Jesus: Yaweh the Son?

There is an aspect of the study of the person and work of Christ that is often missed by Christians, both in personal study and in witnessing to those who deny Christ’s deity. This theme is simple yet so profound that it is both a powerful witness and a marvelous way to enrich one’s view of Christ. It is this: What Jesus says and does in the New Testament is what the LORD (Yahweh) says and does in the Old Testament. With the exception of the first passage, the following edited excerpts are from my book, Knowing Christ in the Challenge of Heresy (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1999). They will, I pray, aid you to know Christ better through this theme and will provide a stronger witness to his deity to those who reject who and what He claimed to be.

Matthew 8:26b

“Then He [Jesus] arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm.” In Matthew, Jesus is the storm-stiller; in Psalm 107:29, the LORD (Yahweh) is the storm-stiller. The parallels between Matthew 8 and Psalm 107 are startling. Note that just as the disciples are terrified (8:25), so are those on ships upon the sea (107:27); just as the disciples cry out to the Lord Jesus (8:25), so do those in ships cry out to the LORD (107:28). These parallels are no mere coincidence. Jesus is “being” Yahweh the Son.

Matthew 24:30-31

The Son of Man will be seen “coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” when He sends forth His angels. Yet, in the Old Testament Yahweh is the only true and living “cloud-rider” (see Pss. 18:9-11; 104:3; Isa. 19:1; Nah. 1:3). The Jews knew this, for when Jesus asserts once again that He will be coming on the clouds of heaven, they charge him with blasphemy (see Lev. 24:16).

Mark 1:3

Mark witnesses to the deity of Christ as Isaiah 40:3 is quoted: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.’” John the Baptist is “the voice,” and Jesus is “the Lord.” Isaiah 40:3 reads, “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the LORD [Yahweh] in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.’” According to this text, someone is going to come to prepare the way for Yahweh. In the Gospels it is John the Baptist who comes to prepare the way for Jesus (Luke 1:17, esp. 1:76).

Jesus is the Yahweh spoken of in Isaiah 40:3. All the events in Mark evidence this: the Isaiah text is quoted (Mark 1:3), John the Baptist is introduced (Mark 1:4), and Jesus is introduced (Mark 1:9). John the Baptist is the “messenger” of Malachi (Mal. 3:1; 4:5), and is the instrument used to prepare the way of Yahweh, to “make His paths straight.” This phrase refers to the bringing of repentance, which was the focus of John’s ministry as he prepared the way for Yahweh the Messiah, Son of God.

John 12:41

“These things Isaiah said, because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.” The “things Isaiah said” are found in Isaiah 53:1 and 6:10 and are quoted in John: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed” (John 12:38 cf. Isa. 53:1); “He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them” (John 12:40 cf. Isa. 6:10).

Of whom does John speak in 12:41 when he states that Isaiah saw His glory, and Isaiah spoke of Him? It is Jesus. The use of “Him” in verses 37 and 41 is significant. In verse 37, though Jesus was performing many great signs, they were not believing in Him. In verse 41 Isaiah saw His glory, and Isaiah spoke of Him. Since “Him” in verse 37 clearly refers to Jesus, and since there is in this whole passage no reference to the Father, “Him” in verse 41 must refer to Jesus.

But the whole focus is on 6:1, 5, where Isaiah sees “the Lord,” and later identifies this Lord as “the King, the LORD of Hosts.” John therefore states that Isaiah beheld Yahweh the Son in His preincarnate glory.

Romans 1:1

In the very first verse of Paul’s Epistle to the saints in Rome we have the affirmation that Christ is God the Son: “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.”

Of whom is Paul a servant? He is a servant of Jesus. Christ owns Paul. Paul belongs to Christ. The Old Testament background to this statement by Paul affords to Jesus that which belongs to Yahweh. The startling claim that he was a “servant of Christ Jesus” (see also Gal. 1:10; Phil. 1:1) draws one immediately to those who were servants of Yahweh. Abraham (Gen. 26:24; Ps. 105:6, 42), Moses (Num. 12:7, 8; Deut. 34:5; Josh. 1:1, 2, 7; Ps. 105:26), Joshua (Josh. 24:29; Judg. 2:8), David (2 Sam. 7:5, 8; Pss. 78:70; 89:3, 20; Isa. 37:35), Isaiah (Isa. 20:3), the prophets (Ezra 9:11; Jer. 7:25; Dan. 9:6; Amos 3:7; Zech. 1:6), and other believers (Pss. 34:22; 113:1; Israel as a people, 136:22 and Isa. 43:10 cf. 1 Cor. 4:1; Col. 4:12; Eph. 6:6) are called servants of Yahweh. Paul is identifying Jesus as his Lord, the one of whom he is a servant. In so doing he places Jesus in the Old Testament position of LORD. In effect he calls Christ Yahweh.

2 Peter 3:18

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” First, grace is given by Christ to His covenant people. It is His grace to give by His divine prerogative, since it is Yahweh Himself who is full of grace and truth (see Exod. 34:6 cf. John 1:14). Second, believers are to grow in the knowledge of Christ. He is the object of knowledge. With the Old Testament command given by Yahweh to know Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24), this admonition by Peter places the Son in the position of deity. Third is the ascription of eternal glory to Jesus Christ. These words of praise can only be given to Yahweh, for He alone is worthy to be glorified for all eternity (Ps. 86:12). Simply put, if Jesus is not God the Son, then Peter is a blasphemer.