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Proving that Jesus is God from Old Testament Scripture

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Proving Jesus is God from Old Testament Scripture

When reading the New Testament it seems so obvious at times that Jesus is God and equal with the Father.[1] But in other passages Jesus’ full divinity is more ambiguous. I believe that conclusive proof of Jesus’ full divinity can be seen when we compare certain Old Testament verses with corresponding New Testament verses.  The key to this is recognising God’s Name in Scripture.

There is only one true, supreme God—the God of the Bible—and his Name is YHWH. YHWH is usually translated as LORD (all capital letters) in English translations of the Old Testament. Most good Bible versions explain this translation in their preface. Check it out.

Out of reverence for the holiness of God, the Jews stopped saying God’s Name a couple of hundred years BC, so the correct pronunciation of YHWH is uncertain.[2] The Hebrew language does not contain vowels, but we can ascertain that the first syllable of God’s Name is probably pronounced “Yah” because it is found in the word Hallelujah (or Halleluyah). Hallelujah means “Praise the LORD” or, more correctly, “Praise YHWH”. Some Christians pronounce YHWH as “Yahweh”.[3]

Yahweh means: “I Am who I Am.” God explained his Name to Moses during the burning bush encounter when God commissioned Moses to free Israel from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 3:13-15). God’s Name, the “I Am”, gives a sense of the enigmatic, transcendent and eternal nature of God (cf. Revelation 1:8).

Three infinite and eternal persons belong to this Godhead called Yahweh: (1) the Father, (2) the Son, Jesus Christ, and (3) the Holy Spirit. These three persons are bound closely together in unity of power and purpose and are often referred to as the Trinity.  Yahweh is one God made up of three persons.

The fact that Jesus Christ is Yahweh can be determined by comparing the following Old Testament verses with the corresponding New Testament verses.

Isaiah 40:3 speaks about preparing the way for the LORD (Yahweh). When we compare this verse with Mark 1:3 we see that Jesus is the LORD who had the way prepared for him by John the Baptist.

In Joel 2:32a it says that whoever calls upon the Name of the LORD (Yahweh) will be saved. This verse is quoted by Peter in Acts 2:21, and by Paul in Romans 10:13. Both apostles are clearly referring to Jesus as the LORD.

In Isaiah 6:1-10 we read about the marvelous vision that Isaiah had revealing the glory of the LORD (Yahweh). John tells us in John 12:40-41 that this vision revealed the glory of Jesus.

In Isaiah 44:6, the LORD (Yahweh) refers to himself as “the First and the Last”. In Revelation 1:8 and 17, Jesus similarly refers to himself as “the Alpha and the Omega” and “the First and the Last”.

In Zechariah 12:10 the LORD (Yahweh) is speaking and says that, “they will look on Me whom they have pierced.”[4] This is obviously Jesus speaking (Psalm 22:16; John 19:34).  This passage from Zechariah appears again in Revelation 1:7b and is clearly about Jesus Christ.

As Yahweh (along with the Father and the Holy Spirit) Jesus is eternal, having all the qualities and attributes of God. Even on earth, in human form, Jesus was the image of the invisible God, and the exact representation of God’s nature (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). Jesus is not some sort of demigod; rather, the fullness of deity (“God-ness”) dwells in him in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary, was fully man and fully God, having both a human and divine nature at the same time.

As eternal God, Jesus Christ existed before he came to earth as a human baby. He existed before the creation of the earth. In fact, Jesus was instrumental in its creation. The Bible says that all things were created by Him, and that nothing was made without Him (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2).  Jesus is not a created being himself.

The Scriptures teach us that there is only one God and we are commanded that we should worship no other gods (Exodus 20:3). From Scripture we can see that Jesus Christ is worshipped eternally, further proving his deity and place in the Godhead (Philippians 2:10-11; Revelation 5:9-14).

As wonderful as Yahweh’s Name is,[5] there is a name which has even greater significance and importance:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and 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.

