Who is God?
By Stan Davidson
Statement of Faith: God clearly identifies Himself in the scriptures. He is the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Holy Ghost in regeneration of fallen humanity. There is but one God, and He robed Himself in the fleshly body of Jesus Christ to make possible redemption of sinful man. Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh.
Key Verse: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: 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
Introduction: The Bible, the Word of God, begins with these four words, “In the beginning God…” It is absolutely essential to believe these words if the rest of the scriptures are to be revealed. The revelation of the Word of God is a revelation of God Himself. The writer of Hebrews reveals the foundation for all biblical faith in chapter 11, verse 6. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Two things are emphasized here; 1) One must believe that God exists, and 2) One must see Him as a rewarder of them that seek Him. God is not playing hide and seek with humanity! He has gone to great efforts to preserve “the Book” so that mankind might be able to get acquainted with the true God. Paul declares in Romans 1:20 that the godhead is clearly seen. It is true that there are things about God that will never be known until they are revealed in His presence in eternity. However, his godhead is clearly revealed in the scriptures. His godhead is simply his seat of authority in the world. One cannot understand everything there is to know about God, but he can know Him and introduce others to Him!
God’s Nature Revealed
Before exploring the subject of the godhead it is expedient to examine the nature of God. Looking at these different characteristics will reveal that the term “person” cannot aptly describe God.
God is a Spirit
According to John 4:23-24 God is a Spirit, not a person. A spirit does not have arms, legs, hands, or body parts, as we understand them. In Luke 24:39 Jesus said that a spirit does not have flesh and bones. Obviously, this cannot be said of a person.
God is Omnipresent
A careful reading of Psalm 139:7-10 will reveal that if one would go to the skies, to the grave, or to the depths of the sea he would find that God is there. This cannot be said of a person. To use the term in reference to God is to limit Him.
God is Invisible
John 1:18 says that God is invisible; that no man has seen the Father at any time. The “only begotten Son” (Jesus) has declared Him! Paul reiterates this point in Colossians 1:15 by saying that Christ is the “image of the invisible God.” If one is looking for God he will find Him in the face of Jesus Christ.
God is Omniscient and Omnisapient
Omniscient simply means, “knowing all.” Omnisapient means, “all wise.” Psalm 147:5 tells us that His understanding is infinite, or that it has no boundaries. Indefinite means there are no known limits. Infinite means there are no limits, known or unknown. God knows the thoughts and intents of every man’s heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
God is Immortal
Though this is not a controversial point it is an important one. God simply exists. He always has existed and always will exist. I Timothy 1:17 declares that He is immortal. This concept is beyond understanding but not beyond the power of faith to grasp.
God is One
As surprising as it may seem, this is one of the most important facts about the nature of God. His “oneness” is declared throughout the Bible. One of the most prominent places is Deuteronomy 6:4. Israelites were to teach this to their children at every opportunity. God feels very strongly about this aspect of His nature. The Jews taught their children from birth “the Lord is one.”
God Revealed in Flesh
It is time to return to the key verse, I Timothy 3:16. There is an element of mystery in the fact that God became a man. His miraculous conception is beyond human understanding. His expressed love in doing so is beyond man’s grasp. However, there is no scriptural controversy on the subject! God was:
1) Manifest in the flesh. (The incarnation)
2) Justified in the Spirit. (The Spirit as a dove)
3) Seen of angels. (Transfiguration)
4) Preached unto the Gentiles. (Peter, Paul, and others)
5) Believed on in the world. (On whom do we believe?)
6) Received up into glory. (Ascension)
God in Christ
II Corinthians 5:19 eliminates any possibility of controversy. God was In Christ reconciling the world unto Himself! Can this mean anything other than Jesus Christ was Jehovah God in flesh?
Matthew 1:18-23 reveals several things. First, Mary was with child of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, the Father and the Holy Ghost must be one and the same. Second, Joseph was to name him Jesus, “For He shall save His people from their sins. “The name Jesus means “Jehovah, my salvation.” This is why His name is Jesus! Third, His name was to be Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Therefore, Jesus Christ must have been God in the flesh.
The Word Made Flesh
A careful reading of John 1:1, 14, and 18 will show that the Word was made flesh. This is another way of saying that the eternal God became robed in the fleshly body of Jesus Christ. The divine logos (Word) was the expression of God at the time of creation. Connect this verse with Colossians 1:15 and understand that Jesus is the only God man will ever see. He is the image of the invisible God.
