Recently I was fortunate to have a discussion with a Muslim friend of mine regarding the differences in our two religious beliefs. I learned much about Islam through this discussion. While we were talking he asked me, "Who is Jesus Christ?" This is a simple question, but one full of meaning. I prepared a detailed response to this question, which I decided to publish on my web site. This study is intended for those who know little if anything about Jesus Christ and who He is. I begin with an introduction to the Bible, followed by a brief study establishing the authority of the Bible in religious matters today. Next I consider the question, "Who is Jesus Christ", and end the study with a summary.
What is the Bible?
The Bible is one book comprised of 66 different books. It is broken down into two major divisions: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament covers the period of time from the creation of the world to the coming of Jesus Christ. The New Testament covers the period from the birth of Christ to the end of time, the Judgment Day, and eternity. The books of the Bible have been further subdivided into chapters and verses. This makes it easier for the Bible student to find a passage of interest. For example, when you see the reference “John 3:16” you look in the New Testament for the book of John, chapter 3, verse 16.
What makes the Bible unique? Is it like any other book, or is it different than every other book? I’d like for us to look at the unique nature of the Bible, that makes it unlike any other book ever written.
1. It is inspired. The word “inspired” simply means “God-breathed”, and refers to the origin of the Bible. 2 Timothy (New Testament) 3:16-17 tells us of the inspiration of the scriptures. As part of this study I've prepared a detailed study of the word "scripture" and the Greek words from which it is translated.
2. The revelations found within the Bible prove its inspiration.
a. Job (Old Testament) 26:7 tells us that the earth hangs upon nothing. How did Job know this? He must have been told by someone who knew, and the only one who knew was God.
b. Isaiah (Old Testament) 40:22 tells us that the earth is round (“The circle of the earth”). How did Isaiah know this? Again, he must have been told by someone who knew, and the only one who knew was God.
c. Isaiah 7:14 tells us that a virgin would give birth to a son. Matthew (New Testament) 1:18-22 and Luke (New Testament) 1:28-38 tell us of the virgin birth of Jesus. Hundreds (perhaps thousands) of years before the birth of Christ we read of his being born of a virgin.
d. Micah (Old Testament) 5:2 tells us that a very special child would be born in Bethlehem. Matthew 2:1-6 tells us that the birth of Jesus Christ represented the fulfillment of this prophecy.
e. Acts (New Testament) 3:24 tells us that all the prophets from Samuel on foretold of the days of Christ.
These specific prophecies fulfilled to the letter shows us how the Bible is different than any other book ever written. Jesus fulfilled more than 300 Old Testament prophecies. A mathematician once calculated that the likelihood one person would fulfill only 16 Old Testament prophecies by chance was 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!! The likelihood that one person would fulfill, by chance, more than 300 is a number beyond comprehension. The fact that Jesus fulfilled these prophecies tells us that it wasn’t by chance. The Old Testament foretold of His coming.
I have a study on my website entitled, "Why must we use the Bible only?" It addresses the evidences noted above in greater detail.
Who is Jesus Christ?
answer this by looking to the Bible for the answers.
We know from the fulfilled prophecies that the Bible is unlike any
other book. Lets see what it
says about Jesus.
1. Jesus was with God during the creation.
a. John (New Testament) 1:1-2: The “Word” was with God in the beginning.
b. John 1:14: The “Word” was made flesh and dwelt among us.
c. John 1:15: John (a New Testament prophet) bare witness of the Word saying, "This was He of whom I said, "He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me."
d. John 1:29-30: John tells us that the one who was before him was Jesus.
e. Conclusion: The Word is Jesus, Jesus was with God at the creation, therefore Jesus is not an ordinary man. No ordinary man can truthfully claim to have been with God during the creation of all things.
2. Everything was created by Jesus.
a. John 1:3: All things were made by the Word.
b. Hebrews (New Testament) 1:1-2: God made the worlds by Jesus.
c. Genesis (Old Testament) 1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
d. Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 29: “Then God said…” Here we read that God said something and then it happened.
e. Conclusion: All things were made by the Word, the word is Jesus, and He created all things in obedience to the commandment of God. God said, “Let there be light” and Jesus created the light. This is true of all things that were made (John 1:3).
3. Jesus is divine (that is, He has the same characteristics as God the Father)
a. John 1:1: John tells us that the “Word was with God, and the Word was God”. Since the Word was with God, the Word cannot be God the Father (to whom we oftentimes refer as simply “God”). The word “with” tells us that at least 2 individuals are present. However, the Word has the same characteristics as God (“the Word was God”). Therefore we know Jesus is omnipresent (everywhere at the same time), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipotent (all-powerful). These are characteristics of divinity.
4. Jesus is the Son of God
a. Hebrews 1:1-2
b. Luke (New Testament) 1:35
c. Many other verses which confirm this fact.
5. Jesus was obedient to the commandments of God. John 15:10
6. It was God’s purpose that Jesus should suffer.
a. Acts 3:18
b. Matthew 26:36-44: The cup Jesus would shortly drink was the suffering he experienced prior to and during His death. Jesus asked God that, if it were possible, He might not have to go through these things. However, He closed this prayer with the statement, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” He was obedient to the Father’s will when He suffered and died on the cross.