Proving Jesus is God from Old Testament Scripture


Endnotes

[1] Jesus’ disciples, those closest to him, testified that Jesus is God. Peter writes “our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ” in 2 Peter 1:1; Thomas addresses Jesus as “My Lord and my God!” in John 20:28; and  John called the Word/Jesus, “God” in John 1:1. Also, the apostle Paul calls Jesus “the great God and Saviour” in Titus 2:13

[2] King David had no problem with declaring the Name of God. He uses it frequently in his Psalms.  In Psalm 8:1 & 9 he says (sings), “O Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your Name in all the earth!”
Instead of saying God’s Name, many Jews replace YHWH with “Ha’Shem” when reading from Hebrew scripture aloud. Ha’Shem means “the Name” in Hebrew.

[3] “Jehovah” is another way of saying God’s Name and appeared in old English translations of the Old Testament; but this pronunciation has fallen out of favour because it is considered inaccurate by some.

[4] Some paraphrases, such as the Good News Bible and the Living Bible, do not translate this verse accurately.

[5] “O LORD (Yahweh), our Lord (Adonai), how majestic is your Name in all the earth!”  Psalm 8:1 & 9.

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Posted July 17th, 2009 . Categories/Tags: Christian Theology, Christology, ,

Unkind, judgemental, bizarre, and off-topic comments will be deleted.

33 comments on “Proving that Jesus is God from Old Testament Scripture

  1. Emma McCaig says:

    This is so good Margaret, I have made so many notes in my bible! Thank you for all your hard work, it is so very appreciated!

  2. […] Proving that Jesus is God from Old Testament Scripture […]

  3. […] Proving that Jesus is God from Old Testament Scripture […]

  4. Emma says:

    I totally forgot about this article, once again it has impacted my understanding of God. This is the kind of teaching that all christians should hear.

  5. Lisa says:

    LOVE this!! thank you so much for taking the time to study and share this in such a way that is easily understood & retained. Can’t wait to share with my friends!

  6. Marg says:

    Thank you Lisa. 🙂

  7. Linda H says:

    Thank you Marg. I don’t know if you saw my comment on Rachel Held Evans’ blog yesterday but the whole subordination of the son heresy has really been bothering me. This helps a lot.

  8. Marg says:

    Hi Linda, I actually responded to your comment on RHE’s blog because I have a major problem with the concept of “eternal subordination of the Son” too. I also have a major problem with using the Trinity as a model for marriage. I’ve written about this here.

  9. Philip says:

    I think you are incorrect about the Seventh Day Adventist believe that only God the Father is Yahweh. I’ve been to many SDA seminars in an effort to learn scripture even though I disagree with the SDA on a few points. However, I’ve never heard them teach ever that Jesus is anything other than God.

  10. Marg says:

    Thanks for this Philip. I’ve double checked this. My understanding has been that the SDAs believe Jesus is the archangel Michael, the Prince of Israel, mentioned in Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1 and Jude 1:9, and not God.

    However the SDA’s state: “We believe that the term ‘Michael’ is but one of the many titles applied to the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead. But such a view does not in any way conflict with our belief in His full deity and eternal pre-existence, nor does it in the least disparage His person and work.” From here (chapter 8.)

    Thank you again for pointing out my error. I’ve removed the wrong information.

  11. Dale says:

    I have been a Christian for 54 years. I am now 60. I have been searching the Old Testament to find proof that Jesus and God are one. God has said He is one and there is no one beside him, which is what Jesus said he would be. (At the right hand of God) I AM ONE ! Is that plain enough or do all the verses in the Old Testament just sound confusing ? Tough to change my beliefs now, but I will keep searching for Gods truth.

  12. Marg says:

    Hi Dale,
    The word “one” in Hebrew (echad) doesn’t just mean one in number, it also can mean a unity. For instance when it says that a husband and wife are one (echad) flesh, it doesn’t literally mean that their flesh is one in number, but that husband and wife are united as a couple.

    I believe that the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are united with a profound unity: Three persons but one God.

    One way I explain this concept of “three persons: one God” is by pointing out that in my family we have several family members but we are united as one family.

    “Hear, O Israel, Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one (echad).” Deuteronomy 6:4

    I wish you well in your searching, and pray that the Holy Spirit lights your way.

  13. Chase Howell says:

    This is a great post. I’m LDS (Mormon) and we, too, believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are all 3 separate beings, but united as “one” in purpose. And we also believe that when God is spoken of, in the Old Testament, that it is referring to Jesus Christ and not Actually God the Father. This article was very helpful in furthering my understanding and also very easy to read and to understand.

