Jesus, Divine Messiah by Robert L. Reymond

Robert L. Reymond. Jesus, Divine Messiah. Christian Focus, 2003. 552 pp.

For the first time, Robert Reymond’s work on the deity of Christ has been published in one volume. Originally unable to publish it collectively, he published the separate volumes, Jesus, Divine Messiah: Old Testament Witness and Jesus, Divine Messiah: New Testament Witness, in 1990 with Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company. Reymond rewrote some sections, added new material, and inserted transliteration of the Hebrew and Greek. This volume is academic in nature, including a plethora of footnotes, frequent citations of the original languages, and no shortage of interaction with higher critical theories. It would function well as a seminary level textbook. The book is a defense of the deity of the Messiah as presented in both the Old and New Testaments.

This review will discuss only the introduction and the Old Testament section of the book. Reymond’s discussion of the Old Testament teaching on the deity of the Messiah is selective rather than exhaustive, dealing with the primary Messianic teaching. Reymond discusses the seed of the woman; the Angel of the Lord; the key Messianic passages in the Psalms (2, 45, 102, and 110); Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; and 53; Micah 5:2; Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 12:10; and Malachi 3:1.

Since the early years of Christological debate, the orthodox church has been in unanimous agreement concerning the deity of Christ. It was not until the Enlightenment that rationalism stripped the Bible of its supernaturalism, and consequently, of its supernatural Christ. Many objections to a divine Christ have been set forth. Reymond classifies them in seven categories: (1) It is a Christology “from above,” which presupposes what is seeks to prove. (2) It is an ontological rather than functional Christology. (3) It is an incarnation-centered Christology, while the Bible focuses on His death and resurrection. (4) It is the Christology of Greek philosophers. (5) It is a pre-scientific Christology. (6) It is a Christology of exclusivity. (7) It is a pre-critical Christology. Each of these objections is woefully deficient, based solely on an a priori bias against the authority of the Scriptures as the infallible revelation of God. Taking the Bible as what it claims to be, Reymond convincingly demonstrates the deity of Christ from the words of Scripture itself.

The Angel of the Lord is both distinguished from and identified as God. This parallels the description of the Word in John 1:1 who was God and with God. The best conclusion is that this Angel is the Son of God. In Psalm 2, the Messiah is identified as God’s Son. This title is far more significant that it appears to most. The title “Son” contains within it the same force as the use of ~yhil{a/ and hwhy (80). In Psalm 45:6, the Messiah is addressed as ~yhil{a/. There have been many attempts to avoid the obvious conclusion of the divinity of the Messiah, but none is satisfactory and none successfully escapes the clear, natural reading of the text. Psalm 102 identifies Messiah as creator and sustainer of all things. Hebrews 1 makes this identification unmistakable.

Isaiah 7:14 is a prophecy of the virginal birth of the Messiah. No double fulfillment is intended. The name Immanuel clearly points to His divine nature. The relevance of the sign was that period of humiliation would be relatively short, the same amount of time it would take the boy to reach the age of legal accountability (104). The servant of Isaiah has a three-dimensional aspect to it. Sometimes it refers to the nation of Israel. Other times it refers to the remnant of spiritual Israel. Other times it refers to the Messiah as the substitute for the people. Isaiah 53 must fall into the last of these three categories. Reymond gives fourteen persuasive arguments refuting the national view (120-22). In addition to this, the positive NT evidence of the work of Christ parallels the work of the servant in Isaiah 53 is amazing similarity.

Reymond’s volume, although not exhaustive, is a valuable book that would make a worthwhile addition to the library of every pastor and theologian. Rather than just giving the reader a dogmatic conclusion based on systematic presuppositions, he thoroughly exegetes the major passages on the deity of the Messiah. With clear and sound logic, he convincingly argues for his position. Throughout the discussion, he interacts with a variety of other views-both conservative and non-conservative-providing the reader with a good survey of the various positions on a given passage. Virtually everyone who turns to this fine work will find it to be of great profit.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply