GOD OUR SAVIOUR
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15). "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14). These statements are true; they are from the inspired Word of God. However, the question is now whether this joint effort of the Father and the Son has fulfilled its purpose and become effective in my life, in your life. Can we honestly say in the language of Scripture, "God my Saviour"?
There are no words that are more precious that can come from the lips of an individual than these words spoken in truth. They were spoken by Mary the mother of our Lord when she said in her beautiful magnificat: "My soul cloth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1:46,47). If one can in truth say, "God my Saviour", he can rest assured that he has the ultimate Saviour. There can be none that is better, none more perfect, none that can give better assurance of salvation. If God is our Saviour then we are saved, and we can assert this as a fact that is founded upon the solid rock of God's Word. One can only feel sorry for those unstable souls who glory in His power as the Creator, but doubt His ability as a Saviour.
The words "God our Saviour" can well be said to be the most precious and most important in the Bible. The unsettled state of so many professing Christians is the result of never having fully entered into the meaning of these words. The lack of settled peace and conf idence, so common among God's people, is the outcome of not appreciating and not believing the truth declared in them. We need to know Who the Saviour is and what the Saviour is before we can fully trust Him.
To fully appreciate the meaning of the words "God our Saviour", we must approach them through the Old Testament. The prophet Isaiah is the one who most fully develops this theme. It was through him that Jehovah declared:
- Ye are My witness, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I am the LORD (Jehovah); and beside Me there is no Saviour. Isa. 43 :10, 11.
In response to this declaration that there is no God but Jehovah and no Saviour but Jehovah, let all who read these lines say, "It is truth" (Isa. 43:9). Let us remember that one becomes a believer by believing the truth that is at hand, even if it is the first truth that one has heard. There is no profit in disputing, in doubting, in arguing. There is no value in demanding that all truth be in hand before any is believed. God has spoken, and here we have a truth before us to be believed. There is no Saviour but Jehovah, the God who is seen throughout the Old Testament. This great truth is repeated in the words of Jehovah in Isa. 45:21,22:
- Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD (Jehovah)? and there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
In these words we see God presenting Himself as the Saviour, the one and only Saviour, calling upon men to look to Him and be saved, even those living in the most remote places, which is what the idiomatic phrase "all the ends of the earth" really means. Thus this call is to all mankind, and if mankind as a whole does not respond, then let the individual look to Him and He will not be sent away empty handed.
If the majority rejects and if the minority is slow to believe, then let us break with both of them and believe as individuals in the Saviour, in the salvation He provides, and in the declared way of obtaining both the Saviour and salvation. Let us not follow a multitude to do evil (Ex. 23:2). For while this great offering of Jehovah Himself as the Saviour was primarily to Israel and then to all mankind, it was also to the individual as will be seen in the passage that follows this offer:
- Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men come; and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. Isa. 45 :24.
In the italicised word one in the above passage we have an attempt of the translators to express the singular in number which is what it is in the Hebrew text. But they did not follow through when they supplied the word men in the following clause. This is also singular and should read "shall one come".
The great truth that Jehovah was the only God and the only Saviour was well known in Israel at that point of time when the New Testament begins. While there is evidence that they neglected most of the Old Testament, having made it void through their traditions, this was not so concerning the prophecy of Isaiah. This was the one scroll that would be found in the synagogue if they could afford only one portion.
When the Messiah was born in Bethlehem it was the specific instructions of the angel of the Lord that His parents should "call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). The name "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Jehoshua" which means "Jehovah the Saviour". From this His supposed father Joseph must have known that He was an unusual person, for this name was not given to Him to proclaim the fact that Jehovah saves, as in the case of others who bore it, but to emphasise the fact that One who bore it was Himself to do the saving. This is seen in the reason declared for giving it to Him. "For He shall save His people from their sins".
This is in harmony with the message proclaimed by the angels to the shepherds:
- For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11.
This announcement must have created a dilemma for all who heard it since it announced a Saviour which is Christ the Lord, but it is apparent it did not. The shepherds who first heard it said at once,"Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us" (Luke 2:15). They faced no predicament of two Saviours for these humble men had light and faith which few have today. They knew that Jehovah of old had declared that He alone was the Saviour and that there is no Saviour but Him. Yet they faced no problem in receiving this babe born in Bethlehem as the Saviour, something they could not have done if the one named Jesus was not Jehovah. However, this was the very truth announced by the angel, that this one born in Bethlehem was "Messiah Jehovah", which is what the Greek Christos Kurios actually means.
The people of Israel never had to face the dilemma of two Saviours, one the Jehovah of the Old Testament who declared that He was the only Saviour, and Jesus Christ of the New Testament who is presented by the angels as the Saviour and in turn presented Himself as such. Thus the faithful believed, just as we need to believe, that this One born in Bethlehem was in reality the Jehovah of the Old Testament. If not, then there are two who claim to be the Saviour and one of them must be branded as an impostor. In fact Jesus should be rejected as such if He is not Jehovah. See Issue No. 2for a fuller treatment of this important truth.
