Was Jesus truly divine as the Bible claims? Find out with Eric Barger and Dr. David Reagan at the Defending the Faith Conference shown on television’s Christ in Prophecy.
Last aired on October 10, 2010.
To order, call 1-972-736-3567 (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST), or select the resource below to order online.
Dr. Reagan: Who was Jesus? How would you answer that question? Was He just a prophet, as the Muslims claim? Was he a deluded Messianic imposter, as the Jews claim? Could he have been Michael the Archangel, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach? Or, could he have truly been God in the flesh, as the Bible teaches? For the truth about the divinity of Jesus, stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Over the past four weeks we have been sharing with you some of the presentations that were made at our 2010 Bible Conference, whose theme was “Defending the Faith.” We are going to continue this week by showing you excerpts from the presentation that was made by Eric Barger, the Founder and Director of Take a Stand Ministries. His topic was, The Truth of Jesus’ Divinity.
Eric Barger Presentation
Eric Barger: Now you already heard a little bit of it when I was introduced, but I was a rock musician, I was a record producer, a recording engineer, a drug-addict, an alcoholic, a New Ager before it was called New Age. And if God can save me don’t give up praying for anybody you are currently praying for; because if He can get me, He can get anybody. That is me on the left in that picture up there. And my wife says affectionately the only thing that she likes about the picture on the left is I had a size 30 waist at that point in time.
So I want to talk to you about Jesus, the real Jesus versus the counterfeits. There are so many counterfeits out there, so many people are confused about this, that I think we need a refresher course every once in a while about these kinds of things. We want to examine the divinity of Jesus to see who He really was. Now you have heard some about that; Brother Reagan talked about it. We have heard about Jesus of course in each one of the messages so far in the conference and there will be more of course as Ron Rhodes talks about the resurrection and I am looking forward to that. That is something I speak about, so I am going to be taking copious notes when Ron preaches back there, when he is up here preaching, I see him back there.
You know you may think that everybody knows who Jesus is. You know you live in a very, a very churched area here. I’ve always called the Dallas-Ft. Worth area very religious area, you understand what I mean when I say that; 60% or so of the people in this area go to church. Now in the county that my wife and I are currently living in Washington State; don’t be confused because our ministry is headquartered in Rowlett, just a few miles from here. But we are living in Washington State to help her parents during this very trying time in their life with their health conditions.
In Washington State where I live in Pierce County Washington it is the least churched county in the United States where less than 1% of the people go to church regularly. But here we have a lot of religions, sometimes religious people are hardest to get through to, you know that don’t you, they are sometimes the hardest. And you may think that everybody around you knows who Jesus is but I guarantee you when I became a Christian I had no concept that people actually read and followed the Bible and I didn’t understand anything about the Christian faith even though I went to Sunday School as child. And if I would have been asked the question by somebody on the street, “Are you a Christian?” any of the time during the time when I was a drug-addict and an alcoholic and a New Ager and all that stuff, I would have said, “Well, sure, because I remember that time when I was in the Sunday school class in the Methodist Church that my grandparents sent me to when I lived with them in West Virginia as a child. And so I had a misconception about Christianity. Believe me, a lot of people in our churches, let alone a lot of people in the street in America do not understand who Jesus is.
From the First Century to right now, to the present many have questioned, “Who was this Jesus?” The Pharisees began to question and ask, “Who would forgive sin, or have the power to do that?” And they believed that He was committing blasphemy in the things that He was saying. His disciples marveled when He calmed the waves and the storms, and they asked, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” The Pharisees indignantly badgered Jesus the night before His crucifixion, “Tell us who you are,” they said. And at the foot of the cross, their own centurion pondered truly this was the Son of God. So a lot of people through the ages in Jesus’ day and since had wonderings about who He is, and who He was. How important is the question: Who is the real Jesus? It may be the most important question any of us could ever ask. So many people are interested in forms of religion, but if you don’t have the identity of Jesus right you will lose you soul for all of eternity. And I may repeat that in a minute, but it is really something that you need to hear. The identity and the deity of Jesus Christ and who you believe He is, determines your eternity. What could be more important than that?
So many very sincere people have some sort of Jesus or one of the many counterfeits, but not the real thing, and are lost in the process. You know it is in the Scripture, Paul warned the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians chapter 11 Paul says, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, whom ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” In other words you might put up with it; you might not know the difference, because He was talking about the gullible Corinthians that of course were one of his most troublesome churches. And so a different Jesus, a different Gospel, and a different spirit is possible and I believe if we are truly in the end of the end times. How many believe that is where we are, say, “Amen.” Yes, we are. If we are there, there is going to be a proliferation of error, and it is going to be voiced of course toward the Church as well. I mean the Devil is not going to leave the Church alone, he wants to trip us up, he doesn’t want us to have the victory and he certainly doesn’t want us to preach the victory to the lost around us. He doesn’t want us to have the right conception of who God is, of who Jesus is.
