Jesus is God in the Old Testament

Two atheists came to a house door and handed the man of the house a brochure. The man replied, “This pamphlet is blank.” The two callers said, “Yes, of course. That is because we are atheists.” The tract had nothing in it. What else would you expect from atheists but nothing.

The message is that you never know who you are going to receive at your door. It may be Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to the door. I have had both. When I was a very young man, I had Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door. I talked with them for a while and thought I was winning the discussion in the sense of trying to help them understand the error of their beliefs – until the lady shared with me 1 Timothy 2:5 which says,

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NASB)

After she read that verse she said, “Do you see? Jesus is a man.” She had me stumped. I was thinking, “Uh-oh, how do I respond?” It does say that He is a man. I was trying to convince her that Jesus is God and not an angel. They believe that He is an angel. So when she showed me that verse, I had no response. I did not know what to do. It was not until after she had left that all of a sudden I realized that yes, He was a man; but He was also God. That was the right answer, but she had me stumped and I was not able to respond to her as I would have liked to have responded to her. I do not know if you are aware that Jehovah’s Witnesses are very successful at converting Baptists into their cult, more Baptists than any other denomination. What that says is that many professing believers do not know their Bibles.

Today we are going to address the question, does the Old Testament present Jesus as God? The truth is contrary to the teachings of the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as the teaching of other religions. We are aware that many people believe the Bible never teaches Jesus is God. Deepak Chopra made the comment that, “Jesus never, ever claimed to be God.” We are going to address what the Old Testament teaches about the divinity of Jesus. But the first thing we need to examine is the doctrine of the Trinity. Then we will look at specific Old Testament verses that point out that Jesus is God.

Our Very Interesting God

So let’s start at the very beginning, Genesis 1:1-2. It says,

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 (NASB)

The first thing we are told here is that God created the heavens and the earth. God created the entire universe in fact. The rest of the Old Testament makes the point that He created the stars, the sun, and the moon. Genesis 1 says the same thing in detail. It becomes obvious that when He states He created the heavens and the earth, the word heavens meant everything in the universe. Verse 2 says the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. So verse 1 talks about God and verse 2 talks about the Spirit of God. The testimony of this passage is that God and His Spirit were involved in Creation.

These two verses introduce us to the fact that God is very interesting. They speak of both God and the Spirit of God. We have not been told of anyone else. If we go to Genesis 1:26, we see that it says,

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image . . .”  Genesis 1:26 (NASB)

The question that many Christians struggle with is: What does it mean God said, “Let Us?” Who is “us”? There is more about God than is immediately obvious to us. If you were to try to understand who God is by reading Genesis 1, at this point you would ask, “Who is God?” The Bible speaks here of God and of a Spirit. Then there is “us.” Is that all?

The Great Shema

To obtain more information we must turn to Deuteronomy 6:4. This verse is called “The Great Shema.” It says,

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! Deuteronomy 6:4 (NASB)

In this verse there are three important parts we need to notice. The first part is the phrase “Hear, O Israel.” Then we are told the “LORD is our God.” The word for LORD is really the word Jehovah or Yahweh. I want you to notice that the word for LORD is in small caps. Capital “L,” capital “O,” capital “R,” capital “D,” but they are small capitals. Every time you see that, the word is referring to Jehovah or Yahweh. So the message is that Jehovah is our God. Then it says “the LORD”—again that is Jehovah – “Jehovah is one.” So think about it this way, Jehovah is God and Jehovah is one.

There are two Hebrew words for “one”: Echad and Yachid. The Hebrew word that is used here is Echad and it just means unity. The other Hebrew word literally refers to the number or digit 1, as in 1-2-3-4. But it is not the Hebrew word that is used in this verse. The word “one” used here has the idea of unity with plurality. At this point we have the suggestion of the Trinity. So Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:26, and Deuteronomy 6:4 all hint that there is more to God than just one being. I will put it that way for right now. So God exists and there is a Spirit. But is that what the Great Shema is saying?” Jehovah is our God and Jehovah is unity—is it just Jehovah and his Spirit? That could be the answer at this point.