  14. Marg says:

    Hi Chase, Thanks for your comment.

    My understanding – which could be wrong – is that LDS people believe that Elohim is God the Father and that YHWH is Jesus. I don’t share that belief.

    My observation is that God is typically referred to as Elohim, Adonai and YHWH in the Old Testament. In fact, God is frequently referred to by using a combination of these words in the OT Scriptures.

    Elohim is just a generic word that is usually used in reference to God in the OT, and not just God the Father. (Because elohim is a generic word, and not a name, it is also used in some other OT contexts for divine or powerful beings.)

    Most English Bible translations translate the generic word Elohim simply as “God”, Adonai as “Lord” and YHWH (God’s unique name) as “LORD”. I believe these three words all refer to the one and the same God. This one God is Triune and includes the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

    In my article I am not saying that YHWH is Jesus. I’m saying that YHWH is the Triune God which includes Jesus.

    I hope this clears up the misunderstanding.
    (I deleted the link you included in your comment – sorry.)

  15. Chase Howell says:

    Sort of. Elohim, in Hebrew, is a plural meaning of God. Gods. But because Jews thought it was to sacred to speak of so plainly, they replaced the word with Adonai. We believe in the King James version of the bible. The translators for this version wished to uphold the Jewish custom and replaced Adonai with LORD (all capitals). In more modern translated scriptures, though, such as the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, Elohim is used for God the Father and Jehovah is used for Jesus Christ, to help avoid confusion. We believe that Jesus is the God of the old testament acting in the name of God the Father.

  16. Marg says:

    Hi Chase,

    I just double-checked to make sure, but I think you are mistaken.

    The King James Version does not translate Adonai as “LORD” (all capitals). Or do you have a special LDS edition?

    The KJV usually translates Adonai as “Lord” and YHWH as “LORD” or “Jehovah” depending on the edition. (In a few instances where Adonai and YHWH are used together the typical translation is “Lord GOD”.

    Elohim is a plural noun, but there are several plural nouns in Hebrew with singular meaning.

    The Jews do not change or edit their Hebrew manuscripts – this is unthinkable – so Elohim, Adonai and YHWH are still there in the Hebrew Bible. Many Jews have no problem with saying Adonai. In fact, when Jewish people see and read the word YHWH in the biblical text they typically say “Adonai” or “Hashem” (the Name) instead, so that they do not pronounce the unique name of God.

    As you stated some Jews do not like saying Elohim. I even know some Jews who do not like saying “God” in English, and spell it as G-d. Because of this reticence to speak about God in a direct or personal way, some Jewish writings, such as the Targumim, use words like “heaven” when referring to God. Even Matthew spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the Kingdom of God in his gospel. I think all this is rather unfortunate and unnecessarily scrupulous.

    The Jewish custom of not pronouncing God’s name did not occur before the Babylonian exile. Previous to this, Jewish people, including the Bible writers, had no problem with using God’s unique name. I think it is a shame that most people do not know God’s name – YHWH.

    I’ve used Psalm 8:1 as an example where YHWH and Adonai are used of the one “person”. See the endnote 5.

    Psalm 50:1 uses El, Elohim and YHWH in the opening phrase:
    “The Mighty One (El), God (Elohim), the LORD (YHWH) speaks …” (Psalm 50:1 NIV)
    The King James translates this verse as “The mighty (El) God (Elohim), even the LORD (YHWH), hath spoken …” (Psalm 50:1 KJV)

    I believe that Adonai, Elohim and YHWH all refer to the one, Triune God.

  17. Josh says:

    Great article! To clarify about the SDA comments… I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. I don’t see anything in your article that conflicts with our doctrines. There is a wealth of information that can be written in support of this subject. The one I love perhaps the most, however, is “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39. Jesus was referring to more than just the Messianic Prophesies! He was saying, before there was Abraham… I AM. Looking at scripture in the light of God the Son throughout the OT is a paradigm shift for many and reaffirms my commitment to keeping God’s commandments “because” He saved me, including the seventh day (Saturday) Sabbath as written by the very finger of Christ our God.

  18. Marg says:

    Hi Josh,

    Thanks so much for reminding me of John 5:39. It’s very apt for this subject!

    I did have a wrong statement about SDA beliefs in my original article but someone pointed out my error, so I edited out the mistake.

