Christmas: Celebration of God’s manifestation into flesh
“…God was manifest into flesh…” (I Timothy 3:16).
I am delighted to see many elected People’s Representatives used Isaiah 9:6 in their Christmas greeting cards this year. Indeed, there may be no better verse suited for the occasion than this. Almost all the preachers shall be preaching this verse and without touching upon this verse Christmas sermon will be incomplete. The verse says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (KJV). This King James Version language is perfect, grammatically – punctuations, letters, etc. Many other versions like NKJV, TEV, NIV, ASV, RSV and BBE, do not use the article ‘The’ in their sentences making it as any normal book and diminished the reason for the use of it.
Very interestingly, many preachers do not preach the two important tittles “The mighty God” and “The everlasting Father.” Many preachers prefer preaching on “Wonderful”, “Counsellor”, and “Prince of Peace” – minus the article “The.” I think the message of Isaiah 9:6 is incomplete without these two tittles (“The everlasting Father” and “The mighty God.”) These two tittles (the Bible says “Name”) reveals who Jesus really is.
One day, a theologian was asked to preach on “His name shall be called…The everlasting Father” during an Advent Christmas programme. As he stood up, read Isaiah 9:6, and after certain introduction, he announced, “God is telling me to change my topic, so I will change my topic” and thus he preached a ‘normal’ Christmas message. Preachers do not preach on these two ‘tittles’ for one reason or another. Today, I will try to dwell upon these two important tittles (names) which I feel will help us know more about who our Lord Jesus Christ really is.
First, “his name shall be called …THE EVERLASTING FATHER” (Isaiah 9:6).One day, some years ago, I was sitting with an important Naga Christian leader in a restaurant over a cup of tea. In the course of our friendly discussion, touching upon many topics, I asked my friend, “Tell me, friend, how many Gods are there according to the Bible?” My friend grimaced at my question, as expected, he replied, “There is only one God, why?”
“Yes, indeed, there is only one God, so says the Bible,” I replied.
Again I asked, “Who then is this one God of the Bible, Jehovah or Jesus?”
“Jehovah, of course!” he replied with excitement.
I, then, asked him again, “What about Jesus? Is He God?”
“Of course, Jesus is also God!” He replied.
I reminded him that for him there are two Gods – Jehovah and Jesus.
I asked him again, “Who is the father?”
“Jehovah, of course.” He thought that was the end of this discussion. But then, I asked him again, “What about Jesus? Is He the Father?”
With that intimidated face he said with authority, “How can Jesus be the Father when the Bible says that He is the Son of God?”
With a smile, I asked, “What about Isaiah 9:6 then?”
As an important Church leader, he recited it slowly but sincerely, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (KJV – Emphasis mine).
Thereafter, our discussion on the Godhead and the manifestation of God into flesh prolonged for more than three hours.
Thus, today, many of us do not realise the real message of Isaiah 9:6. A careful study of the verse will bring to light who Jesus really is. It is clearly written there in the Bible, but we refuse to believe it! The God of the Old Testament manifested and revealed as the God of the New Testament in the body Jesus. Today, we are celebrating the birth day of Jesus. In fact, it is the manifestation day. 1 Timothy 3:16 says, “God was manifest into flesh”. John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God”. In the layman’s language – God in the Old Testament time, talked to Adam, Abraham, and Moses through the “Word.” That “Word” was speaking by God Himself, and His “Word” was with Him and He was the God who speaks to the prophets of the Old Testament.
Verse 14 says “And the word was made flesh, dwelt among us.” Verse 10 says, “He was in the world and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” If He made the world, He is God and the Bible says there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; Zech. 14:9; Isa. 44:6; Isa. 45:5; Rev.4:2). The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9).
THE BIBLE TESTIFIES THAT JESUS IS THE FATHER
If there is only one God and that God is the Father (Malachi 2:10), and if Jesus is God, then it logically follows that Jesus is the Father. For those who somehow think that Jesus can be God and still not be the Father, we will offer additional biblical proof that Jesus is the Father. This will serve as more evidence that Jesus is God. Actually two verses of Scripture are sufficient to prove this point.
1. Isaiah 9:6 calls the Son the everlasting Father. Jesus is the Son prophesied about and there is only one Father (Malachi 2:10; Ephesians 4:6), so Jesus must be God the Father.