The Son

We must now turn to Psalms 2:7. Here we have another very interesting statement. We are told,

I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.’ Psalm 2:7 (NASB)

We find that God says I have a Son. In verse 12 we read,

Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! Psalm 2:12 (NASB)

It becomes obvious at this point that in effect God says, “I have begotten someone called the Son,” and we know from the New Testament that this is referring to Jesus Christ. At this point if you are an astute student of the Old Testament, it is obvious that there is God, His Spirit, and a person called the Son. How do they fit together?

The Trinity

What I want to do now is show you what I consider to be the strongest statement in the Old Testament about the Trinity. We already have hints about God, that there is more to God than just a single person called God or Jehovah or Yahweh. There is Jehovah, there is His Spirit and there is a third person called the Son. Now we will go to Isaiah 43. People are always looking for proof of the Trinity in the Old Testament. I am going to give you what I think is the strongest proof of the Trinity in the Old Testament. Isaiah 43:10 says,

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD . . . Isaiah 43:10a (NASB)

Notice the word Lord is capital “L,” small cap “O,” small cap “R,” and small cap “D.” Notice that Jehovah is speaking.

And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me. Isaiah 43:10b (NASB)

What does verse 10 tell us about Jehovah? Who is speaking in verse 10? The speaker is God and He says “before Me.” Now notice the Me. I want you to remember the Me. I am repeating it so you will remember the word Me. He says, “Before Me, there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.” He repeats the Me twice and what does He say in the first statement? Before Me there is no God. He says in effect, “There is only one God.” Who is that? Himself. In verse 11 God declares,

I, even I, am the LORD . . . Isaiah 43:11a (NASB)

Now notice that the word LORD refers to Jehovah. He says,

I, even I, am the LORD,
And there is no savior besides Me.
“It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed,
And there was no strange god among you . . .” Isaiah 43:11-12a (NASB)

God makes three statements. There is no strange god among you. There is only one God and that God is Me. He states in addition,

“So you are My witnesses,” declares the LORD,
“And I am God.
Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?” Isaiah 43:12b-13 (NASB)

This is powerful. God tells us that there is only one God, and He is that God. Listen to what follows in verse 13, “I am from eternity.” The message is, I have existed forever! That is evidence that He is God! He lives for eternity. I do not live for eternity and you do not either. God says, “I have lived for eternity and there is none who can deliver out of my hand.” God is saying He has all the power. This is a declaration that the speaker is God and He tells us that there is no God before and no God after Him. He says “I am God!” In verse 12 He says, “You are my witnesses.”

Now look at chapter 44, verse 6. At the very beginning of verse 6, it says,

Thus says the LORD . . . Isaiah 44:6a (NASB)

Who is that? Jehovah!

. . . the King of Israel and His Redeemer, the LORD of hosts. Thus says the LORD . . . Isaiah 44:6b (NASB)

Now notice the word LORD again is Jehovah. So we are told two times in this verse that Jehovah is speaking.

I am the first and I am the last and there is no God besides me. Isaiah 44:6c (NASB)

He said it again! There is no God besides Him. He is repeatedly making the point that there is only one God. He is it. He says I am the first and the last in the New Testament. Then in in the book of Revelation we read that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8). Here Jehovah is saying, “I am the first and I am the last.” Here is our first clue, if we tie this verse to Revelation, that the same thing is said about Jehovah and Jesus Christ. Jehovah says, “I am the first and the last,” and Revelation says that Jesus “is the Alpha and the Omega” What we are being told is that Jesus is God. From the Old Testament, Jehovah says, “I am the first and I am the last and there is no God besides me who is like me. Let him proclaim it and declare it.” He says, “Who claims that they are a god?”

