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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Isa. 43:11 / 2 Pet. 3:18 Jehovah only Savior; Jesus Savior

(From the RDB Files)

Isa. 43:11 / 2 Pet. 3:18

Isa 43:11 "I, I am Jehovah; and there is no Saviour besides Me."  

2Pe 3:18 "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."

Since Jehovah said that there is no Saviour besides him and since Jesus and Jehovah are both called "Saviour", does that mean that they are both God?

There have been many saviors or deliverers (yasha – Hebrew, and soter – NT Greek) found in scripture who saved others through appointment by or commandment of God.  But there is only one most high source of salvation (or only one savior or deliverer [yasha/soter] in the highest sense of the word) – Jehovah, the Father.

Acts 4:10-12 actually says about Jesus, "whom God raised from the dead":  (12) "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by [or `through'] which we may be saved." - NRSV.

"For of all names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved." – JB & NJB.

"There is salvation in no one else!  Under all heaven there is no other name for men to call upon to save them." – LB.

Yes Jesus is our savior and king, but he is our only savior in the sense of being the only one (excluding God in heaven, the source of that salvation who sent him for this purpose) who gave us the opportunity for eternal salvation.  This is explained in John 3:17: "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." - NRSV

God is the source of salvation, Jesus was the instrument.

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology also tells us: "Because God is the initiator [source] of salvation, both he and Christ are called soter, saviour ..." - p. 78, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986.

Notice what the very trinitarian NIVSB has to say in its introduction to the book of Judges:
"Title - The title ['Judges'] describes the leaders Israel had from the time of the elders who outlived Joshua until the time of the monarchy.  Their principal purpose is best expressed in 2:16: `Then the LORD [Jehovah] raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of ... raiders.'  Since it was God who permitted the oppression and raised up deliverers [saviors], he himself was Israel's ultimate Judge and Deliverer [Savior]."

This is well-illustrated at Judges 6:14 where Jehovah commands Gideon to save Israel.  But later, the saviour, Gideon, says it is Jehovah who is saving Israel (Judges 6:37).

Those who look for great "mysteries" in every Bible statement and those who look for revelations of a multiple-persons-in-one God could well take these scriptures to "prove" Gideon is Jehovah.  But it should be obvious to any objective student that Jehovah saved Israel through Gideon!

With that understanding in mind look at Jude 25.  Modern translators correctly render this verse:

"To the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ [compare John 3:17]" - RSV.  Also see The Jerusalem Bible and William Barclay's Version.
(Notice the careful distinction at Jude 25 between "the only God" and "Jesus Christ our Lord" - compare John 17:1, 3.)  It might be worthwhile to examine Heb. 5:7 also - "Jesus offered up prayers ... unto Him that was able to save him."

It is clear that, as Ehud, Othniel, and Gideon were saviors because Jehovah was providing salvation through them, so Jesus, in a much larger sense, is also savior because Jehovah ("the only God") has provided salvation through him! - Compare 1 Thess. 5:9; 1 Peter 2:2 (modern translations); Rev. 7:10.

But what if we take the narrow meaning of spiritual savior?  Well, if Jehovah alone is savior [spiritual], and Jesus is savior [spiritual] because he saves (Greek: sosei - Matt. 1:21 and soso - John 12:47) men, then Jesus "must" be God.  But by this same reasoning, since some followers of Jesus also [spiritually] save (Greek: sosei - James 5:20 and soso - 1 Cor. 9:22) men, then they (the saviors of Obadiah 21?) 'must' also be God!

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology also tells us: "Because God is the initiator [source] of salvation, both he and Christ are called soter, saviour ..." - p. 78, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986.

It might also be interesting to examine the meaning of Jesus' personal name.  Like the names "Joshua" and "Isaiah," Jesus' name literally means "Jehovah is salvation"!  And as the OT tells us Jehovah is the Father!

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