Category Archives: Jesus

DID THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS *ACTUALLY* OCCUR?

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So many around the world believe in and celebrate the resurrection of a man by the name of Jesus of Nazareth (who allegedly was crucified, buried and risen from the dead to atone for the sins of mankind) some 2,000 years ago.  Did this event actually take place? Seeing that resurrections aren’t taking place today, it is a fair and honest point to question why one should believe that a man was indeed raised from the dead.

Unfortunately for some (or perhaps many), Christianity has become more about culture than about conviction. In fact, especially in the south, it is found quite odd to not believe in Jesus. At the same time, this has often led to shallow answers, mantras and “blind” faith (as opposed to evidential faith).

In this post, I want to explain why I do believe that Jesus was resurrected – but not because I “feel it in my heart” or just “know.” Instead, from a historical and systematic standpoint, the evidence convinced me that there could be no other logical explanation. I want to examine 5 points that, when put together, point to the conclusion that Jesus had to actually be resurrected.

Point #1: JESUS REALLY LIVED

Before we can prove that a man was resurrected, we first must prove that he existed. Is there enough historical evidence to prove that Jesus of Nazareth existed?

The New Testament documents provide historical data teaching us that Jesus really lived (Jn. 20:30-31; 21:24-25; Lk. 1:1-4). The New Testament documents are the most attested to and authentic documents of Greek and Latin antiquity in the world (Reinventing Jesus, p. 71). In fact, we have 3 times more NT manuscripts written within the first 200 years of the originals (autographs) than the average Greco Roman writings have within 2000 years (Ehrman vs. Wallace Debate; See also: csntm.org).

Early “Christian” sources (sometimes known as the “Church Fathers”) also attested to the historicity of Jesus. These were religious men who lived in the latter part of the 1st century through the 2nd century and wrote about Jesus and the Bible.

There are approx. 20 independent sources that testify to the historicity of Jesus (Clement of Rome; 2 Clement ; Ignatius; Polycarp; Martyrdom of Polycarp; Didache; Barnabas; Shepherd of Hermas; Fragments of Papias; Justin Martyr; Aristides; Athenagoras; Theophilus of Antioch; Quadratus; Aristo of Pella; Melito of Sardis; Diognetus ; Gospel of Peter; Apocalypse of Peter; Epistula Apostolorum).

The Babylonian Talmud (70 A.D.- 200 A.D.) speaks of Jesus being a real person (The Babylonian Talmud, tansl. By I. Epstein, London: Soncino, 1935, vol. 111, Sanhedrin 43a, p. 281.).

Josephus (37 A.D.-101 A.D.), a Jewish historian, records Jesus being a real person (Antiquities of the Jews, 20:9:1; Antiquities of the Jews, 18:3:3).

Tacitus (55 A.D.-177 A.D.), a Roman historian, spoke of Jesus as a real individual (Annals, 15:44).

Lucian (120 A.D.-180 A.D.), an enemy of Christianity, records Jesus as being a real man (Lucian, The Death of Peregrine, pp. 11-13, in The Works of Lucian of Samosata, translated by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, 1949, vol. 4).

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, the information above demonstrates that the friends of Jesus, historians during Jesus’ time, persons neutral about Jesus and even Jesus’ enemies all attested to Him being a real, human who actually lived. Therefore, the first step of moving that a man was resurrected is by proving that he actually lived. Jesus was a real man who actually lived on this earth.

Point #2: JESUS DIED BY CRUCIFIXION

Once it is established that Jesus actually lived, it needs to be established next that He died by crucifixion. Matthew accounts this (Matthew 27:27-61; v.50). Mark accounts this (Mark 15:16-47; v.37). Luke accounts this (Luke 23:26-56; v.46). John accounts this (John 19:17-42; v.33)

Crucifixion was the way the Romans eliminated the possibility that Jesus could have ever survived. In fact, before the crucifixion, Jesus was beaten and flogged (Lk. 22:63-64; etc.). He was so exhausted that another man had to carry His cross (Mk. 15:21; etc.). Josephus writes:

 “When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified…” (Josephus, Antiquities 18.64).

