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Archive for December, 2009

Jesus is God

Soon many Christians of the world will celebrate Epiphany (“appearance” of Christ and visitation of the Wise Men, January 6th).  But to whom were these Magi coming, a mere peasant or the forsaken descendent of a long defunct dynasty?  If the New Testament is to be believed He was and is much more.  My last article demonstrated in part the external, pre-Nicean and internal, scriptural evidence for the New Testament’s reliability.  The presence of each of the 27 books and the absence of others (particularly late, Gnostic writings) is valid apart from accusations that the Council of Nicea and emperor Constantine contrived it. The same Scripture and pre-Nicean church fathers present a clear and strong case for who Jesus is.

          Following are quotes of church fathers from AD 105 to AD 305.1 Recall that the Council of Nicea occurred in AD 325.

   “God himself was manifested in human form.” (Ignatius)

  “It is fitting that you should think of Jesus Christ as God.” (Clement)

“The Father of the universe has a Son. And he… is even God.” (Justin Martyr)

“He is God, for the name Emmanuel indicates this.” (Irenaeus)

“…Christ our God.” (Tertullian)

“No one should be offended that the Savior is also God” (Origen)

“…He is not only man, but God also…” (Novatian)

“Jesus Christ, our Lord and God” (Cyprian)

“…He truly was and is… with God, and being God…” (Methodius)

“We believe him to be God.” (Lactantius)

“Christ performed all those miracles…the…duty of Divinity.” (Arnobious)

Polycarp, disciple of the apostle John who “was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ”, wrote in his Letter to the Philippians (not the book in the Bible, this having been written between AD 120-140), “to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead.”  Polycarp was burned at the stake in AD 155 affirming his belief in Christ as his Savior.  These men were not no-names or cronies from a political party.  They were leaders in their churches, different nationalities and generations (independent sources), who affirmed that Jesus is God. 

          How could they do otherwise and be truthful?  The New Testament gives abundant testimony to the nature of Christ as both fully man and fully God.  The most clearly attested New Testament books, the Gospels, record Jesus’ declarations of who He is. “So the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’  Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’  Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him…” (John 8:57-59).  The strongest evidence that this clearly is a declaration of deity by Jesus was given by the Jews who attempted to stone Him. They rightly understood that Jesus was declaring Himself to be the “I AM” of Exodus 3:14 and proceeded to execute the judgment of “anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16).  Jesus also said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).  On another occasion Jesus said to His disciple, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9).  These two declarations of unity with the Father do not mean similarity but congruence of essence and nature.  But why doesn’t Jesus just say He is God?  The reason is clear.  Jesus says of Himself, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me of whom you say, ‘He is our God’;” (John 8:54).  Jesus is giving more than enough information for anyone who hears Him to believe that He is claiming to be God and backs it up with miracles and fulfilled prophecy.  But “The Jews gathered around Him, saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense?  If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’  Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe.  The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me.’” (John 10:24-25).  What a privilege I have to begin the New Year with the declaration that Jesus is my God and Savior.  What a good time for Him to become yours.

1A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, editor David Bercot, 1998.

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It was one of those “around the end” weather patterns that bring us the big snows.  When we more typically get a front come over the mountains, because we are in the lee, most of the snow is shed on the Tennessee side and in the mountains.  But when the cold comes over the mountains and the moisture comes from the Gulf by way of a low pressure moving around the southern end of the Appalachian chain  then near to shore or across the coastal plain, watch out.

Catalpa Drift

I went out this morning to take pictures before the temperature began to rise and the foot and road traffic began to obscure the beauty.  I discovered last evening while taking a 4 mile walk with two of my sons that they prefer frolicing while my disposition of years causes me to prefer soaking in the beauty.  The storm, of course, reminds us of the ’93 blizzard, and from a localized perspective it may be apropos in places, but the snow is nowhere near as deep and the extent of the storm does not compare.  Still it will be a snow to remember and my youngest son just saw his first 6+ inch snow of his young life.  It may have caused me to start my school break 3 days early.  If the temperature stays low enough to preserve some snow or cause icy spots on the road, we’ll stay home.  I have no lack of reading, writing, and chores to keep me busy.  Snow presents multiple opportunities for pursuits not otherwise available.  It is one of the

The evidence

 pleasures of snow days:  Time spent with family, varied activity, exercise, rest, and memories. The mystique surrounding a snow may have more to do with what else happens because of the snow rather than the snow itself.  But on the otherhand snow is refreshing to the soul and few there are that don’t get excited at its sight.  I am thankful to God for the timing, its beauty, a warm dry house, and family to enjoy it with.  I hope people are finding shelter and being prudent about travel.  I think I’ll continue my snow day activities and hope yours are pleasant to you.

A Snowball Bush

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