FaithI AM Series

I AM: The Word

Jehovah Incarnate

In the previous installment of this series, we explored how God identified Himself as שַׁדַּי אֵל (El Shaddai – God Almighty), הָיָה (Haya – I AM) and יהוה (Jehovah – The Lord) in the Old Testament.  Then we showed how Jesus declared Himself “I Am” (John 8:58) and pronounced Himself “the Almighty” as He invoked the true essence of Haya (I AM), “Who is and Who was and Who is to come” (Revelation 1:8).

The Jewish leaders accused Him of blasphemy because they knew exactly Who Jesus claimed to be.  As we continue through this study, it will become clear that Jesus was not simply equating Himself with God, and He wasn’t making arbitrary references to the names of God in the Old Testament.  He was, in fact, declaring “I AM Jehovah!”

I know that’s a bold claim, but as I indicated in the first installment, it’s not inconsistent with the full counsel of scripture and it doesn’t alter the supremacy of God the Father or the existence of the Holy Spirit.  It simply places the role of Jesus in proper perspective, as we’ll explore together.

So, let’s go back to the greater context of John 1 and the verse that prompted this study.

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.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. … For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God*, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.  John 1:1-18 (ESV – emphasis mine)

*Manuscripts differ on the interpretation of this verse.  Some say the only One who is God, while others insert Son of God.  Either way, it’s a pretty powerful statement, clearly equating Jesus to God.

John also refers to Jesus as The Word in the book of Revelation.

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. … From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations…  Revelation 19:13, 15 (ESV – Emphasis mine)

Notice the context of how John describes Jesus as The Word of God in Revelation 19.  There isn’t a literal sword coming from Jesus’ mouth.  He is speaking words that are defeating His adversaries.  I would encourage you to read the entire chapter (here).

Since John 1 describes Jesus as the Word through which all things were created, let’s compare that to Genesis 1 in light of the description of Jesus as The Word in Revelation 19.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Day 1: And God said, “Let there be light,”…

Day 2: And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters…”

Day 3: And God said, “Let…dry land appear.” …

Day 4: And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens…”

Day 5: And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures…”

Day 6: And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds…”

Similar to The Word of God speaking destruction in Revelation 19, The Word is speaking life into every aspect of creation in Genesis 1.  I’ll admit that’s a pretty flimsy comparison by itself, but there is so much more to John 1 (and beyond) that reinforce Jesus as Jehovah.

In his letter to the church in Colossae, Paul confirmed several of John’s claims.  John wrote, “He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”  Compare that to Paul.

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 himColossians 1:16 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Paul doesn’t mince words.  He clearly states Jesus created all things and that all things were created through Him, mirroring John.

Continuing with the comparison, John wrote, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…”  Compare that to Paul.

…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  Colossians 1:20 (ESV – emphasis mine)

What does it mean for Jesus to reconcile all things to himself?  How can we reconcile that with Genesis 2?

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV)

Jehovah (The LORD) commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam and Eve disobeyed Jehovah and received judgment from Him, along with the serpent and all of creation, which also was placed under the curse of sin (Romans 8:19-22).

We need to go back and reference the writings of John and Paul to reconcile these passages.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.  John 1:16-18 (ESV)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. … For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…  Colossians 1:15, 19 (ESV – emphasis mine)

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.  Colossians 2:9-10 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In the same running description John provided of Jesus being the Word through Whom all of creation came into existence, he also indicates Jesus is the one Who made the Father known.  Paul further clarifies that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God Who (no one has ever seen) and in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.  From Paul’s description in Colossians 1-2, Jesus is the centerpiece of all creation through Whom all things exist and over which He is the ultimate authority.

In a future installment, we’ll see how Jesus being the visible manifestation of God applies to both Joshua and Moses, but for now, let’s consider these scriptures.

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

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.”  Acts 4:12 (ESV)

God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  Acts 5:31 (ESV)

…since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.  Romans 3:30 (ESV)  

In Isaiah, Jehovah is clearly declaring “Turn to me” for salvation, yet Luke (Acts) declares salvation is through Jesus alone, while Paul indicates God will justify the circumcised (Jews) and uncircumcised (Gentiles) through faith in Jesus.  And yet there is so much more…  Consider this from John:

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  John 1:10-11 (ESV)

If Jesus is Jehovah (the Word representing the invisible Father no one has seen), the entirety of scripture starts to make a lot more sense.  In the context of John 1, Jehovah came to His own people and they didn’t recognize Him.  In the context of Jesus/Jehovah on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), the passage below makes sense, as well.

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.  Luke 24:13-27 (ESV)

I was always taught that Jesus was simply speaking about prophecies concerning the Messiah “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets,” but I am now convinced He was showing His disciples what we’re exploring together.

In the next installment, we’ll explore the significance of Jesus’ declaration, “I am the Alpha and Omega.”  Stay tuned…

You can also watch the entire video for this and the following installment (below) or listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.

 

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