A Personal Journey in Healing.

In discussing the variances between Christianity and Jehovah’s Witnesses, a friend who is a Jehovah’s Witness made the following comment:

Some religions practice the healing by laying on of hands.  And yet the Bible says that healing was done away with after all the first century Christians died.

I have to wonder why people believe this to be a fact that “the Bible says.” A lot of Christians believe this as well (Cessationists). However, they struggle greatly with presenting a Bible based argument. It seems to me that for those who believe this, their belief is not really because “the Bible says” but for other reasons – often because it’s simply what they’ve been told or what they’ve personally experienced.

I grew up attending churches that believed it was not only God’s desire that people receive healing, but that God still heals today. I’m thankful for this as it wasn’t until I was older that I realized how many churches believe that healing was done away with, officially, after the time of the new testament. As an adult, I’ve read the arguments on both sides and from a straight biblical standpoint, the cessationists have no footing. Their view is steeped in experience. Following experience above the actual words of God is never a wise position, and while I have had awesome experiences, the ultimate and only source of truth is the word of God. We must take our experiences and say, “Does this line up with the word of God, or is this contrary to the word of God, or does this miss the mark of the fullness of God’s word?”

First, my experiences. Of the many I have seen and had, I will discuss only five – one witnessed, one experienced through me and three experienced by me.

While I saw a number of miraculous healings as a young person attending church, two stick out in my mind even to this day. The first involved a female a year or two older than me. Her name was Kelly. My mom had met her mom shortly after moving to the area in the mid 1970s and their family attended the same schools and church as I did. Kelly had one leg shorter than the other. She always had. I’m not talking an inch or two so that she walked funny but no one could really tell – I’m talking several inches. She had to have special bottoms made for all her shoes so she could stand up straight. She would have to have pants hemmed differently for each leg. It was obvious. Her shoes were almost comical with the one super tall sole. One day they prayed for her short leg to be made right with the other leg. It happened instantly. For the rest of the night Kelly had to walk around carrying her shoes because they would have put her very lopsided had she tried to wear them. I remember joking to her that she’d have to buy all new shoes and she added that she’d have to get new pants. Her legs were perfectly normal for the rest of the time I knew her, and as far as I know, are still so today. I’ve heard of several similar stories to this one, but unlike the others, I was there and witnessed this one. Kelly wasn’t some plant in the audience who knew how to make it look like one leg was shorter than the other – her one leg was shorter than the other and had been that way the entire time I’d known her. It was a miraculous healing that occurred in an instant.

The second incident is also from my younger years and is the first true healing that I remember happening to me. I had been in my room and kneeled down quickly and accidentally put my knee on a thumbtack. It went in and hurt terribly. Over the next few days my leg got all swollen, terribly painful, and I could not bend my knee. Ultimately, my mom took me to church to meet the pastor to pray about it. My guess is we didn’t have insurance or at least the money for a doctor. Besides, isn’t God the first place we should turn? I remember the pastor praying over my knee. The relief was nearly instant. In a matter of minutes the swelling went down and the pain left. I could bend my knee. An obvious infection that had been increasing quickly for a couple of days had simply, quickly vanished. God is good.

The third story also happened to me. I was in my freshman year of college and (the doctor assumed) because of a poorly sanitized hot tub at the school rec center I got a significant infection in my belly button. Health service was included at the college so I was able to get an antibiotic. It did not help so eventually I was given another antibiotic. With this, the infection continued to grow. It was visually disgusting – swollen, colored, pussy and with lines spreading out and away from my belly button. I was sent to the hospital where I was told that within 24 hours I needed to be checked into a hospital and would have to have surgery to remove (cut out and suck out) the infection and that traditional oral or shot antibiotics would not be able to do anything on their own. It was then described that I would have to have a pic line for a constant feed of antibiotics to completely rid the rest of the infection as it was spreading into my internal organs. This was to either involve going back home to have my family doctor set up or checking in to the hospital on my own at the college. I would miss at least a week of classes. I was in a good amount of pain and as a young man freshly on my own, I was rather frightened by the idea of everything. I left the hospital and instead of making plans to ether check in at the local college hospital or go home, I went to my friend Marc, whom I knew from church. He was a year ahead of me and lived in my dorm above me one floor. I explained the situation and showed him the infection. Gross. We prayed. Instantly I could feel a difference, though no visual difference was noted. Within no more than 60 minutes that “feeling a difference” equated to “no pain whatsoever.” I did not finish the antibiotics I had – not taking a single one after we prayed. They clearly had not been working which is what lead to the college health department sending me to the hospital in the first place. Over the next week or two the visual aspects of the infection went away and I was left with a new belly button.

Let me explain that last line. This is my favorite part of this story. Before the infection I had always had an “outie.” Whereas most people’s belly buttons sink in, mine stuck out as a weird knob of tightly wrinkled flesh. I had always hated it! It embarrassed me greatly. I was a skinny kid  so this easily stuck out and was visible with t-shirts. I hated going without a shirt, even at the pool, because it was a feature of me that drew comments from others. As an insecure teenager, it bothered me greatly. As the visual impact of the infection healed up after the pain had left almost instantly, my belly button changed from an outie to an innie. It now looks perfectly normal, and has ever since my freshman year of college. To me, the healing was God being gracious and faithful to his word, but changing the shape and design of my belly button was God saying “I even care about the silly things that shouldn’t bother you, but do.” This whole incident was truly a great miracle for me.

The fourth occurred later in my college years. I was at a March for Jesus rally in Toledo, Ohio. If you’ve not heard of a March for Jesus rally, they are similar to a Gay Pride parade, but instead of celebrating being gay, they celebrate the greatness of our God and King. Anyway, the music pastor from my church was there helping to set up and he burned his hand on a generator. It was obviously, visually, painful and as he was supposed to be leading worship for our section of the parade, it was a great distraction to him in the moment. He asked me to pray with him about it and we did. He said thank you and continued working, as things needed done. After the rally he came up to me and told me that within a few minutes of our praying he forgot about even having been burned, as the pain and reddened seared flesh was gone. God had brought healing. Once again, God is good.

