Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus Christ – The One Lord Revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue with our discussion.

Paul’s Reformulation of the Shema

According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus is the one Lord through whom all things were made and are kept together:

but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ (heis kyrios ‘Iesous Christos), by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” 1 Corinthians 8:4-6

Paul brings out Jesus’ role as Agent of creation more clearly in Colossians:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and FOR Him. He IS before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17

It is abundantly clear from the foregoing that the blessed Apostle has taken Deuteronomy 6:4 and reformulated it in order to identify Jesus as the one Lord that is confessed in the Shema

This is made apparent from the fact that Paul has expressly attributed the very words of the Greek text of Deuteronomy 6:4, i.e. heis kyrios, to Jesus. As one noted Evangelical scholar explains:

“However, Paul establishes the Christological significance of the Shema‘ most pointedly in 1 Cor 8:1–6. His polemic against idolatry in this text is obviously rooted in Deut 6:4–5 and beyond. The first hint of a connection surfaces in verse 3, where Paul, who has a lot to say about God’s love for people, inserts a relatively rare reference to people loving God. On first sight, in verse 4 Paul appears to appeal to the Shema‘, but a more direct antecedent for, ‘There is no God but one,’ had come at the end of Moses’ first address, in Deut 4:35, 39, with his explicit declaration, ‘Yahweh, he is God, there is no other.’ Firmly in the tradition of Moses, Paul hereby declares the uniqueness and exclusive existence of Yahweh in contrast to the nothingness of idols, which is a very deuteronomistic theme.

“His comments in verses 5–6 reflect a thorough understanding of the Shema‘ in its original context. For the sake of argument, he declares hypothetically that even if one concedes the existence of other gods (which, in the light of verse 4, he is obviously not actually willing to do), ‘but for us (all‘ hemin) there is but one God (heis theos), the Father, from whom all things came (cf. Deut 32:6, 18) and for whom we live (cf. Deut 14:1); and there is but one Lord (heis kyrios), Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.’ Translated into its original context on the plains of Moab, this is precisely the sort of thing that Moses could have said: ‘Even if one concedes the existence of other gods (which in the light of Deut 4:35, 39 he is obviously unwilling to do), but for us there is but one God, our Father (cf. Deut 1:31; 14:1; 32:6, 18), from whom all things came (cf. Gen 1:1–2:4a) and for whom we live (cf. Exod 19:5–6); his name is Yahweh, through whom all things came (Exod 20:11; 31:17), and through whom we live (Exod 20:2; Deut 5:6).’ What is remarkable in Paul, however, is his insertion of the name ‘Jesus Christ’ after kyrios, which, on first sight, reflects Hebrew ‘Yahweh’ of the Shema‘. However, in view of his reference to ‘many gods’ and “many lords’ in verse 5, here he appears to have in mind the title ‘adonay rather than the personal name Yahweh. But the Christological effect is extraordinary. In the words of N. T. Wright,

"Paul has placed Jesus within an explicit statement of the doctrine that Israel’s God is the one and only God, the creator of the world. The Shema was already, at this stage of Judaism, in widespread use as the Jewish daily prayer. Paul has redefined it christologically, producing what we can only call a sort of Christological monotheism.

On the one hand, Yahweh, the one and only God to whom the Israelites declared allegiance is hereby identified unequivocally with Jesus. What the OT has said about Yahweh may now be said about the Christ. On the other hand, in and through Jesus Christ one encounters the one and only God. Inasmuch as Paul is writing to the Corinthians, representatives of the kingdoms of the earth, in the conversion of the Gentiles one witnesses the beginning of the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy as well.” (Daniel I. Block, How Many is God? An Investigation Into The Meaning Of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 [Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS ), 47/2 (June 2004), 193–21], pp. 210-211; bold emphasis ours)

It is also evident from the fact that this blessed Apostle has ascribed Yahweh’s unique roles as Creator and Sustainer to Christ. 

