HOW DOES APOSTLE JOHN PROVE THE DEITY OF CHRIST IN HIS GOSPEL ACCOUNT IN RELATION TO THE LAST JUDGMENT? (4 of 4)
By Dr. Eusebio A. Tanicala
How does Apostle John prove the deity of Christ in his gospel account in relation to the Last Judgment?
We resume the study on the deity of Christ Jesus based on the Gospel account of Apostle John. The Last Judgment is the most awaited event in our history when all nations and all peoples shall gather before the Great Judge at the end of the world. That Great Judge will be Jesus Christ, who is both Man and God.
Important passages: “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him x x x and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:22-23, 27 ,ESV)
Please also read this: “since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.” (John 3:17)
It is important to determine what kind of belief we hold about Christ because He is the JUDGE before whom we shall account for our deeds at the Great Day of Judgment. Let us consider three major periods of existence for Christ: (a) Before Christ became flesh, (b) During His days in the flesh and dwelt among men on earth, and (c) After He resurrected and went back to heaven where He came from and now seated at the right hand of God. How do we consider the nature of Christ in these three periods?
1. Before He became flesh in 1 A.D. - John 1:1,2.
Christ was with God and was God. Notice the preposition “with” (pros in Greek, kasama sa Tagalog). He had existence in His spirit nature. Likas na kalagayan Niya ang pagka-Dios sa anyong espiritu noong pasimula bago pa nalalang ang mundo. This existence before the world was created is confirmed in 17:5. Father God loved him before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).
2. From birth in the flesh up to the crucifixion.
His humanity started with the work of the Holy Spirit forming a fetus in the womb of Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:20). That human body was prepared by God (Heb. 10:5). Joseph, the husband, did not know Mary until she gave birth to Jesus (Matt. 1:25). In that human body dwelt the fullness of the Godhead says Colossians 2:9, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” While in the flesh in our world, Hebrews 1:6 reads, “And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, Let all God’s angels worship him.” Kaya, habang nasa mundo, Christ was worthy of worship. And only God is worthy of worship. That means Christ was God while on earth. He was both a perfect man and perfect God. Did Christ lose his pagka-Dios when he became human? Hindi. Kagaya rin ni Diablo, when he became a snake and deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Devil did not stop being Diablo. While on earth, Christ also pronounced the forgiveness of sins. And only God can forgive sins.
3. From resurrection, his ascension, and now seated on his throne in heaven.
Eight days after Christ resurrected from the tomb, during his appearance to the 11 apostles recorded in John 20:26-29, Christ was both God and human. Upon seeing Christ, Apostle Thomas exclaimed: “My Lord and my God” (v. 28). He was man because Christ offered the audience to touch him, even to put fingers on the wounds on his side and on his hands (v. 27). Christ keep on appearing to his disciples, the 120 according to Acts 1, and the 500 as read in 1 Cor. 15:6. In his appearance in Luke 24:52, the apostles worshipped him. That means Christ is God because he accepted worship.
In heaven, Christ is seated on his throne as King and Lord. That is the sermon of Peter in Acts 2: That is the testimony of Apostle Paul in Philippians 2: 9-11. That is the declaration of Peter in 1 Peter 3.22. Also seen by Stephen in Acts 7:57.
Paul in Titus 2:13 declares that Christ is God in heaven and in that exalted position and nature as Deity, he will come down to judge the nations: “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Christ Jesus is God. He has the same essence or nature as the Father. Christ is man with a heavenly or glorified body now as read in Phil. 3:21, “who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” When Christ comes to judge, he is also called human in Acts 17:31; Acts 10:42; John 5:27.
Do you want to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ with the belief that he is Man only? Or it is most virtuous, most respectful to stand there with humility that the Judge is God and Man with glorified body?
This ends our series on the Book of John regarding the proof of the Deity of Christ. If you have any critical comments, please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maraming salamat.