Ten Divine Attributes of the Messiah

By Brian Chilton

Mark Lowry wrote a beautiful song called Mary, Did You Know. The song features questions that Mark would ask Mary if he had the chance. One of the lines inquires, “Mary, did you know . . . that when you kissed your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God?”. We are in the season of Advent which anticipates the arrival of Christmas. Although the date of Christ’s birth is debated among scholars, Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, no matter the actual date.

Throughout the millennia, Christians have recognized that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God. However, may have sought to dispute the claim, holding that Jesus was merely a good man but not God. Groups like Jehovah Witnesses translate their own versions of Scripture, attempting to write off the divine claims made about Christ. Yet, it is impossible not to see the multiple divine attributes of Jesus throughout the pages of Scripture.

Ten Divine Attributes Messiah

A thorough examination of Scripture indicates that Jesus holds multiple divine attributes normally ascribed to God. At least ten Messianic divine attributes are found in Scripture.[1]

  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of life (Jn. 1:4; 14:6).

The divine attribute of life describes the ability to provide life, even eternal life. This kind of life can only be given by one who oneself is eternal.

  • “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:4).[2]
  • “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (Jn. 14:6).
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of self-existence (Jn. 5:26; Heb. 7:16).

This means that Christ was uncreated and exists by himself alone, an attribute that only God could hold.

  • “For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he has granted to the Son to have life in himself” (Jn. 5:26).
  • “. . . who did not become a priest based on a legal regulation about physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life” (Heb. 7:16).
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of immutability (Heb. 13:8).

Immutability means that one is unchangeable. While finite beings can and do change, a necessary infinite being does not.

  • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of truth (Jn. 14:6; Rev. 3:7).

Titus 1:2 notes that God cannot lie. It is not that God chooses not to lie, but rather that he cannot because it goes against his nature. To claim that God is truth means that God’s essence is sheer truth and possesses no falsehood. Scripture notes that Jesus holds this attribute.

  • “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (Jn. 14:6).
  • “Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: Thus says the Holy One, the true one, the one who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and who closes and no one opens” (Rev. 3:7).
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of love (1 Jn. 3:16).

God is understood to be omnibenevolent; that is, all-loving. In God, there is no hate if he can be said to be absolute love. Theologians understand that God’s wrath is rooted in God’s love and his holiness. Scripture notes that Jesus holds the divine attribute of love.

  • “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 Jn. 3:16). See also John 3:16.
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of holiness (Lk. 1:35; Jn. 6:69; Heb. 7:26).

God is absolutely holy. Absolute holiness is an all-encompassing purity, in which no evil is possessed. In other words, God is the absolute good. Scripture claims that Jesus holds this divine attribute of holiness which is necessary if he is to redeem humanity from their sin.

  • “The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35).
  • “We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn. 6:69).
  • “For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens” (Heb. 7:26).
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of eternity as seen in this passage and in Jn. 1:1.

God is understood to be eternal. He has no beginning and no end. The Messiah is said to hold the same eternal attribute.

  • “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times” (Mic. 5:2).
  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1).
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of omnipresence (Mt. 28:20; Eph. 1:23).

Omnipresence is the divine ability of God to be everywhere at all times. While Jesus did become monopresent during his time on earth, he is said to have the divine attribute of omnipresence in his eternal state.

  • “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).
  • “And he subjected everything under his feetand appointed him as head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way” (Eph. 1:22-23).
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of omniscience (Mt. 9:4; Jn. 2:24, 25; Acts 1:24; 1 Cor. 4:5; Col. 2:3).

Omniscience is the divine attribute of God to know all things. This is an extremely deep concept as God knows all things that could be by his natural knowledge, all things that will be by his free knowledge, and all things that would be by his middle knowledge. Jesus is omniscient.

  • “Perceiving their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts?” (Mt. 9:4-5).
  • “Jesus, however, would not entrust himself to them, since he knew them alland because he did not need anyone to testify about man; for he himself knew what was in man” (Jn. 2:24-25).
  • Then they prayed, “You, Lord, know everyone’s hearts; show which of these two you have chosento take the place in this apostolic ministry that Judas left to go where he belongs” (Acts 1:24-25).
  • So don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God” (1 Cor. 4:5).
  • “In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).
  1. The Messiah holds the divine attribute of omnipotence (Mt. 28:18; Rev. 1:8).

Omnipotence is the divine attribute of God that indicates God’s complete power. God has complete authority and ultimate strength. Jesus holds the same attribute.