The fifth involves God’s gracious timing and prompting, and in this healing a surgeon was used by God (God can work through doctors at times and he can work without doctors at times and he can work in spite of doctors at times). I had had a small lump on my back for a number of years in my mid to late 20s. Only once had I asked a doctor about it during a work required physical and he simply said “if it ever changes, see a doctor.” In the late 90s and early 2000s I was working at a private Christian homeschool setup. It was here that the lump on my back began to bug me. It had grown a bit and was uncomfortable if I leaned back in certain chairs. I was self-employed and had no insurance, but I knew in my heart that I needed to get a job with insurance. Over the course of a month or so I left my position and placement was found for all my students. The grace here was not only that I was able to leave my position, but I was able to do so without any serious disruption to others. I got a job as a manager at a Bob Evans, knowing I could have insurance within 30 days, which wasn’t that bad for such a job, as often people waited 6 months at that time (~2000). God’s timing was perfect, even when I didn’t think it was. What was supposed to take only 30 days (getting my insurance card) actually took closer to 40. Once I did I had an appointment set up and had the tumor removed by my family doctor. We chatted the whole time (I was only under a local anesthetic) and he even let me see the tumor as we cut it in half to look inside. What he had originally thought would be an oily cyst turned out to be a fatty tumor. It was cool looking – almost as if the white fat glowed inside. He decided to send it off to a lab, “just to be safe, though it’s probably just a fatty tumor.” He sewed me up and told me to be careful about stretching my back (don’t lift your arms too high). For the time, I forgot about it and returned to life as normal.

A couple of weeks later I got a call on my cell while I was at work. It was a receptionist for a doctor I had never heard of confirming my possible surgery for two days later depending on another appointment tomorrow. Upon realizing I had no idea what she was talking about and confirming that I was indeed who I am, she got the surgeon. The surgeon was clearly annoyed at having to talk to me, because he was baring some very bad news over the phone. Apparently when my family doctor got the lab results back they forwarded them on to the specialist, but neglected informing me of the results. Anyway, the surgeon went on to explain what I had (a word I could not make out with his heavy accent), but it was cancer. He was quite negative, telling me how the surgery was scheduled but it was likely I would not need it as he was positive that the cancer would have metastasized and spread through my body at this late stage. I was to have a PET scan the next day to confirm this, and if, on the unlikely chance that it had not metastasized, I would have to have the surgery. The doctor told me it was very likely I would die from this and that it would happen quickly. I was encouraged to have my things in order. He didn’t tell me to have my things in order because there is inherent risk in all surgeries. He told me that in his professional opinion, there was no real hope.

Needless to say, I left work that day without saying anything to anyone and went home. I remember someone asking if I had just seen a ghost as apparently I was as white as one myself. I just kept going out the door.

Well, the PET scan came out okay and I was set for surgery the next day. They were going to excise the entire area and all the musculature around the spot on my back where the original tumor had been removed. I was told I would never do various things again. Apparently doctors assume everyone plays golf or tennis, because those are two things I remember him saying would be forever impossible for me. Additionally, I was promised that I would not be able to stand correctly or hold my torso straight anymore due to all the missing musculature. I would not be able to lift anything. My life, though saved, was to be forever changed even if I did everything right during the recovery process. The doctor made it clear – this wasn’t going to be temporary… these changes were forever.

I was with my mom at that time. We didn’t accept that word. I had peace, and I knew I would be fine. I want to interject here. I really did have peace. I’ve known people who have cancer and it’s miserable for them. They fear death and live in a constant state of believing they are going to die – and they are frightened by that. They are tortured by their minds more than the cancer. And with the exception of 15 minutes, I did not have that. For fifteen minutes that night, though, I do believe God did lift his hand of grace just so I could experience what my situation was like for so many, many others who don’t have the peace of God. It was truly horrible – fifteen of the worst minutes of my life. And I know so many people experience that constantly with such a diagnosis. That fifteen minutes gave me grace and empathy for others, and gave me a thankfulness I never would have had for God’s peace given to me.

Surgery was the next morning. It was the one time in life I lost time. When you sleep, you wake up the next morning knowing time has passed. You don’t think about this until you wake up one day not knowing time has passed. It was weird. The surgery lasted a few hours and when I woke up, I was confused as to why I couldn’t roll over as I was (or so I thought), still just getting onto the elevator on the gurney to go have the surgery. The surgery was excessively invasive. They removed a good chunk of my back, just as they had promised. They shaved the top layer of skin off the back of my right leg to replace the skin they removed from my back. The back had no feeling (and really, still doesn’t have surface feeling today), but the leg hurt terribly (and still has welts today). For a month I was not allowed to do much beyond lay on my belly not lifting my hands above my shoulders and not lifting my elbows at all. This was to keep the skin graft from stretching and tearing. I knew to hold to this because when I had been sewn up from the initial tumor removal I didn’t pay well enough heed to not stretch my back and ended up bleeding at work the day before I found out I had the cancer.

I was told I’d be taking three months off before I could do any sort of work and that if my job as a manager involved much physical labor, I wouldn’t be able to do that ever again, but I ended up going back to Bob’s at around the two month mark. The leg had some painful issues along the way as I became reactive to one of the medications (apparently this happens to 10% of the population, but I was not told about the possibility so I just kept putting more on until an ER visit was required). Once back at work, my back slowly healed up. It was frightful to look at at first. Mom cried when she saw it. It looked like someone had dug a swimming pool into my back so that if I laid on my belly you could fill it with water for small creatures to enjoy. We laughed at that thought. The excised skin was tested for the cancer. All was clean, though the initial lump removed had been tested by multiple labs and was positive. I even had a friend who worked in a lab in Texas get a sample, and her team agreed with the original diagnosis and prognosis.

The team of doctors recommended radiation. While I did have peace regarding the surgery, I did not about the radiation, even before the “straw” that ultimately made me back out completely (I had been talked into getting mapped for the radiation because the doctors were sure they could convince me to go through with it). The people mapping me thought I was asleep but I wasn’t (this happened a lot in high school as well – the teachers would get annoyed when calling me out for napping and I responded by telling them the previous few sentences they had said before they “woke me up.”). Sometimes I just listen better when I am not looking at anything. Anyway, I heard one of them say this after much discussion… “It’s only a kidney… he has another.” Later I was shown a body scan of my torso. I was told to look at various black spots around all my organs. I was told that normal people have fat around their organs, but I was really skinny and didn’t have that fat. I clearly remember the radiologist saying “I could shake you and all your organs would clank around inside your skeleton like they were loose in a cage.” That doctor did come up with a method to save my kidney, but I hadn’t had peace from the beginning and I still opted out of the radiation. I knew the cancer had been fully removed and there was no need. No one else was convinced at the doctor’s office, but it was my choice.

