But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12 (AV)
The following post will explore the identity of Jesus Christ under the biblical theme of ‘revelation’. Ultimately, the answer to the question of who Jesus Christ is, can only be determined by divine revelation.
Let us examine the word ‘revelation’ for a moment.
The Greek root word for revelation which we translate into English is ‘apocalupto’ which literally means, ‘to take off the cover, reveal or disclose’.
Revelation: (Source: Dictionary.com)
1. the act of revealing or disclosing; disclosure.
2. something revealed or disclosed, especially a striking disclosure, as of something not before realized.
A person can only gain the true understanding of the identity of Jesus Christ through a direct revelation from God according to specific means He has ordered; the chief means being His Word in the Bible. Definition 2 from the Dictionary.com definition above, accurately describes the type of revelation we are speaking of in the words, ‘a striking disclosure’. This means that God has to personally ‘take the cover off’ the biblical information about Jesus and stimulate their understanding in a very striking and powerful way, allowing them to truly understand it to the point of confirmed knowledge. If someone currently does not know who Jesus is, they still have the ‘cover’ over this understanding and it will remain there until God removes it through revelation. Therefore, if one were to gather the most compelling evidence in way of history, material evidence, eye-witness testimony etc. to ascertain an answer, it does not necessarily guarantee that they would come to the most accurate and correct conclusion, or that what they have found would convince them, or anyone else of the facts anyway.
Now the primary reason we know that direct revelation from God is the means by which people gain understanding of Jesus’ identity, is because it is demonstrated by example in the Bible. Let us explore this. Jesus Himself asked His disciples (followers/students) the very question of who they thought He was, and they gave Him an interesting answer.
It is written in the Book of Matthew 16:13-17:
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 16:13-17 (AV)
Now, the information in this passage of Scripture points directly to the fact, that a person gains understanding of who Jesus Christ is by direct revelation given from God. Jesus here asks a group of His disciples who people thought He was and immediately was given a mixed reply from them. They said to Him that people thought He could be one of a number of biblical characters who have reappeared; however, His disciple Peter then said to Him, “. . . Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered him by blessing him and clearly stated that, “. . . flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
There are two central pieces of understanding we can gain from this passage. Firstly, because the passage clearly points out that people at the time generally had a mixed opinion about who they thought Jesus was, we understand that it is possible for people to have inaccurate knowledge of His identity while being aware of His existence and the claims of who He is. Secondly, Jesus plainly stated that Peter had gained knowledge of His identity because God had personally revealed it to him, and that it was not revealed by flesh and blood, or, by a human being. Therefore, we see that direct revelation from God confirms the understanding of who Jesus is to any person.
The Word of God says:
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10 (AV)
In the above verse the Apostle Paul explains how God Himself reveals divine truth to us, that is, by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God is the communicator of divine truth, or the Word of God, and this is how we understand at a deeper level, how Peter was given revelation about the identity of Jesus. Similarly, the Holy Spirit must reveal the identity of Jesus to us in a way that strikes our understanding and provides us with knowledge we can understand. Therefore, we can know that the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of the Bible to us, helping us to come to a revelation of Jesus.
The initial answer to the question of Jesus’ identity, is this: Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God; as we have ascertained from the above passage. This term ‘the Son of God’ is a relational term, and its meaning has massive implications and unpacks further to a vast, significant and beautiful set of truths about the nature of the Living God and His will for the creation and humanity. Ultimately the Spirit of God must reveal the full extent of Jesus’ identity to any person as He sees fit, and the Word of God is the main platform used to present the truth. The many titles and names of Jesus Christ are numerous, and with each name comes significant implications and truth about God.
Jesus Christ, historically speaking, was a Hebrew Israelite who lived in the first century A.D. He was a Jewish carpenter from the ancient region of Galilee in the northern part of the historical land of Israel. One might ask, “Is it not a big stretch from a carpenter to the Son of God?” Indeed it appears so, but with further revelation from the Word of God we find the unique identity of Jesus unfold.
Biblical Revelation & The Word of God
The identity of Jesus as Son of God can easily be acknowledged but disregarded by the common person, which is most surely the case with the majority of the population that have an awareness of the story of Jesus Christ. Why then do the large amount of believing Christians understand and believe this truth of Jesus being the Son of God, while other people within the population may acknowledge or understand, but do not believe? It is because the fact of revelation has to then include another significant factor in combination, faith.
God has presented a general revelation to the world which is available to be received – the Word of God in the Bible. When we think of the term ‘Word of God’ we think of written or spoken words, the Bible and the words of God. But this is where biblical revelation helps us to see a deeper aspect to the identity of Jesus.
