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Divine Agency in the Scriptures

  

Many of us here at Kingdomready have talked about “Agency” in Scripture before and how much it is a part of the Hebrew thought world & the culture of the biblical writers. A “shaliach” or agent/emissary represented someone and was treated as that individual because legally they were.  In our modern society, the closest we get to that is to appoint “Power of Attorney” to someone.  They can make legally binding decisions for us because we have designated them to serve in that capacity for us.  But in ancient Hebrew culture, the shaliach (or sheliah) wasn’t just that person in a legal sense only.  They were also respected, treated, and thought of AS THE ONE THEY REPRESENTED.  Back in 2005 a man by the name of David Burge of New Zealand wrote a terrific article about how much this Hebrew “law of agency” plays out in God’s dealing with man throughout Scripture and how vital it is to understand the concept in order to prevent a host of biblical errors.  Here’s the article in its entirety.  It is long, but extremely well done!

 


Divine Agency in the Scriptures

by David Burge

  

In Hebrew thought, the “first cause” is not always distinguished from “intermediate” or “secondary” causes. That is to say: The principal is not always clearly distinguished from the agent, the one commissioned to carry out an act on behalf of another. Sometimes the agent, standing for the principal, is treated as if he or she were the principal him or herself, though this is not literally so. Principal and agent remain two distinct persons but they act in complete harmony. The agent acts and speaks for his principal.

The Principle of Agency in Scripture

In the Bible there are examples of human principals using fellow humans for agents, of God as divine principal using angelic agents, and of God using human agents. This notion of principal and agent is the key to understanding the relationship between the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Human Principal and Agency in the Gospels

The concept of principal and agency can actually help us to reconcile what appear otherwise to be contradictions in the parallel accounts found in the synoptic Gospels. So in the account of Jesus healing the centurion’s servant, Matthew speaks of a conversation between the centurion himself and Jesus (Mt. 8:5-13). Luke tells us that the centurion did not in fact come personally. He sent some “Jewish elders” and then some “friends” to Jesus with his requests (Luke 7:1-10). The centurion here is the principal; the Jewish elders and the centurion’s friends are his appointed, commissioned agents. Remembering that in Hebrew thought, the principal and the agent are not always clearly distinguished, Matthew mentions only the principal (the centurion) without distinguishing the agent (the Jewish elders and friends). Luke mentions both principal and agents. To put it another way, in Matthew’s account, the elders (agents) stand for and are treated as the centurion (principal), even though this is not literally true.

Similarly, when Jesus was questioned concerning who might sit next to him in his Kingdom, Mark gives us the impression that James and John themselves personally asked whether they might sit next to Jesus in places of royal authority (Mk. 10:35-40). Matthew tells us that in fact it was the mother of Zebedee’s children who actually made the request to Jesus (Mt. 20:20-23). In this case, Matthew gives the agency (the mother), whereas Mark does not. Again, putting it the other way around, in Matthew’s account the mother (as agent) stands for and is treated as James and John (the principal), even though this is not literally true.

Divine Principal and Human Agency

The LORD told Moses that he would be “Elohim [God] to Aaron” (Ex. 4:16). He says, “I have made you Elohim to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet” (Ex. 7:1). In Exodus 7:17-21 the LORD says: “By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.” The LORD then says to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt — over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs — and they will turn to blood.’” Moses and Aaron did as the LORD had commanded. Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile “and all the water was changed into blood.”

The LORD had said that He Himself would strike the waters with the staff in his own hand. Yet, it was Aaron’s hand that held the rod, and Aaron who struck the Nile. Clearly, Aaron is not God. Rather, Aaron stands as God’s agent, in the place of God. One might even say he is “God,” not literally, but in a manner of (Hebrew) speaking. One might even say in this case that God (as principal) was represented by Moses (the agent), who in turn was represented by Aaron!

Divine Principal and Angelic Agency

Genesis 18 begins by saying that “the LORD appeared to Abraham” (v. 1). We read that Abraham “looked up and saw three men” (v. 2). The implication is that one of the three is in a sense the LORD. Later it is the LORD who says, “I will surely return to you about this time next year” (vv. 10, 13). When the men get up to leave the LORD speaks yet again (v. 17). Finally, two of the angelic men turn away. As the NIV has it, “Abraham remained standing before the LORD” (v. 22). The alternative, given as a footnote, reads “but the LORD remained standing before Abraham.” It was not literally the LORD (the principal) who appeared to Abraham; it was an angel (His agent). As agent of the LORD, however, the angel is treated as the LORD. We know this must be so because the Bible is adamant: No one has seen God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; 1 Tim. 6:16). Note too that the one angel who directly represents God is worshiped as God’s agent.

When Jacob wrestled with a heavenly being, he is said to have “seen God face to face.” So Jacob is said to have wrestled with “God” (Gen. 32:24-30). However, we know from the word of the LORD to the prophet Hosea that Jacob in struggling against God actually wrestled with an angel (Hos. 12:3-4). Jacob did not literally wrestle with the LORD (the principal); it was with an angel (His agent) that he wrestled. However as the agent of the LORD the angel is treated as the LORD. Again, we know this is so because the Bible insists: No one has ever seen God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; 1 Tim. 6:16). So too, when Jacob, as an old man, blessed Joseph’s children he said, “May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm — may he bless these boys” (Gen. 48:15-16). Surely, God Himself is not an angel, but the angel as His agent represented Him.

Another very clear example of this type of thinking is as follows. According to Deuteronomy 4:12 it was the LORD who spoke to Israel “out of the fire” to give them His Law at Sinai. It is said to be the LORD’s own voice that they heard. Yet several Scriptures reveal the speaker to have been an angel. Stephen says that “he [Moses] was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai” (Acts 7:38). He told the Jews, “You have received the law that was put into effect through angels, and have not obeyed it” (v. 53). Paul also says, “The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator [Moses]” (Gal. 3:19). Hebrews 2:2 only serves to confirm this point, saying that the message (the law) was “spoken by angels.” This is no contradiction. The LORD did not literally speak “out of the fire.” An angel spoke. However as the agent of the LORD the angel is treated as the LORD. It is as if the LORD actually spoke.

Scripture affirms that it was God who “opened the doors of the heavens” and “rained down manna” for the people of Israel to eat during their wilderness wanderings. He gave them “the grain of heaven” to eat (Ps. 78:23-24). The manna did not literally come down from heaven, the throne of God. It was “from heaven” in that it was a gracious gift of God. So too, the manna is called “the bread of angels” (Ps. 78:25). This is probably not because angels actually have manna for breakfast. God himself provided the food, but he did it through the agency of His angels.

“The Angel of the Lord”

When Hagar saw the angel of the LORD she said, “I have now seen the one who sees me” (Gen. 16:7-14), referring to God. The angel of God said to Jacob, “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar” (Gen 31:11-13; cf. 28:16). While it is said that “the angel of the LORD” appeared to Moses from within the burning bush, it was God who called to him “from within the bush” (Ex. 3:1-5). Manoah, realizing he had seen “the angel of the LORD,” said to his wife, “We have seen God!” (Jud. 13:20). So too, works attributed to the “angel of the Lord” are attributed to the LORD himself. The angel is said to have brought Israel out of Egypt (Ex. 3:7-8, Jud. 2:1). He is said to have sworn to give the land to the seed of Abraham (Gen. 15:18; Jud. 2:1). It was he who is said to have “cut a covenant” with Israel (Gen. 15:18; Jud. 2:1).

