That the Lord Jesus claimed to be God, we have no doubt. The New Testament everywhere makes Him equal with God.
The question which is now before us is this: Does the Old Testament tally with the New, in ascribing the fullness of the Godhead to Jesus Christ?
In the New Testament the Lord Jesus was worshiped as an infant by the Magi who came with their gifts of frankincense and myrrh. He was worshiped during His earth ministry by the leper, by one of Israel's rulers, by His disciples, and by many others. He was worshiped after His resurrection by the women and by the disciples. He was worshiped as He ascended into Heaven by His followers who saw Him go into Heaven. He is worshiped today by millions of saints everywhere. He will be worshiped upon His return to earth, for then God will say: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."
The Jew must readily grant everything that we have just stated about the Lord Jesus, but they will not grant, usually, that the Lord Jesus of the New Testament, was ever worshiped and honored as God by their forefathers in the Old Testament.
In reply, we wish to propound very briefly some salient questions:
1. Do not the Old Testament Scriptures declare, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve"?
2. Do not the Old Testament Scriptures declare that no one can look at God and live? and that no one hath seen God at any time?
3. If the above are answered affirmatively, then we ask the meaning of Exodus 33:11: "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend."
With whom did Moses speak?
4. We ask again, with whom did Joshua speak, for the Bible says that a Man stood "over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come" (Josh. 5:13, 14).
If it be answered that this captain of the Lord's hosts was an angel, then why do we read that Joshua fell on his face and worshiped Him, for we have already agreed that God gives permission to worship the Lord thy God alone?
5. Who is the Angel of the Lord who appeared unto Manoah? Manoah said unto his wife, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God" (Judg. 13:20-22).
6. Who was it that Isaiah saw when he saw the Lord high and lifted up, while His glory filled the Temple? (see Isa. 6:5).
7. With whom did Jacob wrestle until the breaking of the day (see Gen. 32:24). Jacob said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." We read, however, in John 1:18 that "no one hath seen God at any time." We read in I Timothy 6:16 that God dwelleth "in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see."
If we want an answer to the questions above, we can only take the New Testament statement which is spoken of Isaiah, and his vision of the Lord.
"These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory and spake of him" (John 12:41).
It was the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ which appeared unto Isaiah.
It was the Lord Jesus Christ who appeared to the saints of old.
It is true beyond controversy that while no one hath seen God at any time, yet the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.
From the very beginning Jesus Christ was the Word, and He was with God, and He was God. It was He who veiled His glory and manifested Himself as "the Angel of the Lord" unto the saints of old.
The burden of this message will be the proof of the claim that Jesus Christ, the One in whom the Gentiles trust, is the God of whom Isaiah prophesied and wrote.
If the Jew will study these prophecies of Isaiah, in the light of the New Testament Scriptures, he must be convinced.
The question of the high priest, "Art Thou the Son of God?" is still the great question which faces Israel. The orthodox Jews will concede that the Messiah must come; it is necessary for Gentile Christians to prove to the Jew that his Christ is that Messiah.
"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away front off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (Isa. 25:8).
It is exceeding difficult for the Jew, who from his earliest years, has been prejudiced against the Deity of Jesus Christ to concede that the One born in Bethlehem, reared in Nazareth, crucified in Jerusalem, raised and exalted to the right hand of God the Father, is the God of whom Isaiah writes.
Israel's mind has long been darkened. She has spiritualized her Prophets, and thus blinded herself to the testimony of her own inspired writings.
We aver that the God of the Gentiles is the God of the Jews—one Lord. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jehovah of the New—one God.
In all of this we do not deny the Trinity, we believe in God the Father, in God the Son, and in God the Holy Ghost; three persons, one God. What we insist is, that Jesus Christ is one with the Father in essential Deity; that the Old Testament Scriptures, therefore frequently speak of Jesus Christ the Son, as very God. In the chapters from Isaiah which we are to consider, we have given abundant proof of this. We have however, in them, only touched the hem of the garment. There are many other passages in Isaiah and in the Old Testament which refer to Jesus Christ as God, in words that are indisputable and incontrovertible.
We wish, by way of introduction, to sum up just a few of the Scriptures in Isaiah to which we have referred:
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (God with us) (Isa. 7:14).
In this Scripture Christ is called God.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: * * his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6).
Here Christ is called both God and Father.
There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him" (Isa. 11:1, 2).
Christ is God's anointed One.
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song" (Isa. 12:2).
The New Testament proclaims Christ as Saviour, making Him God.
"The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion" (Isa. 24:23).
These words refer to Christ in Matt. 24:29, 30.
"O Lord, thou art my God; * * I will praise thy name; * * He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces" (Isa. 25:1, 8).
These words refer to Christ in II Tim. 1:10 and I Cor. 15:57.
"For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us" (Isa. 33:22).
Every word spoken here about the Lord, is true of the Lord Jesus Christ; the New Testament tells us that God hath delivered all judgment to the Son; He is our lawgiver, He will be king, He will save His people Israel.
"For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isa. 54:5).
Jesus Christ is both Maker, and Kinsman-Redeemer; He shall be called the God of the whole earth, for the Father says unto Him: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever."
"And nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee" (Isa. 55:5).
This prophecy foretells the time of Israel's glory when the Lord Jesus shall be her God, the Holy One of Israel.
"Thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob" (Isa. 60:16).
This passage refers again to the millennial glory of Israel, when Jesus Christ is her God.
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God" (Isa. 40:3).
1. Isaiah announces the first coming of Christ through His forerunner, John the Baptist. In Matt. 3:3, we find the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy:
"For this is he that was spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" (1911 Bible).
These words, beyond question, look forward to Jesus Christ, and yet Isaiah, the Hebrew Prophet, spoke of this One as "our God."
2. Isaiah announces the Second Coming of the same Lord, in verse 5: "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
In Matthew 24:30, we read: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory." See Rev. 1:7.
The Lord of Isaiah, is the Son of Man of Matthew, and the glory of the one, is the glory of the other.
3. Isaiah announces the reign of the Lord God. "Behold, the Lord God will come with great might (1911 Bible), and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd" (Isa. 40:10, 11).
Unto Israel, Isaiah cried: "Behold your God," and then he gave the passage just quoted.
In the New Testament we find that Jesus Christ is to descend from Heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel (see I Thess. 4:16); He is to come and His rewards will be with Him (see Rev. 22:12); He is to descend as the Chief Shepherd of His sheep (see I Peter 5:4).
The identity between the God of Isaiah and His reign, and the Christ of the New Testament is complete.
4. Isaiah announces that the everlasting God, the Lord, will renew His people with strength: "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; * * they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa. 40:28-31).
The Lord Jesus Christ fulfils every word spoken above of Israel's God.
In Colossians 1:15, we read of Christ:
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, * * all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."
In Ephesians 3:19 we read,
"The love of Christ which passeth knowledge."
Surely there is no searching out of Jesus Christ.
That this same Christ, the God of Israel, will renew the strength of His people is everywhere taught in the New Testament. It was to Israel that Christ extended His hands, saying: "Come unto Me, * * and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
"For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour" (Isa. 43:3).
1. Isaiah's first statement as seen in our key text is that Israel's God is a Holy God. This is true of the Christ of the Gentiles.
Consider these words: "Ye denied the Holy One and the Just" (Acts 3:14). The Lord Jesus knew no sin, He was the Lamb without spot and without blemish (see I Peter 1:19).
2. Isaiah's second statement is that Israel's God was her Saviour. In verses 11-13, we read: "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour, I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am He."
We may assure our hearts of one thing, that there is no Saviour but One, and that is God. This Isaiah certifies.
We may assure our hearts, according to Isaiah 42:8 that God has said: "I am the Lord; that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another."
Let us ask ourselves, therefore, Is the Lord Jesus Christ in whom the Gentiles trust, the same as the Lord God of Israel?
Their God is a Saviour; is Jesus Christ not a Saviour?
"Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). This was the announcement of Gabriel to Mary. Did God give His glory to another? Impossible! Therefore the Saviour of Matthew 1:21 is the same as the Saviour of Isaiah 43:3.
Hear the words of Zacharias, as the Holy Spirit speaks through him: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation" (Luke 1:68, 69).
What was the message of the angels to the shepherds concerning the birth of Christ?
"Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
Israel's God was her Saviour, and Isaiah proclaimed there was no other Saviour, and that He would not give His glory to another, and yet Israel's God sent His angel to Mary, and His angel to the shepherds proclaiming that Jesus Christ, Mary's Babe, was Saviour.
No wonder that a multitude of the Heavenly host gave glory to God.
One other thing we must notice: Isaiah said, "I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: * * before Me there was no God * * beside Me there is no Saviour." Peter said, upon the occasion of the healing of the lame man, "There is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Do the Gentiles have one Saviour, and the Jews another? Impossible—the Bible is one Book, the Saviour of the Jew is the Saviour of the Gentile: therefore the conclusion is certain, the Christ of the New Testament is the Lord God of Isaiah's prophecy.
3. Isaiah's third statement is that Christ is God: "Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am He; * * I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King" (Isa. 43:12, 13, 15).
Every word spoken above is spoken of the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
"In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9).
Jesus Christ continually used the expression, "I am He," or "I am." He said: "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58).
That the Lord Jesus Christ is King, we know.
When the Pharisees rebuked the disciples for pronouncing Him their King, He said, "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out" (Luke 19:40).
When He comes again to the inhabited earth, He will come as King of kings, and Lord of lords (see Rev. 19:16).
Oh, that Israel might now receive Him!
"Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and His Redeemer the Lord of Hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God" (Isa. 44:6).
In his forty-fourth chapter, Isaiah ascribes five things to Israel's God, and he is positive in saying that there is no God besides Him, no Rock.
1. Israel's God is a King. We mentioned this a moment ago, we stress it more just now. When Jesus Christ was born, the wise man made inquiry, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?"
Jesus Christ was heralded by John the Baptist as King, for John said: "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
Jesus Christ was presented and rejected as King, when He wept over the city of Jerusalem (see Luke 19).
Jesus Christ was crucified as King. They put up over His head His accusation written, "King of the Jews."
Jesus Christ, after His resurrection was questioned concerning His Kingdom, "Wilt Thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6).
Jesus Christ will return as King (see Rev. 19:16).
When David saw Christ crucified, he knew that God must raise Him up, because God had given Him promise that of the fruit of his loins, One should sit upon His throne (