  • “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18).
  • “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).

As I have learned from several of my professors at Liberty University, biblical theology must shape our systematic theology. From Scripture, one can clearly see that Jesus is God incarnate. It is unquestionable. That is why I hold that one must accept the divine aspect of Jesus to truly be part of the orthodox Christian faith.

Gary Habermas Explains the High Christology of the Early Historical NT Texts

Lee Strobel on Jesus’s Self-Identification with God


[1] Many of these references were found in Augustus Hopkins Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907), 309.

[2] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).


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14 replies
  1. Susan says:

    This is a great article. You can come and inspect Jesus in it and conclude that there is no one else like him off that list of attributes.

    it is a pity more people don’t realize that He is the evidence and can be inspected in the scriptures.

    Some people who can be easily deceived would like to substitute carnal material evidence in the place of Jesus’ supernatural life evidence.

    But in spite of them Jesus is still providing his own life witness in the Gospels.

    So why do people want to dismiss his evidence in favor of material evidence that can be easily tampered with?

    The scriptures have been around for a couple of thousand years now and people are still being convicted though them.

    They will always do that unless the person doing the inspecting doesn’t want the truth or has surrendered faith in his own mind and senses and judgment in favor of other peoples conclusions.

    Do you really want to surrender your own conclusions for the reasoning of other people?

    God came down from heaven and set the example Himself in the Scriptures and some people still want to ask for evidence?

    That is some serious weak willed self deception.

    Jesus is God’s evidence.

    Lee Strobel is a trained lawyer and lawyers deal with evidence and he recognizes that Jesus is the evidence too.

    It’s too bad that the guys asking for evidence have allowed themselves to be deceived.

    Apparently some of these guys can’t assess the evidence when God gives it to them. They prefer their self deceptive arguments over the examination that God provides in the scriptures.

    If they seriously examining the Scriptures then they have to take action but some people want to delay taking action or not take it at all.

    But human time is finite. No one knows how much time he has got.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat.

    God provided the evidence in the Scriptures and guess what ….men have tried to tamper with them to serve their own purposes …but miraculously they’re still good enough to reveal God’s evidence unless you are determined to deny the evidence.

  2. Celsus says:

    The Messiah holds the divine attribute of immutability (Heb. 13:8), “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Except when he’s not. Like when he is Yahweh and is, as Dawkins states, “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction”. I don’t know how anyone can claim that Jesus is unchanging. I used to believe this too. But there’s just no way to harmonize Yahweh’s behavior with that of Jesus.

    The Messiah holds the divine attribute of love (1 Jn. 3:16) Except when he eternally tortures billions in hell.

    Susan, you say, “So why do people want to dismiss his evidence in favor of material evidence that can be easily tampered with?” If you think the scriptures have not been tampered with you are horribly ignorant of the facts. And Lee Strobel demonstrated very poor journalism while writing “The Case For Christ”. Why did he hand pick conservative theologians that he knew would answer his questions the way he wanted them answered? There were tons of other theologians he could have asked, but he did not want any opposing views. Because he was not engaged in journalism, he was engaged in apologetics and selling books to Christians.

  3. Susan says:

    I am just saying above Jesus is the evidence.

    People only raise arguments to skirt that point.

    You have your own senses to evaluate God’s truth claims as provided by His Testimony.

    The Bible is God’s testimony.

    You didn’t agree with that so now you are looking for grounds to dispute with other people’s value judgments who accepted God’s claims. One of His claims is people are sinful. THis world validates that claim or we would be living in a man made paradise instead of warring all the time and arguing and disputing.

    I rarely argue with stubborn people any more.

    Why should I when Jesus is the evidence.

    Everyone reconciling with Him might be reasoning from their own human perspectives to Him.

    He is the truth.
    Doctrine is just the man made explanation of the truth.

    I don’t believe in eternal torment so I don’t have to defend that idea at all.

    But God said Himself that He is not Molech in the Book of Jeremiah and would never put people into a literal fire.

    Most of the world has it’s priorities out of whack.

    Most of the world labors under a fear of man. Cf. Proverbs 29:25.

    But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear means great respect.

    If you respect God more than people then you will bother to go to God to learn His ways.

    People like Dawkins are busy undermining people’s love and respect for God but how does that make sense?

    It Just cuts you off from your eternal life and the best counsel in the whole world.

    A lot of Christians are getting marginalized today and the answer to that isn’t in playing the world’s game. The answer is telling the truth.

