Who Is Yeshua?
Yeshua (Jesus) is the most fascinating person of all time. On one hand, He was seemingly just a poor Jewish rabbi from a working class family. On the other hand, He is the most contemporaneously documented non-governmental figure of antiquity, the primary subject of the all-time best selling book, and the father of the world's largest religion — a faith that doesn't just follow and promote His teachings but also unreservedly regards Him as the one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth.
Biographically, Yeshua was a Jew born to Mary in Bethlehem. Mary and her husband, Joseph, were from the town of Nazareth. Yeshua lived in the Galillee, Judea, Samaria, and Egypt. His most prominent occupation was as an itinerate rabbi who frequently engaged in prophecy, teaching, parable storytelling, and miraculous works, such as healings, resurrections, and physics-defying feats. His public ministry is estimated to have occured over a course of three and half years, and during that time He amassed a devoted following and many critics. He was crucified and buried on the day of Passover and then rose again three days later on the Feast of Firstfruits. A few weeks after that, He ascended to heaven, where He currently lives. Since then, millions have experienced Him for themselves and come to believe that He is the Lord and God.
The identity of Yeshua is a foundational and central tenet of Biblical theology. Christians believe that Yeshua is not merely a prophet, teacher, or moral exemplar, but the very incarnation of God Himself. Here, we will delve into various Biblical passages that illuminate and support the diverse aspects of Yeshua's identity as Yahweh, the Word of God, the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Christ, the King, and the Alpha and Omega.
Yeshua is Yahweh
One of the most profound assertions about Yeshua's deity is His identification with Yahweh, the covenant name for God in the Old Testament. In the Gospel of John, Yeshua declares His divine nature using the words "I Am," a clear reference to Yahweh's self-revelation to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). In John 8:58, Yeshua states, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am." The otherwise nonsensical gramatical tense stresses His point; Yeshua does not say "I was," which would have merely stated His eternal prexistence, but He says "I Am," which covers both His prexeistance and His true identity as Yahweh. Yahweh claims the "I Am" declaration numerous times in the Hebrew Bible. An eaxmple of this is found in Isaiah 41:4 in which Yahweh says, "I, Yahweh, the First and the Last; I Am He." (The title "The First and the Last" is also used exclusively of Yahweh in the Old Testament and then as an identifier of Yeshua throughout the book of Revelation. Yeshua's "I Am" statement caused outrage among the religious leaders, as it implied a timeless existence that surpassed the limits of human history and His divinity.
Yeshua is the Word of God
The Gospel of John opens with a powerful theological prologue affirming Yeshua's preexistence and divine nature: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). This "Word" is later identified as Yeshua (John 1:14), establishing a direct connection between Yeshua and the divine creative force present at the very inception of the cosmos.
The concept of Yeshua as the Word of God is intricately woven into the fabric of Christian theology. In addition to the prologue in John's Gospel, Revelation 19:13 further solidifies this idea, describing Yeshua as the Word of God incarnate: "He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is The Word of God."
This identification emphasizes the role of Yeshua as the ultimate expression of God's relationship with with universe and humanity. From the very beginning of the Bible, we learn that God created our universe through speech. This Word of God, which is Yeshua, is the very substance of all things. In ancient Greek and Jewish philosophy, the logos (Word) was thought to be the divine reason that undergirds all things; it is absolute truth and reality. In Yahweh's incarnation as Yeshua, the Word of God not only speaks the divine message but embodies it in human form. Through Yeshua, God communicates His love, redemption, and plan for salvation. The Word of God is God and the expression of God.
Yeshua is the Lamb of God
The imagery of Yeshua as the Lamb of God is richly symbolic and draws from the Old Testament sacrificial system. John the Baptist, upon seeing Yeshua, declares, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). This title points to Yeshua's sacrificial role in atoning for the sins of humanity.
In Revelation, the Lamb is a recurring symbol, depicting Yeshua as the central figure in the heavenly worship. Revelation 5:12 describes the Lamb, slain though standing alive, receiving praise: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"
Yeshua is the Son of God
The title "Son of God" is significant in affirming Yeshua's divine nature and unique relationship with the Father. Yeshua was, quite literally, fathered by God Himself through the immacuate conception of the virgin Mary. In Matthew 16:16-17, Peter declares, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Yeshua responds positively to this confession, indicating the depth of the revelation Peter received.
Throughout the Gospels, Yeshua refers to God as His Father, which stands against the accusation He was merely an illegitmate child of Mary. Yeshua's claim of God as His Father also signals a divine filial relationship that wholely exists within God Himself. John 10:30 echoes this intrapersonal connection: "I and the Father are one." This oneness implies not only unity of purpose but a shared divine essence.