2. Colossians 2:9 proclaims that all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus. The Godhead includes the role of Father, so the Father must dwell in Jesus.
3. In addition to these two verses, Jesus Himself taught that He was the Father. Once, when Jesus was talking about the Father, the Pharisees asked, “Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, “Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 8:19). Jesus went on to say, “I said therefore unto you, if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). We should note that ‘he’ in the verse is in italics, which indicates that it is not in the original Greek, being added by the translators. Jesus was really identifying Himself with the “I AM” of Exodus 3:14. The Jews, who did not understand His meaning, asked, “Who art thou?” Jesus answered, “Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning” (John 8:25). However, “they understood not that he spake to them of the Father” (John 8:27). In other words, Jesus tried to tell them that He was the Father and the “I AM” and that if they did not accept Him as God they would die in their sins.
4. In another place Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Some try to say that He was one with the Father much as a husband and wife are one or as two men can be one in agreement. This interpretation attempts to weaken the force of the assertion Jesus made. However, other verses fully support that Jesus was not only the Son in His humanity but also the Father in His deity.
5. For example, Jesus stated in John 12:45, “And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” In other words, if a person sees Jesus as to His deity, he sees the Father.
6. In John 14:7 Jesus told His disciples, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Upon hearing this statement, Philip requested, “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8). In other words, he asked that Jesus show them the Father and then they would be satisfied. Jesus’ answer was, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:9-11). This statement goes far beyond a relationship of agreement; it can be viewed as nothing less than the claim of Christ to be the Father manifested in flesh. Like many people today, Philip had not comprehended that the Father is an invisible Spirit and that the only way a person could ever see Him would be through the person of Jesus Christ.
7. Jesus said, “The Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:38).
8. Jesus promised to be the Father of all overcomers (Revelation 21:6-7).
9. In John 14:18 Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Jesus was saying, “I will not leave you as orphans” (NIV), or “I will not leave you fatherless: I will come to you.” Jesus, speaking as the Father, promised that He would not leave His disciples fatherless. Below are some comparisons which provide additional proof that Jesus is the Father.
10. Jesus prophesied that He would resurrect His own body from the dead in three days (John 2:19-21), yet Peter preached that God raised up Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24).
11. Jesus said He would send the Comforter to us (John 16:7), but He also said the Father would send the Comforter (John 14:26).
12. The Father alone can draw men to God (John 6:44), yet Jesus said He would draw all men (John 12:32).
13. Jesus will raise up all believers at the last day (John 6:40), yet God the Father quickens (gives life to) the dead and will raise us up (Romans 4:17; I Corinthians 6:14).
14. Jesus promised to answer the believer’s prayer (John 14:14), yet He said the Father would answer prayer (John 16:23).
15. Christ is our sanctifier (Ephesians 5:26), yet the Father sanctifies us (Jude 1).
16. I John 3:1, 5 states that the Father loved us and was manifested to take away our sins, yet we know it was Christ who was manifested in the world to take away sin (John 1:29-31). We can easily understand all of this if we realize that Jesus has a dual nature. He is both Spirit and flesh, God and man, Father and Son. On His human side He is the Son of man; on His divine side He is the Son of God and is the Father dwelling in flesh.
Secondly, “His name shall called … THE MIGHTY GOD” (Isaiah 9:6).
Revelation 1:8 testifies Jesus as the Almighty God who is the first and last. Jesus Himself confirms it in Revelation 22:13, 16 that He was the first and the last. Jehovah of Old Testament said, He is the first and the last (Isa.44:6) and Jesus of the New Testament said He is the first and the last (Rev. 1:8; 22:13). But, the Bible says there is only one God.
The following Old Testament verses Testify that Jesus Is God
1. Isaiah 9:6 is one of the most powerful proofs that Jesus is God: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” The terms child and son refer to the Incarnation or manifestation of “The mighty God” and “The everlasting Father.”
2. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be called Immanuel, that is, God with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23).
3. Isaiah described the Messiah as both a branch out of Jesse (the father of David) and as the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1, 10; see also Revelation 22:16). According to the flesh He was a descendant (branch) of Jesse and David, but according to His Spirit He was their Creator and source of life (root). Jesus used this concept to confound the Pharisees when He quoted Psalm 110:1 and asked, in essence, “How could David call the Messiah Lord when the Messiah was to be the son (descendant) of David?” (Matthew 22:41-46).
