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How Is God Revealed in the Bible?

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“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15 Ephesians 3:14-15 14 For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
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).

Most people have their own distinctive opinions of a Supreme Being. But where do these impressions come from? Many are simply reflections of how people perceive God—based on what they’ve heard from others and their own reasoning. As a consequence the word God has come to embody a range of meanings, many of them quite foreign to the Bible.

So which meaning is the true one? How does the Creator reveal Himself to man?

God reveals Himself in His Word, the Bible (for proof of its authenticity, download or request our free booklet Is the Bible True? ). The Bible is a book about God and His relationship with human beings. The Scriptures contain a long history of God’s revelation of Himself to man—from the first man Adam to the prophet and lawgiver Moses down through the apostles of Jesus Christ and the early Church.

In contrast to many human assumptions, the Bible communicates a true picture of God. This remarkable book reveals what He is like, what He has done and what He expects of us. It tells us why we are here and reveals His little-understood plan for His creation. This handbook of basic knowledge is fundamentally different from any other source of information. It is genuinely unique because it contains, in many ways, the very signature of the Almighty.

The Creator tells us in His Word, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand . . .’” (Isaiah 46:9-10 Isaiah 46:9-10 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
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). He tells us that He alone not only foretells the future but can bring it to pass. What a powerful testimony to the mighty God of the Bible!

But, great as He is, God is not unapproachable. He is not beyond our reach. We can come to know our magnificent Creator!

The real key to understanding God

Inspired by God Himself, the Bible gives us the master key to knowing Him: “Scripture speaks of ‘things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing, things beyond our imagining, all prepared by God for those who love him’; and these are what God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit explores everything, even the depths of God’s own nature” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. 10 But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
American King James Version×
, Revised English Bible, emphasis added throughout).

We need to know—from inspired Scripture itself—who God is and how He relates to and reveals Himself to us. Is God one person, two or three? What did Jesus reveal to us about the nature of God when He continually referred to a Being He called “the Father”? The answers will become evident as we examine what the Scriptures actually tell us.

The first major point we need to understand is that, as stated earlier, God reveals Himself through His Word. The Creator wants men and women to understand Him as He reveals Himself in the Holy Scriptures. It’s important that we carefully consider this truth and not read our own ideas—or misconceptions—into His Word.

In the Bible’s first book we find a vital point regarding God’s nature. Genesis 1 records many creative acts of God before He made mankind. But notice in Genesis 1:26 Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
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: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’”

Nowhere in the previous verses of Genesis did God use this phrase, “Let Us .   .   .” Why does Genesis now use this plural expression? Why have Bible translators down through the centuries understood that the plural was necessary in this verse?

Who is the Us mentioned here, and why is the plural Our also used twice in this sentence? Throughout the first chapter of Genesis the Hebrew word translated “God” is Elohim, a plural noun denoting more than one entity. Why did our Creator purposefully use these plural expressions? Is God more than one person? Who and what is He? Does this prove that God is a Trinity, as many assume, or is it teaching us something else? How can we understand?

We must let the Bible interpret the Bible

One of the most fundamental principles to keep in mind regarding proper understanding of God’s Word is simply this: The Bible interprets the Bible. We often must look elsewhere in the Scriptures to see more light regarding the meaning of a particular passage. The New Testament sheds much light on the Old, and vice versa.

We can understand Genesis 1:26 Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
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much better in the light of some of the writings of the apostle John. He begins his Gospel by stating: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3 John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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).

If you are with someone, then you are other than and distinct from that person. The actual Greek here says the One called the Word was with “the God,” while the Word Himself was also “God.” It does not say that the Word was “the God,” for They are not the same entity. Rather, John clearly describes two divine Beings in this passage—One called the God and another referred to as God the Word, who was with Him.

In one sense we could refer to John 1:1 John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
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as the real beginning of the Bible. It describes the nature of God as Creator even before the beginning depicted in Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
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. As The New Bible Commentary: Revised states, “John’s distinctive contribution is to show that before the Creation the Word existed” (1970, p. 930).

