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Mere Man?

  

I ran across this paper on Adam Pastor’s web site “Adoni Messiah“.  And it has a connection back to kingdomready in that the author of the paper was a presenter at the 2005 & 2006 One God Conferences that our own Sean Finnegan also attended.  Small world indeed. Speaking of which, Sean has the audio of the author presenting this very paper on the Christian Monotheism site at this link.


Mere Man?

By: Jonathan Sjørdal
July 21, 2002

Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament. He was the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He became a man and died for His creation to redeem it. To be the savior, he HAD to be God. If he had not been God, then His sacrifice would not have been sufficient to redeem mankind. If he was merely a man, then the fact that he led a perfect life would only be sufficient for him to save himself. In order to save mankind, he had to pre-exist his human existence as the Creator God.

This line of reasoning is so common that it even has a name. It has been dubbed the “Mere Man” theory. In fact, “Mere Man” has a lot going for it: it makes sense.

It should take a God to die for His creation in order to redeem it. But “Mere Man” does have a couple problems.

The first is the fact that the Creator God cannot die.

If you find yourself in the unenviable position of arguing the necessity of your dead God, perhaps you should reconsider your position. The Bible does not support it. The Creator God is described in scripture by words such as “eternal” and “immortal” and “everlasting” and “almighty.” The Creator God is not subject to the limitations (including death) of his creation.

If your study of the scriptures leaves you comfortable with a mortal immortal, there is another perhaps more serious flaw with the “Mere Man” theory. It is totally absent from scripture. It is remarkable how many people confidently state that “The death of a mere man would not have been sufficient to redeem mankind; God himself had to die for it” without following up this notable statement with any biblical support. The mere man statement, or anything remotely like it, is not found anywhere in the pages of the Bible, and yet it is generally accepted as fact.

Under the sacrificial system in ancient Israel, there was an annual sacrifice of a goat on the Day of Atonement. The high priest killed the goat and sprinkled the blood on the people of Israel. The blood of this animal atoned for the sins of the entire nation for that past year. “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before YHWH” (Leviticus 16:30). How, we may ask, could the blood of a mere animal be sufficient to do this? The answer is familiar to any child, as it was to the children of Israel: because your Father says so. YHWH God commanded that a goat be used as a sacrifice to cover the sins of the people. That is what made it efficacious. It was not the intrinsic power within the goat that did it; rather it was the plan and will of the Creator God.

When YHWH God commands something, we do not need to understand it. As faithful sons, we simply believe and obey our Father.

The treatise on sacrifices in Hebrews 9 and 10 teaches us that the blood of bulls and goats as sacrifices for sin sanctified to the purifying of the flesh, but did not take away sins. The animal sacrifices for sin were designed as a type, a symbol to represent the ultimate sacrifice for sin: the Lamb of God. Under YHWH God’s plan, the animal sin sacrifice on the Day of Atonement was sufficient and efficacious, but only retroactively for the preceding year. It was temporal, and therefore insufficient as an ultimate sacrifice to redeem His people Israel once and for all. The fulfillment of the sacrificial system rested in the Lamb of God, Yeshua the Messiah, the sacrifice to which all the other sin sacrifices pointed.

Yeshua was a man.

His existence began when he was conceived, just as it does for all men. He called himself the “son of man” on many occasions. He was called “the man Christ Yeshua” in I Timothy 2:5. He called himself the “son of God” in John 10:36 and other places in scripture, but never God the Son. Angels too are called sons of God in scripture, as are we (see I John 3 and Romans 8th chap.). We are the sons of God. That does not make us God. Neither did it make Yeshua God. Nor was he, at some time in the past. He was a man, born of a woman. He is referred to in the Bible as the last Adam (I Corinthians 15:45). His Father was YHWH God, who was also the father of the first Adam.

From the foundation of the world, YHWH’s plan was to sacrifice the Lamb of God that was to come for the redemption of His people (Revelation 13:8). In due time, according to the plan of the Father, the man Yeshua the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. He lived a perfect life, performed his ministry to his people Israel, and was sacrificed. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be sinless before our Heavenly Father. By the shedding of his blood, redemption has come upon Israel, past, present, and future.

The blood of The Lamb is sufficient. Why? Because that is how YHWH God planned it and designed it. Does not the one who created the world and instituted the sacrificial system have the right to select which sacrifices are sufficient to satisfy its requirements?

There is only one Creator. You are either the Creator or the creation; you cannot be both. Yeshua was called “the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15) and “the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). Yeshua the Messiah was created. This is by no means an insult to him. You and I were created too. We, like our elder brother Yeshua, share in a glorious plan to be sons of God in the kingdom, each in his own order. Yeshua is the firstborn, and we shall follow.

If the Old Testament type of an animal sacrifice was sufficient to cover the sins of the nation, how much more sufficient would be the fulfillment of the sacrificial system — the Lamb of God, a man planned for and selected from the foundation of the world, a sinless man who wholly followed YHWH his God and obeyed even unto death?

To say that he was insufficient because he was not God is to deny the sovereignty of the Creator God who selected him. He was a man, but he was not a “mere man.” He was the chosen Messiah, the Lamb of God.

194 Responses to “Mere Man?”

  1. on 26 Oct 2009 at 3:54 pmKen

    Ron S.
    Thank you for this sharing. We are to be humble, like children, to be able to enter God’s kingdom (Matthew 18: 1-4.) A Biblical Christian with child-like faith would trust God’s sacrificial provision of the lamb of God, for God declared it and even explained it in quite a bit of detail (as in the book of Hebrews.)

  2. on 26 Oct 2009 at 8:30 pmAngela

    People who claim Jesus was either God or a mere man, forget the other option that the Scriptures so clearly provide us. Jesus was a man, but he was miraculously born and created in the womb of Mary, by the Spirit of God! How many of us mere men (and women) can claim this fact? Jesus was indeed a man, but as this author so eloquently points out, he was the chosen Messiah, the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins, and who is worthy of our adoration and has received the right of being called our Lord Messiah, King of Kings, given to him by His God and our God, YHWH.

    Thanks for sharing this! Excellent!

  3. on 26 Oct 2009 at 10:36 pmRay

    Let’s remember to not confuse God the Father with Jesus Christ his Son. It’s good to keep things as the Bible speaks of them, for why
    should we muddy the waters? It might cause a brother to not want
    to drink, or cause him to receive something not clean. Let’s always seek to give them a cup of cold water only as a disciple of Jesus, as he has taught us.

    That’s why I do not use the terms I often hear as they are not in the Bible. I choose to try to speak the language of the Bible.

    Let’s also remember that if people can be salt, then Jesus can be God.

    It seems to me that the trinity doctrine was born out of man wanting to be accepted of man, and that’s not the gospel is it?

  4. on 27 Oct 2009 at 3:24 amXavier

    An interesting fact is that most Christians are like Muslims, they say they “believe” the Bible and its “virgin birth”. But in truth, they don’t believe what it actually says.

    I recently preached a sermon entitled: “Begotten or Created”, comparing the Biblical testimony versus that of the Catholic Creed. In my presentation I looked at what the word “beget” actually means:

    Cambridge Dictionary Online: To be the Father of; to cause.

    Thesaurus: Create; Synonyms: bring about, cause, generate, procreate.

    Oxford Dictionaries:
    1. produce (a child).
    2. cause.

    Merriam-Webster:
    1. to procreate as the father : sire
    2. to produce especially as an effect or outgrowth

    MSN Encarta:
    1. cause: to be the cause of something
    2. father: to be the father of a child.

    Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    To produce as an effect; to cause to exist.
    To procreate, as a father or sire; to generate; commonly said of the father.

    Wordsmyth:
    1. to generate, esp. to father. Synonyms: procreate, generate.
    Similar Words: create , breed, produce.   
    2. to produce or cause. Synonyms: spawn, create, generate, cp. procreate, cause.

    Yet, Origen in his ‘Principles’, c. 212-215AD., says:

    “[How can] a human mind [understand] how the unbegotten God is made the Father of the only-begotten Son. Because His generation is as eternal and everlasting as the brilliancy which is produced from the sun.  For it is not by receiving the breath of life that He is made a Son, by any outward act, but by His own nature.” 1.2.4

    We who do not agree with the Catholic Creeds and testimonies regarding the “Church Fathers” are not holding a “straw man” Christology. The answer is simple, the Bible testifies to the God of Israel creating His human son in the womb of a young woman. Period.

  5. on 27 Oct 2009 at 10:47 amRandy

    Amen!!!

  6. on 27 Oct 2009 at 7:37 pmDan

    Amen and amen. What do you think about ‘son’ being capitalized or not?

  7. on 27 Oct 2009 at 9:40 pmRay

    To beget means to be the father or sire of: procreate (produce a son for example)

    God produced a Son when he brought Jesus into this world. Prior to this time, his voice was to the sons of men. Unto them he called,
    but many did not give ear. He called unto them to understand wisdom, and to find the knowledge of God. He was in the spirit of God. All his words were in righteousness and truth. His wisdom was better than rubies. Counsel was his, for he was brought up with God. God posessed him in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. (see Proverbs 8)

  8. on 27 Oct 2009 at 9:42 pmMark C.

    I like to capitalize Son when referring to Jesus, as he is more than just “A” son of God like you or me. He is “THE” Son – the only-begotten Son of God. But that’s just personal preference. I don’t think it has to imply that he is God the Son as Trinitarians say, which phrase is not found in the Bible.

  9. on 27 Oct 2009 at 11:12 pmXavier

    Dan, if huois [son] should be capitalized or not:

    As we know the original koine Greek uses all capitals. So its a matter of translation [viz interpretation] whether some choose to capitalize it or not. I think most Bible translations do anyways.

    I would stress the fact that Jesus is to be understood in the context of HO huois tou theou [Matt 4:3, 6; 26:63; 27:40, 43, 54; Mark 1:1; 3:11; 15:39; Luke 1:35; 3:38; 4:3, 9, 41; 22:70; John 1:34, 49; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31; Acts 8:37; 9:20; Rom 1:4; 2 Cor 1:19; Gal 2:20; Eph 4:13; Heb 4:14; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29; 1 John 3:8; 4:15; 5:5, 10, 12f, 20; Rev 2:18].

    This in conjunction with the Johannine phrase MONOGENES huois [Jn 1.18; 3.18; cp. Lu 7.12].

  10. on 05 Nov 2009 at 6:06 amAaron

    Hello everyone,
    I have a couple comments.
    If you concede that Jesus didn’t have to be God to atone for the sins of the world, couldn’t a Trinitarian follow that up by asserting that God did not die on the cross – that Jesus’ human body died (which was sufficient for atonement), but his divinity, encapsulated in his Spirit, remained quite alive and went to be with the Father? As Jesus said “into your hands I commit my spirit.”

    I think when Trinitarians assert that the Unitarian view holds Jesus to be a “mere” man, it is not calling him “mere” in relation to other men. Certainly, as a human, Jesus is not “mere,” neither in his virgin birth nor his life. The term “mere” refers to the fact that if Jesus was only human, he would be limited to doing what only humans can do. I am not referring to miracles, because God can work through humans to produce miracles. Take for instance Jesus words in Matthew 28:20 “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” and Romans 8:10 “If Christ is in you…” I think we all agree that Christ is always with us because he lives in us through his spirit. That means Christ is omnipresent. Only God is omnipresent. How could Christ always be with everyone if he was a human? This is not possible. In addition, Christ’s words that he is “the way, the truth, and the life” sound like something that only God could say. Think about how that would sound if someone came up to you today and said “I am the truth.” Not, “I am filled with truth,” or “anointed with truth,” but “I am truth.” He is saying he is the essense, origin, and full meaning of truth. Similarly, saying you are “the life” is saying that all life comes from you, that you are the source and origin of life. These are attributes of God, not of men.

    Regarding the use of the term “Son of God” – only Jesus is referred to as the “Son of God” throughout the whole Bible. God’s redeemed are sometimes called “sons of God” and more often “children of God,” but surely there is a built in difference between “sons of God” and “Son of God.” Perhaps someone with a little Greek understanding could explore the difference. I know that none of the scriptures that use the term “sons of God” have a connecting phrase that says something like “just as Jesus was a son of God.” No, there is a distinction, and neither are mentioned in the same breath. Jesus is called “THE Son” not “A Son.”

    You made much of the term “begotten” but I wonder what you make of the conditional term “only”. Jesus is called God’s “ONLY begotten Son.” If having God as your Father and creator is enough to be called begotten of God, why isn’t Adam called a begotten son? If Jesus is just like Adam according to your definition of Second Adam, why isn’t Jesus called the “Second begotten Son?”

    Regarding Revelations 3:14, the phrase “the beginning of the creation of God” would make equal sense if it were translated “the origin of the creation of God” or “that through which the creation came about.” The route word for beginning, “arche,” can also be translated as “that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause.” Likewise, Colossians 1:16 describes what the term “first-born of creation” means. It says “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth…” It says that by Jesus all things were created.
    Even if you take “the beginning” in Revelations 3:14 to mean “the first thing created,” how does this make any sense? This would imply that Jesus was created before anything in the world was created. That doesn’t fit into your doctrine at all. That makes it fit into the Jehovah’s Witness doctrine, which says that God first created Jesus and then Jesus created the world – which I hope you would want to distance yourself from. Then again, your doctrine that Jesus was not God fits right in line with what the JW’s believe.

  11. on 05 Nov 2009 at 8:02 amXavier

    Aaron, I know you are trying to work through your trinitarian perspective with the unitarian biblical perspective of the scriptures. But, I must admit, its headache inducing stuff. 😛

    Isn’t it easier and simpler not only to believe the Bible but what it actually says?! Paul teaches that Jesus is “like Adam”, NOT one to one equal with Adam:

    …Adam was a TYPE (prefigure) of the one who was to come [Jesus, in reverse, the former destructive, the latter saving]…Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam BECAME a living being [Hebrew nephesh, living soul]; the last Adam (Christ) BECAME a life-giving Spirit [able to restire the dead to life]. Rom 5.14; 1Cor 15.45 [AB]

    Note that Christ has BECOME “the spiritual [life giving] human being”, meaning, he was not before! Cp. Mat 28.28 [“All authority in heaven and on earth HAS BEEN GIVEN to me”]; 1Cor 1.30 [“has BECOME for us wisdom from God”]; Heb 1.4 [“having BECOME as much better than the angels, as he has INHERITED a more excellent name than they”]; Hebrews 5:9 [“HAVING BEEN made perfect, HE BECAME to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation”]; Heb 6.20 [“having BECOME a High Priest forever”].

    Note also the testimony of Gabriel [“the angel of the Lord”, Mat 1.20] in relation to when, how and why Jesus is MADE THE ONE & ONLY natural [monogenes] “Son of God” via begetting [procreation] and not “creation” [ala 1st Adam, “from the earth”, cp. 1Cor 15.23ff.].

    I found this quotaton from Harold Brown’ s book “Heresies” very valuable:

    Luke’s understanding of Jesus was dominated by OT categories of thought, for that source alone could justify Luke’s claim that Jesus was God’s final, saving instrument…The most characteristic title of Jesus in Luke-Acts is “the Lord Christ” (2:11) “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). At these crucial moments Luke calls Jesus “Lord and Christ”. In 1:43 Luke reports Elizabeth as calling Mary “the mother of my Lord. [Here we have a fine reference to the ‘my lord” of Ps 110:1 and Luke establishes for us what he means by calling Jesus Lord.]

    Luke does not suggest that Jesus was not recognized as Lord until after the resurrection…The speech of Peter in Acts 2 is a careful explanation of how Christians can proclaim that he is both their Lord and the Lord over all. IN HIM THE HOPES OF PS 110:1 ARE FULFILLED AND JESUS IS NOW LORD IN THE FULL SENSE THAT THAT PSALM EXPECTED. [Note that the sense expected by this psalm was that Jesus is ADONI [=my human lord, not God]…

    Luke’s understanding does not allow for any deification; Jesus did not become other than what he was before. What happens is that his victory is achieved and that his stature as Lord over all is accomplished. But he himself remains as he was before, the individual Christ, FOR THE THIRD GOSPEL MOVES WHOLLY WITHIN THE SPHERE OF OT THOUGHT. It is this which fashions Luke’s understanding at this point, and more especially THE IDEAS SUGGESTED BY Ps. 110:1. This makes it possible for Luke to call both God and Jesus “Lord”. But this does not mean that Jesus becomes God or that he is given a divine status by Luke.

    The Psalmist (110:1) calls both God and the King “Lord” but he does not give equality to the two [this would destroy monotheism!]. In the same way Luke sees Jesus as whollysubordinate to the Father, given a share in the Father’s authority, but one which is derived from the Father. He is still the instrment of the Father and is still called his servant (Acts 2:36, 4:30)…

    Some underestimate the importance of Ps 110:1 but O’Neill states correctly: “At this stage [Acts] there was no confusion between the two Lords or any attempt to claim divinity [ie, deity] for Jesus because he was called Lord.” “In the OT the King is called ‘my lord’ but he is still a human being and there is an enormous distance between man and the real God.” “That the King of Israel should ever have been regarded as identical with Jehovah is highly improbable…

    It is a simply and undeniable historical fact that several major doctrines
    that now seem central ot the Christian faith– such as the doctrine of theTrinity and the doctrine of the deity of Christ — were not present in a
    full and well-defined generally accepted form until the 4th or 5th centuries. If they are essential today — all of the orthodox creeds and
    confessions assert — it must be because they are true. If they are true,
    then they must always have been true; they cannot have become true in thefourth and fifth centuries. But if they are both true and essential, howcan it be that the early church took centuries to formulate them?

    He goes on to argue that they were implicit, but he is still puzzled as to why “heresy” appears ealier than “orthodox”:

    “It is impossible to document whatwe now call orthodoxy in the first two centuries of Christianity; heresyoften appears more prominently, so much so that orthodoxy looks like areaction to it.” He then asks: “Were the very first heresies which weglimpse before orthodoxy reactions to an earlier orthodoxy? If so then we can argue that the story of Christian theology is the story of truth. If not [if those early heresies were not reactions to an earlier orthodoxy but
    actually closer to original truth] then we would have to concede that the
    history of orthodoxy is the history of usurpation — as indeed many eminentscholars have argued and still argue.” (Heresies: heresy and orthodoxy in the history of the church By Harold O. J. Brown, 1988 & 1998pp. 4, 5, 20)

  12. on 05 Nov 2009 at 8:19 amMark C.

    If you concede that Jesus didn’t have to be God to atone for the sins of the world, couldn’t a Trinitarian follow that up by asserting that God did not die on the cross – that Jesus’ human body died (which was sufficient for atonement), but his divinity, encapsulated in his Spirit, remained quite alive and went to be with the Father? As Jesus said “into your hands I commit my spirit.”

    This is why it’s crucial to understand the Hebrew thinking about the nature of man and of death. They never thought of body and spirit being separate parts that could live independently after death. Such a concept originated with Greek philosophy. Check out the “Death Is Sleep” page (linked at the top of this page) for more about that.

    I think we all agree that Christ is always with us because he lives in us through his spirit. That means Christ is omnipresent. Only God is omnipresent. How could Christ always be with everyone if he was a human?

    You answered your own question. Christ is not omnipresent in the same sense that God is. He lives in us through his spirit, which is the Holy Spirit.

    In addition, Christ’s words that he is “the way, the truth, and the life” sound like something that only God could say.

    Or something that God could authorize him to say. He was (and is) the way TO GOD, because God made him so.

    Regarding the use of the term “Son of God” – only Jesus is referred to as the “Son of God” throughout the whole Bible. God’s redeemed are sometimes called “sons of God” and more often “children of God,” but surely there is a built in difference between “sons of God” and “Son of God.”

    Yes there is. Jesus is the Son of God because God by His Spirit generated a human in the womb of his mother. That is the difference between him and believers who are called “sons of God.”

    You made much of the term “begotten” but I wonder what you make of the conditional term “only”. Jesus is called God’s “ONLY begotten Son.” If having God as your Father and creator is enough to be called begotten of God, why isn’t Adam called a begotten son? If Jesus is just like Adam according to your definition of Second Adam, why isn’t Jesus called the “Second begotten Son?”

    I wouldn’t say “having God as your Father and creator is enough to be called begotten of God.” Adam was created, but only Jesus Christ was begotten. That’s the difference.

    Regarding Jesus being the beginning of creation, see my recent post in the Demons Don’t Believe in the Trinity thread.

    Then again, your doctrine that Jesus was not God fits right in line with what the JW’s believe.

    Only in the fact that we both believe he isn’t “God the Son” or part of a Trinity. We differ in what we believe he IS, though.

  13. on 05 Nov 2009 at 8:33 amXavier

    Mark C.

    Christ is not omnipresent in the same sense that God is. He lives in us through his spirit, which is the Holy Spirit.

    Not to put words in your post but, do you mean to say by the power of God’s Spirit the Spirit of Christ is in his church? You make it sound as if the HS is Christ’s that’s all. Or maybe that’s what you meant?

  14. on 05 Nov 2009 at 9:45 amSean

    Aaron,

    couldn’t a Trinitarian follow that up by asserting that God did not die on the cross – that Jesus’ human body died (which was sufficient for atonement), but his divinity, encapsulated in his Spirit, remained quite alive and went to be with the Father? As Jesus said “into your hands I commit my spirit.”

    is this not the heresy called Apollinarianism?

  15. on 05 Nov 2009 at 10:12 amXavier

    Does the statement “Jesus is Jehovah [YHWH]” belong to the Doctrine of the Trinity and its adherents or those who hold a Oneness theology?

    Please provide examples with your answers.

  16. on 05 Nov 2009 at 10:22 amMark C.

    Not to put words in your post but, do you mean to say by the power of God’s Spirit the Spirit of Christ is in his church? You make it sound as if the HS is Christ’s that’s all. Or maybe that’s what you meant?

    No, the Holy Spirit is called both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ.

  17. on 05 Nov 2009 at 10:33 amXavier

    Mark C. can you cite some references where the HS is assigned to the person of Jesus Christ? I know that they are both synonymous [if you will] with God’s operational power and [or] “presence” in the church, but I do not see the HS one to one equal with Jesus. But I do see, time and time again, the HS being God Himself:

    Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through HIS SPIRIT, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even the profound things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except THAT PERSON’S OWN SPIRIT within? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

    Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 1Cor 2.10-14

    See the contrast Paul makes between “the spirit of man”, who by definition is the man himself, and the Spirit of God Who is God?

    I could be wrong unless proven otherwise though…

  18. on 05 Nov 2009 at 2:13 pmMark C.

    Xavier,

    I didn’t say that the HS is assigned to the person of Jesus Christ, or that it is one to one equal with Jesus. I said that the Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9; I Pet. 1:11) as well as the Spirit of God.

  19. on 05 Nov 2009 at 8:21 pmXavier

    Mark C. so what does that mean? Why is it “referred, assigned [or] called” the Spirit of Christ sometimes?

  20. on 06 Nov 2009 at 3:08 amAaron

    Precisely.
    I can reconcile the verses in the Bible that speak of Jesus’ humanity and his submission to the trinity doctrine, but in order to reconcile the unitarian position to the whole Bible, you have to redefine terms, or say that verses mean some abstract thing, or say that the translation of a verse is not accurate. No offense, but coming from a trinitarian background, it is taking me quite a bit to wrap my head around what you all believe. As strange as the trinity seems, it makes more sense to me in light of scripture. It’s only when I try to understand your teachings that I get confused.
    Maybe part of it is your educational background. I’m not a theologian, and I get lost in some of your defenses. I’m just trying to come at it from a simple, logical perspective.

    Xavier,
    Thanks for putting up with my pestering. You have helped me think deeper about what I believe, and I just hope to do the same for you, or any others on this site. If our beliefs are never questioned, we never find out if they are sound or not.
    I agree that there is not a one to one equality between Adam and Jesus, because I believe Jesus was God. But, why isn’t Adam called the Son of God if God was his father? He was formed by the Holy Spirit as well (God breathed into the dust). He should be of a more exalted nature than Jesus was because he didn’t have a human mother either. He came straight from God’s hand. I’m trying to show that under your definition of what Son of God means, they should be consider equals.

    You and Mark seem to admit that begotten must refer to being born, since if it meant “created” than Adam should also be called the Son of God, and Jesus the Second Son of God.
    Yet, Xavier, your earlier exploration of definitions seemed to try and highlight that begotten means that Christ was created. Which is it? If begotten simply means “born,” than that in no way jeopardizes the trinity claims. We know that Jesus was born.

    Thanks Mark for specifically addressing my thoughts. Can you explain in laymans terms what it means for Christ to live in us through his spirit? Let me try… Christ is now in heaven with his glorified body and he stays put. Yet, by his Spirit he lives in us. But “Jesus Spirit” is just another way of saying “Jesus” because Hebrew thought saw no difference between a man and his spirit. So, the essence of Jesus abides in us by the Holy Spirit, which means that God fills us with the thoughts and ideas of what it means to be Jesus. I think I’m confusing myself.

    I don’t so much care what the Hebrew thought was on a man’s spirit; and saying the Greeks had the idea that a man was composed of both flesh and an eternal spirit. The Hebrews were wrong on a number of things – namely that Jesus was the Messiah. And the Greeks were right on a number of things – namely sociology, logic, and mathematics. What I care about is what the Bible says about the topic. What Bible verses do you use to say that man is just flesh, and that the word “spirit” is just another way of referring to a man’s inner being, ie: heart?
    What do you do with Acts 7:59 where Stephen is killed and he says “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit?” Did he mean “receive my inner self?” Do you believe Jesus did anything while he was dead for 3 days? If he did, it was by his spirit – something separate from his flesh. What is your take on I Peter 4:18-20? It talks about Jesus talking to spirits in prison. Who were they? It says they were the disobedient people from the days of Noah. Similarly, Ephesians 4:8-9 speak of Jesus descending into the lower parts of the earth and freeing a host of captives before he ascended into heaven. It makes more sense to say that Jesus Spirit did the descending while his body lay dormant in the grave, than to say that Jesus did this after he was resurrected.

    I’ve probably babbled a bit too much. But one specific question I have again is regarding Revelations 3:14 where Jesus is called “the Beginning of the creation of God.” What does that mean, in your opinion, since it can’t mean that Jesus was the first thing ever created?
    I’ll have to check out the link about Death is Sleep. Mark, I’m going back to the other blog to check out your thoughts on the creation.

  21. on 06 Nov 2009 at 3:27 amAaron

    Oh,
    I’m not sure what Apollinarianism means. I’ll have to look that one up.

    Xavier,
    My understanding of the Oneness position is that Jesus is Yaweh from the beginning of time, and that he chose to reveal himself as the Father and as the Holy Spirit as the need arose. So, the statement “Jesus is Jehovah” seems to fit with the Oneness position. My problem with their position is that the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus are portrayed as separate individuals, and sometimes in the same space. For example, at Jesus baptism, the Father is heard from heaven as a loud voice, the Holy Spirit is represented by a dove, and Jesus is obviously in the water. If Jesus was the single expression of God on earth, how did he speak from heaven and appear as a dove at the same time? I know you disagree about the Holy Spirit being a separate person, but obviously the Father and Jesus are unique individuals. So, the Oneness position doesn’t hold much weight.

    Saying Jesus is Jehovah also fits with the Trinitarian view. Jehovah, or Yahweh is God’s covenant name from the OT. We see the name Yahweh as referring to the complete “package” of the three persons of the trinity. Even as Yahweh, the Bible mentions several “sub” names attached to it as God revealed himself in different ways to different situations. For example, Yahweh-Tsidkinu, or Yahweh- Shammah in Ezekiel 48:35. Under this idea, we don’t see it as so crazy to say that God revealed Himself as God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as specific needs demanded it.

    So, I think “Jesus is Jehovah” is a general statement that could fit into either camp. If you were to switch it around, however, and say “Jehovah is Jesus,” that would divide us. That would mean that Jesus is the only and complete expression of God – Oneness.

  22. on 06 Nov 2009 at 4:56 amXavier

    Aaron, for whatever its worth, Adam is called “the son of God” in Lu 3.38. Then again, we who are “in Christ” are also called “sons of the Living God” [Rom 8.14; 9.26; cp. Mat 16.16] since “the children of the promise are counted as offspring…through faith” [Rom 9.8; Gal 3.26].

    But I digress, Jesus’ exaltation to the right hand of God is not simply due to his begetting [procreation], but by what he accomplished on behalf of the sins of the world on the cross. He BECAME, meaning PREVIOUSLY WAS NOT, not only THE “only unique one” [monogenes, Jn 1.18] “Son of God” via generation [Lu 1.35] “was declared to be the Son of God IN POWER according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead [because] God has made him” THE LORD CHRIST [Rom 1.4; Acts 2.36].

    NOTE: Jesus time and time again is said to HAVE BEEN GIVEN, and never said to be inherently Deity because of his “divine nature”.

    I also explained already that scripture calls the first Adam a “type of the one to come” [Rom 5.14]. Jesus is greater because he has BECOME for all who believe “the founder and perfecter of our faith” [Heb 12.2]. He has restored that which Adam had lost. Note the following from Trintarian scholar James Dunn in his excellent ‘Christology in the Making’ [2nd ed. have you read it?]:

    Now Adam was certainly not thought of as pre-existent though perhaps strictly speaking as pre-historical, or, being the first man on the earth, as transhistorical/typical…

    If Christ walks in Adam’s footsteps then Christ need be no more pre-existent than Adam…

    Nor indeed is there any implication that Christ was contemporaneous with Adam, acting in a similarly transhistorical situation…

    Christ always presupposes Adam, Christ’s odyssey presupposes the plight of Adam, of Adam’s offspring. As 1 Cor 15:45ff INSISTS, the temporal order is clear: Adam first, Christ second – Christ is last Adam, Adam precedes Christ. Adam was not a copy of a pre-existent Christ, but a “type of him who was to come” [Rom. 5:14]…

    The Philippian hymn [2.5-11] does not intend to affirm that Jesus was as historical or as pre-historical as Adam, but that the choice confronting Christ was as archetypal and determinative for mankind as was Adam’s; wether the choice was made by the pre-existent Christ or the historical Jesus is immaterial to the Philippian hymn. [‘The Last Adam’, pgs. 119-120]

    As per ANY Dictionary defintion [which I have extensively posted] “begotten” means to “procreate, generate, to cause to be”. Cp. the use of genesis for Mat 1.1,18; the normal word to express gennao [birth], Mat 1.20; cp. Job 14.1; 25.4; and most pertinent, Gal 4.4 & Rom 1.3, where the writer uses ginomai, a technical Greek word that expresses the beginning of existence of a human being and not just “birth” [as per the Creedal definition confound, “begotten not created”?].

    Yes, I agree that sometimes things can get too technical and complex, but you must realize this is what theology can be. Especially when your dealing with the extra-biblical language of the Catholic [Protestant] Creeds and 2000+ years of confusion from liturgy. But when it comes to Trinitarian theology, however, I cannot but always ask this simple question: Did God die for me on the cross? Is Jesus a human being at all?

    RE: Trini v. Oneness, why is it so hard for trinis to understand the Oneness perspective since both of them claim things for thr “Godhead” that go beyond reason and common sense? I mean, you say that your problem with Oneness is that they basically believe that “3 persons” inhabit the “same space”. But, as trinis always contend regarding their own doctrinal definition, its God, He can do whatever He wants etc.

    But then you say that “God revealed Himself as God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as specific needs demanded it.” Isn’t that another heresy called Modalism [Sabellianism]? The “belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabellianism

    Lastly, I really do not see what the difference is in either saying “Jesus is Jehovah” or vice versa.

  23. on 06 Nov 2009 at 5:28 amMark C.

    Thanks Mark for specifically addressing my thoughts. Can you explain in laymans terms what it means for Christ to live in us through his spirit? Let me try… Christ is now in heaven with his glorified body and he stays put. Yet, by his Spirit he lives in us. But “Jesus Spirit” is just another way of saying “Jesus” because Hebrew thought saw no difference between a man and his spirit. So, the essence of Jesus abides in us by the Holy Spirit, which means that God fills us with the thoughts and ideas of what it means to be Jesus. I think I’m confusing myself.

    Actually, that’s not a bad description. I don’t know why you’re confused about it.

    I don’t so much care what the Hebrew thought was on a man’s spirit; and saying the Greeks had the idea that a man was composed of both flesh and an eternal spirit. The Hebrews were wrong on a number of things – namely that Jesus was the Messiah. And the Greeks were right on a number of things – namely sociology, logic, and mathematics. What I care about is what the Bible says about the topic. What Bible verses do you use to say that man is just flesh, and that the word “spirit” is just another way of referring to a man’s inner being, ie: heart?

    When I speak of Hebrew thought, I’m speaking of Hebrew thought as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures. And when I speak of Greek thought, I’m not talking about sociology, logic, and mathematics. I’m talking about Greek philosophy which gradually crept into the Christian Church with the result that the meaning of many words and phrases were changed. The Bible is a Hebrew book, written by Hebrews from a Hebrew perspective, and must be understood in that light.

    BTW, I didn’t say that man is just flesh, just that in the Bible man is a whole being. The body and spirit or soul are not separate parts that can exist separately. Also, I didn’t say that the word “spirit” is just another way of referring to a man’s inner being. There are several different meanings for the word, depending on context.

    As for the verses that demonstrate the usage and meaning of these terms, there are far too many to get into in a forum like this. If you’re interested in understanding these concepts I recommend examining them with a concordance and/or a Bible dictionary. Also, Sean’s Death Is Sleep page, and my page on The State of the Dead give a lot of Scripture references.

  24. on 06 Nov 2009 at 5:51 amJaco

    Aaron,

    If you concede that Jesus didn’t have to be God to atone for the sins of the world, couldn’t a Trinitarian follow that up by asserting that God did not die on the cross – that Jesus’ human body died (which was sufficient for atonement), but his divinity, encapsulated in his Spirit, remained quite alive and went to be with the Father? As Jesus said “into your hands I commit my spirit.”

    Aaron, however you understand the event of death and whatever the Bible explains that event to entail, that is exactly what the Bible says cannot happen to God. The other thing is, Trinitarians want to have it both ways. They want God to die, since, according to them, only God can pay for the sins of the world…but then insist that only the “human Jesus died,” since God cannot die. This is a conflict of terms – either the one, or the other, but not both.

    I think when Trinitarians assert that the Unitarian view holds Jesus to be a “mere” man, it is not calling him “mere” in relation to other men. Certainly, as a human, Jesus is not “mere,” neither in his virgin birth nor his life. The term “mere” refers to the fact that if Jesus was only human, he would be limited to doing what only humans can do.

    No. Trinitarians usually use the term “mere human” to misrepresent the Biblical and Unitarian stance regarding Jesus’ humanity. They use that as a straw-man fallacy. He was the only-begotten human Son of God, and thus not merely human. See John 3:34 and 5:26. Jesus was given extraordinary privileges.

    Are you satisfied with the answer given to you regarding Jesus being “the way, the truth and the life?”

    I won’t answer for Xavier, but I’d like to reply to your questions.

    You said

    but in order to reconcile the unitarian position to the whole Bible, you have to redefine terms, or say that verses mean some abstract thing, or say that the translation of a verse is not accurate

    I’d say we endeavor to allow the Bible to correct redefined things. In trinitarian terms, strait-forward truths – even those we as non-Hebrew gentiles can understand perfectly – have been redefined and remolded to fit a concept totally foreign to the Bible-writers’ thoughts. It is an indisputable fact that the Trinity doctrine is a post-Biblical development. A novel heresy invaded Christianity and became orthodoxy.

    I agree that there is not a one to one equality between Adam and Jesus, because I believe Jesus was God. But, why isn’t Adam called the Son of God if God was his father? He was formed by the Holy Spirit as well (God breathed into the dust). He should be of a more exalted nature than Jesus was because he didn’t have a human mother either. He came straight from God’s hand. I’m trying to show that under your definition of what Son of God means, they should be consider equals.

    Aaron, the author of the featured article puts it nicely:

    When YHWH God commands something, we do not need to understand it. As faithful sons, we simply believe and obey our Father.

    So, let Scripture speak and explain itself.

    Adam was called God’s son in Luke 3:38d. Everything existing today came about by God’s spirit, so, does that make my pet-snake a son of God? No, that reasoning amounts to reductio ad absurdum. The difference between Adam and Jesus is stated in 1 Cor. 15:47:

    The first man is out of the earth and made of dust; the second man is out of heaven.

    Is there a difference, then? Maybe not to you, but to God there is. He inspired the authors of His Word to differentiate between the two in terms of their glory. No Christian can go beyond what is written. So, as far as God’s view of it is concerned, they aren’t equals as regards their manner of creation nor their glory.

    If begotten simply means “born,” than that in no way jeopardizes the trinity claims. We know that Jesus was born.

    Begotten means to be brought into existence by being born. Adam’s creation was also his being brought into existence, but from dust. To God and his Bible writers that is different. It does jeopardise the trinity claims, since, according to those Christ was eternally generated – a concept which the Hebrew faithfull would have been horrified by.

    Yet, by his Spirit he lives in us. But “Jesus Spirit” is just another way of saying “Jesus” because Hebrew thought saw no difference between a man and his spirit. So, the essence of Jesus abides in us by the Holy Spirit, which means that God fills us with the thoughts and ideas of what it means to be Jesus. I think I’m confusing myself.

    Aaron, brother, it is not that difficult. Read Joh. 14:16, 26, 15:26 and Acts. 2:33. Allow Christ Jesus and God’s word to clear this up for you. If you understand how holy spirit representatively acts on Jesus’ and God’s behalf, your question will be answered.

    The Hebrews were wrong on a number of things – namely that Jesus was the Messiah. And the Greeks were right on a number of things – namely sociology, logic, and mathematics.

    This is dangerous reasoning, brother. With this line of reasoning we can pick any religious concept, believe in it, and say the Hebrews were wrong about yet another thing. You’re seriously over-generalising here.

    I suggest we stick to matters of the Trinity first, and then we can discuss the soul/spirit differences, if that’s ok.

    But one specific question I have again is regarding Revelations 3:14 where Jesus is called “the Beginning of the creation of God.”

    This is a good explanation from “Who is Jesus?” by Anthony Buzzard

    John, in Revelation 3:14, similarly calls Jesus “the beginning of the creation of God,” which most naturally means that he himself was part of the creation. That “firstborn” designates in the Bible the one who holds the supreme office can be shown from Psalm 89:27 where the “firstborn,” the Messiah, is the “highest of the kings of the earth,” one chosen like David from the people and exalted (Ps. 89:19). Jesus now represents the human race as the Head of the new order of humanity.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Jaco

  25. on 06 Nov 2009 at 7:00 amJaco

    Aaron,

    Saying Jesus is Jehovah also fits with the Trinitarian view. Jehovah, or Yahweh is God’s covenant name from the OT. We see the name Yahweh as referring to the complete “package” of the three persons of the trinity. Even as Yahweh, the Bible mentions several “sub” names attached to it as God revealed himself in different ways to different situations. For example, Yahweh-Tsidkinu, or Yahweh- Shammah in Ezekiel 48:35.

    I don’t follow your reasoning here. By having God Jehovah put his name on a place proves nothing in the Trinitarian sense.

    The more I read articles by (predominantly) Evangelical scholars, I cannot else but find myself aghast at how little they’re bothered with accurate Biblical truth. They want to prove their ideas and theirs alone. No wonder Paul was so outspoken against it in Gal. 1:8.

    Jehovah is not a quality or a qualification. It’s not something like jazz, which, when you listen to a piece of music, say that music is jazz or Sinatra’s “My Way” is jazz. The OT reveals Yahweh (Jehovah) as the single true God, the Creator, whom Jesus himself identified and differentiated from all others (himself included) as the Only One who is Truly God. It is so straight forward. It boggles me how anyone could have gone so far as to propose the horrendous idea that the Father is Yahweh, Jesus is Yahweh and the holy spirit is Yahweh.

    Yahweh is the True God the ancient Hebrews worshipped as the Creator. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here Jesus explicitly identifies Yahweh with the Father, the only true God:

    John 8:54: “‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifies me, he who you say is your God'” How much clearer do we want it to get?

    Act. 3:13: “The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his Servant, Jesus.”

    There is absolutely no uncertainty as to the identity of Jehovah here. But, for a fact, from Jesus’ own words and Peter’s own undeniable testamony, the God of the ancient Hebrew patriarchs, Jehovah, HE is the one Jesus identified as the True God, and no one else, not even Jesus is!

    Praise Jah!

    Jaco

  26. on 06 Nov 2009 at 12:35 pmrobert

    here is a good article on human Jesus

    http://humanjesustheology.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/yah-spoke-of-a-human-jesus-to-moses/

  27. on 06 Nov 2009 at 12:41 pmrobert

    here is another article on how there is only one true God.

    there are several more linked to this site that would help a few of you really understand who Jesus’s God is

    http://humanjesustheology.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/correcting-the-false-trinity-sha%cc%82ma%e2%80%9b/

  28. on 06 Nov 2009 at 7:00 pmXavier

    Aaron, here’s a recent article I compiled called “The case for the ‘human Jesus’ in Luke”:

    http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2009/11/case-for-human-jesus-in-luke.html

  29. on 08 Nov 2009 at 3:23 amAaron

    Cool,
    More articles to read. I mean that sincerely – though there are still a bunch on this site that I haven’t made it to yet.

    True – the Bible does not say that Jesus was given deity. Surely, trinitarians believe he always existed as deity, and was never brought into existance as deity.
    We know Jesus was brought into existance as a human being through his birth – but that does not exclude the trinity belief that he existed as deity before he took bodily form.
    As for the verses that say he was given this or that, and made to be king – we interpret that in the same sense that you interpret the term “Lord Jesus.” Though he was deity, he has become the King over the earth by virtue of his obedience and death. God gave dominion (or kingship) of the world to Adam. Adam screwed it up and thus gave it over to Satan (the prince of this world). In order for God to legally reassume kingship over this world from Satan, God had to become a man who would live a perfect life, fulfill the covenant, and defeat the forces of the enemy. So Jesus was given authority over all the earth by his work and he reigns as the King over all.
    As far as what actually happened on the cross. That is something I am curious about, but have not done much study on. I just listened to the debate between Bosserman and Finnegan. http://www.christianmonotheism.com/php/media_center/media_displayer.php?chosen=speakers&mode=speakers&data=36
    It was a good debate and they talked about the subject – probably better than I could. I would recommend giving it a listen.

    Speaking of debates, I started listening to a debate between a Oneness preacher and a Trinity preacher. It’s funny how the Oneness debater uses the same line of reasoning to prove that Jesus is the only manifestation of God that you use to prove that Jesus is not God. He talks of all the times in the Bible God is called “He” and not “They.” He also makes careful note of the shema “the Lord our God is one.”
    Can I hit on that a moment? I noticed Sean say several times during the debate that Jesus agreed with the monotheistic Jew about his definition of God. That is a misreading of the text. Jesus did not agree with the Jews take on God; Jesus is the one who quoted the text in the first place. The Jew was agreeing with Jesus’ take on God. What’s the difference? If a new age person came and told me that Jesus is God – would I agree with him? The words might make sense, but he doesn’t mean what I mean when he says that. He thinks everyone is God, and Jesus is no exception. Similarly, the words from Deuteronomy are good and true, but Jesus says them with a far greater understanding of who God is then the Jew does. Furthermore, what Jesus finds wise in the man’s answer is not that he reapeated what Jesus told him, but what he added to it by saying that love “is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” In addition, “the LORD is One” is not the same as saying “there is only one LORD” as you would assert this says. Certainly the latter is true, but the statement has less to do with separating God from other potential gods, and more to do with describing the nature of God. “Oneness” is a quality of God (though not in the way that Jesus-only teachers say). Like I mentioned in the other thread, “One” can also describe unity of multiple parts. David and Jonathan are said to be “one.” The marriage of husband and wife makes them “one.” Using the description “one” in this way fits with scripture.

    Mark,
    To say that we are filled with Jesus “essence” sounds too etherial and new agey to me to make any sense. It makes more simplified sense to say that the Holy Spirit dwells in us – the actual substance of God – hence Jesus lives in us because he is God. Simply stated and understood.

    Jaco,
    I’d be interested in your interpretation of Jesus being The Life and The Truth. I could see how you could put the title of The Way on Christ as a man, but not the other two.
    Is it FACT that the trinity was invented when you say? I’ve heard of documentation to the contrary. As Josh Ratliff noted on the other blog quoting Ignatius (AD 35-98) “We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man…” Even though a full explanation of the trinity did not come about til later, early texts support the belief that Jesus was God. The Bible does not contain the words “trinity” or “co-equal”, but neither does it contain the word “sub-atomic particle.” Does that mean that such particles did not exist until the word was invented. No, it just means that we came up with a way to describe what always was.

    I agree that there is a big difference between Jesus and Adam – that they are not on the same plane. As you noted, the scripture says Adam is from earth and Jesus is from heaven. We just disagree on what that verse means.
    Revelation 3 refers to the beginning of creation – the start of the universe. “Beginning” is not the same as “Part of.” We can only take this to mean that Jesus was the first to be created or that he was the origin of the created. The “firstborn” and “king of the earth” concepts are separate from this title of Jesus. Besides, those titles did not occur “in the beginning of creation” they happened when Jesus died.

    Names like Yahweh-Tsidkenu, or Yahweh-Nissi are not names of places, they are names of God. My point was that God revealed more detailed names of Himself as he revealed deeper aspects of his character. God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, likewise, are deeper revelations of God. All the same God, but different titles.

    Boy, I’ve gone on longer than I planned. My wife is surely wondering what I’m doing that’s taking so long. Good night!

  30. on 08 Nov 2009 at 4:59 amMark C.

    To say that we are filled with Jesus “essence” sounds too etherial and new agey to me to make any sense. It makes more simplified sense to say that the Holy Spirit dwells in us – the actual substance of God – hence Jesus lives in us because he is God. Simply stated and understood.

    Why is substance a better word than essence? Both are subject to various interpretations. “Jesus lives in us because he is God” is not so simple either. Is he in us or is he at the right hand of God? Not to mention the fact that you’re starting with the assumption that Jesus is God.

  31. on 08 Nov 2009 at 7:03 amJaco

    Aaron,

    Though he was deity, he has become the King over the earth by virtue of his obedience and death.
    In order for God to legally reassume kingship over this world from Satan, God had to become a man who would live a perfect life, fulfill the covenant, and defeat the forces of the enemy.

    Please provide references, Aaron. You’re merely reiterating classical Trinitarian formulae. In NO WAY did God ever give up divinity. That is something he would NEVER do (Isa. 42:8). Jesus received authority not only on earth, but also in heaven (Ps.110:1, Mt.22:44, Heb.1:4, 13, 14). So, to say that He became man merely to reclaim authority over the earth is a gross over-simplification. As Firstborn Son of Yahweh, His Father, He inherited what God, Jesus’ God, had in mind for him.(cp. 1 Cor. 15:27, 28)

    So Jesus was given authority over all the earth by his work and he reigns as the King over all.

    Even after his ascension did Jesus remain subject to Yahweh God’s authority (1 Cor. 11:3, 15:27, 28, ). Thus, he cannot be a fellow-Almighty or a fellow-Sovereign.

    It’s funny how the Oneness debater uses the same line of reasoning to prove that Jesus is the only manifestation of God that you use to prove that Jesus is not God.

    Aaron, you won’t believe how Trinitarians use the same line of reasoning we use to prove Jesus was the Messiah when debating Jews…but that’s fine. I couldn’t care less what Oneness Pentacostals use to prove their point; much the same as what Satan used to tempt Jesus (Mt. 4:1-11). The Bible is my (and our) authority of truth, regardless of what others use it for.

    If a new age person came and told me that Jesus is God – would I agree with him? The words might make sense, but he doesn’t mean what I mean when he says that. He thinks everyone is God, and Jesus is no exception.

    Sorry, Aaron, but you’re commiting “proof by illustratin” fallacy. Just because you’re illustration makes sense, doesn’t mean that that was what actually happened. Jesus upheld the Torah who confessed faith in the singular Deity, Yahweh. Besides him (singular) there is no GOD. In fact, Jesus confirmed his belief in the Jews’ God (John 8:54).

    Furthermore, what Jesus finds wise in the man’s answer is not that he reapeated what Jesus told him,but what he added to it…

    Aaron, show me where Jesus added to the One God, Yahweh, as it stands in the Shema. I’ll show you where he confirmed his subjection to Yahweh in confirmation to the Shema.

    Like I mentioned in the other thread, “One” can also describe unity of multiple parts. David and Jonathan are said to be “one.” The marriage of husband and wife makes them “one.” Using the description “one” in this way fits with scripture.

    Your committing a horrendous fallacy, Aaron: You’re presuming plurality by using examples where plurality is already confirmed! We know a couple and David and Jonathan are plural, BECAUSE SCRIPTURE TELLS US SUCH!

    So, you’d believe: an orange (fruit) is orange, and my plastic pool-ball is orange. But an orange is a fruit, so, my plastic pool-ball is also a fruit…how’s that for Sacred Trinitarian Truth!!!!!!!

    Mark,
    To say that we are filled with Jesus “essence” sounds too etherial and new agey to me to make any sense. It makes more simplified sense to say that the Holy Spirit dwells in us – the actual substance of God – hence Jesus lives in us because he is God. Simply stated and understood.

    Aaron have you read my comments in post #24? Review them, and ask your question to Mark again.

    “We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man…”

    If Ignatius believed Jesus to be our God as the faithful Hebrew understood it, I have no problem with it. I prefer reading Scripture and learn there about God and Jesus, than to base my belief and interpretation on non-Jewish, extra-biblical sources from people who didn’t even hear my Lord speak.

    The Bible does not contain the words “trinity” or “co-equal”, but neither does it contain the word “sub-atomic particle.” Does that mean that such particles did not exist until the word was invented. No, it just means that we came up with a way to describe what always was.

    Fallacy of exclusive premises. Do not reason from the negative, Aaron, reason on what the Bible does say. If the Bible contained a laid-out formula of God that sounded like the Catholic Creeds in the proceeding centuries, I would have accepted it. But it doesn’t, so I don’t. You’re using the factuality of one thing (sub-atomic particle) to prove the factuality of another thing (trinity) while it is still left unproven. That’s why the Trinity doctrine is factually and logically so weak.

    …that they are not on the same plane.

    …talking about New Agey. Start using Biblical language, brother.

    We can only take this to mean that Jesus was the first to be created or that he was the origin of the created.

    First of which creation? Secondly, we know he is not the origin, since nowhere in Scripture is were things made out of him (ek avtou), but through him (dia avtou). What those things are, will be another interesting matter.

    The “firstborn” and “king of the earth” concepts are separate from this title of Jesus. Besides, those titles did not occur “in the beginning of creation” they happened when Jesus died.

    THat’s it!!! And as soon as you figure that out from Scripture, you’ll also know what creation Jesus is the Head of…

    Names like Yahweh-Tsidkenu, or Yahweh-Nissi are not names of places, they are names of God. My point was that God revealed more detailed names of Himself as he revealed deeper aspects of his character. God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, likewise, are deeper revelations of God. All the same God, but different titles.

    You’re making wild assumptions here, Aaron. Nothing can be farther from the truth. You’re making a connection between Yahweh God, and his servant Jesus and inanimate spirit. Prove it, brother, prove it.

    Aaron, you came onto this blog somewhat unaware of either our nor other novel Trinitarian arguments. It appears to me that you’ve done some reading and have joined the Trinitarian band by proposing arguments you never knew of before. That’s the same as defending a notion before really knowing all the facts, but defending it nevertheless while picking up arguments along the way…that’s not a wise course to take. That’s making people (whose reasoning you use) the custodians of your faith. Start using Scripture alone…that’s what we do.

    In Christ,

    Jaco

    P.S. It’s lunchtime in my country. I’ll reply on Joh. 14:6 as soon as I’m done…

  32. on 08 Nov 2009 at 9:29 amXavier

    Try to imagine the astonished reaction of a Jew (who has his monotheism intact) as he discovers that missionaries use his cherished national creed, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one” (Hebrew: echad), to prove the doctrine of the Trinity. To the surprise of many, Trinitarians will often use this celebrated verse to support their belief in a triune nature of God. Let’s examine this missionary argument more closely.

    To support their claim that there are multiple persons within the godhead, missionaries insist that the Hebrew word echad (one) at the end of Deuteronomy 6:4 does not mean an absolute one, but rather it can only signify a compound unity, or many things in one. They will often cite two verses to support this assertion. The first is the one you have mentioned, Numbers 13:23 reads,

    “Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one (echad) cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs.”

    The second is Genesis 1:5, which reads,

    “…and there was evening and there was morning, one (echad) day.”

    From these verses, they contend, it is clear that the Hebrew word echad can only mean a fusion of a number of things into one.

    Although this “proof” is as flawed as the doctrine it seeks to support, for those who lack an elementary knowledge of the Hebrew language, this argument can be rather puzzling.

    The word echad in the Hebrew language functions in precisely the same manner as the word “one” does in the English language. In the English language it can be said, “these four chairs and the table constitute one dinette set,” or alternatively, “There is one penny in my hand.” Using these two examples, it is easy to see how the English word “one” can mean either many things in one, as in the case of the dinette set, or one alone, as in the case of the penny.

    Although the Hebrew word echad functions in the exact same manner, evangelical Christians will never offer biblical examples where the word echad means “one alone.” Thus, by only presenting scriptural verses such as Genesis 1:5 and Numbers 23:13, it creates the illusion to the novice that the word echad is somehow synonymous with a compound unity. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. For example, Deuteronomy 17:6 reads,

    “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one (echad) witness he shall not be put to death.”

    or Ecclesiastes 4:8 reads,

    “There is one (echad) alone, without a companion; yes he has neither son…”

    In the above two verses the exact same Hebrew word is used, and clearly the word echad is referring to one alone, not a compound unity.

    The question that immediately comes to mind is: If the Hebrew word echad can signify either a compound unity or one alone, how can one tell which definition is operative when studying a verse? The answer is: In the exact same way the word “one” is understood in the English language, that is, from the context. “Four chairs and a table make up one dinette set” is a compound unity, and “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one” is unsullied monotheism. [Rabbi Singer, The Trinity in the Shema]

  33. on 08 Nov 2009 at 10:10 amJaco

    Wow, great reference, Xavier, thanks!

    Aaron, before outrightly giving you the Biblical explanation for John 14:6, I’d like you to read the following two Scriptures, and tell me if any of these have Yahweh God as subjects:

    Numbers 21:9 and Deut. 18:18.

    We’ll take it from there.

    In hope,

    Jaco

  34. on 08 Nov 2009 at 11:28 amXavier

    RE: John 14.6, some trustworthy quotes:

    … simply to say that John [14.6] has reinterpreted the hope for resurrection and eternal life in a radically Christological sense does not greatly illumine their meaning, or explain how that life is appropriated…The second half of the statement –“no one comes to the Father but by me”—explains the first half, the “I am” saying. The next verse continues by way of explanation, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also”. That is, Jesus is the way to the Father because he mediates knowledge of the Father . Therefore, he is also the mediator of truth and life. Both the exclusive nature of Jesus’ claim and his function as the mediator of knowledge of God and so of life come to the fore…

    Another way to summarize the point is to say that Jesus is not presented as a second divine being, not a god alongside the one true God [Jn 17.3], but as the Son who is authorized and even commanded to speak God’s words and to do God’s work. The identification of Jesus as the Son, and the language of authorization and command, make it clear that the Son is not the Father, but that the Son always carries out the work of the Father—and that he does so by the Father’s explicit command and authorization (e.g., 5:19-20, 25-26; 10:18,32,37-38). M.M. Thompson, The God of the Gospel of John, p. 88, 231

    One consideration that has frequently been appealed to in evaluating the bearing of John’s witness on the doctrine of the Trinity is the ‘I’ statements of Jesus: ‘I am the Good Shepherd’; ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ On this basis, the argument is constructed that these are references back to God’s statement in Exodus 3, where he answered Moses’ question about his name by saying, ‘I am,’ or ‘I will be.’ If this is the case, then all of these statements constitute claims to deity…In my judgment, this argument as a whole is invalid and should not be utilized. It fails to recognize distinctions among the four uses of the copula, ‘to be.’ This is confusing the ‘is of predication’ (or possibly the ‘is of inclusion’) for the ‘is of existence. Millard J. Erickson, God in Three Persons (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995), p. 209.

    Some modern exponents of religion are far removed from Jesus’ concept of God. This is illustrated by the recent remark of Deepak Chopra in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution [Jn. 30, 2007]: “The most dangerous idea [in religion] is my God is the only true God and my religion is the only true religion.” Jesus would be judged guilty on both counts (John 17:3; 14:6).

    As “the only true God” God is distinguished from the Messiah, His human agent. The Father is a single Person, and that single Person is defined as having “no others besides Him.” This is pure unitarianism. It echoes the Hebrew Bible perfectly: “Do we not all have one Father? Has not one God created us?” (Mal. 2:10). There is nothing in John’s account of Jesus’ teaching, nor in any saying of Jesus, about the true God being one substance composed of two or three Persons. For Jesus, one single Person, the Father, constitutes the one true God. Jesus deliberately excludes all other persons from the Godhead. This is exactly what we expect in the context of the first century and from the Messiah, Son of God, who was a Jew as well as the founder of the Christian faith. Jesus affirmed this unitary view of God expressly in Matthew 19:17 where he says “only one is good.” He was pointing to his Father. The unitarianism of Jesus is one of those immovable fixed pillars of biblical theology. Anthony Buzzard, Jesus was Not a Trinitarian, p 305.

  35. on 10 Nov 2009 at 12:18 amAaron

    Under my assumption, Jesus is both at the right hand of God and in us because he is God – he is omnipresent.

    Jaco,
    Regarding the two verses, they speak of an instrument that Yahweh uses.
    I didn’t say God gave up his deity, I said he gave Adam authority over the earth. Genesis 1:28 speaks of Adam’s God-given rulership over the earth and the things in it. It was a physical rulership with spiritual consequences. Romans 5:12 states how Adam’s sin lead to sin and death infecting the whole world. As a result, Satan became the ruler of the world – a title Jesus uses of him in John 12:31 – because Satan is the source of sin. Finally, Hebrews 2:14-17 speaks of Jesus partaking in flesh like the children of God in order to “render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” I know this doesn’t cover everything Jesus did, but I was just highlighting one aspect.
    Verse 16 is interesting in that it says Jesus “partook” of flesh in order to do what needed to be done. Partook is an active verb. How does Jesus actively decide to partake in flesh before he is born into flesh? If Jesus partook in flesh, what was his nature before he partook in flesh?

    About what I said…
    “Furthermore, what Jesus finds wise in the man’s answer is not that he reapeated what Jesus told him,but what he added to it…”
    I’m sorry if I didn’t make it clear, but I wasn’t saying that Jesus added to the Shema, I was referring to what the jew added to Jesus’ quotation of the Shema. First Jesus quotes the Shema and the greatest of the commandments. Next, the Jew repeats back what Jesus just said, then adds the statement “… is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” That’s the only “adding” I’m referring to.
    One other thing about the Shema… What purpose would the statement “The LORD our God is one LORD” have served to the people in Deuteronomy? If it is an anti-trinitarian scripture, was Yahweh foreseeing that one day people would believe in a trinity, so he better nip it in the butt right away? Or were there other “gods” at the time who were trinity in nature – and God wanted to make sure the Israelites didn’t think He was anything like them? Or could it be like other statements God makes in the OT which the hearers of could not have imagined all that was meant by them (such as Genesis 3:15) – but one day God’s future people would come to fully understand?

    Pardon any fallacious arguments I make – I hope not to slip into them again. Thanks for pointing them out. Now, please tell me if the arguments on this site have used the same fallacy. Even though Thomas calls Jesus “God” in Matthew 20:28, though Titus 2:13 calls Jesus “our great God and Savior,” – as does 2 Peter 1:1, and though Isaiah 9:6 refers to the coming Messiah as “Mighty God,” we should take these to mean “god” as it refers to men in other parts of the Bible – even though many more times the term refers to Yahweh.
    I agree that we should look at only what the Scriptures say in order to decipher who Jesus is. My only purpose in using the quotation was to show that Trinitarian thought didn’t originate at the Council of Nicea. Furthermore, many folks on this site put such high stock in post biblical history and its writings. I have no problem leaving post-Biblical history out of my statements, because I haven’t studied the period enough to speak with authority.

    Please don’t assume how I came to the conclusions I have come to regarding the trinity. You won’t see me quoting other people’s commentaries on the subject to make my points. If I don’t understand an argument I try not to use it. One of my goals in conversing with you is to gain a greater understanding of the scriptures – and you have helped me in doing so. Please know that I read your comments with my Bible in hand, checking references, and I formulate my responses in the same way. I may check out a commentator to get his opinion on a specific verse – but I think it is wise to check out the ideas of others who have done deeper studying.

    Til we speak again,
    Aaron

  36. on 10 Nov 2009 at 6:18 amJaco

    Aaron, you said

    I didn’t say God gave up his deity

    Please remember what you say here, especially where it comes to the Trinitarian understanding of Phil. 2:5:11. This typically happens when an extra-biblical doctrine doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny. Gradually every one of its cornerstones crumbles when other issues are addressed.

    Verse 16 is interesting in that it says Jesus “partook” of flesh in order to do what needed to be done. Partook is an active verb. How does Jesus actively decide to partake in flesh before he is born into flesh? If Jesus partook in flesh, what was his nature before he partook in flesh?

    Nowhere in scripture will you find a single verse saying that Jesus at one time decided to partake in flesh before he was born. Look at the last clause in vs. 10. Verse 17 tells us in what way he partook or shared or became a partner (all synonyms of partake, met.e’cho). Also see Heb. 5:7-10. Once again his suffering leading to the loosening of the Devil’s works (salvation). It’s not necessary to force a temporal understanding upon Jesus’ partaking of flesh and blood. The rest of Hebrews makes that understanding unnecessary.

    One other thing about the Shema… What purpose would the statement “The LORD our God is one LORD” have served to the people in Deuteronomy? If it is an anti-trinitarian scripture, was Yahweh foreseeing that one day people would believe in a trinity, so he better nip it in the butt right away? Or were there other “gods” at the time who were trinity in nature – and God wanted to make sure the Israelites didn’t think He was anything like them?

    There were most definitely triads of gods in the Ancient Near East. Whether the Israelites knew of them or not Scripture doesn’t say. I believe the Israelites were aware of much of the kaleidoscope of paganism surrounding them, including the Egyptian and Akkadian (Babylonian) triads which occupied most prominent positions in their worship. Was Yahweh preventatively giving them these laws since He foresaw Trinitarian introduction into Biblical Monotheism? I don’t think he did so specifically to spare us the Trinity. I think his direct revelation in Exodus and his speaking through His Son in the NT showed us the perfect way of Divine Truth against which all else has to be measured – the 4th century Trinity doctrine included. It might be good to understand, Aaron, that the Bible was not compile to disprove the Trinity as such. No anticipation of it in any way can be found in the Bible. We’re engaging in an “acid test” of a doctrine which, by its formula, should have been discarded long ago, but survived – not due to its truthfulness, but due to oppressive systems and people’s insistence on its acceptibility, even essentiality, regardless of whether it measured up to Scripture or not. If you want to believe in the Trinity, it’s up to you, but to say the Bible teaches the Trinity and that it is Christian Orthodoxy is an infamous lie, and do I have a moral and conscientious obligation to demonstrate.

    Or could it be like other statements God makes in the OT which the hearers of could not have imagined all that was meant by them (such as Genesis 3:15) – but one day God’s future people would come to fully understand?

    Genesis 3:15 is clarified withing the pages of the NT. There is no doubt in the minds of NT writers as to who the characters are of this Universal drama. Not so with the Trinity. NO preparation for it in the OT, and overwhelmingly many refutations of it in the NT.

    Now, please tell me if the arguments on this site have used the same fallacy. Even though Thomas calls Jesus “God” in Matthew 20:28, though Titus 2:13 calls Jesus “our great God and Savior,” – as does 2 Peter 1:1, and though Isaiah 9:6 refers to the coming Messiah as “Mighty God,” we should take these to mean “god” as it refers to men in other parts of the Bible – even though many more times the term refers to Yahweh.

    We can go into an elaborate discussion on Tit. 2:13 and 2 Pet. 1:1. These Scriptures, taken as they stand, are at best ambiguous. They can mean both things: Jesus being God and Saviour, or as Yahweh being God and Jesus being Saviour (Phil 3, Jas. 1:1, Jud. 25). These verses aren’t as popular in apologetics anymore, since something less ambiguous is necessary to firmly establish a doctrine.

    Same goes with John 20:28. Little Greek lesson: The nominative for God is ho theos. There is no doubt as to its definiteness. The nominative for a god is merely theos. That’s it. Same goes with man: The man is ho anthropos. A man is merely anthropos. BUT in the vocative, namely when someone is envoked or called upon, both The man and a man get the same form: hoo anthropos. Definiteness or identity cannot be determined from the vocative alone. The same goes with John 20:28. From this vocative alone, definiteness cannot be insisted upon. Unless a Scripture can be found which nominates Jesus as The God (as John. 17:3) Thomas’ exclamation means no more than what Yahweh meant when he made Moses a God to Aaron (Ex. 7:1).

    I agree that we should look at only what the Scriptures say in order to decipher who Jesus is. My only purpose in using the quotation was to show that Trinitarian thought didn’t originate at the Council of Nicea. Furthermore, many folks on this site put such high stock in post biblical history and its writings. I have no problem leaving post-Biblical history out of my statements, because I haven’t studied the period enough to speak with authority.

    Yes, patristic studies (Early Church Fathers) cannot dictate what we should believe. They are of interest, though, to track the development of doctrine already confirmed as foreign to biblical thought.

    It’s good to figure it out for yourself and to do your “homework.” And, as I said, the arguments for the Trinity do not even come close to those the Bible contains against it.

    IN hope,

    Jaco

  37. on 11 Nov 2009 at 5:20 amAaron

    I’m thinking through what you said about the Hebrews passages…
    Are you saying that Jesus shared in the sufferings of everybody else – and this was part of the way that he defeated Satan?

    Though I agree with this statement, I think it takes a little bit away from the profoundness of verse 14. Your version would say “Since the children share in sufferings and temptations, Jesus shared them also in order to defeat Satan.” Even this would indicate that he had a choice in the matter. What is the alternative? That Jesus could have been born and lived without sufferings and temptations if he wanted to? What planet could that have happened on? Surely not earth? Furthermore, I don’t think I need to look to verse 10 to tell me what things he partook of in verse 14 since it already clearly tells me that he partook of flesh and blood. Again, I ask, what is the alternative? That Jesus could have been born without flesh and blood? The verse is clearly saying that it was essential that he share something that the children already shared. This verse holds no significance if flesh and blood was the only option of his existance!
    It seems to me that Philippians 2:7 indicates a similar willfullness on the part of Jesus in a pre-born state. It says Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant…” Empyting oneself and taking a form of something seem like pretty active expressions. If the emptying is what led to him being born, how did he do this before he existed? And if he emptied himself, what was he full of before? According to the verse, he did not consist of the likeness of men because that is what form he took after he emptied himself.

    Wow – it’s 1:20 AM, time to go to bed.

  38. on 11 Nov 2009 at 7:54 amXavier

    Aaron, you keep “reading into the text” [eisegesis] Trinitarian vestiges that are not there. If anything, Hebrews describes Jesus’ FULL humanity and not some “hypostatic” union of Divine and human “natures”. For example, in order to be High Priest you have to be a member of the human race. God cannot be His own High Priest, can he? [cp. Heb 5]

    I Timothy 2:5 states that there is now “one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Messiah Jesus.” Jesus’ mediation is accomplished through his role as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. God does not mediate between Himself and man. He chooses men or angels to do this and under the Christian economy it is a man, the glorified Jesus Christ. (Jesus also appeared on earth as high priest, Heb. 9:11.) Any inference that Jesus is both God and High Priest makes no sense whatever, for if God has ordained that there be a “go between” then by what logic can anyone claim that this mediator is God? If God is doing the mediating then why not simply say, “I will be mediator between me and man?”

    There are many reasons to challenge orthodoxy in regard to Jesus Christ’s so-called Deity. God cannot die, God cannot be tempted, God is incorruptible, God is omniscient, and now we see one more: God cannot be the High Priest. Jesus is High Priest and therefore cannot be God. This is a basic syllogism in logic.

    The Scripture says, “It is evident that our Lord arose from Judah” — not from heaven, not from eternity! And again, Hebrews 7:15 states that “it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek [a man, v. 4], there arises another priest.” In verse 24 Jesus receives the unchangeable priesthood. Why? Not because he is God and always possessed it, but because after being raised, he continues in office forever. He won this position through sacrifice. Terry Anderson, “Can God be the High Priest?”

    Same with the much cited Phil 2.5-11, context is about humility, and being humble, it is not describing some preexistent being who was, as the Catholic scholar Kuschel titled his book, “Born before All time” [1992]. Commenting on Philippians 2:6-11 on page 250 he states that “the Philippians hymn, present-day exegetes have drawn the radically opposite conclusion that the Philippians hymn does not speak of the pre-existence of Christ at all. Indeed, an increasing number of present-day New Testament scholars with good reason question the premises of exegesis hitherto and cannot see pre-existence, let alone Incarnation, in the Philippian hymn.”

    As the Righteous Man par excellence Christ was the perfect image (eikon) of God. He was totally what God intended man to be. His sinless condition gave him the right to be treated as if he were God, that is, to enjoy the incorruptibility in which Adam was created. This right, however, he did not use to his own advantage, but he gave himself over to the consequences of a mode of existence that was not his by accepting the condition of a slave which involved suffering and death…

    The sources are neither wisdom reflections on the righteous sufferer nor mythological speculations about a pre-existent divine being, but the messialogy of the book of Isaiah [chapt. 53]. So vv. 6 and 7 would not be speaking of a pre-existent heavenly being or of Incarnation, but solely of the life of Christ on earth…

    He is the man Jesus who was exalted because he humbled himself, and at the end will receive eschatological homage from all. This is clearly a Jewish-Christian interpretation of the career of Christ on the basis of a christological interpretation of the Old Testament…

    The conclusion is that ‘from this sequence it follows that Phil. 2:6 is primarily concerned with making statements about high status and by no means necessarily concerned with pre-existence. I do not think that it can be proved that this is a statement about Incarnation…

    The Jewish background is enough for understanding this hymn and indeed for providing continuity with Aramaic Jewish Christianity in the proclamation of Christ. So ‘humbling himself,’ ‘emptying himself,’ is not to be understood as the act of a mythological pre-existent heavenly being, but as a qualification of the man Jesus…

    What does all this mean for the question of the pre-existence of Christ? To sum up, we can now say that if we take note of the linguistic subtleties, the dynamic of inner movement and the poetic form of the text, this hymn does not contain what numerous interpreters seek and find in it: an independent statement about pre-existence or even a Christology of pre-existence. [pgs. 252-262]

  39. on 11 Nov 2009 at 2:40 pmJaco

    Aaron, you wrote

    Even this would indicate that he had a choice in the matter. What is the alternative? That Jesus could have been born and lived without sufferings and temptations if he wanted to?

    Yes, he did. Else, there would have been no purpose behind His being tempted (Mt. 4:1-11). The possibility to sin and to do his own will had to have been there, else his selflessness would be of no meaning to us (1 Pet. 2:21-24). He had the choice of pleasing himself, but he endured the opposite (Rom. 15:3, Heb. 12:2). Jesus also had to answer the accusation by Satan by which he generally accused all humans (us and Jesus included) of obeying God for selfish reasons (Job 2:4, 5) So, yes, Jesus had the choice, but he chose to do GOD’s will (JOh. 5:30, Gal. 1:4)

    Furthermore, I don’t think I need to look to verse 10 to tell me what things he partook of in verse 14 since it already clearly tells me that he partook of flesh and blood.

    This is somewhat simplistically put. We all know that His merely appearing in the flesh would not have sufficed the requirements for salvation for anyone of us. To reduce His Redemptive Work to that amounts to reductio ad absurdum.

    The verse is clearly saying that it was essential that he share something that the children already shared. This verse holds no significance if flesh and blood was the only option of his existance!

    As I stated above, and as you read Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and its fulfilment in the Gospels, you’ll know that that was not all there was to Jesus’ life on earth. Partaking in blood and flesh was an idiomatic expression meaning to share in all we as humans share in…except in sin (Heb. 4:15)

    Empyting oneself and taking a form of something seem like pretty active expressions. If the emptying is what led to him being born, how did he do this before he existed? And if he emptied himself, what was he full of before? According to the verse, he did not consist of the likeness of men because that is what form he took after he emptied himself.

    In msg #36 I said:

    Aaron, you said

    I didn’t say God gave up his deity

    Please remember what you say here, especially where it comes to the Trinitarian understanding of Phil. 2:5:11. This typically happens when an extra-biblical doctrine doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny. Gradually every one of its cornerstones crumbles when other issues are addressed.

    Do you see why one of the favorite trinitarian “prooftexts” actually counts against them? You see, if that is what kenosis or the emptying of the Christ means, then there is no “Divine” Christ at all (in the trinitarian sense). He either was God when he was on earth (and then have not undergone full kenosis) or he did undergo full kenosis (then he wasn’t God when he was on earth). The two concepts are diametrically opposed to each other and mutually exclusive.

    See what Xavier wrote about Christ’s kenosis, and comment on that. We’ll take it from there.

    BTW, did you understand my references in msg. #33?

    Your brother,

    Jaco

  40. on 11 Nov 2009 at 9:57 pmXavier

    Jaco,

    You have hit it right on the “trinitarian nail”, the language of Phil 2.5-11 naturally might suggest [looking at it from the trini view point] that the subject in question [Jesus] “emptied himself of his divinity” [god-form, theos-morphe].

    That is to say, at the time the Son became a human being, he ceased to be a divine one, in order to become fully human (‘although he was rich, he became poor for our sake’, 2 Cor. 8:9). There’s no way around this interpretation if we were to see it through other means.

    What I believe is the natural and exegetically sound way to understand the passage makes more sense in light of the rest of what scripture says regarding the person of God and Jesus:

    “That, despite His supernal dignities, the disposition of Christ was one of love and compassion, and utterly lacking in selfishness and pride, is shown by his self-abasement. He empties Himself. What this means is clearly indicated by the change in form. He was not God and He did not become a slave. But He had God’s form, yet He took a slave’s form. He did not carry with Him any of the former into the latter.” —A. E. Knoch, Studies in Philippians (Part Four of Eight) The Example of Christ Philippians 2:1-8

    In saying that, there is no doubt that this passage [and the Bible itself] teaches some type of preexistence, but what kind?

    “…it has been argued that a disquisition upon the pre-existence of Christ is not within the scope of the Apostle’s purpose, that he is interested only in setting before his converts an example of unselfishness and true humility. To this we can heartily agree, insisting, at the same time, however, that this very purpose of the writer is a strong argument for the reference to a pre-existent state… As to the rather shallow objection that such an example would be beyond the power of men to imitate, we may answer that this is to miss the spirit of the passage altogether. The Apostle is not asking for a mechanical imitation of the precise act in which our Lord ‘emptied himself, whatever that act may have involved. He is pleading that men shall have in them ‘the mind’ which was in Christ Jesus, and which impelled Him so to act as the passage describes, in the interest of others. Moreover, to exclude the idea of pre-existence from the passage is to render obscure its meaning.” Alva J. McClain, The Doctrine of the Kenosis in Philippians 2:5-8, page 89.

  41. on 12 Nov 2009 at 12:38 amXavier

    Aaron, jus had a thought, hope you can follow and answer accordingly…

    Phil 2.5-11 says Jesus was “given a status and authority” as a result of his [divine] exaltation to the right hand of “God the Father”.

    This view implies that to his Deity was “added humanity” [whatever that means], but once the “God-man” is exalted, what divine “status or authority” can u possibly “add” if u were and have always been the “eternal God the Son”?

    Cp. “being in very nature God…taking the very nature of a servant…” [NIV]

  42. on 13 Nov 2009 at 4:52 amAaron

    Xavier,
    I’ll take your last question first. This is coming from my own understanding – not a Trinitarian theologian I read.
    First, it says Jesus was “given status and authority” not as a result of his exaltation to the right hand of God the Father, but as a result of his humility and obedience onto death. There seems to be a difference there from what you said.
    Second, I’m not sure what verse you are referring to that says he added humanity to his Deity. I think I know what you are saying, but maybe not quite.
    But in regards to the new status and authority – I think it goes back to what I talked of before – that Satan had captured dominion over the earth through Adam’s failure- and through Christ’s death and resurrection, he is now the King of the earth. God has always been the Almighty God over everything and that part of his nature has never changed, but we see in scripture how God gives his authority over to man. He gave Adam authority over the earth. When Israel was bugging God for a “real” king, God submitted to their requests and gave them Saul. There, God relinquished his role as the King of Israel and put a man in charge. Though everything is God’s in the end, it is the principle of stewardship. Our talents belong to God, but we are given authority over them. We see the same theme with prayer. God is sovereign and can do anything He wants, but He chooses to limit himself to the prayers of his people. (Exodus 8:13, Matthew 16:19) I think God purposefully limits Himself because He wants to partner with people – He wants to engage with us in a purposeful loving relationship. That is the theme of stewardship. However, in the case of Adam, that stewardship led to dominion falling into the wrong hands. As a man, Jesus was able to wrestle that dominion from Satan’s hands through his work on the cross, and now he reigns as King having been exalted by God. So, all that to say that even though God is always sovereign over all, He has regained the specific level of authority over the earth that he gave to Adam in Genesis. That is how we see that the One who is LORD is now Lord of all.

    I’ll explore that thought a little more in other ways. God has always possessed the qualities of “Savior” since before the world began. However, could an outsider call him Savior if He had not yet performed any saving? It wouldn’t make sense to. It wasn’t until God demonstrated his saving nature that He could be given the title “Savior.” And that is precisely why God shows up in very distinct ways in the Old Testament – in order to display to His people a new facet of his character – and as a result, He is given new distinct titles, such as in Exodus 15:26 where He calls himself “the LORD who heals you” or literally “Yaweh-Rophe.” In that sense, God receives a new title. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t Yaweh-Rophe before. It just mean, you wouldn’t understand to call Him that because He hadn’t shown that He could do that. Similarly, Jesus being the “God-man” who died for our sins – his nature as God wasn’t enhanced at his resurrection, rather it is now seen for what it always was, though it hadn’t been fully revealed. The thing that Jesus is given in this passage is a glorified name. Jesus means Yahweh is Salvation. The trinitarian view would be that God the Father has made it so that through the name of Jesus, God’s saving work and authority is made known to the world. We hold that the second person of the trinity was given the name Jesus at his incarnation. The Son was not called Jesus before his birth. That is how he received a new name. It is not a new essence, but a new name which brings recognition of God’s saving ability.
    I hope some of that made sense. Ask me for clarification on any point.

    Again, I hold that Jesus did not lose his divinity. He did not empty himself of divinity. I don’t think any Trinitarian would assert this. The very doctrine states that Jesus is both man and divine. What he emptied himself of is the “form” of God, as mentioned in vs. 6. God’s form is an omnipresent, omniscient spirit – and this is the form that He emptied himself of and became flesh and blood. I think it does involve humility too, as you stated Jaco, but on a much greater level.

    I agree that a doctrine must hold up to scrutiny when put against the scripture. Simply put, a doctrine must make sense when inserted into any passage in scripture. Yes, you can say that he became a servant in order to do what was best for humanity instead of please himself – according to vs. 7. But, it makes no sense to say that he was “made in the likeness of men” if he always was a man and that was his only option of existence. Also, it makes no sense to say of him: “being found in appearance as a man…” if he was always a man. If I said I was made in the likeness of men, you would say “Of course you are, because you are a man.” The statement would be meaningless.

    I know that there was a lot more to Jesus ministry than just showing up in flesh and blood. The point of this Hebrews passage is that the necessary suffering, temptations, and ultimate dying could not have happened if Jesus did not have flesh and blood. It was the sharing in flesh and blood that allowed him to go through all those things. Without the flesh and blood he couldn’t have done what he did. That is why this passage is talking about how amazing it was that Jesus shared in flesh and blood – because he didn’t have to. Vs. 17 says “Therefore, He HAD to be made like His brethren in all things…” This statement means nothing if Jesus’ only option was a state of being like his brethren. It means nothing for me to say “I had to be born with flesh and blood and all that is human.” That is the only way I can possibly come! But, this statement means everything if I had the option of another existence. The statement only makes sense if Jesus had or could have had a state that was not like his brethren in all things. I’m not reading into the text – I’m just reading what it logically states. The statements lose all meaning when you insert the doctrine that Jesus was just a human who first existed at his birth.

    I disagree that Hebrews only asserts Jesus’ humanity. The book begins with several divine references. Hebrews 1:3 says Jesus is “the exact representation of (God’s) nature and upholds all things by the word of His power.” The universe is upheld by Jesus’ power. Notice the power is of Jesus – not a granted power. Verse 6 says of Jesus “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” Can you see an angel worshiping a man? If anything, angels in the Bible were very protective of God’s glory and insisted that all worship be directed solely to Him. This would seem very much like God giving His glory to another. Also, verse 8 says “Thy throne, O God…” This is God the Father speaking of Jesus. God the Father calls Jesus God! Lastly, verse 10 says “Thou, LORD, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands.” This again is God the Father speaking of Jesus. How else can we interpret this but that Jesus made the universe IN THE BEGINNING!?

    Where does it say that God must have a mediator between Himself and man? There was no mediator in the garden of Eden. A mediator only became necessary after the fall. And I know we both believe God’s purpose is to get humanity back to a “pre-fallen” state. When Jesus’ died, the veil of the temple was ripped in two – symbolizing that there is no longer a boundary between God and man – that man can now approach God without a go-between – provided they are cleansed by Jesus sacrifice. God’s goal was not to replace a system of sacrifices with a man who stands between us and God. God’s goal is to get back to being face to face with us, as Adam was in the beginning.

    Your brother in all things,
    Aaron

  43. on 13 Nov 2009 at 11:45 amXavier

    Aaron, wow! have to give it to you bro, you certainly have spun yourself a web…that unfortunately you yourself have been caught into. I can try and disect at lenght all the contradictions I found in almost each and every one of your lines. But it would probably still would not suffice.

    Suffice it to say, you keep saying “God” [the Father, I presume] gave Jesus [God the Son] so and so. But I thought trinitarian theology states that they are both co-equal, co-eternal and co-everything in every way. So how and why would One give to the other?

    Whatever “God the Son” emptied Himself of according to the trini interpretation of Phil 2.5-11 still means, by definition, that you either LOSE or GAIN something you previously did not have. I’m sorry friend but your answer is not only contrite in the least but headache inducing stuff. According to your view, how can we ever imagine the teaching the writer is trying to put forth here is one of being humble when our example, supposedly, is to be like “God” who became man? How can anyone top that!!

    RE: Hebrews, how do you conjure up a “divine reference” by the implicitly subservient statement that Jesus is the “exact representation [character]” of his God and Father? How is that a testament to Jesus’ own godhood?? If your the image [icon], form [morphe] or character [karacter] of someone else, how can you be that same person your supposedly reflecting? The only way you can come to this conclusion is by starting with a preexistent, trinitarian assumption of things.

    Heb 1.8 cites Ps 45.6-7 where it is applied to the Davidic king. YHWH also makes Moses “god” [elohim] to Pharaoh in Ex 4.16; 7.1. ANd as we have explained before, Jesus answers this whole “god calling” debate in Jn 10.30f. Again, your clutching at straws here Aaron.

    As with Moses in the OT [Ex 20:19,21-22,Deut 5:5,22-23,27,31,Acts 7:38], the only way NOW to approach God is through His one ane only “go-between” Son, Jesus Christ:

    What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but GOD IS ONE…For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings, Christ Jesus, HIMSELF HUMAN… Gal 3.19-20; 1Tim 2.5 [TNIV]

  44. on 13 Nov 2009 at 1:41 pmRay

    Why is it that trinitarians go to such means to prove their theology is right? The trinitarian theology is not the gospel. Why is it so essential to them?

    This I don’t understand, unless, it is their acceptance they look for among men and to receive it, they must be a trinitarian. Or is their motive self-righteousness? Are they walking under a spirit of self-righteousness, pride, and who knows what else?

    Can a person be saved without the doctine of the trinity? I believe that they can. I believe the Bible gives it’s own testimony to that by Jesus Christ who did not teach the trinity.

    It seems to me that the doctrine was contrived by man, for man,
    and through man, apart from God. I believe it to be a deviation from
    what God has given man. I believe men wanted to take what God had given and put a twist on it that was of their own doing. I believe they did it out of a desire to be accepted by men, for the purposes of men and that such purposes were not always of God.

    I believe it causes needless division in the body of Christ. I believe that a man who is out preaching the trinity may very well have lost his way and is in need of repentance in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    It seems to me that men often jump in and out of the kingdom.

    I believe the trinity doctrine is outside of the kingdom of heaven as it is not of God’s doing. I do not believe God commanded men to teach the trinity doctrine, nor did he command men to impose it on others. I do not believe God gave them that authority. If they use their position in their church to do so, isn’t that something they do
    on their own?

