Is Jesus the Lord God Almighty?

Originally posted on Facebook December 11, 2017

Hello brothers and sisters in Jesus,

The following op is something I wrote in another forum that is currently pending approval. I am curious to see if it will be approved because it is contrary to the opinion of at least one of the administrators. I am sharing it here because I believe it has useful information, especially for the SDA anti/non-trinitarians. Just as we point out areas where our SDA trinitarian brothers and sisters are neglecting inspiration the exact same thing can be said of us. So with that in my mind please enjoy the following response to a claim made in that forum. I will add a few extra thoughts in here as well that are not in my original response. May the Spirit of God guide you into all truth.

OP: “Don’t be deceived, brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ is not God Almighty; He is a different individual than God. Listen to the Bible, not the faulty theories of men.

“The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor. 11:3).

“God has no God and is not under the authority of anyone, but Christ is under the authority of God just as we are. This may not seem that important of a distinction to make to you, but it means everything to us. God’s divine pattern of source and channel is the foundation of all truth and who we worship is the foundation of our religion; worshiping more than one God (whether they are called one God or not) is confusion and the very center of Babylonian doctrine. [End Quote]

Jason’s Reply:

I am under a solemn obligation to respond to this claim. It has a great deal of truth in it. First let us affirm the true points.

1) Jesus Christ is a different individual than God.

This is completely true. In the Bible the word “God” is used in different ways. It can describe the nature or quality of a being (i.e. the Word was with God and the Word was God – John 1:1) or it can also be used to speak about those who hold authority (i.e. God…judgeth among the gods…I have said ‘Ye are gods…. – Psalm 82:1, 6 partial quotes; see also John 10:34-36). However the word “God” is most frequently used in the Bible to describe a specific Person – that is the Father. For example when we read that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, it is self-evident that “God” there is describing the Father. When it comes to the Son of God, He is God in His nature but He is not the same Person as God Himself. Thus we affirm the truth of the statement made above.

From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two, yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character. {YI December 16, 1897, par. 5}

2) God has no God and is not under the authority of anyone.

This is another completely true point. The word “God” here is being used in its most common way – as a reference to the Father. It is certainly true that the Father has no God and He is the supreme authority of the Godhead. This same thing cannot be said for the Son of God though because He has His Father as His Head and this was the way it was in His pre-incarnate existence. Even back then He ruled under God as the following quote demonstrates:

The creation of our world was brought into the councils of heaven. There the covering cherub prepared his request that he should be made prince to govern the world then in prospect. This was not accorded him. Jesus Christ was to rule the earthly kingdom; UNDER GOD He engaged to take the world with all its probabilities. The law of heaven should be the standard law for this new world, for human intelligences. Lucifer was jealous of Christ and this jealousy worked into rebellion and he carried with him a large number of the holy angels. Jesus, the Son of God, was not deceived by Lucifer’s sophistry. He stood true to principle and resisted every line of reasoning of Lucifer and all the angels who had taken sides with him, thus evidencing that as He stood, every angel might have stood. {Ms43b-1891.3}

*Let me add a disclaimer here though. The op states that “Christ is under the authority of God JUST AS WE ARE” and it is that last description that could be very problematic. We are creations and as such are amenable to God’s law. The pre-incarnate Son of God, on the other hand, is begotten of God and is not a creation. In terms of His substance and nature He is equal to the Father. As such He is not under God’s authority “just as we are.” When He entered into this world He was “made under the law” (Gal 4:4) and for His time here He did know what it was like to be just like us, but He has returned to His fully glory with the Father. While God the Father is most certainly still the Head of Christ, this is not the same position that you and I have as creations. I hope this is clear.*

Now, with these true points acknowledged let us address a point that is not exactly correct. The op makes this claim:

3) Jesus Christ is not God Almighty

THE REALITY HERE, MY FRIENDS, IS THAT JESUS CHRIST REALLY IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY! No, I am not saying that He is the same Person as the Father but what I am saying is that He has this same title like the Father.

