Judaism, the precursor of Christianity with whom it shares a common God, is unambiguously monotheistic, believing firmly in the one true God, Jehovah. Uncorrupted Judaism considers the worship of any other god (in heaven, on earth or beneath the earth) as idolatrous and an abomination. Thus, the concept of the worship of one God was very clear to the Jews. In contrast, most Christians’ concept of the Godhead is at best confusing, and at worst polytheistic and idolatrous! What does the New Testament teach about the Godhead? Is biblical Christianity as monotheistic as Judaism? We shall examine Scripture to understand clearly the doctrine of the Godhead. The first part of this study will consider the relationship between Jehovah and Jesus Christ, as well as the position of Christ in the Divine Family. Subsequent articles will deal with the divinity of the Holy Spirit and the relationship between the members of the Divine Family –Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Deuteronomy 6:5 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might (AKJV).
Moses’ command to Israel concerning the Godhead was clear and unequivocal: Jehovah (the self-existent eternal One) our Elohim (God) is one Jehovah. Jehovah, Israel’s Almighty God, was one, not two or three! To have any other god outside of Jehovah was expressively forbidden for the Jews. Such was considered abominable idolatory, punishable by death! Not only is Jehovah the only true God, he is also an extremely jealous God who does not take the worship of any other god by his people lightly. To do that is to provoke Jehovah’s fierce wrath. And, who can stand before his indignation? Who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? Who can stand the wrath of this fearful God? (Nahum 1:6).
Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
Exodus 20:2 I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:4 You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Exodus 20:6 And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments (AKJV).
The New Testament throws further light on the nature of the Godhead, making clearer certain facts which were not revealed in the Old Testament, though they existed then. From the New Testament, we understand that Jehovah also has a Son who was begotten before the start of creation, in eternity past. The Son is also called the Word of God. Jehovah’s Son is the personification of Jehovah’s thoughts and Words, the very image of Jehovah and the brightness of his glory. The Son is said to be the beginning of the creation of God, the first thing to be brought forth into existence by Jehovah. While Jehovah is eternal and self-existent, the Son was brought into existence by his Father, Jehovah, and is therefore not self-existent (whoever heard of a self-existing son?). This Son of God, we learnt from Scripture, was the agent of creation, creating everything according to His Father’s will. The Son was thus the means by which God brought the universe into existence, and is also the means by which the universe is sustained. These truths are clearly taught in the Scripture.
The Acts 13:32 And we declare to you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made to the fathers,
The Acts 13:33 God has fulfilled the same to us their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you (AKJV).
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:5 And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not (AKJV).
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
Hebrews 1:2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Hebrews 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels said he at any time, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings in the first-begotten into the world, he said, And let all the angels of God worship him (AKJV).
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; (AKJV).
Revelation 3:14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (AKJV).
Though the Son of God was brought into existence by the Father in eternity past and lived with the Father in heaven and shared in his glory, he came down to earth about 2000 years ago to become flesh to dwell among men, in order to redeem fallen humanity back to God. The Son of God who had existed since eternity past with the Father, came in the incarnation to take a body of flesh conceived immaculately through a virgin. He left heaven and came and dwelt among men for 33 years. He lived and fulfilled the law of God as no man had ever done, and eventually died a vicarious death for mankind, to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. While on earth, the Son of God took a human name (Jesus Christ), and became the saviour of mankind.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (AKJV).
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.
Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took to him his wife:
Matthew 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS (AKJV).
Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (AKJV).
John 17:1 These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you:
John 17:2 As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
John 17:4 I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do.
John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was (AKJV).
Throughout his stay on earth, Jesus, knowing who he was, never saw or addressed himself as Almighty God. He always referred to himself as the Son (Son of man- with regard to his humanity, and Son of God- with regard to his divinity). He always referred to Almighty God as his Father and his God. Jesus never claimed to be Almighty God! If he did, that would make two Almighty Gods, for his Father, Jehovah, is already Almighty God! God equally referred to Jesus as his Son, not as Almighty God. And in all their writings, the Apostles took great care to distinguish between God the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son. Thus, the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ is that of Father and Son. Jesus Christ is subordinate to Jehovah because Jehovah is both his Father and his God.
John 20:15 Jesus said to her, Woman, why weep you? whom seek you? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, Sir, if you have borne him hence, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.
John 20:16 Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned herself, and said to him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brothers, and say to them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
1 Corinthians 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ , who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
So, from the overwhelming evidence of Scripture, we see that Jesus Christ never addressed himself as Almighty God, but always as the Son of God. We see also that the Apostles, in their writings, never addressed Jesus as Almighty God, but as the Son of God, for that’s who he is! Jesus never claimed to be Almighty God and never struggled for equality with God. He always emphasised the greatness of God his Father over him (now, which son is equal to or greater than his father?!). Jesus always identified himself as God’s Son, God’s messenger and God’s servant, and never as God’s co-equal or a co-Almighty. His power and authority are derived from Almighty God. He will judge and rule the world based on the authority and power given to him by Almighty God. At the end of his rule to restore order on earth, Christ himself will hand back authority to the Father and be subject to him, that Almighty God, the Father, may be all in all.