Consider carefully the context of this crucial chapter of John. John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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explains exactly whom this Word actually became: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Word was conceived in the flesh as a physical human being— Jesus Christ. Although fully human, He perfectly reflected God’s divine character. As Hebrews 1:3 Hebrews 1:3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
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describes it, Jesus was the “exact representation of [the Father’s] nature” (Holman Christian Standard Bible). (To learn more about Christ’s role as the Word of God, see “In the Beginning Was the Word”

Jesus Christ—”the Word of life”

Here, then, we have two great personages, two uncreated, eternal Beings—the God, or God the Father, and the Word, who became Jesus Christ, both divine—presiding over the creation. As the late British theologian F.F. Bruce commented on the opening passages of the Gospel of John: “The Personal Word is uncreated, not only enjoying the divine companionship, but sharing the divine essence” ( The Message of the New Testament, 1972, p. 105). This Word was and is God along with the Father.

Later, in his first epistle, John adds to our understanding: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched— this we proclaim concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1 1 John 1:1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
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, New International Version). Here that same “Word” (Jesus Christ) of John’s Gospel account is called “the Word of life.”

It’s easy to overlook the importance of this crucial verse and read right over its enormous significance. The One who became Jesus Christ, declared to be on the same plane of existence as God the Father, was born as a human being and perceived by and through the physical senses of human beings—particularly of His early inner core of disciples, including the one who wrote these words, John. These men became Christ’s apostles —His emissaries—and were special witnesses of His resurrection.

John wrote that the Word, who was with God from the beginning, lived among them in the human flesh. Because He was born a physical human being, the disciples actually saw, touched, conversed with and listened to One who was, as will become increasingly clear, a member of the divine family.

John continues, “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us” (1 John 1:2 1 John 1:2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us;)
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, NIV). “The Word of life” in 1 John 1:1 1 John 1:1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
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is called “the eternal life” in 1 John 1:2 1 John 1:2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us;)
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.

John goes on to say: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3 1 John 1:3That which we have seen and heard declare we to you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
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, NIV). The Holy Scriptures reveal that God the Father and Jesus Christ form a divine family (we’ll discuss this biblical truth in greater detail in following chapters) .

They have a distinct and loving family relationship. Addressing the Father, Jesus said, “You loved me before the world began” (John 17:24 John 17:24Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world.
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, REB). He refers here not to our limited human love but to the divine love of the heavenly realm.

Jesus Christ was the Creator!

Not only did the apostle John write the fourth Gospel account and three epistles preserved in the New Testament, but he also penned the book of Revelation. It was here, in the message to the seven churches of Revelation, that Jesus identified Himself as the One who produced God’s creation: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation” (Revelation 3:14 Revelation 3:14And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
American King James Version×
, REB).

It should be noted that since the word rendered “source” can be translated “beginning,” some take that to mean Jesus was the first creation. But the sense here is that He was the beginner or origin of creation, a fact John 1 and other passages make clear.

Yes, Jesus not only died for our sins so we could be reconciled to the Father, but He is our Creator. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:9 Ephesians 3:9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
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that “God . . . created all things through Jesus Christ.” As the Creator of all things, Jesus Christ alone could pay the penalty for all sin for all mankind for all time—which is why Peter in Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
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tells us, “there is no salvation through anyone else; in all the world no other name has been granted to mankind by which we can be saved” (REB).

In Colossians 1:16 Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
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Paul further writes: “For by Him [Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”

This passage is all-encompassing. Jesus created “all things . . . that are in heaven”—the entire angelic kingdom, which includes an innumerable number of angels—and the indescribably vast universe, including planet earth. Many people do not grasp the clear biblical fact that Jesus Christ is our Creator!

The book of Hebrews affirms this wonderful truth as well, stating that God the Father “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2 Hebrews 1:2Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
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). The abundant witness of the New Testament Scriptures shows that God the Father created everything through the Word—the One who later became Jesus Christ. Thus, both divine Beings were intimately involved in the creation.

