4

Is Jesus claiming to be God with his statement in Luke 21:33?

What Jesus said in Luke 21:33 sounds like claiming to be God:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. (Luke 21:33, ESV)

ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσονται, οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρελεύσονται. (Luke 21:33, NA27)

Especially, when one considers the Old Testament passages:

 The grass withers, the flower fades, 
but the word of our God will stand forever.  (Is 40:8, ESV)


        Forever, O LORD, your word 
 is firmly fixed in the heavens.  (Psa. 119:89, ESV)


       so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; 
 it shall not return to me empty, 
             but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 
 and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  (Isa. 55:11, ESV)

And, Jesus puts his words on par with God’s law:

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Mat 5:18, ESV)

But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void. (Luke 16:17, ESV)

1
  • 1
    It's an allusion not a direct claim. – Glukrom Sep 7 '20 at 11:32
5

"Nothing so ruins a good case as when it is overstated." As with the rest of the Bible, we must treat the deity of Christ with absolute modicum. This is a perfect case in point.

While I firmly believe in the deity of Christ, I think it is a bit of a logical stretch to use this passage as evidence. The reason is simple. If this passage is proof that its author is divine, then that might make Moses, who is deemed to have written the "Law" divine. (See Heb 9:19, 10:28, 1 Cor 9:9, Luke 2:22, John 7:23, Acts 13:39, etc).

That is, if Jesus is saying the "Law" is eternal (Matt 5:18, Luke 16:17) and only God's word is eternal, then Moses must be God. While this is a fallacious argument because of who is deemed to have inspired Moses to write, all that does is to make the Holy Spirit divine (2 Peter 1:16-21, etc).

Therefore, for Luke 21:33 to qualify as evidence of Jesus' divinity, one would need to demonstrate that Jesus' words were His own and not (as with the prophets) inspired by the Father or the Holy Spirit. This is not straight forward because of Jesus' numerous statements that He spoke only what the Father tells Him (eg, John 8:28, 14:10, etc).

1
  • @user25930 "Therefore, for Luke 21:33 to qualify as evidence of Jesus' divinity, one would need to demonstrate that Jesus' words were His own and not (as with the prophets) inspired by the Father or the Holy Spirit". The Spirit Himself teaches humans that Jesus is Lord and thus worshipable along with the Father (1 Cor. 12:3), so how can Someone equal to the Father be inSpired by Spirit who is also equal to the Father? Then we can say that the Spirit is also inLogicized by Logos, but it is absurd: neither Logos is inSpired nor Holy Ghost is inLogicized. – Levan Gigineishvili Nov 27 '20 at 19:37
3

No, a claim to be God would be more like "I am God." In John 3:34 John explains that God gave the Spirit to Jesus all at once (at his mikveh, when John washed him) and from that time on his every word was what he had learned from his father: the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Jhn 3:34 KJV - 34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

I go into more detail in this post.

1
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Soldarnal Feb 24 '19 at 20:10
2

Evidently, Jesus links aspects of himself with aspects of God, at least in terms of status. I agree with Mac's Musings that one instance does not a godhead make, but Jesus often things like this. Hence, the disagreement between Trinitarians and branches that read Jesus as son or prophet, but not deity, lies in whether you take the sum total of all the times he does this as

  • (a) a statement of identity with God
  • (b) an ancient custom whereby someone's representative speaks as if they were that person
  • (c) otherwise figurative language

In any case, the line of reasoning you're talking about is indeed attested. Similarly, some study Bibles and commentaries identify the various times one of Jesus's aphorisms or parables is actually one that was already told by rabbis, but he subtitutes himself for the God character. For example, there was a Jewish parable about building a house on the rock, but in the parable the rock was God's law instead of Jesus' words.

This is a very deep discussion, and it's not really possible to hash it all out here. In my opinion, it's also not possible to inarguably win either way, despite the confidence with which some people come down on one side or the other. It involves decisions about language and its literal and figurative uses. For example, C.S. Lewis cited Matthew 23:37 where Jesus uses the first person for a statement that only seems to make sense from God's point of view:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (NIV)

Are we to take these words at face value and conclude that Jesus is speaking as himself here? Or is he paraphrasing the sort of thing God says through prophets in scripture? After all, if I say, "Et tu, Brute?" you understand that I'm alluding to Shakespeare and not that I'm Caesar or you're Brutus. Are we allowed to stray from the Bible's literal words and decide what is a rhetorical structure? Sometimes it seems reasonable, sometimes not. Too bad there were no quotation marks in Koine Greek writing. As it is, what we have are compelling arguments, not scientific facts.

