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Jesus of Nazareth - Human or Deity?

by Randolph Dunn


Phil 2:5-8 (ASV)
"… Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped 1 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient (even) unto death, yea, the death of the cross."

  • a thing to be grasped (ASV)
  • made himself nothing (ESV)
  • as something to Cling to (NLT)
  • as something to possessed by force (CJB)
  • made himself nothing (NCV)
  • made himself of no reputation 7(KJV)
1 Kenoo - Strong's number NT:2758: (Thayer's Greek Lexicon)
  • to empty, make empty: i.e. he laid aside equality with or the form of God (said of Christ), Phil 2:7
  • to make void i.e. cause a thing to be seen to be empty, hollow, false:

Did He cease being God when he came to earth as Jesus?

Did that which Jesus emptied Himself of return when:
The Holy Spirit descended upon Him at His baptism by John and the voice from heaven said "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."

What does Jesus "being on an equality with God" and "emptied Himself" mean?

What does "being on and an equality with God" and "emptied Himself" mean?

The Beginning

John 1:1-5 ESV
"In the beginning was the Word2, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. in him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

     2 Logos - Strong's number NT:3056: the essential Word of God, i.e., the personal (hypostatic) wisdom and power in union with God,(Thayer's Greek Lexicon)

Rev 19:11-13 ESV
"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.3"

     3 The Word was God a spiritual being who had the Word or message of redemption, forgiveness, and how to be reconciled to Him and God, the Father (rd).

Birth of Jesus

Luke 1:35 "And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy- the Son of God." ESV

Luke 2:10-11 "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." ESV

Luke 2:17-19 "And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." ESV

Luke 2:33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.
Luke 2:34 Simeon
Luke 2:36 Anna

Luke 2:46-47 "after three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers." ESV

Luke 2:50-51 "And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart." ESV

Baptism and beginning of Jesus' ministry

Matt 3:13-17 "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; { Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, (Luke 3:22)}17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." ESV {Note: The 1st reference to Jesus as "Son"}

Luke 3:23, 4:1-2, 9-12 "Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age… And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. … "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,' 11 and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" 12 And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" ESV {I understand this to meanGod is not to be tested.}

James 1:13-14 "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire." ESV

John 2:1-5 "On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4 And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." ESV {my opinion - His first miracle}

Luke 4:16-18 "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me." ESV

Luke 4:20-21 "And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." ESV

Summary and My Conclusion

  1. God, the Christ to be, did not hold on, cling to, grasp or retrain His Deity, His divine nature, but made himself only human until His baptism by John.
  2. Powers of deity were not available to Jesus prior to His baptism.
  3. At Jesus' baptism that which He emptied Himself of, all His Godly power and glory (His deity) He had as God prior to becoming human, returned when the Holy Spirit descended on Him and a voice from heaven declared to be the Son of God .
  4. He was led by the Spirit to the desert where He was tempted. When requested by Satan to perform a miracle by commanding His Angles, to protect Him, [Jesus, now Christ - the Son of God] stated that God is not to tested.
  5. Many, if not most, may disagree with this conclusion, believing instead Jesus retained His deity being both God and human at all times while in the flesh. If this be true, then as God He could not sin nor be tempted as humans can. Therefore, He did not become as man and be tempted in all things like man.
  6. The belief that Jesus was still God from His birth until His ascension tends to some degree support the Gnostics belief that Jesus was not really a human, therefore a phantom. .
1. Up until Jesus became human, He was God and equal with "the Father"


2. Jesus ceased being deity and emptied Himself of His deity when came earth to give Himself as the sin offering


3. After Jesus' baptism by John to fulfill all righteousness, the Holy Spirit came upon Him with power and God, the Father, declared Him to the Son of God, His deity returned


4. The "Word" was God, a spiritual being, proclaiming a message of forgiveness and redemption


5. At Nazareth following his baptism and being tempted by the Devil, Jesus declared that Isaiah's prophesy of His anointment was fulfilled