    I know people today who probably think they are Christians but they won’t speak about God or Jesus in certain company. But those are precisely the places where a Christian should be speaking out.

    Fear of man is not supposed to be ruling any of God’s children but people are easily deceived by their senses and this world.

    Science isn’t the only one that recognizes that fact. God said man is fooled by appearances a long time ago.

    That one observation alone is enough to start people practicing science.

    So you can find God in science. No matter how many people want to rule Him out of it.

    • jcb says:

      Jesus is evidence for some things, not others. Jesus is not (strong) evidence that a supernatural, perfect being, exists. People raise arguments for many reasons, not just 1, so it is false to say “people only raise arguments to skirt that point”. It is false to say “the Bible is God’s testimony”. There the evidence we know of doesn’t make that probable.
      You say “one of His (god’s) claims is people are sinful”. This is false: there is no known god that has made that claim, although you are right/it is true that there are people who are sinful/mean/unloving. Yes, if everyone was loving, apparently there wouldn’t be war. There is war, so everyone is not always loving. Nothing here proves god.
      Jesus said some true things, but saying “He is the truth” is false. People aren’t truths, some statements are true.
      I’m glad you are kind enough to deny that a perfect god would send people to eternal torment.
      What are the world’s priorities, and what shows them to be “out of whack”?
      It is false to assert “the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom”. Nothing shows this to be true, unless you mean “respect for perfection rather than error is a good start towards wisdom”. We of know of errors. We know of no perfect (in all ways) being.
      You say some people have eternal life: again no evidence. (The pattern is clear: you assert wild things with no evidence. If you could, provide evidence for your dubious claims).
      Yes, more and more, irrational people and discriminators are being marginalized, for not telling the truth, or for being unloving (for no good reason).
      Some people are indeed fooled into believing falsehoods, such as that a perfect being exists.
      Yes! People should start/keep practicing science! No, you probably won’t “find god in science”, but if you think science has proven god, please provide that evidence.
      Yes, some people are so stubborn that they rule God out, and would resist any evidence. No, that doesn’t describe most atheists. Theists like Ken Ham and William Lane Craig have explicitly said though that even if they evidence pointed away from/against god, they would believe anyway. Now that’s stubborn.
      If you reply, please provide evidence.

      • Susan says:

        There is no burden of evidence on a Christian.

        There is just your inability to think clearly enough to understand God proved everything at the Cross.

        You should have gotten a decent Bible education to understand God rather than use science as an excuse to argue.

        God speaks in ancient languages and in symbolic language and science cannot interpret that. it hasn’t got the interpretation tools.

        Faith is greater than evidence. That’s why Craig and Ham won’t disbelieve on evidence claims.

        Faith is subjective evidence.

        Christians have both subjective and objective evidence.

        Kierkegaard already made arguments on the subjective evidence.

        If someone gives you evidence then how can you be a seeker?

        God said to seek and you will find Him but maybe everyone isn’t a genuine seeker.

        It is possible to refuse to see another person’s perspective in which case no burden is placed on a. Believer to convince another person who refuses to be convinced.

        I don’t control your heart. You do and God does too.

        Read up on the hardening of the heart topic in the Bible.

        How does one get so callus that they refuse to hear from God?

        Read up on the scales falling from Paul’s eyes.

        God hardened pharaoh’s heart but people can also harden themselves.

        In my experience most atheists react like they are hardened against evidence.

        So why knock myself out
        redoing what God already did?

        The hardened fortress is in your heart and there are boundary limits….
        Interpersonal boundary limits that prevent me from crossing….

        But if you surrender to God then
        He can cross your boundaries.

        Read what David said after being faced with punishment for taking a census.

        He said it was better to fall into God’s hands than man’s.

        So the burden is on the individual whether or not he will attempt to learn God’s perspective or not.

        Don’t switch the goals and say the language is now science when you never tried to learn what God is saying.

        Dawkins is a goal switcher too. he admits he hates priests language but that is God’s language.

        I am not a science type so I am not throwing out God’s language for a limited man made method.

        if you want to limit yourself then go ahead.

        But you could have prayed to God to reveal Himself to you and convict you that He exists but
        that takes humility and only you know if you have that or not.

        God Bless!

        • Celsus says:

          You are wrong Susan. The entire burden of proof is on the theist. I feel sorry for you. It’s sad to see someone completely turn their mind off to reason and accept a 1,700 year old book for their “reality”. I have humility Susan. But to ancient, sacred texts I pledge no servility.

