The Name of God
The best way to approach the issue about Jesus not claiming to be God is by going back to the pages of the Old Testament or more populary known as the TORAH. How does the GOD of the TORAH calls himself ?
“…And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'” EXODUS 3:14
Surprised? Hope not. If you are indeed a keen reader of the scriptures, you should be able to notice that the GOD of TORAH asked Moses, the Great Prophet, to call as I AM. What’s the importance of this? Simple. The GOD of TORAH reveals Himself to His people using His name which is I AM.
Now, going back to the new testament, did Jesus referred to Himself using the same name that the GOD of TORAH uses?
What does John 8:58-59 says about the name Jesus revealed to the people? It says
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
The above scriptural passage puts into rest the argument on whether Jesus called Himself as God. Discussion finished for that argument.
Jesus as a Man
The Iglesia ni Cristo has the following explanation posted on their blog.
But we do not subscribe to the belief that Christ is God-Man. He is man in nature according to His own testimony (John 8:40) and the teachings of His Apostles (I Timothy 2:5; Matthew 1:18).
Let us try to examine John 8:40, 1Timothy 2:5 and Matthew 1:18
In John 8:40, we find the following :
“But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.”
The Iglesia ni Cristo makes use of the above verse to try and prove that even Jesus refers to himself as just a man. But this reasoning is far from what the whole paragraph would want us to know.
If you are going to read further on that Chapter, John continued with the following narratives
“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?”
Jesus is actually not asserting that He is a man but rather He is stating an irony about the stubborness of the unbelievers during that period. He even said “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. Now, if you would take it literally just like what the Iglesia ni Cristo are trying to insist, then you should consider man as the children of the devil and not that of God, right? But then again, do remember that Jesus in His time uses parables and parodies in His teachings. The above verses happens to be a part of this complicated parodies.
If you are going to refer to verse 47 of the same chapter written by John, you would find that Jesus considers Himself as God.
“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
Jesus made use of the above statement to highlight who listens to whom. He specifically mentioned that the people at that time are not of God. Why? Because they don’t listen to what He is saying. Now, how does Jesus describe the one who is teaching?
“He that is of God heareth God’s words…”
The people failed to hear God’s words because they are not of God and who at that specific time is the one teaching and saying the words? It was Him.
You can do the math yourself.
[to be continued……..]