The Omniscient Christ who Searches Mind and Heart

The topic that has consumed my mind the past few weeks is the deity of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The more I search out the depths of what the Scriptures declare concerning His identity as the Lord of Glory, the more I find myself lost – wonderfully lost – in the implications of this massive truth. It’s glorious to know that the One who “laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16) is the same One who “laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning” (Hebrews 1:10). The twenty-first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?” The answer is given: “The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.”

Nothing can be said of God, as to His essence as God, that cannot be said of Jesus Christ, for “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Concerning the deity of Christ, Robert L. Dabney wrote,

When we see the incommunicable attributes of God given to Jesus Christ, they compose a more irresistible proof that He is very God. This is especially strong when those qualities which God reserves to Himself alone, are ascribed to Jesus Christ. (Systematic Theology)

In other words, when certain attributes or characteristics that belong solely and exclusively to God are ascribed and given to Jesus Christ, we are faced with “a more irresistible proof” that our Lord Jesus Christ is, as the Scriptures teach, very God and nothing less. When something in Scripture is said to be true of God alone, and then the same thing is said to be true of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are are faced with the undeniable truth that Jesus Christ is, as Paul said, “God over all, blessed forever” (Romans 9:5).

In seeking to defend and prove the deity of Christ from both the Old and New Testaments, we must not only look to the the divine names and titles He is given, but to the divine attributes that are ascribed to Him.

In this study, I’d like to focus on the attribute of omniscience. It’s an attribute for which God should be feared and adored. To say that God is omniscient is to say that God knows everything with perfect knowledge. He has a perfect knowledge of all things past, present, and future. He knows every thought and intention of the hearts of men, which is why He will be able to judge “the secrets of men” by Christ Jesus (Romans 2:16).

GOD IS OMNISCIENT

The word omniscience comes from two Latin words: omnis (all) and scientia (knowledge). The thirteenth question in the catechism through which my wife and I are taking our boys deals with God’s omniscience. Daddy asks, “Does God know everything?” The boys answer, “Yes. Nothing can hide from Him.” Scripture has much to say concerning the omniscience of God, and the omniscience of His Son. Here are a few passages dealing with the omniscience of God:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)

You, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind. (1 Kings 8:39)

He knows what is in the darkness. (Daniel 2:22)

The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath. (Psalm 94:11)

O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. (Psalm 139:1-4)

Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (Psalm 139:13)

I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done. (Isaiah 46:9-10)

I know the things that come into your mind. (Ezekiel 11:5)

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)

God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)

Scripture makes it very clear that omniscience is an attribute that belongs exclusively to the Most High God. Who but God can see the thoughts and intentions of man’s heart? Can it be said to a man or an angel, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, you know it altogether“? No. Who but God has the ability to declare the end of time from the beginning of time? Is a mere man or an angel able to say to other intelligent beings, “I know the things that come into your mind” (Ezekiel 11:5)? Can we say to men or angels, “You are greater than our hearts, and you know everything” (1 John 3:20)? God alone possesses this glorious attribute of omniscience.

JESUS CHRIST IS OMNISCIENT

Having seen that omniscience is an attribute that belongs exclusively to God, I want to you to see that omniscience is an attribute that is also ascribed to the Lord Jesus Christ, which would imply – of course – that Jesus Christ is actually and truly, as the old catechism says, “God and man in two distinct natures.”

In John 4:17-19, the Lord Jesus knew and revealed the sinful past of the Samaritan woman he met at the well. She soon found herself running into the town, saying, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did” (John 4:29). He displayed this supernatural knowledge when He knew that the first fish Peter caught would have a coin in its mouth (Matthew 17:27). He knew, without anyone telling Him, that His beloved friend Lazarus had died (John 11:11-13). In John 21:17, Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” In John 16:30, the disciples said to Him, “Now we know that you know all things . . . this is why we believe that you came from God.” Notice that it was upon the disciples’ realization that their Master knew all things that they were convinced that He had come from God (this is why we believe”).