Josephus was not a Christian, he was a Jewish historian that lived during this time. However, even he records the crucifixion as being a real, historical event.

Tacitus reports:

 “Nero fastened the guilt [of the burning of Rome] and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus” (Tacitus, Annals 15.44 c. A.D. 115).

Lucian of Samosata, the Greek satirist, writes:

 “The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account” (Lucian of Samosata, The Death of Peregrine, 11-13 (c. mid-second century).

The Talmud reports:

“…on the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged” (Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a, late second century, The Babylonian Talmud, I. Epstein, ed. And trans.).

The Talmud is a collection of Jewish writings and is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism, considered second to the Torah. Yeshu is Joshua in Hebrew. The equivalent in Greek is Iesous or Jesus. Being hung on a tree was used to describe crucifixion in antiquity (Lk. 23:39; Gal. 3:13).

So, what historical evidence do we have that Jesus died by crucifixion? The New Testament writers attest to this. An ancient Jewish historian and a Roman historian attest to this. The Talmud attest to this and even enemies of Jesus attest to this.

Point # 3: THE TOMB WAS FOUND EMPTY

Historically speaking, it can be proven that the tomb of Jesus was found empty. Matthew accounts this (Mt. 28:1-8). Mark accounts this (Mk. 16:1-8). Luke accounts this (Lk. 24:1-12). John accounts this (Jn. 20:1-10).

Enemies of Christ tried to explain away the empty tomb by saying that Jesus’ disciples came and stole the body (Mt. 28:12-13; Answer given by enemies in debates: Justin Martyr, Trypho 108; Tertullian, De Spectaculis 30). Biblical testimony and extra-biblical testimony testify to this. This is interesting because there would have been no need for enemies of Christianity to attempt to account for a missing body, if the body had still been in the tomb.

Point # 4: EYE WITNESS ACCOUNTS

Unlike other religions, Christianity wasn’t founded by one person in a corner. On the contrary, all of these actions were public and historically documented. Acts 26:26:

“For I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.”

How Christianity started: Jesus was killed publicly; He publicly showed Himself to hundreds of people in multiple places at multiple times after He was resurrected; the public told everyone what they saw; The accounts were verified by eye witness testimony. Faith was built upon reason and evidence (Ac. 26:25)

How other religions started: Only one person claims to have a private dream or encounter with “a” god (or an angelic being); then he tells his private dream or encounter to the public; it is built upon no reasons, no evidence or no eye witness testimony. There is no reason or evidence to back up the claim.

Women are listed as the first witnesses of the empty tomb (Mt. 28:1; etc.). They are mentioned in all four accounts of the Gospel. Males appear later and only in two of the gospel accounts. This would be an odd invention, since in both Jewish and Roman cultures, women were less appreciated and their testimony was regarded as questionable.

Two disciples on the road to Emmaus saw Jesus after He was resurrected (Lk. 24:13-27). His disciples saw Him (1 Cor. 15:5; doubting Thomas, Jn. 20:24-29). James (Jesus’ doubting brother) was changed (Mk. 3:21, 31; 6:3-4; Jn. 7:5; 1 Cor. 15:7; Acts 15:12-21; Gal. 1:19). Even 500 brethren at once (1 Cor. 15:6) —most of which were still alive when Paul wrote to the Corinthians so that the things he was writing could be verified.

Paul’s, based upon his conversion story, is also another eye witness (1 Cor. 15:8; Acts 9; 22; 26). What did Paul have to gain from a worldly standpoint (Phil. 3:4-7)? Paul went from persecuting Christians to being a persecuted Christian (Acts 26:9-11; 2 Cor. 11:22-28; etc.).

