Who Did It?

Many enjoy a good “whodunnit” story. Many have enjoyed Agatha Christie novels. Some grew up reading The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. When I was young, Columbo was one of my favorite television series.  Later, there was Murder, She Wrote.

Let’s ask “whodunnit” with a couple of major events in the Bible.  It is not so difficult.  However, perhaps, there is a need to examine things a bit more closely. 

1.  The Exodus

Who is it that led the children of Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land?  The easy answer is that God did it (Deuteronomy 4:35-38).    However, let’s look closer.  (1) The Angel of the LORD is said to have done this (Exodus 23:20-21; Judges 2:1-4).  Is this language of agency?  Or, is this Angel (messenger) actually God?  The angel seems to be called “God” and “LORD” or “Jehovah” (Exodus 3:2 cf. 3:4; Judges 6:12 cf. 6:14, 16, 20).  This Angel seems to call himself “God” (Genesis 31:11 cf. 31:13; Exodus 3:22 cf. 3:5).  This Angel is named “Wonderful” (Judges 13:16-17 cf. Isaiah 9:16-17).  The Angel seems to say that where he is present is holy ground (Exodus 3:1-5; Joshua 5:13-14).  (2) Jesus is said to have done this (Jude 5 ESV).  There is a textual variant in this verse.  Some manuscripts read “Jesus.”  Other manuscripts read “Lord.”  In context, “Lord” seems to refer to Jesus (cf. Jude 4).  The word “Lord” appears several times in the book of Jude (v. 4, 5*, 9, 14, 17, 21, 25* – * in some manuscripts).  All, but v. 5 and v. 9 are clear and undisputable references to Jesus.

Here are a few observations.  First, Jesus existed before his incarnation (Jude 5, cf. John 1:1-3, 14; John 8:58; Micah 5:2).  Second, Jesus was actively working in this world before his incarnation.  Third, it seems likely that the Angel of the LORD is the pre-incarnate Jesus.

2.  The Resurrection of Jesus

Christianity rests upon the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Paul summed it up saying, “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Who raised Jesus from the dead?  The easy answer is that God raised him from the dead.  Peter affirmed this (Acts 2:22-24; 2:32; 10:38-40).  Paul likewise affirmed this (Acts 13:29-30). 

However, let’s look closer.  (1) The Father is said to have raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:4; Galatians 1:1).  (2) The Spirit of God is said to have raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11 cf. 8:9).  Furthermore, (3) Jesus said that he would raise himself.  Consider: “ ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” …He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19-21).  Again, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17-18). 

Here are a few observations.  First, Jesus did not cease to exist when he died.  He could not raise himself, if he ceased to exist.  Second, Jesus has authority over death.  He later would say, “I am the first and the last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and death” (Revelation 1:17-18).  Note: The words “the first and the last” is language used of Jehovah God (cf. Isaiah 41:4; 44:6-8; 48:12-13).  Third, Jesus claim to be able to do that which only God could do.  Is this the language of agency? Or, is this the language of deity?  Language of deity is used of Jesus (Revelation 1:10; 1:17-18; 2:8; 22:12-13 cf. Isaiah 41:4; 44:6-8; 48:12-13, etc.).  Fourth, there is unity between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  While distinction in person may be made, unity is emphasized.  They worked together.  Jesus said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).  Jesus desires Christians to be so united (John 17:20-21).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
This entry was posted in Angels, exodus, Godhead, Holy Spirit, Jesus, resurrection, Textual varients, Unity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Who Did It?

  1. Gary S. Lyons says:

    I always enjoy your stimulating and thought provoking articles.

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