  19. karen says:

    Thank you very much. This has helped me with an assignment I had to do! Blessings……

  20. Anthony says:

    Marg I love your wisdom and I pray that God will continue to reveal his glory to you and your loved ones. Stay blessed

  21. Marg says:

    Thanks Anthony. The true nature of God and the Trinity is still clouded in mystery. But one day we will see and be able to understand.

  22. Anthony says:

    Marg if I may ask, what is your take on Once Saved Always Saved? Its a big divide in the churches it seems, I believe on has to remain in Christ in order not to be snatched out of his hand. I don’t believe we have the freedom to sin because Jesus already paid for it on the cross.

  23. Marg says:

    There are verses which indicate both ways of thinking : “Once Saved Always Saved” and “Continuing Salvation”. I believe that we ourselves can walk away from God, but I also believe that no one can take us away from him unwillingly.

    I’ve written about this here: http://newlife.id.au/christian-living/instant-christianity/ and here: http://newlife.id.au/margs-articles/christian-livinginstant-chritianitycontinuing-salvation-verses/

    • Anthony says:

      Marg thanks for the links I also do not believe in OSAS, and my basis comes from the prodigal son. The Scriptures teach us that the one son was DEAD then made Alive Again, now in the Greek from what I understand the words ” alive again” in the Greek means to REVIVE. So if one is dead in the spirit and God would have taken his hand off this son my assumption is that he would have went to hell because of the state of his spirit. But he repented and was made alive again, thus showing we can walk away from our salvation. GOD is always there and he will never walk away but we can and many do. Another verse I think in Romans states that God is able to graft Israel back into the branch AGAIN as well. That word ” again” carries a lot of meaning, just like the word “if” that you presented in your links. Let me know what you think. Thanks

  24. Peter Dixon says:

    There is no “W” in Hebrew.

  25. Marg says:

    As an aside, the Greek word for head (kephalē) in 1 Cor. 11:3 means “source” or “origin”.

    So the Corinthians seem to be saying that the triune God is the source for the Messiah, or Christ; the Messiah is the source of men, and the first man was the source of the first woman. But this idea is incomplete and not quite correct, so Paul gives his more correct response to the Corinthians’ idea in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12. More on this here.

    It is important not to confuse the parts where Paul quotes from the Corinthians’ letters with Paul’s own teaching.

  26. Tiff says:

    I appreciate all that I have read here, please forgive my ignorance.

    My frustration comes in because I have friends of the Islamic faith.
    Seeing that they only believe in the Old Testament, there aren’t any scriptures that plainly say, Jesus is the Son of God. Because of my believe I am made to look like a fool for believing in something I cannot prove.
    I have read through the OT scripture referrals above and still feel at a lost.

    Thank you,
    Tiff

    • Marg says:

      Hi Tiff,

      You are right. There aren’t any Old Testament verses which succinctly state that “Jesus is the Son of God”. That is because the records of Jesus coming from God to the earth in human form, and being called “Jesus” only occur in the New Testament. Yet, in the Old Testament there are many hints (prophecies) – some big, some little – about what kind of person the Messiah would be. It is only by comparing the Old and New Testaments that we see that Jesus is the Messiah and belongs to the “godhead” call YHWH.

  27. Lisa says:

    Hello,

    My friend and I are studying the book of John to get to know who we worship better. Not only hearing the Word but reading it for ourselves.

    We use reliable commentary as well as cross-references within the scripture texts.

    We are on the 5th Chapter, where now Jesus is pointing to Himself as God.

    So we had to stop and really delved into what Yeshua really meant when He equates Himself as God the Father.

    Starting searching the internet and I was hesitant to open up this webpage, but I am glad I was led to.

    What amazing insights – started all from the original post.

    Decoding God – I am familiar with a couple of the teachers of scripture are and respectively agree to my understanding – and what you wrote along with the Marg’s insight are amazing.

    I have always heard from Hank Hanegraff, if you familiarize yourself with the truth – you will know a counterfeit.

    This is all so good – thank you all and may our Lord continue to bless you always!

    • Marg says:

      Hi Lisa,

      That’s a great line: “If you familiarize yourself with the truth, you will know a counterfeit.”

      I’m glad you see the truth in this article.

  28. Marg says:

    COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED

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