Now a bit about God’s grace and timing.

First: I was initially upset that the medical card took so long to get to me, but if I had been diagnosed a week or two earlier, I would not have been working at Bob Evan’s long enough to qualify for extended medical paid leave. While not a lot, I did get full pay for a month and 40% pay for the second month because of that delay. I was not a wealthy man and that money allowed me to keep current on my bills and keep my apartment. However, the doctors all agreed that if I had been diagnosed even a week later, I would be dead today. Everyone was amazed that the cancer had not metastasized and they were certain that I was days, if not hours away from those cells breaking free and spreading through my system. God knew the perfect moment where everything would come into place.

Second: I was promised I’d lose so much freedom of movement and ability to do anything physical. I had also been given stretches to do to help prevent the new skin from adhering to my bones as it healed. I’m lazy about these things, so I know if I had not been working at Bob’s (a very physical job – even for management) I would have had much more significant issues with the new skin adhering to the bones. Also, for reasons that I believe are God’s restorative muscular grace, I have full use of my back and full strength to do anything I want. While I don’t golf or play tennis (specific examples of what the Doctor said I would never be able to do again), I can take a maul and chop up a tree into firewood and I can reach and stretch and do anything I need (sometimes even to my own stupidity, as I did give myself a hernia several years later).

Third: Because the surgeon had a heavy accent, I never could figure out what kind of cancer I had until it was all over and I was discussing things with the radiologist. I asked him to write down what I had, explaining that I had never understood what the surgeon said. He did. I had a leiomyosarcoma – a cancer of involuntary muscles. For me, this would have been the muscles under my skin that cause goosebumps. Because of this, the cancer was easily excisable. Because I didn’t know what it was until it was all over, I hadn’t had the chance to look up the stats. It was after it was all over that I figured out why the initial conversation was one of “be prepared to die soon.” At that time (~2000), this cancer only affected about 3 in 1 million. Roughly 80% of those people die within 2 years. Roughly 80% of the survivors have a recurrence within 2 years, and roughly 80% of those people then die within another 2 years.  Most involuntary muscles are in much more difficult to reach places – being superficial (just under the skin) was a grace that allowed me to live. Of the people that get this cancer (at least at that time), only 3.2 out of 100 were expected to live past 4 years. These are facts that God was gracious to not let me know about until after all was said and done. He kept me in peace by keeping me ignorant.  Even my family doctor’s mistake of sending the lab results on to the surgeon but not telling me was a part of that grace. Thank God for that lapse and the surgeon’s heavy accent!

Finally, that job at Bob Evans and the work I did there during the recovery time led me to the career I have today. A customer was watching me and I “randomly” sat down at his table one day even though to me he was a complete stranger (something not like me to do). He told me he’d been watching me and he could get me accepted at a local prestigious private university into one of their graduate programs. He said he could get me an assistantship so it’d all be free. Within two weeks I was enrolled in classes and had left my position at Bob’s. I never could have planned that. God had something better in mind and he thrust it on me. My life was forever changed because, completely out of character, I felt should sit down and talked to someone I didn’t even know had been in the restaurant before (clearly, I don’t pay attention, as he’d been watching me for months). It took a good 20 years after my initial graduation with a BA, but God knew the whole path to my current career all along. God is good.

So, those are a handful of my experiences regarding healing. But as I said at the start, we are not to believe based on our experiences. We are to believe based on what is stated in the word of God… so what does the Bible really say?

I think to answer this, we need to know who God really is. There are seven spots in the old testament where our unchanging God describes himself by his own name. These are known as the seven compound names of Jehovah and they describe his wonderful eternal character and show that he is everything we will ever need. While we will only focus on one, the seven names are:

Jehovah jireh (Genesis 22:14) “The Lord will provide a sacrifice”
Jehovah rapha (Exodus 15:26) “The Lord our Healer”
Jehovah nissi (Exdos 17:15) “The Lord our Banner”
Jehovah shalom (Judges 6:24) “The Lord our Peace”
Jehovah raah (Psalms 23:1) “The Lord our Shepherd”
Jehovah tsidkenu (Jeremiah 23:6) “The Lord our Righteousness”
Jehovah shammah (Ezekiel 48:35) “The Lord is Present”

See, it is all God in the Christian faith. None of it is us. It is God who provides the sacrifice (Jesus) and who is our healer. God is the banner we should proclaim (and not our own) and it is God who is our peace. We are not capable of finding true peace in ourselves. God is the only shepherd who guides us – we get lost on our own and it is God who is our righteousness (our own righteousness is as “filthy rags” – Isaiah 64:6). And finally, God is always present – he never leaves us.

Let’s look at Jehovah Rapha – the Lord our Healer.

Exodus 15:25-26 (when the Israelites were complaining at the water Marah because they could not find fresh water):

And he (Moses) cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”

The Hebrew for that last part “the LORD your healer” is Yĕhovah rapha’. It is a compound word that means the Lord our healer and it is the name for himself that God chose at that moment to reveal to the Israelites. Make note of that. Man did not name God, God named himself in that moment.  Malachi 3:6 makes it clear that our God does not change (and it is only because he doesn’t change that we are not consumed). If God is our healer at the waters Marah, then God is our healer today. It’s the name he has given himself and it is always who he is.

Isaiah 35. I’m always amazed at the complex effort people make to remove the beautiful simplicity of Isaiah 35:5. This verse is a prophecy about Jesus at the cross and what he did for us there. The entire chapter is beautiful. In the ESV verse 5 reads:

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, (some versions will says “the chastisement of our peace was upon him”)
And by His stripes we are healed.

This verse shows that the sacrifice Jesus made covers every aspect of our being.

He was wounded for our transgressions. The Hebrew word for transgressions here is pesha`. A pesha` is a rebellion or revolt, sin or trespass. We have rebelled and revolted against God and Jesus was wounded for that sin.

He was bruised for our iniquities. The Hebrew word for inequities is `avon. This word means perversity or depravity. It is the guilt of our sinful nature. It is our fallen way of being. Jesus was bruised for our iniquities.

The chastisement for our peace was upon him. Here, peace is the Hebrew word shalowm (shalom). It is a multifaceted word that means completeness, soundness, welfare, and peace. It can refer to tranquility, welfare, health and prosperity. It is the peace of mind that allows us to do things we should be able to do. It is the opposite of fear, obsession, and compulsion. Jesus was chastised so we could have shalom. (or, the chastisement of our peace was upon him so we could instead have the perfect shalom).

