THOSE WHO BELIEVE that our Lord Jesus Christ is God cite verses of the Bible in an attempt to prove their belief. But, do those biblical verses really teach that Christ is God? Or is their understanding incorrect?
Is Christ God according to Matthew 1:23?
Concerning Christ, Apostle Matthew wrote:
“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’.” (Matt. 1:23 New King James Version)
The apostle was actually quoting here a prophecy of Prophet Isaiah (Isa. 7:14) that was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Since it was foretold that the name of the Son, Jesus Christ, would be called Immanuel, meaning “God with us,” others have mistaken it to mean that Christ is God.
Ascribing the name Immanuel (“God with us”) to Christ does not imply that Christ Himself is the God Who is with us. The meaning of one’s name does not denote one’s nature or state of being. For instance, a lady may be named Rose or Daisy but this does not mean that she is a literal flower.
On the same note, we can cite many biblical names that do not in any way denote the state of being of the persons bearing them. Apostle Peter’s name means rock (John 1:42) but he is not a literal stone. Christ gave the brothers James and John the name “Boanerges” meaning the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17) but they were not literally born to a thunder. There are also biblical names that bear the word “God” in them but it does not mean that those with such names are divine in nature. The last of the 13 sons born to King David was named Eliphelet meaning “the God of deliverance” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 167) but David’s son is surely not the God of deliverance himself.
Christ’s being called Immanuel only signifies that God is with us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ, we are reconciled to God:
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (II Cor. 5:18-20 NKJV)
And by obeying Christ’s teachings, people will receive the love of the Father and the promise that God and Christ will dwell in Him:
“Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and my Father and I will come to them and live with them’.” (John 14:23 Good News Bible)
Thus, anyone who is separate from Christ is without God:
“Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12 New International Version)
Hence, the name Immanuel does not in any way prove the alleged deity of Christ. It simply means that God is with us through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is Christ God according to John 10:30?
Another verse often misunderstood as evidence of Christ’s alleged deity is John 10:30, in which Christ stated:
“I and My Father are one.” (NKJV)
However, a careful analysis of the preceding verses shows that to conclude that Christ is God based on the verse is wrong. When Christ said that He and the Father are one, He was not saying that He and the Father are one God. Rather, He was telling us how He and the Father are one or united in caring for His sheep:
“I give them eternal life and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my care. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s care. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:28-30 Revised English Bible)
In the Lamsa Translation, John 10:30 is rendered, thus:
“I and my Father are of one accord.”
Being “of one accord” means agreeing with each other. In this case, Christ and the Father agree and are united in caring for the sheep.
Moreover, Christ and the Father could not be one in nature because They are distinct from each other. God is Spirit, whereas Christ has flesh and bones (John 4:24; Luke 24:39). The Father is greater than all (John 10:29), including Christ, as He testified in John 14:28:
“… My Father is greater than I.” (NKJV)
We should exalt and honor our Lord Jesus Christ for all the great qualities that God gave Him. But while His qualities raise Him over and above any other human being, they do not prove that He is God.
To gain eternal life, Christ taught that we should recognize the Father as the only true God, and He, Christ, as the One Whom the Father has sent (John 17:1, 3).
Let us, therefore, accept Christ for what He really says He is—a man who has told the truth he heard from God (John 8:40 NKJV).