I was thinking about the Mormons who teach there are millions of gods and you can become one also if you just behave the right way. They believe that eventually you can become a god and have your own planet and populate your own world and manage it. Who would want to manage another world?! God says, “There is no one like me anywhere, there is no other God.” For the Mormons, this is a problem. God says, “There is no other God, no one. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.” The message is that there is no one else like God.

Now let’s look at verse 8,

Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.
Isaiah 44:8 (NASB)

This time God says, “I do not know of any other gods. I do not know of any god before Me or any god after Me. I do not know of any other kind of God, I am it!” What an incredible statement. God is repeating Himself, but He is repeating himself for a reason.

Now turn to Isaiah 45:5-6. Jehovah is speaking again. He says,

I am the LORD . . . Isaiah 45:5 (NASB)

The word for LORD is Jehovah or Yahweh.

I am the LORD, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me. Isaiah 45:5-6a (NASB)

Notice the word Me in verse 5. Continuing in verse 6,

. . . I am the LORD, and there is no other,
The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the LORD who does all these. Isaiah 45:6c-7 (NASB)

Who formed the light and the darkness? He did. So here in verse 7, it is a reminder that Jehovah created everything.

He created the light. He created the darkness. This is a statement that the One who is speaking is the Creator. What Jehovah is telling us is that He is the One who created everything. This God is reminding us that He is it. There is no one else. He is the Creator! He is the one who causes well-being and calamity. He is the one who has done all the powerful actions. What a powerful statement He is making and He keeps doing it.

Look at verse 21, same chapter.

Declare and set forth your case;
Indeed, let them consult together.
Who has announced this from of old?
Who has long since declared it?
Is it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me. Isaiah 45:21-22 (NASB)

At this point you may be thinking, “Why are you giving us verse, after verse, after verse that says the same thing?” Do you think that perhaps God is repeating to make a point? Obviously God is repeating Himself for a reason. If you look at Isaiah 46:9, it says,

Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me . . .
Isaiah 46:9 (NASB)

He is making the point again that there is only one God, “there is no one like Me.” Notice He says the word Me again. 

In Isaiah 48:12 He says,

Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called;
I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
Isaiah 48:12 (NASB)

We have seen that already. Now I want you to think about something. From Isaiah 43:10 Jehovah has been speaking the whole time and keeps making the statement that there is no one else. I am God, there is no God before Me. There is no God after Me; there is no other God, period. There is nobody like Me anywhere.

He has already made the statement earlier that “I am the first and I am the last.” Here in verse 12 He says, “I am the first and I am the last.” He is still speaking. Now we look at verse 16. This is the key verse. He says,

Come near to Me . . . Isaiah 48:16a (NASB)

Now there is the word Me again. Listen to this,

. . . From the first I have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I was there . . . Isaiah 48:16b (NASB)

And now watch what the verse says.

. . . And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit. Isaiah 48:16c (NASB)

Who has been speaking the entire time? The answer is Jehovah. This is incredible. The Hebrew word for God is Jehovah. This means that God or Me is saying, “and now Jehovah has sent Me and His Spirit.”  The Me is the one who has been speaking the whole time. It is the Me who has been saying, “There is no other God.” It is the Me who has been saying, “There was no one before Me.” It is the Me who has been saying, “There was no one after Me.” It is the Me who has been saying, “There is no one like Me.” It is the Me who has been saying that “I am God and there is no other. I am it, I am the one who did the Creation.” Now all of a sudden He says, “God sent Me.” Now how are we understand that this statement?! There is no other God. How is it that God sent Him, if there is no other God? How is it that God sent Him, if the Me is God and there is no one else? Why is His Spirit in this verse? There is only one way to explain this. There is only one God. There is nobody else, and somehow Me is the LORD God and He is also the Spirit. It is the only conclusion. Otherwise, we have total confusion. Otherwise, God has been lying since chapter 43, verse 10. Every time He tells us there is nobody else, and then we come to this verse and we encounter seeming confusion. No, that is not the right answer. The right answer is that He has been telling us the truth. The Me states there is only one God. The truth is the Lord God is Himself and His Spirit is Himself. Here is our proof of the Trinity from the Old Testament. The message is that there is one God and the one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  

