|Is Jesus God?
Millions do not Know What Christ Really Was! by Herbert W. Armstrong
Shocking though it is, Millions of sincere believers are deceived by a diabolical deception. ANTICHRIST IS HERE ALREADY! Perhaps YOU have been misled! Was Christ human, or Divine? Read the TRUTH about this vital subject that has puzzled millions. Your very SALVATION depends upon it! Real "Utopia", is just around the corner. God is soon going to intervene in world affairs and SAVE this world from itself.
Prophecy foretells it. World events show it is coming. Many of you will see it with your own eyes.
While most people seem to want to scoff at the idea that their Creator has power to intervene in human affairs, nevertheless God's prophetic messages continue to be fulfilled. Now we are swiftly reaching the point where the world's only hope will be the intervention of God to REDEEM misguided humanity from the horrible result of their wrong ways.
God alone has power to SAVE man from the inevitable result of competition, greed, selfishness, and resulting world war. God alone has made it possible for man to be saved from the results of SIN. "For God so LOVED the world, that he GAVE his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Do we realize what a tremendous sacrifice had to be made to redeem us from sin and give us eternal life?
God so LOVED this world that He gave His own Son to save it! God is love!
Collectively, man is about to reach the end of his rope. He will finally come to realize God's great LOVE when he is supernaturally saved from world suicide. And individually, we need to really understand just HOW God has made it possible for us to be spared from the penalty of our wrong ways.
Unusual Problem. The problem of just how God ordained that the penalty of human sin be paid is one that has puzzled theologians for generations. In fact, it was the basis for many of the early heresies after the time of the apostles.
This subject requires clear thinking and a willingness to be corrected and reproved by the Word of God — our only infallible source of information. We must be careful to consider ALL the scriptures on this subject, and realize that one scripture cannot be used to contradict another — for God does not contradict Himself, and as Jesus said, "The scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
First of all, we need to understand that the reward of sin, the penalty for going the wrong way, is DEATH. God's inspired Word says: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).
When Jesus took our sins He paid the penalty we have incurred — not eternal life in hell-fire, but DEATH. "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3).
But if Jesus were only human His life would pay the death penalty for only ONE other person. No one human being could save mankind. The full penalty for everyone's sins must be paid!
Yet God alone could not of Himself pay the penalty for man's sins. The penalty is the forfeiting of human life — not animal or any other kind of life. And God, as the source of all life and the One who has life within himself, and is a spirit being, cannot die (John 5:26; II Cor. 4:18).
Therefore it was absolutely necessary that there be One who was both human and divine.
Christ Was Divine. In order to pay the penalty for your sins and mine, it was necessary that Christ be Divine — that His life be worth all our human lives put together.
Man does not have life inherent within himself. He has only a chemical existence which soon ends. As God told Adam after his sin: "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:19). Then God drove man out of the garden of Eden, "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever" (verses 22-24). So we see that Adam had no eternal life whatsoever inherent within himself — and God did not permit him to attain it at that time.
The New Testament also shows clearly that man has no eternal life inherent within himself. One example is this inspired statement of John: "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" (I John 3:15).
God alone has and can give eternal life. "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself' (John 5:26). Again we read of Christ: "In him was LIFE; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). Jesus told Martha, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25). Paul described Christ as the One "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto" (I Tim. 6:16).
If Christ were only human, He could have saved but one other human, and given eternal life to none. To do this required God — the life and power of the Creator.
Christ Is Creator. In John 1:1-2, we read that Christ — the Word or Spokesman — was with God the Father in the beginning. "All things were made by him (Christ)" (verse 3). Paul wrote of Christ: "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth" (Col. 1:16). Christ is also proved to be the One who did the creating in Hebrews 1:8-10. Christ, the Word, the Divine Spokesman, "spake and it was done."
Therefore Christ's life is the life of the Creator God. Paul called Him "God our Saviour" (Tit. 1:3). Yes, in the person of Christ, the very Creator became our Saviour!
Christ is our Maker and a member of the Godhead. Therefore, His life which He gave for us is of greater value than the total of all human beings.
In Hebrews 7:1-4, we find a description of the One who was "made like unto the Son of God" and now "abideth a priest continually" (verse 3). The entire book of Hebrews reveals the present office of Christ as our High Priest. This description can fit none other than the One who came in the flesh as Jesus the Christ.
