Christ: His status and authority

List of Studies

1. Introduction

The Trinitarian position (which is the author’s firm position) is that Christ is the Second co-equal Person of the Godhead, existing from everlasting to everlasting . The non-Trinitarian position is that Christ was ‘begotten’, i.e. He had a beginning, then He was elevated to the Godhead, and some claim that Christ had no pre-existence before His incarnation. 

Non-Trinitarians acknowledge Christ as the ‘Son of God’, but not as Trinitarians believe: ‘God the Son’, i.e. Christ is fully equal to, indeed He is, Almighty God.  The nature and status of Christ is thus a very important issue, with implications for salvation itself. 

Here we present some important Trinitarian texts pertaining to Christ, and given the controversy over the nature of Christ, their non-Trinitarian rebuttals (summarized briefly from non-Trinitarian sources, e.g. and Wikipedia) are also presented.  Thus readers may decide for themselves where they stand.

2. Christ: Almighty God

2.1 God with us

In study: ‘The Trinity’,4.2, we see that when in the New Testament  the Greek ‘Theos’ (Strong’s G2316) appears with the definite article ‘the’ it means Almighty God.

Thus where Christ is addressed as God (Theos) and the definite article is present, it means Christ is Almighty God, for instance:

Mt 1:23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, {the} God [ho theos] with us.

Here the definite article is present, i.e. Christ is ‘the’ God - He is Almighty God with us.

The name Emmanuel is symbolic, and does not make Jesus God.  It should be understood in the sense of 2Co 5:19, which says that ‘God was in Christ’.

2.2 Alpha and Omega

Re 1:8  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 [Strong’s G3841, God, absolute and universal sovereign].

Who is this verse referring to?  Elsewhere we see Alpha and Omega referring to Christ:

Re 1:10-13  I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice…

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega…

12  And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

13  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

V13 confirms that the ‘Alpha and Omega’ of v10 refers to Christ, the ‘Son of Man’, whose great voice it is that is speaking (Christ referred many times to Himself as ‘Son of Man’, e.g. Mt 8:20; Mk 2:28; Lk 24:7; Jn 6:53).

Also Re 1:17,18 is referring clearly to Christ as ‘First and Last’, and Re 22:12,13 is referring clearly to Christ, the ‘Alpha and Omega’.

Thus we can conclude that the ‘Alpha and Omega’ is Christ, the ‘Absolute and Universal sovereign’.

NB.  Red letter editions of the Bible print Re 1:8 in red, indicating that it refers to Christ.

Based on Re 1:4,5 God and Christ are separate, and thus the Almighty in verse 8 refers to God, not Christ.  Elsewhere, ‘Alpha and Omega’ does not appear in the original text (it is added), and where it does occur it can refer to both God and Christ.  The exact meaning of the phrase ‘the Beginning and the End’ is not given, and thus there is no compelling reason to assume that it means that Jesus is God.  The Son of Man appearing amongst the candlesticks in Re 1:13 is God appearing as a man, as in Ge 18:1,2.

2.3 Christ, the Everlasting Father

The following verse is one of the best known and widely accepted prophecies of Christ.

Is 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God [Strong’s H410, especially the Almighty], The everlasting Father [see following note], The Prince of Peace.

Note, 'everlasting Father' is a construct from Strong's H1, 'father', and Strong's H5703, 'duration' in the sense of perpetuity.  

In Christ we have peace with God (Ro 5:1) - He is thus truly our ‘Prince of Peace’.

Importantly: in Is 9:6 (above) Christ is both Son and Father - He is God in the fullest sense.

‘Everlasting Father’ is an incorrect translation, and should read ‘Father of the coming age’.  Furthermore, ‘Father’, here, should be understood in the sense of referring to someone who was the first to do something, or to someone who was important.