The Godhead Revealed
As was emphasized at the beginning of the lesson, the words “God” and “godhead” have different meanings. Even the most advanced scholar will never know all there is to know about God. If one could define Him in human terms He would cease to be God. But the godhead, His earthly seat of authority, is clearly understood after a sincere study of the scripture. Let us examine the two prominent viewpoints or theories on the godhead.
Jesus is the Father
Isaiah 9:6 could only be a reference to Jesus Christ. A child is born. A son is given. His name:
2) Counselor – An Old Testament equivalent to “Comforter.”
3) Mighty God – Jesus is the Mighty God.
4) Everlasting Father – Jesus is the Father.
5) Prince of Peace.
John 10:30 quotes Jesus as saying “I and my Father are one!” Yet the most awesome verses on this subject are found in John 14:5-10. “Have I been so long with you and you have not known me?” When one sees Jesus he sees the Father!
Jesus is the Son
One would think that there would be little doctrinal debate on this subject. Matthew 16:13-19 should settle this issue once and for all. However, there is much debate on the subject of eternal son ship. Was the Son beside the Father in creation? Not according to Isaiah 45:5! Galatians 4:4 sheds light on this question. The Son was made of a woman; therefore, he could not have existed before the woman. This verse refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The only satisfactory explanation of this verse is that the Son was the fleshly body formed in the womb of Mary. He was Jesus, and in Him dwelt Jehovah God.
Jesus is the Holy Ghost
Continuing in John 14 one reads in verses 16 and 17 that a comforter was promised. The Word says, “he dwells with you and shall be in you.” Jesus was the one with them, so He would be the one in them. Verse 26 further identifies the comforter as the Holy Ghost, who would be sent in Jesus’ name.
The Fullness of the Godhead
Colossians 2:8-9 is a powerful “one God” text. First there is a warning. Beware of man’s philosophy. This is followed by the declaration that all the fullness of the godhead dwelt in Jesus bodily. Man’s philosophy has created doctrines that attempt to divide the godhead. They would say the authority of the Son was in Jesus. But Paul says to avoid human philosophy and understand that ALL the fullness of the godhead was in Christ. Jesus was not the second person of a trinity, but Jehovah God in human form. Someone asked the question, “Was all of God in Jesus?” Consider this question. Does all the chocolate in the world have to be in one candy bar for it to be 100% chocolate? God never ceased to be all that His nature was described to be. He is omnipresent. Yet all power and authority rested in Jesus Bodily. Jesus was not in the godhead; the godhead was in Jesus! There are not three persons in the godhead. The godhead is in one person!
The Manifestations of God
God has manifested himself in many ways throughout history. But there was just one “only begotten Son.” Only once did God become man through the process of birth. He was the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Holy Ghost in regeneration of fallen man. The chemical compound H2O can be in a liquid, gaseous, or solid state, but it is still one substance. Water, steam, and ice are all the same chemical compound. God is a Spirit. Yet that Spirit chose to move into a body of flesh in order to bring redemption to mankind.
God’s Name revealed
YHWH- These four letters were the symbol of the name of God to the Hebrews. They considered it so sacred that they would not pronounce it. Bible scholars expanded it by adding vowels. The Old Testament name is Yahweh.
Y H W H
Y A H W E H
J E H O V A H
In the King James Bible this name is transliterated Jehovah. Several usages of the word “Lord” in the Old Testament are actually “Jehovah.” God used this title to reveal many of His attributes. Jehovah-Jireh means the Lord will provide. (Genesis 22:14) Jehovah-Nissi means the Lord my banner. (Exodus 17:15) Jehovah-Shalom means the Lord send peace. (Judges 6:24) Jehovah-Shamnmah means the Lord is there. (Ezekiel 48:35) Jehovah-Tsidkenu means the Lord our righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6) Yet the greatest revelation of God’s name was still to come.