JESUS KNOWS EVERYTHING, GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING

Next, compare the phrases “you know all things” (John 16:30) and “you know everything” (John 21:17), statements which are made concerning Jesus, with what 1 John 3:20 says concerning God: “God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20). Now, if Jesus Christ had truly come from God to “bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37), then certainly as a true and faithful witness He would’ve rebuked Peter and the rest of His disciples for making false claims and saying that He knows “all things.” However, instead of rebuking and correcting His disciples, He asked them, “Do you now believe?” (John 16:30).

Furthermore, in Matthew 9:3-4 we read, “And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?'” (Matthew 9:3–4). According to Matthew, Jesus knew the “thoughts” of the scribes. He knew they were thinking evil in their hearts. Mark records the story of how Jesus healed a paralytic and forgave his sins, and how the scribes questioned “in their hearts” why Jesus spoke with the authority that He did. Mark then goes on to tell us that Jesus perceived “in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves” and He asked them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8).

Luke 9:46-47 says, “An argument arose among [the disciples] as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, ‘Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.'” (Luke 9:46-48). As we come to the gospel of John, we recall the time when many had believed in Christ after seeing the signs that He was doing, but as John tells us, “Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25). If in His state of humiliation Jesus knew the thoughts of men and exactly what was in their hearts, how much more now that He is in His exalted, glorified state? It’s no wonder He will be able to justly judge the secrets of men as the omniscient Judge of the world.

WHO SEARCHES THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF MEN?

Finally, perhaps the most convincing passage of Scripture that directs us to worship Jesus as “our great God and Savior” is found at the end of The Book. The letter to the church in Thyatira begins this way: “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze'” (Revelation 2:18). The Risen Lord, dictating this letter to His church, addresses a number of serious issues that needed serious attention, and as He concludes His warning, He makes this startling claim:

The words of the Son of God . . . I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:18, 23)

Here, the Son of God claims to be the One who searches mind and heart.

As you consider the next passage, I want you to notice that, although the wording is slightly different, the message is the same as that which is found in the letter to the church in Thyatira:

I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:10)

In Revelation 2:23 (New Testament), the Son of God says,

I am he who searches mind and heart.

In Jeremiah 17:10 (Old Testament), God says,

I the LORD search the heart and test the mind.

In Revelation 2:23, the Son concludes by saying,

I will give to each of you according to your works.

In Jeremiah 17:10, God concludes by saying,

I . . . give every man according to his ways.

THE OBVIOUS CONCLUSION

To come to any other conclusion than that the Crucified and Risen Redeemer is the Omniscient God who searches the hearts and tests the minds of men is to reject the clear teaching of the Bible and to entertain “deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).

So what do we do with this undeniable evidence concerning the omniscience of the Son of God? If – on one hand – we see in Scripture that omniscience is an attribute that is ascribed exclusively to God (1 Kings 8:39), and then – on the other hand – we see in Scripture that a number of witnesses stepped forward to testify of Jesus Christ, who knew “all things” (John 16:30), yes “everything” (John 21:17), including “what was in man” (John 2:25), even down to his very “thoughts” (Matthew 9:4), shall we dismiss this One as someone less than God Himself? Many have done this very thing, and in so doing, they’ve jeapardized their immortal souls.

All four of the gospel writers – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – bore witness to the omniscience of their Master, Jesus. O that we would pay much closer attention to what the Scriptures say concerning Him! To be wrong about the Jesus Christ is to be wrong about salvation, since He is salvation (Luke 2:30).

Lest some of my readers turn to their highly esteemed New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (the translation produced by and for Jehovah’s Witnesses), in an attempt to strip the Redeemer of His deity, we’ll examine these two passages through their eyes in order to show that the Omniscient Christ of the Book of Revelation is the same Omniscient God spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah:

These are the things that the Son of God says . . . I am he who searches the kidneys and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:18, 23; New World Translation)

I, Jehovah, am searching the heart, examining the kidneys, even to give to each one according to his ways, according to the fruitage of his dealings. (Jeremiah 17:10; New World Translation)

Although the Watchtower Society has twisted and perverted many of the more obvious passages that bear witness to the deity of Christ and His essential oneness with God, maybe some more revisions (or perversions) need to be made to their New World Translation in order to distort the “not-so-obvious passages” regarding the deity of Christ, those passages describing the divine attributes that the Son of God possessed, possesses, and will continue to possess throughout eternity as our great God and Savior.