2.4 Hebrews Chapter 1 Almighty God

He 1:1,8  {the} God [ho theos] who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets… 

8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O {the} God [ho theos], is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Almighty God the Father (v1), addresses the Son (v8), as Almighty God. This must surely qualify as one of the great mysteries of God (see section 3) - no sin-tainted human mind can grasp it anywhere near fully. Lord

He 1:10  And, Thou, Lord [Strong's G2962, supreme in authority], in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 

Almighty God the Father (v1 above) addresses the Son as 'supreme in authority', and thus equal in authority with Himself - Christ is wholly God, the Creator.

He 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image [Strong’s G5481, exact copy] 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; 

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon expands on the meaning of G5481 ('exact copy'):  "a mark or figure burned or stamped on, an impression; the exact expression (the image) of any person or thing, marked likeness, precise reproduction in every respect".

This conveys clearly that Christ is exactly the same as Almighty God the Father.

The non-Trinitarian position on Hebrew 1 is that Christ is portrayed as a lesser God - this is based on He 1:9.  Furthermore, where Christ is referred to as Creator (He 1:10 above) the non-Trinitarian holds that it is addressing the Earth made new (re-created) at the end of the millennium that occurs after Christ’s second advent.

2.5 Thomas testifies that Christ is Almighty God

Jn 20:28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord [Strong’s G2962, supreme in authority] and my {the} God [ho theos].

Clearly Thomas regards Christ as Almighty God (the definite article is present, see section 2.1), and Thomas, a disciple, was intimate with Christ.

Christ never referred to Himself as God in the absolute sense - thus Thomas had no precedent for doing so.  There is no evidence in scripture that the disciples thought Jesus was God.

2.6 Christ is JEHOVAH

Is 40:3  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD [Strong’s H3068, JEHOVAH] make straight in the desert a highway for our God [Strong’s H430, Elohiym, the plural supreme divinity]

The New Testament confirms that this scripture applies to Christ - it is quoted by John the Baptist to announce Jesus:

Mt 3:3  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord [Strong’s G2962, supreme in authority], make his paths straight.  (also Mk 1:3; Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23).

The One for whom John prepared the way and announced is Christ:

Jn 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 

Thus Christ is JEHOVAH, the Supreme Divinity, announced by both Isaiah and John the Baptist - the One for whom he (John) bore witness (Mt 3:11,13,16,17;Jn 1:6-8).

2.7 Christ accepted worship

The disciples worshipped Christ (Mt 14:33;28:9; Lk 24:52), and He accepted their worship.

Christ Himself taught that only God should be worshipped:

Mt 4:10  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God [Greek: ton theon sou, ‘the God of-you’] and him only shalt thou serve.

Here Christ confirms that only Almighty God (the God) should be worshipped. Thus in accepting worship Christ testifies of Himself, that He is Almighty God.

There are instances in Scripture of people, worshipping, i.e. prostrating themselves in homage, other than to God, e.g. in Ge 19:1: Lot paying homage to two strangers who came to Sodom (note, the source supplies only Old Testament references on this point).  Thus we cannot interpret the disciple’s worship of Christ as an acknowledgment that He is Almighty God.  The New Testament does not clearly present Christ as God. 

2.8 Christ is Lord God Almighty

Note, to aid understanding the following verse is split into separate lines

Rev 15:3  And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works,

Lord [Strong’s, G2962, supreme in authority]

{the} God [Strong’s G2316, ho theos = Almighty God, see section 2.1],  

Almighty [Strong’s G3841, God as absolute and universal sovereign];

just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 

Christ the Lamb is addressed as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Re 17:14; 19:16).  Thus the song of the Lamb, the King of saints, is a song addressing Christ the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29).

In the Book of Revelation, God is not the Lamb, and the Lamb is not God.

3. Christ equal with God

Before we address this point we must understand a little of Greek Grammar.  

Greek is a strongly inflected language, which means that words are given a different ending depending on how they are used in a sentence.  These differing word forms denote cases, as follows for the Greek: Theos (Strong's G2316, God):

Theon = Accusative case: the object receiving the action of a verb.

Theos = Nominative case: a noun or pronoun which is the subject of a sentence or verb.