The book of Hebrews presents Christ as the Being through whom the Father brought the world of space and time into existence, and who “sustain[s] all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3 Hebrews 1:3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
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, NRSV). Scripture, therefore, reveals that Jesus not only created the universe, but He also sustains it. He is clearly far greater than most have imagined!

Psalms and the divine family relationship

Key passages in the Psalms contain the sure testimony of God the Father concerning His Son, Jesus of Nazareth. In them we find that the Father testified in advance of the Word’s awesome future role.

The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 2: “For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten you’? And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son’?” (Hebrews 1:5 Hebrews 1:5For to which of the angels said he at any time, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
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; compare Psalms 2:7 Psalms 2:7I will declare the decree: the LORD has said to me, You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
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; 1 Chronicles 17:13 1 Chronicles 17:13I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before you:
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). This was the prophetic destiny of the Word.

Psalms 45:6 Psalms 45:6Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of your kingdom is a right scepter.
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also shows the Father testifying about the Son, as Hebrews 1:8 Hebrews 1:8But to the Son he said, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom.
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explains in quoting it: “But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.’”

Many who have read this chapter of Hebrews read right over this verse, failing to grasp its enormous import. The Father called His Son, Jesus Christ, God. Christ is not only the Son of God. He is God! He is a member of the family of God. The Scriptures reveal God in terms of a family relationship— God the Father and Jesus the Son are together the God family!

We earlier saw from John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
American King James Version×
that the Word, Jesus Christ, “became flesh and dwelt among us . . . as of the only begotten of the Father.” The Greek word monogenees, translated “only begotten” in this verse and John 1:18 John 1:18No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
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, confirms the family relationship between God the Father and the One who became Jesus Christ.

Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, author of several books on the Greek language as used in the Bible, explains: “The word monogenees actually is a compound of the word monos, ‘alone,’ and the word genos, ‘race, stock, family.’ Here we are told that He who came to reveal God—Jesus Christ— is of the same family, of the same stock, of the same race as God .   .   . There is ample evidence in the Scriptures that the Godhead is a family .   .   .” ( Was Christ God? A Defense of the Deity of Christ, 1998, p. 21, emphasis added).

Jesus Christ’s existence before Abraham

Several other passages in John’s Gospel reveal significant details that help us understand even more fully who and what Jesus Christ was before His incarnation—His conception in flesh as a human being.

Consider an account later in chapter 1: “The next day John [the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward Him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me” ’” (John 1:29-30 John 1:29-30 29 The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me comes a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
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; compare John 1:15 John 1:15John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
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).

John the Baptist was born before Jesus (Luke 1:35-36 Luke 1:35-36 35 And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, your cousin Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
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, Luke 1:57-60 Luke 1:57-60 57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had showed great mercy on her; and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
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) and began his ministry before Christ began His. Yet John still said of Jesus, “He was before me.” Why? Considering the whole of John 1, the reason for John’s words must be that he understood that Jesus was the preexistent Word prior to His human birth (John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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).

In dealing with accusations from the Pharisees in John 8, Jesus said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from [beside the Father in heaven] and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going” (John 8:14 John 8:14Jesus answered and said to them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know from where I came, and where I go; but you cannot tell from where I come, and where I go.
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).

Later the apostle Paul commented on their lack of understanding, “The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, or understand the words of the prophets which are read Sabbath by Sabbath; indeed, they fulfilled them by condemning him” (Acts 13:27 Acts 13:27For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
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, REB).

Just as in the first century, relatively few people today truly comprehend who Jesus was, where He came from, what He is doing and what He will yet do.

Later in John 8, the Jews gathered around Jesus asked Him, “Who do You make Yourself out to be?” (John 8:53 John 8:53Are you greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom make you yourself?
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). They simply had no idea of the real identity of the One with whom they were speaking. It is the same today. Few people really understand the true origins of Jesus Christ.