And by His stripes we are healed. The Hebrew for healed is rapha’. It is the same word used in the compound name of God from Exodus 15:26. Properly, this word means to mend, as by stitching. It means to cure or repair – to thoroughly make whole. It was by the tearing stripes on Jesus’ back that we are made whole.

It is the same word used in Genesis 20:17: Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children.

It is the same word Moses used when he cried to God in Numbers 12:13: “O God, please heal her—please.”

When Hezekiah was sick in 2 Kings 20, it was the word God used to show that he would heal Hezekiah.

It is the word used to refer to the physicians in Genesis 50:2 and 2 Chronicles 16:12 (interestingly, in 2 Chronicles 16:12, Asa seeks not the Lord, but the physicians, and dies).

Not limited to physicians or healing, it is a great word referring to healing in all possible senses. It is used in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God says he will heal our land as we turn to him. But it is used specifically for physical healing in verses such as Leviticus 13:7, Deuteronomy 28:27 and Ezekiel 34:4.

It is because of the stripes that Jesus took that we are healed – in every sense of healing. Also note the tense of the original language. It does not say that by his stripes we will be healed or are going to be healed… it says we are healed. We are healed just as much as our sins are forgiven. What Jesus did at the cross covers all of us – spirit (forgiveness from sin and rebellion), soul/mind (we can have peace/shalom) and body (because God is our healer). Nowhere in the Bible does it say one part happens now and another part happens later. In beautiful and complete simplicity, this is what God did for us through Jesus at the cross.

This is why Jesus could say in Luke 5:23 “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?”. Jesus did not differentiate between the healing of the lame man and the forgiveness of his sins – so why do we?

Jesus said in Mark 16:16-18: And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The scripture does not read: And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe, but only for the next 50 years or so: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

It does not read: And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And until the first generation of believers dies, these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Jesus also did not say “…whoever believes and is baptized will be saved… but to only those called apostles will the power be given to… lay their hands on the sick…”

Yet, in our “modern” Christianity we often take the forgiveness part and throw out the rest. We have forgotten the words of the scripture and instead trusted in our eyes, personal beliefs and traditions. In our own way in modern Christianity we have done the very same thing the pharisees had done, to which Jesus said “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” and  “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” (see Mark 7:8-9).

As people who claim to believe in the Bible, we need to decide if the Bible is true or if our experiences are true. If our experiences do not line up with what is so plainly found in the word of God, then we need to question – which one is right? If our faith has stopped teaching the word of God, does that make the word of God not true? As Paul said, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar” (See Romans 3:3-4).

Because God self-names himself as our healer; because Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for our sin (spirit), peace (mind) and healing (body); because Jesus did not differentiate between being forgiven and being physically healed; and because Jesus said that “these signs will accompany those who believe…” rather than saying “And these signs will accompany some of those who believe or the first of those who believe…”; I do not see how it can be argued that the great promises of scripture are not true for today. There are many that say healing doesn’t happen anymore. This belief seems to be rooted in what they have personally observed rather than the word of God. Sadly, their observations are the crux of their faith. Maybe these people should look in a different direction as healings occur all the time, but really, it doesn’t matter what anyone sees or even what anyone believes. The only thing that matters is what is written in the Word of God – that is the only source of truth. There is no other.

Does this mean I always experience perfect health? No, it does not. Does this mean that everyone I’ve ever prayed for has been instantly healed? No, it does not mean that either.  But whose report am I going to believe – the report of my own experiences or the truth of God’s Word? We are fallible people in a fallen world. I know I don’t spend the majority of my time studying the things of God. I watch tv. I go to work. I work on pastimes. But my admitted lack of faithfulness to God’s word does not negate his word. Not even a little. Study the arguments of those who believe “the Bible says that the healing was done away with after all the first century Christians died.” Even the best of their writers have to admit their case is circumstantial, and they fail to explain away the very self-given name and nature of our eternal and unchanging God as Jehovah Rapha. Some try to teach that the healing of Isaiah 53:5 doesn’t refer to a physical healing, but they are then lost on how to explain why the exact same word “rapha” does refer to physical healing in so many other places in the old testament. They also fail to explain why God would be so careful to speak to spiritual rebellion and our depravity (spirit), our peace (mind) and physical healing (body) (covering all aspects of who we are as fallen people) if God really only was referring to the spiritual aspect of ourselves. This is further compounded by the fact that when Peter quoted this verse, he also used the word for physical healing in the Greek (See 1 Peter 2:24 – Greek: iaomai – compare to the same word used in Matthew 15:28, 29; Luke 6:17; Luke 7:7; John 4:47; Acts 8:27; and James 5:16 – all speaking specifically to physical healing). The argument that healing was done away with after the first century Christians died just doesn’t hold. It is contrary to the very nature of who God is and it is contrary to what the Bible says that Jesus did for us at the cross. We may like to pick and choose – salvation but not healing, forgiveness but not peace of mind, but it is a package deal. Our experiences can never be the foundation of our faith. We must always choose the word of God.

The Begotten Relationship Outside of Time

Much like the previous, this post is inspired by Book 4 of Mere Christianity, specifically the 2nd through 4th chapters. It was previously discussed that the word begotten in the Greek refers not to “being born” but to the nature of a relationship and the uniqueness of one that is of the same fashion as another (similar to how a son can be of the same substance as his parents). Discussing this relationship often invariably leads to discussion of the Trinity, and being mere men, we often try to frame that mysterious relationship into the nature of our four dimensional thinking ( x, y, and z axes and time). This never works perfectly due to our being trapped in this four dimensional box.

To be honest, I’m glad it doesn’t work. If the Godhead could be easily explained within our world, then I would fear we had a religion created within our four walls – this would be a religion created by man. To me, one of the great strengths of Christianity and the Bible is that the faith can not fit into our way of things. God must be bigger, and he must originate outside of our four walls of height, width, depth, and time. Either the Bible is a book with contradictions, or the Bible is a book which very carefully describes a Godhead that exists outside of our four walls to a people who can only personally experience what exists within those four walls.