    Though men may do many things as they are in a postion of authority, they don’t always use authority rightly do they? Don’t men often exercise authority unjustly, and doesn’t God often allow
    it?

    Not everything that we see in this world is according to the will of God is it? There are many things in this world that God suffers or allows, and we along with him.

    There are many things people in a church forbear because men are not perfect. We are to forbear one another. When we forbear one another in love, it does not mean that we agree with them, or that we approve of all we see them do.

  45. on 15 Nov 2009 at 2:58 amAaron

    Ray,
    Well, I don’t go around preaching the Trinity, if that’s what you are implying. I’ve heard Trinitarian teaching – and that is what I believe – but to be honest, this is the first time I’ve looked at it in this much depth. I’m not turning to my pocket scriptures – some of these scriptures I’m studying for the first time.
    I honestly thought all Christians believed in the Trinity. I had never heard of the term Biblical Unitarian. I know JW’s and Mormons do not believe in the Trinity – but I would not consider them Biblical Christians. The one group has there own version of the Bible with certain verses deliberately altered – and the other relies heavily on extra-Biblical writings.
    I am happy to be able to discuss Trinity matters with you because it has challenged what I believe. It is natural for one to get a little defensive when a core belief is challenged -which I admit is my case. I want to know what the Scriptures really teach. I think Jesus being God or not is a MAJOR theological issue. Don’t you agree? It has major implications on our belief system.
    While there are certain scriptures that seem to refute Trinitarian beliefs, you must admit that there are several problem scriptures when it comes to the belief that Jesus is only a man.
    Tell me, what do you think would be the benefit of making up a doctrine that Jesus is God? I see none. If anything, it is something that turns people off to Christianity because it seems so absurd.
    The trinity does not fit in – it is a doctrine that is seperate from other religions. Many religions teach that man must find a way to get to God, but the Trinity doctrine holds that God found a way to get to man – He Himself – not a messenger or an agent.

    Xavier,
    Please pardon my headache giving. I can reply to some of your comments if you would like – but I’ve run out of time for tonight.

  46. on 15 Nov 2009 at 8:07 amXavier

    Aaron,

    …what do you think would be the benefit of making up a doctrine that Jesus is God? I see none.

    I think the NT writers are at odds with your conclusion here Aaron. They make it more than clear and adequately answer to the contrary [cp. 2Cor 4; 1Jn 4.1-6].

    According to Jesus himself, eternal life in the age to come is solely based on knowing “(to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand)…the only true and real God” [Jn 17.3, AB]and His one ane only Son [Jn 1.18], Messiah [Mat 16.16], and King of Israel [Jn 1.45-49].

    To not believe in anything to the contrary [Jesus is God, an angel or whatever] would be tantamount to what Paul calls “anathema” [1Cor 16.22]. For how can we truly say we “love the Lord” if we’re not even able to correctly know Him as such?

    I personally get accused, offended and even told to repent almost everytime I declare the simple unitarian creed and faith I have in the Son of God [and not God the Son, angel or otherwise]. Despite the personal insults and rejection from various [so-called] “Christian” institutes, I am okay with it. But what I am not okay with is the simple fact that my HUMAN Lord and King Jesus came to suffer and die[ one of the cruelest deaths ever infliceted on a human being] to bring honor and glory to the “one and only true God” whom he cried out to and obeyed; even to the cross. The Only One whom, in the loneliest and most painful of moments he could cry out to: “My God, My God…why have you forsake me?!”

    A doctrine like the Trinity that deviates from this scriptural fact ignores the words of the one of whom it is written: “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” [Jn 1.16]. But above all, we make null and void the testimony it is his and his alone to have spoken about “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [1Tim 1.17]:

    31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.

    33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

    36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study [c] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you possess eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

    41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.

    44 HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE SINCE YOU ACCEPT GLORY FROM ONE ANOTHER BUT DO NOT SEEK THE GLORY THAT COMES FROM THE ONLY ONE GOD? John 5

  47. on 15 Nov 2009 at 11:05 amRay

    Aaron, how has the trinity doctrine challenged what you believed?
    What did you believe prior to your interest in the trinity doctrine?

    Some might see the trinity doctrine as a major foundation stone
    in the building of the Church. Is it of God or of man?

    Is it something that was built on Christ, or around him? What is the difference? What’s the difference if we build something on him, or build something around him?

    Some see the teaching of “Jesus is God.” as a major problem in the
    Church. Some see it as necessary stone. Why do so many Christians differ on this? Do we often differ on the clear, basic, ordinary things?

    We don’t differ on “Jesus is the Son of God.” as much as on “Jesus is God.” We don’t differ on “Jesus is the Christ.” do we?

    So why is it that Christians differ on “Jesus is God.”?

    Some say he is God, but he isn’t God the Father. How is it he can be one but not the other?

    Isn’t he just as much God as he is God the Father? (discern this)

    I believe there is a sense in which Jesus is both of the above, for it seems incongruent to me if one were to suggest that he is more one than the other, for are not the two the same one?

    I believe Jesus is as much as God as he is as God the Father, for the two are one.

    If a pastor were to teach on this, and tell his congregation they they don’t have to be trinitarians to be saved, but they have to believe in Jesus for salvation, would he be giving them liberty, or leading them into bondage, making shipwreck of the faith, or making things more clear, building bridges of unity, or a fence?

    Would he be a foolish shepherd that scatters the flock, or would he be wise?

    What do you think is best for the Church?

    Do you think the congregation might have to stand up for their pastor and defend his case if his denomination came against him on such a matter?

    Who do you think would win, the pastor and the congregation, or the heads of the denomination?

    Who do you think should win?

    Do you think there should be a split and everyone stay with the denomination, or go with the pastor to begin a new church?

    What should happen?

  48. on 15 Nov 2009 at 12:40 pmXavier

    Ray,

    What do you think is best for the Church?

    Answer: To be founded on the confessional “rock” on which it should be established:

    …the Messiah, the Son of the Living God…For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the SOUNDS INSTRUCTION of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an UNHEALTHY interest in controversies and QUARRELS ABOUT WORDS that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been ROBBED OF THE TRUTH…[Mat 16.16-18; 1Cor 3.11]

    Cp. Mat 14.33; 1 John 4:15; 1 John 5:1-5; 2 John 1:9.

  49. on 15 Nov 2009 at 4:16 pmKarl

    Hello Aaron,

    you wrote:

    Tell me, what do you think would be the benefit of making up a doctrine that Jesus is God? I see none. If anything, it is something that turns people off to Christianity because it seems so absurd.

    What would be the benefit of making Augustus Caesar a god? Or the benefit of making Heracules or Peracles a god? Yet mankind has done these sorts of things continually.

    One could even argue that making Christ into God would have actually turned people to Christianity. Remember that when the doctrine of the trinity was being developed they did not live in the naturalistic/scientific age that we live in today where everything religious is despised. They lived in and age where Caesars and heroes were regularly declared to be gods. So declaring Christ to be a god/man would have actually been more popular/acceptable to a common person in the first couple hundred years of the Christian era than the abstract Jewish idea of One God.

  50. on 15 Nov 2009 at 4:30 pmRay

    If any man confesses that Jesus had glory with the Father, that he is the image of God, the express image of his person, that God created all things through him, that he came down from heaven,
    was born of Mary, grew up in wisdom and truth, was baptized of John, received the holy spirit, ministered about doing good, is the Christ, preached the good news of the kingdom, was crucified, resurrected, received up to glory (where he was before), is coming again, and will rule the kingdom of heaven forever in righteousness
    truth, grace, mercy, justice, kindness, and in all the fruit of the spirit of God, he should be received by the Church as God has received him by Jesus Christ.

    If he sins the Church should deal with him according to the scriptures.

    I think his being received should not be based upon a decision as to whether or not he receives the trinity doctrine or if he necessarily
    agrees with it.

  51. on 15 Nov 2009 at 6:26 pmRay

    Aaron,
    You wrote, “Tell me, what you you think would be the benefit of making up a doctrine that Jesus is God? I see none. If anything,
    it is something that turns people off to Christianity because it seems so absurd.”

    It seems to me Aaron that you are saying that you see the doctrine that Jesus is God to be absurd. If so, why do you seem to be for it?

    Are not trinitarians for that doctrine?

    It does seem to me to be absurd to teach that as a doctrine, though it does not seem to me to be absurd to teach that Jesus is very much as God is and to teach about those ways in which he is
    as God is. It does not seem to me to be absurb to teach people that there is a sense in which he is God, because of the similarities we see between him and God. It does not seem absurd to me to teach men that we ought to be careful in how we teach such things so as to not be a needless stumbling block to others on the Lord’s highway to eternity.

  52. on 15 Nov 2009 at 10:08 pmAaron

    Xavier,
    I believe all that you said about the importance of having a correct view of who God is. Just a side note – I John 4:2 says “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” From your doctrinal point of view, this can only mean “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ was born is from God.” Like I mentioned with the Hebrews passages, Jesus’ “coming in the flesh” is a big deal – and here it seperates true prophets from false ones. If I acknowledge that Jesus was born, haven’t I acknowledged that he came in the flesh? Anyone alive during Jesus’ life knew he was born – they knew he came in the flesh – he was standing right in front of them – yet not all entered into God’s Kingdom.
    Now let’s look at it from my doctrinal point of view – which states that Jesus existed from eternity as God. If we believe that this eternal God has “come in the flesh” – that is a big deal – that is something that seperates us from those that just acknowledge that Jesus was born.

    I’ve got some other thoughts, but it’s time to go to church.

  53. on 16 Nov 2009 at 1:04 amrobert

    Aaron
    why do you only see coming in the flesh as when Jesus was born when this could easily be when he recieved the Word in the flesh at his baptism. while from his birth he was destined for greatness it wasnt till his baptism when he was anointed to be the Christ that he received the power to fulfill his destiny as our savior. before that he was a man who loved his God with all his heart and followed His God’s ways. because he spoke and done what God commanded him as he says many times and he could do nothing on his own tells us that he could in no way be God but was godly.
    One of the main messages we get from Jesus was he was one of us and that we should follow the example he set while he lived so we could be with him in the Kingdom where he would be our King but even then still be our BROTHER not our GOD.
    If you understoud what the new covenant was you would understand just how the Word became flesh and how that it is not limited to just Jesus but also includes his brethren.
    also why do you redefine clear verses with interpretations of others to base your whole doctrine on. so what that something COULD mean what you want it too but the clear verses show your interpretation is false. theres not one clear verse that backs yours or Rays beliefs.
    see yall next friday

  54. on 16 Nov 2009 at 5:04 amAaron

    My Friends,
    Let me make a statement that I hope we can all agree upon. We want our doctrine to harmonize with all of scripture – not just one verse here or one verse there – not even with what we consider to be logical. As Robert mentioned, you can take any verse and use it to say just about anything. That is why we are given a whole Bible full of verses to check those ideas against. If you want to know if your doctrine is correct, plug it into a bunch of scripture and see if it harmonizes.
    We don’t want to formulate doctrine based upon how we think things ought to be – or what we think God can or can’t do. Does the thought of a man being both human and divine at the same time seem absurd – or beyond reason? Yes. Does that make it not true? Not necessarily. Does it make sense that Jesus was divine yet he submitted to God the Father? It can be a little confusing. Does it make it not true? Not necessarily. We must be careful when we think we can judge what God should do or what He can do. We should also be careful about basing doctrine on what is NOT explained in the Bible over what IS explained in the Bible. Furthermore, in order to fully understand God (no matter what our concept of Him is) we would have to BE God.

    Does that mean we can’t understand who He is? No – that is why He gave us the Bible – so we could know Him and submit to Him. Yet, the full reality of God is certainly much more than our minds can comprehend. The human language is not enough to express the fullness of God. He exists beyond language, time, and space.
    So, instead of basing our doctrine on what we think God can or can’t do or what seems logical to us – we need to base it solely on what the Scriptures say. If Scriptures end up portraying God as a 10 foot mouse creature – that is what we must believe – no matter how absurd that seems to us. In fact, this mouse doctrine would not be refuted if you only read certain passages of the Bible.
    I’m not saying that the Scriptures make it crystal clear that God is a Trinity – but I think it makes a very strong case that Jesus is not just a human. That’s why I’m bringing up certain Scripture verses. If I am to believe that God is Unitarian – than that must harmonize with all of scripture. I can’t believe God is Unitarian if you can’t give me a sound reason why a specific passage isn’t saying that Jesus is equal with God, or a reason that it doesn’t indicate that he pre-existed his birth. I’m not saying I have to understand how your reason is correct, but it must harmonize with the words in the text.

    Robert,
    Let’s take a couple of your doctrinal ideas and plug them into other scripture verses to see if they hold up.
    1) You believe that Jesus wasn’t anointed to be Christ until his baptism.
    Place that idea next to Luke 2:11 which says “today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” I don’t have to read into this – nor do I think we need to read into every verse. It seems to clearly state that Jesus was born with the title Christ – or anointed one. Does that harmonize with your doctrine?
    2) You believe that following Christ’s example is how we enter the Kingdom of God. I don’t want to put words in your mouth – but I take that to mean that if we live a life of obedience like Jesus did then we will inherit the Kingdom. What was Jesus life of obedience like? He upheld the Law in all things.
    Place this idea next to Galatians 3:11 which says “no one is justified by the Law before God…” Thus, our righteousness can’t come from living in obedience to God’s law.

    Xavier,
    Getting back to Hebrews, I don’t think you can plug in the doctrine that Jesus is only human and have it harmonize with what the text says. Heb 1:8, starting with “Thy throne, O God…” is not talking about David. That might have been who wrote it, but before this quote, it states “But of the Son He (God) says…” God was prophesying of Jesus through David. I guess you could interpret this verse by the OT and what it says of Moses, but the difference is that God says Moses will be “like” God to Pharoah. I think there is a difference.
    Still I am curious how you could interpret vs. 10 from a Unitarian standpoint. Here, God the Father says of Jesus “Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the Earth and the heavens are the works of Thy hands…” Could you really put a New Creation spin on this verse and have it makes sense? Isn’t the phrase “in the beginning” a big enough clue that this is talking of the Genesis creation?

    I’ve got a couple more verses that come to mind that we can talk about, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

    Blessings,
    Aaron

  55. on 16 Nov 2009 at 7:07 amXavier

    Aaron, regarding your post #52 and the scriptural language of certain verses that say “Jesus came in the flesh” [sarx, 1Jn 4.2]…your first interpretation is correct, it is simply saying that people should accept that Jesus was a fully realised human being. Why this type of language to describe his “birth from God”? As historians have noted, many heresies even during the Apostolic age [c. 40-100AD.] were already springing up with all sorts of views on who or what Jesus was. As a result, many believe that the Johannine letters [the last NT ones to have been written, c.70-100AD.] were countering these movements by the textual evidence at hand. For example, its insistence on preaching and believing that Jesus “came from God” [born] and confessing him as “the Son of God” [cp. 1Jn 3-4]. Nothing more nothing less. To say anything else, as you and many others intimate from the language of certain verses, is tantamount to eisegesis [reading into the text].

    RE: Hebrews 1.8, I know it is talking “about the Son”, what I am trying to get you to understand is that the OT citation was originally written for the Davidic King and later use as a prophetical reference for the FUTURE Son of God, as this commentator correctly says:

    Psa 45.6 “O, God”: Possibly the king’s throne is called God’s throne because he is God’s appointed regent. But it is also possible that THE KING HIMSELF IS ALSO ADDRESSED AS “god”. The Davidic king (the “LORD’s [YHWH’s] anointed,” 2Sa 19:21), because of HIS SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, was called at his enthronement the “son” of God (see 2:7; 2Sa 7:14; 1Ch 28:6; cf. 89:27).

    In this psalm, which praises the king and especially extols his “splendor and majesty” (v. 3), IT IS NOT UNTHINKABLE THAT HE WAS CALLED “god” as a TITLE OF HONOR (cf. Isa 9:6). Such a description of the Davidic king attains its fullest meaning when APPLIED TO CHRIST, as the author of Hebrews does (Heb. 1:8-9).

    (The pharaohs of Egypt were sometimes addressed as “my god” by their vassal kings in Palestine, as evidenced by the Amarna letters). John H. Stek, NIV Study Bible, p 831, ed. Kenneth L. Barker, Zondervan, 1985.

    If you do a careful analysis of the Moses reference you will see that some translators have added the word “like” to Ex 4.16; 7.1. Literally all it reads is “God made Moses god [elohim] to Pharaoh”. Persuant to this, check out this interesting prophecy regarding those of the “house of David” [cp. “Israel of God”, Gal 6.16] in Zechariah 12.8:

    In that day the LORD [YHWH] will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and THE HOUSE OF DAVID WILL BE like GOD, like the angel of the LORD before them.[cp. Ps 82.6]NASB

    The Jewish Bible of 1917 translates this verse thus:

    In that day shall HaShem [“the eternal One”, used in stead of the “divine name”, YHWH] defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that stumbleth among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as a GODLIKE BEING, as the angel of HaShem before them.

    RE: Heb. 1.10, yes I believe it could be interpreted as an allusion to the future, “New Creation” of Col 1.15-20. This is if we take intoaccount the context of Heb 2.5 as well. Again, to say that it is calling “the Son” the Creator God here of Genesis 1 would violate the rest of what scripture has to say about that.

    If the Son were God, it would produce the notion that there are two Gods. To call Jesus God and the Father God amounts of course to two Gods and this is not monotheism, however much the label may be applied.

    In Hebrews 1:10, there is a complication due to the fact that the writer quotes Psalm 102 from the Greek version (LXX) of the Old Testament and not the Hebrew version. The LXX has a different sense entirely in Psalm 102:23-25. The LXX says “He [God] answered him [the suppliant]…Tell me…[God speaking to the suppliant]…Thou, lord…[God addressing someone else called ‘lord’].” But the Hebrew (English) text has “He [God] weakened me…I [the suppliant] say, ‘O my God…’”

    Thus the LXX introduces a second lord who is addressed by God and told that he (the second lord) “at the beginning founded the earth and the heavens.” The writer to the Hebrews had open before him the LXX reading and not the Hebrew reading.

    F.F. Bruce in the New International Commentary on Hebrews explains:

    “In the LXX, Septuagint text, the person to whom these words (‘of old you laid the foundation of the earth’) are spoken is addressed explicitly as ‘lord.’ God bids him acknowledge the shortness of God’s set time for the restoration of Jerusalem (v. 13) and not summon Him [God] to act when that set time has only half expired, while He [God] assures him [the suppliant] that he and his servants’ children will be preserved forever.”

    There is a footnote to B.W. Bacon’s discussion in 1902: “Bacon suggested that the Hebrew as well as the Greek text of this psalm formed a basis for messianic eschatology, especially its reference to the shortness of God’s days, i.e. the period destined to elapse before the completion of His purpose. He found here the OT background to Mark 13:20 and Matthew 24:22 and Ep. Barnabas: ‘As Enoch says, “For to this end the Master [God] has cut short the times and the days, that His beloved [Jesus] should make haste and come to his inheritance”’ (Kingdom).

    Bruce continues: “It is God who addresses this ‘lord’ thus. Whereas in the Hebrew text the suppliant is the speaker from beginning to end of the psalm, in the Greek text [which your English Bible does not show] the suppliant’s prayer comes to an end in verse 22. And the next words read as follows: “He [God] answered him [the suppliant] in the way of His strength:[1] ‘Declare to Me the shortness of My days. Bring me not up in the midst of My days. Your [the suppliant’s] years are throughout all generations. You, lord [the suppliant, viewed here as the Lord Messiah by Hebrews] in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth…’

    “This is God’s answer to the suppliant (v. 23ff in the LXX)…But to whom a Christian reader of the LXX might well ask could God speak in words like these? And whom would God Himself address as ‘lord’ as the maker [or founder] of heaven and earth?”

    Reading the LXX the Hebrews writer sees an obvious reference to the new heavens and earth of the future Kingdom and he sees God addressing the Messianic Lord in connection with the prophecies of the rest of Psalm 102 which speak of “the generation to come” and of the set time for Yahweh to build up Zion and appear in His glory: This is a vision of the coming Kingdom.

    There is an important article in the Zeitschrift fur Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft of 1902 (B.W. Bacon, Yale University, alluded to by Bruce above) where the author makes the fundamental point: “The word ‘lord’ is wholly absent from the Hebrew (and English) text of Psalm 102:25.”

    “With the translation in the LXX ‘He answered him’ the whole passage down to the end of the psalm becomes the answer of Yahweh to the suppliant who accordingly appears to be addressed as Kurie and creator of heaven and earth…Instead of understanding the verse as a complaint of the psalmist at the shortness of his days which are cut off in the midst, the LXX [quoted in Hebrews, of course] and the Vulgate understand the utterance to be Yahweh’s answer to the psalmist’s plea that He will intervene to save Zion, because ‘it is time to have pity on her, yes, the set time has come’ (v. 13). He is bidden to prescribe (or acknowledge?) the shortness of Yahweh’s set time, and not to summon Him when it is but half expired. On the other hand he [the Messianic lord] is promised that his own endurance will be perpetual with the children of his servants.”

    This is exactly the point, and it can only be made clear when we see that 1) the Hebrews writer is reading the LXX and finding there a wonderful prophecy of the age to come (Kingdom, restoration of Israel) which fits his context exactly and that 2) there is a Messianic Lord addressed by Yahweh and invited to initiate a founding of the heaven and earth, the new political order in Palestine, exactly as said in Isaiah 51:16. This is exactly the point the Hebrews writer wants to make about the superiority of Jesus over angels. Jesus is the founder of that coming new Kingdom-order on earth. The Hebrews writer in 2:5 says that it is about “the inhabited earth of the future that we are speaking.” He himself points to the future founding of a new order on earth, the Kingdom of God which Jesus will inaugurate.

    This is really not so difficult when this difference in the LXX is explained. Both Psalm 102 and Hebrews 2:5 and indeed the whole of Hebrews 1 refer to the new order of things initiated by Jesus, and it would not matter whether we think of the new order as initiated by the ascension: “all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me,” or at the second coming. [Anthony Buzzard]

  56. on 16 Nov 2009 at 8:48 amJaco

    Aaron,

    You say a lot of things and it will take a lot of time and patience to discuss every matter you touch on.

    The trinitarian view would be that God the Father has made it so that through the name of Jesus, God’s saving work and authority is made known to the world. We hold that the second person of the trinity was given the name Jesus at his incarnation. The Son was not called Jesus before his birth. That is how he received a new name. It is not a new essence, but a new name which brings recognition of God’s saving ability.
    I hope some of that made sense. Ask me for clarification on any point.

    From a biblical point of view, name means more than just a way of nominating a person. Name means a person’s authority, esteem, reputation or status. Jesus does mean Yah is Salvation or Yah is Saviour. That does not equate Jesus with Yahweh. That, again, is fallacious reasoning. Unfortunately for Trinitarians they have to comb Scripture for some allusion to deity and then use whatever they come up with to prove Jesus is Yahweh. That is simply dishonest. If an evangelical accepts the Trinity on certain premises, he has no reason to deny the 1914 doctrine of JWs or the prophethood of Mohammed, for those doctrines are based on the same fallacious premises. Jesus Christ received a new name or a new position he didn’t previously have. This name involves an elevation or exaltation (Ac. 2:33, Eph. 1:31). Even at this utmost state of exultation, he is still subject to God (1 Cor 11:3, 15:27, 28). His nomination is still Jesus Christ. His Name is his status and authority he was given by God.

    Again, I hold that Jesus did not lose his divinity. He did not empty himself of divinity. I don’t think any Trinitarian would assert this. The very doctrine states that Jesus is both man and divine. What he emptied himself of is the “form” of God, as mentioned in vs. 6. God’s form is an omnipresent, omniscient spirit – and this is the form that He emptied himself of and became flesh and blood. I think it does involve humility too, as you stated Jaco, but on a much greater level.

    Aaron, Trinitarians cannot pick and choose what of an event they keep and what they discard. The Philippian hymn speaks of kenosis. Trinitarians believed that Jesus emptied himself of his Divine position he had alongside the Father (he did not cling to it) and became a man. He had to become a man, because Scripture said the Messiah would appear as a man. To fix this contradiction, they claim him to be both man and God. They take it further to Anshelm’s conjecture and claim that God had to die in order to pay for sins against God. But now Trinitarians have a dilemma. If God cannot die, they say, only the human part died. But then there was not redemption for sins, according to Anshelm. Then we go right back to the Scriptural equation drawn of Jesus – not of equality with God, but equality with Adam. That was the balance that had to be restored (Rom. 5:15-19, 1 Cor. 15:45-49). Trinitarians can comb Scripture and split hairs over non-essentials; they will always have devastating Scriptural statements to contend with.

    But, it makes no sense to say that he was “made in the likeness of men” if he always was a man and that was his only option of existence. Also, it makes no sense to say of him: “being found in appearance as a man…” if he was always a man. If I said I was made in the likeness of men, you would say “Of course you are, because you are a man.” The statement would be meaningless.

    As Son of God, Jesus had authority no other human had in his time. As a man without sin and having spirit without measure, he most definitely could have trodden in the way Adam did. He could have usurped divinity that did not belong to him.(Phil. 2:6 – harpazoo) He didn’t. In a beautiful parallelism it is stated what he did: He emptied himself=assumed the status of a slave=he partook of everything typical of man (except without sin). The Trinitarian mind-set brings to nothing so many spiritual jewels and reduce them to nothing. The statement of Jesus’ appearance is a glorious fulfilment of Isa. 53:3. Trinitarianism severs this connection and its significance.

    This statement means nothing if Jesus’ only option was a state of being like his brethren. It means nothing for me to say “I had to be born with flesh and blood and all that is human.” That is the only way I can possibly come! But, this statement means everything if I had the option of another existence. The statement only makes sense if Jesus had or could have had a state that was not like his brethren in all things. I’m not reading into the text – I’m just reading what it logically states. The statements lose all meaning when you insert the doctrine that Jesus was just a human who first existed at his birth.

    In the greater scheme of things humanity’s eternal destiny depended upon the human Jesus to obey God and maintain perfect integrity right down to the end. Of course there were other options. An angelical incarnation is an option. A divine incarnation is another option. But then the scales of Divine Justice would not balance! According to Paul and the writer of Hebrews they did – not in these optional senses, but in the sense of a second human image of God. Yet another option was to imitate Adam and become like God by deciding for himself what is good and bad. In fact, Jesus only had to make that choice, but he didn’t (Mt. 4:1-11, Lu. 22:42) The statement you refer to loses all meaning if Jesus wasn’t truly human.

    Something else is at play here, Aaron. In the first century Gnosticism infiltrated the Christian Church. A central tennet of it is that everything spiritual is good and everything physical is bad – hence flesh is also bad. Accepting this tennet would have compromised Jesus’ saving work in its totality, once again, due to the imbalance of God’s Justice it would have produced. Hence the repetitive statements, esp. by the Apostle John, that Jesus was completely human and thus perfect for the ransom sacrifice.

    Hebrews 1:3 says Jesus is “the exact representation of (God’s) nature and upholds all things by the word of His power.”

    Remember, Jesus was born in God’s image. After his resurrection and exaltation, he received all the authority necessary to uphold all things. (Mt. 28:18) What these all things are is debatable. Some hold that it pertains to the “all things” of the new creation. Others say it means the whole physical universe. Whichever it is – he received from God what he did not have.

    I think the rest of you post Xavier answered well, using only
    Scripture.

    I know JW’s and Mormons do not believe in the Trinity – but I would not consider them Biblical Christians. The one group has there own version of the Bible with certain verses deliberately altered – and the other relies heavily on extra-Biblical writings.

    Aaron, I am a former JW. I faded recently, and I served most of my time there as a ministerial servant. (I’m in my twenties). Believe me, that their pre-existence Christology was something I used to believe in. I think what most people battle with in accepting Jesus’ humanity is the negative connotation we give to humanity. Whenever we think of Adam we think of his fall and the miserable king (sin) he sold us into. Nearly everything else in humanity reminds us of our fallen state. Later the Gnostics came along with their world-views. With the Reformation John Calvin called our human state utter depravity. And quite rightly so. But see, that’s why so much emphasis is laid upon Jesus PERFECT, FLAWLESS humanity in FULL REFLECTION of God’s glory, and in full balance with Adam’s pre-fallen equality. As soon as I realised that I’m a flawed CREATION OF GOD I realised that being human in itself is not sin. Being sinful makes me fallen.

    Tell me, what do you think would be the benefit of making up a doctrine that Jesus is God? I see none. If anything, it is something that turns people off to Christianity because it seems so absurd.

    It does create a distinct religious system wherein some sense of coherence result among the believers in that system. Maybe not today so much, but in the formative years the Trinity gave a pleasant ring to the ears of many a philosopher and mystic.

    We don’t want to formulate doctrine based upon how we think things ought to be – or what we think God can or can’t do. Does the thought of a man being both human and divine at the same time seem absurd – or beyond reason? Yes. Does that make it not true? Not necessarily. Does it make sense that Jesus was divine yet he submitted to God the Father? It can be a little confusing. Does it make it not true? Not necessarily. We must be careful when we think we can judge what God should do or what He can do. We should also be careful about basing doctrine on what is NOT explained in the Bible over what IS explained in the Bible. Furthermore, in order to fully understand God (no matter what our concept of Him is) we would have to BE God.

    Aaron, you’re resorting to meaningless generalisations here. Your reasoning tends to venture into reductio ad absurdum. It is not the confusion or incomprehensibility of the Trinity’s tenets in itself proving they’re wrong. It is that all of Scripture and of what Scripture teaches us – of nature and of God – all of it is compromised. One is no longer one. A Father’s superior relation to his son loses meaning. Suddenly human can include Divine…I can go on and on and on. Apart from that, IT IS CONFIRMED that this teaching, which should never have survived as long as it did, did not have its origin in scripture at all. It is NOT what the apostles and Jesus taught to be Gospel. Now, Aaron, will you be obedient to the apostle Paul whom Jesus himself called to be an apostle? If you will then obey what he wrote in Galatians 1:8. Nearly all the Christians from the Trinity’s formative centuries onward disobeyed this serious admonition. What is more, they declared this heresy Christian orthodoxy. Our brother Paul would turn in his grave!

    Does that mean we can’t understand who He is? No – that is why He gave us the Bible – so we could know Him and submit to Him. Yet, the full reality of God is certainly much more than our minds can comprehend. The human language is not enough to express the fullness of God. He exists beyond language, time, and space.

    If language cannot tell us who and what God is, brother, then why did he bother to do so? Why frustrate us with an exercise which would turn out to be futile anyway? What is more, why did God tell us who he is in words that do not fit this trinity idea? Whatever he told us, Aaron, whatever language he approved of to write His message in; that which he used does not support the trinity and certainly doesn’t teach it.

    I will allow Xavier to explain Heb. 1:10-12 in its context. I will also reply on that.

    The Scriptures you use are becoming less direct. In logic we call it inductive reasoning. You cannot construct a whole doctrine on this kind of probabilistic evidence.

    Your brother,

    Jaco

  57. on 16 Nov 2009 at 10:15 amXavier

    Jaco, you cite Gal 1.8, I thought you might find this amusing from the ESV Study Bible:

    Gal. 1:8–9: a gospel contrary. The gospel is unchanging. Thus Paul pronounces a curse of final judgment on those who proclaim or receive a different gospel. Even if he himself, or an angel from heaven, were to preach such a gospel, the Galatians should reject it. Mormonism is an example of a religion that is based on revelation supposedly given by an angel and that teaches a gospel different from justification by faith alone in the substitutionary death of Christ.

    Reminds me of what Paul says in 1 Cor 11.31 that “if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.”

  58. on 16 Nov 2009 at 10:43 amRay

    Aaron,
    Why is it that you speak as if people only have two choices, (1. They must believe God is in a Trinity. or 2. That Jesus is only a mere man.)?

    Such a condition is not being fair to people is it? It seems to me that we should let people have many choices if we see them in the Bible. Denying what we have seen is very close to denying the truth isn’t it?

    What of those people who say “Though I do not teach the Trinity to others, nor do I necessarily agree with it, I like to see Jesus as God for his character, nature, and power is that of God, so much so
    that when I survey the wonderous manifestation of his love and life, that many times I can see no difference between him and God,
    though I see in scripture a distinction.”? Should they not be accepted by churches because they don’t necessarily go along with the Trinity doctrine, even though they confess and believe that Jesus was with God from eternity and that God created all through his Son Jesus at that time before the world began?

    I don’t think such ideas are absurd, nor do I see them as an unnecessary stumbling block. Rather, I see such ideas as a benefit to the Church which would free many of it’s people. I believe such
    ideas would promote unity in righteousness which is in Christ Jesus.

    What is your opinion on this?

  59. on 16 Nov 2009 at 11:03 amRay

    In regards to what Jaco began with in post 56:

    What Jaco says here reminds me of when I was in a meeting with an interdenominational group of Christians, and the speaker (which was a lay pastor with the organization) read from Matthew
    chapter one, saying, ..”and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (pause) So Jesus is God. By a show of hands, how many of you agree with that?”

    And there went up a show of hands. I did not raise my hand, as I had to think a bit about what just happened.

    Later on, it came to me that they seemed to re-name Jesus, or change the meaning of his name, from “God with us”, to “God.”

    It reminded me of what I had heard about a counsel which took place under Constatine, some “Nicene” counsel or something.

    I began to be thankful that the name Emmanuel by interpretation did not mean “God with him.”, for though a name might have that interpretation, and such a name along with it’s meaning would seem good for a man, I found that I was glad it was not so concerning Jesus, for had his name meant “God with him”, I decided that I kind o’ , sort o’, might ‘o …felt, left out.

    I’m glad his name means “God with us.”

    So was there a hidden agenda in all this asking the question and the show of hands? I think it could be, and also that it could be an
    agenda of man rather than one of God. It could have been a bit
    crooked, twisted, or deceitful, and there is none of that in Jesus, or God.

    If there was a hidden agenda of man in all that asking of the statement made and the question, why is it? Must it be so?

    Was it because men find their acceptance by others that way, and is that really the gospel?

  60. on 16 Nov 2009 at 11:48 amXavier

    RE: “name calling” viz signifies what you yourself are, and more specifically to Isa 7.14. Following quote is from:

    The significance of the name is symbolic. God was with us, not literally, but in His Son, as 2 Cor. 5:19 (NASB) indicates:

    “That God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.”

    It is important to read exactly what was written: God was in Christ, not God was Christ. Symbolism in names can be seen throughout the Bible. It is not unique to Jesus Christ. Many people were given names that would cause great problems if believed literally.

    Are we to believe that Elijah was “God Jehovah,” or that Bithiah, a daughter of Pharaoh, was the sister of Jesus because her name is “daughter of Jehovah?”

    Are we to believe that Dibri, not Jesus, was the “Promise of Jehovah,” or that Eliab was the real Messiah since his name means “My God [is my] father?”

    Of course not. It would be a great mistake to claim that the meaning of a name proves a literal truth. We know that Jesus’ name is very significant—it communicates the truth that, as the Son of God and as the image of God, God is with us in Jesus, but the name does not make Jesus God.

    http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=72

    Jer 23.6: This is the name by which he will be called…the Lord our Righteousness. (NIV)

    1. When something is “called” a certain name, that does not mean that it is literally what it is called. Jerusalem is also called “the Lord our Righteousness,” and Jerusalem is obviously not God (Jer. 33:16). So, calling something “the Lord our Righteousness” does not make it God. Abraham called the mountain on which he was about to sacrifice Isaac “the Lord will provide,” and no one would believe that the mountain was Yahweh. Similarly, no one would believe an altar was Yahweh, even if Moses called it that: “Moses built an altar and called it ‘the Lord is my Banner’” (Ex. 17:15). Later, Gideon built an altar and called it Yahweh: “So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it ‘The Lord is Peace.’ To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites” (Judges 6:24). These verses prove conclusively that just because something is called Yahweh, that does not make it Yahweh.

    2. The Messiah will be called (not will be) “the Lord our Righteousness” because God Almighty will work His righteousness through His anointed one, Jesus the Christ. The city of Jerusalem will also be called “the Lord our Righteousness” because God will work His righteousness there, and that righteousness will reach over the entire world.

    http://biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=70

  61. on 16 Nov 2009 at 1:25 pmRay

    Yes, Xavier, that I find interesting.

    Jer 33:16 tells me that the people of God, the daughter of Zion, the dwelling place of the Almighty, the place where God will live and minister justice and judgment for deliverance and the salvation of his people, Judah and Jerusalem together, will be called “The Lord
    Our Righteousness.”

    This lets me know that their righteousness won’t be found in anything that is of themselves, but the righteousness that is found there will be of God living in his people. This name will be like a banner of the righteousness of God over his heavenly city, and inside, the righteousness of God will be seen in his people.

    All this will be because of Jesus, the righteous branch, the Branch of righteousness mentioned by Jeremiah, Jesus by name.

    Will we be able to point to this city, this dwelling place of God, and say, “See! This place IS the Lord!”?

    I suppose we can in a sense, but there is also a sense in which it doesn’t work as you say.

    In Hebrews 1:1, and by Hebrew 1:1, I receive that God made all things by Jesus who at that time was in the image of God, being the express image of his person, much like the heavenly city will be
    as God is in justice and judgment, and in holiness and truth.

    I also receive that the prophet of Psalm 102 prophesied concerning
    both God and Christ as concerning the revelation of the writer of Hebrews (Paul,?) , that which is concerning them, that of Hebrews
    1:10-12, for God was in Christ doing this through his Son in the creation and will continue to glorify him who holds the character of God in all godliness, holiness, and truth, namely Jesus who both made known and does make known the name of God as it should me made known. This Jesus does without error or corruption both in word and deed.

    When we read of Jesus having come into this world and having been baptized of John and having received the holy spirit, God confirming his Son with his voice from heaven, we read of his having an equality with Adam, a nature and condition of being without sin which Adam had before the fall.

    Jesus also had an equality in a sense with God, even as God was his authority in the beginning before the world was. At that time, there was nothing but God in Jesus. All that was in Jesus was of God and was right, holy, good, and just. As he had all that God is, he remained as a servant to God, and did all that God wanted to do through him.

    Not only was Jesus born of Mary in God’s image (being at that time much as Adam who was made of the dust of the ground) at the time of his physical birth on this earth, but he was also in the image of God when he was with him in heaven.

    I believe Philippians 2:6 applies to Jesus, both before and after his birth from Mary. He was both a servant of God in heaven and his servant here on earth.

    I also look at the writer of the Psalm who said of Jesus, “This day have I begotten thee.” to have been speaking of his own new beginning which came to him as he connected with something of the gospel as he was in his worship of God in Zion.

  62. on 16 Nov 2009 at 9:05 pmXavier

    Ray, do you know the meaning behind the word “prophecy”? Here’s one from Merriem-Websters’ Dictionary:

    a prediction of SOMETHING TO COME

    How about the meaning behind the word “vision”?

    something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy; especially : a SUPERNATURAL APPEARANCE that conveys a REVELATION… unusual discernment or FORESIGHT…

    The “person” of Jesus, Son of God, is nowhere to be found in the OT. It is God, YHWH, and God alone who brought the whole of creation into being THROUGH His “word” [davar, Gen 1.1; logos, Jn 1.1].

    esus, Son of God, is the son of Mary (Mark 6:3). Paul’s use of ginesthai in Galatians 4:4 (and Rom. 1:3) is very remarkable, as many have pointed out. Paul said that the Son of God came into existence (from ginesthai), using a special word, not just the usual word for being born (which he uses in the same letter for others who were normally conceived). The fact that the Son “came into existence” from Mary (Gal. 4:4) proves that the Son was not already in existence. If he had been, this would not have been a coming into existence as Son of God. It would have been some sort of transition from one form to another, about which Matthew and Luke know nothing at all.

    Distinguished exegete James Dunn gives a lucid account of Luke’s view of Jesus: He says, “Luke 1:35 speaks of a begetting; [it is] a becoming which is in view, the coming into existence of one who will be called, and will in fact be the Son of God, not the transition of a preexistent being to become the soul of a human baby or the metamorphosis of a divine being into a human fetus…Luke’s intention is clearly to describe the creative process of begetting…Similarly in Acts there is no sign of any Christology of preexistence” (Christology in the Making, p. 51).

    The central point of Scripture is that the Lord Messiah (Luke 2:11), the PROMISED “Lord, Son of David” (Matt. 15:22; 20:31) has been divinely appointed by the One God, his Father, to rule the world. This, in due time, he will do.

    Churchgoers have lost touch with the Bible in this important matter of recognizing who Jesus is. Jesus Christ is of course not a first and second name. Jesus is not, as one Sunday School student imagined, the child of his parents Joseph and Mary Christ. Christ is not part of the family name of Jesus. Christ is his royal title. Jesus was itself not an uncommon name, but Jesus Christ is unique. He is the one and only designated ruler of Israel and the whole world and at the same time the Savior of all who believe in him and his Gospel, “me and my word,” “me and the Gospel” (Mark 8:35, 38). Anthony Buzzard

  63. on 17 Nov 2009 at 12:42 pmStacey

    Hebrews
    Chapter 12

    1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us 2 and persevere in running the race that lies before us
    2
    while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.

    HOW CAN JESUS BE GOD IF HE IS SITTING ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD.

    WHY IS IT THAT CHRISTIANS ARE BELIEVING SUCH FALSE THINGS WHEN IT IS WRITTEN SO CLEARLY IN THE SCRIPTURES.

    1 John
    Chapter 5
    1
    1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves (also) the one begotten by him.
    2
    In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments.
    3
    For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,
    4
    for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
    5
    Who (indeed) is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
    6
    This is the one who came through water and blood, 2 Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.
    7
    So there are three that testify,
    8
    the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord.
    THIS VERSE DOES NOT SAY GOD, JESUS, AND THE SPIRIT ARE ONE!
    9
    If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater. Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
    10
    Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.
    11
    And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
    12
    Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.
    13
    I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

    IT IS WRITTEN SO MANY TIMES ABOUT JESUS BEING THE SON AND WE CAN NOT GET TO GOD WITHOUT THE SON, HE IS OUR MEDIATOR.

    WHY ARE WE BEING DECIEVED INTO THINKING OTHER WISE WHEN IT IS WRITTEN!!!!! GUYS SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES GOD LOVES US HE WANTS US TO BE MEEK AND HUMBLE TO HEAR HIS TRUTH NOT THE WORLDS TRUTH. PEOPLE DEVELOPED SO MANY WRONG BELIEFS ABOUT GOD BECAUSE THEY DO NOT SEEK THE TRUTH THEY JUST BELIEVE WHATEVER THEY HEAR. THIS IS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS FOR US HIS CHILDREN.

    2 John
    Anyone who is so “progressive” 7 as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.
    10
    8 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him;
    11
    for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.