The name Jesus simply means “Jehovah-Savior.” Expanded it means Jehovah has become my salvation. This is the greatest revealed name of our God. When one says Jesus he has said it all! This is why everything that one does in word or deed should be done in the name of Jesus. (Colossians 3:17) John 5:43 records Jesus as saying He came in His Father’s name. John 14:26 reveals that the Holy Ghost comes in Jesus’ name. We know the name of the Son is Jesus. Therefore, the name of Jesus encompasses all that God is to humanity. The only way to truly obey Matthew 28:19 is to be baptized in the name of Jesus.
Questions about the Godhead
Let Us Make Man
Genesis 1:26-27 records God as saying, “Let us make man.” Does this mean there were two deities at creation? There are three tenses in the Hebrew language. They are singular (one), dual (two), and plural (three or more). However, this plural can also mean majestic, as a plurality of power. “Elohim,” a plural Hebrew word translated “God,” does not refer to more than one person but to a being of awesome power. Verse 27 uses the word “he,” so if there was more than one there is a scriptural contradiction. Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God counsels His own will. (God talks to Himself.) The usage of the word “us” can only be considered a literary plural if one is consistent with Bible interpretation. Trinitarians claim that “elohim” is plural, therefore making a plurality of the godhead, thus a triune God. But “elohim” is used in Exodus 7:1 in reference to Moses. Was there a plurality of Moses? No, he was one, yet he seemed to Pharaoh to possess all the attributes of God. Also, false gods are referred to in the Old Testament as “elohim” with a small “e,” yet they are only one in number.
The Right Hand of Power
The right hand is a Jewish reference to power. Most people are right handed so the term has become synonymous with strength. It has already been shown that God is a spirit and that He is invisible. Therefore, the words of Stephen in Acts 7:55-56 must be symbolic or figurative. Stephen specified that he saw the “Son of man” on the right hand. This is always a reference to the incarnation, the flesh. Jesus Christ in flesh is the right hand, salvation power and strength, of God. Isaiah 53:1 refers to the arm of the Lord being revealed. John verifies this reference to Jesus Christ in chapter 12, verses 37-41. Jesus Christ is the salvation arm of Jehovah God, the right hand of God.
To whom did Jesus Pray?
Remember that Jesus was 100% flesh and 100% God. His flesh was no more willing to go to Calvary than any man’s would have been. Through prayer to the omnipresent Spirit of God the flesh was subdued. Do not forget that God also lives inside born again believers, yet they still have to pray. The Spirit of God was in Jesus without measure. (John 3:34) Christians have the Spirit with measure. (Ephesians 4:7) All God’s fullness is not in them bodily. When a man prays he strengthens the Spirit and weakens the flesh. To a lesser degree this was also true of Jesus. Also, He did many things simply as an example to mankind.
The Lamb in Revelation 5
Revelation 5 speaks of one who is worthy to open and read the book. The elders recognized Him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. This is a direct reference to Jehovah God. When John looked at Him he saw a Lamb. This is the New Testament revelation of God. God did not die on a cross. The flesh, which is the Lamb, died on the cross. Verse 6 says the Lamb came out of the midst of the throne. Jesus Christ came out of the midst of the throne, for He was God in flesh. This is symbolic of the sacrificial Lamb, the earthly incarnation, providing salvation for mankind.
Conclusion: Jesus Christ was both 100% flesh and 100% God. He was not the second person of a fictitious trinity. How can two both be co-equal and co-eternal and one be begotten of the other? This is what “son” means, begotten of. The theory of the trinity was not developed until the second century A.D. and did not become an official doctrine of the Catholic Church until 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea. The early church recognized the deity of Jesus Christ and true apostolic believers will recognize Him today as the One and Only God.
Open Book quiz –
1) According to Hebrews 11:6 one who comes to God must do what?
2) List six characteristics of the nature of God as given in this lesson.
3) According to Colossians 1:13-15, who is the image of the invisible God?
4) According to Deuteronomy 6:4, what important truth was the Israelites commanded to teach their children?
5) I Timothy 3:16 states that godliness is a mystery, but it is without what?
6) According to II Corinthians 5:19 where was God and what was He doing?
7) List two scriptures that prove that Jesus is the Father.
8) What important truth does Galatians 4:4 reveal?
9) Describe what Jesus was referring to in the Book of John, chapter 14, verses 16-17, when He said, “I have been with you but I shall be in you.”
10) What does the name “Jesus” mean?
This article “Who Is God” written by Stan Davidson is excerpted from his book Sound Bible Doctrine.