Theou = Genetive case: a noun that is the subject of an adjective or adverb to show ownership

TheO = Dative case: denotes the relationship of an indirect object to a verb - it is used to denote the person or thing interested or affected by something.

These forms of Theos all mean ‘God’.  The change of ending is grammatical only.


Php 2:5-8  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6  Who, being [Strong’s G5225, be - present active participle] in the form [Strong’s G3444, shape, nature - Dative case] of God [Strong’s G2316, Theou - Genitive case], thought it not robbery to be equal with God [TheO - Dative case, to-God related to 'equal']:

7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon 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 unto death, even the death of the cross.

The debated point is contained in verse 6. 

Verse 6, grammar: 

‘Form’ is in the Greek Dative case, which denotes a person or thing affected by something (an ‘affect’ is a state brought about by an action or condition). 

In this case ‘Form’ affects ‘Who’, i.e. Christ, putting Him into a specific state of being.  

The phrase ‘of God’ is from ‘Theos’ in the Genitive case (Theou), indicating possession.  

‘Being’ is in the ‘present active participle’ form (hence the ‘ing’ ending).  A ‘present active participle’ refers to an action or state that is ongoing.

Verse 6, meaning: 

Applying the grammar above, verse 6 conveys the meaning that Christ (then, now and always), as a result of possessing the shape/nature of God, is in the state of equality with God.  

This is why Paul elsewhere portrays Christ as equal with God (see He 1:3).

In verses 7 and 8 (above) we see Christ humbling himself for mankind’s sake, setting aside His majesty and power (but not His nature) that He might die to save sinners.

Christ is described in theological terms as having a dual nature, i.e. while on the Earth He was both God and man (see Jn 1:14).  In the author’s view, this is completely beyond human understanding - it is part of the great mystery of Godliness:

1Ti 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

We must simply accept by faith that these things are so - our salvation depends upon it.

Based on many scriptures that use ‘form’ to mean ‘shape’, ‘form’ in verse 6 refers to an outer form, not the nature, of God.  The doctrine of the dual nature of Christ creates a being who is ‘fundamentally not one of us’.  In reality Christ is the man ‘fully accredited by God’, but who is not God, and thus is “one of us”.  Furthermore, God has never changed (presumably based on Mal 3:6) and thus has never been a man.

Author’s response: it is abundantly clear in Mal 3:6 and its context that it is God’s love and mercy that do not change - this remains the case in whatever form God manifests Himself.

4. Christ one with the Father

Jn 10:30  I and my Father are one.

Scripture does not immediately expand on the meaning of this text, but elsewhere we gain a clearer understanding:

Jn 14:10,11  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

11  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

See also Jn 10:38; 17:21

When God is in someone, that person reflects God’s indwelling presence, which influences the character.  Likewise when someone is in God, that person is reflected in the Character of God.  

Who can be reflected in God’s character but One who IS God: Christ Jesus.

Why then did Christ say that His Father is greater than Himself? :

Jn 14:28  Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 

In Section 3, we see (Php 2:5-8) that when Christ came to this world He set aside His Godly power (but not His Godly character) - He had to rely upon the Heavenly Father for all things (as do we), and thus His Father was greater than Himself at the time (it was the Father in Him who did the works, Jn 14:10 above).  

Nevertheless Christ thought Himself equal with God (see section 3 on Php 2:6).  That text does not expand on the meaning of ‘equal’ - thus we must understand it in every sense: that Christ is equal with the Father in all respects.

When Christ says that He and the Father are ‘in’ one another, He is referring to a ‘reciprocal fellowship’, meaning they are united in purpose, not that they are one God.

In Jn 10:30 above Christ meant that He was only one in purpose with the Father, not that they are one God.

5. 'God' and the 'Word' in John chapter 1

Jn 1:1-3  In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with {the} God [ton theon], and the Word was God [theos].

2  The same was in the beginning with {the} God [ton theon]. 

3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The Word is God and Creator.  Verse 14 confirms that Christ is the Word:

Jn 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten [Strong’s G3439 sole] of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

In John 1:1 the phrase ‘the Word was God’ is contested by many because in the Greek the definite article (see section 2.1) does not precede the second instance of ‘God’.  

