Jesus Christ made some earth-shaking statements that stunned the Jewish religious leaders. Once, after Jesus blurted out to them, “I am the light of the world”, the Pharisees challenged his authority in making such a claim. Jesus answered by telling them he was sent by God, whom he called his Father. Furthermore, Jesus told them that the patriarch, Abraham, looked forward to seeing him (Jesus).
What a shocking claim! In their eyes, Jesus was an uneducated carpenter who should stay out of their exclusive world of interpreting the Scriptures and preaching about God. Yet here he was, not only speaking intimately about God as his Father, but claiming to be the object of Abraham’s adoration.
Incredulous, the Jewish leaders rebuked him, “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” What Jesus said next not only shocked the Pharisees; it infuriated them. Jesus boldly told them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
Jesus had just broken a cardinal rule of the Jewish belief, one that was punishable by death. He had used the holy name that God had given to Moses for himself, “I AM.” Shocked and incensed, these PhDs in religion immediately took up stones with the intent to kill Jesus for blasphemy.
So what does I AM have to do with the name, Jehovah? The name God had given to Moses (I AM) as his exclusive name was pronounced in Hebrew, Yahweh. It is that Hebrew name, Yahweh, that has later been translated, Jehovah.
Jehovah is not the only Old Testament name for God. The God of the Hebrews often used different names to describe Himself to his people. Usually those names revealed aspects of his character, or attributes that distinguished Him from us. But the most common of all those names is Jehovah. The name Jehovah appears in the Old Testament some 6,000 times.
So we come to the question that Jesus raised to the Pharisees by identifying himself as I AM: Is Jesus Jehovah?
To answer that vital question, we need to examine the Scriptures. Although Jehovah spoke of Himself as “LORD,” the Creator, and the only one in the universe worthy of worship, the New Testament gives us striking parallels between Jesus and Jehovah.
The name, “LORD” in these Old Testament passages has been translated from the Hebrew name, “Yahweh,” which we have already stated, means “Jehovah.” Let’s compare these Old Testament and New Testament passages to see if Jesus Christ is the Jehovah of the Hebrew Scriptures:
|Jehovah of the Old Testament||Jesus of the New Testament|
|“God, the LORD, created the heavens and earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” “He stretched them out. He created the earth.” Psalm 8:3; Psalm 33:6; Isaiah 40:22||“Lord, in the beginning you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” Hebrews 1:10|
|“The LORD, your Redeemer and Creator, says: ‘I am the LORD, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. By myself I made the earth and everything in it.” Isaiah 44:24||“Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see…. Everything has been created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16|
|“I am the LORD; there is no other God.” Isaiah 45:5||“Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God.” Philippians 2:5|
|“Every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to my name.” Isaiah 45:23||“That at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10, 11|
|“There is no other God; there never has been and never will be. I am the LORD, and there is no other Savior.” Isaiah 43:10, 11||“For Jesus is the one…. There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.” Acts 4:11, 12|
|“This is what the LORD, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty, says: I am the first and the Last; there is no other God.” Isaiah 44:6||“This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who died and is alive….” Revelation 2:8|
Do these Scriptures reveal that Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament? Let’s review the parallels. Both Jehovah and Jesus are called:
The creation of the universe, the saving and redemption of man, the reigning king in the kingdom to come and eternal existence are attributed to both Jehovah in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament.
Furthermore, the Old Testament tells us that we are to only bow our knees to Jehovah, whereas the New Testament tells us that everyone who has ever existed will bow their knees to Jesus.
Zechariah the prophet speaks of Jehovah returning to Jerusalem in the last days, when he will save them from their enemies. When he returns as their Savior, he will bear the marks of wounds in his hands that occurred in “the house of my friends.”
But wait a minute! If Jehovah is God, how could he be wounded? How can God be wounded–unless he has a body?
Furthermore, without a body, how could Jehovah stand on the Mount of Olives as the prophecy tells us he will?
Prior to leaving earth, Jesus told his disciples that he would return as king, to reign with full authority. But Zechariah tells us that “the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”
His name one! It won’t be Jesus and Jehovah who return to earth; it will be Jesus–who is Jehovah! Both Old and New Testament Scriptures point to Jesus Christ as this wounded LORD (Jehovah) who will return to the house of his friends with the nail prints in his hands clearly visible. Wounds that he suffered on the cross when he died for us.What an amazing God we have! He is a God who stepped down from His lofty position as Lord of the universe to personally pay for our sins on the cross.