4. Isaiah 35:4-6 shows that Jesus is God: “Behold, your God . . . he will come and save you.” This passage goes on to say that when God comes the eyes of the blind would be opened, the ears of the deaf would be unstopped, the lame would leap, and the tongue of the dumb would speak. Jesus applied this passage of Scripture to Himself (Luke 7:22) and, of course, His ministry did produce all of these things.
5. Isaiah 40:3 declares that one would cry in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy when he prepared the way for Jesus (Matthew 3:3); so Jesus is the LORD (Jehovah) and our God.
6. Micah 5:2 proves that the Messiah is God.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah . . . out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Thus the Old Testament clearly states that the Messiah and Saviour to come would be God Himself.
THE NEW TESTAMENT PROCLAIMS THAT JESUS IS GOD
1. Thomas confessed Jesus as both Lord and God (John 20:28).
2. According to Acts 20:28, the church was purchased with God’s own blood, namely the blood of Jesus.
3. Paul described Jesus as “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13; NIV has “our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ”).
4. Peter described Him as “God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:1; NIV and TAB both have “our God and Saviour Jesus Christ”).
5. Our bodies are the temples of God (I Corinthians 3:16-17), yet we know Christ dwells in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17).
6. The Book of Colossians strongly emphasizes the deity of Christ. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9; see also 1:19). According to these verses of Scripture, Jesus is not just a part of God, but all of God is resident in Him. If there were several persons in the Godhead, according to Colossians 2:9 they would all be resident in the bodily form of Jesus. We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). Whatever we need from God we can find in Jesus Christ alone.
As we are celebrate the manifestation of the unseen God into flesh this Christmas, may the Lord bless all the readers with His wisdom and knowledge to understand Him more. This is the message of Christmas. It is not just a merry making and enjoyment. Happy Christmas.
GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH AS JESUS
The statement that Jesus is God necessarily implies that God took on human flesh. This is in fact what the Bible says.
1. “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16; see verse 15 for further confirmation that God is the subject of verse 16). God was manifest (made visible) in flesh; God was justified (shown to be right) in the Spirit; God was seen of angels; God was believed on in the world; and God was received up into glory. How and when did all of this happen? In Jesus Christ.
2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word was made flesh. . .” (John 1:1, 14). Literally, the Word (God) was tabernacled or tented in flesh. When did God tabernacle or robe Himself in flesh? In Jesus Christ. Both verses of Scripture prove that Jesus is God – that He is God manifest (revealed, made known, made evident, displayed, shown) in flesh. God is a Spirit – without flesh and blood and invisible to man. In order to make Himself visible to man and in order to shed innocent blood for our sins, He had to put on flesh. Jesus is not another God or a part of God, but He is the God of the Old Testament robed in flesh. He is the Father; He is Jehovah who came in flesh to bridge the gap between man and God that man’s sin had created. He put on flesh as a man puts on a coat. Many verses of Scripture declare Jesus Christ to be the God of the Old Testament robed in flesh for the purpose of self-revelation and reconciliation.
3. “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (II Corinthians 5:19).
4. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [spoken, revealed] him” (John 1:18).
5. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son . . . the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person. . .” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
6. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15; II Corinthians 4:4).
7. He is God veiled in flesh (Hebrews 10:20). As Abraham prophesied, probably without understanding the full meaning of his own words, “God will provide himself a lamb” (Genesis 22:8). God indeed provided a body for Himself: “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5).
8. Jesus was the builder of the house (God the Father and Creator) and also a son over his own house (Hebrews 3:3-6).
9. He came to His own creation and to His own chosen people, but they did not recognize Him or receive Him (John 1:10-11).
JESUS IS JEHOVAH
The verses of Scripture demonstrating that Jesus is the Father do not exhaust our proof that Jesus is the one God. Below are twelve verses of Scripture specifically proving that Jesus is Jehovah—the one God of the Old Testament.
1. Isaiah 40:3 prophesied that a voice in the wilder- ness would cry, “Prepare ye the way of the LORD” (Jehovah); Matthew 3:3 says John the Baptist is the fulfilment of this prophecy. Of course, we know that John prepared the way of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since the name Jehovah was the sacred name for the one God, the Bible would not apply it to anyone other than the Holy One of Israel; here it is applied to Jesus.
2. Malachi 3:1 says, “The LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant.” This was fulfilled by Jesus, whether the literal Temple or the temple of Jesus’ body is meant (John 2:21).