I often enjoy the analogy of our mirrored selves. If you take a friend and look at yourselves in the mirror, and try to imagine their point of view, the struggle with being trapped in lesser dimensions describing someone of greater dimensions becomes clear. We, the 3-D “gods” look at the 2-D men in the mirror. We see and understand their depth – but what words can be used to describe to them the concept of depth. They are infinitely thin people. They have no concept of fatness as we think of fatness. We can even see in them characteristics that they can not even experience or perceive themselves (we see their depth yet they can not even experience it). If they were to describe us, they would struggle greatly to describe how our bellies stick out in front and our rears stick out in back while we still have a side to side. It is beyond them. They only exist on a perfectly flat plane.

I’ve known people who greatly struggle with the concept of the trinity. “How can ONE God be THREE people?” This struggle exists because we see separate things as separate. How can separate things/personalities/characteristics/etc. be one? One of the metaphors I’ve heard is that of marriage – and the two shall become one flesh. This works to an extent to describe how the Father and Son might be of the same mind and work together but this fails because in earthly marriage the two people are still two separate people, even in their oneness. Also, the Bible doesn’t describe God’s relationship within himself in terms of marriage. He uses this analogy to describe God’s eventual relationship with his creation/or at least the new Jerusalem.

I’ve personally used additive light properties to give an analogy of the trinity (red, green and blue light combine to make white light in a fashion similar to how God the Father, the Son and the Spirit all are one God, represented by the white light). But this is still imperfect, as all three are fully God, but the three colors of light are not full in their spectrums – only the white is.

Lewis acknowledges that we are trapped by our dimensions, and uses the following analogy. Say you had four lines. We see four lines – four separate things. However, if we add a dimension, we can have a square. We still have four lines – four separate things, but we also have one thing – a square. We tend to only see the square. This progresses further when we add another dimension. Say we have six squares – six separate 2-D things. If we arrange them appropriately, we have the six sides of a cube. We (typically) would say we have a cube (a dice/a box). We, by our very nature see that as one thing – a cube. However, it is still six individual squares. This is where our natural understanding of dimensions ends, as it is the end of our experience. Just like the 2-D people in the mirror would greatly struggle with our mysterious “cube,” we struggle with whatever dimensions exist outside of our box, and thus we struggle in describing God. We far too often try to 3-D Him when it is clear He is not merely a 3-D being. Up there, outside of our box, where God is in his fullness, there can be a connectedness of a separate three that still maintains a oneness, and each of those separate three are the fullness of the one. We are the mirror people trying to describe what is outside the mirror. We see dimly, and the words don’t exist in our language which would be needed to describe God in his fullness.

Because of all of this, we also struggle greatly with the idea of the heavenly begotten relationship because there are no similar constructs in our world. We see things separate, and often this means we see one thing as coming before another. We see a first, second, third and fourth lines if they are to become a square. We seldom see four lines that have always been a square as four lines – we see them as a square. When the teacher asks, “what is this,” we say “a square.” We don’t say “four lines.” When we see four lines that are already a square, we only see the square and in our minds we lose the individuality of the lines – it’s just the way we think. Lewis gives a good analogy of how Jesus can be God’s only begotten, as he is described in the Bible, while still being eternal, which also is described in the Bible.   He begins chapter four of book 3 with these words:

I begin this chapter by asking you to get a certain picture clear in your minds. Imagine two books lying on a table one on top of the other. Obviously the bottom book is keeping the other one up—supporting it. It is because of the underneath book that the top one is resting, say, two inches from the surface of the table instead of touching the table. Let us call the underneath book A and the top one B. The position of A is causing the position of B. That is clear?

Now let us imagine—it could not really happen, of course, but it will do for an illustration—let us imagine that both books have been in that position for ever and ever. In that case B’s position would always have been resulting from A’s position. But all the same, A’s position would not have existed before B’s position. In other words the result does not come after the cause. Of course, results usually do: you eat the cucumber first and have the indigestion afterwards. But it is not so with all causes, and results.

We live in a very first, second, third world, but God does not live in that world. He lives outside and above and beyond that world. To him, first, second and third could always have been, and they could have all always been first, and have all always been second, and have all always been third. We are stuck on a timeline. We see a beginning and a moving forward. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not yet. We say that if God can predict our tomorrow then he must have to cause our tomorrow, or influence us to force the result he sees, and thus we would not really have free will. It is the way of our world, but clearly it is not the way of God. The Bible proves this in multiple points.

2 Peter 3:8 says “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (ESV). I love how the scripture is very careful to use the word “as” rather than “is” (this is true in the Greek, as well). The thought is an analogy and not an absolute time comparison. The Bible is not saying that every 1000 earth years is exactly one day with God. The Bible is also not saying that one earth day is 1000 years with God. But this scripture does paint a very clear picture that God does not operate in our linear timeline.

I’ve heard several people talk about how when God made man and man sinned, God had to come up with a plan to “fix” the unexpected problem. Ultimately, Jesus was that fix. Some say it took God thousands of years to figure it all out. This is very earthly, linear thinking. We see it as such – 1: God made man, assuming man would not sin and there would be a perfect Eden relationship for all eternity. 2: The devil showed up and deceived Eve and Adam followed, leading to the fall. 3: God said, “Oh my! I did not expect this, what shall I do?” 4: The past several thousand years of this mess have been the unexpected result, but God’s going to get it back under control and ultimately he will win.

While the above fits with our linear thinking – the Bible makes it clear that the truth is completely different. For one, God is all-knowing and nothing surprises him. Nothing. Consider the following.

Psalm 139:1-6 says “O LORD, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it (italics mine).”

Psalm 147:5 adds “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite.”

Revelation 13:8 makes it very clear that nothing in this world, including the original sin and the need for Jesus to go to the cross were a surprise to God. This verse says “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (the beast – see previous verses), whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Let that sink in. In God’s view of things, Jesus wasn’t slain approximately 2000 years ago. He was slain before the foundation of the world! Before the very first atom of creation was made, in God’s view of time, Jesus had already been slain. Salvation for sinners had already been won. The answer to the problem had already been given. Hallelujah! See also Revelation 17:8, Ephesians 1:4, Titus 1:2, and 1 Peter 1: 19-20, which reads “but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you” (ESV).

While I will not attempt to give full explanation, and while my earthly sense of justice doesn’t understand it, the Bible makes it clear that God knew all about sin and the destruction sin would cause, and with this knowledge, created the world as we know it. He knew there would be many who turned away. He knew many would be lost. He also pre-fashioned the answer for every single person before creation, leaving it up to the created to choose the salvation offered (salvation is withheld from no one; it is always our choice). My thought is that God wanted a people who would love him willingly and without coercion, and this was the only way to accomplish that. Other ways would have resulted in automatons without true free will. And without true free will, there is not true love and relationship.

