The First and the Last

In John 10:30 (cf. 10:38), Jesus makes a bold statement. He says, “The Father and I are one.” What follows next is intriguing. The Jewish picked up stones to stone Him (v. 31) because He claimed to be God (v. 33). Interestingly, we read in John 10:39, “Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.” It is either Jesus was crazy and out of His mind by making such a claim, and the Jewish opponents were right, or Jesus is truly God, and the Jewish opponents were wrong.

I would like us to study a few Bible texts to establish the truth.

In Isaiah 44:6, 8b, we read, “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, (emphasis supplied) And there is no God besides Me… Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.” In Isaiah 41:4, the Bible states,  “Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I AM HE.’ ” It is clear from these texts that the Lord refers to Himself as the First and Last.

Further, ins Isaiah 48:12–13, we read, “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I AM HE, I am the first, I am also the last. “Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together. Fellow Trinitarians, kindly note that whenever God refers to himself as the First and the Last, it is in light of the reliability of His prophetic utterances.

Friends, something interesting happens in John 18:6, “When Jesus said, “I AM HE,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” Based on what we read in Isaiah, I wonder whether Jesus identified himself as Jesus of Nazareth or claimed that He is not just Jesus of Nazareth but rather Jesus Christ, the redeemer and God. And His response was so powerful that those who came to arrest Him fell to the ground. At this point, I would not want to speculate. However, it is important we read John 8:24,26. “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; unless you believe that I AM HE, you will die in your sins… So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM HE, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”  

Jesus refers to Himself as “I AM HE,” a title of God. This is the reason why the Jews accused him of blasphemy. It is such claims that led even his family to conclude that “He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:21; cf. Mark 3:14,15) and choose not “to believe in Him” (John 7:5). Many people today are anti-trinitarian because they can not explain or comprehend the thought that Jesus is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father (I will come to the Holy Spirit later).

Consider the following Bible verses from the book of Revelation

Revelation 1:8,  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:6, “and He has made us be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

In Revelation 1:6, Jesus has made ‘us’ to be priests to “His God and Father,” whereas, in Revelation 1:8, He is ‘the Lord God and calls Himself “the Alpha and Omega, and the Almighty.” Is this a logical contradiction? Evidence from Scripture answers with an emphatic NO, much as we may not aptly explain how there is only one God (Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29), yet Jesus calls the Father His God and calls Himself God as we have read. No wonder David exclaimed, “O LORD, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears (1 Chronicle 17:20).

In Revelation 1:17, we read, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last.” In Revelation 22:13, we read, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” The two Bible verses refer to Jesus Christ. Why would Jesus call himself God if He is not? Remember, in Isaiah 44:6, it is written, “I am the first, and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.” In Revelation 22:8-9 when John fell to worship at the feet of the angel, the angel told John, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren, the prophets, and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God”(cf, Phillipians 2:8-11).

Based on overwhelming evidence from the Bible, the Doctrine of the Trinity is biblical. Let not statements by earlier pioneers make you think that you are wrong. God is still in the business of enlightening us. He did not stop with the early Adventist pioneers. And as Ellen G. White admonishes us in the article ‘Christ Our Hope’ that, “There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair.” (emphasis supplied)(The Review and Herald, December 20, 1982)

 

Pastor Omwocha Nyaribo can be reached at onyaribo@indysda.org for question or request Bible study on the Doctrine of the Trinity.