The Bible never uses the word Trinity. It is a word that we have used to define a concept that is true of God. What is true is that the Bible teaches that there is one God. What is also true is that the Bible teaches there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and each one is God. Now how do we understand and explain such a concept with our human intelligence? I do not know. I can not explain it to you. Some have said, “Well, the trinity is like an egg. An egg has a yellow yolk, an egg white and finally the shell. That is like the Trinity.” My reply is “No!”, that is not like the Trinity because the various parts of an egg are not really one. They are actually three completely separate parts in the object we call an egg. Every illustration of the Trinity fails or breaks down. I think the closest one is in science – the triple point of water. That is a temperature where you have liquid, steam, and ice all at the same time. It is probably the closest example I know about, but even that illustration breaks down.

What is true is that there is one God referred to as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Scripture teaches it, but we cannot really understand or explain the concept. Why would we think we could understand God? Why do we think we can understand who God is? God is beyond our understanding. If there is a being that can create the universe and everything in it, why is it we think we can understand Him? The answer is we cannot. God has done His best to explain Himself to us, that there is one God referred to as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There are three persons in the Godhead. I like to use the term the plural-one. He is a plural-one.

There is Jehovah, the Me who has been speaking is Jesus Christ. He has been saying that He is the first and the last. In the New Testament we are told that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. The one who has been speaking is Christ. Now let me be specific and show you some verses that prove that Jesus is God. What we have just done is prove the concept of the Trinity is in the Old Testament.

“God Was Born” In Bethlehem

Next we will go to Micah 5:2. The verse refers to Christ being born in Bethlehem. It says,

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity. Micah 5:2 (NASB)

This is a great verse because we are told about a person who is going to be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. The Scripture says Bethlehem is too little to be among the clans of Judah. It is referring to the fact that Bethlehem was a small town. In fact, in a listing of cities in Judah, Bethlehem is actually missing from the list. This verse says, “From you one will go forth, for me”—Jehovah is speaking—to be ruler in Israel. Then there are two important things said about this One. Speaking of the One who is going to be born in Bethlehem, it says, “His goings are from long ago.” The word long ago really means “ancient,” it means, “way back in time.” The message is that He has existed longer than humans live. Then we are told “from the days of eternity.” The Hebrew word is olam, and olam means eternity, forever or everlasting. Somebody who lives from eternity past can only be God. This is telling us that God was going to be born in Bethlehem. This reveals that Jesus is God. This is probably the strongest statement in the Minor Prophets that Jesus is God. His days are from eternity. That is a significant verse.

“God Died” On The Cross

Now let us look at Zechariah 12:10 which says,

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. Zechariah 12:10 (NASB)

If you look at verse 1 of Zechariah 12, you find that Jehovah is speaking. The second sentence in the verse says, “Thus declares the LORD.” In verse 4 it says, “In that day, declares the LORD”—again that is Jehovah—so Jehovah is talking in this chapter, and when He gets to verse 10, He says, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace, so that when they look on Me” … who is the Me? Jehovah, God. “… whom they have pierced.” Here is a prophecy about Jesus dying on the cross. This is another powerful statement that Jesus is God and it comes right out of the Minor Prophets. When we study the Minor Prophets, we see these wonderful verses just popping out of the pages of Scripture. This one tells us that Jesus is God.

Second Coming of Christ – Our God

Now we go to another verse, Zechariah 14:1. It says,

Behold, a day is coming for the LORD . . . Zechariah 14:1a (NASB)

Who is speaking? Jehovah!

. . . when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD . . . Zechariah 14:1b-3a (NASB)

Who is that? Jehovah!