Regardless, the fact that God did things this way shows that he operates outside of our timeline. With God, all time seems to be “now.” Long before us creatures ever saw Jesus, Jesus had already died and rose again in God’s eyes (see the many verses above). It’s as if God’s time is (at the very least) a plane and not a line. From any vantage point on that plane, the entirety of the earthly timeline will be visible and all those times, when viewed from God’s perspective, are “now.” With this, it is no longer that God is causing us to do one thing or another when he predicts our future in order to make his prediction come to pass. God is simply looking at us in our future, observing everything we have already done and will ever do. Wherever he looks in our timeline is already “now” to him. This is how he saw the sin and saw the need for a savior. In his perfect wisdom that is so far above our own, when he set in mind to make creation, he saw it all in an instant, and what he saw was the perfect way to make a people with whom he could have a perfect relationship. I honestly believe the entire history of the earth and the heavens, past and future, are as a single moment with God – and they can all be seen at once. He can, right now, look at any point in our history, and where God is looking is always now. This is why before he even began creation, he already had taken care of our sin, by “the lame slain before the foundation of the world.” Again, Hallelujah!

This also answers another question often posed by those who struggle with the Trinity. It is asked, “If God holds the whole universe in his hand and sustains it, who sustained the universe while he was the baby Jesus or dying on the cross?” Once you realize that God, by the very words of the Bible can not be trapped into our timeline, you realize that this question does not even need to be asked. When earth creatures saw the second member of the trinity dying on the cross, there was no concern about how God was at that same time upholding the universe because what we were seeing in that moment had already happened before the very world God upholds was even created. It’s difficult to wrap our brains around this wonder, but this is clearly what the Bible says. We are just called to accept his Word whether or not it fits into how we perceive things. We are not called to force his Word to fit into our box. It is abundantly clear that the God who is outside our box is describing his ways to people in the box he created.  We create our mirror people – but until the time when they break out of the mirror and into our world it will be very difficult for them to conceive of the existance we try to describe to them. In a sense, this is faith, and it is the same with us. Until that day when we meet our Savior face to face, will will not be able to fully experience or explain things clearly described in the Bible – because some of the things described in the Bible simply do not fit in our limited box of height, width, depth, and especially time.

Made and Begotten.

The first chapter of the fourth book of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis discusses Making and Begetting. A selection from the chapter reads as follows:

One of the creeds says that Christ is the Son of God “begotten, not created”; and it adds “begotten by his Father before all worlds.” Will you please get it quite clear that this has nothing to do with the fact that when Christ was born on earth as a man, that man was the son of a virgin? We are not now thinking about the Virgin Birth. We are thinking about something that happened before Nature was created at all, before time began. “Before all worlds” Christ is begotten, not created. What does it mean?

We don’t use the words begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean. To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set—or he may make something more like himself than a wireless set: say, a statue. If he is a clever enough carver he may make a statue which is very like a man indeed. But, of course, it is not a real man; it only looks like one. It cannot breathe or think. It is not alive.

Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man makes is not man. That is why men are not Sons of God in the sense that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God.

This got me thinking, is the Bible careful to use different words for made and begotten? Is the word for “begotten,” referring to Jesus being the only begotten of God ever applied to man or anything else that is made?

John 1:14 states that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father. The Greek word here is monogenēs (Strongs: G3439). This word is used only nine times in the New Testament and is used in reference to Jesus as a unique being who is “of God” and thus, like a child is the same “thing” as his parent, Christ is the same “thing” as God. It speaks to something that has the full characteristics of the other. For this reason, this word is also used to refer to only sons and daughters of their parents or of Christ to God the Father.

We have to be careful to note that the original Greek word monogenēs is not a word describing being born or birth. It describes a uniqueness. It is not describing Jesus as someone who was born (and especially not created, as very different Greek words could have been used if this were the case). Monogenēs describes the uniqueness of Jesus in his relationship to Father God. This is why this same word can be applied to Abraham’s son, Isaac, even though Abraham had other sons. Isaac was the unique son of the covenant between God and Abraham. It is a misinterpretation of the Greek word to imply that “only begotten” (monogenēs) implies a birth or beginning. That is not the point of using monogenēs. If it did imply a birth or beginning, then the Bible would contradict itself when it says Jesus is from everlasting (see Isaiah 9:6). We must also remember that Jesus was careful with his words when he said “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). When Jesus said this, he greatly aroused the anger of the pharisees because he was confirming his eternal existence. Jesus was careful to use the present tense phrase, ego eimi (“I am”) which stands in stark contrast to the aorist phrase genesthai (“was born” – to begin to be, to come into existence).

While in today’s vernacular, saying someone/thing is begotten may mean they were created or made (I have begotten my robot child!), this is not how the monogenēs was used in the Bible. We should be careful not to impose a modern translation or idea to texts which were quite careful to not use the word with such an implication.

So, the above shows how Jesus is referred to as monogenēs. What about the word used for created. Is this ever applied to Jesus?

1 Corinthians 11:9 says “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” If Jesus were created, then the word used for created in this verse should at least somewhere in the Bible reference Jesus. The word translated as “created” here is ktizō (Strongs G2936). Used only 14 times in the New Testament, this word means create and in one instance, the one who created, just as we would think of something or someone that is created. It refers to creation (this world) (see Mark 13:19), the creator God (see Romans 1:25), and the creator Jesus (see Colossians 3:10), us being created in Christ (see Ephesians 2:10), of Christ having made us into a new man (see Ephesians 2:15, 4:24), and of God creating all things in Christ (see Ephesians 3:9 and Colossians 1:16 – notice Jesus is clearly separated from this creation of all things). Also see Revelation 4:11 and 10:6).

While no other Greek word is translated “created” in the KJV New Testament, the Greek word poieō is used 579 times and is often translated as “do” but is sometimes translated as “make/made.” In Matthew 19:4, it refers to man and woman being made in the beginning (also see Mark 10:6). It refers to many of the works Jesus did (for example, see Mark 5:19, 20) and works done by others. However, it is never used to show God making or creating Jesus.

If God had at his avail Greek language which clearly shows something as either being made/created, and if Jesus were made or created then these words would have been used in describing Jesus, but they never are. We should be careful not to apply scriptural interpretations or doctrine which could have been easily supported with the language available to the author, especially when the language used is very careful to avoid implying such interpretations.