Many suggest that the angel of the LORD is a manifestation of the LORD Himself. Some even suggest that the angel of the Lord is a pre-incarnate (pre-human) form of Jesus Christ. If you believe this—Scripture is clear on this point—we suggest that you are mistaken. The book of Hebrews makes much of the supremacy of the Son and the superiority of his ministry over that of God’s servants, the angels (1:5-14). It is because the ministry of the word in the Son is superior to theirs that it must not be neglected. If the message “spoken by angels” (see the previous section) was binding, the saving Gospel message that comes by the Son is more so (2:1-4). While the Son was “made a little lower than the heavenly beings” (Heb. 2:7, 9), the “angels” of the LXX (Gk version of the OT) (Ps. 8:4-5), he has been exalted far above them by God the Father. He who is so superior to the angels cannot himself be an angel. One of the greatest truths revealed by Hebrews (1:1-2) is that God expressly did not speak through His Son in the Old Testament times. That is because the Son was not yet living. He had not yet been brought into existence (begotten) in Mary’s womb (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:35).

To say that the angel of the LORD is the LORD Himself is inaccurate and imprecise. The angel of the LORD is the agent of the Lord and thus stands for the LORD Himself. Exodus 23:20-21 makes this clear: The LORD says, “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you, to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my name is in him.” As the LORD’s chosen representative, the angel speaks whatever he is told to speak by the LORD. The people are to obey the angel’s voice because “my [God’s] name is in him.” That is, the angel represents God when he is sent on a mission from God.

Has Anyone Ever Seen God?

When God confirmed His covenant with Israel, it is said of Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders that they “saw the God of Israel” (Ex. 24:9-11). So too, in Exodus 33:17-23, Moses is said to have seen God’s “back.” God would not allow Moses to see His face when He passed because “no man can see Me and live.” Note, in verse 20, in God’s own words, “seeing God’s face” and “seeing God” are synonymous. Seeing God’s “back” is akin to seeing “God’s glory” (Ex. 33:18, 22), which Moses did indeed see. As the writer to the Hebrews puts it, Moses “saw Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). How is it then that the Bible is so clear: “No one has ever seen God”? (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12). He “lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). The only explanation available to us is that none of these worthies ever literally saw God. Rather they saw God’s agent, His chosen representative, who spoke with the authority of the LORD as though he were the LORD. They saw the angel of the LORD. In exactly the same manner Jesus said “He who has seen me has seen my Father” (John 14:9).

The Messiah as God’s Agent

There are a number of texts where titles explicitly referring to God in the Jewish Scriptures are referred to Jesus in the Christian Scriptures. Many take this as proof positive that the two are One in a Trinitarian sense, that is, two Persons in the One Essence of God. Comparing Scripture with Scripture, in line with all that has gone before, it can easily be shown that these verses teach the vital truth that the LORD is the principal and the Messiah is His agent. As His appointed representative Messiah stands in the place of God, but is not literally God any more than Moses, Aaron or any of the angels who stand in the place of God are literally God.

Jesus as Savior

The Jewish Scriptures are clear on this point: God is the sole Savior of Israel. The LORD says, “I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Is. 43:3); “apart from Me there is no savior” (Is. 43:11; cf. 45:15, 21; 49:26; 60:16; 63:8). Nevertheless, Moses, as God’s agent, is called a savior (Acts 7:35; cp. 27 and Ex. 2:14; 18:13). The judges, as God’s appointed agents, are also called saviors (Jud. 3:9, 15; Neh. 9:27; Ex. 2:14; 18:13, Acts 7:27, 35). The prophets speak of other human agents, yet future, who will save Israel (Is. 19:20, Obad. 21).

Of course the Apostles acknowledge God as their Savior also. They speak of God as “our Savior” (1 Tim. 1:1; Tit. 1:4) and as “the Savior of all men” (1 Tim. 4:10). For them “the grace of God [the Father] brings salvation” (Tit. 2:10). But in true Biblical fashion, they also refer to Jesus, God’s ultimate agent, as Savior. He was born a Savior (Luke 2:10-11) and not just the Savior of Israel but “the world” (John 4:42). “Salvation is found in no one else.” There is “no other name” than that of Jesus “by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). They were eagerly awaiting that Savior, Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20). This does not however prove that Jesus is the LORD God any more than the fact that Moses and the judges of Israel are called savior, makes them literally Divine. There is indeed only one ultimate Savior who is the God and Father of Jesus. Jesus is also savior as the perfect agent of the One supreme Savior. Salvation derives as Jude 25 says from “the only God” who is our principal savior “through” His agent Jesus Christ.

Jesus as Shepherd

Without doubt God is the principal “shepherd” over Israel (Gen. 49:24; 80:1; Jer. 31:10; Ezek. 34:11-16). David said, “The LORD is my shepherd” (Ps. 23). “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture” (Ps. 100). The prophet Isaiah agrees, saying, “He [the LORD] tends His flock like a shepherd” (Is. 40:11). However He shepherds His people Israel through His agents. Thus the elders of Israel were God’s appointed shepherds (2 Sam. 7:7). David himself was appointed by God to shepherd Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-3; 1 Chr. 11:1-3; Ps. 78:71). Then also a future greater “David,” the Messiah, was predicted to be God’s appointed shepherd over Israel (Ezek. 34:23-24).

Is it any wonder that Jesus, God’s ultimate agent, should refer to himself as “the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14) or that his Apostles refer to “our Lord Jesus” as “that great shepherd of the sheep” (Heb. 13:20) and “the shepherd and overseer [bishop]” of our souls (1 Pet. 2:25). Nevertheless, this does not prove that Jesus is literally the LORD transmuted into flesh, any more than the fact that the elders of Israel and King David being styled shepherds of Israel proves them to be God incarnate.

Jesus as Judge

God is the principal judge of the whole earth (Gen. 18:25; 1 Sam. 2:10; 1 Chr. 16:33; Ps. 50:3-4; 67:4; 94:1-2; 96:13; 98:9); yet though it is said that God Himself is judge (Ps. 50:6) and that God Himself will bring every deed into judgment, “including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecc. 12:14), God has chosen and commissioned human agents as judges to execute God’s judgment throughout Israel’s history.

Comparing Scripture with Scripture we discover that Jesus, God’s ultimate agent, actually stands for God and will judge all things at the end. “He [Jesus] will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts” (1 Cor. 4:5). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10) when he will judge “the living and the dead” (2 Tim. 4:1).

When the Son of Man comes “all the nations will be gathered before him” (Matt. 25:31-46). The Father will actually judge no one. He has “entrusted all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22-27). The Father “has set a day when He will judge the world with justice” but through the agency of “the man He has appointed” (Acts 17:31). Note that the Son does not judge in his own right but only because the Father entrusts judgment to the Son (John 5:22-27). And the Son is styled man and not God. That of course is because there is only One God, and not two!

Jesus as the Rock or Stone of Stumbling

Peter applies to Jesus the text describing the Messiah as “a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall” (Is. 8:14; cp. 1 Pet. 2:8). Again, remember Jesus is God’s agent. Thus when Isaiah says, “The LORD will be a stumbling stone,” he allows for the fact that God causes Israel to stumble over Jesus His agent. “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:22, 23).

Jesus as the Coming One

In Isaiah 40:10 we read, “See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and His arm rules for Him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him.” Clearly, the Sovereign LORD is the Father. The phrase “His arm” may be taken to refer to Messiah (John 12:38), but “the Sovereign Lord” is the coming one; it is He who brings His reward with Him. Yet the Christian Scriptures repeatedly tell us that Jesus is the coming one (Rev. 22:7, 12, 20). Our reward is with him (Rev. 22:12). This is not because Jesus is God but because Jesus as His representative stands in place of Him.