These multiple eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus went through great persecution for their belief. They remained steadfast in the face of imprisonment, torture and even martyrdom (Rev. 2:10). It is clear that they sincerely believed that Jesus rose from the dead.

Point # 5: THE ONLY CONSISTENT ANSWER

The following points can be historically and logically proven and sustained:

1. Jesus of Nazareth lived.

2. Jesus of Nazareth died by crucifixion.

3. The tomb of Jesus was found empty.

4. Many people, including His own disciples, legitimately believed and testified that they saw Jesus resurrected.

These 4 points cannot be historically disputed. However, the question remains, was Jesus actually resurrected? Here lies the debate. The debate is not whether Jesus lived. The debate is not whether Jesus was crucified. The debate is not whether Jesus’ tomb was found empty. The debate is not whether the disciples and many people believed they had seen Jesus resurrected. On the contrary, the debate is centered around whether or not the resurrection of Jesus is the most evidential answer as to why the tomb was empty. While there are many radical alleged theories, there are in essence three serious explanations that attempt to answer the question of the empty tomb.

EXPLANATION #1 – THE DISCIPLES STOLE HIS BODY

The first explanation is that the disciples came and stole the body of Jesus while the guards fell asleep. This was the most popular and common explanation used by non-believers during that time by the enemies of Christianity. They simply claimed that the tomb was empty because the disciples stole the body of Jesus (Mt. 28:15).

Before we being to delve into the evidence that discredits this theory, let’s first be reminded of a couple of things. The tomb was sealed with a very large stone affixed with a Roman seal (Mk. 16:3-4; McDowell, 1981, p. 59). Roman soldiers were guarding the tomb (Matthew 27:62-65). This alone leads to several questions. For example, where is the evidence that the guards slept? How could the disciples have moved the stone and kept from waking the guards?

This leads to the alleged argument, even more absurd than the first: the guards were bribed by the disciples. However, their duty was to make sure no one stole the body – which means their life was also on the line. So, if you were bribed, you certainly wouldn’t have stayed to face the consequences. You would have fled!

However, assuming that somehow the disciples were able to get past the guards and roll the stone away to steal the body of Jesus (or assuming they bribed the guards and were able to take the body), there are many facts that discredit this theory.

First, this theory doesn’t account for the multiple eye witness accounts of others who claimed to have seen Jesus resurrected. Remember, the disciples were only a few out of hundreds who claimed eye witness testimony to the resurrection.

Second, this theory doesn’t account for Paul’s conversion.

Third, this theory would mean that the disciples dedicated their whole life to a lie, which is the exact opposite of the moral standard they dedicated their lives to.

Fourth, there would have been nothing for the disciples to gain in doing this. Why would the disciples steal the body of Jesus only to start a religion they knew to be false? What would have been the point and the motivation?

Fifth, nobody is willing to be persecuted for something they know is false. While many people may die, or be persecuted for what they think is true, nobody dies for what they know is false. J.P. Moreland said:

“The disciples had nothing to gain by lying and starting a new religion. They faced hardship, ridicule, hostility, and martyrs’ deaths. In light of this, they could have never sustained such unwavering motivation if they knew what they were preaching was a lie” (1987, pp. 171-172).

If Jesus was never resurrected, then the disciples were dying and being persecuted for something they knew was false. This makes absolutely no sense in logic and psychology.

EXPLANATION #2 – THE ENEMIES STOLE THE BODY

The second explanation is that the enemies stole the body – perhaps to play a trick on the disciples. The fundamental problem with this explanation is easily exposed.

First, if the enemies of Jesus wanted to shut down Jesus and His followers, then why in the world would they attempt to give any validity to Him by making it look like He was resurrected? This doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

Second, this doesn’t explain the conviction of the disciples and other eye witness testimony. They all claimed to have seen Jesus resurrected. This theory does not account for this.