Please pay attention because this can be hard to understand. So let’s review a few things here first.

Point A: The Son of God has the same Name as the Father.

We know from God’s Word that the Father is YHWH or Jehovah (whichever you prefer). That is His personal Name revealed to us. Yet the Son of God has this Name too doesn’t He? How so? He has God’s Name in Him and it would appear that this is His by Divine inheritance.

Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: FOR MY NAME IS IN HIM (Exodus 23:21)

Being made so much better than the angels, AS HE HATH BY INHERITANCE OBTAINED A MORE EXCELLENT NAME THAN THEY. (Heb 1:4)

The point here is that the personal Name of God is also the personal Name of His Son! That is why you can rightly call the Son “YHWH” or “Jehovah” as the Bible does many times. Yet even while acknowledging this we note that the Son also has Names that the Father does not – such as His heavenly Name of “Michael” or His earthly Name of “Jesus.” These latter Names do not negate the fact that He shares the Father’s Name. He actually has many Names. I hope this is clear.

Point B: The Son of God has the same titles as His Father.

Please look at the titles in this verse:

That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ 15 Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to hom be honour and power everlasting. Amen (1 Tim 6:14-16)

Here we see that Jesus Christ will show Who is the blessed only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords. This is obviously God the Father! The Son will reveal Him as such. Yet at the same time let’s see what titles the Son has too:

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Rev 17:14)

And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords. (Rev 19:16)

There can be absolutely no mistaking this. The Lamb, He, is King of kings and Lord of lords too! Thus He has the very same titles as His Father. This is a co-regency that God Himself has established so His Son carries the same royal titles as does His Father, the Sovereign of the universe. Yet again we must recognize that the Son has titles that God the Father does not – such the great Prince, Prince of princes, the Prince [or Captain] of the host and Archangel (Dan 12:1; 8:25; 8:11; Joshua 5:14; Jude 1:9). These latter titles in no way negate the previous titles that He has as God’s co-regent. They do help us to see the next layer or tier in the authority though.

Now why have I said all of this? My hope is that you are seeing a principle where the Son shares in all things that belong to the Father. This is essential to understand because, as we shall see here shortly, He also shares the title of Lord God Almighty!

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. (Gen 17:1)

The Lord” who appeared to Abram here and declared Himself “the Almighty God” is none other than the pre-incarnate Son of God. Again let’s see who spoke to John the Revelator:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Rev 1:8)

Now an exegesis of Scripture does seems to support the idea that “the Lord, which is and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” is God the Father. It is true that this title is applicable to Him in Revelation. However, if we believe that God inspired the writings of sister White then we see that it is also applicable to the Son! Sister White comments on this verse:

What a Saviour we have! IT WAS HE THAT REVEALED HIMSELF TO JOHN ON THE ISLE OF PATMOST AND PROCLAIMED, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. None but just such an ever living, mighty God, could pay the ransom to save sinners from going down into the pit of death. {Ms64-1895.5}

Now someone might say that we need every matter established by two witnesses so let’s give yet another:

The crowning glory of CHRIST’S ATTRIBUTES was his holiness. THE ANGELS BOW BEFOREHIM IN ADORATION EXCLAIMING, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. He is declared to be glorious in his holiness. Study the character of God. By beholding Christ, by seeking him in faith and prayer, you may become like him. {RH March 12, 1908, par. 4}

It should be apparent that “Lord God Almighty” is a title that belongs to the Son of God just as much as it does to God the Father. How else can the angels bow before Christ and declare as much? And let us remember, SDA anti/non-trinitarian family, that we must accept the totality of inspiration. We cannot pick and chose. I say this because I know of one or two especially hard headed anti-trinitarians and I am certain their response here will be that EGW was wrong. If so, then they are guilty of making the very same errors that certain SDA trinitarians make when they reject the parts of inspiration that do not suit their doctrine! Some are filled with pride and will not yield any point even to an inspired author! I am hopeful of better things for the readers in this forum.

Finally let us deal with an objection. Someone might say “Wait a minute! What about this quote?”