7. God raised Jesus from the dead.
a. Acts 4:10
b. 1 Corinthians (New Testament) 6:14
8. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God.
a. Luke 20:41-43
b. Luke 22:67-69
c. Acts 2:32-36
d. Acts 7:54-56
e. Romans 8:34
9. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus.
a. Matthew 28:18-19
10. There is no name under heaven other than Jesus by which we must be saved. Acts 4:10-12
11. Jesus sent the Helper (also known as the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, or the Comforter), who came only after Jesus departed into Heaven. John 16:7
12. The Spirit of Truth spoke only what Jesus told Him to speak. John 16:13
13. The Holy Spirit revealed the words spoken by Jesus to Holy Apostles and Prophets. Ephesians (New Testament) 3:1-7, specifically verse 5
14. Judas Iscariot was an apostle of Jesus. Matthew 10:2-4
15. Judas betrayed Jesus and hanged himself. Matthew 27:3-5
16. It was prophesied that another man would take Judas’ place as an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
a. Psalm (Old Testament) 109:8
b. Acts 1:16-20 (prophecy in Psalm 109 fulfilled, prophecy referenced in verse 20)
17. The one who would take the place of Judas was a man who had been with Jesus from the time of John’s baptism to the day He was taken up into heaven.
a. Acts 1:21-22
b. Conclusion: Since a true Apostle must have lived during the time of Jesus, there are no true Apostles today. Since there are no true Apostles living today, the Holy Spirit is no longer revealing the Word of God to Apostles.
18. Prophecy is included in a list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (specifically verse 10)
19. Prophecies will end (“fail”) when that which is complete (“perfect”) has come. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10
20. The gifts of the Holy Spirit were given by the laying on of an Apostle’s hands.
a. Acts 8:14-17
b. Conclusion: Since prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit and was given by the laying on of an Apostle’s hands, prophecy ended when the last person to have an Apostle’s hands laid upon them died. Since the last true Apostle died nearly 2000 years ago, prophecy ceased shortly thereafter. Since the Holy Spirit revealed the Word of God only to Apostles and prophets, and all true Apostles and prophets have been dead for several centuries, the Holy Spirit ceased revealing the Word of God to mankind nearly 2000 years ago. Since prophecy was given to reveal the Word of God to mankind, and it would end after that which was complete had come, and prophecy must have ended, then the complete Word of God was given to mankind nearly 2000 years ago.
21. Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Galatians (New Testament) 1:1
22. Paul preached to the Galatian Christians. Galatians 1:11
23. The gospel Paul preached to the Galatians was given to him by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12
24. There were those who were preaching another gospel to the Galatian Christians. Galatians 1:6-7
25. Paul warns the Galatian Christians not to believe any gospel preached to them other than the one they received from Paul. Galatians 1:8-9
26. Paul tells the Galatians that anyone, man or angel, who preaches anything different than the gospel they received from Paul is to be accursed.
a. Galatians 1:8-9
b. Conclusion: Since the Galatian Christians were to believe nothing other than the gospel preached to them by Paul, the entire gospel must have been preached to them. There was no need to add anything to the Word of God they’d already received. Anyone, man or angel, who preached anything other than the gospel preached by the Apostles or prophets (those who have been given the revelation of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit) is to be accursed. If the last living Apostle (John) lived to an extraordinary age, he would have likely died shortly after a.d. 100 (he was a contemporary of Christ, who was crucified and resurrected ~a.d. 33). If John laid his hands upon someone, granting them the gift of prophecy, shortly before his death, this person would have likely died in the late a.d. 100’s (had they lived to an average to above-average age). Therefore, the full revelation of God was complete by a.d. 200 at the latest. (These figures are derived from the reasoning of man, and are not known precisely. They are given to illustrate the latest time prophecy could have continued. Prophecy may well have ended well before this time, but could not have continued much longer.)
I hope this study helps you understand who Jesus Christ is. We know the Bible contains scientifically-proven information which the writer could not have know on his own. This fact confirms the Bible as being the Word of God, since God is the only one who could have known these facts at the time they were written. Since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), everything written in His word must be true. We see in His word that Jesus was with Him during the creation. Everything was created by Jesus in obedience to the Father’s commandment. In obedience to the Father’s commandment Jesus came to the earth as a man, suffered innumerable torments at the hand of man, was crucified by man, and now serves as man’s only hope of salvation. After leaving the earth for Heaven He took His place at the right hand of God, where He sits today. He sent the Holy Spirit, which spoke the words given Him by Jesus. He revealed these words to Holy Apostles and prophets, who then revealed them to us through the written word of God (which we know is the Bible, since it contains information that could only have been known by God). Prophecy was a time-limited gift, and ended when the complete Word of God had been revealed. Since true Apostles cannot be alive today, and prophets received this gift only through the laying on of an Apostle’s hands, the revelation of God’s Word by the Holy Spirit ended 1900-2000 years ago.