Third, this doesn’t explain why the enemies of Jesus tried to say that the disciples stole the body of Jesus. If people began to believe the resurrection (why is the exact opposite of what the enemies wanted), they why did they try and discredit that theory by blaming the disciples when they could have simply refuted it by producing the body of Jesus to prove He was never resurrected?

Fourth, if indeed the enemies stole the body, then they would have immediately stopped Christianity in its tracks on the Day of Pentecost, when Christianity began. Jesus was publicly executed in Jerusalem, yet 50 days later, Christianity started in Jerusalem claiming that Jesus had been resurrected (Acts 2).

In the climate of Jerusalem, a corpse’s hair, stature, and distinctive wounds would have been identifiable, even after fifty days. If the enemies of Jesus would have had His body, they would have defused Christianity before it had a chance to get off the ground! If they stole the body, why did they not expose the disciples’ lie?

Instead, they maintained the position that it was really the disciples who took the body. They never produced the body. What did they have to gain by concealing the most powerful evidence conceivable against the resurrection? Imagine how devastating it would have been for the disciples, had the Jews paraded Jesus’ rotting corpse before the many thousands on Pentecost. Such an act would have strangled the infant church in its crib.

EXPLANATION #3: JESUS WAS ACTUALLY RESURRECTED

This final explanation, the explanation I believe, is rooted in evidence and eye witness testimony. It also answers all of the questions and makes the most sense based upon the evidence we have of the situation.

So, why do some not accept the resurrection story of Jesus? It isn’t because the evidence isn’t there. No, it is because they deny that a resurrection can actually take place. In other words, the presupposition is that a resurrection cannot happen, therefore, regardless of the evidence, it couldn’t have happened.

For example, in a conversation I had with atheist historian Matthew Ferguson, he said:

“A miracle has never been demonstrated with scientific instruments under observation and no ‘bench mark’ miracle has ever been confirmed to boost the prior probability of a miracle in a historical event. Accordingly, the prior probability of Jesus’ miracles are very, very low. This is why I said that all of this could change if a miracle were presented today. If god gave us a miracle today, that would change our background knowledge and prior probability for a miracle occurring in the past.”

In other words, until he can see a resurrection (or something similar), he won’t believe. Not because historical data is lacking, but because he just can’t accept the fact that something like the resurrection would have occurred.

I encourage you to examine the evidence for yourself. Study both sides of this issue (as you should do with any issue) and see where the evidence leads. As Paul said:

“If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

“Christ is risen from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20).

That, my friends, is the power of the gospel. Jesus lived, He died for our sins, He was buried and He was resurrected (1 Cor. 15:1-14). Thanks be to God for His awesome plan of salvation!

– Kevin Pendergrass

JEHOVAH’S WITNESS & THE DEITY OF JESUS

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The Jehovah’s Witness deny the deity of Jesus Christ.
On the contrary, I am very convinced the Bible teaches that Jesus is God. One of the clearer passages in the Bible that teaches Jesus is divine is John 1:1.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

The Jehovah’s Witness attempt to get around this passage by having their own translation of the Bible, known as the New World Translation. In the New World Translation, John 1:1 is translated as “…the Word was ‘a’ god.” Their alleged argument comes from the Greek language. They reason that since there is no definite article (“the”) in the Greek before the word “God” in John 1:1, then that means that Jesus wasn’t “the God,” but that He was “a god.” Is there any validity to their argument?

Analyzing their argument from Greek.

The problem with the Jehovah’s Witness argument from Greek is that it is overstated. Sentences of this form in Greek (two nouns joined by a form of the verb “to be”) normally placed the article only before the subject of the sentence, regardless of the word order. This simply means that the traditional translation, “The Word was God,” is the preferred translation among practically all Greek scholars and authorities.

To name just a few, this includes Dana & Mantey’s A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (p.140, 149-151), Robertson & Davis’ A New Short Grammar of the Greek Testament (p. 279), A. T. Robertson’s The Minister and His Greek New Testament (p. 67), and Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (p. 266 ff.)