There is no one who can explain the mystery of the incarnation of Christ. Yet we know that He came to this earth and lived as a man among men. THE MAN CHRIST JESUS WAS NOT THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, yet Christ and the Father are one. The Deity did not sink under the agonizing torture of Calvary, yet it is none the less true that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” {Ms140-1903.28}

“There, you see,” they’ll say “the Man Christ Jesus IS NOT the Lord God Almighty!” Yet is that what the quote says?

Please pay attention to the words carefully friends. The quote does not say “the Man Christ Jesus IS NOT the Lord God Almighty” rather the quote says “the Man Christ Jesus WAS NOT the Lord God Almighty.”

Now while that might seem like mighty fine parsing I believe the tense of the verb to be is very important here. As we saw in the RH, March 12, 1908 quote the angels actually worship Christ as the Lord God Almighty! Are they confused in their worship? I don’t think so! So then what is going on here? Why does sister White say He WAS NOT the Lord God Almighty? I believe the answer to that question is due to His incarnation. The context of her quote is about “the mystery of the incarnation.” You see when the Son stepped down from the throne of heaven, He actually handed the scepter back into the hand of God (which, by the way, shows you where He first got it from but that’s another study)

He stepped down from the throne of honor, laid off his royal robe and his royal crown, gave back into his Father’s hand the scepter, and veiling divinity with humanity, humbled himself, and came to a world all seared and marred with the curse. “For your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Although he was the Majesty of heaven, he bore the cross of shame. {YI May 27, 1897, par. 3}

Thus what is happening here, in this giving back of the scepter into the Father’s hand, is that the Son temporarily gave up His rights and status as the Almighty. Again the following quote clarifies:

When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. BUT HE RESTED NOT IN THE POSSESSION OF ALMIGHTY POWER. It was not as the “Master of earth and sea and sky” that He reposed in quiet. THAT POWER HE HAD LAID DOWN, and He says, “I can of Mine own self do nothing.” John 5:30. He trusted in the Father’s might. It was in faith—faith in God’s love and care—that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 336)

This is why the Man Christ Jesus WAS NOT the Lord God Almighty during His time here on earth. That power He had laid down. He was not manifest in His fully glory. However, He has now been reinstated to His original glory that He had in His oneness with the Father. Thus He is currently carrying that title once again for the angels worship Him as such. I hope this is clear.

Thus the prayer of Christ was answered. He was glorified with the glory which He had with His Father before the world was. But amid this glory, Christ does not lose sight of His toiling, struggling ones upon earth. He has a request to make of His Father. He waves back the heavenly host until He is in the direct presence of Jehovah, and then He presents His petition in behalf of His chosen ones. {ST May 10, 1899, par. 16}

Father,” He says, “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” And then the Father declares, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” The heavenly host prostrate themselves before Him, and raise their song of triumph and joy. Glory encircles the King of heaven, and was beheld by all the heavenly intelligences. No words can describe the scene which took place as THE SON OF GOD WAS PUBLICLY REINSTATED IN THE PLACE OF HONOR AND GLORY WHICH HE VOLUNTARILY LEFT WHEN HE BECAME A MAN. {ST May 10, 1899, par. 17}

Finally there is one last point to examine:

4) God’s divine pattern of source and channel is the foundation of all truth and who we worship is the foundation of our religion; worshiping more than one God (whether they are called one God or not) is confusion and the very center of Babylonian doctrine.

Beyond dispute God the Father is the great Source of all and His only begotten Son is the Receiver of all and channel through which “the Father’s life flows out to all.” Desire of Ages pg 21 has a wonderful statement on this:

But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give. “I do nothing of Myself,” said Christ; “the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father.” “I seek not Mine own glory,” but the glory of Him that sent Me. John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18. In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life. (Desire of Ages pg 21)

Yet the potential problem here is the latter clause – “worshiping more than one God (whether they are called one God or not) is confusion and the very center of Babylonian doctrine.”

Personally, I am curious as to how the author of this statement will excuse himself from being guilty of this same confusion.