    We need to stop believing what we hear that sounds good to us and ask God what truth he wants us to know, and stop taking scriptures out of context. God inspired the bible for us to understand it is written for us to understand you do not have to be rocket scientist to understand God’s word you do however have to be meek and humble.

  64. on 17 Nov 2009 at 1:29 pmRay

    Stacey,
    I think it’s because people can be salt, that Jesus can be God.

    I think there’s also a problem with people thinking their doctrine
    is the only right one even when it’s not necessarily in total agreement with God.

  65. on 17 Nov 2009 at 2:41 pmMark C.

    I think it’s because people can be salt, that Jesus can be God.

    Jesus is not called God in the same sense that people are called salt. Saying people are salt is merely a simile – that is, people are like salt in some sense. But when Jesus is called God (and he is only called that in two or three places for sure) it is more than a simile, it is in a representational sense, as the ultimate agent and representative of God. (See the other thread where this was discussed.)

  66. on 17 Nov 2009 at 9:16 pmXavier

    Yates: VINDICATION OF UNITARIANISM, Boston, 1816, p.p. 66-68.

    The unity of God, as one individual person, is denoted throughout the Bible by the almost constant use of singular pronouns, whenever any thought, action, attribute, or condition, is ascribed to the Supreme Being. In all languages the personal pronouns of the singular number are understood to apply only to one person.

    Thus, if I were writing a letter, by employing the pronouns of the first person and singular number, I, Me, My, I should confine my assertions to myself as one individual person. By using the pronouns of the second person and singular number, Thou, Thee, Thy, I should indicate that my assertions were addressed to my correspondent as one individual person. By introducing the pronouns of the third person and singular number, He, Him, His, I should denote that it was one person only I was speaking of. If on the contrary, I were writing a letter in conjunction with any other intelligent being, we should use the pronouns We, Us, Our; and if I were writing anything of more than one person, I should say They, Them, Their. Such being the universal application of pronouns, it is evident, not only to those who have studied Greek and Hebrew, but to all who know the use and meaning of human speech, that throughout the whole Bible God is almost uniformly mentioned as one Person, this being implied in the almost constant use of singular pronouns…

    The doctrine of the Unity of God is implied in every passage in which the personal pronouns of the singular number are used to denote the Supreme, Deity…. Thousands and tens of thousands of passages imply, by the use of the singular pronouns, that God is one person….” (pp. 66, 153)

    The Book of Hebrews in the New Testament: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for He that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).

    The other passages which assert the Deity to be one Person by applying to him singular pronouns extend from the first chapter of Genesis to the last of Revelation. Like the sands on the seashore they cannot be numbered for multitude.

    The testimony of Scripture is therefore consonant to the voice of reason that there is but one Supreme and Infinite Mind, the uncreated Yahweh, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac and of Jacob, AND OF JESUS CHRIST [Rom 15:6,2 Cor 1:3,Eph 1:3,17; 1 Pet 1:3; John 20:17; Rev 1:6] who is alone the Eternal, Independent, and Immutable, the sole originator of all Life in the universe, the fountain of Life, perfection and happiness [1Tim 1.17].

    Clear enough don’t you think? Yet, check this ESV Study note of Eph 1.17:

    To name the Father of glory as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ is not to deny Christ’s deity [???] but to affirm his true incarnate humanity.

    Yet, for 2Cor 1.3 they say:

    Blessed be. This is a standard Jewish praise formula that introduces the tone and themes to come. Paul begins by identifying the one whom he extols as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. These titles describe Yahweh’s relationship to Jesus and Jesus’ relationship to his people (“Lord” designates his absolute rule over his people).

    Confused yet…or is it just me? 🙂

  67. on 17 Nov 2009 at 10:16 pmRay

    When people speak of diety, it seems to me that they might mean
    God himself, but when I speak of diety, I might be talking about being like God.

    Thus, there is often confussion found between people. We don’t all use words the same way. It would help it seems to me if such people would be more willing to communicate more clearly.

    I’ve often listened to one person try to convince another that Jesus is “The Diety”, but does that mean to them that he is God, or are they saying that Jesus is THE Son of God who is as God is?

    Often I am left wondering what people are talking about.

  68. on 17 Nov 2009 at 11:00 pmXavier

    Ray, who are the “such people” you refer to? Those who believe Jesus is God or “us, biblical unitarians”?

  69. on 18 Nov 2009 at 5:33 amAaron

    According to the dictionary, deity means “1) A god 2)the essential nature or condition of being a god.

    Jaco,
    I commend you on your study and learning at a young age. I’m 31 by the way (and still a young man). All Christians would do well to put as much studying and reading into the Scriptures as you.

    Again, I thank you fellas (and now welcome Stacey) for conversing with me on these things. I know it’s not quick and it takes some work – but I appreciate it.

    First, I just want to clear up that I wasn’t trying to use the definition of Jesus’ name as a reason for this deity. That would be fallacious reasoning.

    Can I question you on a point you made?
    You said that Jesus could have usurped divinity like Adam did. My dictionary says divinity is 1)God 2)a deity. What it sounds like you are saying is that Adam became divine – or became another god – through his taking of the forbidden fruit. Could you clarify that. That seems to be a heck of a statement. Satan told him he would become like God – knowing good and evil – but that is a far cry from becoming divine. Or maybe you are just saying that Jesus could have usurped divinity because of his perfect life. That still seems like an odd statement. Are you asserting that Jesus could have become a god if he wanted to? And after making a point that “human” and “divine” don’t mix?

    Besides becoming “divine,” you said there were other options for Jesus existence:
    “Of course there were other options. An angelical incarnation is an option. A divine incarnation is another option. But then the scales of Divine Justice would not balance!”
    I think what the author goes on to say, and what Hebrews says, is that in the end, there weren’t other options of Jesus existence. It had to be in the form of flesh and blood, or the Messiah wouldn’t have fulfilled his purpose. So, any other supposed options, really aren’t options at all because they would have been futile options – and God is not the author of futility. Another “option” would have been as a tree – but of course that is silly, because that option would have been futile as well. So, if flesh and blood was the only possible option for a Messiah, I still assert Hebrews and Philippians make a big deal about him coming in this form. Vs. 17 “Therefore, he (Jesus) HAD to be made like his brethren in all things…”

    I disagree that a Messiah who is both flesh and bones and deity would have messed up the Divine Scales. Where is that argument supported in Bible? If Jesus has flesh and blood – no matter what his nature is – he has the necessary ingredients to be the Messiah Savior.

    Xavier,
    I suppose your only option is that Hebrews 1:10 is speaking of the New Creation. In fact, as Anthony Buzzard notes, 2:5 says this passage is about the “world to come, concerning which we are speaking.” But, I don’t think you can say that the entirety of chapter one falls under the category “the world to come.” In fact, many of the things mentioned are things of the past. Vs. 5 says “Today I have begotten thee” – speaking of Jesus’ birth – not an event of the “world to come.” I think it is noteworthy that the writer uses the phrase “world to come” in 2:5 – to specify the age of which he is speaking in that section. Alternatively, in 1:2, he just uses the phrase “the world” as in “(Jesus) through whom also He (God) made the world.” You would think that if he was talking about the New Creation in this verse, the writer would use the same phrase “the world to come.”
    What specifically is he talking about in reference to “the world to come?” The focus is its special subjection to Christ – not it’s creation or any other aspect of it. The topic of subjection begins in 1:13 where Jesus’ enemies are made a footstool. The focus is further dealt with in 2:8 “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” His only dealings with the “world to come” in this passage is it’s subjection, not it’s creation or anything else about it.

    Furthermore, I would think that 1:11 is a good indication to you that he is not talking about the New Creation because it says “They will perish, but Thou remainest….and they all will become old as a garment.” The things that will perish – the “they” – are the earth and the heavens spoken of in vs. 10. It’s not the New Creation that will be “rolled up” and “changed” but the Old Creation of Genesis 1:1 – and that is the creation that Jesus is said to have worked.

    Feel free to disagree, but I wonder if you could paraphrase Mr. Buzzard, or whichever author you will go to. Sometimes Mr. Buzzard goes over my head a little bit with his interpretations. Thanks.

    Aaron

  70. on 18 Nov 2009 at 7:31 amXavier

    Aaron,

    First, let’s remember that the original koine Greek of the NT is without the grammatical benefits of modern times [commas, stops etc.]. For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapters_and_verses_of_the_Bible

    In observing this we could easily say that Heb 2.5 is a continuation of the previous chapter. But even if we use the modern chapter/verse/paragraph spacing etc., it is interesting that the writer mentions [IN CONTEXT] that it is [metaphorically] “the future age [oikoumenē, land/globe/empire] to come of which we speak” [cp. Heb 1.6, when God AGAIN (parusia?) brings His firstborn into the “oikoumenē”]. So you see, the same word signifying the “future age/world to come” is used in both chapters [Heb 1.6; 2.5].

    Although, I do see where you get the interpretation from Heb 1.11 that it is “the [Genesis] creation that Jesus is said to have worked”. This is where I have to disagree and in view of how the LXX interprets this verse. If this is not the case and it is as you say, then this is the ONLY explicit reference [as far as I know] where Jesus is involved or said to have been the creator of Gen 1.1. Again, it contradicts the overall statement and teaching of YHWH as the Only creator God, who is said to have “worked” ALONE, without any “god” besides Him [Isa 41.4; cp. 44.7-9; Deu 32.39].

    Have you not read that He [God] who [singular pronouns] created them from the beginning made them male and female… Mat 19.4

    …Jesus goes on to quote words from Genesis that are not attributed to any speaker (“Therefore a man . . .” cf. Gen. 2:24) and attributes those words to God. ESV Study Bible

  71. on 18 Nov 2009 at 10:49 amStacey

    Opinions Opinions….It is great to have your own opinion about things…freedom to voice your own opinion. I think it is safe to say that we all agree God is our creator, correct? God is all knowing and has wisdom beyond our relm of understanding, correct? God is the author of the bible, correct? So if God is our creator and his purpose was for us to live on earth to worship him, then when the bible was written by God, knowing that we are opinionated and stubbern and not the best decision makers and I could go on and on. Why would God inspire to write a book for us that we wouldnt understand????????? The scriptures are very precise and very easy to understand if we ask God to help us understand. And also it is written the devil tempted Jesus several times God can NOT be tempted!!!!!! Even the devil (who by the way we do not believe is a man!!!!) knows who Jesus is…my point is Jesus is obvioulsly a man God is obviously a very powerful spirit. Like it says in the scriptures Jesus is at the right hand of the throne of God…obviously that means they are 2 separate beings!!!!! Jesus walked the earth God created the earth. There is thousands and thousands of verses that explain about God and who he is and who Jesus is….You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out! Matter of fact God says to be meek and humble to understand his word not highly intellegent. Just read the scriptures not other peoples interpretations… If you want to get to know the author of any book you have to read it why is it different from God! He loves us he wants us to know the truth. Stop being stubbern and search the scriptures!!!!!
    In order to inherit the Kingdom we need to know the absolute truth, if we have wrong belief WE WILL BE JUDGED!!!!!!

  72. on 18 Nov 2009 at 10:57 amRay

    Xavier,
    To answer your question in #68, it was in reference to Trinitarians.
    I used to listen to some Christians call up on a Christian talk radio
    program while the host of the show talked about the Trinity.

    They would keep confessing Jesus as the Son of God, and he would keep trying to get them to confess Jesus as the Diety.

    It seems to me that many of the callers were reluctant to do so because to the host of the program, Diety meant “God” pure and simple, that being that. (period)

    But to many of those calling in, they did not want to be taken off the fact that Jesus really is the Son of God, not just an “idea” or part of a philosophy or something.

    Maybe that’s what it was. I’m not sure.

    Sometimes it seems like men with their doctines act like their doctrine is all lined up perfectly like some kind of bar code, and
    that’s what people have to have to get into heaven.

    I noticed there wasn’t much common union between the callers and the host as they talked about this. Something seemed to be missing. I don’t know if the callers weren’t willing to go another mile with the host of if they were cut off due to time and what the host wanted to talk about, or if most of them simply hung up and gave up or what.

    That’s why a blog like this is good. I heard somewhere that God was leveling the playing field, and I think a blog like this is about what God is doing in that.

    I think God would like us to all come to an acceptance of one another without setting up any specific doctrine or way of thinking
    of something before we really do accept one another as members of Christ and members of one another.

    So sometimes we wonder who is a true Christian, or wonder what is a True Christian. I think we have to look at Jesus. He did more than just fight to the end for what he believed. He died on the cross for what he confessed and believed.

    I think of the word Christian as meaning one who has Christ within, one who lives in a city built by Jesus, or a follower of him.

    I suppose there are Christians who have received him but yet have something of error or something yet untrue, crooked, unjust,
    or otherwise not completely yet subdued or made subject to Christ.

    That might be a lot of us. Let’s all move on to perfection as best we can, and help one another as best we can. I know it means some dying along the way, some falling down, some getting back up again, some pruning, some cutting down, some building back up,
    and some time.

  73. on 18 Nov 2009 at 11:01 amRay

    In addition, it isn’t only Trinitarians I don’t always understand. That wouldn’t be true, or fair.

  74. on 18 Nov 2009 at 12:30 pmXavier

    Stacey,

    We who are STRONG ought to bear with the failings of the WEAK and not to please ourselves. We should all please our neighbors for their good, to BUILD THEM UP. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written:

    “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”

    For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the ENDURANCE TAUGHT IN THE SCRIPTURES and the ENCOURAGEMENT they provide we might have HOPE.

    May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the SAME ATTITUDE OF MIND TOWARD EACH OTHER that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

    …the Lord’s servant must not be QUARRELSOME but must be KIND TO EVERYONE, ABLE TO TEACH, NOT RESENTFUL.

    OPPONENTS MUST BE GENTLY INSTRUCTED, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

    Devote yourselves to prayer, being WATCHFUL and THANKFUL….[pray] that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the [sacred secret] of Christ…Pray that I may proclaim it CLEARLY, as I should.

    BE WISE IN THE WAY YOU ACT TOWARD OUTSIDERS; make the most of every opportunity. Let your CONVERSATION be always FULL OF GRACE, SEASONED WITH SALT, so that you may KNOW HOW TO ANSWER TO EVERYONE.

    Rom 15.1-6; 2Tim 2.24-26; Col 4.2-6

    Most importantly, remember that “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” [1Cor 2.10].

    Likewise no one can know and confess Jesus is the one Lord Messiah, the Son of the Living God except via God’s holy spirit [1Cor 12.3; cp. Mat 11.25; 16.17; 1Cor 8.4-6].

  75. on 18 Nov 2009 at 1:07 pmStacey

    Xavier,

    Not too sure what u are saying here, we are not supposed to judge one another also. That being said I do not argue nor do I judge, I am a very passionate person and I am not afraid to stand up for my beliefs esp. when that is what God wants me to do. I will bodly speak the truth that God has revieled to me and noone will discourage me from doing that. God has said to stand firm and be rooted in the word, if there are fellow believers that do not believe in the truth about our Father God than I am also as a Christian woman supposed to cofront that…that also being said being a passionate person and standing firm to what God has told me to I will keep speaking HIS truth bodly and confidently!!!

    Acts 14:3 Long time therefore they tarried there speaking boldly in the Lord, who bare witness unto the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

    Acts 18:26 and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately.

    Ephesians 6:20
    for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

    2 Timothy 2:19 Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.

    1 Thessalonians 1:6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7, so that you became an example to all the believers.

    Ephesians 3:11 … in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

    Acts 4:29
    And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness,

    Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

    Acts 28:31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, none forbidding him.

    2 Corinthians 3:12
    Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech,

    2 Corinthians 7:4
    Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying on your behalf: I am filled with comfort, I overflow with joy in all our affliction.

    Ephesians 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through our faith in him.

    Ephesians 6:19
    And on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

    Ephesians 4:15 (Whole Chapter)
    but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;

    There are many more but I think the point is made…I am sorry if you thing I was being mean, that is definitly not my intentions I am just passionate about my Father and want HIM to receieve all the Glory!!!!!!!

    Praise HIM in the highest God bless all!

  76. on 18 Nov 2009 at 1:42 pmXavier

    Stacey,

    Its great that you are as passionate about God and His Son as get all. My simple message to you, though, is “to speak the truth in love” so we can ACT “in deed and in truth” [1Jn 3.18]. Since “a soul without knowledge is not good” [Pro 19.2].

    Just something I didnt see in your previous post.

  77. on 18 Nov 2009 at 1:53 pmStacey

    Xavier,

    I do understand that but it is with love that I speak about God, HE has delivered me from so much and has shown such great love in my life and has blessed me so abundantly, I want to share that with everyone!!!!!! So you see it is with love that I speak what I have experienced from God through our lord and savior Jesus!!!!
    Matter of fact I didnt ever show or know love at all until I experienced God’s awsome love for me, I want to express that. I do not believe we know each other maybe that is why the misunderstanding? It is hard to know someones heart by reading this blog or e-mails, but please understand that I am speaking with love!!!!!

    Glory be to God our Father,

    God bless!
    Stacey

  78. on 18 Nov 2009 at 4:25 pmRay

    I like to praise God when I can find the words, for when I look at myself there’s no point in it unless it counts against me.

  79. on 18 Nov 2009 at 6:33 pmRay

    I think the greatest act of love was when Jesus went to the cross,
    accepting the judgment that was written against him even though it was the greatest injustice. He did it for me.

    There at the cross there were no reproofs, just an example for me to follow and some encouragement.

  80. on 19 Nov 2009 at 2:04 amAaron

    Xavier,
    May I say that you do a splendid job writing calmly and collectedly. I don’t intend to try to push anyone’s buttons – although it may seem like it at times. Even when my words could be taken as confrontational, you don’t cease to reply calmly. I may not agree with your responses – but they are written calmly.
    Hebrews 2:5 definitely is a continuation of the beginning of the book – but when the writer switches from talking about past events to talking about future events – I think he makes it quite clear by the context. Besides Hebrews 1:2 and Heb. 1:10, other scriptures that talk about Jesus role in creation are I Cor. 8:6, Colossians 1:16, and John 1:3. I know you disagree about the interpretation of some of those verses, and I’m not looking to reopen a discussion on them – but it at least shows that there are several verses that could be used to say Jesus plays a major role in creation. So, the thought that Jesus is the creator is not some random thought picked up by a one liner in Jude. In fact, I think Hebrews 1:10 makes it pretty plain. I don’t get the whole LXX angle – but it sounds like you may be asserting that the writer of Hebrews misunderstood the passage.
    It is so right that Yahweh alone created the universe. That leaves us with two options: a) there are conflicting passages in scripture or b) Jesus is Yahweh.

    Stacey,
    I appreciate your passion. Believe me, I’m not quoting some theologian I heard or read. I’m studying these things for myself – right this very moment. I know God’s Spirit is in me – so I trust that if I am in the wrong than He will lead me into truth. We are both in the same boat. We can’t just believe what a pastor tells us is the big picture of the Bible. We have to look at all the little pieces – and then determine what the big picture is. Take a look at the first chapter of Hebrews and tell me what you think it is saying. Is it saying that Jesus is the creator of the future world? Or is it saying that in the beginning Jesus created the world? If it is even hinting that Jesus is the creator – than we must reconcile that with the doctrine that Jesus is just human. In the same way, I must look at Jesus temptation and reconcile that with the doctrine that he is God. Not everything is so simple in the Bible. Jesus’ death and resurrection is simple – but when he lived, Jesus spoke in parables. Jesus said he did this so those who truly loved him would dig into the parables to find the true meaning. (Matthew 13:10-15) Yes it says Jesus is at the right hand of God. Sounds simple enough – but does God have a right hand? Does he have a butt to sit on? I know I’m being a little silly – but in reality God is a spirit and doesn’t have what we know to be hands or feet. So, saying that God is seated on His throne is an easy metaphor to describe to us what we can’t understand in our finite minds. Ok- maybe I’m rambling – and I don’t actually think that the Bible is difficult to understand. Most verses spell things out in very plain language – what makes the Bible difficult is when we try to put a spin on the verse that contradicts it’s simplicity. You may say that Trinitarians do this – but I would say the same for Unitarians.
    But instead of talking in generalities, I would rather continue doing what we have been doing and look at individual verses to see what they can tell us about the nature of God and Jesus.

    Cheers,
    Aaron

  81. on 19 Nov 2009 at 6:19 amXavier

    Aaron,

    Well, if Jesus is YHWH and God the Father is YHWH, then the whole of the scriptures would inevitably implode upon each other since that makes 2 Who are YHWH. Since it does away with the most cited NT text, Ps 110.1:

    YHWH [Deity title in all of its occurences] said to “my lord” [adoni, non-Deity title] sit at my right hand…

    HaShem saith unto my lord…Jewish Bible 1917

    We are not to suppose that the Apostles identified Jesus with Jehovah. There were passages which made this impossible, Ps 110:1. Mal. 3:1. [Charles Bigg, DD.. Canon of Christ Church, and Regius Professor of Ecclesiasticl History, Oxford. ICC, 1910, p. 99, 127.]

    Ps 110:1 is cited or alluded to some 23 times by the NT writers and distinguishes the LORD [YHWH] GOD from the one Lord Messiah. Adoni is never used for YHWH God in all of its 195 occurences and always tells us that the one so designated is not the One God, YHWH, but a HUMAN SUPERIOR/REPRESENTATIVE (occasionally an angel).

    These are unrefutable facts Aaron. What is wrong with any of the information I have given you thus far? And how can believing and teaching this biblically based theology be in any way, shape or form wrong, let alone heretical??

    If it is, “God will be my Judge” as Jesus Himself said in John 12.44-49:

    “Those who believe in me DO NOT BELIEVE IN ME ONLY, BUT IN THE ONE WHO SENT ME. When they look at me, THEY SEE THE ONE WHO SENT ME. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

    As for those who hear my words but do not keep them, I do not judge them. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for those who reject me and do not accept my words; THE VERY WORDS I HAVE SPOKEN WILL CONDEMN THEM AT THE LAST DAY. For I did not speak on my own, but THE FATHER WHO SENT ME COMMANDED ME TO SAY ALL THAT I HAVE SPOKEN. [TNIV]

    [YHWH said to Moses] I will raise up for them a prophet LIKE YOU FROM AMONG THEIR OWN PEOPLE, and I WILL PUT MY WORDS IN HIS MOUTH. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to MY WORDS THAT THE PROPHET SPEAKS IN MY NAME. Deu 18.18-19

    NOTE: As per Jn 1.1, the “word” [davar, logos] “is [always] GOD”, as Jesus himself alerts us to time and time again:

    [Jesus said] The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the spirit and life…Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE….[Jesus said] I know that HIS COMMAND LEADS TO ETERNAL LIFE. So whatever I say is just WHAT THE FATHER TOLD ME TO SAY…For I gave them THE WORDS YOU GAME ME and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. [John6:63, 68; 12.50; 17.8; cp. Acts 5.20]

  82. on 19 Nov 2009 at 10:10 amJaco

    Hi, Aaron,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    You write:

    You said that Jesus could have usurped divinity like Adam did. My dictionary says divinity is 1)God 2)a deity. What it sounds like you are saying is that Adam became divine – or became another god – through his taking of the forbidden fruit. Could you clarify that. That seems to be a heck of a statement. Satan told him he would become like God – knowing good and evil – but that is a far cry from becoming divine. Or maybe you are just saying that Jesus could have usurped divinity because of his perfect life. That still seems like an odd statement. Are you asserting that Jesus could have become a god if he wanted to? And after making a point that “human” and “divine” don’t mix?

    I think the problem is semantics. Firstly, divine in its common and straight-forward sense, does mean to anything pertaining to God or gods. That is fine. What we need to do though, is to understand the world-view of the ancient Jews. In Linguistics we call it cognitive frames or event models. This means that our knowledge of words and their meanings are determined by background knowledge that is culturally embedded, contributing to the meanings of words in different contexts. (Sorry if you have to read this sentence a few times.) Now, we know that even humans with authority were called God or elohim (gods). Something else, according to Genesis and the question of universal sovereignty that was raised there, the issue of God’s right to determine what is good and bad is also at play here. But notice what equality to God meant in the Genesis context:

    3:5 “For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound tobe like God, knowing good and bad.”

    Here, deciding or determining for themselves what was right or wrong, instead of allowing the Sovereign of the Universe to prescribe it, is equated to being like God, or to usurp the position of God – a position and right not belonging to anyone but Yahweh. This is the background with which I commented on the Philippian hymn, and thus is the frame in which I used the reference of “divine” with this specific section in mind. I.o.w, this equality to God spoken of here is what Jesus did not grab for.

    I think what the author goes on to say, and what Hebrews says, is that in the end, there weren’t other options of Jesus’ existence. It had to be in the form of flesh and blood, or the Messiah wouldn’t have fulfilled his purpose. So, any other supposed options, really aren’t options at all because they would have been futile options – and God is not the author of futility. Another “option” would have been as a tree – but of course that is silly, because that option would have been futile as well. So, if flesh and blood was the only possible option for a Messiah, I still assert Hebrews and Philippians make a big deal about him coming in this form. Vs. 17 “Therefore, he (Jesus) HAD to be made like his brethren in all things…”

    I said in response (#36)

    Nowhere in scripture will you find a single verse saying that Jesus at one time decided to partake in flesh before he was born. Look at the last clause in vs. 10. Verse 17 tells us in what way he partook or shared or became a partner (all synonyms of partake, met.e’cho). Also see Heb. 5:7-10. Once again his suffering leading to the loosening of the Devil’s works (salvation). It’s not necessary to force a temporal understanding upon Jesus’ partaking of flesh and blood. The rest of Hebrews makes that understanding unnecessary.

    Maybe you can clarify why this answer does not quite satisfy what you’re trying to say. I indicated to you that both the “young children” and Jesus shared or partnered in flesh and blood. Now, we both know that merely partaking in it is not sufficient for Jesus’ redemptive work. But this verse does say that his partaking in it would lead to the breaking of the Devil’s work. So, in both the immediate context as well as rest of Scripture, limiting the salvation process to only existing in flesh and blood would be insufficient. Hence my position that this reference to flesh and blood is used in a metaphorical or representative sense, indicating Him to share in everything that is human…except sin. You needn’t add a temporal meaning to this verse – Scripture never does it. He came into existence at his human appearance; that’s all that Scripture tells us.

    I disagree that a Messiah who is both flesh and bones and deity would have messed up the Divine Scales. Where is that argument supported in Bible?.

    1 Cor. 15:21 “For since death is through one man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying so also in the Christ all will be made alive”

    Romans 5:17-19 is another Scripture where Adam’s and Jesus’ legacies are weighed up and compared.

    Then, the whole evaluation of any sacrifice is its perpetuality. For everlasting life, Jesus’ sacrifice perpetually covers the sins originated from Adam’s fall. Hence the Yom Kippur (Atonement Day) where sacrifices were given to kopher, or atone perpetually for sins committed. Jesus is the perfect perpetual sacrifice to release us from Adamic inheritance – sin. (Heb. 2:17, 10:12-14, Joh. 2:2)

    If Jesus has flesh and blood – no matter what his nature is – he has the necessary ingredients to be the Messiah Savior

    Here is where the problem comes in, Aaron. The Bible doesn’t make this distinction. In fact, the notion of “nature” as some abstract entity of being is as unbiblical as crucifixion is Qur’anic. This cognitive and linguistic frame was way outside the mental reference of ancient Jews. They didn’t have it, neither should we. Messiah the man had to appear as the Second Adam (fully human without sin) and complete his saving work. This is the outline. Trinitarianism disrupts this outline entirely.

    As regards the Heb. 1 references, they are most definitely proleptic. Numerous OT references are applied proleptically to Jesus’ saving work. From Melchizedek, Atonement day, Ps. 110:1, Abrahamic promises, Isaac’s sacrifice, Jerusalem…I can go on and on. These are types and antitypes with proleptic fulfilment in Jesus and the age his saving work ensures. As regards Heb. 1:11, 12, in isolation the true impact goes lost. These are quoted to demonstrate hyperbolically the durability of the Messiah’s work. This has nothing to do with the physical dissolution of the material heavens and earth.

    Xavier, sorry for chipping in.

    Your brother,

    Jaco

  83. on 19 Nov 2009 at 10:23 amRay

    Aaron,

    I disagree with your thinking and the conclusions you came up with in post 80, at the end of your first paragraph.

    I’ve heard it said once about military generals, that what they do to
    cause their enemy to do what they want them to do, is to take away their options.

    You talked about two options, as if those were the only two afforded to us by God and they were, a) -there is conflicting passages in scripture, or b)- Jesus is God.

    This was because you say that God alone created the universe.

    Would it always be wrong for God to say that he alone did something if he did it through Jesus, when there was nothing in Jesus but God himself?

    I think not, that is, that it is not always wrong for God to say that he did something by himself even as it was he himself who was the power that worked through another.

    I believe God has the right to conceal a matter, especially one that is of such importance as Christ, his greatest mystery. I believe God has the right to choose when he does reveal such things and that he knows both when it should be revealed unto men and also I believe he knows how to legaly, justly, honesty, and truly conceal such a thing for his good purposes in Christ Jesus.

    When we think God should say something in a way that we think he should, and we don’t know the right way a thing should be said of him for a particular time, we may very well come to the wrong conclusion that it could be a conflicting statement.

    I was told once of a pastor who should have known better, that if I did not believe Jesus is God, then I am guilty of idolatry because I worship Jesus.

    I worship Jesus as the Son of God, NOT as if he were above God, or as if he was someone who was apart from God as if does whatever he does as setting God aside.

    That’s not the Jesus I worship, and it’s not how I worship God and Jesus.

    To refuse to worship Jesus when I have learned about him is to refuse God’s greatest gift, and therefore would be refusing to worship God as he should be worshipped.

    I worship Jesus because he is as God is, because he is of the character of God himself, because he is as the very name of God,
    not only in word but also in deed and in truth. Jesus is the very spirit of God he walked by. (I should allow people to say, “I don’t necessarily agree with that statement, because there is a distinction between the Holy Spirit and Jesus”. What I say is not so people will agree with me completely without and difference, but I say these things for their benefit. I say these things for their understanding, and that they might use what they learn for the benefit of others and for unity in the Church. I hope they will use these things to take down the walls that men have built around themselves that cause needless division.

    I believe we can say that God created all that is, alone ,with no one else being with him, if we can understand that there was no other power but God in Jesus, no other wisdom but God with him, and nothing in this sense, but God himself in and with Jesus through whom he created all, when there is a need to hide his mystery, for whatever purpose that is of God in revealing to men that God has no agents which he depends on that are foreign to himself and his divine nature.

    Isn’t Jesus the divine nature of God?

  84. on 19 Nov 2009 at 10:50 amXavier

    Jaco,

    Xavier, sorry for chipping in.

    As we say “down under…no worries, mate!” 🙂

    Need to work in unison in order to preach the truth of the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus [Acts 8.12].

    I just hope all this work bears some fruit, but I fear that oftentimes I sense that in some of Aaron’s posts this may that be the case. Since he seems set on his “trinitarian ways” [which is fine, if he sticks to that choice] and debates just for the sake of it.

    But what I am more fearful of is the fact that with all these teaching regarding the sound doctrine, he doesn’t turn out like those people Paul describes to Timothy, “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” [2Tim 3.7]. And in a way, their hearts become more hardened, with eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot listen. Ala Pharisees:

    Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but NOW THAT YOU CLAIM YOU CAN SEE, YOUR GUILT REMAINS…

    If I had not come and SPOKEN TO THEM, THEY WOULD NOT BE GUILTY OF SIN; but now they have NO EXCUSE FOR THEIR SIN…

    If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated BOTH ME AND MY FATHER. Jn 9.41; 15.22-24

  85. on 19 Nov 2009 at 12:19 pmRay

    I wonder why it is that I so often see Trinitarians speak to other Christians as if those other Chrisitans believe Jesus was merely
    human, or as if they believe Jesus was only a man like any other,
    (and nothing more) when such is clearly not the case.

    I wonder why it is that so often I have seen Trinitarins with that
    “world view” of their brothers which simply is not true. Why is it that they seem to enjoy misrepresenting them?

    Is it because of their training? Who taught them to see their brothers in a false light rather than listen to what they say? Clearly
    it wasn’t God.

  86. on 19 Nov 2009 at 12:22 pmStacey

    I just wanted to point out a common word that is used in the scriptures the word is “like” God created man in his own image, here are several verses…

    Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

    Exodus 8:10
    And he said, Against to-morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word; that thou mayest know that there is none like unto Jehovah our God.

    Exodus 15:11
    Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?

    Deuteronomy 4:32
    For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?

    There are many more like this
    Aaron,
    You asked, “(Matthew 13:10-15) Yes it says Jesus is at the right hand of God. Sounds simple enough – but does God have a right hand? Does he have a butt to sit on? I know I’m being a little silly – but in reality God is a spirit and doesn’t have what we know to be hands or feet?”…
    these verses explain that man was created like God in his image.

    Genesis 3: 5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

    This verse says u will be as God knowing good and evil, Adam and Eve were created to worship God in the begining they did not know evil they only knew good, the devil tempted them with this so they will be like God knowing both, not that they will be God.

    Aaron,
    You asked me too look at the begining of Hebrews, it says,
    1 God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners,

    2 hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds;

    3 who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

    4 having become by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they.

    5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, This day have I begotten thee? and again, I will be to him a Father, And he shall be to me a Son?

    God has givin ALL ATHORITY to his Son Jesus in verse 2, verse 3 says in the very image of HIS (GOD) substance, notice verse 5 says “Thou art my Son, and again I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.

    1Corinthians says,
    2 If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know;

    3 but if any man loveth God, the same is known by him.

    4 Concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one.

    5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many;

    6 yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him.

    There is only ONE God many are called gods, but only ONE GOD, verse 6 says what it says One God the Father, One Lord Jesus.

    We have to remember to read scriptures before and after because we will have better understanding….

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    2 The same was in the beginning with God.

    3 All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made.

    4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    This is referring to God Yaweh not Jesus it says in the begining that is our 1st clue, Jesus was not mentioned until the new testement Jesus was a man born of a woman and God, in the old testement it talks about God Yaweh, not Jesus. Many times in the scriptures in the new testement it references old testement scriptures.

    I hope this helps you out Aaron, I believe if you read before and after the verses you are questioning it may help you a lot more on your quest to understand our Father God and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ!!!

    God bless
    Stacey

  87. on 19 Nov 2009 at 1:08 pmXavier

    Persuant to Stacey’s fine examples regarding the word “like” [isa], “image” [eikon], form [morphe, cp. Phil 2.5-11] etc., check out this little piece of exegesis by Josef Kuschel in his excellent “Born before all time: The Dispute over Christ’s Origin [Trans. John Bowden 1992, SCM Press ltd].

    Although a bit “dense” for some, I hope you all find something of note.

    Linguistically, this seems to be supported simply by the fact that one can virtually identify ‘form of God’ (morphe theou) – thus literally, and better than ‘he was like God’ – with doxa (glory) or eikon (image) of God . The same holds for the Greek word homoioma (‘and in the likeness of men’) of v.7, which, moreover, is occasionally translated ‘in form like a man’. So the first line of the hymn would speak of Christ, who like Adam was created ‘in the image’ of God and like Adam participated in the ‘glory’ of God before his fall. The contrasting term to ‘form of God’ would further confirm this derivation: ‘form of a slave’ is evidently an allusion to Adam’s fate after the fall. The second contrasting pair at the beginning of the text would point in the same direction: ‘likeness of God’ probably alludes to Adam’s temptation (he wanted to be like God, Gen. 3.5) and ‘likeness of men’ in turn to Adam’s state after succumbing to sin.

    The phrase ‘being like God’ (Greek isa theou), too, may not simply be translated with terms like ‘equality with God’, ‘being like God’, as often happens. That would require the form isos theos. What we have in the text is the adverb isa, and that merely means ‘as God’, ‘like God’. So there is no statement about Christ being equal to God, and in this in turn tells against an interpretation in terms of pre-existence.

    The conclusion to be drawn from this is that one need not borrow extra biblical notions and texts to understand Philippians 2. The Jewish background is enough for understanding this hymn and indeed for providing continuity with Aramaic Jewish Christianity in the proclamation of Christ. So’ humbling himself’, ‘emptying himself’, is not to be understood as the act of a mythical pre-existent heavenly being, but as a qualification for the man Jesus. Like the Son of Man and Son of God of the earliest Aramaic-speaking Jewish-Christian community, he was understood and confessed as a lowly figure and as God’s plenipotentiary, as an eschatological representative, as the true human being and definite messenger. Thus Phil. 2.6-11, this early text, would be in continuity with the Aramaic Jewish-Christian community in Jerusalem.

  88. on 19 Nov 2009 at 1:14 pmRay

    I believe the first mention of Jesus is in Genesis 1:3.

    I say this because right now that is as far as I can see from where I am at.

    I believe Genesis 1:3 to be a prophetic voice that tells us of a type
    or pattern of how God planned to bring Jesus into this world.

    I believe he planned on bringing the light (which was not sunlight) into this world by his spirit; moving, hovering, or brooding upon some water

    As God had this plan in mind, he was active in his ceative work which he was doing by Jesus Christ who was dwelling in him, being his Son and servant, doing all for the glory of God as God was active in glorifying him through this process that became revealed at a later time.

  89. on 19 Nov 2009 at 2:23 pmStacey

    Xavier,

    Thank you that was a wonderful detailed discription and definition of what God tells us in the scriptures.

    Ray,
    I am sorry but your opinions do not make any sense nor have I read in the scriptures anything to back up your staements. We do also have to remember as Xavier emphisised that we have knowledge of the scriptures through God that has givin us the Holy Spririt so when we speak about the word it is the Holy spririt that God has given us, it is not our own knowledge it is our Father God, so stating your own opinions have no relevence to the knowledge God wants us to know…I am not being judgemental I just think it is something to consider before making a post.

    1Corinthians 2: 9 but as it is written, Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, And which entered not into the heart of man, Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him.

    10 But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

    11 For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God.

    12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God.

    13 Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words.

    14 Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.

    I pray for God to reveil the truths to His children, I pray to our Father to give us the understanding we need to do His will, I pray for Yaweh to open our minds and hearts to receive His gifts!

    God bless,
    Stacey

  90. on 19 Nov 2009 at 4:45 pmRay

    God is revealing the things we have not seen, comparing the things
    we have not considered, leading us places we have not been, teaching us things we have not heard, doing this all through his word and his spirit which we have received by Christ Jesus, and will continue to reveal more as we need, in order that we do not fall into the darkness of this world.

  91. on 22 Nov 2009 at 3:20 amAaron

    Stacey,
    It sounded like you were saying that God has a body (arms and legs) because Genesis says we were made in God’s image. I wonder what you others think of that. I think there is a difference between God’s image and God’s form. We are made in God’s image. Jesus existed in the form of God (Phil 2:6) – and then took the form of man (flesh and blood). I see that John 4:24 says that “God is spirit…” I see us being made in God’s image as us possessing similar cognitive and emotional qualities as God has – not that we are mirror images of what God looks like. If we were made in God’s form – we would possess the ability to be everywhere at once like God is. But, that’s probably not super relevant to what we are talking about now.

    Xavier,
    I agree that you have made a strong case for Christ’s humanity. Jaco – you as well when mentioning how Jesus is referred to Adam and how resurrection comes through a man. I would expect all of these things you mention about Jesus’ humanity to be absolutely true and essential under the doctrine that Jesus was fully man and fully God. So, I suppose the burden would not be to point out scriptures that talk about Christ’s humanity (ie: his temptation, his obedience to the Father) but to find scripture that says he can’t be God as well. The doctrine of the trinity seems to fit quite well into all verses that talk of Jesus’ humanity.
    If Adoni is only used of man, then it could be used of someone who was man and deity. But as I pointed out long ago in Titus, Jesus is also called Adonai. I suppose you could put into practice your same “agency” example. As you say that everything that can be said of God can be said of Jesus because Jesus is God’s agent – the Trinitarian view is that everything you can say of man can be said of Divine Jesus because he is mans representative – indeed he share’s man’s nature.
    Taking the opposite approach and putting the doctrine that Jesus is only human into certain scriptures, however, seems to bring out some discrepancies.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to look at a few new scriptures to get your opinions on them – to see what you think they reveal about Jesus.

    John 12 tells of Jesus entry into Jerusalem. The people were excited but their fervor was not in truth – for they had misunderstandings of what the messiah was to be like. They saw Jesus’ works yet they did not believe (vs.37) John then quotes a few passages from Isaiah, finishing with the statement “these things Isaiah said, because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.” (vs.41) The “Him” in this context is Jesus – as noted by all the other “Him” references in this section of verses. If you look at the scene in Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8) where this vision of glory originally took place, Isaiah says “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted….and one (seraphim) called out to another ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.'” This clearly was Yahweh whom Isaiah saw in the vision – yet John 12:41 says Isaiah was seeing Jesus. My conclusion from these verses is that Jesus is Yahweh. What say you?

    There is one other verse that I am interested in your opinion. In John 5:17 Jesus refers to God as his father. The author explains what this means in vs. 18 “(Jesus) was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” Who can be equal with God but God? I think this gives clarity to the term “Son of God” which we read so much as a term of equality.
    If Jesus used terms of himself that claimed equality with God, I think this disrupts the idea of “agency” when applied to Jesus.
    As Jesus later says in John 15:20 “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” The corollary to this would be “No agent is equal to his master.” A power of attorney may carry your authority, but he is in no way equal in nature to you.

    There are some other verses I’m reading – but we’ll leave it at that for now.
    Later.

  92. on 22 Nov 2009 at 3:50 amAaron

    Ray,
    I’m having some trouble sorting out what you are saying option #3 is regarding creation.

    You said “Would it always be wrong for God to say that he alone did something if he did it through Jesus, when there was nothing in Jesus but God himself?”

    Are you saying option #3 is that Jesus existed before creation and God worked through Jesus to create the world? What would that make Jesus if not God? If you mean that God created the world through the “plan of Jesus” and not the pre-existing “person of Jesus” than you would be better off saying God created the world for Jesus, not through Jesus. But I think the verses in Hebrews speak directly of the agent doing the creation, not the reason for creation.

    Jaco,
    One more small note. I don’t see how Heb. 1:11-12 are hyperbole of Jesus’ work – if anything they are hyperbole of Jesus himself – for it says his works will perish- specifically his work of the laying of the foundation of heaven and earth. This fits perfectly with other Bible verses such as Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” and Revelation 21:1 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

    Can you tell me any OT proleptic prophecy where the things are spoken of in a past tense – as if they already happened. It seems that they always involve God saying “I will do such and such.” There is a clear future tone.

    Furthermore, it seems to me that every OT quotation in Hebrews is used to talk about how the prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus thus proving to the Hebrew audience that Jesus is the Christ. Nothing is left to the future – all quoted prophecies are already fulfilled.

