Introduction (Written by Jason Petersen)
This is a comprehensive seven-part article on the Deity of Christ that is written by Evan Osborne. Seven arguments can be used to show that Christ was God in the flesh. The seven parts to this series is listed below. The reader can feel free to click on any of the links below so that they may easily access the parts.
Written by Evan Osborne
YHWH. A name considered so holy to the Hebrew people, that when this name comes up in the Old Testament, the reader usually uses the term “Adonai” in its place. YHWH is the divine name of God in the Old Testament, commonly known as the tetragrammaton (“four letters”). Everywhere in English translations of Scripture that “LORD” appears (all letters capitalized), it is a translation of YHWH. When this name is used (about 6,000 times in the Old Testament), it is abundantly clear that God is the one being spoken of.
This has huge implications regarding the deity of Christ and trinitarianism, for if we can find in the Bible a place where Christ is identified as YHWH, then he’s undoubtedly God! Such is the case, as we’ll see from looking at some New Testament passages about Christ that cite Old Testament texts that speak of YHWH. It should be clear at the end of this article that Jesus is nothing short of YHWH, the LORD.
Let’s turn to the passages to see Christ identified as YHWH….
Matthew 3:1-3 cf. Isaiah 40:3: In this text, as well as other Gospel parallels (Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1), we have John “preparing the way” for Christ. Matthew writes, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” John is fulfilling Messianic prophecy, which speaks of the Messiah being preceded by a forerunner, one who “prepares the way.” The texts in the Old Testament that prophesy such an event are Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1-3. Isaiah 40 is interesting, as it reads, “A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Here, Isaiah speaks of one preparing the way for the LORD (YHWH), and this passage is cited in Matthew 3:3 of Christ! What a wonderful testimony to our Lord’s identity as YHWH!
John 12:39-41 cf. Isaiah 6:1-10: Here, Christ is beginning his private ministry to his disciples (John 12-16), and after Christ spoke to some inquiring Greeks, John records “Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.’ Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.” When did Isaiah see the glory of Christ? Well, the quote from Isaiah here is from Isaiah 6:10. In this context, the prophet sees none other than YHWH himself (Isaiah 6:1-10). Therefore, according to John, Isaiah saw Christ’s glory, and according to Isaiah himself, he saw YHWH’s glory. It is quite clear that Christ is being identified as YHWH in the text here.
Hebrews 1:10-12 cf. Psalm 102:25-27: Hebrews 1 is a beautiful testimony to the superiority of Christ over the angels, and points to the deity of Lord over and over again, identifying him as one in the very nature of God (v. 3), who preserves creation (v. 3), who is worshipped by the angels of God (v. 6), and who is even called God (v. 8). To add to this testimony, the author has more to say of Christ in vv. 10-12: “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” These verses are quite clearly speaking of Christ’s eternality (“your years will have no end” in v. 12) and his immutability (“you are the same” in v. 12), but htere is more in these verses to testify to our Lord’s deity. As one reads vv. 10-12, it should be evident that the author is quoting from the Old Testament. This citation in Hebrews 1 is from Psalm 102. In Psalm 102, the psalmist is clearly writing to and of YHWH (evident from vv. 1,12,15,16,19,21,22). In writing of his affliction, the psalmist, at the end of this chapter, writes, “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.” Here, the very verses used to praise God’s immutability and eternality (v. 27 specifically) are cited of Christ in Hebrews 1! There can be no mistake: Hebrews 1:10-12 teaches that Christ is YHWH.
1 Peter 2:3 cf. Psalm 34:8: Peter, in writing to the elect exiles of the Dispersion (1:1), exhorts his reader s to put away malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander (2:1). He continues to tell them to long for “the pure spiritual milk, that by it, you may grow up into salvation (v. 2). However, the exhortation to crave this milk is conditional, as v. 3 continues on telling them to long for this milk, “IF indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Peter then continues on to speak of Christ as the living stone and believers as a chosen, holy people (vv. 4-12). In this context, v. 3 sounds like a citation, or even simply a reference, of a famous Old Testament passage. If we look into the Old Testament, we come up on Psalm 34. In this psalm, David is praising YHWH for his provision and deliverance, writing in v. 8 of the text, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” It is clear that Psalm 34:8 is using the language that Peter writes of in 1 Peter 2:3, yet Psalm 34 is speaking of YHWH, whereas 1 Peter 2 is speaking of Christ. Here, we have more confimation of Christ’s deity.
1 Peter 3:13-15 cf. Isaiah 8:12-13: In this text, Peter is speaking of the believers suffering for the sake of righteousness, which produces a blessing (vv. 13-14). In this context, Peter writes what is generally considered the central verse on apologetics, 1 Peter 3:15: “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks youfor a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Many understand this verse, and it’s context of suffering, but many are unaware of its Old Testament foundation, that of Isaiah 8. In I saiah 8, the prophet is speaking of how the Assyrians will come and invade the land of the Israelite people (vv. 1-10). In vv. 11-22, Isaiah is comforted by YHWH, being told in v. 13, “the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” Here, Isaiah is told to honor YHWH as holy in the midst of suffering, and in 1 Peter 3, believers are told to honor Christ as holy in the midst of suffering. There is amazing similarity in these texts (even more similarity can be found when we consider that, in 1 Peter 3, when Christ is to be sanctified as “Lord,” the term “kurios” is used, which, in the LXX [Greek Septuagint], is what YHWH is rendered as in Isaiah 8:13), which adds further biblical evidence to the deity of Christ.
And here, we have multiple texts describing our Lord as true deity, YHWH himself! May we continue to worship him, and, in obedience to 1 Peter 3:15, honor him as YHWH.