Don't Get Tripped Up
"No one has seen God at any time" (John 1:18).
I often wonder how many people, especially confessing Christians, get tripped up when some nice person wearing a white shirt and tie cites this verse. They would say something like this: "The Bible says that no one has seen God at any time. People have seen Jesus, but they never saw God." Or maybe you've been confronted with this one: "Jesus said that he didn't know the day or hour of His return. If Jesus is God, he would know this. But he didn't therefore he cannot be God."
If you don't know what the Bible teaches about the deity of Christ, then you will be tripped up when confronted with these passages. One of the following things will happen: you will get recruited into one of the cults to learn their truth; you will believe the Bible is full of contradictions and you will never open it again; you will decide that it is time to know why you believe that Jesus is the one and only God and start spending some quality time studying the scriptures.
A Few Scriptures to Start Out With
Here are a few verses that you should look up and highlight in your Bible.
>> Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
>> Genesis 1:26 - "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness."
>> John 1:1-3, 14 - "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 came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being ... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
>> Matthew 28:19 - "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
>> Titus 2:13 - "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."
Here are a few takeaways from these verses:
One God, not multiple gods, created the heavens and the earth.
God (singular) said "Let Us (plural) make man in Our (plural) image ..." This clearly teaches that there is one God comprising of at least two persons, one of them being "the Spirit of God" who "was moving over the surface of the waters" (Genesis 1:2).
Jesus, the incarnate (God in the flesh) Word of God was there in the beginning (Genesis 1:1). All things were created by Him and for Him, and nothing came into being without Him. The apostle Paul states in Colossians 1:16 "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him."
Jesus commands us to baptize His disciples "in the name (singular) of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." He didn't say "names" (plural) or "in the name of the Father, and the name of the Son, and the name of the Holy Spirit."
Jesus is "our great God and our Savior."
A Close Look at John 1:18
"No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."
"No one has seen God at any time."
>> Exodus 33:18, 20 - "Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory! ... But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”
No human can see the full glory of God and live. God allowed Moses to see His back but not His face after He covered up Moses with His hand until His glory passed by (Exodus 33:21-23).
>> John 6:46 - “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father."
We can correctly say that "No one has seen the Father at any time."
>> Colossians 1:15 - "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."
The word "image" in the Greek is eikōn - a depiction that represents something or someone. Jesus literally depicts or represents the invisible God (the Father). 2nd Corinthians 4:4 tells us that Christ "is the image of God." We are to "become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29).
The word "firstborn" in the Greek is prōtotokos. In Luke 2:7 it refers to the firstborn son in a family - "And she gave birth to her firstborn son." In this case "firstborn of all creation" does not mean Jesus was created first. Jesus existed before everything was created, otherwise He would not have been able to create all things (Colossians 1:16). He is also "the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything" (Colossians 1:18) - "by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles" (Acts 26:23).
"The only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father."
The word "begotten" in the Greek is monogenēs which means unique, alone. Thus, Jesus is the only unique, one-of-a-kind, God. We see this same word in several passages including John 1:14 ("the only begotten from the Father"), John 3:16 ("His only begotten Son"), and John 3:18 ("the only begotten Son of God"). Here are two passages from the Old Testament book of Isaiah that teach there is only one unique God and Savior.
>> Isaiah 43:11 - “I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me."
>> Isaiah 45:21 - “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me."
"He (Jesus) has explained Him."
Since no one can see the Father, Jesus revealed and explained the Father to humanity. For example, the Father is in heaven (Matthew 5:16); the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48); the Father sees what is done in secret (Matthew 6:4); the Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8); the Father will forgive you if you forgive others their transgressions (Matthew 6:14) and will not forgive you if you don't forgive others (Matthew 6:15); the Father feeds the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26); the Father is the Lord of heaven and earth (Matthew 11:25); the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing (John 5:20); the Father raises the dead and gives them life (John 5:21); the Father has life in Himself (John 5:26).
A Close Look at Matthew 24:36
"But of that day and hour (the coming of the Son of Man) no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
If Jesus is God, He would be omniscient - having infinite awareness and insight, possessing universal or complete knowledge. In other words, Jesus would know everything all of the time, even when He was present on the earth a little over 2000 years ago. God knows all things (1st John 3:20). He declares the end from the beginning, including things that have not yet come to pass (Isaiah 46:9-11). Surely Jesus, if He is God, would know the hour and day of His second coming!
As He was getting ready to ascend into heaven, his disciples asked "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). Jesus responded, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority" (Acts 1:7). God is going to restore the kingdom to Israel, but only when Jesus returns and establishes His millennial kingdom on earth.
When confronted when this passage, ask the following questions in return:
How did Jesus know that the angels of heaven do not the day and hour?
How did Jesus know that only the Father knows the day and hour?
Could any mere man without knowledge of what the Father knows and what the angels in heaven do not know make such a profound statement?
How did Jesus know that the Father has fixed the times and epochs by His own authority?
What does this say about Jesus's omniscience?
God in the Old Testament, Jesus in the New Testament
There is direct correlation between what God says about Himself in the Old Testament (Genesis, Isaiah) and what Jesus says about Himself in the New Testament (John, Revelation).
>> Genesis 3:13-14 - "Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’"
>> John 8:56-58 - "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” So, the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.”
>> Isaiah 43:10-13 - “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. “I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me. “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; So, you are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And I am God. “Even from eternity I am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?”
>> John 8:24,28 - "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins ... Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”
>> 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, and there is no God besides Me."
>> Isaiah 48:12 - “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He; I am the first, I am also the last."
>> Revelation 1:8 - "I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
>> Revelation 22:13,16 - “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end ... I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Here are a few takeaways from these verses:
Jesus existed throughout eternity. He existed before Abraham was born and spoke to Moses from the burning bush (Genesis 3:2).
Jesus is the only God. No other God existed before Him, nor will there be a God formed after Him.
There is no savior besides Jesus.
You will die in your sins if you do not believe who Jesus says He is - the one and only eternal God!
The last point is so important to the gospel. Only a perfect, unblemished (without sin) sacrifice could fully pay for our sins, thus satisfying the justice of God and His wrath against sin. Jesus, our high priest, was "tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Pilate examined Jesus but said "I find no guilt in Him" (Luke 23:4; John 18:38; John 19:4,6).
>> Galatians 1:8-9 - "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"
The cults will say Jesus came, died for our sins, and rose from the dead on the third day, and they are correct in saying this. But some vehemently argue that the Father is a God, the Son is a God, and the Holy Spirit is a God. Others would argue that Jesus is a created being, not God. Thus, their gospel is contrary to what the apostles preached. These cults are accursed and not to be taken seriously!
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth"
2nd Timothy 2:15
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture cited in this post is taken from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update.