The Last, and then thumb through the Bible to find any reference to Jesus being the first or last of anything. 

    3) The fact that the term is the exact title that Isaiah used, makes Isaiah's intended meaning the only valid one. And Isaiah was speaking of the eternal, everlasting, unchanging God - the Holy one of Israel - the Creator who was before all things and who will be after all things.

    4) The Deity of Christ is obvious if one were to read the text from Isaiah and the text from Revelation, without any preconceived ideas.


God The Father As The Alpha and The Omega / The Beginning and The End
In the New Testament book of Revelation, God the Father is twice called the One who was, who is, and who is to come

    John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood-- (Revelation 1:4-5 NASB)

    And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come." And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, (Revelation 4:8-9 NASB)

In the first quote above, the benediction is given from three different Beings - 1) Him who is and who was and who is to come and 2) from the seven Spirits, and 3) from Jesus Christ. The first can only be God the Father.

Other verses add the titles of the Alpha and the Omega and the Beginning and the End

    "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8 NASB)

    Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. (Revelation 21:6-7 NASB)

Note: There is nothing particularly significant about all these different designations that are all virtually synonymous. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, Omega is the last. Therefore, God calling Himself the Alpha and The Omega is the same as Him saying He is the First and the Last, or the Beginning and the End.


Jesus As The Alpha and The Omega/The Beginning and The End,
Revelation 22 includes all three identifying names

    "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

We know it is Jesus who is speaking because verse 16 clearly says "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things". Besides which, the words " I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done" is exactly what He told us in Matthew 16:27

    "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. (Matthew 16:27 NASB)

Jesus not only made some pretty outrageous claims that few ordinary people would make, but gave Himself four titles - the significance of which were not lost on His opponents who realized they were  declarations of equality with God.

 

Four Significant Titles Jesus Claimed For Himself During His Time on Earth

Introduction
Jesus' declarations of equality with God was not lost on His opponents who lost no time in accusing Him of blasphemy. Four 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.

    The third, when He called Himself the 'Good Shepherd'.

    And the fourth was the 'Son of God', a title that needs clarification


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

    "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." (John 8:56-58 NASB)

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 understand why Jesus' words provoked such an extreme response, we have to travel back in time to the days just preceding the Exodus. When, at the burning bush, Moses was told that he had to go to Egypt and bring the children of Israel out, Moses asked what his reply should be in case they asked him for the name of the God of their fathers. God answered him thus

    God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" (Exodus 3:14 NASB)

How God identified Himself that day shows that He does not measure his existence as we do ours. The present tense "I AM", although not a name as we understand it, indicated His continued and unchanging existence. The Israelites would have recognized that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - the God who exists and is both everlasting and unchanging, was the very same God who was sending Moses to them (Vs. 15-17).

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 appellation God gave Himself...


Son of Man.
 Many of Jesus' contemporaries believed that the "Messiah" would be a human leader who, one way or the other, would liberate them from their Roman oppressors. In other words, a political leader and/or military leader - perhaps even a king. The following statement by Tracey R Rich is from the 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". [04]

See Messianic Expectations in 1st Century - Documentation From Non-Christian Sources).

Why Should We Believe Jesus Was the Messiah, if He Didnít Fulfill all the Prophecies When He Was Here?

However, it is likely that Jesus did not refer to Himself as the Messiah because the various thoughts concerning the anticipated Messiah might have made the title a misleading one. Thus Jesus most frequently referred to Himself as "Son of Man" - a term that is used about 86 times in the Gospels, particularly in the Gospel of Matthew.

We tend to think that by using "Son of Man" Jesus was simply affirming His humanity. In other words, since He was born a real flesh and blood human, He was simply saying so. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no question that the Bible commonly uses the expression in the human sense. For example the expression son of man in Psalm 8:4 refers to man's descendants - any one of the human race.

What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? (Psalms 8:4 NASB)

However, it seems hardly necessary that Jesus needed to stress that He was human, considering that He looked like a man, got weary, hungry, tired, and was even tempted as the rest of us are. However, if one pays attention to what Jesus said about the Son of Man, it becomes clear that He wasn't talking about any ordinary human being. For example, in Matthew 25, Jesus described the Son of Man as someone enthroned in heaven, surrounded by an angelic host and judging all nations. Certainly no flesh and blood human being

    "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; (Matthew 25:31-32 NASB)

Son of Man in Daniel
In other words, there was more to the designation "Son of Man" than first meets the eye. But to gain insight into what exactly Jesus meant by the term, we have to turn to a conversation between Him and the high priest when He was taken before the chief priests and the council...

