Lesson 4: Isaiah based verse sets that demonstrate the deity of Christ
Welcome to Lesson 4 of A Zero Fluff Bible Study on the deity of Christ. In case you missed them, links to the Introduction and earlier lessons are above.
This lesson is a continuation of the second category of verses in this study. The second category contains verses sets that demonstrate the deity of Christ. As explained in the previous lesson, verse sets are made up of two or more verses that, when read in light of each other, give evidence that Jesus is God. This lesson contains three verse sets that happen to be some of my favorites. They all pair verses from the book of Isaiah with verses in the New Testament. The book of Isaiah has a lot to say about Jesus! Please take a moment to pray, get your Bible, and then let’s begin.
Our first set pairs Isaiah 6:1-10 and John 12:41. For this set, we are going to start with the New Testament verse first. In John 12:41, John writes something quite remarkable. He says that the prophet Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and spoke of Him!
“These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.” (John 12:41)
This is fascinating because Isaiah lived approximately 700 years before Jesus was born! How could Isaiah have seen His glory? What is John talking about?
John is actually referring to an event that is recorded in Isaiah 6. We know this because John gives us a marker by referencing Isaiah 6:10 one verse earlier in John 12:40. Please take a moment to compare these two verses, so that you can see that John had Isaiah 6 in mind.
“HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” (John 12:40) (SMALL CAPS is how the NASB indicates that the text is quoting or clearly alluding to an Old Testament passage.)
“Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:10)
In order to understand what John meant when he wrote that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory, we can go to the marker (Isaiah 6:10) that he gave us. We will want to read this verse in context. Please take a moment and read Isaiah 6. When we turn there, we find it is indeed a record of Isaiah seeing someone’s glory! Whom did he see? Let’s look:
“In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)
Isaiah 6 starts with Isaiah stating that he saw the Lord! Isaiah goes on to describe the presence of seraphim and the temple filling with smoke. What an awesome scene! Isaiah was undone by what he saw and said as much in Isaiah 6:5:
“Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)
In response to Isaiah’s distress, a seraph touched his lips with coal from the altar and declared “…your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” (Isaiah 6:6-7) How comforting this mercy must have been! After this, a conversation ensued between the Lord and Isaiah and continued to verse 13 which is the end of the chapter. During that conversation, in Isaiah 6:10, we see the words that are referenced in John 12:40. The vision of God and the words that were spoken in this context tells us that THIS is what John was talking about when he wrote: “These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.” (John 12:41)
Isaiah had an awesome vision and saw the glory of God, and John connected that event with Jesus! And even though Isaiah referred to God as “the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5), that did not prohibit John from making that connection. Do you remember from the previous lesson in this study that LORD (in SMALL CAPS) in the NASB and other Bibles is an indicator that in the Hebrew, God’s name Yahweh is there? John is boldly declaring that Jesus is Yahweh by apply this vision to Him! John is saying (again) that Jesus is God! Please meditate on the fact that our Lord Jesus is so awesome. These things can quickly stir a regenerated heart to worship!
This next set is definitely one of my favorites. It has to do with something God called Himself. He referred to Himself as “the first and the last”. This self-declared, revealing, divine designation occurs… you guessed it… in the book of Isaiah.
“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. (Isaiah 44:6)
See also: Isaiah 41:4, Isaiah 48:12
Some consider “the first and the last” as a divine title of God. Some call it a divine name of God. Either way, surely it is filled with more meaning than our finite minds can comprehend. To my heart, it speaks of a fullness that only exists with God. It makes me think of His eternal existence and His superiority or dominion over all. He is before everything and has authority over everything.
Being “the first and the last” are shoes no created being could ever fill! So we must deal carefully and respectfully with the knowledge that Jesus used this exact designation for Himself. It’s true. He did! Three times! They are recorded in the book of Revelation. And since it is something that the LORD (Yahweh) used for Himself, it would be high blasphemy for Jesus to use it for Himself if He was not God. But, He is God; and this is just one more way this can be seen. Jesus straightforwardly declares it by calling Himself the same thing the LORD (Yahweh) did. This should drive you to your knees (if not literally, at least in your heart) if you have eyes to see. Here are the verses in which Jesus uses “the first and the last”.
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:12-13)
See also: Revelation 2:8
What a gift we have in this verse set! The books of Isaiah and Revelation are a great distance apart in time, yet these inspired verses that they contain bring together the truth that Jesus is God, to the glory of God! How much instruction there is for our faith here and how much joy for our hearts! Before we leave this set, I have to show you one more thing.
In Revelation 22:13, please notice that Jesus also referred to Himself as the Alpha and Omega. Revelation 1:8 tells us that the Alpha and the Omega is the Lord God, the Almighty!
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:7-8)
Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. He is the first and the last. He is the beginning and the end. He is God! To Him be the glory. Amen!