He patiently explained, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56 John 8:56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
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). But how was this possible? The patriarch Abraham lived around 2,000 years before Jesus’ birth. So those who heard Him challenged, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” (John 8:57 John 8:57Then said the Jews to him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?
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). To this question Jesus gave a stunning response: “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM (verse 58).

We should pause for a moment to digest what Jesus said.

He was declaring that His existence preceded that of Abraham. Moreover, the phrase “I AM” was a well-known title of divinity to the Jews. This goes back to Moses’ first encounter with God at the burning bush more than 14 centuries earlier.

A crucial encounter with Moses

When God on that occasion told Moses he was sending him to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, Moses was concerned about how the Israelites would receive him and the commission God gave him. So he asked God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name? What shall I say to them?’” (Exodus 3:13 Exodus 3:13And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them?
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).

Observe the Creator’s reply: “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (Exodus 3:14 Exodus 3:14And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
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).

Note also the next verse: “Moreover God said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations” ’” (Exodus 3:15 Exodus 3:15And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations.
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).

As is common in most English translations throughout the Old Testament, the word “Lord” here with capital letters is substituted for the Hebrew consonants Y-H-W-H (commonly known as the Tetragrammaton, meaning “four letters”). No one today knows for certain how to pronounce this name, but the most commonly accepted pronunciation now is Yahweh. (A common, though erroneous, earlier rendering was Jehovah .)

Exodus 6:3 Exodus 6:3And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
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and Exodus 15:3 Exodus 15:3The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
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and Numbers 6:22-27 Numbers 6:22-27 22 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, On this wise you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them, 24 The LORD bless you, and keep you: 25 The LORD make his face shine on you, and be gracious to you: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance on you, and give you peace. 27 And they shall put my name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.
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refer to Yhwh also being God’s name. The name Yhwh is very similar in meaning to “I AM” (Hebrew Ehyh or Eheyeh ). Both imply eternal, self-inherent existence (compare John 5:26 John 5:26For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;
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). Although impossible to translate accurately and directly into English, Yhwh conveys meanings of “the One Who Always Exists” or “the Self-Existent One”—both meaning an uncreated Being, “the Eternal One.” This distinction can apply only to God, whose existence is eternal and everlasting. No one made God.

Given this background, therefore, when Jesus said in John 8:58 John 8:58Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.
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that He preceded Abraham and referred to Himself with continuous existence using the term “I AM,” there really should be no doubt as to just what He meant. The Jews realized what He meant, which is why they immediately tried to stone Him to death (John 8:59 John 8:59Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the middle of them, and so passed by.
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). Jesus was saying that He was the very God of Israel.

To the Jews, there was no mistaking whom Jesus claimed to be. He said He was the One the nation of Israel understood to be the one true God. By making claim to the name “I AM,” Jesus was saying that He was the God whom the Hebrews knew as Yhwh. This name was considered so holy that a devout Jew would not pronounce it. This was a special name for God that can refer only to the one true God.

Dr. Norman Geisler, in his book Christian Apologetics, concludes: “In view of the fact that the Jehovah of the Jewish Old Testament would not give his name, honor, or glory to another [Isaiah 42:8 Isaiah 42:8I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
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], it is little wonder that the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth drew stones and cries of ‘blasphemy’ from first-century Jews. The very things that the Jehovah of the Old Testament claimed for himself Jesus of Nazareth also claimed” (2002, p. 331).

Who was the God of the Old Testament?

As the great “I AM,” Jesus Christ was the guiding Rock who was with the children of Israel in the wilderness when they left Egypt (see Deuteronomy 32:4 Deuteronomy 32:4He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
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). Paul wrote: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed [accompanied] them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 1 Moreover, brothers, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
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).

The “I AM“of the Old Testament is further described as abounding in “goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6 Exodus 34:6And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
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). Similarly, the New Testament tells us that Jesus was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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). Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
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).