As we trace out further the theme of "God our Saviour" through the New Testament we come to the testimony of the Apostle Paul who sets forth beyond all question that the God who is our Saviour is the Lord Jesus Christ. In his epistle to Titus he speaks of "the commandment of God our Saviour" (Titus 1:3) and in the same sentence speaks of "the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour" (Titus 1 :4). Can it be that he is presenting two Saviours here? Certainly not. He would not be guilty of such a thought. God our Saviour and the Lord Jesus Christ are one and the same. Any conception of God that does not recognise this is false and contrary to divine revelation.
It is quite evident that the Spirit of God desired to emphasise this truth since it is brought out again in the next chapter of this epistle. In Titus 2:10 he speaks of "God our Saviour" and in the same sentence speaks of "the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (2:13). And as if to establish the truth by three witnesses, in Titus 3:4 he speaks of "the kindness and love of God our Savior" and in the same sentence speaks of "Jesus Christ our Saviour". Truly our God is our Saviour.
There is solid encouragement for every child of God in the realisation of this great truth. The joy of salvation comes from knowing the One who is our Saviour. Think what it means to be able to say that the Great Creator became our Saviour. And if the Creator is not God, then who is God?
In Isaiah 44:24 the great Jehovah declares that He alone is the Creator, that He did it Himself, and no agents were involved. This truth is repeated in Isa. 45:12. Thus it is clear that the One called Jehovah (LORD) in Isaiah is the One called Elohim in Genesis 1:1, where we read, "In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth". Continuing in the Word we come to John 1:1 where one called the Word (Logos) is set before us, and we are told that "the Word (Logos) was God". And as a further means of identification we are told that, "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3). Therefore, whether it is Elohim who is presented as the Creator in Genesis 1:1, or Jehovah who is declared to be the only Creator in Isaiah 45:12 or the Logos who is presented as the Creator in John 1:3, it is the same One. Then when we come to John 1:14 we are told that the Word (Logos) was made flesh and became a man upon this earth beheld by others. This is our Lord Christ Jesus, and this is our Saviour. This is the One who fills the pages of God's book.
"Look unto Me and be ye saved, for I am God and there is none else" (Isa. 45:22) is the divine invitation. It was Jehovah who issued this bid, and by it He proclaimed that He alone is the Saviour and that He wants men to be saved. "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me", is the declaration of the Lord Jesus. All who ever came to Jesus Christ came to God the Father, and no one has ever come to the Father save by the Son of God. "I and My Father are one", is His word concerning this. "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same has not the Father; but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also" (1 John 2:23).
I have already said that a man becomes a believer by believing the truth that is at hand. Let every reader of these lines go over the preceding paragraph once again and then ask himself if this is his belief. If so, he may have the right to say, "God my Saviour". NEXT
THE LORD JESUS IS JEHOVAH
In order to qualify as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ one must believe the record God has given of His Son. To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe what the Bible says concerning Him. The central and most important feature of divine revelation in regard to Him is that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament. There is no fact concerning the man Christ Jesus that is declared more emphatically or that is set forth in more detail than that He is Jehovah.
In spite of this preponderance of testimony, a denomination that calls itself "Jehovah's Witnesses" is most aggressive in the denial of this great Biblical fact. However, in their house to house canvassing they seldom come upon one who is familiar with all the facts of Scripture bearing on this great truth, and this results in many triumphs for them over these ignorant ones. This situation demands that the facts should be made known, so "To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isa. 8:20.
In examining the evidence the student will need to remember that every time he comes upon the name LORD in the King James Version spelled out in capital letters, that this represents the Hebrew word Yahweh which we translate Jehovah. He will also need to note that due to an extreme (but mistaken) reverence for the ineffable name "Yahweh" the ancient custodians of the sacred text, the Massorites, substituted in 134 places the name Adonai. The Companion Bible gives a complete list of these (Appendix 32). They committed no sin in doing this as it was merely the substitution of one name of God (Adonai) for another (Yahweh).
In Genesis 15:2,8 Abraham twice called Jehovah (The One who spoke to him) "Lord GOD", which in the Hebrew reads Adonai Jehovah . This presents a great difficulty for those who try to tell us that Jehovah refers only to "the Father," and Adonai refers only to "the Son." This bit of misinformation is constantly being thrown out by those whose conversation shows that they have never made a personal study of the Hebrew titles given to the Deity. Even a superficial acquaintance with the use of these names in Scripture would show that such an idea is impossible. Can we deduce from the two passages cited above that two distinct beings or personalities dealt with Abraham? Certainly not! The titles Jehovah and Adonai are so inextricably interwoven that no one with knowledge would think of applying them to two separate beings. They are many times used in combination; the prophet Ezekiel alone does so almost two hundred times.