He is described as being, "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life" (verse 3). Hence, we see that He was not the "Son" of God until He was born of the virgin Mary.
Then Christ, the One through whom the Father had created the heavens and the earth, was translated into flesh and born of a human virgin. Matthew writes that Mary "was found with child of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 1:18).
An angel spoke to Joseph telling him the child was conceived of the Holy Spirit and commanding him: "Thou shalt call his name, Jesus [meaning Saviour]: for he shall save his people from their sins" (verse 21).
The narrative continues: "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (verses 22-23).
Here we see that even Jesus Christ's name revealed Him both as Saviour, and God with us — a divine being with us, in the flesh — to SAVE us from our sins.
Only His life — that of the Creator — could pay the full penalty of sin for all mankind.
Jesus Was Also Human. In order to pay the penalty of human sin, it was not enough that Jesus was Divine. He must also have been human.
The Bible definition of sin is this: "Sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). God's spiritual law was given to man — not the plants, nor the animals, nor the angels. The Ten Commandments govern the relationship between men, and between man and God. The transgression of this law constitutes sin. And, as we have seen, the wages, or reward, of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). God exacts the forfeiture of human life as the penalty for sin.
"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin." (Heb. 10:4). It required HUMAN BLOOD!
Christ, then, must have been human in order to pay this penalty.
Paul explains in I Cor. 15:21-22: "For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Since eternal LIFE is made possible only by MAN's resurrection — and the resurrection to eternal life is made possible for all men only by the resurrection of the ONE MAN — Christ — and since He was resurrected from the dead — therefore the DEATH of the ONE MAN, Jesus Christ, was necessary to pay MAN's penalty.
Adam, the father of the human race, introduced sin into the world. And all of us have succumbed to it. It is the human race that is under the death penalty for sin — and that penalty must be paid — by HUMAN LIFE!
So since only God has power to save and give life — and since only man can pay the penalty of sin — the only possible way to save mankind was for Yahveh — the "Lord" or "Eternal" of the Old Testament, the One who executed the creation for God the Father — to come in the flesh as a HUMAN — GOD become MAN — and die for the sins of the world.
Only thus could the penalty of all human sin be paid by one man as Saviour of the world. That life was the life of our MAKER become HUMAN, for the very purpose of death — a life greater than the sum-total of all human lives! MARVELOUS MYSTERY!
Jesus Had HUMAN Nature. God came in the flesh as Jesus Christ, lived without sin, and thus was able to die and pay the full penalty of sin in our stead.
The apostle Paul was inspired to write: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To REDEEM them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons [sonship]" (Gal. 4:4-5).
Christ was made of a woman — born of the virgin Mary. He was made "under the law" — His very purpose in coming in the human flesh was to take our sins upon Himself, which would put Him "under the law" — under its penalty, death. He did this to redeem all humanity which is "under the law" — under the penalty of DEATH. Jesus was God made mortal human flesh, "for the suffering of death" (Heb. 2:9) — FOR THAT VERY PURPOSE!
So Jesus took human nature upon Himself and was made subject to death in order to be our Saviour. "He also himself likewise (as the children are partakers of flesh and blood) took part of the same" — took on HUMAN NATURE — became flesh and blood — "that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14).
As is fully explained in our free booklet The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday, Jesus was really DEAD during the three days and nights His body was in the grave. He who had been one of the personalities in God — was changed into flesh so He could DIE for our sins.
Paul explains that Christ: "Being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL — with God: But made himself of no reputation" — EMPTIED Himself of His divine glory and power — "and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the LIKENESS of men... and became obedient unto DEATH" (Phil. 2:6-8).
When Christ was in the human flesh, He said: "I can of mine own self do NOTHING: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30). Jesus had emptied Himself of His divine glory and power. He plainly said he could of Himself — in His own human strength — do NOTHING.
In John 14:12, Jesus said: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." Here we see that any outside help and power that Jesus had — coming from God the Father — we may also have, and may accomplish greater works through the power of the Holy Spirit which He went to heaven to send.
In living a perfect life, in doing great miracles, Jesus did NOT have any special help from God the Father that we cannot also have.
Christ, one of the beings in the Godhead, had now been changed into flesh — still having the personality and will to do right which distinguished Him as an entity — yet now had become human, having HUMAN NATURE with all of its desires, weakness, and lusts — and subject to death just like any other human.