There are, it should be noted, places in the Old Testament where Yhwh clearly refers to God the Father. For instance, in Psalms 110:1 Psalms 110:1The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.
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, King David stated, “The Lord [ Yhwh ] said to My Lord . . .” Yhwh here is the Father speaking to David’s Lord, the One who became Jesus Christ. Often, however, the name Yhwh refers to the One who became Christ—and sometimes it applies to both the Father and Christ together, just as the name God often does.

Consider that except for Jesus, no human being has ever seen the Father (John 1:18 John 1:18No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
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; John 5:37 John 5:37And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
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; John 6:46 John 6:46Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father.
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; 1 John 4:12 1 John 4:12No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.
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). Yet Abraham, Jacob, Moses and others all saw God (Genesis 18:1-33 Genesis 18:1-33 1 And the LORD appeared to him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, see, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My LORD, if now I have found favor in your sight, pass not away, I pray you, from your servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort you your hearts; after that you shall pass on: for therefore are you come to your servant. And they said, So do, as you have said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes on the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man; and he hurried to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9 And they said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return to you according to the time of life; and, see, Sarah your wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the LORD said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, No; but you did laugh. 16 And the men rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him. 20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come to me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Will you also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: will you also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from you: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken on me to speak to the LORD, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: will you destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spoke to him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. 30 And he said to him, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken on me to speak to the LORD: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. 33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place.
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; Genesis 32:30 Genesis 32:30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
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; Exodus 24:9-11 Exodus 24:9-11 9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: 10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. 11 And on the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
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; Exodus 33:17-23 Exodus 33:17-23 17 And the LORD said to Moses, I will do this thing also that you have spoken: for you have found grace in my sight, and I know you by name. 18 And he said, I beseech you, show me your glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 And he said, You can not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
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). So the Yhwh , the “I AM,” the Word, who later became Jesus Christ was the One they saw. It was He who dealt directly with human beings as God in Old Testament times.

Jesus Christ later died for our sins and became the ultimate mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5 1 Timothy 2:5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
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), a role He had already partially fulfilled as the preexistent Word before His human birth.

So the Word was indeed the God of the Old Testament—and yet the Father fulfilled this role in a very real sense as well. For Jesus dealt with mankind on the Father’s behalf as His Spokesman (compare John 8:28 John 8:28Then said Jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.
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; John 12:49-50 John 12:49-50 49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to me, so I speak.
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; and again, see “In the Beginning Was the Word”). Moreover, in many passages in the Old Testament it can be difficult to distinguish between these two great personages, whereas the New Testament is usually clear in this respect.

Of course, since Jesus came to reveal the Father (Matthew 11:27 Matthew 11:27All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
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), the logical conclusion is that the Father was not generally known by those in Old Testament times except for a few of the Hebrew patriarchs and prophets. King David, for example, is one who understood.

Quoted in part earlier, Hebrews 1:1-2 Hebrews 1:1-2 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
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states: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.”

In this opening passage of the book of Hebrews the clear implication is that the Father is the moving force behind the whole Old Testament. In context, verse 2 interprets verse 1. Though God the Father is the prime mover behind the Hebrew Bible, it is through Jesus Christ that He created the entire universe.

Also, the vital principle of the Bible interpreting the Bible helps us to understand the intent of Hebrews 1:1 Hebrews 1:1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
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in the light of other scriptures. Just as God made the worlds through the agency of the preexistent Word, Jesus Christ, and created all things by Him (Ephesians 3:9 Ephesians 3:9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
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; Colossians 1:16 Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
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; John 1:3 John 1:3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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), so He has dealt with man through the same agency, Christ the Word.

Jesus—both God and man

Jesus Christ today is the mediator between God the Father and man. But to perfectly fulfill that crucial role He had to have been both God and man. He was truly a man in every sense of that word or we have no salvation from our sins. The apostle Paul calls Him “the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5 1 Timothy 2:5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
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), as does the apostle Peter (Acts 2:22 Acts 2:22You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know:
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).