For example, not only does the Hebrew Bible repeatedly state that Yahweh created all things, and gives life and breath to every creature,

“And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: ‘Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.’” Nehemiah 9:5-6

“May you be blessed of the LORD, Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 115:15

“How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever;” Psalm 146:5-6

“Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it,” Isaiah 42:5

“For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), ‘I am the LORD, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, “Seek Me in a waste place”; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright. Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” Isaiah 45:18-23

“But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation. Thus you shall say to them, ‘The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’ It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses.” Jeremiah 10:10-13

“The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,” Zechariah 12:1

It also affirms that Yahweh created everything by himself:

Who ALONE stretches out the heavens And tramples down the waves of the sea; Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south; Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number.” Job 9:8-10

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF And spreading out the earth ALL ALONE,” Isaiah 44:24

The prophetic writings further claim that it was Yahweh’s own hands that made the heavens and the earth, not the hands of someone else:

“For the LORD is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” Psalm 95:3-7

“It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their host.” Isaiah 45:12

“Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together.” Isaiah 48:13

But I am the Lord thy God that establishes the heaven, and creates the earth, whose hands have framed the whole host of heaven: but I shewed them not to thee that thou shouldest go after them: and I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no God but me; and there is no Saviour beside me. Hosea 13:4 LXX

The extra-biblical Jewish writings also agree that Yahweh alone created all things by his own hands and that he sustains all things by his own word:

“Because of him his messenger finds the way, and by his word all things hold togetherFor the Lord has made all things, and to the godly he has granted wisdom.” Sirach 43:26, 33 RSV

“The prayer was to this effect: ‘O Lord, Lord God, Creator of all things, who art awe-inspiring and strong and just and merciful, who alone art King and art kind,’” 2 Maccabees 1:24 RSV

“And the king said to him, ‘Why do you not worship Bel?’ He answered, ‘Because I do not revere man-made idols, but the living God, who created heaven and earth and has dominion over all flesh.’” Bel and the Dragon 1:5

“And it came to pass in the sixth week, in the seventh year thereof, that Abram said to Terah his father, saying, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Behold, here am I, my son.’ And he said, ‘What help and profit have we from those idols which thou dost worship, And before which thou dost bow thyself? For there is no spirit in them, For they are dumb forms, and a misleading of the heart. Worship them not: Worship the God of heaven, Who causeth the rain and the dew to descend on the earth, And doeth everything upon the earth, And hath created everything by His word, And all life is from before His face. Why do ye worship things that have no spirit in them? For they are the work of (men's) hands, And on your shoulders do ye bear them, And ye have no help from them, But they are a great cause of shame to those who make them, And a misleading of the heart to those who worship them: Worship them not.’" Jubilees, 12:1-5

“And she stretched her hands out towards the east, and her eyes looked up to heaven, and she said, ‘O Lord, God of the ages, that didst give to all the breath of life, That didst bring into the light the things unseen, That hast made all things and made visible what was invisible, That hast raised up the heaven and founded the earth upon the waters, That hast fixed the great stones upon the abyss of water, Which shall not be submerged, But to the end they do thy will.’” Joseph and Aseneth, 12:1-3

23. What form of government then can be more holy than this? what more worthy kind of worship can be paid to God than we pay, where the entire body of the people are prepared for religion, where an extraordinary degree of care is required in the priests, and where the whole polity is so ordered as if it were a certain religious solemnity? For what things foreigners, when they solemnize such festivals, are not able to observe for a few days' time, and call them Mysteries and Sacred Ceremonies, we observe with great pleasure and an unshaken resolution during our whole lives. What are the things then that we are commanded or forbidden? They are simple, and easily known. The first command is concerning God, and affirms that God contains all things, and is a Being every way perfect and happy, self-sufficient, and supplying all other beings; the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things. He is manifest in his works and benefits, and more conspicuous than any other being whatsoever; but as to his form and magnitude, he is most obscure. All materials, let them be ever so costly, are unworthy to compose an image for him, and all arts are unartful to express the notion we ought to have of him. We can neither see nor think of any thing like him, nor is it agreeable to piety to form a resemblance of him. We see his works, the light, the heaven, the earth, the sun and the moon, the waters, the generations of animals, the productions of fruits. These things hath God made, not with hands, nor with labor, nor as wanting the assistance of any to cooperate with him; but as his will resolved they should be made and be good also, they were made and became good immediately. All men ought to follow this Being, and to worship him in the exercise of virtue; for this way of worship of God is the most holy of all others. (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II)