Does he purport to worship the Father alone as God? I believe he is between a rock and a hard place here. Either he must deny that Jesus is fully God in His nature OR he must deny that He worships the Son of God. Either option would be a violation of holy Scripture! I will take for granted everyone knows the Scriptures that directly call the Son God and will post a few that speak about Him receiving worship.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. (Matt 2:11)

Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matt 14:33)

That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him (John 5:23)

And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him (Her 1:6)

My point here is that the anti-trinitarian cannot excuse himself of the difficulty that he projects onto the trinitarian as if his doctrine presents no difficulty in reconciling the worship of two Persons – Father and Son – while seeking to sustain monotheism. And it is just here – in terms of practicality that I say that many anti/non-trinitarians and trintiarians are making much to do about nothing. Let me illustrate this by quoting from a different interaction I had with a non-trinitarian.

Sister A wrote: Jason Smith the problem I see with that is, the Sabbath points to the God that one worships, it is a sign. If one worships and believes in the wrong God how then can the test of the Sabbath be the defining line? Does that make sense? If that were the case then we could essentially worship anyone we want to or any convoluted idea of God, but so long as we adhere to the Sabbath we are all united as one. My apologies if I am over simplifying. [End Quote]

Jason wrote: No apology necessary sister A but I would like you to think about this carefully because I think you have written a non-sequitur. Tell me who does the Sabbath point to? Who is its Lord? Is it God the Father alone? His only begotten Son alone? Or does it simultaneously point to Both? Can you separate Them when it comes to the spiritual meaning of the Sabbath? Are Christians supposed to worship the Son of God, who is one with His Father, to a lesser degree than the Father or to the same degree? [End Quote]

Sister A wrote: Jason Smith absolutely not, we are given instructions to worship both the Father and Son, and the Son is equal with his Father. [End Quote]

Jason wrote: Okay, with that established please show me how a SDA trintiarian who believes that there is an eternal Father and eternal Son, two separate and distinct Beings, and who honors Them Both on the Sabbath day by ceasing from his own labor, is failing the test. We want the SDA pioneer position right? Yet what was that position? Was it as narrow as some are making it out to be? What does the following quote suggest the correct answer is, at least according to James White?

The S. D. Adventists hold the divinity of Christ so nearly with the trinitarian, that we apprehend no trial here (James White, Review and Herald, October 12, 1876)

You see what you have done here, and I believe completely unintentionally, is a fallacy called reduction to absurdity. No one, not even the orthodox trinitarians (who are easily proven to be wrong), is arguing that we can essentially worship anyone we want or any convoluted idea of God. No one is saying that. What I am saying though is that the true position – 3 living persons of the heavenly trio – as it was believed by EGW and the SDA pioneers near the end of her life was a broad position that had flexibility regarding the 2nd and 3rd Persons of the Godhead. It even allowed for praise and worship of the holy Spirit! We have erred in condemning what she never condemned and narrowing it. This has caused an unnecessary division and trial where there should not be one. [End Quote]

Do you see the point? Are you following the logic brothers and sisters? I hope so!

In this op I have evidenced that Lord God Almighty is a title that belongs to the Son of God as well as the Father. I have also sought to demonstrate that the anti/non-trinitarian is really in no position to condemn the trinitarian as a polytheist (aka: worshiping more than one God) unless the non/anti-trinitarian either denies the full Divinity of the Son of God (aka: that He is just as verily God in His nature) or refuses to worship Him. In practical effect the positions here are so similar that I do not think there should be any trial. If only I could get more of my trinitarian brethren to think the same way too.