Speaking of being on your knees, our next set of verses happens to be about that very thing. I do not think anyone would be surprised to find verses in the Bible that speak about all of mankind on their knees before God. We find one such verse in our book of the day: Isaiah. The verse is in Isaiah 45. Please read this special chapter in full to help grasp the awesomeness of what you are about to read below. I surely cannot do it justice.
Isaiah 45 starts with God speaking of His plan of using Cyrus, the King of Babylon, for the sake of the Jews and so that men will know that He alone is the sovereign God. (Isaiah 45: 1 – 7). Then, starting in Isaiah 45:5 and continuing through to Isaiah 45:22, God declares an important truth over and over. In various but similar ways He says that there is no other God besides Him. He does this ten times. Ten times! Whenever God speaks we must listen. When He repeats Himself over and over in such a short span of text, we must be sure He is stressing something important with good reason. It must be something He does not want us to miss! Interestingly, this is not the only thing He is repetitive about in this chapter. He also refers to Himself by His holy name Yahweh eight times. In addition to this, His name is used eight other times in various ways. That’s sixteen occurrence of Yahweh in this one chapter! Along with these things, God also mentions that He is the Creator three times. All of this makes it abundantly clear that the one who is speaking is indeed the one and only, Sovereign, Creator God, Yahweh.
We must now look at the main reason for our attention to this chapter. That would be Isaiah 45:23. Here God states something that makes perfect sense. After being clear about the fact that He is completely unique as God He says:
“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 45:23)
“Every knee will bow” and “every tongue will swear”. These things will happen. God has sworn it. Like it or not, want them or not, they will happen. One way or another, all mankind will acknowledge God as God. Truly, how could things go any other way? God will be worshipped by all. A New Testament verse in Paul’s letter to the Romans references Isaiah 45:23 and sheds more light on this future for all mankind. The context is judgement.
“But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” (Romans 14:10-11)
I pray that you have already bent the knee before God. He is Creator, Judge, and Savior! May He give you eyes to see!
Our New Testament counterpart for this verse set appears in another of Paul’s letters. It is another verse that references Isaiah 45:23 and is in Philippians 2. We visited Philippians 2 earlier in Lesson 2 of this series when we looked at verses there that speak about Jesus’ incarnation. As mentioned back then, this chapter also contains a powerful call to selflessness and humility. Jesus is rightly given as our example. Philippians 2:3-8 mentions His emptying of Himself, His “being made in the likeness of men”, His humility, and His obedience to the point of death. We are told that because of this “… God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,” (Philippians 2:9) To what end? Paul tells us in the following awesome verses:
“so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
“Every knee will bow”. “Every tongue will confess”. Sound familiar? In Isaiah 45:23, we were told… actually God swore by Himself “That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” These things would happen to Him. Certainly, no one else would deserve them!
But Philippians 2:10 says “at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW”. Paul has not lost his mind here, nor is he committing some horrific blasphemy. He is not inappropriately honoring Jesus by showing this connection to Isaiah 45:23. We can know that these things are not possible because Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The inspired words written at Isaiah 45:23 come home here in the words in Philippians 2:10-11, all to the glory of God. They testify to the deity of Christ. The full human acknowledgement of God as God predicted in the book of Isaiah relates to… Jesus! All will worship Him! All will bow at His name because He is Yahweh!
Jesus is Yahweh
The verse sets above have touched on the truth that Jesus is Yahweh by showing connections between verses about Jesus in the New Testament and verses about Yahweh in the Old Testament. Context and similar wording helped us make the connections.
While these connections are awesome evidence for the deity of Christ, there are some extra special verses in the New Testament that connect Jesus with Yahweh even more directly. These New Testament verses directly apply references from the Old Testament about Yahweh to Jesus! The Old Testament verses that they reference actually contain God’s name themselves, so we do not need to look at broader context to find it. It’s this direct verse-to-verse matchup that makes them so special. Matthew 3:1-3 and Romans 10:13 are great examples of this. (Hebrews 1:10-12 also connects Jesus to Yahweh; though the Old Testament verses that they refer back to, do need to be read in their wider context to see God’s name.) I encourage you to look up these verses and see if you can find their Old Testament counterparts that contain God’s name. Remember that you will likely not see the word Yahweh in the verses. Look for LORD or read the forward of your Bible to see how it represents God’s name in English.
Certainly, “Lord” is an important title of great significance for Jesus. And the way it is used for Yahweh in the New Testament shows us even more how important it is. Is it any wonder then that when every knee bows at the name of Jesus, that every tongue will be confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord? (Philippians 2:11b) Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Yahweh. Jesus is God!
Next week we will be moving on to verse sets involving the books of Psalms and Zechariah. Be sure not to miss them! Please subscribe to be notified of new posts by email or follow Chapter 3 Ministries on Facebook or Twitter.
Update: Lesson 5 is up! A Zero Fluff Bible Study on the Deity of Christ: Lesson 5