“My spirit was greatly agitated, and I began to speak anxious words to the Most High, and said, ‘O sovereign Lord, didst thou not speak at the beginning when thou didst form the earth -- and that without help -- and didst command the dust and it gave thee Adam, a lifeless body? Yet he was the workmanship of thy hands, and thou didst breathe into him the breath of life, and he was made alive in thy presence.’” 4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 3:3-5 RSV

Walk before his face, with terror and trembling and serve him alone. Bow down to the true God, not to dumb idols, but bow down to his similitude, and bring all just offering before the Lord's face. The Lord hates what is unjust. For the Lord sees all things; when man takes thought in his heart, then he counsels the intellects, and every thought is always before the Lord, who made firm he earth and put all creatures on it. If you look to heaven, the Lord is there; if you take thought of the sea's deep and all the under-earth, the Lord is there. For the Lord created all things. Bow not down to things made by man, leaving the Lord of all creation, because no work can remain hidden before the Lord's face. 2 Enoch 66:2-6

In light of the foregoing, it is pretty obvious that by describing Jesus as the Agent and Sustainer of every created thing, Paul was basically identifying Christ as Yahweh God!

In fact, the NT goes so far as to take the following Psalm, which exalts Yahweh as the Maker and Sustainer of creation, the One who always remains the same,

“In the beginning thou, O Lord (Kyrie), didst lay the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest: and [they all] shall wax old as a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them, and they shall be change. 27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” Psalm 101[Eng. 102]:25-27 LXX

And applies it to Christ!

But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God (ho theos), is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom… You, Lord (Kyrie), laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.’” Hebrews 1:8, 10-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

In the context, it is the Father who is glorifying his Son as the immutable Lord who created and sustains the heavens and the earth, and all that is within them!

Here is a summation of what the OT and the extra-canonical Jewish literature teach concerning Yahweh being the sole Creator and Sustainer, and contrasting that with the NT depiction of Jesus' role in creating and sustaining all things:

  • Yahweh alone created and sustains all things.
  • Yahweh created the heavens and the earth by his own hands.
  • Yahweh formed things for himself, for his own glory.
  • Yet according to the NT writers such as Paul, all things were created in/through/for Jesus.
  • The NT even quotes an OT passage which describes Yahweh as the unchanging Creator and Sustainer of all things and applies that to Christ!

This isn’t the only time where the blessed Apostle employs the words of the Shema to describe Christ:

one Lord (heis kyrios), one faith, one baptism.” Ephesians 4:5

Again, contrast this to the Greek translation of both Deuteronomy 6:4 and Zechariah 14:9:

Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord (kyrios heis).

And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord (kyrios heis), and his name one,

Later on in the same chapter, Paul provides some further evidence that he believed that Jesus is Lord in the sense of being Yahweh:

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, ‘WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.’ (Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:7-10

Paul ascribes to Christ the following Psalm which refers to Yahweh coming down to deliver his people:

“The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness. You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men, Even among the rebellious also, that the LORD God may dwell there.” Psalm 68:17-18

He has even adapted the language of Jeremiah to describe Jesus as the One who completely fills the entire creation:

“‘Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, ‘And not a God far off? ‘Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:23-24

The following citation provides some additional details from Ephesians which indicates that Paul and the first Christians believed that Jesus shared the unique identity of Yahweh with God the Father:

Christology. In most ways Ephesians recapitulates the teaching of Paul's other letters, including emphasis on Jesus as (1) Christ; (2) the unique Lord (exalted to God's right hand, and thence as “head of all things,” sharing his cosmic rule: see esp. 1:20-23; cf. 4:6); and (3) the Son of God. As elsewhere, he is also an Adamic figure who is the beginning (1:4), the paradigm (4:20-23; 5:1-2, 25-32), and the end of God's purposes with humankind (1:10; 4:13, 15-16). As in other Paulines, the Lord is invoked as the co-source, with the Father, of "grace and peace" (1:2; cf. 6:23), but uniquely also of “love/faith/faithfulness” (6:23-24). Paul usually refers to God as providing the “grace” of his apostolate and other ministries, through the Spirit, and Ephesians maintains the same (e.g., 3:2, 7), but much more explicitly than at (e.g.) 1 Cor. 12:5 describes the ascended Christ as the (co-)giver of the varied ministry gifts (4:10-12). Similarly, the risen Christ, like God, uniquely “fill[s] all things” (4:10), especially the church (1:22-23). Grasping the infinite love of Christ means to be filled with the fullness of God (3:17). All this amounts to a deep-level “binitarian” Christology. It is matched by Paul's first explicit exhortation that Spirit-filled congregational worship should regularly involve singing and making melody to the Lord Jesus as well as giving thanks to the Father through (or “in the name of”) the Lord Jesus (5:18-20). To mark Jesus as the expected recipient of full and regular worship, alongside the Father, was thus to include him within the identity of the One God/Lord of Israel (cf. 4:5-6; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; and the Shema [Deut. 6:4], on which they depend). That in turn was self-consciously to move into some form of binitarian monotheism (see Hurtado), and to provide the basis for pronounced liturgical developments. (Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, Kevin J. Vanhoozer (general editor) [Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI 2005], p. 188; underline emphasis ours)

Concluding Remarks –
Jesus is Yahweh!

There is actually plenty more evidence which we could have presented to prove that the NT identifies Jesus as Yahweh. However, for the sake of brevity we will allow Evangelical apologist Ron Rhodes to summarize the data which shows that Jesus is Yahweh according to the NT:

“Let us recall that the name Yahweh does not appear in the New Testament (in most Bibles). Hence, it seems rather obvious that there can be no verse in the New Testament that comes right out and declares, ‘Jesus is Yahweh.’ On the other hand, as Watchtower expert Robert M. Bowman notes, ‘The Bible also never says in just so many words that the Father is Jehovah.’ In other words, the Father is never explicitly called ‘Jehovah’ or ‘Yahweh.’

“However, we are told in Scripture that Yahweh is the only true God (Genesis 2:4; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5,21). Hence, because we also know that the Father is the only true God (John 6:27; 17:3), we logically infer that the Father is Yahweh. By the same token, we know from specific passages of Scripture that Jesus is truly God (John 1:1; 8:58; 20:28; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8). Hence, He too is Yahweh. Besides, as I shall argue later in the book, Jesus clearly indicated His identity as Yahweh in John 8:58 when He said to some Jews, 'Before Abraham was born, I AM' (compare with Exodus 3:14).

“A comparison of the Old and New Testaments provides powerful testimony to Jesus' identity as Yahweh. For instance, Isaiah 40:3 says: `In the desert prepare the way for the LORD [Yahweh]; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God [Elohim].' Mark's Gospel tells us that Isaiah's words were fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus Christ (Mark 1:2-4).

“Another illustration is Isaiah 6:1-5, where the prophet recounts his vision of Yahweh `seated on a throne, high and exalted' (verse 1). He said, `Holy, holy, holy is the LORD [Yahweh] Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory' (verse 3). Isaiah also quotes Yahweh as saying: ‘I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another’ (42:8). Later, the apostle John–under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit–wrote that Isaiah ‘saw his [Jesus'] glory’ (John 12:41). Yahweh's glory and Jesus' glory are equated.