Zechariah 14:4 should be seen in this light as well. “On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.” In the Jewish Scriptures “His feet” are the LORD’s feet. Christians believe it is Jesus who is returning to set up his Kingdom upon earth. But rather than jumping to the erroneous conclusion that Jesus is the LORD we should understand that, as the LORD’s agent, Jesus’ feet are spoken of as God’s feet in exactly the same way as Aaron’s hand is spoken of as the LORD’s hand (remember Ex. 7:17-19).

All the Second Coming passages in the OT are referred to God, but in the NT to Jesus. Since there is only one God, we know that Jesus cannot be God (which would make two!). The principle of agency steps in to provide a wonderfully satisfying solution to the apparent puzzle. God acts through and in His beloved Son and also in His sons.

Jesus as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, etc.

Surely, the same reasoning applies to Jesus’ being called “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; Rev. 19:16), King or Lord of glory (Ps. 24:7, 10; 1 Cor. 2:8), the first and the last (Isa. 44:6; 48:12; Rev. 1:17; Rev. 22:13), the Rock (1 Sam. 2:2; Ps. 18:2; 31:2; 89:26; Is. 17:10-11; Mt. 16:16; 1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:4, 6) and so on. Jesus stands in this relationship to the LORD not because he is the LORD in a literal sense, but because as God’s ultimate agent he stands for the Lord in a way that supersedes the status of Moses and Aaron or any of the angels, even the angel of the LORD, who preceded the time of Jesus.

Zechariah and the “Thirty Pieces of Silver”

Perhaps one more example will drive the point home. The prophet Zechariah, speaking about himself and recording an event in his own life, pictures his prophetic ministry as the shepherding of sheep. When he challenged the leaders of Israel to give him the wages due him, they gave him instead the price of a slave (30 pieces of silver). This surely was an insult worse than if they had not paid him at all. So the LORD told the prophet to throw it to the potter.

“And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, the handsome price at which they priced Me!’ So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter” (11:13). It may be that the LORD Himself speaks of being priced at 30 pieces of silver, but it was Zechariah who was so paid. Are we to assume that Zechariah is Almighty God? Not at all! Rather, in so pricing Zechariah the LORD’s agent, they thus priced the LORD Himself. So when Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Mt. 26:14-15; 27:3-10) they betrayed the LORD for 30 pieces of silver. We need no more conclude, therefore, that Jesus is the LORD in a Trinitarian sense, than we would conclude that Zechariah is the LORD. The Trinitarian idea of God in three Persons had not been imagined in NT times. A fine recent study by a German scholar, One or Three? by Karl-Heinz Ohlig, says, “The Trinity possesses no biblical foundation whatsoever” (p. 130).

Conclusion

A Jewish understanding of the law of agency is expressed in the dictum: “A person’s agent is regarded as the person himself.” God appointed Jesus the Messiah as His agent. As such anything he does is regarded as though the Almighty Himself did it. One trusts the principal in trusting the agent. This notion of principal and agency helps us to understand why if you do not honor the Son, you do not honor the Father (John 5:23; 15:23). By refusing to honor and love the agent you are refusing to honor and love the principal. We see in Jesus a perfect reflection of his principal. He who has seen and heard Jesus has seen and heard the Father (John 14:9, 10; 10:38). And remember that people should be able to see God and Jesus in you, since Christians are also God’s agents to bear the saving Gospel of the Kingdom to others.

263 Responses to “Divine Agency in the Scriptures”

  1. on 21 Jan 2010 at 6:15 pmRon S.

    BTW, another man by the name of Bruce Barham wrote on this exact same subject on his own website (TorahofMessiah.com). He makes many of the same excellent points along with a few others. You can read it here: http://www.torahofmessiah.com/shaliach.htm

  2. on 22 Jan 2010 at 11:04 amFiona

    Hi Ron S
    Excellent article, and so clearly explained that even dimwits like me could understand perfectly. Thanks for that.I will have a look at the other article on torahofmessiah as well
    Fiona

  3. on 22 Jan 2010 at 7:26 pmXavier

    Great study, also check out A.E. Harvey’s Jesus and the Constraints of History, “Son of God: the constraint of Monotheism”, 1980:

    The Jews have always been a great commercial people and the importance of securing reliable agents for the successful expansion of business was well understood. As soon as you start getting on as a trader, you will need to extend your interests beyond your own little shop or office. You need to know and employ people who can carry on your business in your absence and who can be trusted to carry through transactions to your advantage. Indeed it could be said that success in business depended more than anything else on the ability to choose and make use of reliable agents. In these circumstances there was just one person whom a businessman would wish if possible to have as his agent in preference to any other and that was his son. Not only, as we have seen, should he be able to rely on his son’s absolute obedience, but in the long run the interests of the son, who was also the heir, would coincide with the father’s. A classic instance of this agent-son is in the Book of Tobit: Tobias is sent on a long journey to recover an old debt for his father and is duly accredited as his father’s authorised agent. A more sinister example is Jesus’ parable of the wicked vine-dressers, where the son is instantly recognised as the agent having full authority as well as (being the heir) a personal interest, and is accordingly murdered.

    Further precision may be gained from the Jewish law of agency as it prevailed at the time. Agency was an effective means of conducting business only if the acts of the agent could be assumed to be approved by his principal, and therefore to bind the principal in respect of legal liability. To express this relationship, the maxim was coined that ‘A man’s agent is like himself’; that is to say, for the purpose of the transaction for which the agent was authorised, it was as if the principal himself were present, and the agent must receive the respect which would be due to the principal—a good biblical instance is Abigail’s prostration before the messenger-agents of David who came to seek her consent to marriage (1 Sam. 25.41). It is of course important not to extend this principle beyond its specific application. An agent was not his master’s representative under any circumstances: he carried his principal’s authority and prestige only for the conduct of the transaction for which he had been appointed as agent. Nevertheless, so long as his master was absent and he was seen to be managing his master’s affairs, there would be a presumption that he was acting as an authorised agent, and he would receive the appropriate respect. Indeed the same principle finds expression in the notion of an envoy ‘representing’ the sovereign. If you knelt before him, you were kneeling, not to him, but to the absent king. If you insulted him, the insult was taken personally by his sovereign and you were at war (2 Sam. 10.1ff.). The king was present in the ambassador just as, for certain purposes, the principal was present in his agent: ‘a man’s agent is like himself’.

    That this procedure of agency was sufficiently familiar to be used as a figure of speech is proved, not only by the saying in John’s gospel, ‘the agent (apostolos) is not greater than him who sent him’, but by the rabbinic application of the term to Moses, Elijah, Elisha and Ezekiel who acted as ‘agents’ in performing wonders that were normally the prerogative of God alone. The figure is not used directly of Jesus, nor could it be argued that in calling a person a ‘son’, one was necessarily thinking of him as an ‘agent’. On the other hand, there were circumstances under which the recognition that a man was a certain person’s son might well carry the implication that he was also that person’s agent. As we have seen, the best agent a man could have was his son. If the son were observed going about his father’s business; if he were known to be an only son (monogenes) and ‘beloved’ (i.e. not dispossessed) and therefore with a personal interest in the inheritance; and (still more) if the son claimed to have been ‘sent’ by his father for the purpose – there would be a strong presumption that the son was acting as his father’s agent, and it would be wise to treat him accordingly. Now it happens that a number of sayings attributed to Jesus and well-attested in different strands of the gospel tradition show Jesus to have spoken of himself as one who was ‘sent’; and in each case the context permits no doubt about what was meant: Jesus was sent by God. If then the one who claimed to be sent by God was acknowledged to be the Son of God, the title cannot but have carried the implication that he was also God’s representative, God’s ‘agent’.
    A study of the Fourth Gospel reveals that an understanding of Jesus as the authorized agent and representative of God is one of the controlling themes of the whole narrative. But we can now see that it is implicit also in the synoptics’ use of the title, Son of God; indeed, it is the explanation of the surprising phenomenon we observed earlier, namely that Jesus is acknowledged as Son of God only by supernatural beings or on supernatural authority.