Elsewhere in the Bible, the title "son(s) of God" is also given to humans with the divine favor of God (e.g. Solomon in 2 Samuel 7:13–16), literally meaning a "descendant belonging to God." As Yeshua was incarnated as a human, had biological ancestry from Mary, and had the favor of God, this title is also applicable in that way. Yeshua is the Son of God in all applicable forms.
Yeshua is The Son of Man
In addition to being the Son of God, Yeshua frequently refers to Himself as "The Son of Man." This title, emphasizes Yeshua's humanity while also acknowledging His supremacy, authority, and dominion. In Mark 10:45, Yeshua explains His mission: "For even The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Hebraically, "man" is the same word given as a name to the first created human, Adam. While the Bible often uses "son of man/Adam" as a generic term for a human, Yeshua consistently refers to Himself as "The Son of Man." This definitive article ("the") draws attention to the fact that Yeshua is a human but also uniquely Human — one not descended paternally from Adam but truly a new Adam through which the curse and fall of Adam have no claim and a new heritage emerges, as the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49:
“So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being;’ the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second Man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly Man.”
The Son of Man imagery reaches its pinnacle in Yeshua's apocalyptic discourse, where He describes His future return in glory (Matthew 24:30) and the authority given to Him to judge the world (Matthew 25:31-32). This harkens back to the vision Daniel recieved centuries earlier wherein "One like a son of man" is given heavenly authority and Kingship over all the earth (Daniel 7:13-14) . In the New Testament's prophecies, we see Daniel's prophecy elaborated through the eventual reign of Yeshua as a literal God-King on earth.
Yeshua is the Christ
In Matthew 16:16, Peter's confession of Yeshua as "the Christ" is a pivotal moment, acknowledging Yeshua as the promised Messiah. Throughout the Gospels, Yeshua fulfills messianic prophecies, demonstrating His authority, performing miracles, and proclaiming the arrival of the kingdom of God. The term "Christ" is derived from the Greek word "Christos," meaning "anointed one" or "Messiah" in Hebrew, the Savior of God's people.
In the Old Testament, kings, priests, and prophets were anointed with oil as a symbol of consecration to their respective offices. Many prophecies in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) speak of an Anointed One who will save, restore, and rule the world. Moses prophesied a prophet who would surpass himself (Deuteronomy 18:15). Daniel speaks of this Anointed One being rejected and killed (Daniel 9:24-26) prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. Yeshua, as the Christ, both fulfilled and fulfills all these roles in the ultimate sense. He is the true Prophet, Great High Priest, and Eternal King.
Yeshua is the King
The theme of kingship is central to the New Testament portrayal of Yeshua. In the Gospel of Matthew, Yeshua is presented as the King of the Jews from His birth (Matthew 2:2) to His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:5). Pilate questions Yeshua about His kingship, to which Yeshua responds, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). Pilate then orders that Yeshua's execution plaque proclaim Him as the "King of the Jews."
Kingship underscores Yeshua's identity as Yahweh. From the time of Moses onward, Yahweh proclaimed Himself the sole King of Israel, in statements such as: "Thus says Yahweh, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, Yahweh of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me" (Isaiah 44:6). Revelation 19:16 vividly depicts Yeshua as the King of kings and Lord of lords, attesting to His ultimate authority and sovereignty over all creation. This regal imagery aligns with messianic expectations and underscores Yeshua's divine kingship. It is the same title identified with Yahweh in Deuteronomy 10:17: "For Yahweh, your God, is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God..."
Indeed, King Yeshua is King Yahweh.
Yeshua is the Alpha and Omega
The title "Alpha and Omega" appears multiple times in the book of Revelation, emphasizing Yeshua's divine identity, eternal nature, and cosmic significance. In Revelation 1:8, Yeshua declares, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end," signifying His involvement in the entire scope of creation and redemption. This title is repeated in Revelation 21:6, where Yeshua, seated on the throne, declares, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment." The imagery of the Alpha and Omega encapsulates the fullness of Yeshua's deity, from the initiation of creation to the consummation of God's redemptive plan.
To the original readers of Revelation, the first century Christian community in Asia, the identification of Yeshua as the Alpha and Omega had profound significance. In addition to signaling Yeshua as the start and end, as those letters are arranged within the Greek alphabet, they would have also noted the identification as Yahweh. In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament widely used throughout the first century), Yahweh's Hebrew name (יהוה) was transliterated as Ἰαω — spelled Iota Alpha Omega.
The deity of Yeshua is a multifaceted and profound doctrine woven throughout the pages of the Bible. From His identification as Yahweh and the Word of God to His diverse roles as the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Christ, the King, and more, the Biblical narrative consistently affirms Yeshua's divine nature and redemptive mission. As Christians reflect on these aspects of Yeshua's identity, they find assurance, hope, and a profound sense of worship in acknowledging the God-man who came to dwell among us and will soon return. Truly, He is our great Lord and our God.