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Matthew 16:14 And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
Matthew 16:15 He said to them, But whom say you that I am?
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.
John 14:28 You have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise.
John 5:20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that himself does: and he will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
John 5:21 For as the Father raises up the dead, and vivifies them; even so the Son vivifies whom he will.
John 5:22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:
John 5:23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.
John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;
John 5:27 And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1 Corinthians 15:25 For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet.
1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:27 For he has put all things under his feet. But when he said all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
1 Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued to him, then shall the Son also himself be subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
Philippians 2:9 Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
From the foregoing, we see that there is no ambiguity in Jesus’ statements and those of the Apostles, as to the relationship between Almighty God and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not another Almighty God for Christians, in addition to Jehovah. Jehovah remains Christianity’s only Almighty God, as it was in Judaism. Jesus Christ is simply Jehovah’s eternal Son, the long awaited Jewish Messiah and Jehovah’s regent over the world. And because he is Jehovah’s Son and Jehovah’s perfect image and reflection, he has a divine nature or substance, like Jehovah’s, and is to be honored, reverenced and worshipped just as his Father. Jehovah has committed to his beloved Son the salvation of mankind, the government of the world, the judgement of mankind and fallen angels and the punishment of sinners, in order to rid the world of the effects of the fall. Jesus Christ is Jehovah’s regent in the government of the world. He has an exalted position in heaven right now at the right hand of God. He is to be revered, honoured, reverenced and worshiped with the same reverence due his Father. That’s what God decreed. Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of mankind, is the only mediator between God and men. No one can access God without gioing through him. No one can be saved without having faith in his propitiatory death for mankind.
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
The Acts 10:37 That word, I say, you know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
The Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
The Acts 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
The Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly;
The Acts 10:41 Not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
The Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
The Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
The Acts 4:10 Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him does this man stand here before you whole.
The Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nothing of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
The Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
The Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
The Acts 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Now, let’s throw some more light on the divinity of Jesus Christ. As Jehovah’s only begotten Son with the same divine nature as Jehovah, Jesus Christ is also divine. His divine nature as the eternal Son of God makes him of one nature with God, and places him above every other creature, being in the same divine family with his Father. As a divine being from the same divine family as his Father, Jesus Christ is God. He has the nature or form of God and is God. This is the same way the son of a king has a royal nature and is royal. Divinity begets divinity, as humanity can only beget humanity or royalty give birth to royalty. So, by his divine origin, Christ has the nature (form or substance) of God and is divine. He is God. The Father calls him God and we all should see and address him as God. He is not Almighty God, for that title and position is reserved only for the Father, for there cannot be two Almighties, lest we become polytheistic and idolatrous. Though subordinate to the Father, the Son is God. A prince and heir to the throne is royal, though inferior to his father the king with respect to the crown. Nevertheless, the prince and heir deserves all the reverence and honour meant for the throne. As God therefore, Jesus deserves all the worship and reverence due to divinity. The Father expects all to worship the Son even as they worship him, including angels and men! Christ is subordinate to the Father, who alone is Almighty, but he also is God, under the Almighty God.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings in the first-begotten into the world, he said, And let all the angels of God worship him.
Hebrews 1:8 But to the Son he said, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom.
Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
Hebrews 1:10 And, You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands:
Hebrews 1:11 They shall perish; but you remain; and they all shall wax old as does a garment;
Hebrews 1:12 And as a clothing shall you fold them up, and they shall be changed: but you are the same, and your years shall not fail.
Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool?
John 5:22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:
John 5:23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.
John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you.
John 20:27 Then said he to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold my hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God.
John 20:29 Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
In conclusion, we see that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who was begotten of the Father from eternity past, and has existed since then. He was the agency through which Jehovah created the universe, and he has remained Jehovah’s regent in sustaining the world and governing it on behalf of his Father. Being of the same divine substance as God his Father (he being in the form of God), he too is divine. He took on human nature through the incarnation, via the virgin birth, to become the saviour of mankind through his propitiatory death on the cross. He ascended to heaven after his resurrection from death, to return to the glory he had in heaven with the Father before his incarnation. He is currently sitted at the right hand of the Father, where he continues to play the role of high priest for mankind. He will come back to earth again to establish a rule of righteousness and to judge sin and restore the earth to its pre-fall state. Thereafter, he will hand over the kingdom to the Father, who will then be all in all. As God’s eternal and only begotten son, Jesus is divine and is to be honored, revered, and worshipped just as the Father. He is not a second co-equal Almighty God with Jehovah. As Jehovah’s Son, Jesus is subservient and subordinate to the Father, and derives his authority from the Father. Almighty God, the Father, is God also to Jesus Christ! Just as the son and heir of a king being reverenced and obeyed as his father doesn’t make two kings in the kingdom, the worship and reverence of Jesus as the only begotten Son and heir of the living God doesn’t mean Christianity has more than one Almighty God. Christianity is still as monotheistic as Judaism, and Jehovah remains its only Almighty God, though the eternal divine Son, Jesus Christ, is God also, and has now been so revealed to mankind, though his existence is from eternity past. Let all therefore worship and honour the Son even as they worship and honour the Father.