    …the word ‘son’ itself connoted obedience to a father’s will, an inherited knowledge of his skills and experience, and the authorisation to act as a fully empowered agent…To call Jesus Son of God was therefore to accept the claim implied in his words and actions that he was totally obedient to the divine will, that he could give authoritative teaching about God, and that he was empowered to act as God’s authorised representative and agent.

    …Deuteronomy and Exodus are significant as evidence of the expectation (held at least as early as the Deuteronomist) that such a divinely authorised figure—a true representative of God—would appear at some time in the future, and this expectation was accompanied by the practical, or legal, considerations that any alleged appearance of such a figure would need to be authenticated before it could be acknowledged, but that once acknowledged the figure would demand total obedience, being nothing less than the agent and representative of God himself. This expectation was certainly still held in the time of Jesus…

    http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2010/01/jesus-and-constraints-of-history.html

  4. on 25 Jan 2010 at 9:11 pmXavier

    Could anyone comment on Anthony Buzzard’s dissertation of Hebrews 1.10, regarding Jesus’ “co-creator” role in the Millenium? Agree or disagree?

    The Son is said to “lay the foundation of the heavens and earth” in verse 10.

    Note:

    1) Verse 6 says that certain things may be said “when God again brings the firstborn into the inhabited earth” (NASV) or “again, when he shall have brought the Son into the inhabited earth. The reference is to the second coming. This is confirmed by Heb 2:5 which says that the writer is discussing “the inhabited earth of the future.”

    2) Isa. 51:16 speaks (NASV) of an agent of Yahweh whose job it will be to lay the foundation of the new heavens and earth. (see handout comment in Word Bible Comm. on this verse)

    3) In Heb 1:10 the writer cites Ps 102. This psalm is clearly a Messianic Kingdom, future-looking psalm. It speaks of “the generation, society to come” and it looks forward to the restoration of Jerusalem after captivity. In the LXX version of this psalm, the text is different from the Hebrew Bible. In vv. 23-25 the LXX has this:

    “He [God] answered him [the one praying]….. You, lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the heavens and the earth.”

    The writer to the Hebrews saw a second lord here who is addressed by God as lord. That second lord is taken to be the Messiah and so fits exactly the idea the Messiah is to be the parent and founder of the future heavens and earth. The millennial heavens and earth will also pass away (Rev. 20:11) and give way to another renewed cosmos.

    The comment by FF Bruce — New International Commentary on Hebrews — explains how the different translation of the LXX arose. It was by an ambiguity in the Hebrew by which “he answered” (Heb) could be repointed to mean “he weakened.”

    Jesus is indeed the Father of the coming age (Isa 9), and he is the executive under God of the present new creation in which Christians are being prepared for the Kingdom to come.

    Anthony Buzzard
    Difficult Texts, Oct 2001

  5. on 26 Jan 2010 at 2:49 amJaco

    I agree fully with everything Anthony said. As with Colossians 1 and Ephesians 1, Jesus is the Owner of the New Creation, through whom we’re in union with God.

    Great, great post!

  6. on 26 Jan 2010 at 6:32 amXavier

    I’m just still having trouble understanding how or in what way the Messiah is said “in the beginning [to have] laid the foundation of the heavens and the earth”, when this is clearly referring to the Genesis 1.1 creation that appears in every OT reference [Ps 102.25-27; 104.2; Job 9.8; 26.7; 38:4-7; Isa 42.5; 44.24; 45.18; Jer 10.12; 51.12; Zech 12.1].

    In other words, by this interpreation of the most difficult verse when it comes to our Socinian Christology, in the parousia the Messiah will recreate a “new heavens and earth” for the Millenium? And then these will be destroyed to make way for the final New Heavens and New Earth of Rev 21-22?

  7. on 26 Jan 2010 at 1:29 pmRon S.

    Xaiver,

    But is the “in the beginning…” part of verse 10 really referring to the original creation?

    If the context is defined as “the world to come, concerning which we are speaking” (just a scant nine verses further in Hebrews 2:5), then why couldn’t it be referring to Jesus as laying the foundation at the “beginning” of the future Messianic age – the “olam ha-ba”?

    I view it that way so I’m inclined to agree with Anthony.

    Our friends over at BiblicalUnitarian.com also agree with that assessment, but also present others who see a 2nd possibility. See here: http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=139

  8. on 26 Jan 2010 at 8:50 pmXavier

    Ron S.

    The problem for me is that there’s really no precedent for interpreting “in the beginning you laid the foundation of the heavens and earth…” as referring to the Messianic age.

    Like I stated above, in every one of its OT usage, this phrase is always used [it seems] for the Genesis creation. Whilst I appreciate the interpretation, it sounds like a long shot to me. Too many acrobatics to explain this one verse out of its Biblical context.

  9. on 26 Jan 2010 at 9:03 pmJoseph

    I heard the book of Hebrew is highly in question to it’s credibility as to it’s authorship. What is everyone’s thoughts on this?

  10. on 26 Jan 2010 at 9:40 pmXavier

    Joseph

    Few scholars have doubted the integrity of Hebrews 1–12, but questions have been raised concerning the authenticity of Hebrews 13…Nevertheless Hebrews 13 exhibits the characteristic vocabulary and significant concepts, the appeal to the Pentateuch and Psalms and the elements of structure that are found in Hebrews 1–12. This constitutes a strong, cumulative argument for the authenticity of Hebrews 13.

    A number of literary devices form a literary signature that identifies the author of Hebrews 13 as the author of Hebrews 1–12: the use of chiastic structure (Heb 13:2, 4, 10, 14, and 10–16); paronomasia, or play on words (Heb 13:2, 18, 20, 22); unusual word order designed to arouse attention (Heb 13:8, 11, 20); elegant style (Heb 13:17); linguistic rhythm (Heb 13:3); assonance (Heb 13:4, 5, 9, 13, 14, 16); alliterative arrangement of lines (Heb 13:5, 19); the use of syntax to display emphasis (Heb 13:3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 15, 18, 20) and the use of classical idioms (Heb 13:2, 5, 15, 17).
    Martin, R. P., & Davids, P. H. (2000, c1997).

    Canonical Recognition.

    Hebrews asserted an intrinsic authority in the early church, both in the West and in the East. But there was reluctance to acknowledge it as integral to the church’s rule of faith and practice.

    Some church leaders in the West questioned the authority of Hebrews. Confusion over the distinction between authorship and authority was widespread (see Canon). By the end of the second century and the beginning of the third, Roman opinion had crystallized in excluding Hebrews from the Pauline letter canon. The voice of Hebrews was muted for the church in the West. Even when its authority was formally recognized in the fourth century and Hebrews was admitted to the canon of sacred Scripture, there is little evidence that it exercised any considerable influence upon the thought, life and liturgy of the church in the West.