The Jehovah’s Witness also abandon their own argument in the very same context. Let me explain what I mean. If we were to follow their translation principle consistently in John 1:1, then “the beginning” should be “a beginning” (Jn. 1:1) life should be “a life” (v.4) and John should be “a John” in 1:6 (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 267).

Furthermore, the noun theos (God) is found some 1,343 times in the Greek Testament (Smith, Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament, p.173). In 282 of these texts, theos is without the article (Countess, The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: A Critical Analysis of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, 54-55).

If the Jehovah’s Witness were to apply their argument consistently, then every single one of these verses should be translated as “a god” in each of these passages in the New World Translation. However, there are only sixteen instances (6% of the time) where the New World Translation is consistent with their own alleged argument by translating these instances as “a god,” “god,” “gods” or “godly.” To put it another way, this means that 96% of the time the Jehovah’s Witness violate the very rule they believe should be enforced in John 1:1 (Countess, The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: A Critical Analysis of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, 54-55).

It will probably come as no surprise that the only time they enforce their rule is in locations where the nature of Jesus is at stake. This clearly indicates a translational bias. As Charles Feinberg said,

“I can assure you that the rendering which the Jehovah’s Witnesses give John 1:1 is not held by any reputable Greek scholar” (Rhodes, 99).

Context alone settles the issue.

While the Jehovah’s Witness have no legitimate argument that can be made from the Greek language, one doesn’t even have to appeal to the Greek to refute their argument. Contextually, one should reject the Jehovah’s Witness understanding of John 1:1.

If Jesus was just “a” god, then this would mean there are many gods. Yet, the Bible teaches that there is only one God (Isa. 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 1 Cor. 8:6; Deut. 6:4; Eph. 4:6). So how do the Jehovah’s Witness respond? The Jehovah’s Witness argue that Jesus was only “a god” in a figurative sense. They reference Moses to allegedly prove their point. Consider the following passages that speak of Moses:

“Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and it shall come about that he shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be as God to him” (Ex. 4:16).

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet’” (Ex. 7:1).

The problem with this argument is that the Bible never says that Moses was God, or even “a god” for that matter. As the text says, Moses was going to be “like God” in the sense that he was given the authority and power to display powerful miracles that would prove God’s power over Egypt. Being “as God” or “like God” with regard to the power given to perform miracles over Egypt is not the same thing as being called “a god” or “God.” Therefore, this argument fails because this cannot be considered a fair parallel.

Furthermore, in Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is even called, “Mighty God.” This is a title and description reserved only for deity (And Moses was certainly never called, “Mighty God”).

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6; Both Jesus & the Father are called Mighty God. See: Jer. 32:18; Isa. 10:21; etc.).

Conclusion

In conclusion, and based upon the aforementioned, John 1:1 should be accurately translated as, “…the Word was God.” This can be sustained linguistically and contextually. For further reasons that prove Jesus is God, please see the article entitled, “Is Jesus God?”

– Kevin Pendergrass

IS JESUS GOD?

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Is Jesus God? Let’s back up for a moment and define exactly what I mean by this question. When I say the word “God,” I am referring to the one and only divine nature (Also known as Deity). There is only one Deity and divine nature, which is known as God.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4).

“…there is no other God but one” (1 Cor. 8:4).

The Bible repeatedly states there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; 32:39; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kgs. 8:20; Isa. 43:10; 1 Cor. 8:4, etc.). The Christian doctrine, known as the Trinity (or Godhead), teaches that there is only one divine nature, but that one divine nature exists in three distinct persons or beings known as the Father, Jesus/the Son and the Holy Spirit (Col. 2:9; Mt. 28:19).

In fact, the very first verse in the Bible speaks to this fact when the Hebrew word “Elohim” is used (Gen. 1:1). This word is plural in number (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/430.htm). So, while there is only one Godhead, there is a plurality within the Godhead. Furthermore, in passages such as Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 11:17, the Godhead is described as a “us,” not an“I.” I would go as far to say that then the Bible says there is one God, that simply means there is only one divine nature. I would further say that the one divine nature is possessed by the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

I believe sometimes we only equate God with the Father, but we must understand that God can be used to describe the Father separately, the Son/Jesus separately, the Holy Spirit separately or a combination of any of these three persons within the Godhead. The word God can also be referring to the Godhead as a whole. Context will always determine how the word God is being used.

Below are just a few scripture references that describe the Father, the Son/Jesus and the Holy Spirit as being part of and making up the one Deity/divine nature. I will make just quick references to these since our focus is on the Deity of Jesus in this article.

  • Here are a few passages that teach or imply the Father is God (Phil. 1:2; Isa. 64:8; Jn. 5:21; 1 Jn. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:1; etc.).
  • Here are a few passages that teach or imply Jesus/the Son is God (Jn. 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15-17; etc.).
  • Here are a few passages that teach or imply the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 8:11; Psa. 139:7-10; 1 Cor. 2:10-11; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 9:14; etc.).

So, with all of the above being said, let’s now look at four major points that prove Jesus is Deity.

Point 1: Jesus Claimed to be Deity.

“Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:17-18).

In John 8:58, Jesus went so far as to use the very words by which God revealed Himself to Moses from the burning bush (Ex.3:14).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn. 8:58).

In John 10:30, Jesus claimed to be God when He stated that He and the Father are one. In fact, the Jews clearly realized the claim Jesus was making to the point of condemning Him for blasphemy.

“The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (Jn. 10:33).

Therefore, the first reason we should believe that Jesus is God/Deity is because He claimed to be.

Point 2: Jesus Accepted Worship.

The Bible teaches that only God can accept worship (Ex. 20:4-5). In fact, in Acts 10:26, Peter denied the worship that Cornelius attempted to bring Peter. Peter explained to Cornelius that he was just a man and only God is deserving of worship. In fact, Paul even condemns worshiping angels (Col. 2:18).

“…For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Mt. 4:10).

Jesus accepted worship on many occasions. From the time He was a child, until the time He was resurrected and ascended back to heaven, He received and accepted worship. He was worshiped when He was a child (Mt. 2:11). He was worshiped by His disciples (Mt. 14:33; 28:9, 17). The blind man worshiped Jesus after he was healed (Jn. 9:35-39). The disciples worshiped Jesus as He was ascending (Lk. 24:50-53).

Therefore, the second reason we should believe that Jesus is God/Deity is because He accepted worship.

Point 3: Testimonial From Others

The Father Himself testified that Jesus is God.

“But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.’ And: ‘You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands” (Heb. 1:8-10).

Many others also testified and/or recorded that Jesus is God. This includes John (Jn. 1:1-5, 14), Matthew (Mt. 1:23), Isaiah (Isiah 9:6), Peter (2 Pet. 1:1), Luke (Acts 20:28), Paul (1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13), Thomas (Jn. 20:28), etc.

Therefore, the third reason we should believe that Jesus is God/Deity is because the testimonials of others.

Point 4: Jesus’ Divine Attributes and Characteristics

There are certain characteristics that are limited to Deity. Jesus exemplified and/or taught that He had these attributes. Jesus is eternal, not created (1 Tim. 6:16; Psa. 93:2; Isa. 57:15; Hab. 1:12; Mic. 5:2; Isa. 9:6; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; etc.). Jesus could forgive sins (Mk. 2:7; Lk. 7:48; Mt. 9:1-8; etc.). Jesus could know and search the hearts of men (Jer. 17:10; 1 Kings 8:39; Jn. 2:23-25; Lk. 5:22; Mt. 9:4; etc.). Jesus was sinless (Rom. 6:23; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22; etc.).