- In Isaiah 6:1-3 the prophet declares: In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
This vision was so overpowering that it caused Isaiah to cry out: "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts. (Isaiah 6:5)
Thus in verse one the prophet says, "I saw the Lord" (Adonai), and in verse five he says, "Mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts." This presents an insuperable difficulty to those who would tell us that these two names represent two different beings, since they show that Jehovah and Adonai are one and the same.
In John 12:38 to 41 a part of this passage is quoted and it is declared that this was a vision of the glory of Christ; "These things said Esaias (Isaiah), when he saw His glory, and spake of Him." (Jn. 12:41).
In Isaiah 40:3 the prophet speaks of the preparation of a path for Jehovah. "Prepare ye the way of the LORD (Jehovah)," are his stirring words. Seven hundred years later John the Baptist adopts this passage, applies it to himself as the forerunner and to the preparation for the public appearance of the Lord Jesus. See Mt. 3:3, and Jn.1:23. Truly the One whom Isaiah spoke about (Jehovah) is the One who John heralded (Jesus).
Again in Isaiah, in a passage that begins with the majestic words, "Thus saith the LORD (Jehovah) that created the heavens, God (Elohim) that formed the earth and made it" (Isa. 45:18), Jehovah the Creator declares that "unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear" (Isa. 45:23). This is a part of His future glory -- the honouring of One who repeatedly declares that "My glory will I not give to another" (Isa. 42:8). Yet in Philippians 2:9-11 it is declared of the one who died "the death of the cross:"
- Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What else can "Lord" mean in this passage except Jehovah? The universal confession that is yet to be made is that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, a confession that is forced upon men by the unveiling of Jesus Christ. Some of us willingly confess this now.
The "Jehovah Witness" people claim that they find their name in Isaiah 43:10,12, and 44:8. If so one would think that these witnesses would be patently familiar with everything declared in these two chapters, also with those chapters which form the context, chapters 42 and 45. However, in conversation with quite a few of them I have found them to be ignorant of this quartet of chapters as a whole and to have very little interest in what is said in them outside of the three small fragments they use for their name. Yet, these four chapters contain some of the greatest declarations to be found in Scripture. Consider these words:
- Thus saith God the LORD (Jehovah Elohim), he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I am the LORD (Jehovah): that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:5,8)
- Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD (Jehovah), and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD (Jehovah); and beside me there is no saviour. (Isaiah 43:10-11).
- Thus saith the LORD (Jehovah) the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6) Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. (Isaiah 44:8).
- Thus saith the LORD (Jehovah), thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD (Jehovah) that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; (Isaiah 44:24).
- I am the LORD (Jehovah), and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD (Jehovah), and there is none else. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. (Isaiah 45:5,6,12).
- Who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD (Jehovah)? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Isaiah 45:21-23).
The above passages should be read carefully once again noting exactly what Jehovah declares concerning Himself. He declares that He is the Creator of the heavens, the earth, all that comes out of it and man upon it. He declares that He is the maker of all things, that He alone stretched forth the heavens, that He spread abroad the earth by Himself. Words could not be stronger or more explicit in claiming that He acted alone in the creation. Therefore, when we are told by the Spirit of God in John 1:3 that the Word, the very Word who be came flesh, made all things and "without Him was not any thing made that was made," only one conclusion is possible. The one set forth as the Creator in Isaiah is the One set forth as Creator in John. Jehovah is Jesus.
Jehovah proclaims that He is the redeemer of Israel, yet in the New Testament redemption is predicated over and over again to the Lord Jesus, the Christ "in whom we have redemption through His blood" (Eph. 1:7). Surely, Jesus is Jehovah.
It is the word of Jehovah that He alone is God, that there is none beside Him, that there is none like Him, that before Him there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Him. Yet in spite of these declarations the "Jehovah Witnesses" would explain away the explicit statement found in John 1:1 that "the Word was God" by inserting the indefinite article and saying that Jesus was a God. This cannot be true for it results in a second God who is not Jehovah. Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same God.
Jehovah declares three times that beside Him there is no Saviour: Isa. 43.11, 45:21, and Hos. 13:4. And yet the angels declared at the birth of Jesus that a Saviour had been born which Christ the Lord. These words can mean nothing but "Messiah Jehovah". Jesus cannot be a Saviour unless He is Jehovah.
Jehovah declares that He is the "First and the Last". All must agree that there cannot be two firsts and two lasts. How can it be then that the resurrected Jesus declares in Revelation 1:11, 17 and 18 that He is "the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last". There is no way this could possible be true unless the speaker Himself is Jehovah.
Jehovah declares that there is none like Him, none to whom He can be likened, none equal to Him, yet the Lord Jesus declared that those who had seen Hi m had seen the Father, that those who knew Him knew the Father, that men should honour Him even as they honoured the Father. John 5:23, 8:19, and 14:7 and 9. Paul declares that Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Not one word of this can be true if Jesus is not Jehovah.
Again, I repeat, there is no fact that is declared more emphatically or that is set forth in more detail than that the Lord Jesus is Jehovah. This is the record God has given. Salvation becomes ours when we believe the record God has given of His Son.