Is Jesus Christ Identified as "The Great God"?
"Looking for the blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Who is this glorious One who is going to appear? The glorious One who is going to appear is described as "the GREAT GOD." When He comes again, His deity will be quite obvious. And who is this GREAT GOD? He is further described as our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the great God who shall someday appear. What a clear affirmation of the deity of Christ!
I grew up in a church where we were never taught that Jesus Christ is God. We were taught that He was the greatest man who ever lived, a great prophet, a great teacher, a great example, but we were never taught that he was God. It wasnít until I was 18 years old, reading through the Gospel of John that I realized that Jesus Christ was God.
Iím going to give you six places where Jesus Christ is identified as God.
|John 1:1 says the Word was God (Jesus Christ the
Word was God!).
2 Pet. 1:1 says He is God and our Saviour.
Rom. 9:5 says He is God blessed forever.
Isa. 9:6 says He is the mighty God.
1 John 5:20 says He is the true God.
Titus 2:13 says He is the great God and our Saviour.
Titus 2:13 is devastating to the Jehovahís Witnesses because they teach that Jesus Christ is not God. They teach that Jehovah created Jesus Christ as an exalted angel. They teach that Jesus Christ is not the Creator but that He is a mere creature, and they strongly deny that He is God.
So what do they do with a verse like this? They say that this verse is talking about two separate Persons: 1) "the great God" they say is referring to Jehovah and 2) and the part of the verse that mentions "our Saviour" is referring to Jesus Christ. So they totally deny that "the great God" refers to Jesus Christ.
This Jehovahís Witness view is problematic because it goes against the laws of grammar. It used to be that young people were taught grammar, how words and phrases go together and so forth, but today grammar is not considered as important as it used to be. But grammar is crucial in understanding a verse like this. Let me give you a mini-grammar lesson. In the Greek language there is a rule called the Granville Sharp rule. It says this: Two nouns connected by the word "and", the first noun with the article and the second without it, are by the article identified as one and the same individual or class.
This rule applies to this verse. You have two nouns connected by the word "and." Those two nouns are God and Saviour. The first noun has the article in front of it ("the") and the second noun does not (there is no "the" before Saviour). This means that the two nouns are identified as the same individual. So according to the rules of Greek grammar, the "great God" is identified as "our Saviour Jesus Christ."
But you donít need to know Greek grammar to come up with this same conclusion. Just use your common sense and think about what the verse is saying.
Who is the One who is coming again? Who is the One who is going to appear in a glorious way and in a visible way? God the Father is not going to appear. This verse is not talking about the coming of God the Father, itís talking about the coming of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Heís the One itís talking about and He is the one who is described as "THE GREAT GOD."
Itís also interesting that the word "great" in the New Testament is never used of God the Father. Now certainly God the Father is great, but in the New Testament the adjective "great" is never used to describe the Father, but it is used in several places to describe our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Christ is called "great" at His birth (Luke 1:32). "He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest"
Christ is called the great King (Matt. 5:35)
Christ is called "a great Prophet" (Luke 7:16).
Christ is called our great High Priest (Heb. 4:14).
Christ is called "the great Shepherd of the Sheep" (Heb. 13:20).
So in Titus 2:13 when it describes this glorious One who is to appear, it describes Him as "the great God" and heís referring to Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ comes again, His deity will be obvious. When He came the first time His glory was veiled; when He comes the second time, His glory will be revealed.
In review, why does this verse teach that Jesus Christ is God?
1. The grammar. The one article "the" links the phrase "the great God" with "our Saviour Jesus Christ." Who is the Great God? Heís our Saviour Jesus Christ.
2. The great God is described as appearing, and according to Biblical teaching, we are looking for Jesus Christ to appear but not God the Father.
3. The term "great God" is consistent with what Jesus is called in other places. Heís called "the mighty God" and "the true God." If He is called GOD elsewhere in the Bible, then why not in this passage as well?
4. The term "great" in the New Testament is used to describe Jesus Christ several times but it is never used to describe God the Father.
So even though Jehovahís witnesses do not want this verse to say what it says, the fact remains that we are to be eagerly looking for the blessed hope, and the blessed hope is identified as the glorious appearing of the great God and the great God is identified as our Saviour Jesus Christ.
For Further Study
George Zeller, July 2016
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