Therefore, the fourth reason we should believe that Jesus is God/Deity is because He has attributes that only God possesses.

In conclusion, these are four strong reasons as to why we should believe the Bible teaches Jesus is God. In another article on my blog, you can dig deeper as we explore the question, “How can Jesus be both God and the Son of God?”

– Kevin Pendergrass

DID JESUS REALLY DIE FOR OUR SINS?

Why did Jesus have to come to earth to die? This question is one of the most fundamental questions of Christianity. The Bible teaches that all accountable human beings have “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). This simply means that none of us are perfect. We have messed up and, even when we try our best, we will still mess up from time to time. Since we have sinned, we all deserve death because “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).

The reason Jesus had to die is because we needed someone to take our place and die for us so that we could live forever. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree).” The Bible teaches that Jesus is our substitute. He took our place. Peter had this to say about Jesus: “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). Paul, when writing to the church at Corinth said “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Since God is a holy and just God, His wrath for our sins had to be appeased if there was any way we could ever be in fellowship with Him again. The only way that we, sinful beings, could ever be in fellowship with a sinless God is if a sinless sacrifice was made (Heb. 10:1-10). And that is exactly what happened (Heb. 4:15; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:18; Heb. 9:28; Heb. 10:12-14). Jesus took on the sins of the world so that we could live forever. Jesus took the sins we committed by taking the penalty we deserve.

Jesus took all the sins of the world that had ever been committed and will ever be committed. God’s justice and wrath was appeased through the suffering and death of Jesus (Isa. 53:10-11). Since such is the case, it would be faulty to argue that a sinner, who never accepts God’s gift, must spend an eternity in hell in order to appease God’s holiness. If the sins of the world were appeased through several hours of Jesus’ suffering and ultimately His death, then it obviously doesn’t take an eternity of suffering to appease God’s wrath/justice. Otherwise, Jesus would still be suffering as we speak.

Instead, the punishment Jesus ultimately bore was death, the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23). The difference is that Jesus overcame death and conquered it by being resurrected (2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-15; Rom. 6:8-10). The belief that sinners, who never accepted God’s grace, will spend an eternity being tormented in hell in order to appease God’s wrath is unbiblical and illogical if indeed the sin of the world was appeased through the sacrifice of Jesus.

If the sins of the world were appeased through the sacrifice of Jesus in a period of suffering and then ultimately death, it would also follow suite that the sins of all impenitent sinners will also be dealt with in the same way through a period of suffering for the impenitent sinner and then ultimately death. It just so happens this is exactly what the Bible teaches. Jesus will destroy and kill not just the body, but also the soul of the impenitent sinner (Mt. 10:28). Those who follow Jesus will be able to escape ultimate death, but those who refuse to follow Jesus will be responsible for their sins and face the same fate Jesus did—the only difference is that they will not overcome death like Jesus. Instead, their death and destruction will be forever (2 Thess. 1:7-9; Mt. 10:28).

HOW CAN JESUS BE BOTH GOD AND THE SON OF GOD?

(Note: I would like to introduce you to Brandon Johnson. Brandon is going to be writing articles from time to time on this blog. Below is his first article posted on this site entitled, “HOW CAN JESUS BE BOTH GOD AND THE SON OF GOD?” Brandon is a faithful man of God who strives to pursue truth lovingly and objectively and I am pleased to have him join me in writing articles for the blog. You may contact Brandon directly at: brandonjohnson1008@gmail.com).

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There are those who claim to believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures while denying the divinity of Jesus. Some deny the deity of Jesus based upon the fact that Jesus is called the Son of God. These individuals reason that the term “son” inherently necessitates the idea of creation or beginning, therefore, a son cannot be eternal. Furthermore, they reason, since Jesus is called the Son of God, He must have been created by God the Father and cannot be both God and the Son of God. They argue that since Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-64; Mark 1:1; 1Corinthians 1:9), He cannot therefore be God. They conclude that to be the Son of God and God at the same time would be an apparent contradiction. I believe their conclusion is faulty and unwarranted. I believe that Jesus is both divinely God and the Son of God based upon the following biblical evidence.