“Christ's deity is further confirmed for us in that many of the actions of Yahweh in the Old Testament are performed by Christ in the New Testament. For example, in Psalm 119 we are told about a dozen times that it is Yahweh who gives and preserves life. But in the New Testament, Jesus claims this power for Himself: ‘For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will’ (John 5:21). Later in John's Gospel, when speaking to Lazarus's sister Martha, Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die’ (John 11:25-26).

“In the Old Testament the voice of Yahweh was said to be ‘like the sound of many waters’ (Ezekiel 43:2). Likewise, we read of the glorified Jesus in heaven, 'His voice was like the roar of many waters' (Revelation 1:15). What is true of Yahweh is just as true of Jesus.

“It is also significant that in the Old Testament, Yahweh is described as an ‘everlasting light,’ one that would make the sun, moon, and stars obsolete: ‘The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended’ (Isaiah 60:19-20). Jesus will also be an everlasting light for the future eternal city in which the saints will dwell forever: ‘The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb’ (Revelation 21:23).” (Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses, 3. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Divine Name, pp. 62-63)

Speaking of Bowman, here is what this scholar had to say concerning the NT teaching that Jesus is Yahweh:

Jesus as Jehovah

The amount of material in the Bible supporting the teaching that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God IS ACTUALLY QUITE STAGGERING. Here we can summarize only some of the remaining highlights.

Mention has already been made of Philippians 2:9-11, which says that Jesus has been given ‘the name which is above every name,’ the name Lord, or Jehovah. Even clearer is Romans 10:9-13. Here we are told to confess Jesus as Lord (vv. 9-10), confident that no one trusting in him, that is, in Jesus, the rock over which the Jews stumbled, will be disappointed (v. 11; cf. 9:33), because he is Lord for both Jew and Greek, rich to all who call upon him for salvation (v. 12). Then verse 13 concludes that whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. In context, this must be Jesus, because he is the Lord on whom all must call to be saved, as verses 9-12 have said; but the NWT translates ‘Lord’ here as ‘Jehovah,’ because it is a quote from Joel 2:32, where the original Hebrew has the divine name! Thus Jesus is here identified as Jehovah. Similar is 1 Peter 2:3, which is nearly an exact quotation from Psalm 34:8, where the Lord is Jehovah; but from verses 4-8 it is also clear that the Lord in verse 3 is Jesus.

Besides the name Jehovah and the title God, Jesus has other titles belonging exclusively to Jehovah. Jesus is the first and the last (Rev. 1:17; 22:13; cf. Isa. 44:6). He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). Used in a spiritual, ultimate sense, Jesus is revealed to be God by his having the titles Savior (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; 1 John 4:14; cf. Isa. 43:11; 45:21-22; 1 Tim. 4:10), Shepherd (John 10:11; Heb. 13:20; cf. Ps. 23:1; Isa. 40:11), and Rock (1 Cor. 10:4; cf. Isa. 44:8).

Jesus also receives the honors due to Jehovah God alone. He is to receive the same honor given to the Father (John 5:23). He is to be feared (Eph. 5:21), to receive absolute love (Matt. 10:37), and to be the object of the same faith we have in God (John 3:16; 14:1). He receives prayer (John 14:14; Acts 7:59-60 compared with Luke 23:34, 46; Rom. 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 1:2; etc.), worship (Matt. 28:17; Heb. 1:6), and sacred service (Rev. 22:3).

Jesus also possesses the unique characteristics, or attributes, of God. He is exactly like God, the very image of his Father (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). All the fullness of God's nature dwells in Christ in bodily form (Col. 2:9). In another book the JWs make this interesting comment on Colossians 2:9: “Being truly ‘divinity,’ or of ‘divine nature,’ does not make Jesus as the Son of God coequal and coeternal with the Father, any more than the fact that all humans share ‘humanity’ or ‘human nature’ makes them coequal or all the same age.” Of course people who share human nature are not the same age, but that is in keeping with the fact that all human beings have a beginning. But the point is that just as a human son is just as ‘human’ as his father, so Jesus Christ, who is said in Colossians 2:9 to be fully ‘divine,’ is therefore no less divine than his Father.

