Chapter 14: The Names and Nature of Christ

1. The Names of Christ. The most important names of Christ are the following:

a. Jesus. This is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, Joshua 1:1; Zechariah 3:1, or Jeshua, Ezra 2:2. Derived from the Hebrew word ‘to save,’ it designates Christ as the Savior, Matthew 1:21. Two types of Christ bore the same name in the Old Testament, namely, Joshua the son of Nun and Joshua the son of Jehozadak.

b. Christ. This is the New Testament form for the Old Testament ‘Messiah,’ which means ‘the anointed one.’ According to the Old Testament, prophets (1 Kings 19:16), priests (Exodus 29:7), and kings (1 Samuel 10:1), were anointed with oil, which symbolized the Holy By this anointing they were set aside for their respective offices, and were qualified for them. Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit for the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. Historically, this anointing took place when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and when He was baptized.

c. Son of Man. This name, as applied to Christ, was derived from Daniel 7:13. It is the name which Jesus generally applies to Himself, while others seldom use it. While it does contain an indication of the humanity of Jesus, in the light of its historical origin in points far more to His superhuman character and to His future coming with the clouds of heaven in majesty and glory. (Daniel 7:13; Matthew 16:27, 28; 26:64; Luke 21:27)

d. Son of God. Christ is called ‘the Son of God’ in more than one sense. He is so called, because He is the second Person of the Trinity, and therefore Himself God (Matthew 11:27), but also because He is the appointed Messiah (Matthew 24:36), and because His birth to the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:3)

e. Lord. Jesus’ contemporaries sometimes applied this name to Jesus as a form of polite address, just as we use the word ‘sir.’ It is especially after the resurrection of Christ that the name acquires a deeper meaning. In some passages it designates Christ as the Owner and Ruler of the Church (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:17), and in others it really stands for the name of God. (1 Corinthians 7:34; Philippians 4:4, 5)

2. The Natures of Christ. The Bible represents Christ as a Person having two natures, the one divine and the other human. This is the great mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh. (1 Timothy 3:16)

a. The two natures. Since many in our day deny the deity of Christ, it is necessary to stress the Scripture proof for it. Some old Testament passages clearly point to it, Such as Isaiah 9:6; Jeremiah 23:6; Micah 5:2; Malachi 3:1. The New Testament proofs are even more abundant, Matthew 11:27; 16:16; 26:63, 64; John 1:1, 18; Romans 9:5; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 19:16. The humanity of Jesus is not called in question. In fact, the only divinity many still ascribe to Him is that of His perfect humanity. There is abundant proof for the humanity of Jesus. He speaks of Himself as man, John 8:40, and is so called by others, Acts 2:22; Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:21. He had the essential elements of human nature, namely, a body and a soul, Matthew 26:26, 38; Luke 24:89; Hebrews 2:14. Moreover, He was subject to the ordinary laws of human development, Luke 2:40, 52, and to human wants and sufferings, Matthew 4:2; 8:24; Luke 22:44; John 4:6; 11:35; 12:27; Hebrews 2:10, 18; Hebrews 5:7, 8. Yet though He was a real man, He was without sin; He did no sin and could not sin, John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 9:14; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5. It was necessary that Christ should be both God and man. It was only as man that He could be our substitute, and could suffer and die; and only as sinless man that He could atone for the sins of others. And it was only as God that He could give His sacrifice infinite value, and bear the wrath of God so as to deliver others from it, Psalm 40:7-10; 130:8.

b. The two natures united in one Person. Christ has a human nature, but He is not a human person. The Person of the Mediator is the unchangeable Son of God. In the incarnation He did not change into a human person; neither did He adopt a human person. He simply assumed, in addition to His divine nature, a human nature, which did not develop into an independent personality, but became personal in the Person of the Son of God. After this assumption of human nature the Person of the Mediator is not only divine but divine-human; He is the God-man, possessing all the essential qualities of both the human and the divine nature. He has both a divine and a human consciousness, as well as a human and a divine will. This is a mystery which we cannot fathom. Scripture clearly points to the unity of the Person of Christ. It is always the same Person who speaks, whether the mind that finds utterance be human or divine, John 10:30; 17:5 as compared with Matthew 27:46; John 19:28. Human attributes and actions are sometimes ascribed to the Person designated by a divine title, Acts 20;28; 1 Corinthians 2:8; Colossians 1:13, 14; and divine attributes and actions are sometimes ascribed to the Person designated by a human title, John 3:13; 6:62; Romans 9:5.

c. Some of the most important errors concerning this doctrine. The Alogi and the Ebionites denied the deity of Christ in the early Church. This denial was shared by the Socinians of the days of the Reformation, and by the Unitarians and Modernists of our day. In the early Church Arius failed to do justice to the full deity of Christ and regarded Him as a demi-God, while Apollinaris did not recognize His full humanity, but held that the divine Logos took the place of the human spirit in Christ. The Nestorians denied the unity of the two natures in one Person, and the Eutychians failed to distinguish properly between the two natures.


To memorize:

Passages to prove:

a. The deity of Christ

  • For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
  • “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’ (Jeremiah 23:6)
  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
  • …whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:5)
  • For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, (Colossians 2:9)

b. The humanity of Christ

  • “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. (John 8:40)
  • …for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:28)
  • “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:39)
  • Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (Hebrews 2:14)

c. The unity of the Person

  • “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:5)
  • “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. (John 3:13)
  • [the wisdom] which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; (1 Corinthians 2:8)


For Further Study:

a. In what respect was Joshua the son of Nun a type of Christ; and in what respect Joshua the son of Jehozadak?

  • ‘Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch. ‘For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. (Zechariah 3:8-9)
  • For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. (Hebrews 4:8)

b. What do the following passages teach us respecting the anointing of Christ?

  • The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, (Psalm 2:2)
  • You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. (Psalm 45:7)
  • “From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. (Proverbs 8:23)
  • The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; (Isaiah 61:1)

c. What divine attributes are ascribed to Christ?

  • For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
  • “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. (23) “From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. (24) “When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. (25) “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; (26) While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. (27) “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, (28) When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, (29) When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; (30) Then I was beside Him, [as] a master workman; And I was daily [His] delight, Rejoicing always before Him, (31) Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And [having] my delight in the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:22-31)
  • “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, [Too] little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)
  • “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; (John 5:26)
    He said to him the third time, “Simon, [son] of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep. (John 21:17)
  • And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (6) But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, (7) “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:5-7)
  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3)
  • For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. (17) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)
  • God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, (2) in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (3) And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:1-3)
  • “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)
  • Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless [it is] something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (20) “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and [the Father] will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. (21) “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. (22) “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, (23) so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (24) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (25) “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. … (27) and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [the] Son of Man. (28) “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, (29) and will come forth; those who did the good [deeds] to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil [deeds] to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:19-25, 27-29)
    “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1)
  • The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)


Questions for Review:

  1. Which are the most important names of Christ? What is the meaning of each?
  2. What elements are included in Christ’s anointing? When did it take place?
  3. Whence is the name ‘Son of Man’ derived’ What does the name express?
  4. In what sense is the name ‘Son of God’ applied to Christ?
  5. What different meanings has the name ‘Lord’ as applied to Christ?
  6. What Bible proof is there for the deity and humanity of Christ?
  7. What is the nature of the Person of Christ, divine, human, or divine-human?
  8. How can the unity of the Person of Christ be proved from Scripture.?
  9. What are the main errors respecting the Person of Christ?

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