The “little gods” and Christ as “a god” Deceptions

Recently I have studied a bit on the proposed logic behind the Arius deception that states Jesus was not God, but was instead a created god. In discussing this with a modern day follower of a faith that postulates this same idea, I have found it interesting to see how those from this faith attempt to use the Bible to support the idea that Jesus can in fact be “a god” rather than The Almighty God.

Having grown up with various tv preachers often playing in the background, I first heard the “little gods” doctrine as a child. I recall that at the time I found the idea both fascinating and somehow unsettling. Fortunately, the unsettling aspect won and I never really accepted this doctrine as true, though until recently I could not have told anyone why, nor had I thought much about it.

But as an adult who has now studied both lines of thinking, I find it quite interesting that both those who proclaim the “little gods” deception and those who insist that Jesus was merely “a created god” use many of the same scriptural arguments to support their beliefs. Here, I will briefly discuss those arguments and show why they can not be truth.

For those who may not be aware, the “little gods” doctrine is the belief that as Christians (or originally Adam himself) we are not mere men, but are in fact, little gods (with a little g). They believe that if we are created in the image of God, and if God is God, then those created in his image must be gods too. As one pastor famously puts it:

Pastor: “If horses get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Horses!”
Pastor: “If dogs get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Dogs!”
Pastor: “If cats get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Cats!”
Pastor: “So if the Godhead says ‘Let us make man in our image’, and everything produces after its own kind, then they produce what?”
Congregation: “gods!”
Pastor: “gods. Little ‘g’ gods. You’re not human. Only human part of you is this flesh you’re wearing.”

If I hadn’t actually seen this pastor preach this message with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. Since there is no Bible scripture that truly says we are gods, what scriptures do these preachers use to support this self-exalting claim? They are the same scriptures that the “Jesus is a created god” folks use to support that their conclusions are probable. The logic typically entails the points discussed below…

One of the first verses both camps will point to is John 10:34. Here, Jesus is speaking with the Jewish leaders who have just accused him of blasphemy for saying that “I and the Father are one.” (see John 10:30). Jesus has a little fun with them and makes the argument that if the scriptures say “I said, you are gods” (referring to Jewish judges), then how is it blasphemy for him to say “I am the son of God”? Jesus ultimately leaves it to the Jews he is speaking with to decide, as he says that if he is doing the works of the Father, then they should believe him for the works’ sake. The Jews do not appear to have a good comeback for Jesus’ argument.

Jesus was referring to Psalm 82:6. The entire Psalm must be viewed to get the full context. While verse 6 does say “I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;'” what we need to realize is that verse 7 finishes the sentence… “nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” In this psalm, God is talking to Jewish judges who have become corrupt. In those days, Jewish judges held a place of high dignity as they represented God to the people. They were not actual gods. They were not deity. They were clearly mere men who would die. Earlier in this psalm (verse 5), God describes these so called gods as having “neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness.” In this Psalm, God is saying, “I set you up as judges for the people, to represent the judgement of God for them, to be as elohim to them, but you are blind and corrupt, and you will in fact die like mere men.”

Yet, despite this clear context, the “little gods” preachers use these verses and Jesus’ words referencing them to support the idea that man was really made as “little gods” or elohim. Interestingly, those who follow the Arius deception use the same scriptures to support the idea that Jesus wasn’t saying “I am God” but instead he was showing that he was a created god – a “little g” god. If man can be a created elohim, so too can Jesus, the argument goes. Both beliefs are wrong. The only place in scripture where man is called elohim (god), he is called such in a rebuke for the corruption of his God-appointed position of power over the people as judge. God is clearly not saying that men are divine. He is calling them out for their representing Himself to the people so pathetically, and is affirming that they are but mere men who will die.

Two other verses I have heard used to support both arguments are Exodus 4:16 and 7:1. In these verses God is speaking and says that Moses will be “as God” to Aaron (who will be Moses’ mouthpiece) and “as God” to the Pharaoh. Here, it is clear that Moses will be “as God.” There is a big difference between “as God” and “God” or “god.” Moses was not divine, and Jesus was not merely “a god” because Moses was “a god.” Moses was simply God’s representative. Both arguments fail under any real scrutiny.

For the “little gods” camp, the argument goes further. As noted in the preacher’s quote above, since we are made in God’s image, and since God is a God, then we must also be gods. This is a ridiculous assertion. The man looking back at me in the mirror is clearly made in my image, but he is no human. It is the same with us and God. We are men. We are women. We are Adams. We are not gods.

Further, the “little gods” preachers say that since God gave Adam authority and Satan stole that authority and Satan is called the “god of this world” then we must have been gods in order for Satan to steal our god-ness. The only issue today is that most Christians don’t know that Jesus wrestled that god-ness away from Satan and gave it back to us (the church).  Because of this lack of understanding we don’t walk in our god-like authority as the gods of this world we were made and intended to be.

Where to begin with this?

The first thing that has always come to my mind is the self-serving nature of the proposition. Wasn’t Satan’s demise in the fact that he wanted to proclaim a god-like state? Isaiah 14:13-14 says:

You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’

I find it interesting that the scripture doesn’t even say that Satan said “I will overthrow God” or “I will set myself above God Himself.” He just wanted to be “like the Most High.” That was enough to seal his fate. Isn’t this similar to the self seeking proclamation of the little gods camp?

In Genesis 1:26 the Bible says that God gave man dominion or rule (ESV vs. KJV). Looking at the Hebrew, this word, radah, means exactly that – dominion or rule. The scripture does not say that God gave us godhood or god-ness. He simply put us in a position of authority. This is no different than a king giving authority for someone to act in his name. That authority does not make the blessed subject a king himself. It is simply an extension of authority to a lesser person.

Additionally, if we were gods and gave our godhood to Satan and then Jesus got it back and gave it to the church, Paul would have not referred to Satan as the god of this world/age after the crucifixion (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). The false preacher’s argument falls apart on this one point alone. Additionally, if we had given away our god-ness to Satan until Jesus won it back, then the Psalm could not have referred to the corrupt judges as gods and meant it literally. Again, the “little gods” camp’s argument falters.

The entirety of the Old Testament points out the nature and character of God. The New Testament shows Jesus to be that very character. While we should mirror that character to the world, mirroring the character and nature of God does not make us God or even gods. The creation can never obtain to be the same as the Creator. The creation will never have “always been.” He will always have been created, and thus have a non-eternal starting point. He will never be a god. God is eternal – from everlasting to everlasting – it is part of the very definition and description of what it is to be God, and there is only One God. Jesus was prophesied as the “everlasting father” and he is the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end. He isn’t the first created; the beginning is before the first created. You can go back for eternity and never reach the Beginning. Both camps (the “little gods” camp and the “Jesus is the first created, an a god” camp) do not realize this truth. The first tries to claim godship in their misunderstanding; the second denies the deity of Jesus in theirs.

The Bible only speaks of two types of G/gods. The first is the eternal, almighty God. The second are all false gods. There is no room for any other – and that includes Christians as being “gods” or Jesus as being only “a god.” Both concepts are in direct violation of the entirety of scripture.

Exodus 20 does a nice job at defining any “god” that is not the One True God. Exodus 20:3-5 says:

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,…”

For the “little gods” camp, I point out that they are making themselves as something found on the earth beneath and saying it is a god.

For the “Jesus is a created god” camp I point out that Jesus is in the likeness of both heaven above and the earth beneath and they are saying he is only a god.

To both, God would say that they are not worshiping the true God or acknowledging the true God. To the one, man has made an idol of himself; to the other man has reduced Jesus to the level of an idol. If scripture says there are to be no gods besides the One True God, then Jesus is either that One True God or he is a violation of scripture. If men are “gods” then men are either that One True God or a violation of scripture. If we are going to claim that the Bible is our source of truth, then there are no options regarding this.

Jesus is Jehovah

I wasn’t looking for this chart, but when I came across it, I thought I would use it in writing a post about how Jehovah of the First Testament is Jesus of the New Testament. I have been involved in an ongoing email discussion with a friend regarding the deity of Jesus and this post seems fitting as I have recently been seeking the scriptures decidedly regarding this topic. While I have never doubted the deity of Jesus, the email exchange with my friend has added fuel to my understanding that salvation rests fully upon the divinity of Jesus, and without the deity of Christ, salvation would not be possible.

Jesus is Jehovah, click for a full-size printable image.

Going around the wheel, with a few additional verses added…

God is Lord of lords and God of gods.

Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings.

Psalm 136:1-3 – Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;

Deuteronomy 10:17 – For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.

Revelation 17:14 – They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.

Revelation 19:16 – On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

1 Timothy 6:14-16 – to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time–he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

God is the Creator

Jesus is the Creator

Job 33:4 – The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Isaiah 40:28 – Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 33:6 – By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Psalm 102:25 – Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. (Here the psalmist is clearly speaking of God – See vs. 24)

Isaiah 45:18 – For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

Isaiah 48:13 – My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.

Jeremiah 32:17 – Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

Nehemiah 9:6 – You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

John 1:3 – All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Colossians 1:15-17 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Hebrews 1:10 – And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; (Here, the author of Hebrews is clearly speaking of Jesus – see vs. 8)

God is Light

Jesus is Light

Micah 7:8 – Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.

Isaiah 60:20 – Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.

Psalm 27:1 – The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 1:9 – The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

Luke 2:32 – a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.

God is Judge

Jesus is Judge

Genesis 18:25 – Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

Joel 3:12 – Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.

Isaiah 33:22 – For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us

Psalm 50:6 – The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah

Psalm 96:10,13 – Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” … before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

2 Timothy 4:1 – I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:

2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Romans 14:10 – Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;

Matthew 25:31-32 – When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of the Christ, so that each one may be repaid according to the things he has practiced while in the body, whether good or bad.

God is Savior

Jesus is Savior

Psalm 37:39 – The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.

Psalm 106:21 – They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,

Hosea 13:4 – But I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. (This shows that Jesus can not be a different savior – He has to be the same God who is the only savior).

Isaiah 45:21 – Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.

Isaiah 43: 3,11 – For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. … I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.

Isaiah 45: 15,17 – Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior. … But Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity.

Acts 2:21 – And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 4:12 – And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (If there is salvation in no one but Jesus and if there is no Savior besides God, they must be the same).

Romans 10:9 –  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Jude 25 – to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

God is our Rock

Jesus is our Rock

Exodus 17:6 – “…Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.

1 Corinthians 10:4 – and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Isaiah 17:10 – For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,

2 Samuel 22:32 – For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?

Deuteronomy 32:4 – The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

Isaiah 8:14 – And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

1 Peter 2:6 – For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

God is the First and the Last

Jesus is the First and the Last

Isaiah 44:6 – Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

Isaiah 48:12 – Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.

Isaiah 41:4 – Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

Revelation 1:17 – When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last…”

Revelation 2:8 – And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

Revelation 22:13 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

God is the great I AM

Jesus is the great I AM

Isaiah 43:10 – “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

Deuteronomy 32:39 – See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

Exodus 3:13-14 – Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”

John 8:24 – I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

Johan 8:58 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

John 13:19 – I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

John 18:5 – They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

God is God

Jesus is God:

Genesis 18: 1,14 –  And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day… Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 44:24 – Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

Isaiah 43:10-11 –  “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.  I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.

John 1:1-3 –  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Isaiah 45:22 – “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

John 20:28 – Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Philippians 2:10 – so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Titus 2:13 –  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Jeremiah 32:18 – You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts,

Jeremiah 23:6 –  In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

Hebrew 1:8 – But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom…”

2 Peter 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

Addendum (1/16/2018): I came across this in a different study and thought it appropriate to stick here, as this post is discussing the deity of Jesus. In discussing the word “Godhead” from the King James, from the book, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, by Robert M. Bowman Jr. and J. Ed Komoszewski, on page 76 we find:

Paul wrote, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). The word translated ‘deity’ (theotēs – Godhead in the King James) means “the nature or state of being God.” The King James Version translates the word as “Godhead,” which was accurate in the English of Shakespeare’s day but is somewhat misleading today. Many people use the term “the Godhead” to refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit considered collectively. The suffix –head in English, however, usually meant status, state, or nature, and in modern English has been largely displaced by –hood (e.g., bachelorhood is the status or state of being a bachelor; womanhood is the status, state, or nature of being a woman). Thus, the equivalent word for “Godhead” today would be Godhood—and this word is about as exact a translation of theotēs as one could want.

Just in case someone might misconstrue “deity” here as meaning the nature or state of being a god – as though Christ were simply one of a group of deities or gods – Paul states that “the fullness of deity” dwells in Christ. The use of the word “fullness” makes it explicit that nothing of deity is missing in Christ.”