Did Jesus Claim to be God?

Alpha and Omega

While John the apostle was in exile on the Island of Patmos, Jesus revealed to him in a vision the events that will occur in the last days. In the vision, John describes the following incredible scene:

“Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him – even those who pierced him … ’I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,’ says the Lord God. ‘I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come, the Almighty One.’”

So who is this Person who is called “the Alpha and Omega,” “the Lord God,” “the Almighty One”? We are told that he was “pierced.” That makes it clear that the Alpha and Omega is Jesus. He is the one who was pierced on the cross.

John, who was closer to Jesus than any other disciple, sees the image of the Person speaking to him. He writes:

“…I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands was one like a son of man. He was dressed in a robe extending down to his feet and he wore a wide golden belt around his chest. His head and hair were as white as wool, even as white as snow, and his eyes were like a fiery flame.”Rev. 1:13, 14, 16b.

It is impossible to grasp John’s emotions as he sees this Person shining like the sun in full strength, with eyes like flames of fire. He immediately fell as a dead man in front of the one he saw. If this was Jesus, why didn’t John know him? Perhaps he thought it was an angel? Let’s listen to John’s words.

“When I saw him I fell down at his feet as though I were dead, but he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, and the one who lives ”—Rev. 1:17!

The One talking to John identifies himself as, “the First and the Last,” a clear reference to his eternality. And since only God is eternal, this must be God. But in the same sentence he tells John that he is “the living one who died.” Thus, we know this could not be God the Father because the Father never suffered death as a man.

“And I saw a great white throne, and I saw the one who was sitting on it … And the one sitting on the throne said … ’I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End’” —Revelation 20:11; 21:6.

It is the Lord Jesus Christ who rules from the great white throne. Jesus had already told his disciples that he would be the final judge of men. He promised that those who put their trust in him would be saved from the judgment of sin, but those who reject him will be judged.

But did Jesus mean that he is really God the son, and not merely a created being like a prophet or and angel? Jesus answers that question in the next verse: “All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” (Revelation 20:7)

Conclusion

So did Jesus claim to be God, or was he simply misunderstood. Let’s take another look at Jesus’ claims and ask: would Jesus have made such radical claims if he was not God?

  • Jesus used God’s Name for himself
  • Jesus called himself “Son of Man”
  • Jesus called himself “Son of God”
  • Jesus claimed to forgive sin
  • Jesus claimed oneness with God
  • Jesus claimed all authority
  • Jesus accepted worship
  • Jesus called himself the “The Alpha and Omega”
  • Jesus called himself “God”

Some might say, “how can we believe Jesus’ claims? What proof did he leave?” Three days after his crucifixion, his disciples claimed they saw him alive. If their story was a hoax, it would have died out as the Romans submitted them to the most horrendous torture known to man. But their conviction and sincerity overpowered Rome and changed our world (See “Did Jesus rise from the dead?”). Lewis explains the reason for their conviction:

“What is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again.”[16]

This brilliant scholar had originally thought of Jesus as a myth, much like the man-made gods of Ancient Greece and Rome. But as he began to look at the evidence for Jesus Christ, he realized that the New Testament accounts of Jesus Christ are based upon solid, historical facts. (See “Are the Gospels Reliable?“)  This former skeptic concludes his investigation of the evidence for Jesus Christ with these thoughts:

“You must make your choice: Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse … But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”[17]

Lewis discovered that a personal relationship with Jesus gave his life meaning, purpose, and joy that surpassed all his dreams. He never regretted his choice and became a leading spokesman for Jesus Christ. What about you? Have you made your choice?

Endnotes

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