In the Book of John 1:1-2 we read:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3 (AV)
It is seen here in this passage, that the term ‘Word’ is used in the sense of personification, connecting it with the word ‘him’. It also says that the ‘Word was God’, and ‘was in the beginning with God’. So this ‘Word’, being a person, is described as God and has eternal qualities attributed to Him in His existence from ‘the beginning’, which can only be identified with God, as God is eternal and from the beginning. Creative qualities are also given to the ‘Word’ as it goes on to say, ‘without him was not any thing made that was made.’ Plainly, this term here ‘Word’ describes the person of God. In the same chapter something else is said which adds to this description:
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (AV)
So now we see above that the ‘Word’ was made flesh and appeared in the world, living among the world’s people. It says that this ‘Word’ was also ‘the only begotten of the Father’, which means the ‘only born’ or sole child of God. What does this all mean? It means that God, Who here is called the ‘Word’ was manifested in the flesh, or a human body, in the person of Jesus Christ, as the only begotten, only born, or sole child and Son of God. This is a very powerful revelation of the identity of Jesus Christ and is the central claim of Christianity. It is also known as the ‘Incarnation’. The term ‘Word’ here is used by the Apostle John to describe the divinity of Jesus Christ, that is, His status and identity as God.
More plainly, it is stated that God was manifested into human form in the Book of 1 Timothy 3:16:
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Timothy 3:16 (AV)
The message and impacting reality of Jesus Christ, who indeed is the Son of God, and God Himself manifested into flesh or human form, must be uncovered, and then received by a person in combination with their own faith. A person, after receiving the revelation that God has presented to them, must then come to a belief and then an active faith in that revelation of truth. This kind of striking revelation when given by God always produces the faith needed to understand and come to a real belief of the truth. It is in the Bible where we find the words of God in written form. These written words lead us to the living ‘Word’, the person of God in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Revelation and faith is required to receive the most intimate knowledge of this truth to the extent that a person may truly know the identity of Jesus Christ.
The Message Revealed
The message concerning Jesus Christ has been in circulation since the first century A.D beginning at Jerusalem, then throughout the world, up until the present day with God directing its progress. This is why we know that a direct, and general revelation of Jesus has been presented to the world by God. Therefore, to summarize so far, God has given revelation to the world about the truth of Himself through the message of His Son Jesus Christ contained in the Bible, the written Word of God. This message is called the Gospel. The written words of God revealed to us by the Spirit of God, lead us to the living Word of God, Jesus Christ who is God manifested in the flesh, the only begotten Son of God. This revelation must be combined with faith and actualized into a real belief and true knowledge.
Concerning the Bible, it is important to note that it was not always in its current form and accessible to the general public. For a long period throughout earlier history, the message of Christianity was communicated verbally and through priestly systems of teaching, and most of the time, not always communicated faithfully. So because we have the primary record of the message available to us today in the Bible, we have the opportunity to gain the complete revelation which God freely has given, and wants all people to have.
Adding to the earlier point about God having to personally ‘take the cover off’ the biblical knowledge and a person’s understanding, if a person does not know the full extent of the revelation, naturally the cover remains over the entire realization. Therefore, God removing the cover is a matter of Him making known to any person the full extent of the revelation through teaching and activation under the Holy Spirit’s lead. How do we come to this point of full revelation? Firstly, a person must sincerely want the cover removed (desire the full revelation); secondly, they must actively seek this knowledge and understanding in faith (be willing to seek the full revelation); and thirdly, an individual must be personally directed in teaching from Jesus Christ Himself through powerful revelation of the Word of God and the Spirit of God.
God knows if people truly want to seek Him and find the truth. This uncovering or receiving of the full revelation must be done in God’s way because He is the only One who knows how to remove the cover properly from any one person. This is why people can come to the revelation of Jesus Christ in different times, different places, in different cultures and even in different languages. God’s express revelation is His Son Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, being presented to the world through the written Word of God in the Bible, and by His active presence among us through the Holy Spirit. This is how God has revealed truth to the world.
The True Christ vs. False Christ’s
Along with the direct and personal revelation of Jesus through the Holy Spirit as described above, one more thing is crucial to add. There is a serious need to ensure that we have the true and correct revelation of Christ also, as we are living in a time of special difficulty regarding Jesus and His identity.
The Bible explains this with the following prophecy from Jesus Himself in Matthew 24:4-5, 24:
And Jesus answered and said unto them [His disciples], Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ and shall deceive many. Matthew 24:4-5 (AV)
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24 (AV)
The above prophetic revelation has seen and will see further realization. The world and specifically the church is now seeing this prediction play out, in that there are many imposters masquerading as disciples, teachers, apostles and prophets of Jesus Christ, and even some audacious characters claiming to be Jesus Himself in both direct and indirect ways. Historically, we have seen this prophecy develop in times past and in the day we live in. These people all promote another Jesus, who is not the Jesus of scripture. So how can we know that we have the true revelation of Jesus as opposed to these that of these substitutes?
Firstly, we must know the true and full nature of Jesus as revealed in scripture. And secondly, we must then measure all other so called Jesus substitutes against this standard to discern the true Christ from the false Christ’s. To get to know Jesus and His true nature is a progressive revelation and grows over time during a person’s Christian walk. This is according to the large amount of relational and biblical knowledge concerning Him. However, by understanding a few very crucial elements of Jesus’ character and identity, our discernment of the true Jesus will become very simple.
