We have already seen in the article #158 that Jehovah declared to Abraham that he was El Shaddai (the almighty). We have registered there an abundant material documenting the powers of El Shaddai, or, Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Jaldaboath, as scholars wish.
Jesus also calls himself Almighty after resurrection, at the time he gave the last instructions to the apostles: “Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth’” (Matt. 28:18). The difference between Jehovah and Jesus is that Jehovah declared: “Before me there was no God formed, neither will there be after me” (Is. 43:10). Jesus, resurrected, said: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). The one who gave Jesus all the power was bigger than he. To Jesus, there was a God before him, and to Jehovah, there was not. Jehovah affirmed that there would not be any god after him (Is. 43:10). Paul reveals that when Jesus has all things under his feet and has destroyed all empires, authorities, powers, then the same Jesus will submit himself to the One who subjected all things to him, in order that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
Let us analyze the Bible texts that speak of the deity of Christ:
- It seems that the incarnate Christ was not God, for James declares that God cannot be tempted by evil, and does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). And Jesus confessed that he was tempted, when he said: “But you are those who have continued with me in my trials” (Luke 22:28). So, the incarnate Christ was not God. Besides, we read in the letter to the Hebrews: “For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). The descendant of David according to the flesh was tempted as any other man, but was declared to be Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of Sanctification, by the resurrection of the dead (Rom. 1:3-4).
- “So also Christ didn’t glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your father” (Heb. 5:5). Now, this word was pronounced by the Father, in the resurrection of Jesus: “We bring you good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled the same to us, their children, in that he raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your father’” (Acts 13:32-33). Jesus Christ was begotten God in the resurrection. Thomas, seeing him, exclaimed: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27-28). And he was also begotten priest forever (Heb. 7:23-24).
- Prior to the cross Jesus was not Lord; on the contrary, he was a servant, and the humblest of them. In the letter to the Philippians, we read the following: “Who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8). As a result, “God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11). Prior to the resurrection Jesus was not Lord, for there was another.
- 4. The apostle Peter declared to the princes and priests: “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed, hanging him on a tree. God exalted him with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins” (Acts 5:30-31). Prior to the resurrection Jesus was neither prince nor savior, for he was elevated to this position after his resurrection. In the letter to the Hebrews we read the same thing: “Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:8-9).
- 5. We read more in the letter to the Hebrews: “Again, when he brings in the firstborn into the world he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb. 1:6). Jesus entered this world two times: when he was born in the manger, and when he resurrected; but the angels did not adore him prior to the resurrection; therefore, he was not almighty or Lord.
- Peter, referring to the Flood as a picture of baptism, said: “This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you–not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him” (1 Pet. 3:21-22). God, the Father, submitted the angels to Jesus. This proves that they were rebels. The angels stripped by Jesus were submitted to Jehovah and fulfilled his orders (Ps. 103:19-20).
- Jesus prior to the Holy Spirit anointing did not have virtue or power to effect prodigies and miracles. The anointing of God came over Jesus Christ only because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity (Heb. 1:9). This is the glorious anointing of Jesus. “Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him” (Matt. 3:16). It is written in the book of Acts: “Even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). We conclude that Jesus was not almighty prior to the cross.
- Prior to the resurrection Jesus was not the judge of the living and the dead, according to the word of Peter, who said: “God raised him up the third day, and gave him to be revealed, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:40-42). If he was constituted after the resurrection, he was not almighty before. And Jesus will judge in his return, in his kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1). But there was a judge prior to Christ (Ps. 94:1-2; Jer. 11:20). And it was an unjust judge (Ezek. 21:3-4).
- Before receiving all the power, honor and glory from God the Father, Jesus had to be approved. Let us read the words of Peter: “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22). Jesus was not approved prior to his coming down to this word, for the text says that he was approved among the Israelites.
To affirm that Jesus was the same god of the Old Testament who destroyed kingdoms, promoted wars, slaughters, cruel vengeances, etc., is to make the revelations of the New Testament void. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
In what was Jesus approved? He was approved in the love with which he gave his life for the guilty men. He was approved in the healing of the sick, in the forgiving of sinners, in the humble service to men, in the renunciation of glory, etc. This means that the one who is full of vengeance and fury and destroyed his own people was not approved. “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them” (those which are offered according to the law), then he has said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will.’ He takes away the first, that he may establish the second” (Heb. 10:8-9).