Many years ago in downtown Pittsburgh, two Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) confronted me on a street corner. Not wasting time with any pleasantries, they immediately set themselves to the task of demonstrating that Jesus is not God, which is a central belief of Christianity.
They said, “If Jesus is God, then who was He praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane? Himself?” They added, “If Jesus is God, then why did He cry out on the cross, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?'”
The JWs unleashed one Bible verse after another in rapid succession, and each attempt of mine to make a defense (in some sort of pathetic way) failed miserably.
While I was shaken in my faith, I did not rush off to rashly join this religion as so many do. Rather, I decided to research my own faith first to see if it was true. While researching those answers and studying the Jehovah’s Witnesses arguments, I learned that there were many Scriptures that teach the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and more importantly, that nearly every Christian believed this as well.
In this article, we will offer some of the many Biblical passages showing that Jesus is God and confirming that this was the belief of the earliest Christians as well.
Showing Jesus is God from the Bible:
To begin with, the Old Testament is clear that God alone created everything (Is. 45:12; Is. 44:24; Is. 42:5). There was no one else present. Yet, the New Testament teaches that Jesus created everything and was with God (Jn. 1:1; Col 1:16-17).
Is this a contradiction? Was it God or Jesus who created the world, and was God really alone or not? Or is Jesus God and there is no contradiction?
The Old Testament says that there are none who are in God’s exact image (Is. 42:8; Is. 46:9), but the New Testament states that Jesus is the exact likeness and representation of God and bears His very image (Heb. 1:2-3). Is this another contradiction?
The Old Testament proclaims that God Himself is the only God, the only Lord, and that there is no Other (Is. 45:5; Is. 43:10). Yet again, the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus is God and one with the Father (Jn. 1:1; Jn. 20:28).
John 1:1 states that, “In the beginning the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word was God.” Jehovah’s Witnesses change that passage, along with many others, and render it to say that Jesus is “a god.”
So, is He another God? I thought the Bible said there was only one God? Accordingly, how can Jesus be “a god” as JWs claim, if Yahweh is the only God?
Also, the word Lord used for Jesus in the New Testament is the same word used for God in the Old Testament. How can this be if He is the only Lord? Scripture states that Jesus is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16).
Revelation 1:8 states that God is the “Alpha and Omega” (the First and the Last), but Rev. 22:12 applies these titles to Jesus who is said to be the Alpha and Omega. (Rev. 1:18 also affirms this.)
We must ask the question. Do the above biblical passages all completely contradict each other? If one holds to the worldview of the JWs that Jesus is not God but merely a created man, then the answer would be “yes.”
The answer is yes if you hold to the worldview of the JWs that Jesus is not God but merely a created man.
On the other hand, if Jesus is God, there are no contradictions at all. Rather, these passages harmonize and make complete sense.
Jesus is God (More Passages)
Here are some of the many passages in Scripture proving that Jesus is God. After these passages are a list of the earliest Christians in their own words proving that they also believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Jn. 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Jn. 5:17-18 – “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is at work until now, and I am at work.’ For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath but He also called God his own Father, making Himself equal to God.”
Commentary: All Jews believed that God was their Father in a loose way, but the Sonship that Jesus claimed was radically different, and, so much so that the Jews sought to kill Him on the charges of blasphemy. Jesus claimed to be the very Son of God, meaning that He was divine and therefore equal with God.
The son of a human is human. The son of a cat is a cat. And the son of divinity is divine, one with God the Father. Jesus’ claim to being one with God is either true or not. If it’s true, then He is God. If not, then He would have been the biggest deceiver on earth (See our other post on this here).
The Jewish leaders in this verse knew exactly what He was claiming and did not believe Him, much in the same way that JWs still do not believe Him today. Thus, the corrupt Jewish leaders tried to stone Him for claiming to be God. In the end, it was the “blasphemy” that He was crucified for.
Mk. 14:63-64 – “Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?’ And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.”
Commentary: Jesus was crucified for blasphemy – for claiming to be God – for which the penalty was death. This seems crystal clear.
Jn. 8:57-59 – “Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad. So the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.’ So they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.”
Commentary: Here again, the Jews attempt to put Jesus to death for blasphemy, for putting Himself on the same level as Almighty God. In this passage, Jesus took the most holy and sacred name of God used in the Old Testament (Ex. 3:14) and applied it to Himself.
This is truly an abomination punishable by death, unless of course, it is true. As a side note, Jesus proved that everything He claimed is true by all the miracles He commanded, and by rising from the dead.
1 Cor. 1:24 says that Jesus is the “Wisdom and the Power of God.”
Commentary: This passage shows that Jesus is the very wisdom and power of God. It demonstrates that they are inseparably linked and one Being. Of course, JWs assert that Jesus was the first created being. If this is true, then there would have been a time when God was without His power and wisdom, which is not possible. Pope Dionysius in 262 A.D. sums this up perfectly about 1600 years before the Jehovah’s Witnesses even existed.
He states: “It is blasphemy then, and not a common one, but the worst, to say that the Lord is in any way a handiwork [created]; for if He came to be the Son, then He once was not, but if as He Himself says, He be in the Father, and if which you know the divine scriptures say, that Christ is the Word and Wisdom and Power, and these be powers of God, then He always existed. But if the Son came into being, then there was a time when these did not exist. Then, consequently, there was a time when God was without them which is utterly absurd.”