This is a truth about which millions are DECEIVED!
Doctrine of Anti-Christ. The Satan inspired doctrine that Jesus was not human and that He did not, inherit the sinful nature of Adam, that He did not have the normal human passions and weaknesses against which all of us have to struggle — in a word, that Jesus did not really come "in the flesh" as a normal human being — this is the doctrine of the Anti-Christ. Notice Romans 8:3: "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh."
"Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is NOT of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even Now already is it in the world" (I John 4:3).
Millions are being taught, in one form or another, this deception of Satan the Devil! Some believe that Jesus had a "special" kind of blood in His veins — not containing human nature with all its weaknesses. Then there is the belief that denies the fact that Jesus inherited human nature from His mother, Mary. This theory thwarts the meaning of the many scriptures showing that Christ Jesus came as the son of man — inheriting His hu-man nature from a normal, human mother.
Yes, as the scriptures clearly state, this Satan-inspired doctrine of Anti-Christ is "even now" in the world and some honest and sincere people are being deceived by it.
Doctrine Explained. Now, listen! The underlying PURPOSE of SATAN — the Adversary — in formulating the doctrine of Anti-Christ is this: It is an attempt to deny the fact that a normal man — with HUMAN NATURE — could, with the help of God's Holy Spirit which is now accessible to every man (Acts 10:34-45), live in perfect obedience to the LAW OF God as Jesus Christ did. Again notice WHY Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh: "... and for sin, condemned sin and the flesh" — Why? — "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled IN US, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:3-4).
The idea Satan is trying to put across is that it is impossible for man to keep the spiritual law of God, and so Jesus came as our Saviour — not "in the flesh" with normal human nature — but through some "special process" so that He could keep the law of God in our stead! And therefore we don't have to keep the Spiritual Law. What Christ did in our stead was to die for us! But His obedience was our EXAMPLE!
Those who believe this doctrine seem to forget that Jesus obeyed God in every way, "leaving us an EXAMPLE, that ye should follow his steps" (I Peter 2:21-22), that Jesus taught, "IF thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt. 19:17), and that He said of all mankind: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4). We are not only to keep the letter of the law, but to follow it as it is magnified throughout the Bible in "every word of God."
As Jesus explained throughout Matthew 5, we are to DO and TEACH even the least of the commandments (verse 19), and should go far beyond the scribes and Pharisees by obeying even the spirit, and intent, of God's great law of love as summed up in the ten commandment.
Satan the Devil, through His false ministers who appear as "ministers of righteousness" (II Cor. 11:13-15), is trying to deceive the world into believing in a FALSE CHRIST — a Christ who did away with the Father's spiritual law and made it possible for us to inherit eternal life without having to build, with the help of God's Spirit, the kind of holy, righteous CHARACTER which would enable us to obey God's eternal spiritual LAW both now and forever.
Truth Made Clear. Now that we understand the real motive behind the doctrine of the Anti-Christ, let us consider a few final scriptures which will clear up the truth of this matter once and for all time.
In James 1:13-14, we read: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God CANNOT BE TEMPTED WITH EVIL, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
How plain! How abundantly clear! Not having human nature with its passions and lusts, God CANNOT be tempted with evil. And on the contrary, every man IS tempted of his own lusts — because every man does have human nature.
Now turn to Hebrews 2:17-18. Here God shows that Christ is qualified to be a merciful and faithful high priest — "'For in that he himself hath suffered being TEMPTED, he is able to succour them that are tempted."
Again, in Hebrews 4:15 we read: "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED like as we are, yet without sin."
Could anything be more CLEAR?
God CANNOT be tempted. Yet Christ Jesus was tempted in all points like we are. He was HUMAN. He was tempted through the lusts of His HUMAN NATURE. He said: "I can of mine own self do NOTHING" (John 5:30). In the days of fleshly weakness, He cried out to God who was able to save Him from death (Heb. 5:7).
In spite of having human nature just as we do, with all of its passions and weaknesses, of being "tempted in all points like as we are," He was "yet WITHOUT SIN."
He willingly suffered every human trial, privation, and persecution, "leaving us an EXAMPLE, that ye should follow his steps: Who DID NO SIN, neither was guile found in his mouth" (I Pet. 2:21-22).