          • Susan says:

            No the burden of proof is not on the theist.

            Seeking to know the truth is the responsibility of the individual.

            A Christian can perform the work of the great commission but doesn’t control another person entirely.

            Really all a question can do is deliver the gospel which is God’s notice to people.

            If you claim to be a truth seeker and reject that notice then you better have some grounds for rejecting it. The burden is all on you to do the seeking.

            You let this world con you into playing philosophical games when God said philosophy is vain.

            You don’t think Paul didn’t know about philosophy? Of course he did. He carried the gospel to the ancient Greeks who are the fathers of philosophy and many of them converted.

            Some people can’t see the forest through the trees.

            The Bible says to be a seeker and the Bible is God’s word.

            If you want to be a lazy person and refuse to use your own mind and except other seek God then that’s on you. You can explain to God later why you’re so passive and lazy.

            Imagine refusing to use your own mind in favor of other peoples’ conclusions just because their conclusion suit you when people make mistakes.

          • jcb says:

            What can be done for Susan? Is there any hope in having a conversation with her? It seems that she refuses to offer evidence for her dubious assertions.

        • jcb says:

          You can’t even admit the most basic of truths, such as that the person who asserts X is true has the burden to provide evidence for it. Hence, the Christian does have the burden of evidence. Once they provide some, yes, the other side has the burden of responding to the evidence.
          The same burden is upon the one who claims that Zeus exists, etc. (I know, all of this is rather basic).
          Thus your claim “there is no burden of evidence on a Christian” is false.
          I might not be thinking clearly, but you haven’t shown that I am (not thinking clearly). Again, you make assertions, and provide no evidence for them.
          No one can prove “everything” with one action, and thus it is false that “god proved everything at the Cross”.
          I have a “decent” Bible education, but again, nothing you say here shows anything I’ve said to be false.
          I never used “science as an excuse to argue”. But I do use science when I argue, and you would arrive at more truths if you did the same.
          There is no god that we know of that speaks in ancient languages. Again, you offer no evidence for this improbable claim.
          You say “faith is greater than evidence”. I am glad you admit what Frank Turek will not: that most people use “faith” as that which is not the evidence. Faith is not “greater” than evidence in determining what is real, but you are right “faith” (blind hope/non-evidence) is “greater” then evidence sometimes if you don’t care about the truth, and only want a fuzzy feeling of false hope.
          Craig and Ham won’t disbelieve based on evidence, which is the definition of being stubborn, dogmatic, and closed-minded.
          Yes, people have “subjective” feelings. These feelings are not usually better/more reliable at determining the reality of the world than science. (That’s one reason we usually prefer objectivity to subjectivity, and why theists regularly pine for Objective Truths).
          If someone gives me evidence, nothing about that shows that I can’t then be a seeker of truth.
          If you mean, if someone proved that X exists, and I ignored that evidence, then I wouldn’t be seeking truth in that instance, that’s true. But that’s exactly what you and Craig and Ham are doing.
          It IS possible to refuse to see another person’s perspective. But in this case, you are unwilling to share your perspective. I’ve asked several times for you to share your evidence: make the case for god. You almost never do. So talking of people who refuse to see your perspective makes no sense, since you won’t discuss your perspective/evidence. (And if you will, provide the evidence! Make the argument!)

          Telling yourself that the other person just won’t listen is your excuse to not make the argument in the first place.
          Yes you don’t control my heart , and no, no known god does control my heart. (As usual, no evidence is given for your absurd claim that God does control my heart).
          I’m glad you agree that a perfect being could intervene on human affairs, such as to “harden pharaoh’s heart”, which shows that the free will defense against the problem of evil does not work, and the problem of evil shows that a perfect being probable doesn’t exist.
          Yes, there are some atheists who don’t listen to the evidence. There are probably more theists who won’t. But here, you won’t give evidence, (and I have: such as the problem of evil), so it appears that it is you who won’t listen to the evidence.
          To everyone else: please ask for evidence, and don’t accept absurd, dubious, unsubstantiated claims such as most of Susan’s. Susan, if you want to be believed, please provide evidence for your dubious claims.

          • toby says:

            Susan’s comments are the same sort of mystifying woo that Deepak Chopra speaks in. Evidence free proclaimations that get lost in their ability to stupefy and confuse.