  93. on 22 Nov 2009 at 7:48 amJoseph

    Aaron,

    If Adoni is only used of man, then it could be used of someone who was man and deity. But as I pointed out long ago in Titus, Jesus is also called Adonai.

    Please provide the evidence that the Hebrew word “Adonai” is used directly to identify Christ by that title and that the title used in that passage should be best translated as “Adonai.” I ask these questions assuming that you understand the difference between the different titles given to God and men.

  94. on 22 Nov 2009 at 8:17 amXavier

    Aaron,

    …find scripture that says he can’t be God as well

    We have given you more than ample evidence from scripture to proof that “YHWH is the TRUE GOD” [Jer 10.10; cp. Mar 12.29; Jn 5.44; 17.3] and that this SINGULAR PERSON is the “God and Father of the Lord Jesus” [Romans 15:6 : 2 Cor 1:3; Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3; John 20:17; Eph 1:17; Rev 1:6].

    Titus 2.13 is in the Greek and not the Hebrew, so where do you get the “Adonai” from? It doesn’t even have “LORD”. As to the interpretation of the verse as if it called Jesus “God”, it varies from translation to translation.

    As to your insistence that Jesus had [or had] “two natures”, that is a loaded statement full of theological contradictions. No where in scripture does it teach or say that, the only place you get that from is the Roman Catholic Creeds.

    RE: Jn 12.41, again you cannot have 2 Who are YHWH, there is only ONE YHWH. Furthermore, its hard to see this is a reference to Isa 6.1, if anything 6.10 is the closest parallel. As a result, the prophet is witness to the FUTURE GLORY of the exalted HUMAN MESSIAH, just as David FORESAW him in Psa 110.1, where adoni is NEVER USED OF DEITY!

  95. on 22 Nov 2009 at 6:24 pmJaco

    Aaron,

    You said:

    We are made in God’s image. Jesus existed in the form of God (Phil 2:6) – and then took the form of man (flesh and blood). I see that John 4:24 says that “God is spirit…” I see us being made in God’s image as us possessing similar cognitive and emotional qualities as God has – not that we are mirror images of what God looks like. If we were made in God’s form – we would possess the ability to be everywhere at once like God is.

    You almost got it here, except for your last sentence. Morphe refers to outer visible and observable appearance. Nothing to do with omnipresence. Outer appearance. The rest you are spot-on with.

    I would expect all of these things you mention about Jesus’ humanity to be absolutely true and essential under the doctrine that Jesus was fully man and fully God. So, I suppose the burden would not be to point out scriptures that talk about Christ’s humanity (ie: his temptation, his obedience to the Father) but to find scripture that says he can’t be God as well. The doctrine of the trinity seems to fit quite well into all verses that talk of

    No, I’m sorry, Aaron, but YOURS is the burden of proof. The Bible’s silence as to the tenets of the Trinity is significant. Anything else and beyond that puts the burden of proof on the proponents of a doctrine foreign to the Gospel of our King and His apostles.

    You’re committing the fallacy of drawing an affirmative conclusion from a negative premise. You’r saying:

    First premise: The Bible says that Jesus’ is human
    Second primise: The Bible does not that Jesus isn’t Yahweh
    Conclusion: Jesus must be human and Yahweh.

    No can do. The Philosophy professor will get heart palpitations.

    If Adoni is only used of man, then it could be used of someone who was man and deity.

    You’re assuming the factuality of a matter (Adoni used for God-and-man) based on an unproven premise (Jesus was God-and-man). You first have to prove the premise conclusively. Fallacy alert, brother.

    But as I pointed out long ago in Titus, Jesus is also called Adonai.

    No, sir. He is called Kyrios, the Lord between God and us (1 Cor 8:6)

    As you say that everything that can be said of God can be said of Jesus because Jesus is God’s agent – the Trinitarian view is that everything you can say of man can be said of Divine Jesus because he is mans representative – indeed he share’s man’s nature.
    Taking the opposite approach and putting the doctrine that Jesus is only human into certain scriptures, however, seems to bring out some discrepancies.

    Aaron, you’re assuming the factuality of a premise again as a basis for the factuality of another while you stil have to prove the premise. You’re also equivocating. Agency is a confirmed and uncontested reality in the ancient Hebrew world. Jesus and others confirmed his agency in so many words (Matt. 21:9, 23:39, Joh. 5:43, 6:69, 12:13) Bible truth needn’t be proven by taking the opposite of another truth. This is proof by induction and is extremely weak. The teaching is simply not taught in the Bible. Gal. 1:8 has deleted it from any serious consideration. This “man’s nature/God’s nature” lingo betrays this heresy’s origins anyway. It’s like explaining Gospel using runescript. That’s sacrilege, man.

    John 12 is James White’s good proof gone bad. Not as powerful as he thought it would be. The mentioned section speaks of two events. One in Isaiah 6 to show the unreceptiveness of their hearts and Isa 52:13 the actual glory of the Suffering Servant. This is still inductive proof and not conclusive for any final doctrine. (BTW, this is a super-proleptic passage: 52:13-53:12; mainly in the perfect tense.)

    There is one other verse that I am interested in your opinion. In John 5:17 Jesus refers to God as his father. The author explains what this means in vs. 18 “(Jesus) was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” Who can be equal with God but God? I think this gives clarity to the term “Son of God” which we read so much as a term of equality.

    Before answering this, Aaron, was the Jesus you believe in a sabbath-breaker, and thus a sinner according to the Law of Moses? Secondly, was Jesus demon-possessed? Finally, was Jesus driving out demons with the power of Satan?

    If Jesus used terms of himself that claimed equality with God, I think this disrupts the idea of “agency” when applied to Jesus.

    If I were an angelic messenger of Yahweh, Shiliach (agency) permits me to be called and worshipped as Yahweh. The very same would apply to the Son of God. The difference is, that he NEVER even called himself that, and secondly, he articulated his agency of his His Father’s will. The quasi-Christian trinity wholly disrupts this central Hebrew notion.

    One more small note. I don’t see how Heb. 1:11-12 are hyperbole of Jesus’ work – if anything they are hyperbole of Jesus himself – for it says his works will perish- specifically his work of the laying of the foundation of heaven and earth. This fits perfectly with other Bible verses such as Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” and Revelation 21:1 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

    Matthew 24:35 is also hyperbole. We can discuss this in another post if you want to.

    Can you tell me any OT proleptic prophecy where the things are spoken of in a past tense – as if they already happened. It seems that they always involve God saying “I will do such and such.” There is a clear future tone.

    Aaron, look at Ps. 2, Zech 9:9. These are what I came up in my mind.

    Furthermore, it seems to me that every OT quotation in Hebrews is used to talk about how the prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus thus proving to the Hebrew audience that Jesus is the Christ. Nothing is left to the future – all quoted prophecies are already fulfilled.

    Aaron, any proleptic verse is proleptic until it is fulfilled. So, even though the book of Hebrews speaks of earlier scripture written in past tense, they’re still proleptic even though they reached fulfillment by the time the writer wrote Hebrews.

    Good questions, thanks

    Jaco

  96. on 22 Nov 2009 at 6:33 pmJoseph

    Xavier,

    Good points that are in relation to my questions to Aaron, and to expand a little…

    1. Titus was written in Greek and to translate as “Adonai” in that passage to the Messiah is purely based upon the assumption of the Trinity doctrine, rather than being based off of what the NT and OT creeds suggest. In other words, there is a HUGE difference between the title Adonai and the title Elohim, both are translated as Theos in the Greek, but Elohim can be ascribed to representatives of God (men, angels, cities, ect). So, then we read the creeds of the NT and we can know that Christ is being referred to as Elohim, just as he used in reference to himself and the rulers of the OT in John 10 when affirming that he is the “Son of God.” This was in defense to those who were accusing him of being “god.”

    2. You brought up Psalm 110 where we have a passage that clearly differentiates between the one who is Messiah (adoni) to the one who is God (Adonai, YHVH). What is even much bigger to point out is that this passage is post resurrection!!!… READ THAT AGAIN! Yes, a resurrected Messiah in a body who is Adoni, who has been exalted to a position by his God (Adonai, YHVH). Keep in mind that Psalm 110 translates God as YHVH and the Messiah, my lord, as Adoni. In Pslam 110, Adonai is used in place of YHVH because in translation it is proper to use Adonai in substitute of YHVH to refrain from pronouncing the name of God in Torah readings.

  97. on 22 Nov 2009 at 9:08 pmAaron

    I’m sorry for leading you into Titus. I meant to say Jude vs. 4. It says “our only master (despotes) and Lord (kyrios), Jesus Christ.”
    I know kyrios sometimes refers to a human master in the NT, but it very often refers to Yahweh. This text isn’t concrete proof that Jesus is Yahweh, but it seems odd to use both terms in the same phrase if you are just pointing to his mastery over us: “our only master and master, Jesus Christ.”

    Xavier,
    You are right – John 12:40-41 are a reference to Isaiah 6:10. But what separates vs. 10 from vs. 1? They are the same account. The words Isaiah speaks in vs. 10 are the result of what he saw. Verse 1 tells what he saw: the LORD of hosts. Of course there can’t be two Yahwehs – but that is not what the Trinity doctrine teaches.

    By saying that the Messiah’s glory is a future event, are you saying that the Messiah only achieves his glorification when he returns to judge and rule? I haven’t done a study on it yet, but the Messiah’s glorification seems to be something that has happened.
    Earlier in John 12, the writer comments that “these things His disciples did not understand at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him… John is writing this gospel after Jesus was glorified.
    Also, in John 12:23, Jesus says “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” He is saying the hour has come – or, it is now time for the glorification.

    Jaco,
    I looked up your Zach and Psalms references. They both use future language of things that will happen. Those I can understand in a proleptic sense. I also see Hebrews 1:11-12 as being clearly proleptic since they speak of things that haven’t happened yet. But, I see no reason to say that vs. 10 – speaking of the creation “in the beginning” as being proleptic. Clearly, the writer is contrasting a future event with an event that has already occurred. That is what makes verses 11 and 12 so potent. The words “in the beginning” should be the biggest clue as to when this creation occurred. Any other interpretation of vs. 10 makes the verse unnecessarily confusing.

    As far as John 5 goes, I know where your questions are leading.
    I apologize for doing this, but I’m going to offer a quote from Carm.org. I think it sums up the verse pretty well:

    “When using this verse against the Jehovah’s Witnesses (and any other group that denies Jesus’ deity), the response they have is as follows. They ask if Jesus actually sinned and broke the Sabbath. Of course He did not. Then they try and point out that John the Apostle was commenting about what the Jews thought, not what Jesus was actually doing and claiming. Therefore, they say, when it says that Jesus was “…calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God,” they respond that that is what the Jews were thinking, not what John was saying. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite wrong.
    Yes, Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Obviously that was right for Him to do, but the Jews thought He was breaking the Sabbath. Therefore, when John says that Jesus was breaking the Sabbath he was clearly saying that Jesus was breaking the Jews erring conception of the Sabbath, not the real Sabbath. Then, in addition John says that Jesus was calling God His own father, making Himself equal to God.
    John is making two comments, one about the Jews erring claim and the other about Jesus claiming to be divine.
    If it was only the Jews who thought that Jesus was making Himself equal to God, then can the Jehovah’s Witness point out in the context of what Jesus said and did that would cause the Jews to think this? If he cannot find the place in this account, then the only thing left to conclude is that the comment is John’s and not that of the Jews.
    Also, if Jesus was not equal with God, why didn’t John the apostle clarify the situation? After all, it is a perfect opportunity to do so. Remember, John clarified other points. Here is an example:

    * “This saying therefore went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?’ (John 21:23, NASB).
    * “The Jews answered and said to Him, ‘Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon? 49Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me,” (John 8:48-49).

    John was definitely in the position to correct such a great error as Jesus being equal with God, but He doesn’t do it. This is not something you would let slide if you were writing a gospel about who Jesus really is.”

  98. on 22 Nov 2009 at 9:54 pmXavier

    Aaron,

    Here’s a good video study from TruthorTradition.com called: What does the word Lord mean? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO4bLkAGwMM

    In your post 91 you said: “My conclusion from these verses is that Jesus is Yahweh.” Then in post 97 tou say: “Of course there can’t be two Yahwehs – but that is not what the Trinity doctrine teaches.” So which is it??

    If your interpretation of Jn 12.41 is that the writer alludes to Jesus being that YHWH of Isa 6 [whichever verse we take it to be, v.1 or v.10] there’s no way of getting around your first conclusion: Jesus is YHWH. Yet you and I know that is not possible.

    You ask: “are you saying that the Messiah only achieves his glorification when he returns to judge and rule?”

    What scripture [and not I] says is that Messiah “achieves his glorification” via his “exaltation to the right hand of God” [Acts 2.33]. So that now, according to scripture and not some foreign HUMAN interpretation or extrapolation of the text:

    GOD EXALTED him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins…that [God] worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…[and] has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. Acts 5.31; Eph 1.20; 1Pe 3.22.

    This is why we and the writers of the NT insist on the importance of the Messianic Ps 110.1. This is key to understanding not only WHO JESUS is but HOW and WHY of his glorification to a place and status he hereto DID NOT HAVE PREVIOUSLY.

    I recently read a great little book by Reginald Fuller called “Christ and Christianity: Studies in the Formation of Christology”. THis is what he had to say regarding “preexistence”, which is basically the subject your debating here Aaron:

    …[some] have argued that contemporary systematic theology should abandon [literal] pre-existence Christology. It is, they say, irretrievably MYTHOLOGICAL. It has no basis in the self-understanding of the historical Jesus. It was unknown in the earliest kerygma, which focused rather on the death and exaltation of Jesus. When it does appear it is confined almost entirely to hymnic materials, and until the Fourth Gospel little attempt is made to integrate it into the theology of those writings where it appears. When used today, it SHIFTS THE FOCUS OF CHRISTOLOGY away from the death and resurrection of Jesus, where the focus properly belongs. It DISTORTS THE PICTURE OF JESUS AS HE REALLY WAS, A TRULY HUMAN PERSON, MAKING HIM INSTEAD A CELESTIAL VISITOR FROM AN ALIEN WORLD…This objection originates in part from the theory that the pre-existence Christology was an IMPORTATION FROM PRE-CHRISTIAN GNOSIS [see Gnosticism] in the shape of the so-called gnostic redeemer myth…

    …after the introduction of pre-existence Christology it remains, until the Fourth Gospel, rather PERIPHERAL. It is confined almost exclusively to hymns, although where these hymns are quoted the pre-existence part of it cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the theological argumentation. In Philippians (if the hymn does indeed feature pre-existence) it serves to reinforce the exhortation to humility. In 1 Corinthians the portrayal of Jesus as the embodiment of Wisdom serves to counter the false notions of Wisdom prevailing at Corinth. In Colossians the attribution of creation to the pre-existent One serves to counter the Colossians’ ascription of creation to the angelic powers, thus introducing a dualism which undermined the kerygma by denying the salvability of creation. At the same time we must admit, however, that no effort is made by the New Testament authors until the Fourth Gospel to integrate the pre-existence Christology to the rest of their Christology.

    For the full article click here:
    http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2009/11/pre-existence-christology-can-we.html

  99. on 22 Nov 2009 at 11:13 pmXavier

    Aaron,

    NOTE: The NIV [TNIV, as far as I know] add to the text of John 12.41 the word “Iesous [Jesus]” so that it erroneously reads:

    Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

    But even it is referring to “Jesus’ glory” that the prophet saw the context in which this verse is used is not talking about YHWH being Jesus or vice versa. Hence, an “identitiy crisis”, but about how the people of Jesus’ time did not understand or recognize that the same “glory” that is YHWH’s in Isa 6.1ff. is the same “glory” being manifested and worked “through” [dia] His only Son and personal agent.

    Similarly, Jn 8.56 is to be understood where it is said that Abraham “saw Jesus’ day and rejoiced because of it”. Not because Abraham literally saw a NON-EXISTENT Jesus, but because to him was imply revelaed through “the word of YHWH [davar-YHWH]” in vision and dreams [cp. Gen 15.1] the “gospel of the KOG and the NAME of Messiah Jesus”.

    The word “see” in Johannine language is also metaphorically used [I would say most of the time] as a tool to “understand, perceive, recognize” and not in the way we use it today literally [ie. “SEE with your eyes”].

    It appears, then, that for the scribes who ALTERED THE TEXT, when the prophet Isaiah LOOKED AHEAD TO SEE JESUS [Messiah’s day, cp. Jn 8.56], what he [the prophet] saw was “the glory of God” and he [the prophet] therefore spoke concerning, “him”. Ehrman, Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 1993, p 84.

  100. on 23 Nov 2009 at 3:37 amJaco

    Aaron, you said

    You are right – John 12:40-41 are a reference to Isaiah 6:10. But what separates vs. 10 from vs. 1? They are the same account. The words Isaiah speaks in vs. 10 are the result of what he saw. Verse 1 tells what he saw: the LORD of hosts. Of course there can’t be two Yahwehs – but that is not what the Trinity doctrine teaches.

    Regardless of what the Trinity teaches – THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE TRINITY WOULD HAVE THIS TEXT TO MEAN. The Trinity is an assault on human reason, on our Christian heritage and its Hebraic ancestry! This above statement clearly indicates the typical mind-set when reasoning on the Trinity: Defend the Trinity however nonsensical it makes out Scripture to be.

    Also, in John 12:23, Jesus says “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” He is saying the hour has come – or, it is now time for the glorification.

    Isa 52:13-53:12 contains the whole section of Yahweh’s servant, where Isaiah both saw his glory and spoke about him. No need to comb Scripture and split hairs to infer what a NT scripture means. (I’m glad to say that our Unitarian position is based on irrefutable and solid ground, that is why we don’t need any of these desperate proof-texting).

    As far as John 5 goes, I know where your questions are leading.
    I apologize for doing this, but I’m going to offer a quote from Carm.org. I think it sums up the verse pretty well:

    “When using this verse against the Jehovah’s Witnesses (and any other group that denies Jesus’ deity), the response they have is as follows. They ask if Jesus actually sinned and broke the Sabbath. Of course He did not. Then they try and point out that John the Apostle was commenting about what the Jews thought, not what Jesus was actually doing and claiming. Therefore, they say, when it says that Jesus was “…calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God,” they respond that that is what the Jews were thinking, not what John was saying. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite wrong.
    Yes, Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Obviously that was right for Him to do, but the Jews thought He was breaking the Sabbath. Therefore, when John says that Jesus was breaking the Sabbath he was clearly saying that Jesus was breaking the Jews erring conception of the Sabbath, not the real Sabbath. Then, in addition John says that Jesus was calling God His own father, making Himself equal to God.
    John is making two comments, one about the Jews erring claim and the other about Jesus claiming to be divine.
    If it was only the Jews who thought that Jesus was making Himself equal to God, then can the Jehovah’s Witness point out in the context of what Jesus said and did that would cause the Jews to think this? If he cannot find the place in this account, then the only thing left to conclude is that the comment is John’s and not that of the Jews.
    Also, if Jesus was not equal with God, why didn’t John the apostle clarify the situation? After all, it is a perfect opportunity to do so. Remember, John clarified other points. Here is an example:

    * “This saying therefore went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?’ (John 21:23, NASB).
    * “The Jews answered and said to Him, ‘Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon? 49Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me,” (John 8:48-49).

    John was definitely in the position to correct such a great error as Jesus being equal with God, but He doesn’t do it. This is not something you would let slide if you were writing a gospel about who Jesus really is.”

    Typical proof-texting attempts! They never cease to amaze me! Aaron, brother, please, you need much more solid proofs to put your trust on something as fundamental to the Calvinists as the trinity. Why do you put your faith in their hands? Can’t you see their desperate attempts using weak and fallacious reasoning?

    As regards the Carm.org attempt:

    1. You have your answer where they said: “Yes, Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Obviously that was right for Him to do, but the Jews thought He was breaking the Sabbath. Therefore, when John says that Jesus was breaking the Sabbath he was clearly saying that Jesus was breaking the Jews erring conception of the Sabbath, not the real Sabbath.” Likewise, Aaron, when John said Jesus was making himself equal to God, he was clearly saying that Jesus was breaking the Jews’ erring conclusion of Jesus’ being equal to Yahweh since he called Yahweh his Fater. They’re pushing it by saying that these were John’s own conclusion. The immediate context shows that the Sabbath and Yahweh’s Fathership was under discussion hence the Jews’ erroneous conclusion. The so-called equality matter is a conclusion, not something Jesus makes ANYWHERE.

    2. The “John would have corrected” assumption is indeed desperate. John did NOT CORRECT their Sabbath error, that does not make their conclusion a correct one. Same goes with their blasphemous equality error.

    3. Aaron, your Trinity sources break all the laws of logic. I say it again. You need better, more solid and more direct proofs than this. You cannot reason from the negative (“If they were wrong, John would have…”) Direct, solid evidence proves them and today’s Trinity heresy to be wrong. It’s unwise and disingenuous to reason from such assumption. I can prove ANYTHING from this…I can prove to you that Mohammed is the last prophet of God! How’s that?

    Sorry, Aaron, but I prefer to listen to the Messiah, Jesus, not Carm.org’s pseudo-messiah Calvin the Murderer. I hope you’d do the same. The God of the Bible and his Son would never lend themselves to someone as embarrassing as Calvin the Murderer and his legacy. Nor should we.

    I’m very frank, Aaron, but we’re reaching a salient point in this discussion, where the real issues are starting to emerge. Fallacy, proof-texting, desperate inductive reasoning and Scripture combing while ignoring the direct, solid, irrefutable texts. This is not the Bible’s style, I’m sorry.

    Your brother,

    Jaco

    P.S. Zach 9:9 is in the present tense. In Ps. 2, only vss. 4, 5 and 9 are future tense. The others are either present, or present perfect tense, or direct admonitions. This perfectly fits the notion of prolepsis or anticipation. Ps. 110:1 is in the past tense. Sorry, I was a little careless in my references, maybe I should have provided more information. I doubt, however, that it changed anything.

  101. on 23 Nov 2009 at 6:04 amXavier

    Aaron,

    John is making two comments, one about the Jews erring claim and the other about Jesus claiming to be divine.

    If this is what the writer of John was “clearly saying”, that Jesus is equal to God therefore he is [somehow] God, why is this not reflected in his FINAL SUMMATION of the reason and purpose for his Gospel?

    But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. Jn 20.31

    Also, your source says that “if Jesus was not equal with God, why didn’t John the apostle clarify the situation?”

    The writer of John reports that Jesus himself clarifies this MISUNDERSTANDING by SOME of the Jews regarding WHO JESUS CLAIMED TO BE:

    We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

    Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ‘? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ”I am the Son of God’?

    Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Jn 10.33-38

    RE: The “Sabbath issue” is not even an issue since Jesus clearly is said [more than once] to have broken the Law [Mar 2.23-28; Jn 5.1-10].

  102. on 23 Nov 2009 at 1:49 pmRay

    Jaco,

    As the Bible never says that Jesus is not God, have you ever considered the possiblity that there is some sense in which he is?

    (as in being as God is, for example)

  103. on 23 Nov 2009 at 2:19 pmRay

    Aaron,

    In response to your question in #92, I’m saying that Jesus was with God before the creation and that God created all through him
    at that time. That doesn’t make him anything more than what he already was, namely the Son of God.

    Now being the Son of God that Jesus is, also carries with it, that he is as God is, and in that sense he is “God”. I say this even though I do not subscribe to the Trinitarian discipline as I am not of that particular order even though I am a born again Christian.

    This being so, I believe is evidence that the doctrine of the Trinity
    is not essential to becoming a Christian.

    If you find any falsehood in me in any way, please let me know.
    There may be some who wonder if I am a “true” Christian.

    I do not think it necessary to hold back or be shy in any way in this matter on this blog.

  104. on 23 Nov 2009 at 8:25 pmXavier

    Ray,

    As the Bible never says Jesus is not the Devil, have you ever considered the possiblity that there is some sense in which he is?

    (I am being flippant, of course)

    Did anyone know that a “trinitarian” was a member of Medieval Roman Catholic mendicant order? Thought it interesting is all…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinitarian_Order

  105. on 24 Nov 2009 at 5:16 amAaron

    Jaco,

    I find it to be good Bible study to look at any and every scripture. If the Unitarian view is correct, it must fit in with every verse in scripture.
    I’m just bringing a few to light to see how you think it fits. If you think it fits fine, than go for it.
    I just find that some verses seem “nonsensical” from a Unitarian approach. A direct reading of John 12 and Isaiah 6 paints the picture of Isaiah seeing Jesus on the throne. If you only had these 2 scriptures in all the Bible, you would say that Jesus is Yahweh.
    However, if you only had verses like 2 Corinthians 11:31 with the phrase “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus…” and the like, you would say that Jesus is only human. But, we have both sets of verses to deal with and make harmony out of.

    “If I were an angelic messenger of Yahweh, Shiliach (agency) permits me to be called and worshiped as Yahweh.” – I forgot to ask if you could clear this up for me with some examples from the Bible – the worship part that is.

    A few side notes: Psalms 110:1 reads clearly to me as present and future tense, not past. I understand proleptic to exist as present and future tenses- but I’ve never seen past tense verbiage describing prophecy of the future (like you claim Hebrews 1:10 is).

    Isaiah 52ff are prophecies of Jesus – the suffering servant – but it seems a little void of glorification. It’s focused on the torment and substitution.

    I thought you were clear on Trinitarian doctrine that Yahweh consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as One. Not that they are three Yahwehs.

    Xavier,
    Jesus broke the law? I’ll need some interpretation of that. Do you mean he broke the extremist version of Pharisee Law? I’m sure you’re not saying Jesus sinned by breaking God’s law.

    John didn’t have to give further explanation as to why Jesus’ wasn’t really breaking the law in vs. 18 after he states the Pharisee’s interpretation – because Jesus had already defended himself in vs. 17. I don’t find it strange to assert that John should have given the “true” version of things after he states that Jesus words were “making himself equal with God.” We do see either him or Jesus offer correction any other time Jesus is falsely accused, do we not?

    I looked at the Genesis verses where God gives Abraham a vision. I don’t see any mention of the messiah and the Kingdom of God. Are you assuming there had to be a messiah vision in there too, since John 8 says Abraham saw Jesus. Isn’t that starting with the assumption that Unitarianism is correct and interpreting scripture from there – not taking what it says to be literally true? I only express this because that is what I am accused of doing. I think we both come into this with our own bias which colors our interpretation of Scripture. How can we not? None of us are reading this in a vacuum without any outside influence or teaching in the back of our heads.
    Which is why, if I am to take the Unitarian stance, I need some scriptures cleared up that seem to go against it.

    Let me mention a few more, if I may.
    John 1:18 says “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
    I find it interesting that John calls the Father “God” and Jesus “God” in the same sentence. It would make more sense to call Jesus the “Son” at this point so as not to confuse the readers.

    God did appear as a pillar of fire and He did give Moses a glimpse of His backside – but still John makes it clear that nobody has seen God.
    I think Jesus adds clarity to this in John 5:37 when he says “You have neither heard His (the Father’s) voice at any time, nor seen His form.” I see his “form” meaning his full glory – not the partial manifestations of the OT.
    Yet, in John 6:46, Jesus says “Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.”
    What do you make of this? How can it be that no man has seen the Father, yet Jesus has? I don’t think interpreting “seen” as “understand, perceive, recognize” makes sense though. Has no patriarch or prophet ever “understood” the Father? Or “perceived” the Father? Or “recognized” the Father in any amount? I think the same thought holds true in 6:46 as in 5:37 that Jesus is talking about the Father’s form – not some understanding of the Father.

    I have been looking at John 10:34ff because it did seem to make the point you are asserting. Let me offer an alternative explanation. You man not agree, but I’ll at least pose another view. First, Jesus says, “Has it not been written in YOUR Law…” Jesus doesn’t say OUR Law. Not that it isn’t his too, but he is emphasizing the fact that the Pharisees have embraced the Law so tightly to the point of Law-worship – that they should know what is written in it. And here comes a wandering teacher telling them what they should already know, but don’t. I think Jesus is saying something like “Even under your strict adherence to the Law, you don’t have grounds to kill me if I say I am God.” So, to Jesus, there was no point in telling them that he was God – they were too dull to accept whatever he told them about himself – and like we’ve explored, being called “God” isn’t necessarily indicative of one’s nature. Jesus goes on to say that “talk is cheap” in a sense – but that they should believe who he is on account of what he does. So, I don’t see that this is a proof text that Jesus denies divinity. In fact, Jesus next statement that “the Father is in me, and I in the Father” seems to push the issue further. If calling himself God is okay under the Law – this statement seems to take it to a point where the Law can’t cover it.
    We see the Pharisees reaction to this that they “were seeking again to seize Him.” If Jesus was trying to calm them down and settle this matter of his Godness, he sure didn’t do a good job. But what could the statement mean: “the Father is in me, and I in the Father?” Perhaps it means “the Father is a part of me, and I am a part of the Father” or “we are one in nature.” I could see a human Messiah saying “the Father is in me” for we know Jesus did his work through the power of the Father. But what of “I am in the Father.” If it only means that Jesus existed in the Father as an idea of the Word before becoming flesh – why can he still claim being in the Father after the Word has gone forth from the Father? If he only means “I am in the Father’s will” than we should hold that the first phrase means “the Father is in my will.” Of course, I am trying to anticipate what your answer might be, but I guess I should let you give it yourself.

    Lastly,
    King David killed someone, yet he was a man after God’s own heart. I don’t agree with everything Calvin taught, but murder doesn’t set him irrevocably apart from God and His truth.

    G’night

  106. on 24 Nov 2009 at 6:41 amXavier

    Aaron,

    Jesus broke the law? I’ll need some interpretation of that. Do you mean he broke the extremist version of Pharisee Law? I’m sure you’re not saying Jesus sinned by breaking God’s law.

    Did you read the passages I cited, Mar 2.23-28; Jn 5.1-10? In Mar 2.27-28 “Jesus emphasizes his AUTHORITY AS SON OF MAN. If the Sabbath is for the benefit of mankind, and if the Son of Man is Lord over all mankind, then the SON OF MAN IS SURELY LORD EVEN OF THE SABBATH.” [ESV Study Bible, Mar 2.27-28].

    …Jesus does not defend himself by getting into a rabbinic discussion on the nature of work. Rather, he claims he is working, just like God (John 5:17), and hence is, as the Synoptics teach, the lord of the Sabbath (cf. Matt. 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5). ESV Study Bible, John 5.10

    You said:

    I looked at the Genesis verses where God gives Abraham a vision. I don’t see any mention of the messiah and the Kingdom of God. Are you assuming there had to be a messiah vision in there too, since John 8 says Abraham saw Jesus.

    Yes, I am assuming via Jesus’ statements at Jn 8.56 [and not from any “Unitarian assumption”] and what Paul says at Gal 3.8 [“…the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, PREACHED THE GOSPEL BEFOREHAND TO ABRAHAM…”] that to Abraham [and possibly his descendants, most deifnitely Moses (cp. Deu 18.15f) and King David, cp. 2Sam 7] the gospel of the KOG and the coming of the Messiah was foretold to them.

    My assumptions are based on scripture and Jesus’ sayings, not on extra-biblical language regarding Who God and Jesus are and creedal statements concerning the Christian hope and faith!

    RE: Jn 1.18, if you believe “Jesus is God [YHWH]”, why would it “make more sense” to you for the variant reading of “Son” here? I’ll tell you why, because not even Trinitarians like you can explain this verse with the EARLIER reading of “only [begotten] god” since it is a binitarian, rather than a Trinitarian understanding that is expressing.

    RE: Jn 6.46 and your questions:

    Has no patriarch or prophet ever “understood” the Father? Or “perceived” the Father? Or “recognized” the Father in any amount?

    Again, I would apply the Johannine language of “seeing” as “understanding” or the closest possible communion there is between the invisible Deity and human beings since others are also said to have “seen God FACE TO FACE”, i.e., Jacob and Moses:

    Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For m I HAVE SEEN GOD FACE TO FACE, and yet my life has been delivered. Gen 32.30 [cp. Ex 33.11]

    …the expression “face to face” should be understood as A FIGURE OF SPEECH FOR INTIMACY WITH GOD. In Ex. 33:11, God speaks to Moses “face to face,” but in both cases the phrase CAN IMPLY A CLOSE PERSONAL ENCOUNTER, or possibly a vision of the brightness of God’s glory, without suggesting a literal vision of God’s face. ESV Study Bible, Gen 32.30

    Some of the “judges” and the prophets:

    The ANGEL OF THE LORD [Shaliach, Agency] appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, FOR WE HAVE SEEN GOD.” Judg. 13.21-22

    In the year that King Uzziah died I [Isaiah] saw [YHWH] sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple…And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE KING, THE [YHWH] OF HOSTS!” Isa 6.1,5

    Jn 10.34f. is simply saying that if those “to whom the word [logos] of YHWH came were called ‘gods’ [elohim]” hoe much more shouldnt they recognize that the same YHWH GOD is acting IN HIS ONLY SON! Aaron, Jesus still makes it clear that THERE IS SOMEONE ELSE WHO IS INSIDE HIM, YHWH the God of Israel THROUGH HIS SPIRIT. The distinction is clearly made, 2 PEOPLE, not one and the same YHWH Jesus! Jews still “try to seize him” because they finally understand that this man is claiming to be the Messiah, Son of God. This is why Jesus is eventually killed, NOT BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT HE WAS YHWH IN THE FLESH! That would be foolish in light of what scriptures says about WHO YHWH is!!

  107. on 24 Nov 2009 at 10:26 amJaco

    Ray,

    As the Bible never says that Jesus is not God, have you ever considered the possiblity that there is some sense in which he is?

    (as in being as God is, for example)

    I prefer not to tamper with God’s word, or to go beyond what it says. To argue for a case from a negative premise is fallacious, so, I don’t do it. The Bible needn’t spell out everything for us, especially things that were not at issue then. The trinity was not, hence no evidence of its awareness. Jesus’ Messiahship was at issue, hence all the proofs for it. As the prophet like Moses he had to be an obedient servant and as the second Adam, made a regeneration possible without acting on his own behalf. So, yes, as an image resembles the real thing, a character its mold and a son a father, Jesus resembles God…but that’s where it ends.

    Aaron,

    I just find that some verses seem “nonsensical” from a Unitarian approach. A direct reading of John 12 and Isaiah 6 paints the picture of Isaiah seeing Jesus on the throne. If you only had these 2 scriptures in all the Bible, you would say that Jesus is Yahweh.
    However, if you only had verses like 2 Corinthians 11:31 with the phrase “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus…” and the like, you would say that Jesus is only human. But, we have both sets of verses to deal with and make harmony out of.

    No, Aaron, sorry. The one is inductive the other deductive. The one conclusion on probabilistic grounds, the other on necessary grounds. They are not equivalent at all, I’m sorry. You cannot insist that the John 12 passage exclusively points back to Isaiah 6 alone. Isaiah does not speak of the Messiah there. Isaiah 52 and 53 speaks of both his glory and his work as Messiah. The reference to Isa 6 only indicates the hard-heartedness of the nation of Israel, something Jesus also encountered. You’re insisting on something beyond what proper reasoning allows us to do. Not so with Unitarians.

    “If I were an angelic messenger of Yahweh, Shiliach (agency) permits me to be called and worshiped as Yahweh.” – I forgot to ask if you could clear this up for me with some examples from the Bible – the worship part that is.

    Shaliach according to the Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion says: The main point of the Jewish law of agency is expressed in the dictum, “a person’s agent is regarded as the person himself” Therefore any act committed by a duly appointed agent is regarded as having been committed by the principal, who therefore bears full responsibility for it with consequent complete absence of liability on the part of the agent. Gen. 16:7-13 is the Hagar/Ismael incident and the angel of Yahweh is called Yahweh. In Gen. 18:2 Abraham is seen doing obeisance to the angels, even calling him Yahweh. Doing obeisance is also translated as worship (proskyneo). In Judges 6 Yahweh’s angel speaks and is even called by the narrator as Yahweh himself. This is how far Shaliach goes; a divinely instituted Jewish legacy Trinitarianism tries to sabotage.

    Isaiah 52ff are prophecies of Jesus – the suffering servant – but it seems a little void of glorification. It’s focused on the torment and substitution.

    52:13 starts with mentioning his glory, and Isaiah further “spoke about him.”

    I thought you were clear on Trinitarian doctrine that Yahweh consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as One. Not that they are three Yahwehs.

    I know Trinitarianism’s tenets, believe me. I prefer believing the Bible where Yahweh is the Father and Jesus the human son. Even Dan. 7 and Rev. 5 show them to be two complete different persons.

    My Ps. 110:1 is taken from the LXX, sorry, as it was used in Mt.22:44. Past tense.

    I’ll reply on some other points later.

    Your brother,

    Jaco

  108. on 24 Nov 2009 at 12:10 pmRay

    Aaron,
    I think you are exactly right about Isaiah 6 giving us a picture of Jesus on the throne. That we do receive as new testament
    perspective, as this is the time we live in.

    Isaiah is very intersting. He lived in an old testament era, but he saw so much about Jesus the Messiah.

    I wonder if he considered that what he saw was God on the throne
    and his Son the coming Messiah together with him, being as he is.

    Xavier,
    I find Genesis 15:1 interesting when I consider connecting it with
    what Jesus said about Abraham seeing his day.

    I had understood that Abraham saw things by faith and by connecting the things God was doing in his life as he walked through life, but now I see I should also remember that Abraham saw things in a vision, and may have seen many more of these in his life time on this earth.

  109. on 24 Nov 2009 at 12:21 pmRay

    After reading what Jaco said in #107 about a person’s agent being regarded as the person himself, I now consider that Isaiah saw Jesus in the throne high and lifted up, and received that as being
    the Son of God, the Messiah which was going to come to this earth
    in the flesh, and that this revelation opened up a door to many of his prophesies about Jesus and his coming.

  110. on 24 Nov 2009 at 12:25 pmRay

    Correction, It seems to me that Isaiah’s vision of seeing the Lord in his throne high and lifed up opened a door to all his prophecies about the Messiah, Jesus.

  111. on 24 Nov 2009 at 8:13 pmXavier

    RE: Abraham’s “visions” which might have built up his faith, passage at Gen 17.15f. is interesting. It tells how God further explains the KOG covenant promise where Abraham is made father to all the FUTURE nations on earth, and about Sarah bearing a son, although they are extremely old. Then, v. 17 says:

    Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

    Although Abraham’s reaction has been traditonally interpreted as one of almost “unbelief”, I find another interpretation that might be at play.

    Couple of things are interesting here. God does not react negatively to his reaction, as He later does when Sarah mockingly “laughs” when she hears the promise of a son, because of her age.

    So if we tie this to what Jesus says about Abraham at Jn 8.56 that he “saw his day and REJOICED”, this could well mean that when God spoke to Abraham it was more than a verbal exchange but also could have included literal visions of future events. Even “Messiah’s day”.

    What say you?

  112. on 24 Nov 2009 at 8:27 pmrobert

    Xavier and Jaco
    you have done a great job bringing forth the biblical truths while dealing with Aaron but i fail to see him being able to see past the myths of the trinity to even try to understand the truth and the common sense you have presented.
    as a former member of a trinitarian church, i left because i couldnt find in the bible of Jesus being God and spent 30 years thinking i was alone in that truth till i started searching for others.
    i wish that more could see the truth but the bible says there will be few.

  113. on 24 Nov 2009 at 11:55 pmXavier

    robert,

    Whilst I share your sentiments, and it is true that even someone like Paul reached a “point of no return” with SOME Jews [Acts 18.5-11], I personally am [for the time being] giving Aaron the benefit of the doubt.

    But I do question whether Aaron is legitimately seeking the truth or just debating for the sake of it.

  114. on 25 Nov 2009 at 8:40 amJaco

    Aaron,

    John didn’t have to give further explanation as to why Jesus’ wasn’t really breaking the law in vs. 18 after he states the Pharisee’s interpretation – because Jesus had already defended himself in vs. 17. I don’t find it strange to assert that John should have given the “true” version of things after he states that Jesus words were “making himself equal with God.” We do see either him or Jesus offer correction any other time Jesus is falsely accused, do we not?

    Well, you answer your own question, Aaron. Not only did Jesus not break the Sabbath, he didn’t equate himself with God. His words in vs. 17 says that much. His subsequent words in vss. 19-24 highlights Jesus’ agency for his Father, Yahweh. This matter is sorted.

    I looked at the Genesis verses where God gives Abraham a vision. I don’t see any mention of the messiah and the Kingdom of God. Are you assuming there had to be a messiah vision in there too, since John 8 says Abraham saw Jesus. Isn’t that starting with the assumption that Unitarianism is correct and interpreting scripture from there – not taking what it says to be literally true?

    Aaron, vs. 56 says that Abraham rejoiced to see Jesus’ DAY, and he saw it and rejoiced. What is meant by that we can explore if you want to. What it doesn’t mean as that Abraham saw Jesus the PERSON. We cannot go beyond what is written.

    First, Jesus says, “Has it not been written in YOUR Law…” Jesus doesn’t say OUR Law.

    In John 8:17 Jesus said: It’s also written in YOUR LAW that the testimony of two people is valid. He referenced the Law from Yahweh, his Father, in Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15. In John 10:34 he paraphrases Ps. 82:6. Yes, the Pharisees added and twisted much of the Law, but Jesus upheld the Law for what it really said. According to Mt. 5:17, 18 he made it clear that he would uphold the tenets of the Law. But then you say:

    I think Jesus is saying something like “Even under your strict adherence to the Law, you don’t have grounds to kill me if I say I am God.” So, to Jesus, there was no point in telling them that he was God – they were too dull to accept whatever he told them about himself – and like we’ve explored, being called “God” isn’t necessarily indicative of one’s nature. Jesus goes on to say that “talk is cheap” in a sense – but that they should believe who he is on account of what he does. So, I don’t see that this is a proof text that Jesus denies divinity. In fact, Jesus next statement that “the Father is in me, and I in the Father” seems to push the issue further. If calling himself God is okay under the Law – this statement seems to take it to a point where the Law can’t cover it.

    You’re equivocating between god and God here. You’re also fading the conceptual boundary between “God” as agent and God as the actual person. I don’t think this contributes to the Trinitarian view in any way. Jesus had to uphold the Law, and not break it, as a prerequisite to be the Prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:19) He uses God’s Law exactly that way. He applies it exactly in the way Yahweh intended it to mean. Hence Jesus’ using the Ps 82 section and exposing the Pharisees’ corrupt sense of justice. I suppose Jesus could have quoted any of the other sections in the Torah proving that he is Yahweh…but he doesn’t. He makes it clear that he is representative of Yahweh as the ancient judges were.