Jude’s letter is a distress call, a distress call against false teaching. Jude was going to write something completely different but instead he stops and the whole tenor of the letter is warning the Church about false teaching. He was going to write about the great salvation we all enjoy, but instead he turned toward his concern over false teaching. Paul in his letters to Titus and Timothy warn about false teaching and several other places, and Jesus warns us an astounding 14 times in the 4 Gospels about false teaching and false teachers. This is an integral part of the Scripture and can not be ignored even though so many people in the feel good, what I call the here and now Church that we see all around us, they are only interested in the here and now and not about eternity. So many people in the “fell good” church refuse to talk about this. So many pastors won’t pick it up and talk about it, because they think it is a negative. No this is part of the message that we’ve got to be true to. And we are warned again, and again, if we are in that time, the end of the end, the end of the end days, then we’ve certainly have to know about these things.
Matthew 24 Jesus warns us in this Great end time teaching. He warns us about false Christ’s and false teachers that were coming. He was very explicit about it. And understand, understand just because the word Jesus is being used it may not be the real Jesus. Just because a sports star can spell Jesus doesn’t mean he is talking about the one who died on the cross. Let’s be careful we don’t make theologians out of people who are not fit. Second Corinthians 11 comes alive to me more and more each and everyday of my life. So let’s examine the Jesus of the cults quickly and then were are going to move on to who the real one is of course at the end of this.
Dr. Reagan: You are watching Eric Barger, Founder and Director of Take a Stand Ministries. He is speaking on, The Truth of Jesus’ Divinity. Following the introduction you have just watched, Eric started revealing the false conceptions of Jesus that characterize the cults. Here is what he had to say about the Jesus of Mormonism.
Eric Barger: And for a second because Mormonism is so big in our cities and in our community here in America, I want to talk about the Mormon Jesus, because this may be the single most confusing version of Jesus that you and I will be faced with and have to make a delineation about. Joseph Smith said, “God himself was once as we are now, an exalted man …” and of course the other part of that is; “…we will become as God is now, a God.” That is called the law of eternal progression; that is the capstone of Mormonism, the idea that man becomes God and that God started out as a man. Joseph Smith said in his book, “The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” “You have got to learn how to be gods yourself and to be kings and priests to god, the same as all gods have done before you.”
Brigham Young the second prophet of the Mormon Church said, “When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.” Mormonism teaches that God as Elohim physically had sex and impregnated Mary. Mormons claim that God himself has a body because the Scriptures speak of the lips, and hand, and eyes, and ears of God. You know now this is the infinite God of the universe trying to speak to us with our little pea brains about who He is. He is trying to communicate to us in such a way that we will understand. And so He uses the same kinds of things that we would understand; eyes, and lips, and hands and feet. John chapter 4 Jesus says, “God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Now I love it when the Mormon missionaries come to my door and I usually you know when we get into this conversation I ask them, “Do you really believe that God was a man like me, and you will become a god like him?” And you know they always say, “Yes,” these are usually 19 and 20 year old kids that have elder button on, you know, they claim to be elders in the Mormon Church. But they are on their two year mandatory mission out there preaching because they believe if they don’t go out and do it that they won’t get into the place in Heaven that they want to get into. They might not make it at all unless their true to all the works of Mormonism, because as Dr. Reagan said today it is a treadmill in some of the cults and other world religions, they get on a treadmill of works.
And so when I am talking with them, “Do you really believe that God has all these things; eyes, and ears, and so on?” “Oh, yes, it says in the Scripture the eyes of the Lord run to and fro beholding the evil and the good.” And I say, “Yes, it does say that, but does that mean that He’s actually got an eye looking? No, He knows everything, you know He understands. He is the omniscient one, He is the omnipresent one, He understands those things. He lives in a different dimension.” “Oh, no we are sure that God has a physical body.” And I’ll say, “Okay, turn with me to Psalm 91.” And they will be looking through their Bible, and I’ll say, “Just read it out loud.” I watched a poor kids just melt on my front porch a couple years ago when I had him do this. And you know I never want to get a cultist to the place that I am grinding him into the dirt, I want to leave their humanity intact. I let them know that I understand, they are searching for God too, but if they’ve got the wrong Jesus, oh, how wrong and how terrible it will be. And so I care enough about them to tell them the truth. But I had this young man open his Bible to Psalm 91, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.” So I asked to see their wings, these Mormon missionaries. They got the picture. They got the picture right away. You know that might be an avenue for you to be able to witness to those kids when they come to your door next time, amen. Write that one down.