. . . will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. Zechariah 14:3b (NASB)

This is speaking of the Second Coming of Christ at Armageddon. Verse 3-5 adds,

In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD . . . Zechariah 14:4-5a (NASB)

That is, Jehovah …

. . . my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! Zechariah 14:5b (NASB)

That is the battle of Armageddon. Jesus Christ is in view here in verses 3, 4, and 5. This is the Second Coming of Christ. But here Jehovah is saying, “That is Me! I am the one who is coming.” It is another proof that Jesus is God.

Jesus Is God

Our next passage is Malachi 3:1, and notice the word My.

Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me . . . Malachi 3:1a (NASB)

Notice Jehovah is speaking and says, “I am going to send My Messenger, and He is going to clear the way before Me.” Who is the messenger? Go to Mark 1:2 to find the answer. It says,

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU . . .” Mark 1:2a (NASB)

Does that sound familiar? It quotes Malachi 3:1.

. . . WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY;
THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,
‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD,
MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.’ Mark 1:2b-3 (NASB)

Mark 1:2-3 quotes Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. About whom is it speaking? Verse 4 give us the answer. It is speaking of John the Baptist who appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John the Baptist is the forerunner who prepared the way for Jesus Christ. Now go back to Malachi 3:1. Jehovah says,

Behold, I am going to send My messenger . . . Malachi 3:1a (NASB)

God chose John the Baptist.

In Luke 1, the angel Gabriel visited Zacharias in the temple. Zacharias and his wife had been praying for a baby. Gabriel told Zacharias that he was going to have a child and told the name to give his son. The name was John the Baptist. John the Baptist was sent by God. He was God’s messenger. God handpicked this man. God said, “Behold, I am going to send my messenger and he will clear the way before me.” Who did John the Baptist talk about? The answer is Jesus Christ. Now, who is the Me in Malachi 3;1? Jesus Christ!

In Mark 1, John the Baptist came preparing the way for Jesus Christ. Now here in Malachi 3:1 Jehovah says, “That is Me! My messenger is going to prepare the way before Me before I show up.” This reveals again that Jesus is God.

. . . And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple . . . Malachi 3:1b (NASB)

Jesus came to the temple early in His ministry and then at the end of His ministry. Check out John 2:14-15 and Matthew 21:12. You will see that Jesus went to the temple at the beginning of His ministry and then at the end of His ministry in the last week before He died. Therefore, we are told here that Christ was going to come suddenly to the temple. Again that identifies Jehovah God as Christ

. . . and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:1c (NASB)

The word for LORD is Jehovah.

Conclusion

What did we see in the Old Testament? We have seen some very specific statements that Jesus is God. Malachi 5:2 says that God is going to be born in Bethlehem. In Zechariah 12:10 we read that Jehovah God is going to die on the cross. “Look on me, whom they have pierced.” Zechariah chapter 14 says that Jehovah God is going to come to the battle of Armageddon. He is Jesus Christ. Then Malachi 3:1 says that John the Baptist is going to come before His ministry. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah God. So God comes at His birth. He comes at the beginning of His ministry. God dies on the cross and God is going to come at the Second Coming at the return of the battle of Armageddon. Each time the Scriptures referred to God the Son or to Jesus Christ. The Old Testament teaches us that Jesus is God in very specific verses. Incredible, incredible statements!

Suggested Links:

How can Jesus’ genealogy be traced to Abraham without an earthly father?
Is Jesus the first born of creation?
What is the meaning of the eternal sonship of Jesus?
Is Jesus the Father and the Holy Spirit?
What is the Nicene Creed of A.D. 325 and A.D. 381?
What is the Chalcedonian Creed of A.D. 451?
What is the Athanasian Creed of A.D. 570? – Symbolum Quicunque
Was Jesus God in the Old Testament? – The Trinity
Does the Old Testament present Jesus as God?
Did Jesus ever say that He was the Son of God?