The Bible also names specific attributes unique to God that are possessed by Christ. He is self-existent (John 5:26); unchanging (Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8); eternal (John 1:1-2; 8:58; 17:5; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2, 12), omnipresent, an attribute that JWs deny even to God (Matt 18:20; 28:20; Eph. 1:23; 4:10; Col. 3:11); and beyond human comprehension (Matt. 11:25-27).

This last point bears emphasizing. The biblical teaching that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, the Lord of all, God in the flesh, is found throughout the New Testament. Yet it remains hidden from those who seek God on their own terms, who demand that he be comprehensible to them. No one can know that Jesus Christ is the Lord Jehovah apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). (Robert M Bowman Jr., Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses [Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, Seventh printing, 1993], 7. Jesus Christ Is God, pp. 108-110; bold and capital emphasis ours)

What makes this rather astonishing is that Murray J. Harris also admits that the NT ascribes to Christ specific OT texts which speak of the unique characteristics and functions of Yahweh:

B. Explicit Christology

1. Old Testament passages referring to Yahweh applied to Jesus:

a. Character of Yahweh (Exod. 3:14 and Isa. 43:11 alluded to in John 8:58; Ps. 101:27-28 LXX [MT 102:28-29] quoted in Heb. 1:11-12; Isa 44:6 alluded to in Rev. 1:17)

b. Holiness of Yahweh (Isa. 8:12-13 [cf. 29:23] quoted in 1 Pet. 3:14-15)

c. Descriptions of Yahweh (Ezek. 43:2 and Dan. 10:6-6 alluded to in Rev. 1:13-16)

d. Worship of Yahweh (Isa. 45:23 alluded to in Phil. 2:10-11; Deut. 32:43 LXX and Ps. 96:7 LXX [MT 97:7] quoted in Heb. 1:6)

e. Work of Yahweh in creation (Ps. 101:26 LXX [MT 102:27] quoted in Heb. 1:10)

f. Salvation of Yahweh (Joel 2:32 [MT 3:5] quoted in Rom. 10:13; cf. Acts 2:21; Isa. 40:3 quoted in Matt. 3:3)

g. Trustworthiness of Yahweh (Isa. 28:16 quoted in Rom. 9:33; 10:11; 1 Pet. 2:6)

h. Judgment of Yahweh (Isa. 6:10 alluded to in John 12:41; Isa 8:14 quoted in Rom. 9:33 and 1 Pet. 2:8)

i. Triumph of Yahweh (Ps. 68:18 [MT v. 19] quoted in Eph. 4:8) (Harris, Jesus as God, Appendix II. An Outline of the New Testament to the Deity of Christ, pp. 316-317)

In light of this candid admission one is left wondering how Harris could claim that the NT writers identify the Father as Yahweh, the God who spoke in the OT, as opposed to identifying the Trinity with Yahweh. 

To conclude, it has become abundantly clear from our examination that the NT does in fact identify Jesus as the one Lord of the Shema, while also identifying the Father as the one God which the Shema mentions. In fact, what makes this rather interesting is that the NT never identifies the Father as the one Lord!

The reason it doesn’t is obvious. The NT writers have redefined Deuteronomy 6:4 so as to include both the Father and the Son within the unique identity of Yahweh, the God of Israel. It does this by applying the term “God” (elohim, theos) to the Father while applying the divine name or the tetragrammaton, i.e. Yahweh (“Lord” [kyrios]), to Christ. 

Thus, Jesus Christ is Yahweh to the glory of God the Father for ever and ever! Amen!

Further Reading

Zechariah 12:10 – Who is pierced?
The Anti-Anti-Mission – A Response to some Jewish Objections to Christian Theology
On the Jewish Community’s Rendering of אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר (Et-Asher) Formulae in the Tanakh (JPS 1917, et al.)
Zechariah 12:10 – Can God be pierced?