3. Jeremiah 23:5-6 speaks of a righteous Branch from David—a clear reference to the Messiah—and names Him “The LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (See also Jeremiah 33:15-16.) In other words, Jesus is “Jehovah Our Righteousness.”
4. Isaiah says, speaking of Jehovah, “His arm brought salvation” (Isaiah 59:16), and “his arm shall rule for him” (Isaiah 40:10). Isaiah 53:1-2 describes the Messiah as the revelation of the arm of the LORD. Therefore, Jesus the Saviour is not another God, but an extension of Jehovah in human flesh to bring salvation to the world.
5. Isaiah prophesied that the glory of the LORD would be revealed to all flesh (Isaiah 40:5). Since Jehovah said He would not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11), we know He could only fulfil this prophecy by revealing Himself. Indeed, we find in the New Testament that Jesus had the glory of the Father (John 1:14; 17:5). He is the Lord of glory (I Corinthians 2:8). When Jesus comes again, He will come in the glory of the Father (Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38). Since Jesus has Jehovah’s glory, He must be Jehovah.
6. Jehovah said, “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I” (Isaiah 52:6). Yet we know that Jesus is the One that declared the Father, manifested the Father’s name, and declared the Father’s name (John 1:18; 17:6; 17:26). Jesus declared the LORD’s name (Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12). Thus, He must be Jehovah.
7. The LORD said, “That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isaiah 45:23). Paul quoted this verse of Scripture to prove that all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-11). Paul also wrote, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:10).
8. Zechariah offers convincing proof that Jesus is Jehovah. In the passage beginning with Zechariah 11:4, “the LORD my God” said, “So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” In Zechariah 12:10 Jehovah stated, “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” Of course, it was Jesus who was sold for thirty pieces of silver and who was pierced (Matthew 26:14-16; John 19:34). Zechariah 12:8 says with reference to the Messiah, “The house of David shall be as God.” Zechariah also wrote, “The LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” and describes Him battling against many nations and stepping foot on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:35). Of course, we know Jesus is the One coming back to the Mount of Olives as King of kings and Lord of lords to war against the nations (Acts 1:9-12; I Timothy 6:14-16; Revelation 19:11-16).
9. When Paul, the educated Jew, the Pharisee of Pharisees, the fanatic persecutor of Christianity, was stricken on the road to Damascus by a blinding light from God, he asked, “Who art thou, Lord?” As a Jew, he knew there was only one God and Lord, and he was asking, “Who are You, Jehovah?” The Lord answered, “I am Jesus” (Acts 9:5).
10. Although Moses dealt with Jehovah God, Hebrews 11:26 says that Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. So Moses’ God was Jesus Christ.
11. Psalm 68:18 depicts a scene in which Jehovah ascends on high and leads captivity captive, yet we know Jesus ascended and led captivity captive. In fact Ephesians 4:7-10 applies this prophecy to Jesus.
12. Revelation 22:6 says, “The Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel” to John, but verse 16 says, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you.” There are yet many more passages of Scripture identifying Jesus with the one Jehovah God.
The God of Old Testament, who is the God of gods and Lord of Lords (Deut. 10:17) is also Kings of kings and Lord of lords of the New Testament (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; Rev. 19:16). There will be no two God of gods, Lord of lords, and King of kings. The Jehovah of Old Testament in Isaiah 44:6, 8 and Isaiah 45:5 said He alone is God and there is no other gods beside Him. Old Testament says Jehovah is God of gods, Lord of lords and the New Testament says that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. This explains that there is only one God of gods, only one King of kings and only one Lord of lords and that is Jesus.
There is only one Throne in heaven and only one is sitting on that one throne (Rev. 4:2). And that is the Lamb of God who is Jesus. The God of Old Testament replied to Moses’ query of who He is. When Moses asked Him His name the God of Old Testament replied to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.” (Exodus 3:14) and Jesus told the Jews “before Abraham was I am.” (John 8:58). Jesus said in John 8:24, “Ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (KJV).
Today, we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. However, the truth is, it is celebration of the wonderfully and mysteriously manifestation of the Old Testament unseen God into the flesh as Jesus. After all, He is God and He deserve to be our God. He deserves our praise and worship. Have a blessed Christmas.
S. Akho Leyri,
Upper Agri Colony, Kohima.