Trinity on Trial An in-depth examination of Trinitarian doctrine
Jesus' God

The identity of God according to Jesus

The One God of the Shema

The most profound question we can ask concerning the identity of God is, "Who was God according to Jesus?" The Shema chanted by Israel goes, "YHWH our God, YHWH is one" (Deut 6:4). Jesus taught this was the first and most important commandment. Who did Jesus identify as the one God of the Shema?

On the day of Pentecost, Peter quotes Psalm 110:1, "the LORD said to my Lord," and tells us exactly who is speaking to who in that particular passage.

Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens but he himself says, "The Lord [YHWH] said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool.' Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him, this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:34-36).

Peter identifies YHWH as the Father of Jesus Christ His Son. Now Jesus also quotes Psalm 110:1 in order to confute the challenging Pharisees.

Jesus said to them, "Is not the reason why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, "I [YHWH] am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong." And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord [YHWH] our God, the Lord [YHWH] is one, and you shall love the Lord [YHWH] your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that He is one, and there is no other but He, and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the mind, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any question. And answering, teaching in the temple, Jesus said, "How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared, "The Lord [YHWH] said to my Lord [Adoni], Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet.' David himself calls him Lord, so how is he his son?" And the great crowd heard him gladly. (Mark 12:24-37; see 11:27).1

At Psalm 110:1, we have YHWH speaking to the Messiah and YHWH is identified as the Father speaking to the Lord Jesus. Now what is more startling is Jesus' teaching on the Shema where Jesus acknowledges that YHWH is that one God that he himself serves, and then Jesus challenges the Pharisees on Psalm 110:1. In the context of his teaching on the Shema, Jesus identifies the one God of the Shema as his Father.

The Only True God


Notes:

1. Matthew and Luke's account:

But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living." And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord [YHWH] your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets." Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, "What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord [Adoni], saying, "The Lord [YHWH] said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet'? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?" And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions. (Matthew 22:29-46).

But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord [YHWH] the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him." And some of the scribes answered, "Teacher, you have spoken well." For they no longer dared to ask him any question. But he said to them, "How can they say that the Christ is the son of David? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, "The Lord [YHWH] said to my Lord [Adoni], Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.' David then calls him Lord [Adoni], so how is he his son?" (Luke 20:37-44).

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