The very first point which anchors us in the true revelation of Jesus has been stated above in detail–Jesus is God Himself manifest in the flesh, or divine by nature. Therefore, we can judge from this knowledge that we are dealing with the true Jesus–the Jesus who is God. There are certain teachers out there in the religious world who speak of and preach a Jesus who is not God manifest in the flesh. That kind of Jesus is not the true Jesus and must be rejected completely. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is in fact God and divine. One of Jesus’ early disciples and apostles named Thomas had trouble believing this fact, and even doubted it outright through refusing to believe that Jesus had appeared to the other disciples after He rose again.
The Gospel of John reads:
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. John 20:24-28 (AV)
Here we see a plain confession that Jesus is God after a doubtful period in Thomas’ heart. This leads us to the conclusion that the true Jesus must be confessed as the true God. Now all other substitutes that make Jesus any less than God are counterfeit and are to be avoided. The true revelation of Christ must contain this very important truth.
The second point that leads us toward the true revelation of Jesus is in the fact that Jesus by nature is loving, merciful and compassionate. The true Jesus is loving and forgiving, as opposed to a certain type of Jesus who is seen as angry, heavy handed, condemning and controlling. Jesus preached and demonstrated grace, liberty, freedom and healing towards the human condition in that He became a support and foundation for the weak, sick and needy, and a source of vital life, ability and power.
Often encountered out there and portrayed is another Jesus without compassionate concern for humanity, but rather a more concentrated emphasis on placing heavy and demanding religious burdens upon the weak, further weakening them and offering no solution, support, help or empowerment.
Jesus Himself said in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 (AV)
We see from the above verses that Jesus is interested in relieving the burdens of the human condition rather than adding to them. The true revelation of Christ contains a revelation of the loving and compassionate God who relieves burdens and desires the good of people.
The third point which would lead us to the true revelation of Jesus Christ, and very important in combination with the others, is that Jesus who is God in the flesh and Himself divine, is righteous and holy by nature.
The Book of Hebrews speaking of Jesus, directs us to His righteous character:
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Hebrews 1:9 (AV)
This fact is critical in maintaining the correct balance of Christ’s personal attributes and true character. Another Jesus is commonly preached who exhibits a rather low view of holiness and moral righteousness. As a result the emphasis is lost concerning the need for His disciples to live righteous and upright lives in accordance with the moral and spiritual standards of the Word of God. Because Jesus is divine, holy and righteous by nature, there is naturally a requirement for those who identify with Him to live a holy and righteous life.
In Mark’s gospel we see that Christ is directly referred to as holy when a demon is confronted with His supernatural power and authority to heal.
It reads in Mark 1:23-24:
And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. Mark 1:23-24 (AV)
We see here that Jesus is referred to as ‘the Holy One of God’ giving Him the personal and intrinsic attribute of holiness. This makes sense if Jesus is Himself divine.
The Apostle Paul stated in 2 Timothy 2:19:
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart form iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19 (AV)
Here the apostle declared that those who call themselves by the name of Christ must depart from iniquity or impure, immoral, evil conduct which conflicts with the Word of God. Jesus being holy produces disciples of holiness who are moved and empowered by His Spirit to live and walk the same as He walked. This is a key revelation and characteristic of the true Christ.
The fourth and final point in recognizing a true revelation of Jesus, is that He is alive and is a miracle worker today, as He was when He walked the earth in the days of the New Testament. There are those who would submit to you that Jesus and His church only worked miracles, signs and wonders up until a certain time period in history, after which that kind of activity ceased to continue. This is a result of a tradition based Jesus rather than the living and active Jesus of the Bible.
In Matthew 4:24 it says:
And his [Jesus’] fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. Matthew 4:24 (AV)
We find here that Jesus was endued with supernatural power to heal the sick, and cast out demons when He walked the earth in physical form.
His church was endued with the same power as further Scriptures tell us:
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. Mark 16:20 (AV)
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. Acts 2:43 (AV)
Both Jesus and His church performed miracles by the power of God and nowhere does the Bible say this would cease.
Jesus has not changed His way of doing things over the years as Hebrews 13:8 tells us:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8 (AV)
Therefore, we see Jesus is the same wonder working individual as He was in the New Testament days, and today He endues His church with the same miraculous power by His Spirit. This is the true Jesus who lives and works miracles among us today.
These points above will ensure that we receive a true revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A biblical revelation of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit has now been given to the reader. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, God manifested in the flesh, the Living Word of God. He is divine, full of love and compassion, holy and righteous and works miracles among us today. As there is much more to understand about who Jesus Christ is, His work in the world, and His Gospel, a person should seek the full revelation of Christ in the Bible which God has freely given and is willing to uncover.
The best and only sure place to start, is to directly seek Jesus Christ Himself, asking Him to reveal the truth in the Bible through the Holy Spirit (here is the most reliable Bible version called the KJV or King James Version, also known as the Authorized Version). We must very simply seek out Jesus Christ and the biblical understanding of who He is, not deviating from His word, and the full revelation of the Son of God the Messiah will be given. God has made it very simple to start with. May the seeker find the truth.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 (AV)
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