    But what could the statement mean: “the Father is in me, and I in the Father?”

    Jesus and Yahweh are in full harmony. It goes both ways: Jesus doing what Yahweh requires (John 10:37) and Yahweh approving it (John 10:36). Their being in unison goes both ways. It had to be like that. The prophet like Moses could neither disobey what God ordered (being in God), nor could he be what Yahweh did not approve (God being in him).

    King David killed someone, yet he was a man after God’s own heart. I don’t agree with everything Calvin taught, but murder doesn’t set him irrevocably apart from God and His truth.

    Whatever moved Yahweh to overlook David’s horrendous wrongdoing (albeit not without consequences), he certainly did not set the precedent to follow, nor did he make the exception the rule. It amazes me to what extent people go to rationalise and justify the godlessness of their pseudo-messiahs. Reductio ad absurdum. With this kind of reasoning we would have Joseph Smith tell us the revelations he received from Moroni…after all, the high-priest Aaron supported Calf worship when Moses ascended Mt. Sinai…For the rest of us who hate what God hates (Ps. 97:10), we prefer fearing the Only True God. Calvin never bothered to repent or seek forgiveness; I mean repentance is way too far beneath him, the arrogant “Pope of Geneve.” Yes Jesus will have the final say…until then, Calvin the Murderer will be remembered for the brutal execution of a man who wouldn’t renounce what the Bible taught (Joh. 8:44, Heb. 10:26-29, 1 Joh. 3:15b, Rev. 21:8).

    Aaron, you still use extra-biblical lingo, brother. “Nature” or “essence” are non-biblical Trinitarian terms.
    Your Brother,
    Jaco

  115. on 25 Nov 2009 at 8:42 amJaco

    Robert,

    Thanks for the encouragement. We just present Biblical truth as best we can. If the heart is receptive, the seeds will grow. The worst that can happen is none of it growing and we got the exercise…which is good enough for me 🙂

    Your brother,

    Jaco

  116. on 25 Nov 2009 at 10:11 amrobert

    Aaron
    It seems you are stuck on Jesus being God because of a few verses that could mean his authority on earth was equal to God’s authority over all creation.
    How do you deal with the many verses where Jesus makes us equal to Him? are we now equal to God too?

    Is this verse unclear to you?
    It says Jesus is our brother not our father, that God is our father just as He is Jesus’ and God is our God just as He is Jesus’

    17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

    there is nothing that you have presented so far that could change what Jesus spoke in this verse.But they are many more clear verses that totally disprove the doctrine of the trinity. you have to twist the words of other verses for a leg to stand on.
    I understand why that is because the bible says people will believe lies because they will be deceived by many false prophets.

  117. on 25 Nov 2009 at 10:55 amRay

    Xavier,
    About your question at the end of #101, That gets me thinking that when God speaks to us, it might not just be by words spoken.
    An interesting subject is how God speaks. There’s a lot in there
    for sure.

    I had not in the past thought of Abraham as a man who often saw visions, but the verse you brought up clearly says that God spoke to him that way.

    God also downloads us with information as a computer receives it,
    though it doesn’t always show up on the screen. I’ve heard that it goes into our spirit and our spirit will bring it to our understanding
    at some time.

    It could be that Abraham rejoiced at the time of the vision. I did when I received my first. God spoke to me in a wonderful way then,
    like a picture that takes a man on to many words. It spoke so much
    to me, many things from the scripture, and this was done without
    my hearing any sound, or words which were made of letters. There was nothing written in words, or spoken in the sence of sounds by the letters of the alphabet which I have learned. It was a silent vision, but said so much. It was living and real. This happened to me at a worship conference. The vision only lasted about 2-3 seconds.

  118. on 25 Nov 2009 at 11:06 amRay

    Correction. I meant post 111.

  119. on 25 Nov 2009 at 2:28 pmStacey

    referring to post #91
    Aaron,

    I didn’t write that verse God did I simply wrote it because in post 80 you wrote,
    (Matthew 13:10-15) Yes it says Jesus is at the right hand of God. Sounds simple enough – but does God have a right hand? Does he have a butt to sit on? I know I’m being a little silly – but in reality God is a spirit and doesn’t have what we know to be hands or feet.

    The scripture I referenced explains how man was created in God’s image I did not say God has the same form we have, HE is so many times mentioned to be a spirit not human. It also does not say in the scriptures what specific traits we have that look like God. It does say we were created in HIS image, the scripture you were refering to says Jesus is sitting on the right hand throne of God, which can also mean on the right side of God, or to the right of God I do not believe it to mean HIS hand (like what our hand looks like)(not to be taken literal) this is a figure of speech, please do not put words in my mouth I quoted a scripture that God had written in the bible not my own words. In Genesis 1:26-27 it says 2 times God created man in his own image ( An image (from Latin imago) is an artifact, for example a two-dimensional picture, that has a similar appearance to some subject—usually a physical object or a person.)

    Just because HE is a spirit does not mean he does not look like anything, if God says he created man in HIS image that would lead us to believe when HE does reveil HIMSELF it will be similar to what man’s image is (we do not know what is similar, however we know somethings are). Our children are images of us also but do not look exactly like us, so this is obvious that there are simularities between us and God.

    Noone know’s what God looks like until HE reveil’s HIMSELF to us, and actually noone knows what Jesus looked like when He walked the earth, because it was way before our time.

    Collossians 1:15 who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;
    This verse is taliking about Jesus, the man and it says here the invisible God, we do not know what God looks like, we do know that we were created and this includes Jesus, in our Father God’s image.

    I do believe we should stop taking scriptures out of contaxt and putting our own words into them, there are many many things that God has not told us that will be reveiled when HE sends HIS Son Jesus the Christ back, Our Lord and Savior, God will reveil HIMSELF to us!!!!!

  120. on 26 Nov 2009 at 7:09 amAaron

    Stacey,
    I agree with what you said about us being made in God’s image – and about God being an invisible Spirit. I just got the wrong impression from your earlier words. I think my only point before was that just because the Bible uses words describing Jesus being at God’s right hand, doesn’t mean we are to take this as 1 to 1 literal – because God doesn’t have a hand or a throne in the sense that we see here on earth. These are spiritual things that we won’t understand until Christ’s return. Just for you to think about – there are times in the OT where Yahweh uses phrases like “my right hand will accomplish this…” The right hand can be seen as referring to God’s extension of power and authority. Jesus being at God’s right hand can therefore be seen as Jesus being one with God’s power and authority.

    Xavier,

    I don’t see John 1:18 as being binitarian. It says “only begotten God” which is a clear reference to Jesus. The Holy Spirit was not begotten – or born in the flesh – only Jesus was.

    Your quotation of Isaiah “MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE KING, THE [YHWH] OF HOSTS!” Isa 6.1,5” seems to be clear that the “seeing” is the actual act of seeing with your eyes – not an intimate encounter with an invisible God. Still – I don’t deny that this could have been a vision and not an actual physical encounter with God’s glory.

    Was claiming to be the Messiah punishable by death? At Jesus trial in John, he says “the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God” Then, after being questioned, Jesus admits that he is the Son of God. The high priests response is “he has blasphemed.” How is either claiming to be the Messiah, or claiming to be the Son of God blasphemy in your opinion?

    Jaco,
    You said “Jesus and Yahweh are in full harmony. It goes both ways: Jesus doing what Yahweh requires (John 10:37) and Yahweh approving it (John 10:36). Their being in unison goes both ways. It had to be like that.”
    I guess I don’t see that as going both ways. That is an explanation of one way – of Jesus being in God. If it were truly “both ways” with the Father also being in Jesus, then the opposite would be true as well – that Yahweh does what Jesus requires and Jesus approves it. That would seem to put Jesus over Yahweh if he can dictate what Yahweh does.

    I’m not trying to defend Calvin – I don’t know enough about the man to do so. I would merely say that a major error in his life doesn’t make everything he said wrong.

    You mentioned looking at John 5:19-23. Verse 23 says “in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” This is a clear statement of how the Son’s honor should be equal to the Father’s honor. How can a created being be honored to the same degree that we honor the Creator of the Universe? I mean, honestly now – God is worthy of utmost worship and adoration because He is the source of life and truth. Even if a created being is in harmony with God and is an agent of God – there is still the uncrossable line between created and un-created. God’s honor would still outweigh the honor given to a created agent.

    What does Jesus say to Satan when tempted? “You shall worship the LORD your God and serve Him only.”
    With this in mind, Abraham’s bowing to the angels cannot be seen as worship. Similarly, Jesus should not be worshiped either – or honored to the same degree that God is honored.
    Yet Hebrews 1:6 says the angels worship Jesus. And if it is okay for man to worship these angels, how much more should we worship Jesus?

    You quoted the verse: “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” This is a verse that definitely deserves studying. I’ll give it a quick answer. First, the term Father doesn’t mean the same thing to the brethren as it does to Jesus. Jesus calls his Father “Father” in a much different way than the rest can. Similarly, I think Jesus calls the Father his “God” in a different sense than the brethren do.
    Anyhow, I think we’ve established that doctrine shouldn’t be based upon titles – but on passages that demonstrate the underlying concepts.
    You may not think it noteworthy, but I find it interesting that this is only one of two times (that I can think of) where Jesus refers to his Father as his “God.” The other is on the cross when he says “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me” – and there he is quoting the first line of Psalm 22 as a sign to the hearers that he is the Messiah that was prophesied about in that Psalm.
    All other times, when Jesus is expressing his relationship with the Father, he calls Him “Father”, not his “God.”
    In John 5:42 Jesus says “you do not have the love of God in yourselves” and moments later Jesus says “I have come in my Father’s name.” You can see this trend over and over, where he calls God “God” in relation to the people, but “Father” when relating to himself.
    A unitarian view would be very strongly expressed if Jesus said things like “God who sent me” or “it is my God who gives you true bread” or “all that God gives me” but in all these instances Jesus uses the term “Father.”
    Sure, I know, it’s inductive reasoning from a negative premise, or something like that. All things aside, I wonder what your explanation would be for Jesus distinct choice of words.

    I don’t see how Hebrews 1:10 “Thou, Lord (Jesus) in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands.” can possibly be saying that Jesus’ authority on earth is equal to God’s over creation. And I don’t see how it can refer to a future new creation. And I don’t see how I could have taken this out of context. This says that Jesus created the world. The only reason you would “twist” this is if you didn’t believe it is saying what it is clearly saying.

    Be sure that I am in search of the truth. Even if I am just enjoying a little debating (arguing) – I have found it very enlightening thus far. I have been studying the Bible more deeply these last few weeks than I have for quite some time – and that is never a bad thing. I don’t expect you to believe me, but I am born again and God’s Spirit indwells me. I am not under the spell of evil teachers – I haven’t heard very much teaching on the Trinity at all in the churches I’ve attended.

    I know I’ve gone on a while already, but perhaps you could help me see your views a little clearer. I am interested in your doctrine about the man Jesus. Can you explain it to me? I’ll shoot off a series of questions – please use Scripture in your answer if applicable.

    1. Was Jesus’ power and authority given to him at his birth? or his baptism? or his resurrection?

    2. Was Jesus’ unity with the Father the result of his being born of God (ie: part of his natural makeup)? or the result of his submission to God (ie: result of his choice)?

    3. Was Jesus’ sinless righteousness the result of God imparting righteousness to him supernaturally? or the result of his perfect obedience? or the result of faith (“Faith was reckoned to Abraham as rightenousness”)

    4. In addition to that, how could Jesus live a life of perfect obedience without sin if no other person before or since has been able to do so? Or do you think it is possible for a man to live without ever sinning? And even if they did – would that be enough to gain them salvation?

    5. In your opinion, what is the purpose of Jesus rising from the dead and ascending to heaven? (As opposed to remaining dead until the time for the Kingdom to come – at which point he could be raised first and start his reign.) Does he need to be in heaven to serve the role of our priest and sacrifice?

    6. With that, what do you think is Jesus’ role in heaven right now? Is he still God’s agent in heaven – and if so, who is he representing God to? And if God’s agent, does he still act with the same level of power he was given on earth?

    7. In what way is Jesus our Lord while in heaven? (If Jesus Lordship refers to his future Kingdom reign).

    8. Does Jesus currently know all things and everybody? (If I am to call him Lord and serve him, I assume he should know who I am. Did he take the time to memorize everybody’s name over the last 2000 years? Can he see me and everybody else? And at the same time? Or does he have to travel from person to person? But how could he travel around the world in a body, albeit a a resurrected one?)

    9. Should we pray to him, and does he hear our prayers?

    10. How is Jesus with us always if he is a human (Matt. 28:20)? (it implies he is with every believer at all times)

    Even if the question seems silly – they should have a logical answer.

    Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    PS. Go Detroit Lions!

  121. on 26 Nov 2009 at 7:59 amXavier

    Aaron,

    Most nominal trinitarians dismiss the variant reading of “only begotten god” at Jn 1.18 because it simply DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. Think about it, as the “atheist” Dawkins asked: Did “god got get Himself born?”

    RE: “seeing” God [OT passages i.e., Isa 6.1, 5], if Jesus is YHWH, how and why are not the hundreds of witnesses of the resurrection dead?? I could maybe accept the fact that people could see the pre-resurrection [earthly] [God-man] Jesus and live since he was “God [hiding] in the flesh”, but what about when he “returns” to His “original nature [form, cf. Phil 2.6]” of YHWH?

    Was claiming to be the Messiah [Son of Man/God] punishable by death?

    No, as far as I know, nowhere in Torah of YHWH is this explicitly stated. In other words, I am yet to read in the OT: “whoever claims to be my Son or “son of man” is to be put to death”]. But the “Jews” [Pharisees] were [to coin a phrase] “clutching at straws” when it came to refuting Jesus not only as a prophet, “miracle worker and annointed one of YHWH, but especially as the “son of Man” figure of Daniel’s [heavenly] vison and “only son” of the “one true God” [Jn 17.3; cp. Jn 1.18; 3.16].

    For example, note how they REINTERPRET the Law at Lev 24.16 [“…anyone who BLASPHEMES THE NAME of YHWH shall surely be put to death…”] to their own devices when their literally begging for the Roman authorities to crucify him and are throwing all sorts of lies and false witnesses in order to “make the charges stick”:

    The Jews insisted, “WE HAVE A LAW, and ACCORDING TO THAT LAW HE MUST DIE, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid… Jn 19.7-8

    Lastly,

    How can a created being be honored to the same degree that we honor the Creator of the Universe?

    YHWH, the only true God can bestow honors to anyone He pleases Aaron. Just as he made Cyrus, a pagan king no less, Messiah [mashiak, Isa 45:1] and “sheperd” of Israel [Isa 44:28], so for “God in all His fullness was PLEASED TO DWELL IN” His only Son [Col 1.19]. Just as you would be pleased for your Son to inherit and partake of whatever You can give him!

    The same God COMMANDS us to honor Jesus as “THE Son” and not “as God”.

    Whoever publicly ACKNOWLEDGES me I will also acknowledge before MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. But whoever publicly disowns me I will DISOWN before my Father in heaven. Mat 10.32-33

    Very truly I tell you, THE SON CAN DO NOTHING BY HIMSELF; he can do ONLY what he sees HIS FATHER DOING…For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, SO THAT YOU WILL BE AMAZED…the Father judges no one, but has ENTRUSTED ALL JUDGMENT TO THE SON, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.

    WHOEVER DOES NOT HONOR THE SON DOES NOT HONOR THE FATHER, WHO SENT HIM. Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and BELIEVES HIM WHO SENT ME HAS ETERNAL LIFE and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. For as the Father has life in himself, so HE [GOD] HAS GRANTED THE SON also to have life in himself. And he has GIVEN HIM AUTHORITY TO JUDGE because he is the Son of Man.

    DO NOT BE AMAZED AT THIS… Jn 5

    Aaron, my friend, READ WITH UNDERSTADING…”Take the Lord’s words to heart, follow His commandments and you will live” [Pro 4].

  122. on 26 Nov 2009 at 9:26 amXavier

    PS: Aaron,

    …find it interesting that this is only one of two times (that I can think of) where Jesus refers to his Father as his “God.”

    Apart from Mat 27.46; John 20.17, Jesus calls “the Father” God at Rev 3.2,12. Furthermore, the NT writers time and time again use the phrase “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” [2Cor 1.3; 11.31; Eph 1.3, 17; Rom 15.6; 1Pe 1.3; Rev 1.6].

    Could you point me to ONLY ONE VERSE where the writers of the NT use similar phrase for Jesus: i.e., “blessed be THE God Christ Jesus [HO theos Iesous Christos]” or “God our Christ” [HO theos Christos]?

    I would advice you to check your history books and you will see that the only ones using this EXTRA-biblical language are the so-called Church Fathers like Ignatius, Irenaeus etc. [2-3rd century AD]

    Ignatius on 14 occasions calls Jesus “God”, and on 8 of these actually refers to him as ho theos (the God). He was also one of the first, if not the first, to use what is called ‘the Communication of Idioms’, that is, the predicating of divine and human attributes of one and the same person [what later became known as the hypostatic union]. He can speak of ‘divine blood’ or ‘the passion of my God’.

    See; Ephesias, Books 1, 7, 13, 19; Magnesians 6-9, etc…

    For more info ‘the Communication of Idioms’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicatio_idiomatum

  123. on 26 Nov 2009 at 12:43 pmRay

    Wow, if this Ignatius preached the gospel as I read in the above paragraph, and I was in his church at the time, being where I am right now, I don’t think I should have to see things as he does, or
    speak as he speaks, to be a Christian.

    His life is his life and he can do with it what he will, why should that be much of anything to me? Yet I would not want to be required to be as he is. He certainly doesn’t have to be like me.

    I wonder if he expected people to believe and speak as he believes and speaks, or not.

    Was he sectarian by nature?

  124. on 26 Nov 2009 at 8:49 pmXavier

    RE: “Church Fathers”…note how most of these early “Christian” theologians were Gentiles, the creeds the nascent Chatolic church came up with reflect a strong Gnostic influence.

    For the Scripture says concerning us, WHILE HE SPOKE TO THE [preexistent] SON, “Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness…. These things [were spoken] to the Son. Letter of Barnabas. c.80-130AD

    I wish to explain to you what the Holy Spirit that spoke with you in the form of the Church showed you, for THAT SPIRIT IS THE SON OF GOD…The Son of God is older than all His creatures, so that HE [the Son] WAS A FELLOW-COUNCILLOR WITH THE FATHER IN HIS WORK OF CREATION: for this reason is He old. Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes, IX, 1, 12. c. 100AD.

    Justin Martyr [c. 150AD.] readily refers to Jesus as “God,” and even “Yahweh of Hosts”, in his writings. However, he also refers to Jesus as “another god” who is subject to the “most true God” whom he identifes as the Father of Jesus. Justin also identifies Jesus as the Holy Spirit. None of these ideas would be acceptable in Trinitarian theology.

    For not only among the Greeks did the Word prevail to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the barbarians were they condemned by the Word Himself, who TOOK SHAPE AND BECAME MAN, and was called Jesus Christ…Our Teacher of these things is Jesus Christ…having learned that he is THE SON OF GOD THE TRUE GOD HIMSELF, and holding him in the second place, and the prophetic Spirit in the third, we will prove. First Apology, 5, 13.

    Christ is called both GOD AND LORD [YHWH] OF HOSTS…For if you had understood what has been written by the prophets, you would not have denied that HE WAS GOD, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God. Dialogue with Trypho, 36, 126.

  125. on 27 Nov 2009 at 1:50 pmRay

    I’m wondering what it is to be a sect, or sectarian.

    I’m looking at my dictionary, and it seems to me that a sect is a religious body or denomination that has common leadership, set of opinions, philosophical doctrine, or political principals. Usually as sect is a group that has broken away from an established church.

    Someone told me once that denomination is the same word as sect, but I do not see it that way. They are similar words and at times may be used interchangably. The two words are closely related.

    Some have organized a group, given it a name, and put up their
    list of “What We Believe”. I talked to a leader of one who did that
    who seemed to think all denominations are evil and at the same time didn’t seem to understand that he had done everything they did. I didn’t understand why it is that he would call them bad but say that he was good, except if it was to gain a following for worldy gain. Maybe he took off his “What We Believe” list from his website so he wouldn’t appear to be as a denomination or sect, but what is a sect?

    This man’s organization did break off from a larger group who confessed among themselves that they are the Church.

    Going back to what my dictionary said about the word sect, I believe some organizations that qualify as a sect have people in them that don’t think of themselves as a part of a sect.

    I believe a person may be in a sect, without being a part of it.
    If he is I believe he will find some friction, or feel uncomfortable about some practices, beliefs, or doctrines.

    I suppose there are people in sects who hold the beliefs of the sect, as well as people in the sects who do not necessarily hold to some of the doctrines of the sect. Even those who seem to believe the same thing often don’t get along. Communication among them seems to be muddled at times and they seem to strive over this.

    This reminds me of the Swamp of Despondence. Despondence is very close in my dictionary to the word Despot, and Despotism.
    Even after Christian got out of the Swamp of Despondence, he was mislead to Legality by a character named Worldly. (see The Pilgrim’s Progress)

    Obstinate and Pliable resolved to bring Christian by force back to the city of Destruction just after he left it for the fear of what would happen to him if he stayed, but Obstinate didn’t get as far as this swamp, though Pliable did. Now, Pliable fell into it with Christian who was helped out on the side toward the gate, but Pliable became so discouraged, he worked his way back to the side toward
    the city from whence he came.

    I remember reading about how Calvin called Servetus obstinate.

    I think Pliable was somewhat flexible, but it was this flexibility that caused him to be bent toward a worldly wind or bend.

    He was greatly mistreated back at his old community who condemned him for his foolishness in going and even for his lack of
    continuing on in something he started. So much was his respect gone in that city that he scarcely could find employment.

    I wonder how many people there are today in churches that forbear things because of the powers that are in charge, and do not necessarily see things exactly as the leadership, but because so many are going along, they also go along to get along.

  126. on 30 Nov 2009 at 4:25 amAaron

    “Pliable was somewhat flexible…” that gave me a chuckle.

    Xavier,
    I’m not the Greek scholar, but maybe you could help me out. Does Thomas call Jesus “ho Theos” in John 20:28?

    I agree that God can bestow honor on anyone he pleases – even the undeserving. Yet, nobody else that God gave honor to is said to deserve the same level of honor as God except Jesus. Jesus cannot be compared to anyone other “agent.” I’m sure you agree with that. God was obviously doing something with this level of honor that He didn’t do with anyone else. The question is: could God give equal honor to a human without betraying his own character and word? Namely that we are to worship God alone. Exclusive worship of God means God is worthy of honor greater than anyone else. If God were to say that someone else was worthy of equal honor, he would have to make that someone equal in essence to Himself. (or nature, or whatever word you want to use). Otherwise, no matter how much honor is “bestowed” on someone else – that someone is infinitely lacking in every manner when compared to God – and thus cannot possibly be given equal honor.
    The “father/son” analogy is lacking because my son shares the same “nature” as me – we are both equally human. Obviously he can share the same level of honor as I have – or greater if he goes on to do more than I have done.
    A better analogy is if I created a robot and said it should have the same level of honor as I have. Even if the robot did great things – I would ultimately receive a greater level of honor because I created it.

    Anywho…
    I am interested in hearing your take on the questions I asked. You don’t have to answer them all. Maybe one or two. Perhaps Jaco could chip in with some other answers. Ray is welcome to as well, or anyone else who wants to.

    Ray,
    It is curious to me how you have made several posts wondering why someone would try to tell other people that their way of looking at things is the only way. Is there only one truth? Or are there multiple versions of truth that ultimately point to the one truth? Is not Christianity a “religion” of exclusiveness? Doesn’t Jesus say he is the ONLY way? The thrust of being a witness for Christ is telling non-believers that they are lost in their way and to point them to the only way. The road is straight and narrow – it is limited to those who follow a distinct set of truths. I don’t say this to argue one way or another – but just that a discussion of what is the right way is a valid discussion.

  127. on 30 Nov 2009 at 6:20 amXavier

    Aaron,

    Various interpretations and meanings have been given to Thomas’ saying at Jn 20.28. I personally agree with the ‘Socinian’ view that Thomas’s cry was an EXCLAMATORY STATEMENT OF FAITH, expressing not only his astonishment and his praise to God [ho theos] for the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus but, most importantly, recognizing that “God was IN CHRIST”, as per Paul [viz. 2Cor 5.19].

    …nobody else that God gave honor to is said to deserve the same level of honor as God except Jesus.

    It seems that the people of God will be honored in a similar way as God, YHWH, Himself. The OT points to this fact [cp. Dan 7.27; Zech 12.8; Isa 45:14;49:23;60:14] and the NT emphasizes it as the FUTURE glory of Christians when they are raptured and brought to the same “resurrection glory” as that of Jesus Christ himself:

    See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!..Dear friends, now we are children of God, and WHAT WE WILL BE HAS NOT YET BEEN MADE KNOWN. But we know that WHEN CHRIST APPEARS, [when it is made known] WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 1Jn 3.1-3; cp. Rom 8.29; Phil 3.21

    As a result of this sharing of the “divine nature” [2Pe 1.4] which will bring about “the new self [person] created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” [Eph 4.24] the new “Israel of God” [Gal 6.16] restored “house of David [royal descendants] will be gods [Zech 12.8].

    The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow [worship] down at your feet and will call you the City of YHWH, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Isa 60.14

    So to answer your question [could God give equal honor to a human without betraying his own character and word?] whatever worship the Son of God and his saints receive does not make void the divine [sacred] service and worship that is exclusively rendered to the ONLY TRUE GOD, YHWH. In a way, He is pleased to have us share of His nature and whatever attributes they bring!

  128. on 30 Nov 2009 at 10:04 amRay

    Aaron,
    When men have in the past thought that their way was the only way, they have often been wrong. This Jesus has testified to. Though such men have confessed God, this did not mean that there
    was no right way in God, nor did it mean that there was no such thing as truth.

    Men may worship Jesus because he is the Son of God. This does not mean that a man is wrong for doing so, even though he understands that God is the head of Jesus and is greater than he
    as Jesus had said, even though Jesus has all the power of God himself and will exercise that power through eternity as he has exercised the power of God in the beginning when God created all things through him.

    We do not have to believe Jesus is God to worship him in spirit and in truth. That is a doctrine of fallen man. We may see Jesus as God himself, for in so many ways he is as God is.

  129. on 30 Nov 2009 at 10:27 amRay

    How often have we heard Trinitarians make the argument that Jesus is God because Thomas confessed him as “my God”?

    One would think they had an agenda. On might think they thought their commission by the Lord was to make Triniatarians out of all nations.

    Maybe Thomas was confessing Jesus as one who is the express image of God’s person, in character, holiness, and all spiritual qualities, being as he is, the Son of God himself, who came from heaven’s glory. Maybe Thomas was now convinced that he would
    from now on believe in Jesus and want to serve him with all his being, with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strenght,
    because he determined that this is the will of God for his life.

    I call all of you to bear witness this day, on this blog, that I confess Jesus as my lord and my God, but that I am not saying that Jesus is God, rather, I am saying that Jesus is as God is, and in the future
    if I say that Jesus is God in poetry or worship it is in the sense that Jesus is all that God is, being as God is, and it is in that sense that I say it.

    Now, let us understand that if you can not twist my words around to misunderstand them according to your carnal fleshly desires to satisfy some unrighteousness in you, and then let us ask if it be possible that we have misunderstood what Thomas has said in the past. Some of us might be guilty of that and some of us not, let each man examine himself on this and make any proper adjustments.

  130. on 30 Nov 2009 at 4:53 pmAaron

    So Thomas does use “ho theos.”
    Well, there is your one verse. You are free to interpret it as you please.
    Thomas does not say “Praise be to God.”
    I think the literal translation would be “the Lord of me and the God of me.”
    Again, read into that what you will.

    Just because some people claim to have the truth when they don’t, doesn’t mean that everybody who claims to have the truth doesn’t.
    Again, I don’t say this to promote myself – but just to say that there is One truth – not multiple equally valid interpretations of truth.

  131. on 30 Nov 2009 at 7:48 pmrobert

    Aaron
    How can Jesus be God when HE PERSONALLY SAYS HE HAS A GOD.
    Does a comment by Thomas before he received full understanding cancel out what Jesus Speaks.
    Was he actually adressing Jesus or was this just a reaction statement during the shock of realizing GOD actually Raised Jesus from the Dead.

    For a person who believes Jesus is God you sure do ignore alot of what Jesus spoke Himself.

  132. on 30 Nov 2009 at 8:06 pmJoseph

    Aaron, I think you are ignoring the elephant in the room. We need to look at the big picture, and then when we come to a verse in question we must interpret in light of the overwhelming evidence. So, there are really 3 major ways to translate the passage.

    1. Thomas says to Messiah, ho theos, and this passage was written in the Greek so we cannot know for sure if Thomas was saying elohim or Adonai. We know the Greek does not differentiate between the two titles that can mean very different things. So Thomas may have been calling Jesus by the title elohim which is and can be applied to men of great significance in the Bible. One example is that Moses was made a God (Theos, elohim) to Pharaoh.

    2. The second interpretation was very well expressed by Xavier in post #127.

    3. The third major interpretation is the Trinitarians position that by Thomas calling out to Jesus “Theos” he was in fact recognizing that Jesus is the Almighty God and Creator of the Universe. The problem with this interpretation, in which it seems as is the position you take, is that there are many occurrences in scripture in which Messiah himself defines to us his position and identity. A great example that comes to mind is when Messiah questions Peter as to what the “people” were saying about his identity in Matthew 16.

    BTW, what do you think about my response to you in post #96? In correlation to the Messianic Psalm 110, how do you explain a resurrected entity as adoni (Messiah) being exalted by another entity Adonai (YHVH)? How can that make one God?

  133. on 30 Nov 2009 at 8:34 pmXavier

    Aaron,

    Jesus never referred to himself as “God” in the absolute sense, so what precedent then did Thomas have for calling Jesus “my God”? And why do you insist on giving Jesus a name and honor not rightly his? What is wrong with the simple, BIBLICAL statement, believe in your heart Jesus is the prophesized Lord Messiah, Son of the Living God [Mat 16.16; cp. Rom 10.9]?

    Friend, can’t you see its the “spirit of antichrist” that denies BOTH the Father and the Son [1Jn 3-4]??

    I already told you what my interpretation of the verse was. But if you insist on not adhering to what your Lord and teacher [and the NT writers] commands of you in regards to recognizing that there is ONLY ONE WHO IS TRUELY GOD, and that this is the only way to eternal life in the age to come [Jn 17.3], that’s your perogative?

    Given the message of John, and the things John and Jesus teach us in this gospel, there can be absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that when Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God,” he was loudly affirming what Jesus had taught him all along, “if you have seen me you have seen the Father,” and was affirming that the glorious fullness of God the Father was pleased to dwell in Jesus bodily and was present before him, Thomas, because Jesus had become bodily one with the Father in Spirit in his resurrection and for this reason could breath the Spirit that proceeds from the Father into his disciples. Once again, the Trinitarian has nothing here but his own desires to see Trinitarian dogma where none exists. KN Stovra, John 20:28 (Trinity on Trial website)

  134. on 30 Nov 2009 at 9:05 pmrobert

    Aaron

    1. Was Jesus’ power and authority given to him at his birth? or his baptism? or his resurrection?

    Is there anywhere that shows Jesus having any power or authority before his baptism.
    the power he recieved at his baptism was giving to him by his God to serve the commandments His God gave Him.
    His authority was giving to him after he completed his pupose without fail, the power is still His God’s as he sits at the right hand of God

    2. Was Jesus’ unity with the Father the result of his being born of God (ie: part of his natural makeup)? or the result of his submission to God (ie: result of his choice)?

    It was His choice as it is ours

    3. Was Jesus’ sinless righteousness the result of God imparting righteousness to him supernaturally? or the result of his perfect obedience? or the result of faith (”Faith was reckoned to Abraham as rightenousness”)

    Obedience was a result of His great FAITH IN HIS GOD

    4. In addition to that, how could Jesus live a life of perfect obedience without sin if no other person before or since has been able to do so? Or do you think it is possible for a man to live without ever sinning? And even if they did – would that be enough to gain them salvation?

    Here is the most important thing to understand about the Man JESUS, He did what was expected of Adam.
    Yes if a man can be perfect he wouldnt need the sacrafice of Jesus but i know of none

    5. In your opinion, what is the purpose of Jesus rising from the dead and ascending to heaven? (As opposed to remaining dead until the time for the Kingdom to come – at which point he could be raised first and start his reign.) Does he need to be in heaven to serve the role of our priest and sacrifice?.

    This is where the temple needed to be for the whole earth to be blessed so yes the high priest must be there

    6. With that, what do you think is Jesus’ role in heaven right now? Is he still God’s agent in heaven – and if so, who is he representing God to? And if God’s agent, does he still act with the same level of power he was given on earth?

    I dont see where Jesus role as high priest was needed while he was on earth

    7. In what way is Jesus our Lord while in heaven? (If Jesus Lordship refers to his future Kingdom reign).

    Jesus was giving this authority after his death, take that question up with his God

    8. Does Jesus currently know all things and everybody? (If I am to call him Lord and serve him, I assume he should know who I am. Did he take the time to memorize everybody’s name over the last 2000 years? Can he see me and everybody else? And at the same time? Or does he have to travel from person to person? But how could he travel around the world in a body, albeit a a resurrected one?)

    there is nothing written that could tell us if Jesus currently knows all things , Jesus should know all that truly worships his God because as high priest all things mediated through him between man and God

    9. Should we pray to him, and does he hear our prayers?

    we should pray through our high priest to OUR GOD

    10. How is Jesus with us always if he is a human (Matt. 28:20)? (it implies he is with every believer at all times)

    there are to things in being human,one is flesh other is spirit
    SO THE ANSWER IS IN SPIRIT

  135. on 01 Dec 2009 at 7:22 amJaco

    Hi guys! I’ve been disconnected…happens in Africa, see?

    Aaron, thanks for your questions. You’re giving me homework, brother, but I’ll add to what Robert replied on.

    First, in post #120 you said:

    You mentioned looking at John 5:19-23. Verse 23 says “in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” This is a clear statement of how the Son’s honor should be equal to the Father’s honor. How can a created being be honored to the same degree that we honor the Creator of the Universe? I mean, honestly now – God is worthy of utmost worship and adoration because He is the source of life and truth. Even if a created being is in harmony with God and is an agent of God – there is still the uncrossable line between created and un-created. God’s honor would still outweigh the honor given to a created agent.

    Aaron, we’ve shown you how Shaliah or agency applies to those sent by Yahweh to act and to speak on His behalf. This was the Hebrew way and not the pagan (Greek/Roman) way of expressing agency. In does not imply ontological identity or equality; not in the Hebraic sense. Reading or understanding it otherwise implies reading into the text. In John 5 we find Jesus elaborating exhaustively on his God-approved ministry:

    5:1-9 – healing on a sabbath, acting contrary to the traditional understanding of the day.
    5:10-13 – Jesus being confronted with that.
    5:14-18 – Jesus’ actions shook the system of his day. In an attempt to silence him, the Jews misrepresented him, accusing him of things he never did.

    Then, as the Prophet like Moses, Jesus confirms his harmony with YHWH. He does not act presumptuously, but in imitation of his Father (19); The Father approves of the Son, and unravels His purpose by means of the Son (20); Powerful works, as can only originate with the Father, Jesus performs, confirming his harmony with the Father (21); The Father bestowed privileges upon the Son, indicating again his harmony with the Father, and the Father’s approval (22); As perfect agent of the Father, he can be believed and honored fully. Anything short of that is inexcusable, since he imitates the Father like no one else. As fully approved agent of the Father, failing to obey the Son as the one having all the authority implies disregarding the Father (23); Obeying Jesus fully as the one who received all that is necessary for salvation, will effect everlasting life (24).

    The above summary and the surrounding context sketches the perfect Hebraic picture of agency (shaliah). Not the angels’ being called YHWH, nor the angelic visitors worshipped by Abraham, nor Jesus’ perfectly acting in God’s stead equate or identify them ontologically with YHWH. This is wholly out of the question.

    For comparison, look at John 3:32-36, Luke 10:16, 1 Thess. 4:8. That is called agency, brother. If equality is what Jesus taught, he contradicts himself in John 14:28. BTW, Aaron, according to the Trinitarian reasoning you employ here, I AM GOD!!! John 17:22, 23 says it…do you see where one ends up using Trinitarianism???

    What does Jesus say to Satan when tempted? “You shall worship the LORD your God and serve Him only.”
    With this in mind, Abraham’s bowing to the angels cannot be seen as worship. Similarly, Jesus should not be worshiped either – or honored to the same degree that God is honored.
    Yet Hebrews 1:6 says the angels worship Jesus. And if it is okay for man to worship these angels, how much more should we worship Jesus?

    You’re equivocating here. What in proskyneo itself makes the proskyneo toward Jesus identical to proskyneo of God, but different from proskyneo toward man and angels? What in the word proskyneo ITSELF?

    You quoted the verse: “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” This is a verse that definitely deserves studying. I’ll give it a quick answer. First, the term Father doesn’t mean the same thing to the brethren as it does to Jesus. Jesus calls his Father “Father” in a much different way than the rest can. Similarly, I think Jesus calls the Father his “God” in a different sense than the brethren do.
    Anyhow, I think we’ve established that doctrine shouldn’t be based upon titles – but on passages that demonstrate the underlying concepts.
    You may not think it noteworthy, but I find it interesting that this is only one of two times (that I can think of) where Jesus refers to his Father as his “God.” The other is on the cross when he says “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me” – and there he is quoting the first line of Psalm 22 as a sign to the hearers that he is the Messiah that was prophesied about in that Psalm.
    All other times, when Jesus is expressing his relationship with the Father, he calls Him “Father”, not his “God.”
    In John 5:42 Jesus says “you do not have the love of God in yourselves” and moments later Jesus says “I have come in my Father’s name.” You can see this trend over and over, where he calls God “God” in relation to the people, but “Father” when relating to himself.
    A unitarian view would be very strongly expressed if Jesus said things like “God who sent me” or “it is my God who gives you true bread” or “all that God gives me” but in all these instances Jesus uses the term “Father.”
    Sure, I know, it’s inductive reasoning from a negative premise, or something like that. All things aside, I wonder what your explanation would be for Jesus distinct choice of words.

    We can also gain the intimacy with God so that we can have the familiarity with him as adopted children toward our Father. See Rom. 8 and Gal. 4

    Xavier said:

    Could you point me to ONLY ONE VERSE where the writers of the NT use similar phrase for Jesus: i.e., “blessed be THE God Christ Jesus [HO theos Iesous Christos]” or “God our Christ” [HO theos Christos]?

    to which Aaron replied:

    So Thomas does use “ho theos.”
    Well, there is your one verse. You are free to interpret it as you please.
    Thomas does not say “Praise be to God.”
    I think the literal translation would be “the Lord of me and the God of me.”
    Again, read into that what you will.

    The example you give is not quite the same as what Xavier speaks about. Yes, Thomas does use Ho Theos, but as I stated somewhere else, it is in the VOCATIVE using nominative form. Similar nominative for vocative forms (or “virtual vocative”) are Col. 3:18a, 19a, 20a, 21a, 22a, 4:1a. From this case form ALONE the proof is inconclusive, since the vocative (although in nominative FORM) can refer to indefinite (wives) or definite (the wives) nouns.

    Something else to remember is that the expression by Thomas was originally in Hebrew. This fragment would actually have been “Adoni ve Eli!” Again, Hebraically (not Hellenistically) this is in perfect harmony with rest of monotheistic Scripture.

    Just because some people claim to have the truth when they don’t, doesn’t mean that everybody who claims to have the truth doesn’t.
    Again, I don’t say this to promote myself – but just to say that there is One truth – not multiple equally valid interpretations of truth.

    Aaron, all will claim truth, why else would they believe the way they do? The difference is that what is stated as truth here is not merely because I or anyone else believe it is true. I think the course we take here measures up to good scientific scrutiny. Logically, Trinitarianism is saturated in fallacious reasoning, not measuring up to the Hebrew universe within which Scripture was written. Hence my (and our) rejection of something different from what was originally presented as Good News…(Gal. 1:8)

    Just one final thought…You said:

    It is curious to me how you have made several posts wondering why someone would try to tell other people that their way of looking at things is the only way. Is there only one truth? Or are there multiple versions of truth that ultimately point to the one truth? Is not Christianity a “religion” of exclusiveness? Doesn’t Jesus say he is the ONLY way? The thrust of being a witness for Christ is telling non-believers that they are lost in their way and to point them to the only way. The road is straight and narrow – it is limited to those who follow a distinct set of truths. I don’t say this to argue one way or another – but just that a discussion of what is the right way is a valid discussion.

    What do you mean by “versions of truth,” Jesus being “the ONLY way,” and your reference to “distinct set of truths?” What qualifies to belong to these catagories, and what doesn’t?

    Looking forward to your answers.

    YOur brother,

    Jaco

  136. on 01 Dec 2009 at 10:06 amXavier

    More on Jn 20:28…

    …the term ‘God’ does not have a rigidly fixed degree of power. The title is not limited in its biblical application to the Almighty God. We must keep this perspective in mind when making a judgment about what Thomas meant by what he said…

    Naturally, we invest the fullest dignity and power in the word ‘God’ when we see it in the Bible, but we must remind ourselves that it doesn’t always carry the same sense. The degree of power, honor and dignity assigned to it is relative and its sense must be determined by the way in which it is used, and against the context of the Scriptures as a whole. Because the Son of God is sometimes called God, does not prove he is God in the same sense as his Father who is presented to us in Scripture as the Almighty God. We must think of Jesus as God in the sense that it is presented to us in the Scriptures.” Ron Frye, The Father/Son Relationship, pp. 38, 39.

    Although Thomas called Jesus “my Lord and my God” (lit., the god of me), ho theos (with the article) is the necessary part of that particular grammatical structure and form of address and does
    not reveal anything in terms of proving that Jesus should be identified as the Most High God, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Paul described Satan as “the god (ho theos) of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). But he is not the god (ho theos) in an unequivocal sense. Patrick Navas, Divine Truth or Human Tradition, p 305, n. 189.

    …ho theos is more likely to mean ‘God,’ as it does hundreds of times throughout the New Testament, than ‘O God,’ a meaning it has in only three other places in the New Testament. BeDuhn, Truth in Translation, p. 99.

  137. on 01 Dec 2009 at 11:37 amRay

    About Hebrews 1:10, it seems to me that this verse is referring to God the Father, the one commonly known as Lord, (OT) for he in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth and all that we see
    is the work of his hands. Even those things which we do not see is by him. All of it came from God and his working through his mighty power.