Jesus Kept Commandments. Though having human nature, Jesus did not sin! And what is the Bible definition — God's definition — of sin? "Sin is the transgression of THE LAW" (I John 3:4).
Then Jesus, though having human nature obeyed God's LAW. He said, "I have kept my Father's commandments" (John 15:10). He instructed: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the COMMANDMENTS" (Matt. 19:17).
So it is not only possible — but obligatory — that we obey God's spiritual law, the Ten Commandments as they are magnified throughout the Bible. Keeping them in the spirit does NOT mean "spiritualizing" them away, but really obeying them as Jesus set us the example, thru the power of God's Holy Spirit, which He gives to them that OBEY Him! (Acts 5:32).
By cleverly twisting, distorting, and misapplying scattered scriptures, Satan — operating through his false ministers preaching the doctrine of Anti-Christ — has been able to deceive nearly all of professing Christianity on this subject.
Peter knew that men would especially try to twist and pervert the writings of Paul in regard to the law of God. He was inspired to write that Paul's epistles contained "some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (II Peter 3:16).
God does not contradict himself, and literally hundreds of plain, clear scriptures teach us to OBEY the commandments of God, the holy, spiritual LAW of God. And your Bible clearly reveals that Jesus — born into the human flesh and having human nature even as you and I — kept His Father's commandments and set us a perfect example.
Exercising Character. The only difference between Jesus and any other human is that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Therefore He obeyed God's laws from birth — and never had to go through the process of repenting of going the wrong way, of unlearning wrong ideas and habits, and of gradually learning to exercise His will to do right continually.
He, who had been God, was now changed into human flesh with all its weaknesses and lusts. Nevertheless, He retained in His personality the determination, the WILL to obey God always.
The temptation to do wrong, the idea of sinning entered Jesus' mind. Yes, it DID occur to Him to disobey God. He WAS tempted in all points like we are!
But from birth, Jesus would always reject these wrong ideas, these temptations. He said. "Get behind me, Satan!" He WILLED to do right. He went to God the Father for POWER to do always right. And, praying for the strength He needed through the Holy Spirit. He always did right.
But it WASN'T easy! Jesus had exactly the same day-to-day battle with sin that we do.
Jesus needed outside help sorely. And He knew where to get that help. "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there PRAYED" (Mark 1:35). When He needed strength to go through the terrible ordeal of the crucifixion. "being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44).
Perhaps now we can better understand Paul's inspired statement in Romans 8:3: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of SINFUL flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."
Yes, Jesus had sinful flesh — human nature. But by exercising the WILL to always obey God, and by receiving the extra help He needed to master His fleshly desires, Jesus repudiated the sway of sin in the human flesh and showed that the law of God could be kept.
Right here let us understand the scriptures which show that Jesus was worshipped while He was yet in the human flesh. In Matthew 2:11, Matthew 8:2 and seven other places in the gospels, we find accounts of how men worshipped Jesus.
Yet we know that the Bible forbids us to worship another man.
To understand this, we must realize that in Jesus, "God was manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16). Men were permitted to worship Jesus because He was the personality and perfect will of one who was God — and He exercised the character of God. They were not worshipping Jesus as just another man, but as the holy, righteous, perfect character of God manifested in the flesh. He was God — in the human flesh!
God's Great Purpose. And so by exercising the WILL — to obey God, Jesus "condemned sin in the flesh" for what purpose?
Here is the real ANSWER to why God had to come in the human flesh! Here is the real PURPOSE for the great, SACRIFICE Christ made in emptying Himself of His divine glory and power, and coming to strive with sin in the flesh and finally DIE the ignominious death of the cross!
The answer is given in the very next verse of Romans 8. Christ came to condemn sin in the flesh — "That the righteousness of the LAW might be fulfilled in US, who walk NOT after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (verse 4).
Christ came in the flesh to set us a perfect example, then to DIE in payment for our sins and make it possible for us be reconciled to a holy, righteous God and receive of His Spirit — His very life and character implanted within us.
Then He was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven, having now qualified through human experience to be our merciful and faithful high priest — now to guide us and strengthen us through the Holy Spirit so that we, too, can learn to OBEY God's laws perfectly, can WILL to do right always, can develop the holy, spiritual CHARACTER of God — and finally be found worthy to inherit eternal life as the born sons of Almighty God.
How great is God's love in coming into the human flesh to save us and make us His own! How wonderful is
His plan when we really understand it!