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Examining the Claim: Is Jesus Jehovah?

Introduction to the Claim


The statement "Jesus is Jehovah" is a profound theological assertion that has significant implications for understanding the nature of God and the identity of Jesus Christ. This article aims to examine this claim through a conservative evangelical lens, using the Bible as the authoritative source for understanding the relationship between Jesus and Jehovah. By exploring relevant Scriptures, we will investigate whether this claim holds up to biblical scrutiny.



Understanding the Trinity


The doctrine of the Trinity is central to Christian theology. It asserts that God exists as three distinct persons: the Father (Jehovah), the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. These three persons share the same divine essence but are distinct in their personhood. The Trinity is a mystery, but it is foundational to understanding the nature of God.


Biblical Basis for the Trinity


The concept of the Trinity, while not explicitly named in Scripture, is derived from a holistic reading of the Bible. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His disciples to baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," indicating the co-equality and co-eternality of the three persons. Similarly, 2 Corinthians 13:14 mentions "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit," underscoring the triune nature of God.



Jehovah in the Old Testament


Jehovah, the personal name of God revealed in the Old Testament, is central to the identity of God as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Jehovah is depicted as the one true God, distinct from all other gods.


Key Passages on Jehovah


In Exodus 3:14-15, God reveals His name to Moses as "I will be what I will be" or “I shall prove to be what I shall prove to be” (Jehovah), highlighting His dynamic and purposeful nature. This phrase, rooted in the Hebrew verb ha·yahʹ, which means "to become" or "to prove to be," signifies that Jehovah will become whatever is necessary to fulfill His purposes and care for His people. This dynamic aspect of Jehovah's nature is further emphasized in Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema, which declares, "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God, Jehovah is one," affirming the monotheistic belief in the singularity and unity of God.



Jesus in the New Testament


Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is central to the New Testament revelation. His identity and mission are pivotal to understanding the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.


Key Passages on Jesus


John 1:1-3 introduces Jesus as the Word (Logos), stating, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." This passage affirms the pre-existence and deity of Jesus. Philippians 2:5-11 describes Jesus' incarnation, humility, and exaltation, highlighting His divine nature and role in salvation.


Analyzing the Claim: Is Jesus Jehovah?


The claim "Jesus is Jehovah" hinges on whether Jesus and Jehovah are the same person or distinct persons within the Godhead. To examine this, we need to consider several key biblical passages that address their relationship.


Jesus as the Word


John 1:14 states, "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." This verse indicates that Jesus, as the Word, took on human form while maintaining His divine nature. It supports the view that Jesus is divine but does not equate Him directly with Jehovah in terms of personhood.


Jesus' Relationship with Jehovah


In John 17:1-3, Jesus prays to the Father, saying, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." This passage clearly distinguishes Jesus from the Father (Jehovah), indicating a distinct relationship between them.



The Distinction Between Jesus and Jehovah


The New Testament contains several instances where Jesus refers to Jehovah (the Father) as distinct from Himself, further supporting the distinction between the two.


Jesus' Prayers to the Father


Throughout the Gospels, Jesus frequently prays to the Father. For instance, in Matthew 26:39, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." This prayer highlights Jesus' submission to the Father's will, reinforcing their distinct personhood.


Jesus' Teachings on the Father


In John 14:28, Jesus says, "You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." Here, Jesus acknowledges the Father's greater authority, underscoring their distinct roles within the Godhead.



The Role of the Holy Spirit


The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, plays a crucial role in the relationship between Jesus and Jehovah. The Holy Spirit is sent by both the Father and the Son to guide and empower believers.


The Sending of the Holy Spirit


In John 14:26, Jesus promises the coming of the Holy Spirit: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." This passage shows the collaborative work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, further illustrating the distinct roles within the Trinity.


Jesus' Divine Authority


While Jesus is distinct from Jehovah, the New Testament affirms His divine authority and equality with the Father in several key passages.


Jesus' Authority to Forgive Sins


In Mark 2:5-7, Jesus forgives the sins of a paralytic, leading the scribes to question, "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Jesus' ability to forgive sins, an authority reserved for God, demonstrates His divine nature.


Jesus' Pre-Existence and Eternality


John 8:58 records Jesus declaring, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." By using the phrase "I am," Jesus identifies Himself with Jehovah's self-revelation in Exodus 3:14, asserting His pre-existence and eternal nature.



Jesus' Subordination to the Father


Despite His divine nature, the New Testament also portrays Jesus as voluntarily subordinate to the Father, particularly in His earthly ministry.


Jesus' Obedience to the Father


Philippians 2:6-8 states, "Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." This passage highlights Jesus' willing subordination to the Father's plan of salvation.


Theological Implications of the Distinction


Understanding the distinction between Jesus and Jehovah has significant theological implications for Christian doctrine, particularly in areas such as prayer, worship, and salvation.


Prayer and Worship


The New Testament instructs believers to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. In John 14:13-14, Jesus says, "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." This practice acknowledges the distinct roles of Jesus and the Father while affirming their unity in purpose.


The Role of Jesus in Salvation


Jesus' unique role in salvation is emphasized throughout the New Testament. Acts 4:12 declares, "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." This underscores the importance of recognizing Jesus' distinct identity and mission in God's redemptive plan.



Conclusion of the Examination


The examination of the biblical evidence reveals that while Jesus shares in the divine nature of Jehovah, they are distinct persons within the Godhead. The Trinity doctrine, supported by Scripture, affirms the co-equality and co-eternality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit while maintaining their distinct personhoods. Thus, the claim "Jesus is Jehovah" can be understood as acknowledging Jesus' divine nature but must be carefully articulated to avoid confusion regarding their distinct roles and identities within the Trinity.


About the Author

EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 220+ books. In addition, Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).


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