  4. Paul McAndrew says:

    It is impossible to persuasively present an argument regardless of rationality, logic, testimonies, history, or anything else that will cause a person to believe in the Lord Jesus against their will. Unless God the Father draws a person unto Himself through the Holy Spirit and that person recognizes, acknowledges, confesses, and repents of their own sin against God, there can be no conversion/salvation. Present the claims of Christ and the plan of salvation and pray for them to do otherwise is simply casting pearls before swine.

  5. Eric Breaux says:

    There’s plenty of well known ancient historians who wrote about Jesus, one of which being Luke who also wrote a gospel. There’s about 42 documents saying something about Jesus, a lot of which are not positive of Christianity. Some historians also account for Jesus miracles recorded in the gospels or just that Jesus was famous for miracles that they dismiss as illusionist tricks, or otherwise sorcery. An example is a record from Thallus in the 50’s A.D. mentioning the darkness that occurred during Jesus crucifixion and attempting to explain it as a solar eclipse. Africanus, who quoted this record about 2 centuries later, mentioned that an eclipse wouldn’t be possible because it happened during the Jewish Passover, when the moon is full and diametrically opposite from the sun. Both of these historians records only survive as quotes in other historical writings, like in the records of Eusebius, from what was still left of their respective work during the time. Tacitus, born 56 A.D., references in 116 A.D. in his Annals that Christians were killed for saying Jesus was resurrected. He recorded “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular”. Suetonius, born 69 A.D., recorded in 122 A.D., “After the great fire at Rome . . . . Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief”. The only way that many people would believe that Jesus was resurrected was if they actually saw him. Even his most devoted listeners doubted his resurrection until they saw him and some even after, or didn’t immediately recognize him. The same culture that presented Jesus to be executed with the accusation of apostasy and sorcery is not going to suddenly change their minds about him and invent stories in agreement with his claims that they originally hated him for.
    And none of them could have hallucinated him because neurological research has shown that shared hallucinations don’t happen and in general can’t happen anyway when you aren’t expecting to see the person or have no care to. Paul on his way to Damascus saw and heard Jesus, and Paul was with other people who too saw him and turned away because the light of Jesus was so bright that it blinded Paul. Again multiple people seeing the same thing that they didn’t expect. The talmud records that Jesus was arrested for accusation of apostasy and sorcery and that no one defended him in his trials. Simply knowing the culture of his time is enough to deduce that the converts were reporting a real encounter. It’s recorded that one of the disciples touched Jesus after he appeared to them and that he ate. Paul records having met about 500 witnesses. These new testament accounts are consistent with Josephus and the Roman historical records talking about the teaching of Jesus resurrection.
    The only known forgery recording Jesus is of an account by Josephus, born 37 A.D., but that record is in every copy of his original compilation containing it, so historians know that Josephus wrote an original that Christians later altered. There is a copy of it in another language, older than most other copies, that has none of the Christian praise in the interpolation. We have earlier evidence for Jesus than most other ancient people, recorded by historians who were alive when most of the witnesses of the events still were. A few other such historians were Emperor Trajan, born 53 A.D.; Pliny the Younger, born 61 A.D.; and Phlegon, born 80 A.D.. Most other ancient people weren’t recorded until a century or more after the events, including kings and emperors, and they aren’t disputed either. Its not just apologetic’s who use these accounts, most historians, regardless of belief, don’t deny Jesus was real. it’s mostly the miracles that are controversial, but with no evidence inconsistent with them, just skepticism that miracles can even happen. The reason Roman emperors had miracles attributed to them was because of threats to anyone who did not record those stories, such as the scenario with Alexander, because they wanted to be glorified to bolster their reputation. Most of those records of the Emperors weren’t written until centuries later anyway. http://www.garyhabermas.com/books/historicaljesus/historicaljesus.htm#ch9 http://reasonsforjesus.com/the-gospels-are-biographies-not-myths/
    No one who ever wrote about Jesus was ever questioned by anyone about if he actually existed. People who knew anything about Jesus would be around to say how accurate these claims were that were being recorded. There were plenty of people who hated his teachings who would have loved to refute that he was real, if he was made up. The problem is he was seen by many people in person. There are over 5000 copies of the new testament in it’s original language and over 24,000 total, all of which are mostly consistent with each other and modern translations. The earliest copy still around is dated to before the third century (I forget if it’s 120 or 150 A.D.). The only differences are the story of Jesus and the prostitute not being in the oldest copies and textual variants. The second best preserved document is Homers Iliad, with only over 600 total copies, and the earliest being 300 years after the original. We know the new testament was completed before the second century because Clement of Rome quotes it in the late first century. The gospels would be some of the earliest of the new testament compilation.


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