    Late in the fourth century, under the influence of Western fathers who had spent time in the East, an agreement was reached between East and West that Hebrews was a letter of Paul’s (see Hilary of Poitiers Trin. 4.11). Jerome was aware of the diversity of opinion regarding Hebrews. Although he displayed caution in his citations of Hebrews, he had no reservations concerning its intrinsic authority and its right to be included in the NT (Jerome Vir. 5; Ep. 53.8; 129.3). Augustine recognized its authority and listed Hebrews among the letters of Paul (Augustine Doctr. Christ. 2.8; Civ. D. 16.22).

    Martin, R. P., & Davids, P. H. (2000, c1997). Dictionary of the later New Testament and its developments (electronic ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  11. on 17 Jun 2010 at 7:17 amPhil McCheddar

    Hello,
    I can understand how the shaliach principle destroys some of the traditional proof-texts used by trinitarians to support their view that Jesus is God. But I find it difficult to square the shaliach principle with some passages that describe God the Father and Jesus acting as co-executors. As a shaliach of God I would expect Jesus’ works to be described as what God did through Jesus or as what Jesus did on behalf of God, but not as what both God and Jesus did working side-by-side.

    For example, Jesus said: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).
    As God’s shaliach, it would seem more natural to me for him to have said the following instead:
    “Believe in me, because by so doing you will effectively be believing in God”
    or
    “Believe in God, which you can accomplish in practice by believing in me.”

    Another example: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
    But why not the following instead?
    “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, which they can achieve by getting to know me whom you have sent”
    or
    “And this is eternal life, that they know me whom you have sent, because doing so is tantamount to knowing you the only true God.”

    “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).
    But why not the following instead?
    “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. Then I will come to him and make my home with him, and my presence with him will be just as if the Father himself was dwelling with him”
    or
    “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and will send me to make my home with him so that the Father will virtually reside with him too.”

    Paul’s letters also describe the Father and Jesus working side-by-side rather than one of them acting in the other’s stead:
    No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)
    Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. (1 Thessalonians 3:11)
    Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

    Ditto with the apostle John:
    The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
    I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22)
    The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3)

    I would be very interested to read your comments to this please. Thank you and kind regards.

  12. on 17 Jun 2010 at 9:08 pmXavier

    Phil

    But I find it difficult to square the shaliach principle with some passages that describe God the Father and Jesus acting as co-executors.

    I would suggest you have a close look and study this Jewish principle in such passages as Ex 23.20f. where God uses an angel as His own Personal representative.

    YHWH God works alongside as well as through His chosen agents. This does not do away with the fundamental Jewish-Christian creed of the Shema.

  13. on 18 Jun 2010 at 11:39 amPhil McCheddar

    Thank you very much, Xavier.

    I have read Exodus 23:20ff as you suggested but I don’t think it speaks of both God and the angel acting as the executors. For example, it says:
    I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.
    But it does not say:
    I and an angel will go ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place we have prepared.

    Contrast this with:
    Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. (1 Thessalonians 3:11)
    and
    Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

    When the Israelites celebrated their deliverance from Egypt, they did not praise both God and Moses for liberating them, even though (in different senses) both God and Moses delievered the Israelites from Egypt. The Israelites recognised that God was the first cause and chief executive of their deliverance, while Moses was merely an instrument in God’s hands. Moses’s willing cooperation was an important ingredient in the successful deliverance, and no doubt many of the Israelites revered Moses and celebrated him as a hero (at least initially). But after escaping from the pursuing Egyptians through the Red Sea, it seems to me highly unlikely that the Israelites would have sung:
    “I will sing to the LORD and to Moses, for they are highly exalted. The horse and its rider the LORD has hurled into the sea, after Moses stretched out his staff over the sea so that the waters flowed back over the Egyptians.”
    Instead the Israelites (including Moses) sang:
    “I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.” (Exodus 15:1)

    Contrast this with:
    If many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. (Romans 5:15)
    Paul does not speak of ‘the grace of God through Jesus Christ’ but of the grace of both of them. And it is clear that ‘the grace of Jesus Christ’ is a genitive of possession rather than a genitive of association since it is juxtaposed with the grace of God rather than added as a sub-clause to define it.

    Here Paul is attributing our salvation equally to the grace of God and to the grace of Jesus Christ. If God conveys or expresses his gracious love to mankind through a shaliach, it would always remain God’s own love and not the shaliach’s love, despite any loving intentions in the mind of the shaliach. Although God may perform loving actions through a shaliach, it is difficult to conceive how a shaliach can function as a *source* of the love that stems from God. At most the shaliach would be a conduit of God’s love but would not be worthy of being thanked alongside God for choosing to be gracious.

    … according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2)
    If Jesus were merely a shaliach of God, I would expect this verse to read:
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
    or
    Grace to you and peace from God our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.
    or
    Grace to you and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the channel of God’s grace & peace to the world.
    But Ephesians 1:2 is saying that the grace comes dually from both God and Jesus.

    If a shaliach receives praise, he is not receiving glory due to himself per se but he is receiving glory vicariously on behalf of the one who sent him. Afterwards when the shaliach returns to the one who sent him with the wreaths, titles, and medals he has received, he would lay them down at the feet of the one who sent him and then step back out of the limelight. Those honours are the rightful property of the one who sent him. The glory is not to be shared between them, despite the shaliach’s faithfulness in prosecuting the commission entrusted to him.

    Contrast that with:
    And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:10)
    Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshipped. (Revelation 5:13-14)

    And neither would the shaliach share his sender’s glory before being commissioned to act as a shaliach. But Jesus spoke of the glory he shared with his Father before coming into the world.
    Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (John 17:5)

    I am not denying that Jesus is a shaliach of God. It’s just that I don’t think that alone can adequately explain all the biblical data. There seems to me a much stronger ontological link between the Father and Jesus than merely a sender-shaliach relationship.

  14. on 18 Jun 2010 at 1:12 pmJaco

    Mr McCheddar

    Thank you for your well thought-out post.

    What needs to be kept in mind here is not sh’liach alone. Sh’liach plays an over-arching role, as it were, in a complex set of relationships between Yahweh, Christ, and man. Christ does not act as messenger alone, as in the case of Ex. 23:20f. He acts as messenger (see John ch. 5-7) and son and heir and saviour and second Adam and king and priest. But altogether, as is seen in the Gospels, Jesus was a willing son, heir, saviour, second Adam, king and priest. Heb. 3:1 calls Jesus an Apostle. That is one of the most explicitly stated remarks on agency in the NT. Apostle is simply the Greek for sh’liach. See also the parable in Mt. 21:33-44.

    So, yes, your examples could be taken into account, but in no way do they violate the central notion of agency in the NT. As the kings of the OT were exulted for their might and valour as executors of God’s will, Jesus, as the willing and obedient executor of the central will of God deserves our praise all the more; and as such as to ultimately exalt the Almighty Father and Originator of our Hero, Adonai Yehovah (Php 2:11)

    Jaco

  15. on 18 Jun 2010 at 1:58 pmMichael

    Phil writes…I am not denying that Jesus is a shaliach of God. It’s just that I don’t think that alone can adequately explain all the biblical data. There seems to me a much stronger ontological link between the Father and Jesus than merely a sender-shaliach relationship.

    Response- Your observation is correct and the answer is found in how Jesus is the Son of God. Unitarians use words like literal and biological to describe a relationship of how Jesus originated from God yet deny an ontological connection reducing the term “Son of God” to a title only.

    But most Unitarians will not openly state that Jesus as the Son of God is a title only because they can feel that the relationship between God and His Son is not merely a sender-shaliach relationship.

    You have sensed that there is “a much stronger ontological link between the Father and Jesus” but how can there be only a link when it comes to an ontological connection between a father and son?

    If one is the son of a father then there is ontological unity and that is the apparent paradox.

  16. on 18 Jun 2010 at 5:18 pmDoubting Thomas

    Michael
    You said, “Unitarians use words like literal and biological to describe a relationship of how Jesus originated from God yet deny an ontological connection reducing the term “Son of God” to a title only.”

    I’ve only been on this site since Christmas, but I’ve never once heard any Unitarian describe the relationship of how Jesus originated from God as biological. Unitarians believe Jesus was human (God is not human). Since you refuse to tell us what you believe, we have no idea if you believe Jesus was human or if you are even actually a Unitarian (all you ever do is come on this website and insult Unitarians and their beliefs while at the same time hiding behind your own secretive beliefs).

    You continued to say, “If one is the son of a father then there is ontological unity and that is the apparent paradox.”

    The paradox only exists in your mind and it will remain there until you are ready to share (in detail) what it is you believe. I clearly pointed out to you that I believe that God was Jesus’ spiritual father just like he was Adam’s spiritual father. Spiritually speaking they are ontologically the same, sharing the same spiritual make-up as one another.

    There is no paradox and there never has been a paradox!!!

  17. on 18 Jun 2010 at 6:10 pmrobert

    “I’ve only been on this site since Christmas, but I’ve never once heard any Unitarian describe the relationship of how Jesus originated from God as biological. Unitarians believe Jesus was human (God is not human).”

    Thomas
    just about all the unitarians here believe that Jesus was the biological son of God. The matter of fact is the other day Ron used the term God’s sperm as being used in the conception. I dont remember what thread.
    As far as michael goes he must be atleast a oneness but more likely a twinitarian or trinitarian who sees the flaw in there claim but goes about in a very immature way to try to get them to admit it.
    I wouldnt let him get to you

  18. on 18 Jun 2010 at 6:20 pmDoubting Thomas

    Robert
    I didn’t realize that. I had never thought of Jesus as the (physical) biological Son of God. I always thought that we were his children in a spiritual sense. I still say there is no paradox and there never was a paradox. At least from my perspective anywaze…

  19. on 18 Jun 2010 at 6:26 pmrobert

    Thomas
    Michael has an agenda when he comes here.
    I understand how you define it and spiritual sense does do justice to the relationship of Jesus to His father,our father, his God ,our God.

  20. on 21 Jun 2010 at 8:33 amPhil McCheddar

    Hello everyone,

    As a newcomer I ought to introduce myself as someone who believes the doctrine of the trinity but who rejects some of the evidence popularly cited for it and who is uncomfortable with the way this doctrine is commonly expressed eg. the Nicean creed. I am not here to attack anyone but to re-examine the validity of my beliefs by exposing them to your criticism, in case I may have made some wrong assumptions in the past.

    Jaco, thanks for your comments. You wrote:
    [i]As the kings of the OT were exulted for their might and valour as executors of God’s will, Jesus, as the willing and obedient executor of the central will of God deserves our praise all the more; and as such as to ultimately exalt the Almighty Father and Originator of our Hero, Adonai Yehovah (Php 2:11)[/i]
    I agree with all that. But the NT does more than just praise Jesus as an obedient agent. It heaps honours on him that would not be appropriate for anyone to be given except Adonai Yehovah. 2 Cor.11:3 speaks about “our sincere and pure devotion to Christ” like a pure virgin belonging to one husband. Rev.14:4 says that we “were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God [b]and[/b] the Lamb”. And Paul declared he was “ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).
    I can’t imagine that sort of language being used about Moses or Elijah or Gabriel. When Samson’s father wanted to offer a gift to the angel of the Lord, the angel self-effacingly replied: “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to Yehovah.” (Judges 13:16) The message of Moses, Isaiah, and the other OT prophets was: “Come to God. Follow God. Obey God.” But Jesus’ message was thoroughly egocentric: “Come to me. Follow me. Obey me.”

  21. on 23 Jun 2010 at 6:02 amJaco

    Mr McCheddar,

    Thanks for your reply and also for your good spirit.

    It is interesting to hear that you do not accept some of the evidence in support of the trinity, including the Nicene Creed. I’m very curious to hear which of those you don’t accept and how you would “correct” the Nicene Creed.

    You say,

    But the NT does more than just praise Jesus as an obedient agent.

    Mr McCheddar, for us to accurately grasp the role Jesus plays in the outworking of God’s purpose, we have consider the bigger picture, instead of taking puzzle pieces, as it were, and divorce them from their whole. Crucial to this are direct statements, even those elaborated upon in confessional material. On two different occasions did the True God say of His son:

    Mt. 3:17 “‘This is my son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” (also 17:5)

    Here we see approval by God Himself.

    As King Designate, Jesus remained true to his calling. He knew that the prophecy in Ps. 2 would be fulfilled in him. Nations would be given him as his inheritance (Ps. 2:8). Jesus himself acknowledged also the prophecy of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52 and 53,

    Mt. 12:18-21 “Look! My servant whom I chose, my beloved, whom my soul approved! I will put my spirit upon him, and what justice is he will make clear to the nations. He will not wrangle, nor cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the broadways. No bruised reed will he crush, and no smoldering flaxen wick will he extinguish, until he sends out justice with success. Indeed, in his name nations will hope.”

    Take also the parable I referred to in Lu. 20:13, 14:

    “At this the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son the beloved. Likely they will respect this one.’ When the cultivators caught sight of him they went reasoning with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may become ours.’”

    In all the confessional statements in Acts, Jesus is depicted, not as God or Yahweh or even an “aspect” of God (how confusing), but as the purposed and achieved obedient servant of Yahweh, the one who became the Saviour Yahweh intended him to be. Note the distinction in the following:

    Acts. 2:22 “…Jesus the Nazarene, a man publicly shown by God to you through powerful works and portents and signs that God did through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know.”

    Acts. 3:13-16 “The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers [Adonai Yehovah], has glorified his servant, Jesus, whom you, for your part delivered up and disowned before Pilate’s face…You disowned that holy and righteous one…[and] killed the Chief Agent of life. Consequently his name, by our faith in his name, as made this man strong whom you behold and know, and the faith that is through him has given the man this complete soundness in the sight of all of you.”

    Acts. 5:30, 31 “The God of our forefathers [Adonai Yehovah] raised up Jesus, whom you slew, hanging him upon a stake. God exalted this one as Chief Agent and Savior to his right hand, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. ”

    Mr McCheddar, did you see the antecedent to Jesus’ glorious name? Because of his righteousness, his obedience, and what this servant’s death achieved, namely life through his agency. Because of all these reasons – reasons making Jesus irrevocably subordinate, unequal, and distinct from, not only God the Father (which trinitarians readily accept), but Yahweh! The distinction in being is thus fully articulated.

    True, there are many texts that can be sited showing Jesus as the one to be glorified and honored. These are all fair. But these do not by necessity prove Jesus to be Almighty God. In fact, the context of many confessional statements put these statements of honor nicely in context, showing Jesus to be an integral part of the Big Picture, while not the Ultimate or the Sovereign One in the Picture. So, while all the texts commonly used by trinitarians may prove an aspect of the trinity when these are divorced from their immediate and extended contexts, as well as their linguistic, cultural and anthropomorphic meanings, the opposite – namely, the evidence against the trinity – is not met without much innovation, logical and linguistic acrobatics and strained interpretation. You can compare the installments by Dave Burke and Robert Bowman over at Parchment and Pen, and see their respective approaches for yourself. That is from a purely logical and formal reasoning point of view.

    Take for instance your reference to the words in 2 Cor. 11:3

    But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ.

    Divorcing this from the greater picture of Jesus’ saving work and the Church being the bride, we could conclude that this Christ can be God here. But, see this piece of the puzzle as part of the greater picture. The following texts should create the setting of this piece:

    1 Cor. 6:15, 17, 19, 20 – “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I, then, take the members of the Christ away and make them members of a harlot?…But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Do you not know that the body of you people is the temple of the holy spirit within you, which you have from God? Also, you do not belong to yourselves for you were bought with a price.”

    Also, Jude 4 – “…certain men have slipped in…turning the undeserved kindness of our God in to an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ.” How did Jude view the relation of God to Christ? vs. 25 “…to the only God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be the glory, majesty, might and authority for all…”

    These texts greatly put the text in 2 Cor. 11:3 in clear context. This will also answer the question regarding Rev. 14.

    Also take your reference to Jesus saying, Come to me. Follow me. Obey me. Jesus also said that he would be the Way and the Truth and the Life. Even in this context of Jesus’ Upper Room Discourse did he say:

    John 14:6b, 13 “No one comes to the Father except through me. Also, whatever it is that you ask in my name, I will do this, in order that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son.”

    As the prophet like Moses (Deut. 18) Jesus had to be the one whose example and commands we are to follow.

    So, the overall picture presents Jesus as someone superior to anyone who ever lived. He is thus a greater reality of types of people and roles already established in the OT. As with the kings of Israel and Judah, Jesus would receive honor and glory as a King who conquered, not only human rulers (Re. 16:14, 16), but also our ultimate enemies, Satan, demons, sin and death. He deserves greater honor for doing that. The kind of death we are redeemed from is not natural death – although his saving work will have us eat from “trees of life” (Re. 22:2) – but eternal death. He is our eternal father, the Second Adam, in the real sense of the word, in that he ensured regeneration of our human lives. He is the victorious long-awaited Messiah…so I can go on and on, describing the superlative roles Jesus fulfills and the exaltation he receives for those. But all these are allowed within the frame and setting the Bible allows for Jesus. That frame and setting excludes his being God Almighty, but consistently presents him as God Almighty’s faithful representative and son.

    Regards,

    Jaco

    P.S. Mr McCheddar, you are welcome to read our comments on the Burke/Bowman debate under the article, “Another Trinity/Monotheism Debate”

  22. on 23 Jun 2010 at 7:56 amPhil McCheddar

    Hello Jaco,

    Thank you for taking the time to write me a thoughtful, lengthy reply. I am mulling over what you said and will re-read it carefully.

    I read elsewhere on this blog about some hostile attitudes by trinitarians towards unitarians. I certainly do not regard you that way and I wince at the thought of how intolerant and hurtful some Christians are. As a member of ‘the other side’, I am grateful for your warm welcome here on this blog.

    By the way, if I am wrong to worship Jesus of Nazareth as God, surely I am guilty of breaking the 1st commandment and of committing idolatry, a sin so heinous that God threatened to destroy the nation of Israel if they did it. Does it not follow therefore that you shouldn’t regard me as a true Christian but as an unbeliever on the road to hell? I ask this because I have noticed some of you on this blog refer to trinitarians as ‘fellow Christians’.

    You asked me which popular ‘proofs’ of Jesus’ deity I reject. Several examples were cited in the lead article at the top of this thread, such as Jesus being called Saviour, Judge, Shepherd, etc. Also Jesus’ claim “I and the Father are one”. I don’t know how I would re-word the Nicene creed. To be honest I find it virtually impossible to define my understanding of the relationship between the Father and Son taking into account all the biblical data. Also I find myself torn between different viewpoints and in a state of flux at the moment. Both sides of the debate seem to have plausible arguments!

    I have a few questions which are not related directly to agency (the subject of the lead article at the top of this thread). I hope you don’t mind if I tag those questions on to the comments here.

    Where do you draw the line between honouring Jesus as highly as he deserves and idolising him? How far is too far? When does your praise for Jesus overstep the mark and begin to glorify the creature instead of the Creator? What behaviour do you render towards God Almighty that you would not render towards Jesus? Why do you think the bible never gives any indication that God Almighty feels jealous if too much adoration is bestowed on Jesus – for example, the Father does not feel slighted or snubbed but rather is glorified when every knee bows to Jesus?

    Respectfully,
    Phil

  23. on 24 Jun 2010 at 12:51 pmJaco

    Mr McCheddar

    I certainly do not regard you that way and I wince at the thought of how intolerant and hurtful some Christians are. As a member of ‘the other side’, I am grateful for your warm welcome here on this blog.

    To be honest, at times my own temper has gotten the better of me. Even though the resolve is there to keep one’s cool in the face of malice, snide and sarcasm, there were times I terminated a conversation very harshly. That’s my part in this.

    I agree with the article on many trinitarians’ aggressive reaction without even the willingness to at least consider the other one’s reason for his/her belief. Popular trinitarian sites are simply drenched in unbelievably demeaning and judgmental remarks. I cannot accept that. Speaking of judgment:

    By the way, if I am wrong to worship Jesus of Nazareth as God, surely I am guilty of breaking the 1st commandment and of committing idolatry, a sin so heinous that God threatened to destroy the nation of Israel if they did it. Does it not follow therefore that you shouldn’t regard me as a true Christian but as an unbeliever on the road to hell?

    Mr McCheddar, I cannot estimate anybody’s fate. Our eternal fate can simply not be determined this side of the Judgment. All we can do is to be honest, receptive for truth and willing to hear the other person’s views. As soon as one gains knowledge, Mr McCheddar, one becomes responsible and accountable. That is what makes these issues so serious. Then we have worldviews and dogmas engrained into our minds by our parents, life-long religion, media and even idiom. These are all impediments to accurately living the truth. Our merciful Judge will take all these factors into account when rendering judgment (Isaiah ch. 11). In the mean time we are all at different places in our spiritual journey and we have to grant each one his direction and rate of growth.

    I think a major issue may come in when one wants to use communion. How do I distinguish who to include in a meal that signifies unity and peace among us? Here everyone has to decide for himself. I won’t be allowed to use communion among Christadelphians. I will gladly share communion with them, however. Although I would be counted as among the “users of the emblems” by the Watchtower (or most probably be suspected of apostasy instead), I do not feel at peace with them, so I cannot do that. The way I feel now, I won’t use communion with characters like Robert Morey, Michael Brown or even Robert Bowman. Not because I have made a judgment on their eternal fate, but because of certain utterances and statements toward Biblical Unitarianism that I find nothing less than blasphemous.

    Also I find myself torn between different viewpoints and in a state of flux at the moment. Both sides of the debate seem to have plausible arguments!

    Mr McCheddar, I can fully relate to what you’re saying here. My spiritual journey has had its moments, let me tell you! My search included questioning my traditional beliefs as a youngster, becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, questioning Mormonism, Hinduism, Islam, even atheism, every time finding myself stuck with truth, as revealed in the Bible, and now being a Biblical Unitarian. As hard and even painful as it may sound, flux and change…is good.

    Where do you draw the line between honouring Jesus as highly as he deserves and idolising him? How far is too far? When does your praise for Jesus overstep the mark and begin to glorify the creature instead of the Creator?