Col. 2:9 – “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
Commentary: The Bible states that Jesus has all the fullness of divinity dwelling in Him, and that He created all things. Jehovah’s Witnesses ask why Jesus did not know the date of the end of the world and why He said the Father was greater than He was (Jn. 14:8).
The answer is found in Philippians 2 where we observe that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity and glory to become man. Thus, He operated on earth as a man, not as God. Yet, He was still the eternal Word of God.
See our article here answering common objections to Jesus and his divinity.
Jn. 10:24-31 – “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.’ The Jews again picked up rocks to stone him.”
Jn. 20:26-28 – “Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’ Thomas answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Commentary: Thomas calls Jesus God! If Jesus was not God, then Jesus would be accepting false worship and would have been deceiving Thomas. However, since Jesus is God, the worship was entirely appropriate, which is why He did not refuse it. The Greek words which Thomas used speaking to Jesus were, Ho Theos, which literally means, “The God of me.”
People worship Jesus throughout the New Testament; for example: Jn. 9:38; Mt. 28:9; Lk. 24:52.
Heb. 1:8 says that Jesus is God. JWs often point out the fact that Jesus calls the Father His God (e.g. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” in Ps. 22), but here we have the opposite. Here God the Father calls Jesus the Son, God. This is because they are both God. That is why Jesus could say in Jn. 10 that, “The Father and I are one!”
As an aside, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is Michael the Archangel even though the Bible does not teach that anywhere. Hebrews 1 shows that Jesus was not an angel but that the angels worship Him.
There are so many more verses that space will not allow for, but here are a few more that you can look up:
– Gen. 1:1-2 (The Trinity. The words we and us are used when God is talking)
– Mt. 28:19 (Name of God, singular, though talking about the Trinity)
– Isaiah 9:6 (Jesus is called the mighty God and Everlasting Father.)
– Isaiah 7:14 (He is called Emmanuel, which means God with us)
And there are more.
Early Christians on the Divinity of Jesus
Below are some of the many early Christians who all believed in the divinity of Jesus. This was not even doubted until the 4th century by a Catholic priest named Arius.
St. Hilary of Poitiers (354 A.D): “The Son receives all from the Father, from Him who has all, God from God, Spirit from Spirit, light from light. For as the Father is spirit, so also is the Son spirit. And as the Father is God, so also the Son is God. … The Judgment of human intelligence excludes the possibility that anything could be born with a nature different from that of its origin.”
Pope Damasus I (382 A.D.): “It is not the name of gods however, but of God, which, in respect to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and in the view of their one and equal divinity, is revealed and declared to us so that we might believe. For we are baptized only in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and not in the names of archangels, or angels, [like] the heretics, or the Jews, or even the demented pagans. This is then the salvation of the Christians, that believing in the Trinity, that there is one only true Godhead and power in majesty and substance.”
Aphraates (336 A.D.) “But, still it is for us a certainty that our Lord Jesus is God, the Son of God, and the King, the Son of the King, Light from light; creator, and counselor, and guide, and the way, and the savior, and the shepherd, and the gatherer, and the gate, and the pearl, and the Lamp. He is called by many names. But we shall leave aside all of them and prove that He who came from God is God and the Son of God.”
Lactanatius (304-310 A.D.): “[The Word] was made both Son of God in the Spirit and Son of man in the flesh. That is both God and man. When we speak of God the Father and of God the Son we do not speak of them as diverse, nor do we separate them from each other, for without the Son the Father cannot be, nor separated from the Father can the Son be. …Both have one mind, one spirit, one substance.”
Origen (220-230 A.D.): “Therefore, we worship the Father of truth and the Son of truth who exist as two persons, while they are one in unity of mind, in harmony and identity of will. In the final period, He emptied Himself and was made man. Although He was God, He took flesh and having been made flesh, he remained what he was, God.”
Tertullian (197 A.D.): “We have already said that God fashioned the whole universe by His word, His reason, His power. … We hold that this which was begotten by God and which was begotten in that utterance, because of the unity of substance is called God and Son of God, for God too is Spirit. Even when a ray is shot forth from the sun, not separated from its substance, … but extended as light enkindled from light. … So, also, that which proceeds from God is God and the Son of God. Both are one. Likewise, He is Spirit from Spirit, and God from God.”
Melito of Sardes (171): “The activities of Christ after His Baptism and especially His miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of His Deity hidden in the flesh. Being God and likewise perfect man, He gave positive indications of His two natures: of His Deity, by the miracles during the three years following after His Baptism; of His humanity, in the thirty years which came before His Baptism, during which, by reason of His condition according to the flesh, He concealed the signs of His Deity, although He was the True God existing before all.”
Pope Clement of Rome (150 A.D.): “Brothers, we must think of Christ as God and as the judge of the living and the dead.”
Ignatius of Antioch (107 A.D.): “For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God’s plan. … I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who has made you wise… To the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ our God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification.”
Who is Right?
Different religions all interpret the Bible differently. Who is correct? It is important to look at what the earliest Christians believed, those who knew the Apostles, and those who passed on what Jesus had taught.
If we look at the writings and teachings of the earliest Christians, we will observe that they believed both in the Trinity and in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Jehovah’s Witnesses are akin to the teaching of Arius that was invented in the 4th century but was rejected by Christians.
One must always ensure that any interpretation of the Bible aligns with what Christians have taught and believed consistently from the beginning and through the centuries, lest one be led astray.