First, the phrase “sonship” is a position that was given to the Son (Jesus) by the Father. Positions do not intrinsically effect the eternality or divinity of a being. Jesus is and always has been God (Jn. 8:54-59; 14:8-9; Col. 1:17; Mt. 1:23; Isa. 9:6; 43: 10, 11; Rev. 1:17-18; 2 Pet. 1:1; Jn. 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13; etc. ), but He was not always the Son of God. Jesus did not assume His position as “the Son of God” until the appointed time (John 1:1-18; Galatians 4:4-6). This can be seen in other positions Jesus holds as well. "And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth."  John 17:3For example, when Jesus built His church, He became the head of it (Matthew 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23). This position did not exist until the church was established on the Day of Pentecost in Acts (Acts 2:38-47). However, Jesus still existed before the position of “head of the church” existed. Furthermore, Jesus could not assume the role of “firstborn from the dead” until after He was resurrected from the dead (Colossians 1:18). Also, Jesus could not assume the position of “the author of eternal salvation” until after His suffering (Hebrews 5:8-9). In like manner, Jesus’ position as the Son of God does not negate the fact that Jesus is eternal, but instead, indicates that He took on that position at a specific time in accordance with divine will. Jesus has always been divine, but He has not always held the position, “Son of God.”

Second, it is helpful to know when Jesus became the Son of God. As has already been noted, Jesus did not always hold the position and title, “Son of God.” The time at which Jesus would become the Son of God was prophesied in the Old Testament (Psalm 2:7). “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You” (Psalm 2:7). There was a specific time that Jesus was to be begotten and take on the position “Son of God” (Phil. 2:5-11). The writer of Hebrews applies Psalm 2:7 to Jesus’ time on earth (Hebrews 1:5-6; 5:5-7). Paul quotes this same passage and also applies it to Jesus’ time on earth (Acts 13:33).

The writer of Hebrews applies another Old Testament passage to Jesus when he says “I will be to Him a Father and He shall be to Me a Son” (Hebrews 1:5; 2 Samuel 7:14; 1Chronicles 17:13; 22:10; 28:6). This phrase was spoken in the future tense when it was originally written in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles (“I will be to Him a Father and He shall be to Me a Son”). Cross SunsetI believe this prophecy revealed that Jesus would become the Son of God, thus indicating that at the time of the prophecy Jesus was not the Son of God, but He was still divinely God (Jn. 1:1-19; Heb. 1:7-9; etc.). The writer of Hebrews and the Gospel of Luke inform us that this occurred when Jesus was brought into the world through the miraculous conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit: And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’.” (Luke 1:35; Heb. 1:6).

Third, the phrase “only begotten” (Jn. 3:16) carries with it the idea of uniqueness, one of a kind (Jn. 1:14, 18; 3:18; 1 Jn. 4:9; etc.). This can be demonstrated by the example of Abraham and Isaac. Isaac is considered Abraham’s only begotten son (Heb. 11:17), even though Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s only son (Gal. 4:22; Gen. 25:1-2; etc.). Isaac was the only true son of the covenant (Gen. 17:19-21). Therefore, it is the uniqueness (i.e., one of a kind) of Isaac among the other sons that allows for him to be called “only begotten.” In the same way, Jesus became the Son while still sharing the same divine nature as the Father, as opposed to Christians who are God’s children only by adoption (Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:6-7). Jesus became the “one and only” son of God.

In conclusion, Jesus was called the only begotten Son of God because His conception was a miraculous, unique, one of a kind conception by the Holy Spirit. No man brought Jesus into the world. God the Father brought Jesus into the world and at that point in time, the eternal Jesus became the “Son of God.”

– Brandon Johnson

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