Now I dare say that just here, the issue of worship, is where certain anti-trinitarians need to look at the evidence with a different lens. Perhaps it will help if we consider our earthly parents. It is beyond dispute that the father is the head of the family and it is his name that is conveyed. However, despite this, both parents are to be honored. There is not even the remotest suggestion that a child should not honor the mother or obey her less simply because the father is the head. No, from the child’s perspective the two are a functional unit that work together and without that relationship the child wouldn’t even exist. In similar (not identical!) fashion all of the family of God, in heaven and on earth, are named after God the Father. Yet He created us through His Son. Thus we are to relate to the Father and Son, in terms of worship and honor, as an unit. While certainly there is inspired evidence that touches upon the Father in an exclusive sense (i.e. the Head of the Godhead; the great Source) we must also accept the evidence that touches upon Him in the way that is inclusive of His Son (i.e. of one substance, one in spirit, in heart, in mind, in character, in purpose). In fact we are informed in the Spirit of prophecy that the Son is actually a part of God Himself. And I would remind all readers that it was satan who originally tried to separate the two in terms of .

At length all the angels are summoned to appear before the Father, to have each case decided. Satan unblushingly makes known to all the heavenly family, his discontent, that Christ should be preferred before him, to be in such close conference with God, and he be uninformed as to the result of their frequent consultations. God informs Satan that this he can never know. That to his Son will he reveal his secret purposes, and that all the family of Heaven, Satan not excepted, were required to yield implicit obedience. Satan boldly speaks out his rebellion, and points to a large company who think God is unjust in not exalting him to be equal with God, and in not giving him command above Christ. He declares he cannot submit to be under Christ’s command, that God’s commands alone will he obey. Good angels weep to hear the words of Satan, and to see how he despises to follow the direction of Christ, their exalted and loving commander. {3SG 37.3}

Notice carefully here that satan has divided Father from Son and is attempting (as illogical as it is) to say that he will obey God alone but not Christ. Yet God Himself would have none of it. The Two – Father and Son – are an unit and if you do not accept the authority of the Son then by default you have rejected the authority of the Father. What I am suggesting is that this same thing is true for the worship of Father and Son. It is given in comprehension of the Two as an unit!

The point I am getting at here is that there are two inspired lenses through which to look at God and His Son. One lens is focused on the singularity – the Father alone. I have found that even some honest trinitarians, like brother Eugene Prewitt, will admit as much:

MY NON-TRINITARIAN FRIENDS ARE CERTAINLY RIGHT THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, THE FATHER. (See John 17:2-3). The word God is used that way very many times in Scripture. And IN THOSE MANY CASES IT MEANS “THE ULTIMATE EXECUTIVE OF THE UNIVERSE.” SO THERE IS JUST ONE, AND THAT IS THE FATHER. (Eugene Prewitt, “The Godhead for Seventh-day Adventists)

Praise the Lord! Brother Prewitt can see this lens and he looks through it! Yet there is another lens too. This is the lens of inclusive unity with the Father. This lens is focused on 2 other Persons – the Son and the Spirit – having “all the fullness” with the Father. Now I have talked about this at length in this forum how all 3 are not exactly alike (an erroneous trinitarian presupposition) but nevertheless there are three. One very vocal non-trinitarian made this admission to me recently. I will leave his name out because I’m not sure if he wants this to be public knowledge:

Brother A wrote: Regarding your note on the person of the Spirit. In a sense, I do see what you are saying, and I have no objection to the concept of tri-unity, unless it is bound up in the identity of the God we worship [End Quote]

Again praise the Lord! I believe this is a step in the right direction. There certainly is a tri-unity among the 3 Persons of the heavenly trio. While it is not inseparable as certain SDA trinitarians teach (thus they have a Son with no real risk of eternal death) and it is more than just unity of purpose and character as others teach (thus they actually have 3 separate sources of everlasting life and are really pseudo-tritheistic, if not overtly so) there is nevertheless a tri-unity – God the Father, His only begotten Son and the omnipresent Spirit.

Therefore my appeal here is that we acknowledge that there are good points on both sides of this discussion. Let us cease to be unwilling to admit a strong point on the other side and come as close together as we possibly can. Let us deal honestly with each other. If we do this prayerfully and humbly then I am convinced that we will be led, even by the Spirit of God, to the position taken near the end of EGW’s life which allowed for flexibility regarding the 2nd and 3rd Persons of the Godhead.

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