Non-Trinitarians therefore assert that Christ cannot be ‘the God’, i.e. Almighty God.  In fact, the New World Translation goes as far as to render ‘was God’ as ‘was a god’.  

Note, there is no indefinite article (‘a’) in Either Greek or Hebrew - it is added in English translation according to sense and context.

5.1 Understanding verse 1

To understand verse 1 we must again refer to Greek grammar (see section 3).

Jn 1:1  In the beginning was the Word [Strong's G3056, Logos, nominative], and the Word [Logos, nominative] was with {the} God [ton theon, accusative], and the Word was God [theos, nominative].

Jn 1:1 grammar: The Word’ (Logos, nominative) is the subject of the sentence and is preceded by ‘the’ to indicate that this is so. 

The first instance of {the} ‘God’ (ton theon, accusative) is receiving the action of ‘was with’, and is preceded by ‘the’, indicating Almighty God.  

The second instance of ‘God’ (theos, nominative) is the subject of the verb ‘was’.

Why, then, did John omit the definite article from the second instance of ‘Theos’?  

Answer: he did it for grammatical reasons, to make clear that the subject of the sentence is ‘Logos’.  In Greek this is standard grammatical practice to ensure clarity of meaning.

Thus the absence of the article does not warrant a rendering of ‘a god’’.

This conclusion is supported by logic and reason - how can Christ be both 'the God’ (Almighty God) and merely ‘a god’ in a single verse (Jn 1:1) ?  Also He is confirmed as Almighty God (the God) in Mt 1:23 (section 2.1) and in Jn 20:28 (section 2.4).

5.2 The non-Trinitarian position on John chapter 1

The ‘Logos’ (the Word) is God’s means of expressing and communicating Himself, which now occurs through His Son.  The fact that the ‘Logos’ became flesh does not convey any pre-existence of Jesus, other than a figurative existence as God’s plan of salvation.

The absence of the definite article preceding the second instance of ‘theos’ in verse 1 indicates that it should be rendered simply: ‘god’, in the sense of ‘a god’.  ‘theos’ is used elsewhere to refer to other gods, even to Satan (2Co 4:4).

In verse 1, the phrase ‘In the beginning’ refers to the beginning of the new creation which occurs at the end of the millennium that follows Christ’s second advent. In both the original and the new creation the driving force is the Word of God, i.e. the expression of God’s will and intent.  Correspondingly, in Jn 1:3, the phrase ‘All things were made by him’ should be rendered ‘All things were made by It ’.

6. God and Christ - both our only Saviour

Is 43:11  I, even I, am the LORD [Strong’s H3068 self-existent, JEHOVAH]; and beside me there is no saviour.

Ho 13:4  Yet I am the LORD [JEHOVAH] thy God [Strong’s H430. Elohiym] from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god [Elohiym] but me: for there is no saviour beside me.

JEHOVAH, Almighty God, the Godhead is our only Saviour.

Ac 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Conclusion: If God is our only Saviour and Christ is our only Saviour, then all of God is Saviour, and Christ and God must be equal, i.e. Christ is wholly and fully God.  The human mind is unable to fully grasp such a deep concept.  We can but accept scripture.

Based on how ‘saviour’ is used generally in scripture, it is incorrect to say that because Christ and God are both called “Saviour” they are one and the same.  In fact, it would be as incorrect as saying that the ‘saviours’ God raised up throughout history were the same person as Jesus Christ.

7. God and Christ both Creator

Ge 1:1,31  In the beginning God [Strong's H430 Elohiym, plural: Gods] created the heaven and the earth.

31  And God [Elohiym] saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good …

Is 42:5  Thus saith God [Strong's H410, the Almighty] the LORD [Strong’ H6308o, JEHOVAH], he that created the heavens, and stretched them out...

God (plural) and God (JEHOVAH) was there in the beginning as Creator.