This line of thinking is sometimes used to push claims of divinity earlier into the synoptic gospels, since John is generally seen as more explicitly supporting the identification of Jesus with God, but since it was written later some argue that it retroactively imposes theology on Jesus (another whole discussion). For example, in John 14:9, Jesus says "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (NIV), which you can still argue is figurative but it's a harder case to win compared to the synoptic inferences.

2

If Jesus were to ask me (as a devout Jew in Judea 2000 years ago), "Do you believe that I am Jahweh?", I would be

  1. scared out of my skin to be asked something like that,
  2. tongue-tied, and
  3. desperate to come up with an answer like Peter's (John 11:27: Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Son of God...) which is sort of defensible and shows an openness to deeper faith.

The universal translation of Λόγος from John 1:1 into English as word rather than as Logos can be misleading. Here’s why: word is defined as a small fragment of communication. E.g., in the sequence of communication fragments:

  1. letter,
  2. syllable,
  3. word,
  4. phrase,
  5. sentence,
  6. thought,
  7. issue,
  8. philosophy,

word is toward the small end of things.

But Logos (Λόγος) is much more extensive; in Greek, it means all these things: word, speech, account, reason, discourse, ground, plea, opinion, expectation, principle of order and knowledge, and divine activating principle which pervades the universe. The seven words at the end are just part of the meaning of Logos. (BTW, if John had specifically meant word, he could have used lexis, which comes from the same root.)

I Google translated words into Greek, and got λόγια (logia), so the translation seems OK, but then I did many words and got πολλές λέξεις (pollés léxeis), from the root which really means a simple word.

A similar NT saying (1Peter 1:25: ...the word of the Lord endures forever..) translates ῥῆμα (rhēma) as word. It seems that λόγια (in Matthew 24:35 and Luke) might suggest a situation where Jesus said something with a deeper implication, and that implication was picked up and written into the NT.

I think that Jesus came not to claim anything, but rather to invite you to believe in Him, to have that faith which will save you.

1
1

Not a single prophet will dare to say this and has not said this, for the maximum a prophet would say, is that "God's words [revealed to me by Inspiration] will not pass away", as David says in Psalms, but not that "my words will not pass away", for the prophets are not fountainheads of the truth, but only servants and mediators of truth, of divine revelation. Refute me, please, and show any prophet who said anything like that, I will be surprised if you will not fail utterly finding any such heedless prophet.

On the contrary, Jesus, unlike any prophet or unlike any angel of a highest hierarchy, knows the Father as is known by Him /John 10:15/, i.e. eternally and entirely, to the effect that He is the Fountainhead of all truth alongside with the Father. That is why also Father can be known only through Him (Luke10:22) and the Son can be approached and understood, only through the Father (John 6:44; Matthew 16:17). When Father creates universe, He cannot do this unless together with the Son (John 1:1-3) and when Father reveals anything to prophets, He can do this only together with the Son.

Therefore, Jesus speaks "My words" with a divine authority as not an inspired prophet, but as the very Fountainhead of the truth. All prophets and all Jewish teachers and rabbis quote the inspired precepts of Law, whereas Jesus, authoritatively, unlike any prophet, changes the very wordings of the Scripture ("It is written, but I say..." (Matthew 5:21), because He is not a slave of the letter of the inspired words, but as their Principle and Inspirator (alongside with the Holy Ghost) has divine authority to change them. That is why all Jews are scandalised, for He does not speak as a slavish quoter of Bible and its interpreter, with no authority to dare change the very quote of the God-inspired Scripture, like Scribes and Pharisees, but changing the very quotes "with authority" (Matthew 7:29), as the Inspirator Himself, and the Inspirator is God.

Again, if the words spoken by Him are truth and divine, i.e. above the created universe, necessarily, and even more, He also is divine and above created universe Who is the Source of those words, because always source is either greater or at least equal to of what it is a source. And this Source of eternal words is Jesus alongside with the Father.

Therefore, yes, those words are a clear claim that He, Jesus, is God.

2
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – curiousdannii Nov 30 '20 at 2:59
  • @curiousdannii A good and a propos action on your part, should have done it myself, but technically did not know how. Thanks! – Levan Gigineishvili Nov 30 '20 at 12:12
0

In Luke 21:32-33

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

He said this to show that he meant his statement:

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

Yes, he is God and same as God. Don't be confused. Before the new testament, God has always come to man on earth as a messenger (angel) delivering messages from God in heaven. Nothing changed. He came again as a messenger on earth in the new testament, this time called himself Christ or Jesus. He (Jesus) is God: he is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In John 14:8-9

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Do not doubt this statement of his.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.