    (Jesus is Lord A-Z, M- Mighty power of God)

    Now the reason I say that I believe Hebrews 1:10 is speaking of God is by context. (though it also may apply to Jesus as we see so often in the scriptures) I say by context, because if I am thinking it’s talking about Jesus, when I get to verse 13, I have to switch back to thinking it’s talking about God.

    So this is why I say that I am directed with the help of the context
    to say that Hebrews 1:10 is talking about God the Father.

  138. on 01 Dec 2009 at 11:49 amRay

    I believe Jesus is deserving of the title “The Lord God Almighty.”

    If I was to die and be taken to heaven (as I have heard this has happened unto men) and saw the throne of God, and if I saw those words at the top of it, and Jesus sitting there, would I be offended and say, “This just can’t be. This just isn’t right? ” I hope not.

    I suppose I could say to myself, “This is Jesus sitting in the throne of God.” or I could say, “This is Jesus on his thone which God has made for him.” or I could say, ” This is Jesus, the Lord God Almighty,
    for this is his name (character) and he is worthy of it. God has so named him this, to be over me.”

  139. on 01 Dec 2009 at 4:11 pmStacey

    John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.
    -why would Jesus say this if he is the One true God?-how can you go through someone to get to someone else if they are the same???

    John 14: 28 Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I.
    Jesus says this why? Because He is God??? How are they both God??? if Jesus says the Father is greater than He is??????

    Revelation 22: 8 And I John am he that heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel that showed me these things.

    9 And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets, and with them that keep the words of this book: worship God.

    10 And he saith unto me, Seal not up the words of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand.

    11 He that is unrighteous, let him do unrighteousness still: and he that is filthy, let him be made filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him do righteousness still: and he that is holy, let him be made holy still.

    12 Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is.

    13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

    14 Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.

    15 Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.

    16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright, the morning star.

    17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely.

    18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book:

    19 and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

    20 He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus.

    21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints. Amen.

    John fell to worship the angel and the angel told him not to do this to worship God not Jesus. This is a warning in this book if you add or take away anything in the book God will punish those who do so verse 18-19. These verses do mean what they say also wrong belief would fall into these categories. If we do not heed the words of the bible we are going to be punished.

    Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.

    If Jesus is God then dont you think he would know the day he would be sent back and how can Jesus send himself back. The trinitarian belief is very confusing contradicting and wrong I am sorry to sound blunt but I only want to know the truth, how about you?

    When a king’s thronship is about over he usually passes the control to the eldest son right? Does this make the son the father because he is now king? no it does not he will be in charge now but he is not his father. So why is it people think Jesus is God???

  140. on 01 Dec 2009 at 4:58 pmRay

    Stacey,

    How is it that people can be salt or light, and what does it mean to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood?

  141. on 01 Dec 2009 at 5:56 pmrobert

    Ray
    people can not BE salt or light but can be refered to as having the same properties as both. salt is a seasoning just as a good christian when they share the Word of God is a seasoning for the people around them. a true christian can also be refered to as a light when he shines forth spreading the Word of God.

    as for eating flesh and drinking blood they are symbolic not literal.

    AND JESUS CAN NOT BE GOD Because HIS FATHER AND HIS GOD IS GOD

  142. on 01 Dec 2009 at 8:07 pmRay

    When people ask or wonder how it is that Jesus can be God, it seems to me that there are basicly two ways one can go, either
    there is a sense in which Jesus is referred to God by people because he is as God is, or one can go with the one God in three persons doctrine.

    I believe it to be important to see Jesus as God is. It isn’t robbery
    to do so. I do not prefer to teach the one God in three persons theology, but that is something we all will have to decide for ourselves.

  143. on 02 Dec 2009 at 6:25 amAaron

    Ray,
    I am not sure how you arrive at your interpretation of Hebrews 1:10. Even vs. 13 is talking about Jesus. Don’t you see how it says over and over “of the Son He (the Father) says…” “and again says” “and again says” All the OT quotes are referring to Jesus – I don’t think it could be more clear.

    Stacey,
    You bring up several good questions about God and Jesus. How could Jesus send himself? How could Jesus not know something? Etc…
    Similarly, Joseph, you asked about Psalm 110:1 – How could God exalt himself? (although it would be equally unique to wonder how David can call Jesus his Lord if Jesus wasn’t alive yet – and even in the future application of the verse – David is without understanding in the grave – and therefore wouldn’t be able to call Jesus Lord until his resurrection – much after Jesus sits down in heaven. Either soul sleep would have to be untrue – or Jesus would have to be alive at the same time as David – take your pick)
    I don’t want to dwell right now on Trinitarian beliefs – because I want to find out more about your beliefs. But, I’ll offer a little summary. We are learning about agency – and how extensive it’s application seems to be. Suffice it to say – I didn’t realize a human agent could have such power, attributes, and honors (if Jaco is correct). This goes beyond what I thought the Bible teaches about the limits of man. I have tried to critique your seemingly limitless notion of agency.
    Similarly, your questions aren’t necessarily a critique of the existence of the Trinity – but a critique on how you think a Trinity God should be able to behave. A Trinity God can’t send Himself. A Trinity God can’t exalt Himself. A Trinity God can’t limit Himself. Well, let’s just pretend God is a Trinity. Is it too far fetched that each member could have a different role? Do you think each member would be able to honor another? A Trinity doesn’t make sense by comparing it to the natural oneness of things around us – but God is far more complex than His creation.

    I think there is a philosophical positive for believing that God is three and can have relationship amidst Himself. By this view, God was expressing and receiving love amidst Himself since eternity past. He was able to express the fullness of His nature – namely that God is love. If God were not three, he would have been alone in silence since eternity past – unable to express the fullness of His nature – without anyone to express it to. If such, it wasn’t until His creation that He would be able to express who He is? Does it strike you as odd that God would need the existence of a lesser creation to truly be Himself? Maybe you don’t see it adding up like that.
    The Trinitarian asnwer for Jesus saying the Father is greater is that it is a functional inequality, not an ontological equality – just how a husband has a greater functional role than his wife – but they are both equal. Also, Jesus acknowledging that he didn’t know something is an example of his “emptying himself” in Phil 2. He limited his divine privileges for our benefit. Do you think it odd that God “remembers our sin no more?” How could the all-knowing God forget something? Again, isn’t it for our benefit?

    I want to get back to my list of questions for a moment.

    Take note of the central theme of Roberts answers. Jesus righteousness and unity with the Father were the result of Jesus’ choice. Jesus was the spotless lamb because of his choice to be spotless. Would God put the weight of the redemption of mankind in the hands of a man? Man, who from the beginning of creation, has dropped the ball? Did God expect that Adam would never sin? Why then would he have planned the cross before Adam was ever born?
    What if Jesus slipped up? Thought one errant thought? Could any man live a life without an errant thought? Nobody before Christ did and nobody since Christ has. This should amaze us that Christ did – it is no small feat – it is beyond natural. If he had one unbelieving thought he would have canceled all hope for the redemption of mankind. After all, the prophecies of the OT were very specific about the time frame and circumstances of Jesus birth and life. One mistake, and God would have scarcely enough time to come up with another virgin birth of the line of David for a Messiah who had to die before the temple was destroyed in 70AD. Maybe you don’t have a problem with Jesus living a perfect life. Maybe you don’t have a problem with man being the answer for man’s problems.

    I disagree with Roberts assessment that someone who never sins wouldn’t need Jesus’ sacrifice. Everybody is under the curse of death because of Adam’s sin. (Rom. 5:12) Even if you could live a perfect life, this wouldn’t cancel out the curse of death upon you. It is only faith in Jesus that lifts this curse. Besides, Galatians 3:11 says that no one is justified by the Law. Perfect obedience to the Law won’t make you righteous in God’s site.
    So, was Jesus righteous by his works or by his faith? It couldn’t have been by his works – because that wouldn’t do the trick. But, Romans 4:2-5 describes faith as a gift to the ungodly – it’s purpose is to bridge the gap between man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness. Faith is the only means of becoming righteous because God knows that nobody can possibly live a perfect life. As Romans 3:10 says “There is none righteous, not even one.” – and later “all have sinned.” Perhaps we should wonder if Jesus truly lived perfectly. After all, doesn’t he say “Why do you call me good? There is no one good but God.” (note: he doesn’t say “there is no one good but the Father” – thereby excluding himself)

    10. How is Jesus with us always if he is a human (Matt. 28:20)? (it implies he is with every believer at all times)
    Robert said,
    “there are two things in being human, one is flesh other is spirit
    SO THE ANSWER IS IN SPIRIT” Does everybody agree with that? Christ is omnipresent in spirit? Can a man do that?

    Well,
    I didn’t take this in exactly the direction I planned – but I’ll leave it at that for now.

  144. on 02 Dec 2009 at 6:33 amJaco

    Ray, you have asked that question before. The question is linguistically irrelevant. Salt and light in this construction are mass nouns. Like flesh. Humans can be called such metaphorically due to the properties they convey. Not so with God. God is either a proper noun or a count noun. And as we showed, humans can be gods or God in different senses: in terms of their position or authority and, of course, agency (shaliach).

    (The irrelevance has to do with the word class salt/light vs God/god.)

    Jaco

  145. on 02 Dec 2009 at 8:35 amXavier

    Aaron,

    …I didn’t realize a human agent could have such power, attributes, and honors (if Jaco is correct).

    On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:

    “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”

    So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

    There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD LISTENED TO A HUMAN BEING. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel! Joshua 10.12-14

    Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him:

    “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’ ”

    Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the LORD will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the LORD on the third day from now?”

    Isaiah answered, “This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

    “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

    Then the prophet Isaiah called on the LORD, and the LORD made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. 2Kings 20.1-11

    I think there is a philosophical positive for believing that God is three and can have relationship amidst Himself.

    With this logic no wonder people have come up with more than 30 000+ denominations based on the Bible [i.e., Mormonism]. Although the true faith does deal with a spiritual plain and language, this does not deviate from understanding through common sense and discernment. Hence, “the healh giving words of the Lord Jesus” [1Tim 6.3].

    Jesus acknowledging that he didn’t know something is an example of his “emptying himself” in Phil 2. He limited his divine privileges for our benefit.

    The “Kenotic theory” goes against the doctrine of the Trinity which [according to the Nicene-Chalcedon Creed, 451AD], states that Jesus is both “FULLY GOD AND FULLY MAN”. At no point does this suggest that he ceased to be either. Hence the resultant “hypostatic union” construct invented to safeguard this nonsensical dogma.

    I am not aware that a good reply has yet been made to the simple question asked by the late Archbishop of Canterbury in objection to the Kenotic Theory. ‘What was happening’, he asked, ‘to the rest of the universe during the period of our Lord’s earthly life? To say that the infant Jesus was from His cradle exercising providential care over it all is certainly monstrous; but to deny this, and yet to say that the Creative Word was so self-emptied as to have no being except in the Infant Jesus, is to assert that for a certain period the history of the world was let loose from the control of the Creative Word.’ [William Temple, Christus Veritas, pp. 142f.]

    It is vain to reply that the question presupposes a crude and false seperation of the Persons of the Trinity from each other…For the Kenotic Christology itself presupposes precisely such a seperation, and could not eeven be stated without it. Thus any crudity or naivete which may seem to characterize the Archbishops’ question derives directly from the theory which it is intended to criticize, since his method is that of reduction [reduction to the absurd]. D.M. Baille, God was in Christ, p 95-96.

  146. on 02 Dec 2009 at 11:37 amRay

    Aaron, if you are not sure Hebrews 1:10 refers to God, then I refer you to the first few verses of Genesis where we learn about how God created all that is, which he did through Jesus Christ.

    The scripture declares over and over that God created the heaven and the earth. I don’t know how it could be more clear.

  147. on 02 Dec 2009 at 11:46 amRay

    Jaco, in regards to your post #144, I will tell you that I never did well in high school English class, and also that I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    It still seems true to me that if people can be salt and light, then Jesus can be referred to as God, and if receiving into the heart the importance of the work of Christ on the cross, so that it issues out of our mouths in glorious praise to God, and also turns us away from our sins, then that may be referred to as eating his flesh.

  148. on 02 Dec 2009 at 4:16 pmMichael

    Aaron writes…Well, let’s just pretend God is a Trinity. Is it too farfetched that each member could have a different role? Do you think each member would be able to honor another? A Trinity doesn’t make sense by comparing it to the natural oneness of things around us – but God is far more complex than His creation.

    Response- The people of Jewish faith basically believe now as they did two thousand years ago that God is One, they do not believe in a Trinity. So if the Trinity were even remotely true then the Jewish writers of the New Testament certainly would have made the revealing and understanding of the Trinity their main focus and the word does not exist in scripture!

    Believers of the Trinity and nonbelievers such as the Unitarians are so captivated by it that its subject becomes central to both doctrines and the Bible that makes no mention of it is used as reference for both sides!

    Is this the path to the truth?

  149. on 02 Dec 2009 at 5:38 pmStacey

    How come every other religion believes in ONE GOD, some may not believe in the ONE TRUE GOD, but they still believe in ONE GOD?
    Except the trinitarians???????? I find this odd and quite disturbing and if I feel like this a human who is not perfect, how much more do you think our Father YAHWEh the ONE TRUE GOD, who says HE is a jealous GOD Exodus 20:5 in the latter part “FOR I,(NOT WE), THE LORD YOUR GOD, AM A JEALOUS GOD.”

  150. on 02 Dec 2009 at 6:35 pmRay

    Is the Trinity doctrine so important that people must use it to cause division between Christians and Jews, or to cause division between
    Trinitarians and other Christians?

    I am aware that Jesus said he came to send a sword, but he also came to be a peace maker.

    Isn’t it something that after thousands of years the Church hasn’t worked this out? Isn’t it time that Trinitarians say that Christians need not see things exactly as they do, nor do Christians have to communicate the gospel exactly as they do, or would that be one leg gone from under their platform?

  151. on 03 Dec 2009 at 5:09 amJaco

    Joseph, hi

    You said,

    Thomas says to Messiah, ho theos, and this passage was written in the Greek so we cannot know for sure if Thomas was saying elohim or Adonai.

    I agree with your well-laid-out explanation in your post. As regards the above excerpt, I’d like to comment on, please. In Greek, Adonai, Adohn, and YHWH were translated Kyrios. El and Elohim (Eloha to a lesser extend) were translated Theos. To work back to Hebrew, we need to employ a series of elimination to reach the best possible Hebrew usage. Now, El and Elohim were used for humans, gods, and Yahweh. So, to call Jesus Elohim doesn’t pose any problem Scripturally. So, Eli (my God) is sorted. With ho Kyrios mou, we need to look a little further. In the Hebrew Scriptures there is no “my YHWY” or “the YHWH” or “your YHWH,” so, no tetragram usage by Thomas. The same goes with the usage of Adonai. There was only one Adonai, hence the absence of the same construction I site with YHWH. With YHWH and Adonai eliminated and the usage of Adohn (Adoni, my Lord) permitted for persons other than Yahweh, Adoni was what Thomas most likely said there.

    Xavier, I agree with your post #134. Even with in his Super-exalted state, was Jesus subject to his Father (1 Cor. 15:27, 28)

    Aaron, your questions:

    1. Was Jesus’ power and authority given to him at his birth? or his baptism? or his resurrection?

    Jesus’ life had to fulfill the major part of God’s Divine plan (Eph. 1:8-10). Jesus most certainly had holy spirit without measure (limit), enabling him to do what God would have done (John 3:34, 35). But, Jesus’ ultimate exaltation started with his resurrection as proof of God’s approval, and his ascension to the right-hand of God. (Ac. 2:32, 33, 13:32, 33)

    2. Was Jesus’ unity with the Father the result of his being born of God (ie: part of his natural makeup)? or the result of his submission to God (ie: result of his choice)?

    At his birth, Jesus had the human beginning comparable to Adam at his creation, with a clean slate. He had to remain obedient even under trial (Mt. 26:39, Joh. 5:30, Heb. 4:15, 5:8)

    3. Was Jesus’ sinless righteousness the result of God imparting righteousness to him supernaturally? or the result of his perfect obedience? or the result of faith (”Faith was reckoned to Abraham as rightenousness”)

    His was a choice of obedience, reliance upon God, his Father, and subsequent strength received by Him (Mt. 4:11, Lu. 22:42, 43, Heb. 5:7)

    4. In addition to that, how could Jesus live a life of perfect obedience without sin if no other person before or since has been able to do so? Or do you think it is possible for a man to live without ever sinning? And even if they did – would that be enough to gain them salvation?

    Robert gave a good answer here. I might add that our descending from Adam is the reason for inherited sin (Rom. 5:12) hence Jesus’ virgin birth (Lu. 1:32, 35)

    5. In your opinion, what is the purpose of Jesus rising from the dead and ascending to heaven? (As opposed to remaining dead until the time for the Kingdom to come – at which point he could be raised first and start his reign.) Does he need to be in heaven to serve the role of our priest and sacrifice?

    Jesus’ resurrection served as a pledge for ours, it serves as a pattern of redemptive service initiated and maintained in the Old Covenant to redeem us of our sins and as a way for us to receive holy spirit (Joh. 14:26, Act. 1:4, 2:33, 17:31, Heb. 2:17, 7:24-28, 9:12-14)

    6. With that, what do you think is Jesus’ role in heaven right now? Is he still God’s agent in heaven – and if so, who is he representing God to? And if God’s agent, does he still act with the same level of power he was given on earth?

    Many of the Scriptures already sited will also have the answer to this question. I might add Eph 1:22, 23 and 1 Joh. 2:1. This reminds us of Jesus’ authority and power over his Church.

    7. In what way is Jesus our Lord while in heaven? (If Jesus Lordship refers to his future Kingdom reign).

    He is our Ruler and our Example (Heb. 12:2, 1 Pet. 2:21). He is also involved in our spiritual lives (Mt. 28:18, 20). See also the Scriptures already sited.

    8. Does Jesus currently know all things and everybody? (If I am to call him Lord and serve him, I assume he should know who I am. Did he take the time to memorize everybody’s name over the last 2000 years? Can he see me and everybody else? And at the same time? Or does he have to travel from person to person? But how could he travel around the world in a body, albeit a a resurrected one?)

    Do you think Yahweh is incompetent, Aaron? Do you also ask these questions regarding the miraculous 10 plagues, resurrections and other miracles in the Old Testament? Paul’s miracles in Acts? Peter walking on water? I’m not discouraging your questioning. I’m just encouraging you to be consistent. While here on earth, Jesus displayed amazing abilities due to his Father granting him that. After his resurrection he would be powerful and mighty (Ps. 45:3, Isa. 9:6), see esp. Isaiah 11:1-5. Jesus will command angels according to 2 Thessalonians 1:7, but he is still in subjection to his Father (1 Co. 11:3, 15:27, 28) We know that, even after his resurrection he did not know the hour of his coming (Ac. 1:6, 7). Rev. 1:4, 5, 2:27, 3:5, 12 puts the Mighty Messiah still in submission to his Father. Jesus knows his sheep (John 10:14, 27).

    9. Should we pray to him, and does he hear our prayers?

    I see no reason not to communicate with our King. Intimacy can only be attained (in my opinion) when the other person is included in one’s life. That makes the difference between knowing a person and knowing about a person. I think of John 17:3 to know God and Jesus intimately (intensive form, ginoskosin, to know intimately.) This in no way jeopardizes the Hebraic legacy of the Bible. Angels were communicated with, even Jesus, after his resurrection. This should definitely not be used to justify worshiping Jesus in the Trinitarian sense, since the Bible clarifies its usages of proskyneo. Look at Acts 9:10-16. Clearly, by means of holy spirit, there was communication by Jesus and with Jesus. Not as Lord God, but as Lord Messiah.
    10. How is Jesus with us always if he is a human (Matt. 28:20)? (it implies he is with every believer at all times)
    Jesus received holy spirit to represent also him on earth (Joh. 16:5-13)

    In Christ,

    Jaco

  152. on 03 Dec 2009 at 6:03 amRay

    I read something about the condition of God in the beginning, that
    if he isn’t three in one he would have been alone.

    I do not consider God to be three persons in one, but I do believe his Son Jesus was with him in the beginning.

    Keeping the law and doing so without sin would mean that a man is righteous. Jesus was the only man to do so. Therefore if we can attain unto his righteousness by faith through the grace of God we can receive eternal life. His righteousness is given to sinners through faith that they might escape damnation. They are covered by his righteousness that they not be judged and condemned to hell.

  153. on 03 Dec 2009 at 9:44 amMark C.

    How come every other religion believes in ONE GOD, some may not believe in the ONE TRUE GOD, but they still believe in ONE GOD?
    Except the trinitarians???????? I find this odd and quite disturbing and if I feel like this a human who is not perfect, how much more do you think our Father YAHWEh the ONE TRUE GOD, who says HE is a jealous GOD Exodus 20:5 in the latter part “FOR I,(NOT WE), THE LORD YOUR GOD, AM A JEALOUS GOD.”

    The fact is, every other religion does not believe in one God. Most Pagan religions, including Hinduism, believe in multiple gods. Actually the idea of only one God was unusual in Old Testament times. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are in the minority in that sense.

    Besides, Trinitarians will tell you they believe in only one God as well. This is the difficulty with arguing about one or more than one God with Trinitarians. They insist they believe in one God but that He exists as three persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. The best argument I’ve found is the verses that say that the Father is the only true God (John 17:1-3; I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6).

  154. on 03 Dec 2009 at 11:21 amTim

    The fact that God is almost exclusively referred to using personal pronouns is another compelling argument … of course, you have to first agree that words have meaning and that we cannot just make things up to fit our theological lenses (re: the argument that “one” is a “compound unity”). Unfortunately, many times it really is an argument that comes down to the belief that we can make words to be whatever we want them to be.

  155. on 03 Dec 2009 at 11:27 amXavier

    Nowhere in the NT is there to be found a text with o theos which has unquestionably to be referred to the Trinitarian God as a whole existing in three Persons…Six [possibly] use theos of Jesus, but in a hesitant and obviously restricted way…

    These findings are sufficient in themselves to justify the assertion that when the NT speaks of o theos (with the few exceptions) it is the Father as the First Person of the Trinity who is signified….

    The few exceptional uses of theos where the linguistic form itself marks them as exception, do not justify the view that in the usage of the NT o theos is an expression which signifies the Trinity in the unity of its proper nature. Where Christ’s Person and Nature are to be declared with the greatest theological strictness and precision, he is called o uios tou theou…

    If then where for the sake of clarity and precision everything depended on the use of a word which signified the thing meant…these [NT writers] used o theos for the Father, this can only be explained by the fact that in these formulas o theos did in actual fact signify the Father…

    When the NT thinks of God, it is the concrete individual uninterchangeable Person who comes into its mind, who is in fact the Father and is called o theos; so that inversely when o theos is being spoken of, it is not the single divine nature that is seen, subsisting in three hypostases [i.e. the Trinity], but the concrete Person who possesses the divine nature unoriginately [i.e. the Father of Jesus].

    Note also: It should be noted that o theos mou ( John 20:28), whether it be taken as vocative or nominative, is predicative in sense, and so cannot be used as evidence either ways to show whether o theos in NT usage ever appears as subject of a statement referring to Christ. Karl Rahner: “Theos in the NT”, Theological Investigations, Vol. 3, Helicon Press, 1963.

    It does not seem illegitimate to pose this question: To whom was the author of Hebrews referring when he said (1:1) ‘At many times and in various ways GOD spoke in the past to our forefathers through the prophets’?’

    That it was not the Holy Spirit in any ultimate sense is evident from the fact that in neither the OT nor the NT is the Spirit called God in so many words, expressis verbis. And in spite of the fact that the LXX equivalent of Yahweh, viz kurios [lord], is regularly applied to Jesus in the NT so that it becomes less a title than a proper name, it is not possible that GOD in Heb 1:1 denotes Jesus Christ for the sentence in Greek contains: ‘the God who spoke…. has spoken to us in these last days in a Son’.

    Since the author is emphasizing the two stages of the divine speech, this reference to a Son shows that GOD was understood to be God the Father [as also about 1300 times in the NT!].

    Similarly the differentiation made between GOD (o theos) as the one who speaks in both eras and SON (uios) as His final means of speaking shows that in the author’s mind it was not the Triune God of Christian theology who spoke to the forefathers by the prophets. That is to say, for the author of Hebrews–as for all NT writers one may suggest– ‘the God of our Fathers,’ YAHWEH, was no other than ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’.’ (cf. Acts 2:30; 2:33; 3:13 and 3:18, 3:25, 26 and note also 5:30).

    Such a conclusion is entirely consistent with the regular NT usage [1300 times] of o theos. It would be inappropriate for Elohim or YHVH ever to refer to the Trinity in the OT when in the NT theos regularly refers to the Father alone and apparently [?!] never to the Trinity. Murray J. Harris, Jesus as God, p. 47 n.112.

  156. on 03 Dec 2009 at 11:31 amStacey

    Thanks Mark, I am no longer going on this post after this cuz I get fustrated about the debate and we are not supposed to feel that way so I will go on other posts :-). I know what u mean by multiple gods, which is true but none of them believe Jesus is God! even muslims which is simular to Christianity believe in one god (may not be the ONE TRUE GOD) but they definitly do not believe Jesus is God they dont even believe He is the Only begotten Son! I just believe if more people opened thier hearts to the truth about the ONE TRUE GOD they would see the difference between YAHWEH and Jesus! If people can not believe in that 1 major truth do you think our Father YAHWEH is going to reveil any other truths to them?????
    God bless all,
    I pray God unhardens your hearts, to be open to the truth!!!! 🙂

  157. on 03 Dec 2009 at 11:54 amXavier

    Stacey,

    Just because we claim to have the “truth” does not mean we have a sure fireproof against the Devil and his deceptions, as per Jesus’ saying in Mat 24.24.

    Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall…stand by your faith and do not be conceited, but fear…

    Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” 1Cor 10.12; Rom 11.20; 1Pe 1.17

  158. on 03 Dec 2009 at 1:06 pmRay

    It seems to me that there are two kinds of Christians that have unresoved issues, those that defend the Trinity doctrine as if it is right all the way through and that everyone should accept it as divine authority which if a person doesn’t necessarily do, then they are either not a true Christian or they are saying that Jesus was just an ordinary man, and the Christian that seems to throw a tantrum saying, Jesus isn’t God, he’s not, he’s not, he’s not!

  159. on 03 Dec 2009 at 8:59 pmXavier

    Ray,

    Nicene Creed of 325AD had an [anathema] addendum that orthodox churches of today do not use, which says:

    [But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.]

    Further, the Athanasian Creed that adopted the Nicene and later the Chalcedon one of 381 explicitly says:

    Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly…

    Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also
    believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of his Mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

    This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully,
    he cannot be saved.

    Compare the following instructions of Queen Elizabeth to the sheriffs of London in 1575:

    “Greeting.

    Since it has been made known to us by the Reverend Fathers in Christ the Bishops of London and Rochester and by Inquisitors, that John Peeters and Henry Turwert, Flemings by birth, guilty of enormities like the wicked crime of heresy and the detestable sect of the ‘anabaptists’, did presumptuously and from a kind of stubbornness, uphold and defend the aforesaid wicked crime of heresy and the detestable sect of the ‘anabaptists’; the Bishop of London has now passed that they are heretics condemned to be eliminated from the Lord’s flock by the punishment appropriate.

    We therefore, being zealous for justice and to root out and extirpate errors of this kind wherever found, command that you cause the said John Peeters and Henry Turwert to be taken to a public open place at West Smithfield to be really burned in that same fire for an example to other men lest they fall into the same crime.

    Signed, sealed, etc.”

    http://www.antipas.org/books/protesters/prot_10.html

    So you tell me which spirit PRESENTLY dwells and hold captive anyone who adheres to these absurd creational creeds? The Spirit of the one true God, or the “spirit of error [antichrist, iniquity]”?

    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world…We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1Tim 4.1; 1Jn 4.1-6

  160. on 03 Dec 2009 at 9:07 pmRay

    Xavier,
    It’s likely the same kind of spirit that works through others who seem to think Jesus taught us to live by part of the truth only.

  161. on 04 Dec 2009 at 2:30 amJaco

    Aaron, you said:

    Stacey,
    You bring up several good questions about God and Jesus. How could Jesus send himself? How could Jesus not know something? Etc…
    Similarly, Joseph, you asked about Psalm 110:1 – How could God exalt himself? (although it would be equally unique to wonder how David can call Jesus his Lord if Jesus wasn’t alive yet – and even in the future application of the verse – David is without understanding in the grave – and therefore wouldn’t be able to call Jesus Lord until his resurrection – much after Jesus sits down in heaven. Either soul sleep would have to be untrue – or Jesus would have to be alive at the same time as David – take your pick)

    You’re reasoning fallaciously again. Stacey’s and Joseph’s questions are valid questions, since the Trinitarian doctrine would have these crucial contradictions and Scriptural dilemmas to arise. Your comparing it to David is invalid, since SCRIPTURE resolves the seeming contradiction and SCRIPTURE confirming the resolution through the fulfillment of prophecy – something Scripture doesn’t and cannot do where it comes to the post-biblical Trinity heresy.

    We are learning about agency – and how extensive it’s application seems to be. Suffice it to say – I didn’t realize a human agent could have such power, attributes, and honors (if Jaco is correct). This goes beyond what I thought the Bible teaches about the limits of man. I have tried to critique your seemingly limitless notion of agency.

    I think Xavier gave you good examples of people’s abilities thanks to Yahweh’s dynamic energy! (Isa. 40:25, 26, 28-31)

    Similarly, your questions aren’t necessarily a critique of the existence of the Trinity – but a critique on how you think a Trinity God should be able to behave. A Trinity God can’t send Himself. A Trinity God can’t exalt Himself. A Trinity God can’t limit Himself. Well, let’s just pretend God is a Trinity. Is it too far-fetched that each member could have a different role? Do you think each member would be able to honor another? A Trinity doesn’t make sense by comparing it to the natural oneness of things around us – but God is far more complex than His creation.

    No, you have it wrong again. Holy Writing does not allow the confusing formulas of the Trinity doctrine. It’s “strange fire,” and something to be treated as a foreign spirit. What the Trinity requires Christians to believe in is not only far-fetched; it is plain-way absurd. Not only does it rob us of our sacred Hebrew heritage, it sabotages all Scripture of essential God-inspired realities. Our inability to accept the Trinity does not come from our disbelief in God’s ability – it comes from our disbelief in something Scripture rejects. The questions you’re posing, brother, reflects a reluctance and unawareness on your part of the ability of Yahweh’s power to produce what it did in the case of our Lord Jesus.

    I think there is a philosophical positive for believing that God is three and can have relationship amidst Himself. By this view, God was expressing and receiving love amidst Himself since eternity past. He was able to express the fullness of His nature – namely that God is love. If God were not three, he would have been alone in silence since eternity past – unable to express the fullness of His nature – without anyone to express it to. If such, it wasn’t until His creation that He would be able to express who He is? Does it strike you as odd that God would need the existence of a lesser creation to truly be Himself? Maybe you don’t see it adding up like that.

    We prefer to look at the Scriptural, not philosophical, viability of doctrine. Do read 1 Cor. 2:4, 5, 3:19, Col. 2:8, Jas. 1:5.

    The Trinitarian answer for Jesus saying the Father is greater is that it is a functional inequality, not an ontological equality – just how a husband has a greater functional role than his wife – but they are both equal. Also, Jesus acknowledging that he didn’t know something is an example of his “emptying himself” in Phil 2. He limited his divine privileges for our benefit. Do you think it odd that God “remembers our sin no more?” How could the all-knowing God forget something? Again, isn’t it for our benefit?

    No, brother, your Trinitarian informants did not supply you with credible information. NOTHING in Jesus’ words or immediate context indicates that Jesus meant only functional inequality. In fact, his inequality IS STATED in terms of their ontology: THE FATHER (ontologically identified) is greater (quality) than I AM (ontologically identified). Functional inequality is stated in terms of activity (I cannot DO anything out of my own initiative). This in itself is a refutation of the Trinity, since ontology determines function. E.g. Because Yahweh is God (ontologically) and not man (ontologically) he cannot die or lie (function). Your comparison with man/woman relationship with Yahweh/Christ’s relationship amounts to the fallacy of Misplaced Concretion. This means that you are using a physical reality and extending it to a spiritual reality. You’re focusing on obvious and confirmed similarities between man and woman and use it to equate Christ with God. Well, according to this reasoning, look at Eph. 5:22-24. This text makes a husband equal to Christ…according to the reasoning you and your informants employ. You see, you have to work the other way around. THE OBVIOUS authority of Yahweh over Christ has to be reflected in the relationship between husband and wife. Likewise, the OBVIOUS authority between Christ and the church has to be reflected in the relationship between husband and wife. Your Phil. 2 explanation amounts to equivocation again. Hence the trinitarian dilemma to argue for full kenosis, but denying it in the face of contradicting evidence. Either the one or the other. By the way, Acts 1:6, 7 indicates that not even after his resurrection did Jesus know of his return. Your example of remembering our sin no more is irrelevant – it is an idiomatic expression of NOT RECALLING SIN FOR THE PURPOSE OF JUDGING.

    I Take note of the central theme of Roberts answers. Jesus righteousness and unity with the Father were the result of Jesus’ choice. Jesus was the spotless lamb because of his choice to be spotless. Would God put the weight of the redemption of mankind in the hands of a man? Man, who from the beginning of creation, has dropped the ball? Did God expect that Adam would never sin? Why then would he have planned the cross before Adam was ever born?

    Didn’t God do exactly that in the Garden of Eden? Didn’t he put the everlasting lives of Adam’s offspring in the hands of perfect Adam when God endowed him with the responsibility to choose not to eat of the forbidden fruit?

    What if Jesus slipped up? Thought one errant thought? Could any man live a life without an errant thought? Nobody before Christ did and nobody since Christ has. This should amaze us that Christ did – it is no small feat – it is beyond natural. If he had one unbelieving thought he would have canceled all hope for the redemption of mankind. After all, the prophecies of the OT were very specific about the time frame and circumstances of Jesus birth and life. One mistake, and God would have scarcely enough time to come up with another virgin birth of the line of David for a Messiah who had to die before the temple was destroyed in 70AD. Maybe you don’t have a problem with Jesus living a perfect life. Maybe you don’t have a problem with man being the answer for man’s problems.

    Nor does God have a problem with using the Greatest Man to save us from what the Original Man dumped us into. Nobody prior to, nor anybody after Jesus could achieve such a feat…HENCE ONLY CHRIST being called the Chief Agent of Life (Heb. 12:2) Your reluctance to believe it is not Scriptural, brother. Matthew 19:25, 26 has a message for you…as does the latter part of Daniel 4:35.

    I disagree with Roberts assessment that someone who never sins wouldn’t need Jesus’ sacrifice. Everybody is under the curse of death because of Adam’s sin. (Rom. 5:12) Even if you could live a perfect life, this wouldn’t cancel out the curse of death upon you. It is only faith in Jesus that lifts this curse. Besides, Galatians 3:11 says that no one is justified by the Law. Perfect obedience to the Law won’t make you righteous in God’s site.

    Someone descending from anybody else but Adam would not inherit sin. The sin produce by such a person would not be due to his Adamic inheritance. A perfect person sinning means a deliberate opposition to God. Hence Jesus’ virgin birth (non-Adamic) and his perfect obedience.

    So, was Jesus righteous by his works or by his faith? It couldn’t have been by his works – because that wouldn’t do the trick. But, Romans 4:2-5 describes faith as a gift to the ungodly – it’s purpose is to bridge the gap between man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness. Faith is the only means of becoming righteous because God knows that nobody can possibly live a perfect life. As Romans 3:10 says “There is none righteous, not even one.” – and later “all have sinned

    The righteousness you’re referring to, where faith is involved is called imputed righteousness. It is applicable to sinful descendents of Adam, and a provision for their salvation. Jesus needed no such provision, since he was sinless. He was ultimately also declared righteous by his resurrection, confirming his steadfastness and non-rebellion against God.

    Perhaps we should wonder if Jesus truly lived perfectly. After all, doesn’t he say “Why do you call me good? There is no one good but God.” (note: he doesn’t say “there is no one good but the Father” – thereby excluding himself)

    However you look at it, Jesus excluded himself in some sense. From other texts we know that he was and decisively remained sinless. But as a created human, subject to the approval, help and initiative of God, he was good to a much lesser extent, hence the tautological usage of the quality here.

    The logical construction of the conditional is called modus tollens. It goes like this:

    If Jesus is God, he will call himself good. He doesn’t call himself good, hence he is not God.

    A perfectly valid and true statement

    In Christ,
    Jaco

  162. on 04 Dec 2009 at 5:28 amAaron

    Jaco,

    You said:
    “NOTHING in Jesus’ words or immediate context indicates that Jesus meant only functional inequality. In fact, his inequality IS STATED in terms of their ontology: THE FATHER (ontologically identified) is greater (quality) than I AM (ontologically identified). ”

    I’m still new to the ontological concept. Isn’t the term “Father” a title of “role” – thus of function? IE: I am a father, but referring to me as a father doesn’t encapsulate the whole of who I am (my ontology). Calling me by my name would encapsulate the whole of me.

    Wouldn’t a stronger Unitarian phrase by Jesus be “God (ontologically identified) is greater than I”? Or, “Yahweh is greater than I”?

    Anyhow, I am aware that my views are different than yours. You don’t have to tell me that I am being influenced by demons or that I am following vain philosophy – or a different gospel. I know these verses. I am not pulling them out on you – though I’m sure many Trinitarians have. These accusations only clog up the conversation. Let’s just stick to discussing the issues – not condemning the other person for their views. If I am wrong – God will show me that I am. Similarly, if you are wrong – I trust God will show you. I don’t need to stand in his place and point the finger.

    I recently heard a great quote from a Christian talk show host. He said something to the effect that if you hold a particular stance on an issue you should do yourself a favor and listen to the best presentation by someone who takes the opposite view. I hope that is what we are doing here – not condeming others views before we’ve heard them out. I think I am talking to some of the sharpest Unitarians – you definitely know your stuff.
    I know I’m not the sharpest Trinitarian defender. I hope each of you has taken the time to hear out the best Trinitarian presentation – and how they would respond to your pressing objections. I’m just pointing out verses as I’m studying. If you’ve heard the best Trinitarian scholars and dismissed them, I’m sure my questions won’t change your mind, but at least we will be able to get to the heart of what we really believe.

    Concerning Thomas’ use of ho Theos. I understand your position. You seem to keep going back to that with multiple proofs of how he must have been using the word. I’m not holding onto that verse as the best proof of Trinitarianism. I will say though, that the Unitarian doctrine prides itself on reading Scripture as plainly as it was intended. However, with John 20:28 it seems you need extensive background on the multiple uses of “God” in OT and NT – and something about “it is in the VOCATIVE using nominative form.” What happened to common sense interpretation? I don’t mean to criticize – but you certainly can’t say it’s so simple a child would come to the Unitarian view if you need all that background information to understand one simple phrase.

    Xavier,
    You gave some good examples of Yahweh working through people.

    Mark C.,
    You pointed out well that there are actually very few religions of the world that believe in one God.

    A couple general questions in relation to some things we have been talking about. Do you think God can limit Himself? And if He did limit Himself, would that make him stop being God?
    Also, can God appear in various forms? In those various forms – does he stop being God?
    One specific thing I’m thinking about is the Holy Spirit appearing in the form of a dove. Was it the image of a dove? Or did God manifest Himself as an actual physical dove?

    I also have one question about a Bible verse I just read.
    John 1:29-30 says “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'”
    Does the phrase “Lamb of God” indicate that Jesus was inherently holy at this very moment – before his baptism and before his tests? Not a huge issue…
    I’m more concerned about your take on John’s description of Jesus being “before me.” Jesus wasn’t born before John. How could he be before John? I don’t think you could translate “before me” as “above in position” as you do in Colossians 1:17 – because the text seems to clearly be using timeline language. “Before me” is contrasted with “after me.”

    God Bless,
    Aaron

  163. on 04 Dec 2009 at 5:59 amMichael

    Trinitarians and Unitarians have many things in common but the most important is their necessity to have a formula, namely the Trinity formula or the Agent formula to interpret the Word of God.

    Formulas give their believers permission to use words not used in the Bible to explain the ones the writers of the Bible used to explain things to us.

    For instance Paul who explained much about the person of Jesus needed neither the words Trinity nor Agency to do so but the believers in these formulas cannot do the same.

    So Aaron writes “I have tried to critique your seemingly limitless notion of agency” and Jaco writes that Holy Writing does not allow the confusing formulas of the Trinity doctrine and thus the battle of the formulas begin.

    So the formulas that allow their believers to add words to scripture act as a decoder to the words used in scripture such as Hebrews 12:2 where Paul wrote “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

    But when the agency formula is applied to it Jaco reads into the text by writing “HENCE ONLY CHRIST being called the Chief Agent of Life” (Heb. 12:2) even though Paul did not write anything like that.

    Yet when Aaron applies his formula to various texts of scripture Jaco points out that “Aaron, you keep “reading into the text” [eisegesis] Trinitarian vestiges that are not there.

    So in the end both Trinitarians and Unitarians proudly and shamelessly add to the Word of God.

  164. on 04 Dec 2009 at 10:07 amXavier

    Aaron,

    Isn’t the term “Father” a title of “role” – thus of function?

    I know we’re all bombarding you with answers and statements etc…but could you please take the time to read and think about those quotes from Trinitarian scholars regarding Who “Father” and “ho theos” [God] refers to in the NT?

    Nowhere in the NT is there to be found a text with o theos which has unquestionably to be referred to the Trinitarian God as a whole existing in three Persons…

    [NT writers] used o theos for the Father, this can only be explained by the fact that in these formulas o theos did in actual fact signify the Father…

    When the NT thinks of God, it is the concrete individual uninterchangeable Person who comes into its mind, who is in fact the Father and is called o theos; so that inversely when o theos is being spoken of, it is not the single divine nature that is seen, subsisting in three hypostases [i.e. the Trinity], but the concrete Person who possesses the divine nature unoriginately [i.e. the Father of Jesus]…

    for the author of Hebrews–as for all NT writers one may suggest– ‘the God of our Fathers,’ YAHWEH, was no other than ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’.’ (cf. Acts 2:30; 2:33; 3:13 and 3:18, 3:25, 26 and note also 5:30).

    Such a conclusion is entirely consistent with the regular NT usage [1300 times] of o theos. It would be inappropriate for Elohim or YHVH ever to refer to the Trinity in the OT when in the NT theos regularly refers to the Father alone and apparently [?!] never to the Trinity.

    What say you???

  165. on 04 Dec 2009 at 10:27 amMark C.

    A couple general questions in relation to some things we have been talking about. Do you think God can limit Himself? And if He did limit Himself, would that make him stop being God?