    The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, "Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?" But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" And Jesus said, "I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Tearing his clothes, the high priest *said, "What further need do we have of witnesses? "You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?" And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. (Mark 14:60-64 NASB)

The extreme reaction of the high priest tells us that he had no difficulty recognizing that Jesus had just identified Himself with the figure in Daniel's prophecy, - the only place in the OT where the title "Son of Man" is used of a divine personage... one whom, I might add, was given perpetual sovereignty over this world.

    "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14 NASB)

Coming With The Clouds Of Heaven
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 Jesus said He would come "with the clouds of heaven" which is exactly what the figure in Daniel's vision did. In fact, there are several passages in the Old Testament that describes God coming to earth in a cloud... 

    The Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever." Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. (Exodus 19:9 NASB)

    It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:10-11 NASB)

    The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. (Isaiah 19:1 NASB)

The New Testament isn't far behind - describing Jesus Christ as coming in the clouds, sometime in the future

    And the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. "Then they will see the Son Of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. "And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. (Mark 13:25-27 NASB)

    And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11 NASB)

Total Sovereignty
Also notice that the one "like unto a son of man" in Daniel's vision was given sovereignty over an everlasting kingdom and people of all nations and language would serve Him. The New Testament tells us that Jesus is given all power.

    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18 NASB)

    which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him 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 age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:20-21 NASB)

    Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11 NASB)

 

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. Chapter and verse divisions added for convenience much after the books were written often ignore natural divisions and are known to often interrupt the continuity of 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). This eventually lefd to a confrontation between them and Jesus, with the Saviour telling them that He was the "Good Shepherd,Ē who would lay down His life for the sheep (John 10:11), which statement caused considerable dissension (10:19) Finally, the Jews urged Jesus to tell them plainly whether or not He was the Messiah (10:24), to which Jesus responded

    "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. "But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. "My Father, who has given them to 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 NASB)

The Jews would not have missed the fact that when the Lord announced Himself as the 'Good Shepherd', He was making two hugely significant points. (Note: Except when otherwise indicated, every instance of "Lord God" is the Hebrew adŰn‚y and Yahweh)

1) The religious leaders of the nation Israel, were the bad shepherds who ill-treated and abused the flock Note:

    (1) Then the word of the Lord (Heb. Yahweh) came to me saying, (2) "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord God , "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? (3) "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. (4) "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. (5) "They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. (6) "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them."' (Ezekiel 34:1-6 NASB) 

2) But Ezekiel also wrote that God the Father (Yahweh )as a good shepherd would deliver His sheep from those shepherds and take care of them.

    (9) therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord (Heb. Yahweh) : (10) 'Thus says the Lord God), "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them."'" (11) For thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. (12) "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. (13) "I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. (14) "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. (15) "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord God. (16) "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. (Ezekiel 34:9-16 NASB)

In declaring Himself the 'Good Shepherd', Jesus was telling them that He was the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy - He was the shepherd who had come to save the lost sheep and give them eternal life. This declaration of equality and oneness with the Father was considered blasphemy of the highest order by the Jewish leadership.

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


Son of God - Was Jesus God's Offspring?
Although Jesus is called the "Son of God' many times in the Scriptures, I believe He only twice referred to Himself by that term.

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. (John 5:25 NASB )

    But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." (John 11:4 NASB)

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

     and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." (Matthew 3:17 NASB)

    Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!" (Mark 9:7 NASB)

Many Christians are of the opinion that "Son of God" means Jesus was God's 'offspring' - born of the virgin Mary, but conceived by the Holy Spirit. However Jesus did not become the Son of God. Rather, 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

    "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:5 NASB)

Additionally, although the Bible often uses the word "son" in terms of offspring or biological children, it also indicates 'a close association with'. 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 created heavenly beings were also called "sons of God" .

"Son" is also used in a wide variety of other contexts such as a person's tribe, people, city, and country of birth etc. And can also mean "sameness", as when a person displays the characteristics or qualities of someone or something 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" (John 17:12), and, in the Old Testament, other wicked men were called the "sons of Belial (worthlessness)" (Judges 19:22).. Other people were called sons of peace (Luke 10:6), sons of the world, and sons of the light (Luke 16:8).