Paul tells us that we should have the same humble, serving attitude of Jesus Christ, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped [i.e., tightly held on to], but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8 Philippians 2:6-8 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
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, New American Standard Bible).

Jesus’ manhood was full and complete in the sense that He lived a life as a physical human being that ended in death. He became hungry and ate, grew tired and rested, and walked and talked just like any other human being. There was nothing in His physical appearance to distinguish Him from other Jewish men of His time (Isaiah 53:2 Isaiah 53:2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
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).

The essential difference was in the realm of the spiritual. Jesus continually received needed spiritual power from the Father (compare John 5:30 John 5:30I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me.
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; John 14:10 John 14:10Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.
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). In fact, He possessed God’s Spirit from conception, actually being begotten in Mary’s womb through the Holy Spirit. Although tempted like every one of us, Jesus never transgressed God’s law. He never once sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21 2 Corinthians 5:21For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
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; Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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; 1 Peter 2:22 1 Peter 2:22Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
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).

One of the most insidious heresies in the 2,000-year history of Christendom is that Jesus Christ was not really a man—that He was not really tempted to sin. The apostle John condemned this teaching in the strongest terms (1 John 4:3 1 John 4:3And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
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; 2 John 1:7 2 John 1:7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
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).

This heresy began in the first century and it persists even today, continuing to lead people away from the truth of God. We need to recognize that if Jesus had not really been human, then His sacrifice for our sins would be null and void.

The Son of Man and the Son of God

Jesus Christ is called “the Son of Man” more than 80 times in the New Testament. It was the term He most commonly used in referring to Himself.

Christ repeatedly referred to Himself as the Son of Man in connection with His sufferings and sacrificial death for the sins of mankind (Matthew 17:22 Matthew 17:22And while they stayed in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
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; Matthew 26:45 Matthew 26:45Then comes he to his disciples, and said to them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
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; Mark 9:31 Mark 9:31For he taught his disciples, and said to them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
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; Mark 14:41 Mark 14:41And he comes the third time, and said to them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
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). Although of divine origin, He deliberately identified with our human plight—the sorrows and sufferings of the human race. The prophet Isaiah foresaw Him as “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 Isaiah 53:3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
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).

Sympathizing with our human frailties and difficulties, Jesus tells us: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 Matthew 11:28-30 28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
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).

He also called Himself the Son of Man when referring to His role as the future Ruler of humanity in the coming Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:28 Matthew 19:28And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
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). He even used it when He described Himself as “the Lord of the Sabbath,” explaining how the seventh-day Sabbath should be observed with mercy and compassion (Mark 2:27-28 Mark 2:27-28 27 And he said to them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
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; Matthew 12:8 Matthew 12:8For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
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; Luke 6:5 Luke 6:5And he said to them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
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).

Then, when He came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13 Matthew 16:13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
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). They replied by recounting several commonly held but erroneous beliefs about Jesus’ identity. Simon Peter responded by saying, “You are the Christ [the Messiah], the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16 Matthew 16:16And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
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).

Jesus observed that the Father Himself had revealed this wonderful truth to Peter (Matthew 16:17 Matthew 16:17And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.
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). And all of His apostles came to recognize the same truth, which is restated elsewhere in the New Testament (Matthew 14:33 Matthew 14:33Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth you are the Son of God.
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; John 20:31 John 20:31But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name.
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; Romans 1:3-4 Romans 1:3-4 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
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).

Indeed, while Jesus was human in the fullest sense, He was also more than simply human—for He was, in fact, the divine Son of God with all that name implies. Indeed, as we have seen, He was the Creator God come in the flesh. And after His human life was over, He returned to the divine glory He shared with the Father from eternity past (John 17:5 John 17:5And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.
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). (To learn much more about who Jesus was and the events of His life, death and resurrection, be sure to download or request our free booklet Jesus Christ: The Real Story )

We see, then, that there is a plurality in God and that Jesus Christ is God along with the Father. While acknowledging that, the Trinity doctrine is wrong in presenting Them as persons in a single being along with the Holy Spirit.

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