(Continued from page 353)Jesus - 'My Lord and My God'!
Truly, everything that God the Father is - the Son of God is also! What could be clearer?
Yet, because Jesus had lowered Himself to take on the form of a Perfect Man, He would also, as the Perfect Son of Man, talk of God the Father in this way (John 20):
JN 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"
JN 20:3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
JN 20:10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
JN 20:13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
JN 20:15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
JN 20:16 Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
JN 20:17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "
JN 20:18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.
JN 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
JN 20:21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
JN 20:24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
JN 20:26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
JN 20:28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
JN 20:29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
JN 20:30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
The Biblical record shows clearly that the Perfect Man, Jesus, prayed to God the Father and brought glory to His Father by His Perfect Example - yet accepted worship Himself from the monotheistic Jew, 'doubting Thomas', who clearly addressed Jesus as (v28): "My Lord and my God!" Thus we prove that the Lord Jesus Christ was fully Son of Man and fully Son of God (and equal to God the Father even while on earth) and now reigns in glory with the Father as Revelation 5 (see later) makes clear!
The true interpretation of the Trinity answers all questions. When people saw an angel carrying God's Name in the Old Testament (ref. Judges 13), they were really seeing the pre-incarnate Jesus:
JDG 13:1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
JDG 13:2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. 3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, "You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, 5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines."
JDG 13:6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, "A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, `You will conceive and give birth to a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth until the day of his death.'"
JDG 13:8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: "O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born."
JDG 13:9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, "He's here! The man who appeared to me the other day!"
JDG 13:11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, "Are you the one who talked to my wife?"
"I am," he said.
JDG 13:12 So Manoah asked him, "When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy's life and work?"
JDG 13:13 The angel of the LORD answered, "Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her."
JDG 13:15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you."
JDG 13:16 The angel of the LORD replied, "Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD." (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.)
JDG 13:17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, "What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?"
JDG 13:18 He replied, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding. " 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.
JDG 13:22 "We are doomed to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen God!"
JDG 13:23 But his wife answered, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this."
JDG 13:24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Only God has a name that is 'beyond understanding' (verse 18), yet we find that they recognised that they had been speaking to - and seen - God (verse 22).
We also find that 'a man' wrestled with Jacob at Peniel - yet Jacob recognised that he had wrestled with God (Genesis 32):
GE 32:22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."
But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
GE 32:27 The man asked him, "What is your name?"
"Jacob," he answered.
GE 32:28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
GE 32:29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name."
But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.
GE 32:30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."
GE 32:31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon.
There are many other examples of Jesus' appearing in angelic or human form in the Old Testament, but he came to earth to live as a man for a testing period of time for another wonderful reason. Hebrews 2v14 shows why Jesus "partook of the same nature" as us:
HEB 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Recognition that, first, there is nothing that is impossible for God will open the eyes to the truth that Jesus always existed in equality with His Father but lowered Himself to become a little lower than the angels while He was on earth so that He existed in the form of a man while retaining His full deity, yet fellowshipped perfectly with His Father in constant prayer and performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 2v1-11 fully describes this situation, for the inspired writer Paul claimed full Deity for Christ, and tells us that we should have the same attitude in ourselves as Christ Jesus - that we should put others before ourselves and not look after our own personal interests - just as:
PHP 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. PHP 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: PHP 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, PHP 2:7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. PHP 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! PHP 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, PHP 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, PHP 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
As we must claim Jesus as Lord and Ruler, and worship Him (Philippians 2v9-11), how could He be less than God? (Colossians 2v9). These Scriptures show that Jesus did "exist in the form of God", but voluntarily came "in the likeness of men". It was His choice, but he made himself subject and humbled Himself - and we can see in Revelation Chapter 5 how the Sacrificial Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, received the reward spoken of in verses 9-11 of Philippians.
We have high-lighted some of the many references to the Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 5:1-14:
REV 5:1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." REV 5:6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
REV 5:10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."
REV 5:11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
REV 5:13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!"
REV 5:14 The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.
The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ is being worshipped in heaven because of His glorious redeeming work on the cross at Calvary! Since Islam denies all of these Biblical claims how can any Muslim claim they give any glory to Jesus?
The term "equal" in Philippians 2, verse 6, is another form of the Greek "ison," namely "isa," which again denotes absolute sameness of Nature, thus confirming Christ's true Deity. Further, this context reveals beyond reasonable doubt that Christ's subjection to his Father (John 5v26; 6v57) during His earthly existence - during which "He emptied Himself" to become as one of us - in no way affected his true Deity or unity with the Father, for Jesus claimed Jehovahistic (the same as the Father) identity (ref. John 8v58) when He announced himself to the unbelieving Jews as the "I Am" of Exodus 3v14. So the Scriptures themselves specifically testify, that Christ is equal with God the Father in Essence, Character, and Nature. Jesus shared the Father's prerogatives and attributes, hence He had no desire to strive for what was His by nature & inheritance.
It is also clear from the Philippian passage, and many others, that Jesus is the name above all names and that "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4v12). This is another reason why Christians can never accept the way in which Muslim writers have added to the Koran to almost deify Muhammad in the same way Roman Catholics have added to the Bible to almost deify Mary (we will return to this matter later).
(Continued on page 355)