JESUS SHARES GOD’S ATTRIBUTE OF OMNISCIENCE, SO WHAT?

What does all of this mean for those of us whose eyes have been opened to the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and, with Thomas, have bowed before His majesty and confessed, “My Lord and my God“? We should bow in humble reverence before our Omniscient Savior, knowing that He knows every thought that has and ever will come into our minds, and yet He continues to love, care for, and fellowship with us. O how precious He is! In spite of the wickedness and corruption that He knew would occupy our hearts prior to being saved, He loved us, gave Himself for us, and poured out His soul unto death for us! He was willing to drink the bitter cup of God’s wrath for us, even though He knew there would be times when our hearts would grow lukewarm, cold, and even faithless.

There is no one more loveworthy than this Savior whose omniscient, loving eye is always upon His flock. This High Priest of ours knows each of our fears and cares and continues to intercede and pray for us. He’s not surprised when we stumble or fall. He knows our end from the beginning and has promised to bring us to glory. This Good Shepherd not only knows all the names of His sheep (John 10:3), but as God, He is intimately acquainted with all their ways (Psalm 139:3). We have a High Priest, Advocate, Shepherd, Friend, and Savior who, as Man, is able to sympathize and identify with us and, as God, is able to save, sanctify, satisfy, and sustain us to the end. Because we have a Savior who is fully God and truly man, mark it down dear Christian, we shall be saved to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

After His disciples said to Him, “Now we know that you know all things,” the Lord Jesus asked them the question that I would now leave with you:

Do you now believe? (John 16:30)

The Glorious Subject of All True Preaching

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they
ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”
-Acts 5:42

“Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed to them the Christ.”
-Acts 8:5

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this
Scripture he preached Jesus to him.”
-Acts 8:35

“And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues,
saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’”
Acts 9:20

“…but we preach Christ crucified…”
-1 Corinthians 1:23

“For I decided to know nothing among you except
Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
-1 Corinthians 2:2

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves,
but Jesus Christ as Lord…”
-2 Corinthians 4:5

Him [Jesus] we proclaim…”
-Colossians 1:28

“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints,
this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the
unsearchable riches of Christ…”
-Ephesians 3:8

How Low Did our Savior Go?

John Flavel helps us to understand the indescribable love of Jesus Christ, a love that moved Him to humble Himself beyond all creaturely imagination…

john-flavelFor the sun to fall from its sphere, and be degraded into a wandering atom; for an angel to be turned out of heaven, and be converted into a silly fly or worm, had been no such great abasement; for they were but creatures before, and so they would abide still, though in an inferior order or species of creatures. The distance between the highest and lowest species of creatures, is but a finite distance. The angel and the worm dwell not so far asunder. But for the infinite glorious Creator of all things, to become a creature, is a mystery exceeding all human understanding. The distance between God and the highest order at creatures, is an infinite distance. He is said to humble himself; to behold the things that are done in heaven. What a humiliation then is it, to behold the things in the lower world! but to be born into it, and become a man! Great indeed is the mystery of godliness. “Behold, (says the prophet, Isa. 40:15, 18) the nations are as the drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; he takes up she isles as a very little thing. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are accounted to him less than nothing, and vanity.” If, indeed, this great and incomprehensible Majesty will himself stoop to the state and condition of a creature, we may easily believe, that being once a creature, he would expose him to hunger, thirst, shame, spitting, death, or anything but sin. For that once being a man, he should endure any of these things, is not so wonderful, as that he should become a man. This was the low step, a deep abasement indeed!

…although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6–8)

Immanuel (God With Us)

If the Lord Jesus is merely a man and not God, Paul would not have said,

Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:1)

If the Lord Jesus is merely God and not a man, Paul would not have said,

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

If the Lord Jesus is merely an angel and not God, as the Watchtower cult says, God the Father would not have said to Him,

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. (Hebrews 1:8)

Because only God is worthy of worship, God the Father would not have said,

Let all God’s angels worship Him. (Hebrews 1:6)

But because the Lord Jesus is “God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever,” as the Shorter Catechism says,  John said,

…the Word was God…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:1, 14)