Well the Mormon Jesus is a spirit brother of Lucifer, I didn’t say that, they said it, because in Milton R. Hunter’s book, and he is one of the Mormon authorities through Mormonism throughout time. It says, “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind.” Evidently there was a council of the Gods and Lucifer wanted to be the savior of the earth and they picked Jesus instead and Lucifer rebelled and he was cast out. And that is the story about Lucifer and Jesus being spirit brothers. Well the now deceased ex-president of the Mormon church Gordon B. Hinckley agrees with me on this, isn’t that interesting? Because speaking to a gathering of 6,600 Mormon missionaries in Paris the L.D.S. Church News Archives reported on Saturday, June 20th 1998 that Hinckley does not believe in the traditional Biblical Christ. Hinckley it says here in bearing testimony, of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the church who say Later Day Saints do not believe the traditional Christ, he said, this is him, “No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak.” Because he believes and it says, it goes on to say here, that he believes that the Mormon Church has revealed Jesus in a way to the world that no one has ever seen before, and they are the only true Church for this dispensation in time.
Who is the real Jesus? Amen. Who is the real Jesus that is what I want to talk about, because we have the testimony of the Word of God about who Jesus is. And I want to tell you I was so excited this morning, when I heard Brother Martin because he used the exact three scriptures I am going to use right now, in the same order, this morning. And I have never, I said hello to him, so we didn’t plan this, that was it. And I sat back there this morning and saw this and I whispered to a friend of mine who is here I said, “This is incredible because this afternoon these same three Scriptures are going to come out.”
You see through all the misconceptions and misrepresentations we are accountable to what the Bible says and nothing else, when it comes to who Jesus is. So we come back and we test everything by the Scriptures because He is the Creator. John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made, that was made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men, and the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.” In other words the world did not receive Him. He is the Creator, the word came, the Logos came, He was the Word, He was the Creator, He was God. And John 1:14 tells us, “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.”
And now Colossians 1 says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the First born of every creature, for by Him were all things created.” Notice the theme here, Jesus is the Creator, by Him all things were created that are in Heaven, that are in earth, visible, and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities, or powers, all things were created by Him and for Him and He is before all things, and by him all things consist.” In other words if He didn’t exist, we couldn’t, that is what the Scriptures are teaching here. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.
In Hebrews chapter 1, “God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets,” in other words to the Jewish fathers to the early Jews he spoke by the prophets. “Hath in this day in the last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds,” again Jesus is portrayed as the Creator. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Praise God. There are seven magnificent revelations about Jesus that we see here in Hebrews 1:2-3: He is the heir or all things. He created the Universe. He radiates God’s glory. He is the perfect and complete representation of God. Without Him nothing could exist. And He provides the only possible freedom from sin.” That is the message of just those two verses.
Is it any wonder to us here who have studied the Bible very long that the Bible is so rich that we will never really get it all, we just keep wanting to put more of it in. Give me more Jesus, give me more time to spend in your Word that we will know what the truth is, amen. That we will have it in our hearts, that we will share it with mankind.
Then we have the testimony of the miracles of Jesus. I won’t even begin to go through them all because there are so many; from the healing of the blind, to the healing of the lepers, to the raising of the dead. Think about that. Over and over we see Jesus proving who He is by the miracles. We have the testimony of that. We have the testimony of Peter and Thomas, two of those who followed him. Peter says, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.” And if Jesus wasn’t God incarnate He would have said, “Peter don’t you ever say that to me again.” But instead He received that because it was accurate what Peter said. And then there is Thomas, he was doubting of course you know the story, and Jesus appeared after the resurrection and says, “You see it is me, reach you finger here in my hands, and touch and see. I am here physically.” You know these heretics say that Jesus rose from the grave spiritually. No he rose physically, bodily from the grave folks, not just spiritually. Jesus said, “Handle me, touch me, touch my side. See it is me.” And Thomas fell to his knees and said, “My Lord, and my God.” He called Him my “theos” and my “kurios”. Theos is a word for God, you know that is where we get our word theology, my godology that is my theology. Alright and he called him, “My Lord, and my God,” and Jesus received that worship and didn’t rebuke Thomas. He called him, my Lord and my God, and he was accurate in doing so.
Then there is the testimony of Jesus Himself, there are many places we could turn, I’ll just show you 2 of them. Here in John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” He is the only gate, no matter what other religion might say they have the path. He is the only way. John 10, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gives them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
Now Jesus is talking to His favorite Pharisees right here. Yeah, and they didn’t like what He had to say so they picked up stones and they were going to stone Him, because He a mere man claimed to be God. Equating himself with the Father, I and my Father are one, shows us that Jesus indeed declared His deity. The Jews wanted to stone Him. They understood that He was declaring Himself to be the Messiah equal with God. And then Jesus confounds them because He says to them, “Doesn’t it say that you’re all gods?” And you know these were supposed to be the keepers of the truth this is one of most favorite passages in the New Testament where Jesus confounds the keepers of the law with the Word of God. They were supposed to know what it said. He said to them, “Doesn’t it say you’re all gods?” And you can almost imagine these guys as they drop their rocks and looked at each other and said, “Yeah, I think it is in there somewhere, I have seen that before.” And then Jesus is quoting Psalm 82 here. You know Psalm 82 says, “I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most high.”