    You could say that God choosing not to remember our sins is a kind of limiting Himself. Or having mercy on us when His perfect holiness would require a just punishment. Also communicating to us in ways that our finite minds could understand can be seen as limiting Himself, in a way. But none of these things makes Him stop being God.

    Also, can God appear in various forms? In those various forms – does he stop being God?

    In most cases He was actually communicating through His angel. But even when He “appeared” in some form (the thunder and the voice on Mt. Sinai, or when Moses saw His “back parts” in Ex. 33) He certainly didn’t stop being God.

    One specific thing I’m thinking about is the Holy Spirit appearing in the form of a dove. Was it the image of a dove? Or did God manifest Himself as an actual physical dove?

    All the verses that refer to this say they saw the spirit descending like a dove. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that it was an image of a dove, just that whatever they saw was somehow like a dove.

    I also have one question about a Bible verse I just read.
    John 1:29-30 says “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”
    Does the phrase “Lamb of God” indicate that Jesus was inherently holy at this very moment – before his baptism and before his tests? Not a huge issue…

    I think the phrase “lamb of God” indicates his purpose and destiny as the ultimate sacrifice for man. It was part of why he came, and he was so destined from his birth.

    I’m more concerned about your take on John’s description of Jesus being “before me.” Jesus wasn’t born before John. How could he be before John? I don’t think you could translate “before me” as “above in position” as you do in Colossians 1:17 – because the text seems to clearly be using timeline language. “Before me” is contrasted with “after me.”

    Interestingly, there are two different words translated “before” in John 1:30. The first, when John says, “He that cometh after me is preferred before me,” is the word emprosthen. This word is not referring to time. It means “before” as in “in one’s sight.” It is used in references to someone standing before another person, confessing Jesus before others, and in a few cases is even translated “in your sight.” Jesus, although he came after John, was preferred in his sight.

    The second word “before,” in the phrase, “for he was before me,” is the word protos. This word is in fact used of first in rank as well as time or place. It is often translated “chief” as in the chief priests or someone being called the chief of a group.

    So John was not saying that Jesus existed before him, but rather that Jesus was preferred in his sight because he was before him in rank. This is because Jesus was determined (prophetically) even before his birth to be the Messiah and the ultimate sacrifice. All the prophecies about him in the OT were pointing to this man who was to come, and who would ultimately be the ruler of the coming kingdom. It is in that sense that he was “before” John.

  166. on 05 Dec 2009 at 4:27 amJaco

    Aaron, you wrote

    I’m still new to the ontological concept. Isn’t the term “Father” a title of “role” – thus of function? IE: I am a father, but referring to me as a father doesn’t encapsulate the whole of who I am (my ontology). Calling me by my name would encapsulate the whole of me.

    Jesus did not state his inequality with God in terms of function. He states it in terms of identity (ontology), since Father was the way Jesus identified Yahweh (John 8:54). John 14:28 states their inequality exactly in terms of “being”

    Anyhow, I am aware that my views are different than yours. You don’t have to tell me that I am being influenced by demons or that I am following vain philosophy – or a different gospel. I know these verses. I am not pulling them out on you – though I’m sure many Trinitarians have. These accusations only clog up the conversation. Let’s just stick to discussing the issues – not condemning the other person for their views. If I am wrong – God will show me that I am. Similarly, if you are wrong – I trust God will show you. I don’t need to stand in his place and point the finger.

    Aaron, I said:

    It’s “strange fire,” and something to be treated as a foreign spirit.

    What I mean by that is that the trinitarian formulas are foreign to Scripture and the ancient Israelites’ world-view. Importing something like that into worship and then claiming that worship to be an extension of the Israelites’ religion is indeed offering God a foreign sacrifice burning with strange fire. What I meant by foreign spirit is actually “inspired expression” or “spiritual revelation.” I used it metaphorically and not literally – we are after all discussing, not individuals, but the teaching of the Trinity. I apologise for my part in this misunderstanding. I will never accuse you of demon-possession for what you believe. And, look! I still called you my brother.

    Concerning Thomas’ use of ho Theos. I understand your position. You seem to keep going back to that with multiple proofs of how he must have been using the word. I’m not holding onto that verse as the best proof of Trinitarianism. I will say though, that the Unitarian doctrine prides itself on reading Scripture as plainly as it was intended. However, with John 20:28 it seems you need extensive background on the multiple uses of “God” in OT and NT – and something about “it is in the VOCATIVE using nominative form.” What happened to common sense interpretation? I don’t mean to criticize – but you certainly can’t say it’s so simple a child would come to the Unitarian view if you need all that background information to understand one simple phrase.

    Aaron, we are removed from ancient Hebrew culture by millennia, hence the necessity of intellectually studying that. I’m convinced that a boy in those days would have understood what was meant when his brothers went to “elohim” to resolve some business controversy, referring to the judges at the gates. I am also convinced that he would have grasped that his mother spoke of the words of Yahweh through the agency of a prophet or angel if she said that Yahweh told her this or that. I would not have, because I’m a European Gentile, hence the necessity for me to learn that world-view. Fortunately these concepts are also embedded in language usage, and in many instances grammatically differentiated, enabling us to assess the conceptual framework more accurately.

    I for one have definitely searched thoroughly through the Trinitarian arguments presented by the world’s most passionate defenders thereof. Many of these could not have arisen from honest studying of Scripture, but from combing Scripture, proof-texting and eisegesis (not exegesis.) Some of these arguments you have brought up, hence my assumption that you have Trinitarian informants feeding you these arguments. I’m glad, though, that I could point out their errors.

    Michael, there is a difference between formula and concept. Formula is necessary to create a doctrine not obviously arrived at. A concept is an understanding from cultural, experiential and cognitive learning. I do not agree with your statements implying that the Trinity doctrine and the “agency” concept are equivalent in this regard. Ok, if you don’t want us to use “agency,” I will use the historically and culturally confirmed notion expressed as shaliach. I agree with you that the Bible was not written for the sole purpose of being studied intellectually as exhaustively as it has. Nor was that the sole purpose of creation. But on all levels, scientifically, logically, grammatically and theologically the Bible attests to the divine nature of its origin.

    Michael, I think you misunderstood my argumentation regarding Heb. 12:2 and hence misrepresented it. I said:

    Nor does God have a problem with using the Greatest Man to save us from what the Original Man dumped us into. Nobody prior to, nor anybody after Jesus could achieve such a feat…HENCE ONLY CHRIST being called the Chief Agent of Life (Heb. 12:2)

    The thread of my reasoning indicates that FROM AMONG MANKIND only Christ can be called the Chief Agent of life. His Father, of course, is the originator of it (John 3:16). I hope you understand now.

    Aaron, I think Mark C. answered well with regard to your question of John 1:29, 30. With regard to his answer –

    So John was not saying that Jesus existed before him, but rather that Jesus was preferred in his sight because he was before him in rank. This is because Jesus was determined (prophetically) even before his birth to be the Messiah and the ultimate sacrifice. All the prophecies about him in the OT were pointing to this man who was to come, and who would ultimately be the ruler of the coming kingdom. It is in that sense that he was “before” John.

    – I’d like to add that in Malachi 3:1 both John the Baptiser and Jesus the Messiah are mentioned prophetically.

    Aaron, understand, please, that our arguments and sometimes our expressions of disapproval of unbiblical teachings are not aimed at the person holding those believes. Even though our imperfections tend to get the better of us sometimes, be assured that I, for one, sincerely strive to keep it respectable.

    Your brother,

    Jaco

    P.S, I invite the posters here to visit http://www.scripturaltruths.com/blog. I have posted two replies to two if its articles there. One article misrepresents the Biblical Unitarian stance. Since many a JW and some Trinitarian apologists undoubtedly visit that site, our comments might reach a receptive ear.

  167. on 05 Dec 2009 at 11:34 amJaco

    Just something about talking about God in terms such as “limited.” Our usage of limits and limitedness has to correspond to the Bible’s usage thereof. Obviously, due to philosophical thought of matters of limitedness we might tend to think about God and his dealings in the same terms.

    Take for instance God’s ability. God is called Almighty, and we might understand that to mean able to do all things and anything. Anything short of that, it is thought, might convey God to be “limited.” This kind of reasoning is very often used to defend teachings of predestinationism, omniscience, even the Trinity. Consistently using these sorts of reasoning to Scripturally true and confirmed doctrine would not measure up to scrutiny. For instance, If our understanding of God being Almighty means that he is able to do anything and everything, He would have to be able to lie. He would also have to be able to die. The Bible clearly states that God can neither lie nor die. Does this limit God? In Scriptural sense, no. God is Almighty and able to do everything and anything possible that would confirm his being the Only True God. Instead of viewing that as being limited, one can view God as going beyond the necessity to lie or the necessity to die. The notion of limits is not the issue, and one finds oneself back at square one, where one has to take Scripture for what it says. Whatever Scripture tells us about God is Truth. Our concept of limits and God has to measure up to what Scripture tells us, and not the other way around.

    Just a thought

    Jaco

  168. on 05 Dec 2009 at 3:37 pmMark C.

    Jaco,

    Good point about God’s “limits.” It’s like the old question about whether God could make a rock so heavy that He couldn’t lift it. Either way you answer it, skeptics reply, “Then He can’t do EVERYTHING!” My take would be that while He has unlimited ability He also has the good sense not to do something so stupid!

  169. on 05 Dec 2009 at 11:40 pmXavier

    Mark C. Jaco,

    Do you mean the “permissible will of God”?

  170. on 06 Dec 2009 at 5:28 amJaco

    Xavier,

    You’ll have to elaborate a bit, bro.

  171. on 07 Dec 2009 at 5:59 amAaron

    Jaco,
    Thanks for your focused and genuine words. I wasn’t accusing you per se of pointing the finger, but some things that some have said seemed a bit off the topic and more aimed at me.
    I have listened to 4 or 5 debates on the trinity in the last month, and have picked up some thoughts from them – but other thoughts are just from my own study.

    You said:
    “If our understanding of God being Almighty means that he is able to do anything and everything, He would have to be able to lie. He would also have to be able to die.”
    I would say that God can do anything that is in conformity to His will. His perfect will and character are what sets His limits – which ultimately ends with His glory and our benefit. Hence, he can limit what He showed of Himself to Moses – so as not to burn him up on the spot. No need to reply to what I’m going to say. I’m sure you have a million reasons for disagreeing with this, but with God’s will and character leading His actions, it seems reasonable to me that God could limit Himself to a human body, entering the realm of humanity in order to fulfill our end of the covenant (which we had been sickly unable to do since He laid out that covenant with Abraham.) Becoming a man doesn’t contradict God’s morality – unlike if His unlimitedness meant He could lie. (I know you weren’t asserting that)
    There are, however, several confusing passages that seem to go against what we see as God’s character – such as His hardening of Pharoah’s heart – sending a deceitful spirit – or saying that He hated Esau.

    I have a couple verses that seem to allude to God dying. Tell me what you think.
    Acts 20:28 says “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
    How does God shed blood? Or, how is Jesus being referred to as God in this verse?

    Also, Hebrews 9:16 says “For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead…” I don’t have a full understanding of all that is being said in these verses – but is it saying that the one who made the covenant (God) must die in order for it to be fulfilled?

    Mark,
    You said:
    “So John was not saying that Jesus existed before him, but rather that Jesus was preferred in his sight because he was before him in rank. ”
    Are you saying that John preferred Jesus in his sight? That doesn’t seem to make any sense in English – especially when this is a quote of John before Jesus was on the scene. He would be saying “Look for the one who is coming whom I now prefer as standing before me in my sight.” That’s a little confusing.
    I looked at the verse in the NASB.
    It says “..of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'” They translate the first “before” as “chief” – a definition you didn’t ascribe to emprosthen. The second “before” they specifically render as “before in time.” I’m guessing you don’t agree with their translation?

    I don’t think I’ve heard your take on another verse that alludes to an eternal Jesus – “Before Abraham was born, I am.” (Jn. 8:58) The Pharisees thought Jesus was claiming to be God – for they picked up stones to kill him. How do you interpret this verse?

    Xavier,
    Regarding your “Father” discourse – It may be interesting to investigate why that word is only used for God after Jesus used it. I haven’t done the research, but I don’t recall God being referred to as Father in the OT to the degree that He is in the NT, especially from Jesus’ mouth. Why the change? The OT writers usually say “God” or “Yahweh.” They might say “Father” only as much as they might say “Shepherd.” Again, I see words like Father and Shepherd
    as descriptions of Yahweh relationship to us- not ultimate deity titles – since the words are more regularly used for fleshly fathers and shepherds.

    Michael,
    Do you have a take on the question of Jesus’ nature? You seem to have some sort of concern for the subject? Or perhaps you just like to watch us debate the subject? Does two conflicting takes on the subject make the whole thing a lie? I heard it recently said that the bad guys only counterfit what is valuable. They don’t make counterfit of Monopoly money. Similarly, Satan inspires counterfits of Christianity to confuse the truth. How many brands of Islam or Hinduism do you see out there? Maybe 2 or 3 at most? They are not what is valuable and what makes Satan squirm- only Christianity is. (Though even Islam can be seen as a knockoff of Christianity.)

  172. on 09 Dec 2009 at 6:24 amJaco

    Aaron, you asked

    I have a couple verses that seem to allude to God dying. Tell me what you think.
    Acts 20:28 says “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
    How does God shed blood? Or, how is Jesus being referred to as God in this verse?

    Aaron, the phrase in question in the Greek says:

    … dia tou haimatos tou idiou.
    gloss: through of the blood of the own.
    translation: through the blood of [his] own.

    I won’t go into that much detail here. I can say that the ambiguity of this verse is reflected in the different ways many translations render this. The way you state it is one way the other way is such:

    “through the blood of (his) own (son).”
    –French Darby “par le sang de son propre [fils].”
    –German Elber “durch das Blut seines Eigenen.”
    –RSV “with the blood of his own Son.”[but with footnote indicating variants]
    –NRSV “with the blood of his own Son.[Or: ‘with his own blood’; Gk ‘with the blood of his Own.’]
    –NET “with the blood of his own Son. –TEV) “through the death of his Son [‘the death of his Son’ or ‘his own death.’]

    F.F Bruce says:

    DIA TOU hAIMATOS TOU IDIOU: “with the blood of his own one; byz reads DIA TOU IDIOU hAIMATOS, “with his own blood.” In the present sense IDIOS is the equivalent of Heb. YAHID, “only,” “well-beloved,” otherwise rendered AGAPHTOS, EKLEKTOS, MONOGENHS. For the absolute sense of hO IDIOS (but in the plural) cf. 4:23; 24:23; also Jn 1:11; 13:1. (Cf. TA IDIA, “one’s own place,” 21:6). F.F.Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles:
    Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary_ 3rd ed., p. 434

    Note how the word order changed from the earlier reading, “…dia tou haimatos tou idiou”, to the later reading, “…dia tou idiou haimatos.” The natural way of understanding it, in my opinion, is that the son is implied, especially if one consideres the Hebrew equivalent.

    Also, Hebrews 9:16 says “For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead…” I don’t have a full understanding of all that is being said in these verses – but is it saying that the one who made the covenant (God) must die in order for it to be fulfilled?

    Aaron, the new covenant is between God and man with Jesus as mediator (1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 12:24). It is a covenant concluded on the same principles of the Old Covenant. The whole of Heb. 9 draws parallels between the Old and New. If you look at Ex. 24 you’ll see that half of the blood was meant to reconcile the covenanter (Israel) with God. (Le. 17:11) The other half was used to conclude the covenant with God after atonement. Now, as the writer of Hebrews says, the covenanter had to die. With the first covenant animals were sacrificed for the human covenanters’ sake. With the second covenant, Jesus as the unblemished Lamb was sacrificed to God for our sake. (Mt. 20:28, Lu 22:20). God cannot die. The covenanter has to die, or else provide a substitute for his own life to conclude between God and the covenanter. Heb. 9:14 distinguish between the one dying, Christ, and the one offered to, God.

    To Mark, you said,

    I don’t think I’ve heard your take on another verse that alludes to an eternal Jesus – “Before Abraham was born, I am.” (Jn. 8:58) The Pharisees thought Jesus was claiming to be God – for they picked up stones to kill him. How do you interpret this verse.

    The crucial point here is the usage of ego eimi (I am). The connection is made by Trinitarians to Exodus 3:14 where YHWH identifies himself as I AM. Firstly, the usage of ego eimi in itself does not identify the user with YHWH. It was commonly used to denote self-identification. See for instance the usage in 1 Chr. 17:21, and John 9:9. Its usage for self-identification is also seen as YHWH identifies himself in Isaiah 41:4 after asking a question. Secondly is there nothing in the context or grammar that insist on Jesus identifying himself as YHWH. Grammatically this usage is called “extension from the past.” Look for instance at the sentence structure in the following verses and note the usage of present-tense words as something which has commenced in the past: Lu. 13:7 (erchomai), John 14:9 (eimi, egnokas). Here the notion of past commencement, extending into the present is very clearly shown. Then, again, we cannot go on the reaction of the Pharisees as a basis for what Jesus did. They misunderstood him plenty a time, and, as he stated in Joh. 8:44 they were murderous as Satan was, hence their seeking not only to kill Jesus, but also Lazarus in John 11. And finally, trinitarians love using the “I am” statement in Joh. 8:58 to prove Jesus’ identity with YHWH. They are extremely inconsistent, though, since John 14:28 would cause a major dilemma in their eisegesis.

    Regards,

    Jaco

  173. on 09 Dec 2009 at 11:34 amMark C.

    Mark,
    You said:
    “So John was not saying that Jesus existed before him, but rather that Jesus was preferred in his sight because he was before him in rank. ”
    Are you saying that John preferred Jesus in his sight? That doesn’t seem to make any sense in English – especially when this is a quote of John before Jesus was on the scene. He would be saying “Look for the one who is coming whom I now prefer as standing before me in my sight.” That’s a little confusing.

    I’m not saying John preferred Jesus in his sight. It says “a man which is preferred before me.” John made this statement three times in this chapter (vs. 15, 27, & 30). Each time he pointed out Jesus’ superiority to him in contrast to his coming after him chronologically.

    I looked at the verse in the NASB.
    It says “..of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” They translate the first “before” as “chief” – a definition you didn’t ascribe to emprosthen. The second “before” they specifically render as “before in time.” I’m guessing you don’t agree with their translation?

    While “before, as in rank” is one meaning that emprosthen can have, it is not the primary definition. The following is from Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary:

    in front, before
    1. before, i.e. in that local region which is in front of a person or thing
    2. before, in the presence of, i.e. opposite to, over against one
    3. before, in the sight of
    4. before, denoting rank

    More importantly, if you look up the usages in a concordance you see that nearly every one is in the sense of “in front of, in the presence of, in the sight of.”

    All the places where John makes the statement, “he comes after me but is preferred before me” the point is to indicate Jesus’ superiority, but the word “before” is “in the sight of” not “before in time.”

    The second “before” in the phrase “because he was before me” is protos and grammatically can mean either in time or in rank. Which you choose depends on whether you believe Jesus pre-existed, so it can’t be used to prove either view.

    I suspect that the NASB’s translation was based on what they considered the overall meaning of John’s statement – i.e., that Jesus existed before. So, no, I don’t agree with it.

    I don’t think I’ve heard your take on another verse that alludes to an eternal Jesus – “Before Abraham was born, I am.” (Jn. 8:58) The Pharisees thought Jesus was claiming to be God – for they picked up stones to kill him. How do you interpret this verse?

    As Jaco pointed out, Jesus’ use of the phrase ego eimi does not identify him as YHWH. In fact the Septuagint translation of God’s I AM statement uses a different phrase. The following is from my website:

    When Jesus said “I am” in this context, it is thought to be a quote of God’s reference to Himself as I AM in Exodus 3:14. In that verse, when Moses asked what God’s name was and whom he should say sent him, God replied, “I AM THAT I AM” and then said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) renders “I AM THAT I AM” as ego eimi o on and then the second “I AM” as simply o on. God was not just saying “I AM I AM.” The phrase “I AM THAT I AM” literally means “I am the being” or “I am the self-existent one.” The phrase o on means “The Being” or “The Self-existent One.” God told Moses to say that “The Self-existent One” sent him.

    However, Jesus did not claim this title. “I am” in John is not ego eimi o on, but just ego eimi. It is a common phrase which simply means “I am he” or “I am the one.” The blind man used the same phrase when he said “I am he” in John 9:9. Jesus used it twice before in the same chapter in which he said, “Before Abraham was, I am.”

    John 8:
    24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
    25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
    26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
    27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
    28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
    29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

    Jesus wasn’t saying he was “the Great I AM” or the “Self-existent One” as God is. He was simply saying “I am he,” which he defined in v.25 as “I am who I have been saying I am all along.” He’d been saying all along that he was the Son of God, not God in the flesh. And verse 28 says as plain as can be, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He.” The Son of Man is a title for the Messiah that originated in Daniel, and was a title that Jesus often used of himself. He uses it here, adding “I am he” (ego eimi). He also used the phrase “I (that speak to you) am he” in John 4:26, when he identifies himself as the Messiah to come. Son of Man and Son of God are Messianic titles, as well as “Messiah” itself, all of which refer to the One who was to come and declare God’s will, judge the world, and rule on God’s behalf, as well as offer himself as the ultimate sacrifice. This is who and what Jesus claimed to be.

    I hope that helps.

  174. on 11 Dec 2009 at 3:27 pmMichael

    Aaron writes…Do you have a take on the question of Jesus’ nature? You seem to have some sort of concern for the subject? Or perhaps you just like to watch us debate the subject?

    Response- Yes I have a take on the nature of Jesus and if I or anyone did not have this concern then there would be far less debate and division on the nature of the person that prayed that we would be one.

    Aaron writes… Does two conflicting takes on the subject make the whole thing a lie?

    Response- Lincoln said “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong”.

    In the Trinitarian Unitarian debate I find both to be wrong.

    Jaco writes… I do not agree with your statements implying that the Trinity doctrine and the “agency” concept are equivalent in this regard. Ok, if you don’t want us to use “agency,” I will use the historically and culturally confirmed notion expressed as shaliach.

    Response- Is the Bible a book of notions and concepts that require us to add words to properly define them while simultaneously instructing us not to add or take away words?

  175. on 12 Dec 2009 at 3:09 amAaron

    I thought I had posted a reply a couple days ago – but when I just checked in – I saw my post didn’t go through for some reason. Here goes again…

    Thanks for the replies.
    I wonder if either of you could give me a paraphrase of what you think Jesus is saying in John 8:58. You went to great lengths to show me what it isn’t saying – but I didn’t catch what you think it is saying.

    Your rendering:
    “Before Abraham was born, I am he.”
    What does this mean? It seems like two completely separate thoughts jammed in one sentence. And how is this a response to the Pharisees question if Jesus had seen Abraham in the distant past?

    Jesus certainly doesn’t say “No, I didn’t see him.” What then did his response mean?

    I read the suggested verses Lu. 13:7 and John 14:9 – I guess I didn’t catch what you wanted me to see. Both verses read very clearly and the verb tenses seem to fit very well with the subject matter.

    One other brief thought. From my vantage point, it seems odd that on hand you point to the common Hebrew notion of Agency – the Shema – and Son of God terminology as a clear framework for interpreting Jesus words. These, you say, would have been common understanding of the time and would allow Jesus’ hearers and the gospel readers to make sense of Jesus’ claims and actions. Yet, on the other hand, you say that the Pharisees – those who had a deeper understanding of Hebrew ideas and culture than anybody at that time – constantly misunderstood Jesus claims and words. Is this a contradiction?
    You can’t pass these guys off as ignorant – they were the best educated Jews in the land. Paul himself claimed to be a Hebrew of Hebrews. Surely he and the other Pharisees understood the concept of Agency and such. Yet, their conclusions about what Jesus was saying are usually different from your conclusions. They thought he was claiming preexistence and divinity. You might have to conclude that Jesus was a terrible communicator if people kept coming to conclusions that Jesus wasn’t offering. Jesus’ answers to the Pharisees questions about his nature rarely cleared things up for them – his answers usually incited them all the more.

    Sorry, one more question – and it is entirely off topic. Just something that popped in my head the other day. Could Jesus have paid for the sins of mankind by dying a natural death at a ripe old age? Or did he have to die by crucifixion to accomplish all that he was meant to?

    Later

  176. on 12 Dec 2009 at 9:46 amXavier

    Aaron,

    You can’t pass these guys off as ignorant – they were the best educated Jews in the land. Paul himself claimed to be a Hebrew of Hebrews.

    It amazes me how the Pharasaic mindset survives to this day. Since people like you still believe they were right in their summation of who Jesus was. At the end of the day, this would mean that the “common Hebrew folk” [including the disciples, future Christians to be sure] never really knew who he really was, since they only confessed “this man from Nazareth” as the only [human] son of God and not God the Son etc.

    Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

    And the man jumped up and went home! Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And THEY PRAISED GOD FOR GIVING SUCH AUTHORITY TO HUMAN BEINGS. [Mat 9.5-8; cp. 15.31; Mar 2.12; Lu 2.20; 5.25-26; 13.13; 23.47]

    Also note, that among all the “FALSE testimonies” Pharasies used against Jesus [cp. Mat 26.57ff.], the one claim to absolute Deity was never brought forth.

    RE: the “Father” discourse…

    The point of those quotes I previously posted is that the title of ho theos [God], according to Trinitarian scholars themselves, is ALWAYS used of the Father and never of the Son.

  177. on 12 Dec 2009 at 10:56 amRay

    Aaron, here’s what John 8:58 looks like to me.

    John 8:58
    Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (KJV)

    If I were to expand on that, interpret it, paraphrase it, or otherwise try to explain the meaning of it, it might look something like this:

    Jesus who was not being understood by them who did not hear what he was saying, being without spiritual understanding, not receiving what he was saying, began to be somewhat irritated with them, having been long suffering their ignorance through their pride and rebellious nature because of their living life contrary to God, gave them something to digest, and by this their nature should become all the more manifest, while he would again give them a chance to
    receive what he had been saying all along. They could either not hear him because of their sins, or worse yet, to pretend to not hear him and deliberatly try to deceive others around him by corrupting the meaning of what he was about to say, which was
    in effect, “Before Abraham was. (upon this earth living his days in the flesh, searching for a city that had justice, judgment, and the ways of God as it’s foundation, {see Genesis 18:19} but now, )
    I am.

    It was now time for the Messiah to make his search for the same city, walking the area Abraham had walked.

    Abraham had seen the day of Jesus by revelation, either by the things God had done with him through his life which was a shadow
    of things to come, by visions which he received, by visitation of angels, or gifts of wisdom, and he had rejoiced at receiving the good news concering the Messiah, by faith.

  178. on 13 Dec 2009 at 8:37 pmAaron

    Ray,
    Thanks for trying to explain John 8:58.

    Xavier,
    Why do you call the testimonies in Matthew 26 “false” testimonies. I know vs. 59 says that the pharisees were looking for false testimonies – but couldn’t that be a legal reference to whether or not those who testified actually witnessed the events. Certainly the quoted witness in vs 61 isn’t saying anything false. He is accurately stating what Jesus said about the temple. They question whether or not Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God.” Is that a false testimony? You believe that is an accurate statement. It’s a matter of what that statement means.

    If you look at how the pharisees perceived Jesus’ claim to be the unique Son of God (as we have discussed in John 5:18 and John 10:33) then yes, they were accusing Jesus of being God in Matthew 26.

    “confessed “this man from Nazareth” as the only [human] son of God and not God the Son etc. “

    I thought you said Adam was a “[human] son of God” too. Not a very unique belief then on the disciples part. There must be something unique about Jesus that sets him ontologically apart from Adam. What could it be…

  179. on 13 Dec 2009 at 10:11 pmXavier

    Aaron,

    The charges brought against Jesus were turned and used against him, hence the writer of Matthew describes them as “false”. For example the Temple one you mention, the text clearly says that Jesus was referring to his death and resurrection [“rebuild it in 3 days”, Mat 26.61] and not to the Jewish Temple as you suggest.

    But the Temple he had spoken of was HIS BODY. After he was raised from the dead his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. Jn 2.21-22

    My point is, that at no point was he charged or specifically accused of being YHWH in the flesh. If this had been the case, the Pharisees would not have had to look for any “false witnesses” and in UNISON all the Jews would probably have condemned and killed Jesus ON THE SPOT! Or locked him up or simply dismissed him as a crazy lunatic since the inference is dumb, unimaginable!

    And the fact of the matter is that at every turn the Pharisees were unable to either see or hear his message so as to understand not only who he was, but what his preaching entailed [i.e. as Moses instituted the Torah, Jesus was instituing the New Covenant since he was THE promised Messiah, FUTURE King of Israel].

    I thought you said Adam was a “[human] son of God” too. Not a very unique belief then on the disciples part. There must be something unique about Jesus that sets him ontologically apart from Adam. What could it be…

    Do you believe in the way Jesus was conceived according to the virgin birth accounts? If so, how can you say this? Although there are many so called “sons of God” in the scriptures, Jesus is the unique, Only Son of God [monogenes, Jn 1.18; 3.19]. Just like Paul says:

    For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are MANY “gods” and MANY “lords”), yet for us [Christians who confess the HUMAN Son of God, cp. Mat 16.16] there is but ONE GOD, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but ONE LORD MESSIAH JESUS, THROUGH [dia, not “from” or “by”] whom all things came and through whom we live. 1Cor 8.5-6

  180. on 14 Dec 2009 at 3:56 amJaco

    Aaron, you asked:

    What does this mean? It seems like two completely separate thoughts jammed in one sentence. And how is this a response to the Pharisees question if Jesus had seen Abraham in the distant past?

    This text best describes Jesus being foreknown even before Abraham was. I agree that the two clauses rendered, “Before Abraham was, I am” are grammatically somewhat loaded. I gave two examples (those I could locate) of this particular sentence structure. They were examples of a structure called “Extension from the Past:”

    Lu. 13:7 (Lit.): Behold, three years I come (erchomai, present tense) seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I found not.

    The best way of translating this should be,

    Behold, three years I have come (present perfect tense) seeking fruit on this fig tree, and have found none.

    Joh. 14:9 (Lit.): So great a time with you I am (eimi, present tense), and you do not know (egnokas, present tense) me, Phillip?

    The correct way of translating these two present tense verbs would be,

    So great a time have I been (present perfect tense) with you and you [have not come to know] (present perfect tense) me, Phillip?

    I hope you can see how these examples demonstrate the concept of “Extension from the Past.”

    Now, with John 8:58, applying this pattern, would have the verse read:

    Before Abraham was, I have been

    or, Before Abraham was, I have been [the intended one].

    This rendering in no ways demands the anti-Semitic concept of personal pre-existense. It simply means that “he was foreknown before the founding of the world, but he was made manifest at the end of the times for the sake of you” (1 Pet. 1:20). As we have touched on prolepsis before, men of faith understood God as the one speaking “of things which do not exist as though they did” (Rom. 4:17). We who have the hope of reigning with our King, already “have” that glory – the same regnal glory Jesus now has – not literally, but reserved for us. This we needn’t doubt, since, from God’s standpoint, it is already attained.

    Yet, on the other hand, you say that the Pharisees – those who had a deeper understanding of Hebrew ideas and culture than anybody at that time – constantly misunderstood Jesus claims and words.

    That’s what made the sin of the Pharisees so much more reproachable. They, of all, should have recognised and supported the Messiah and his work. They acted as agents of Satan (John 8:44) and thus sought whatever they could, to get the Messiah killed. Whatever Jesus said, regardless of how true, they either twisted or outright misrepresented to get him killed. If we were to go on their testimony, Jesus WAS a drunkard, a mingler with prostitures, an agent of Beelzebub, guilty of sedition, and what not! Glad I won’t see many of them in the coming Age…

    Regarding your question of whether Jesus had to suffer,

    Jesus’ saving work involved so much. That is what made his ministry such an ultimate and superior one, since all redemptive promises were fulfilled in him (2 Cor. 1:20). The Issue of Universal Sovreignty had to be settled (Job. 2:4, 5, Matt. 4:1-11) He had to become a sin OFFERING (Eph 5:2) and bear our sins for us (Gal. 3:13, Isa. 52:13-53:12). So, no, not his life as a baby nor a life free from suffering and eventual death at old-age would have provided the needed ransom. By the way, a perfect Jesus would never have died at an old age…

    Jaco

  181. on 15 Dec 2009 at 12:48 amAaron

    Thanks Jaco for clearing up the 2 verses you cited with the mixed verb tenses. I missed the point the first time around.

    “a perfect Jesus would never have died at an old age…”
    That’s an interesting concept. I’m not sure that I agree with it. Didn’t God limit man’s days back in Genesis when they were sinful and multiplying? Though, not of Adam’s seed, Jesus was still a human, born of a human mother. He was born under the Law – and all it entailed.

  182. on 15 Dec 2009 at 6:41 amXavier

    “a perfect Jesus would never have died at an old age…”

    I have entertained this scenario myself but now think that if this had taken place [Jesus had not been killed, hence reached old age] he would have eventually died since he would not have completed his Messianic mission, hence disobeyed God. Thus, Jesus would have sinned.

    Immortality is conditional on obedience to God.

    Aaron,

    Jesus was still a human, born of a human mother.

    So are you saying Jesus was not “God-man”? Hope we have convinced you 🙂

  183. on 15 Dec 2009 at 8:48 amJaco

    Xavier,

    Good point. Disobedience would have made Jesus a sinner. I didn’t think of it from that angle…

    Aaron,

    Glad I could clear up those two scriptures.

    Adam was the son of God out of dust, sinless and perfect, yet mortal, hence, the possibility of dying. (Gen. 2:16, 17) Human death we’re experiencing is due to inherited and committed sin (Rom. 5:12). Jesus had neither, thus could he live forever as Adam and Eve in their sinless state could live forever. What he later received was immortality (athanasia), and thus the INABILITY and IMPOSSIBILITY to die.

    Something I’d like to add here as an aside: I recently listened to a debate between a Trinitarian and a Christadelphian. One of the areas Trinitarians focus on a lot, especially for the last few decades, is the idea that Jesus is Jehovah. Whenever the Father is proven to be distinct and separate from Jesus, they would hold (without proper proof, though) that both the Father and Jesus are Jehovah. Granted, this is a curve-ball to some, especially since Yahweh is always shown to be the single, only God of Israel.

    It is, however, one of the easier areas of trinitarianism to refute. To show the Father’s and Jesus’ separateness does prove Unitarianism, but it doesn’t refute trinitarianism. Not in itself, that is. To prove, however, the separateness between Jesus and Yahweh is a totally different story. That would immediately refute the relatively novel development that Jesus is Yahweh.

    What makes it so easy to refute? Firstly, it is Yahweh who says that he would raise up a Messiah. This one would be the prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15, 18). This one would come out of David (Isa. 11). He would be separate and different from Yahweh (Ps. 2, Ps. 110:1) and he would be Yahweh’s servant (Isa. 52:13-53:12). All these (and many, many other OT Scriptures) show the distinctness of Yahweh and Yahshua – something radically in contradiction to what the Trinity teaches, namely, that Jesus (Yahshua) is Yahweh.

    Now, the Evangelical would say…halt! Remember progressive revelation!

    What we need to understand is that progressive revelation does not mean different revelation. All Scripture still needs to be in harmony. Theology cannot change – aspects of that theology might. That’s why it is never said that Jesus broke or changed the Law and the Prophets. He confirmed and fulfilled them. And that is exactly what Trinitarianism doesn’t allow. See, here in the NT, containing all that was left to complete Biblical Messianic theology (2 Tim 3:16, 17), which would have to clear up all the issues of “progressive revelation,” we find the following:

    Yahweh, the same One of the OT, is still separate and distinct from Jesus (Heb. 1:1-3)
    Jesus is the Son of Elohim, Adonai Yahweh, thus confirming, again, their distinctness (Joh. 3:16).
    Since Jesus was the Son of Elohim, Adonai Yahweh, he could call Him his Father. The Hebrew cognitive universe was once again confirmed in anthropomorphic terms, showing the relation among God and Jesus not as twins or as triplets, but as a father toward a son. Jesus even said so much (Joh. 14:28, 17:3).
    The testimony of faithful Hebrews in front of the hard-hearted Jews indicated Yahweh and Jesus to be separate and different (Act. 2:22, 32–36, 3:13, 15, 18, 22, 23, 26), as well as the confessional statements by Paul (1 Cor 8:6, Eph. 4:4-6) indicate so much. Yahweh was the One His nation worshipped (Joh. 8:54), the One who sent His Son (Rom 1:1-4), by means of whom the whole world will be judged (Act. 17:31).

    Now, I ask, how much clearer did the First Century Pharisees want Jesus to state this? How much clearer should the apostles and disciples have stated it to the Sanhedrin? How much clearer do Trinitarians want it to be???

    Jaco

  184. on 15 Dec 2009 at 8:05 pmRay

    Isn’t Jesus being God kind of like a dime bag of chips?

    I had a Sub today and got the whole meal thing which included a small bag of chips.

    Now to an old school kind of guy who remembers 15 cent glasses of beer (ninety cent pitchers) and dime bags of chips, he still might
    think of these small bags of chips as dime bags of chips, even though the person behind the counter won’t likey agree with the
    thing, but to him it’s still a dime bag of chips, even though he knows he won’t be getting them for a dime anymore, just like the cost of beer went up over the years. Now they sell beer in pint size glasses and not the little ones. Everything seems to have changed.

    Now, I know we could argue about how God never changes and neither does Jesus and such, but sometimes shouldn’t we allow perspectives to be up to the beer holder or chip holder, whatever the case may be?

    One man might hear “Before Abraham was, I am.” and jump up and down grabbing his neighbor’s shirt sleaves, saying, “I got it!
    I got it!, Jesus is God. Jesus is God. I always knew it! Somehow I always knew it, but here it is!” and the other guy might think his neighbor is a bit odd because maybe he didn’t hear it that way.

    Shouldn’t we let each have his own way about it?

    I suppose there’s a sense in which a dime bag of chips is still a dime bag of chips even though now it costs much more. Did the dime bag of chips ever really change?

  185. on 15 Dec 2009 at 10:08 pmJoseph

    BTW, for any of brethren that are wanting to tackle a great Trinitarian/Unitarian group on facebook here is forum that I could use some help in answering arguments from the Trinitarian side. There are many open ears in that group…

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=app_2373072738&gid=122023807409#/topic.php?uid=122023807409&topic=11856

  186. on 16 Dec 2009 at 7:37 pmRay

    Here’s another attempt to explain John 8:58.

    Jesus knows good grammar. He doesn’t use bad grammar. In heaven there is no bad grammar, in fact, there is nothing bad in heaven at all.

    Jesus is the word of God and he uses words to reveal some things about the kingdom. Jesus is the Lord over all things in heaven. Everything the Father has was his. After his work on this earth was through he went back to the glory he had with the Father.
    In that realm, Jesus is the lord over all time, past, present and future. He was both before and after Abraham. According to the flesh he came after Abraham, though he was and is preferred before him.

    That’s why he said, …”before Abraham was, I am.”

  187. on 17 Dec 2009 at 3:30 amJaco

    Just to set the record straight, and this is not necessarily a post for you, Ray, but for the other posters as well.

    No one is disputing Jesus’ usage of grammar. No one says he used bad grammar. He used in perfectly. OUR TRANSLATING into ENGLISH leaves us with the challenge of using proper ENGLISH grammar.

    …”before Abraham was, I am” is not good English grammar. Neither is it linguistically the accurate message Jesus tried to convey, hence the linguistic phenomenon of “Extension from the Past.” I appreciate the fact that Language was not your strong point at school, since you stated that a while ago. For the rest of us who are intrigued by this Divinely endowed ability, the technicalities of this issue will be clear enough to see.

    Your brother,

    Jaco

  188. on 19 Dec 2009 at 4:21 amAaron

    Thanks for the chats everyone. I’m going to lay low for awhile while I continue studying.

    I think it would do me good to read some books on the subject.

    I listened to the Philadelphian debate. I like debates because you usually get a clear understanding of both sides.

    No matter how strong one side’s argument is, there is usually a very good argument on the other side.

    It takes discernment and humility before God to hear what the real truth is.

    Ciao.

  189. on 19 Dec 2009 at 9:45 amJaco

    Aaron, brother

    It’s been great chatting with you. Please don’t take too long before posting again. Our best wishes accompany you, brother.

    Till we talk again.

    God’s richest blessings,

    Jaco

  190. on 19 Dec 2009 at 9:54 amXavier

    The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.

    THEY PERISH BECAUSE THEY REFUSED TO LOVE THE TRUTH AND SO BE SAVED. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned WHO HAVE NOT BELIEVED THE TRUTH but have delighted in wickedness.

    But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved THROUGH THE SANCTIFYING WORK OF THE SPIRIT AND THROUGH BELIEF IN THE TRUTH. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Thess 2.9-14

  191. on 19 Dec 2009 at 12:38 pmRay

    Jaco,
    In regards to your answer of #187, I have this question:

    Is there another way to translate what Jesus said in John 8:58?
    I ask this because it is a difficult one to understand in our English.

    It seems to me that whatever Jesus said must convey the idea of
    what Jesus said about who he is in John 10:36, that he is the Son of God, for when Jesus was accused of being a man and making himself God, he maintained that he said that he is the Son of God.

    So is there a better translation and if so, what might it look like in
    English?

  192. on 19 Dec 2009 at 5:27 pmJaco

    Ray,

    I’m not sure how else one can translate the “Extension from the past” than to render it as a perfect tense in English. Those who believe in the personal pre-existence of Jesus Christ like to add that concept by parenthesizing the words “in existence.” E.g, [Since] before Abraham was, I have been [in existence.] As we have proven time and time again, this is unnecessary, since it does not accurately convey the Jewish and Hebraic notion of prognostic or intentional preexistance.

    That’s all I can say.

    Your brother

  193. on 20 Jan 2012 at 4:11 pmRon S.

    For those reading my “accidental” re-post of this (now fixed/removed), here’s the original article I posed almost 2.5 years ago here on KR. Wow, I still can’t believe I forgot that I originally covered the topic the first time around! 🙂

  194. on 28 Apr 2017 at 6:10 amVincent

    I love the idea of not using made-up terms or phrases outside of “the pattern of sound words” used in scripture:(e.g Trinity; Hell ; unpardonable sin) I am trying to reach that point in my own chats with others where I quote scripture and leave it at that as far as possible: (Being human) I am also painfully aware that Jesus never spoke a word of English in his life!

    “For example 1 Cor 8:6/7 ” nevertheless for us there is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him.
    But not in all is there this knowledge.” .. and leave the rest to the spirit of God. We always get into a muddle when we try and go too far and help God out in explaining what He has left a little obscure

  

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