Ps 33:6  By the word of the LORD [Strong’s H3068, JEHOVAH] were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

He 11:3  Through faith we understand that the worlds [plural of Strong’s G165, eons] were framed [Strong’s G2674, complete thoroughly] by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

By God’s Word were created, not only this world, but also all the worlds that exist throughout the Universe from ages past.

The Word is Christ:

Jn 1:1-3  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.

Jn 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as {of the only begotten [Strong’s G3439, only child]} of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Christ, the Word, was there in the beginning - He is Creator.  

NB. The phrase ‘only begotten’ in v14 does not mean Christ was born/created - it means Christ (based on the Greek 'only child') is God’s 'one and only' Son.

Col 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:

Christ is the Creator of all things.

God was in the beginning - He is Creator. Christ was in the beginning - He is Creator. Thus Christ is fully and wholly Almighty God. Furthermore, the Creator God in Genesis chapter 1 is a plural God (see study: 'The Trinity',3.1) - thus both The Father and The Son were The Creator God.

In Jn 1:1 The Greek word ‘Logos’ which is translated ‘Word’ does not refer to Christ.  ‘Logos’ is used many times in other circumstances, and its application to Christ here reflects the Trinitarian bias of the Bible translators.  The fact that the Logosbecame’ flesh shows that it did not exist in that form before.  This verse does not testify to Christ’s pre-existence, rather it refers to his figurative existence as God’s plan and purpose for the salvation of man.

(Author’s comment:  Paul teaches that in Moses’ time Christ was the Rock that led Israel (1Co 10:1-4).  Thus Christ’s existence before His incarnation was not merely figurative - He was very real and very present.)

In Col 1:16 (above) ‘all’ things does not mean the whole of Creation - it is used in a limited way to mean only the powers, rulers and authorities that were needed by Christ to run his Church, and were created by him for that purpose.

8. Christ: Self existent

God is Self-existent (i.e. without beginning and end):

Ex 3:14  And God [Strong’s H430, Elohiym] said unto Moses, I AM  [Strong’s H1961, to exist] THAT I AM [H1961]: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [H1961] hath sent me unto you.

The use of the plural ‘Elohiym’ indicates that all members of the Godhead are Self-Existent.  Christ declared that this applies to Himself:

Jn 8:58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am [Strong’s G1510, I exist].

By His own word, Christ IS.  He is the Self-existent One, Almighty God.

‘I am’ identifies Jesus as one who must be followed, but not as God.  Jesus did not exist physically in Abraham’s time, rather He existed figuratively in the mind of God as His plan for redeeming man.

9. Scribes and Pharisees testify that Christ claimed equality with Almighty God

Mk 2:5-7  When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

6  But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

7  Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but {the} God [ho theos] only?

Jn 5:18  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that {the} God [ton theon] was his Father, making himself equal {to the} God [tO theO].  See also Jn 10:30-33

Christ’s enemies testified that Christ claimed to be equal to ‘the’ God, i.e. Almighty God.  Christ did not refute the accusation. 

If in fact Christ was not equal to Almighty God He was a liar, and thus a sinner.  However, we know that Christ was without sin (He 4:14,15).  

Therefore Christ did not lie - He is equal to Almighty God.

In the culture of Bible times, children often carried the authority of the family. It is clear that Jesus’ authority came from the fact that He was the Son of God, not because He Himself was God.

10. Summary

Readers must decide for themselves whether they take the Trinitarian position on the nature of Christ, or reject it and take the non-Trinitarian position.  There is no middle ground.

In the author’s view, those who hold that Christ is not fully and wholly God think they understand God.  However, no human mind, nor even the highest angel, can understand God. We know only what scripture reveals, and there is ample evidence in scripture to convince that Christ is indeed fully and wholly God.

Furthermore, the author believes that if Christ was created or begotten (born) as non-Trinitarians assert, He would be the same as us, having a beginning, and thus He could not be Saviour.  

Only One who is fully and wholly God, who is infinitely above all created beings, who is from eternity (thus having pre-existence), can save the beings He created.

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