“God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent.” (Numbers 23:19). Here’s a case where scripture actually contradicts an important dogma concerning the trinity! (The church fathers insist that Jesus is God.) It contains a heretical thought and we wonder how trinitarian scholars have managed to ignore it for so long. What was the LORD thinking when He inspired these words? If God was a man this is exactly the kind of talk that would have gotten Him excommunicated! It seems to us God knew full well this verse wouldn’t harmonize with the doctrine of the trinity… but He included it in the scripture anyway.
Jesus Said “I Am a Man”
Jesus claimed to be a man. “I am a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God, but now you want to kill me.” (John 8:40) He told the truth when He said He was a man and He told the truth when He declared that His accusers wanted to kill Him. Jesus was born into the world like all men, but God is eternal and was never born. Christ was tempted like all men, but God cannot be tempted. Finally, Jesus died like all men but God cannot die. It’s clear in the scripture that Jesus claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God, but he never claimed to be God Himself. The question we ask is this: Was Jesus God or was He a man?
By One Man’s Obedience
The Apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost and called Jesus “a man approved of God among you.” (Acts 2:22) The Apostle Paul declared “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5) In another place the Bible declares “By one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) It isn’t controversial to say that Jesus was a man, it is simply Biblical. What is truly controversial and unbiblical is the claim that Jesus was God! The overwhelming testimony of scripture is that Jesus was a man. He was one of us. The fact that Christ spoke and acted as only God could speak and act is easily explained by the doctrine of Biblical Agency. (See our post “Biblical Agency… What’s That?”)
No Man Has Seen God at Any Time
“No man has seen God at any time” (I John 4:12). “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels…” (Hebrews 2:9) In Jesus we see “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) Jesus is the image of the invisible God but He is not God, He is the Son of God and men have seen Him. Wise men saw Him in Bethlehem’s manger. Doctors of the Law saw Him in Jerusalem’s temple and the people of Israel saw Him on Calvary’s cross. The Apostle John saw Jesus seated upon a throne at the right hand of God. Someday everyone will see Him and “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11)
Copyright 2023 by Bob Shutes
PS: We confess that Jesus is the visibly human son of the invisible God. He was crucified, resurrected and glorified and now sits at the right hand of God. He is exalted above all creation and has a name above every name… yet for all that Jesus is a man and He is not God. This dear friend is the message of the Bible.