I received a question, which perhaps others of you have, about the distinction between ‘divinity’ and ‘deity’. Even a good dictionary does not always make a clear distinction.
For me, it is understood like this:
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Gen. 1:27 So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
James 3:9 With [the tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the image of God.
2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature.
John 12:34-41; Isa. 6 The Son of Man, Messiah Yeshua, is YHVH Tzva’ot (LORD of Hosts)! Men and angels worship Him! Hallelu-Yah!
Phil. 2:5-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Yeshua/Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on Earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Yeshua the Messiah is LORD (YHVH), to the glory of God the Father.
Col. 2:9 For in [Yeshua] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Rev. 1:8 I am the Aleph and the Tav, the Beginning and End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty!
From the first three examples, Man was created with a certain measure of divinity, being uniquely created and made in the image of God. According to James (Jacob), this is still true for unsaved humans.
Peter tells us that we have become partakers of the divine nature if we are born-again by the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is in those who are saved; in fact, we are a new creation; and, therefore, we have a greater measure of divinity now in Messiah than when we were only in Adam. (The Dalai Lama can claim “divinity” if he wants to, as any other man!)
We who are born-again can claim divinity, too, if it is important for us to do so to counter evolutionist implications. (In any case, all born-again believers are saints, even if not quite living up to the call of holiness required of us. See 1 Cor. 1:2)
Yeshua, though, is not only divine, but also deity (Deity). He is the Son of God, equal as God, and can be worshipped. He is not created, but rather came to us and had a body prepared for Him. (Psa. 40:6; Heb. 10:5)
For all our divinity and divine nature as born-again believers, we are not God (even though Psa. 82 and Yeshua refer to religious-political-judicial leaders in Israel (or else to angelic divine beings appointed by YHVH to rule over the other nations) as ‘gods’, for the Word of God was given to them to teach, govern, and judge), and we are not to be worshipped! We did not create anything, nor can we redeem and save anyone, not to mention much else that only the one, true, living God is and does.
To refer only to the “divinity of Jesus Christ” — and not also to His deity — is to diminish His unique person and glory. All the angels of God will worship Him; as will every other created thing that has breath! (Heb. 1:2-8; Psa. 150:6)
I hope this helps, not only in grasping the uniqueness of who Yeshua is, but also why only the Scriptures, which are God-breathed by the Holy Spirit (and our God has graciously given them into all of our hands) must be the authoritative source for our faith and our life, and brotherly love and unity.
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12 Dec 2008
In your email below you make a statement that Yeshua “is the Son of God, equal as God”. This is partly true as a general statement. I would agree as far as power but not in authority. Please see John 14:28 in which Yeshua says “…the Father is greater than I”. I think this point needs to be brought too. Have a peaceful Shabbath,
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12 Dec 2008
There are several verses indicating the Yeshua is submitted to the Father, not only John 14:28. As I mentioned already, He prayed to the Father. He also only said and did what the Father gave Him to say and do. Phil. 2:6-8 makes it very clear that this was a willing emptying and humbling of the Son to God the Father; He ‘could have’ come and said that He was equal with God. . .because He is. At the end of the Millennial Kingdom, He will deliver the Kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and authority and power, so that God will be all and in all. Love will be ‘the law’, and there will be no sin and no need to rule over anyone.
The Word was with God and the Word was God! God is [invisible] spirit; He spoke, which was the Word that came out from Him, who ultimately became flesh in the person of the Son of God/Son of Man — the Lord Yeshua the Messiah! The Word (the Son and express image of the invisible God) is subject to the One who spoke it. This great mystery of Godliness is a one-triune-YHVH God thing!
I hope this further helps to clarify what is obviously too great for us, but enough is revealed to be believed on as the truth, without falling into otherwise idolatrous and blasphemous retreats of the natural mind. It is a revelation which we must believe in order to begin to grow in the understanding of what otherwise is unknowable. God is light!
Shabbat shalom, C,
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12 Dec 2008
Thanks Howard. I hope the whole Body of Messiah will believe in this truth.
This article originally appeared in Streams in the Negev, December 9, 2008, revised February 6, 2018, and reposted with permission.