See Footnote II for the extreme versatility of the word "Son" in the Scriptures...

In Matthew 11 Jesus said...

    At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. "Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (Matthew 11:25-27 NASB)

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

 

Worship:

Introduction
The Biblical condemnation of idolatry, i.e. the 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. "You shall have no other gods before Me. "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 on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, (Exodus 20:1-5 NASB)

From cover to cover, the Scriptures explicitly teach that YHWH alone is to be worshipped and warns of the consequences of worshipping other gods.  Yahweh 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....

    "But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim --for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God-- (Exodus 34:13-14 NASB)

    "Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. "Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you. (Deuteronomy 11:16-17 NASB)

    "I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:8 NASB)

Hypocrisy Unlimited?
Jesus reiterated the message even telling Satan that only God was to be worshipped and served.

    Then Jesus *said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'you shall worship (Gr. proskuneo) the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" (Matthew 4:10 NASB)

Yet, there is no record of Jesus ever rebuking anyone for worshipping Him - not even when Thomas called Him Theos (John 20:28). Jesus simply accepted the worship of the Magi (Matthew 2:11), the leper (Matthew 8:2), a synagogue official (Matthew 9:18), the disciples in the boat (Matthew 14:33), the Gaderene demoniac (Mark 5:6), the disciples after the resurrection (Luke 24:52) etc.

Note: worship has been translated from the Greek proskuneo in all the above examples - exactly the same word used for worship of God the Father ..

    and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship (Gk. proskuneo ) Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters." (Revelation 14:7 NASB)

But here is the nub of the matter. Not only was Jesus worshipped with God the Father's knowledge but, as this next verse from Hebrews shows, on His instruction.

    And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "And let all the angels of God worship (Gr. proskuneo) Him" (Hebrews 1:6 NASB)

 Also See Footnote III - The Jehovah's Witnesses, proskuneo, and Hebrews 1:6


Conclusion
If Jesus is not God, but accepted worship without protest, then one has to wonder how it is possible that God the Father calls Jesus "Son", declares that He is "pleased" with Him, and even tells Peter, James, and John, to "hear" Jesus.

Has God given His glory to another?

Jesus offers us a clue to the contrary. In the garden of Gethsemane asked that He be restored to the glory He shared with the Father before the creation of the world

    "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:5 NASB)

There are two choices here. a) Either this is deluded ravings or b) it is an exceedingly clear-cut declaration of the pre-existence, and deity of Christ.

I opt for the latter because, as this verse from Revelation shows, Jesus' prayer will certainly be answered. As the Lamb, Jesus will one day in the near future be given honor, glory, and dominion for all eternity. 

    Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:11-14 NASB)

     

CONTINUE ON TO PART III - Jesus' Claims - Authenticated By Some Very Impressive Evidence 


Endnotes

[04] Tracey R Rich. The Messianic Idea in Judaism. http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm


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

    A Domestic Servant: And Abram said, "Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house (literally a son of my house) is my heir." (Genesis 15:3 NASB)

    A Group of Prophets: Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to another by the word of the Lord, "Please strike me." But the man refused to strike him. (1 Kings 20:35 NASB)

    The Arrow (literally son of a bow) cannot make him flee; Slingstones are turned into stubble for him. (Job 41:28 NASB)

    Anointed Ones: Then he said, "These are the two anointed ones (literally sons of oil) who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth." (Zechariah 4:14 NASB)

    Foreigners: "Foreigners (literally  sons of strangers) will build up your walls, And their kings will minister to you; For in My wrath I struck you, And in My favor I have had compassion on you. (Isaiah 60:10 NASB)

    Guests of the Bridegroom: And Jesus said to them, "The attendants (literally sons of the bridechamber) of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. (Matthew 9:15 NASB)


Footnote III - The Jehovah's Witnesses, proskuneo, and Hebrews 1:6
Hebrews 1:6 says...

    And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "and let all the angels of God worship (Gr. proskuneo) him." (Hebrews 1:6 NASB)

That proskuneo means worship is made clear by the following examples

    Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Hm only.'" (Luke 4:8 NASB)

    "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24 NASB)Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; (John 12:20 NASB)

    the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, (Revelation 4:10 NASB)

    and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters." (Revelation 14:7 NASB)

Sadly, 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 is an attitude of deference or homage or a gesture (such as kneeling or curtsying) that expresses said deference.

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

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Artwork provided courtesy of James "theo" Theopistos.