Well the Pharisees didn’t know the Word of God enough to know what the next verse said because the next part of the passage says, “But ye shall die like men,” it is mocking godhood for mankind, but Jesus uses that against them, they drop their rocks and He walks away. It is such a powerful passage the way Jesus confounds them apologetically. They were referred to as gods because of their ability to enforce the law over mankind, but they were really ignorant of God’s Word and there is a penalty to be paid when you are only a pretender. There is a penalty and the Pharisees paid it, a heavy price is paid for not knowing the Word of God. This is one of my favorite passages to show Jehovah’s witnesses when they show up at my door, you might want to take note of that.
Here in Revelation 1:8 it says, “I am the Alpha, and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, sayeth the Lord, which is and which was and which is to come, the Almighty.” Perfectly translated Lord God Almighty, this is talking about God the Father. He is the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end, the first and the last; God the Father. Verse 17 and 18 says, “Fear not; I am the first and the last,” same language right here, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
I always ask the Jehovah’s Witness, “Excuse me, when did God die?” But it says He is the first and the last just like it said a few verses earlier, He is the Alpha and Omega, there is something going on here.” So I take them, rather than skipping all over the Bible to prove this, I take them, keeping in the book of Revelation to chapter 22, it says, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Exactly what we read in chapter 1, right? Blessed are they that do my commandments, and then it says, “For outside are left out of the Kingdom are the dogs, the sorcerers, the soothsayers, the adulterers and those that practice iniquity.” Right, they are the people left out, about ready to be cast into the Lake of Fire. So in the First chapter it talks of the Alpha, Omega the beginning and the end. And the 22nd chapter talks of the Alpha, Omega, the beginning and the end. And then we find out who is talking in this last chapter. “I Jesus have sent my angels to testify these things.” And at this point usually the Jehovah’s Witnesses eyes are bugging out. And I will say, “Okay, either there are two firsts and two lasts or Jesus and the Father are one.” I have had Jehovah’s Witnesses literally run away from my door, I am not kidding you.
When I lived in east Dallas, I was about to do a radio interview one afternoon, had 15 minutes to go before I was going to do a phone interview. And two Jehovah’s Witnesses gals came to the front door, and I peered out through the peephole. I had shorts on, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap, but I was still going to talk to them. So I opened the door, and I said, “I only have a few minutes but I would like to talk to you.” And they said, “We are Bible students we would love to talk to you too.” I said, “Good, I have been waiting for you.”
So we began to talk and I said, “You know I understand what you teach,” they didn’t think I did, but I said, “I understand what you teach. Can I show you something?” You know you kind of want to take control of the situation, rather then let them lead. And so I took them to Revelation 1 and we read that, and then I took them to Revelation 22 and we read that, and they always send a more experienced JW out with a rookie. Well the more experience gal got the other gal by the hand, and said, “We can see we are not getting anywhere with this.” And she is backing away from my door with this gal by the hand. And I said, “Now hang on there is more to this. I want to show you this.” I said, “You see Jesus is speaking here, He calls himself the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, just like God the Father does in the first passage.” She is backing away, finally they turn around and they are walking fast. And I am walking out my door going, “Wait, wait don’t leave now.” You know, and it was kind of funny to watch these two ladies trot to the parking lot, because that more experienced JW did not want the other gal to hear, that was what was sad. But that is exactly what happens.
Then you know we have fulfilled prophecy. You know Jesus perfectly fulfilled what it says about the Messiah. We have 324 prophecies about the Messiah in the Bible; over 200 of them have been fulfilled in Jesus’ First Coming. He perfectly met the qualifications of the Messiah. The resurrection being to me the number one thing, I mean He could have done all the rest, but if He didn’t raise from the grave He wasn’t the Messiah, and we are still lost, we better find the nearest Jewish synagogue immediately. Amen. But He did raise from the grave. Over 200 prophecies already fulfilled.
He is the Creator, He is the Savior, the deliverer, the Master, He is the healer, the provider, He is righteous, He is Holy, He is worthy, He is Friend, He is judge, He is King, and He is God. This is exactly who He is. God has exalted Him and given Him a name which is above of every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee would bow, and every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God.
Dr. Reagan: You have been watching excerpts from a presentation about the divinity of Jesus that was made at our 2010 Bible Conference. In just a moment we will tell you how to get a copy of the full presentation, together with five others that were made by additional speakers at the conference. Next week, the Lord willing, we will continue showing you excerpts from the conference. Our featured speaker will be Ron Rhodes and his topic will be, “The Truth of the Resurrection.” Until then this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb and Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”
End of Program