    Mr McCheddar, these are such difficult questions! I’d say, from a more psychological point of view, that the line is drawn when an accurate cognitive understanding is achieved. If I realise that astrology does nothing for me, I will start to lose my devotion to it. If I’m a Buddhist and I realise that the Dalai Lama is a mere human, I will continue to honor and respect him for his superlative devotion to goodness, but my own realisation will limit the extent to that honor and respect. The same goes with realising the position of both Yahweh and Jesus. One’s reaction to that realisation will gradually take shape.

    What behaviour do you render towards God Almighty that you would not render towards Jesus?

    I suggest one starts by calling them differently. I call Jesus “my King.” I call God “my Father Jehovah.” The distinction in nomination will cognitively create the distinction among the referents. What can also help is to meditate on each One’s distinct role and to do so especially before prayer. I pray to Jesus, Mr McCheddar. He is alive and involved with his body of followers. I have to pray to him if I want to know him! I need to know him, not as my God, Almighty, but as my helper and hero. I obviously pray to Almighty God, Yahweh, and I thank him and glorify him for being the Originator and Facilitator of all of this.

    Why do you think the bible never gives any indication that God Almighty feels jealous if too much adoration is bestowed on Jesus – for example, the Father does not feel slighted or snubbed but rather is glorified when every knee bows to Jesus?

    I cannot really answer this by direct evidence, since the Bible does not address it directly. All I can say is that Jesus humbled himself before God. He did not even consider snatching at something not rightfully his (divine independence from God). Since that pleased God and was one of the greatest conditions for Jesus’ exaltation, failure to do so would have met with Divine disapproval and retribution. God has confidence in Jesus’ subordinate role he plays. Bowing the knee in Jesus name has a purpose. It is also stated in a purposive clause in Php 2:11, namely to glorify God the Father.

    God bless you, Mr McCheddar,

    Jaco

    P.S. I will share communion with you, Mr McCheddar.

  24. on 24 Jun 2010 at 1:53 pmrobert

    Jaco
    I believe all good people who love their fellow human as they love themself will receive salvation and I see them as the multitude washed clean by Jesus.
    This group includes trinitarians, unitarians ,atheist, muslums and any other religion if you take into account they are all deceived in their on way by satan.
    so i see no reason not to communion with people who possess the qualities of the teachings of Jesus reguardless of their doctrines.
    God can show Grace to whomever He choses.

  25. on 24 Jun 2010 at 10:24 pmXavier

    Jaco

    When’s your book coming out? 🙂

  26. on 24 Apr 2011 at 8:37 amJaco

    Just something of interest:

    The designations for Jesus, including prophet (Joh. 6:14), king (Joh. 6:15), and Son of Man (Joh. 6:27), all fall within the broad category of “agent of God.” But while these designations identify Jesus as God’s agent, they neither exhaust the categories in which the Gospel [of John] portrays the agency of Jesus nor provide the fundamental conceptual framework in which these titles properly belong. That is to say, there are other categories of agency, often explored with relationship to John and particularly with reference to John 6, that furnish the materials for understanding how these other titles do and do not apply to Jesus. These other categories include the concept of the shaliach figure, the Logos of God and the wisdom of God…(Marrianne Meye Thomson, Critical Readings of John 6, pp.223, 224)

    The most succinct and direct articulation of this claim[of unity between God and Jesus] is found in John 10:30: “The Father and I are one.” This verse states in summary form what Jesus said at length in the discourse of 5:19-30. “One” (hen) is neuter, not masculine; Jesus is not saying that he and the Father are one person, nor, to use the language of later Christian doctrine, of one essence or nature. Rather, he is saying that he and the Father are united in the work that they do. This verse states directly what Jesus’ works throughout the Gospel have already shown: Jesus shares in God’s work and power. (Gail R. O’Day, Critical Readings of John 6, p. 159)

  27. on 27 Feb 2012 at 8:36 pmMargaret

    I have spent a few hours enjoying all these posts, and I particularly appreciate the exchange between Phil McCheddar and Jaco.
    There is one question that I would like to address; and if my comments are objected to, I hope they will be treated as courteously as the rest have been.

    Where do you draw the line between honouring Jesus as highly as he deserves and idolising him? How far is too far? When does your praise for Jesus overstep the mark and begin to glorify the creature instead of the Creator? What behaviour do you render towards God Almighty that you would not render towards Jesus?

    I agree with Jaco that we do not address Jesus as God Almighty – a title used exclusively of Yahweh. But with that understood, I am free to honor the Lord God Almighty AND the Lamb together – at the same time, in the same place, with the same words. Just as every creature is doing in Revelation 5:13.

    The Father’s will is that all shall honor the Son just as they honor the Father (John 5:22, 23). So I don’t need to worry about protocol. “Equal honor” is what the Father has decreed.

    Since every creature is engaged in honoring God and the Lamb together, it seems reasonable to conclude that the Lamb is not a creature.

    Xavier’s posts (#6 and 8) regarding Hebrews 1:10 has a bearing here. If “the foundation of the heavens and the earth” refers to the Genesis creation, then the Son was the agent through whom God created all things “in the beginning”.

    That fits 1 Corinthians 8:6, as well. There is one God, the Father, FROM whom all things come; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, THROUGH whom all things come.

    If you follow Paul’s argument in this chapter, you will see that the “all things” have to include the creation that the Corinthians knew about. Paul’s point is – idols are nothing. Nothing comes FROM them, nothing comes THROUGH them. If that doesn’t include the visible creation, the argument has no force at all.

    The same is true of Colossians 1:15-16. The Son is the image of the invisible God, and THROUGH him all things in heaven and earth were created.
    This has to refer to the creation that the Colossians could SEE, or the statement is meaningless. How could the Colossians be expected to understand it any other way?

    So I am persuaded that the Son was God’s agent in creating ALL things that were created. That does not prove his divinity, but if we can establish that he was not created, then I think the case is sound.

  28. on 29 Feb 2012 at 1:22 pmSarah

    Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Just one brief comment. You said: “Since every creature is engaged in honoring God and the Lamb together, it seems reasonable to conclude that the Lamb is not a creature.”

    It doesn’t necessarily follow that “every creature” honoring God and Jesus together means Jesus wasn’t part of the created order. Notice what God said to Noah just after the judgment:

    (1) Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.
    (2) The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. – (Gen 9:1-2 NIV)

    Keep in mind also that Jesus said his return would be like the days of Noah. So could it be, instead, that God has elevated Jesus above all other members of the created order?

  29. on 29 Feb 2012 at 3:48 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Margaret,

    I’m curious to get your thoughts on ‘begotten’? Can Jesus be said to be begotten and not be a creature?

  30. on 29 Feb 2012 at 4:17 pmJaco

    Margaret,

    Nice to see you popping by again. Here is what I wrote a friend the other day:

    the first Christians had to demonstrate that Jesus was first or preeminent in all things. To literally be the first created being was not what was arbitrarily defaulted to. Instead, they appealed to and utilised Wisdom and Logos theology to demonstrate that in Yahweh’s great Wisdom was “created” notionally or purposively the arrival of Jesus in the First Century. Since Jesus was the purpose of creation, he was certainly the “arche” thereof and earned therefore the position of being first in all things.

    Would like to hear your thoughts on this.

  31. on 29 Feb 2012 at 4:24 pmtimothy

    Sarah,

    GOD bless you. later i will post, to you, some more about our new Resurrection body.( if you would like)

    for now…What GOD said to Noah applies to all mankind including Jesus. Today Jesus is Resurrected and seated on right hand of GOD.

    Ephesians 1: (15-23)
    22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

    Philippians:2 (9-11)
    10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;….

    Acts 4: (10-12)
    12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

    I am not sure about everything here since I still need to carefully read the comments.

    timothy

  32. on 01 Mar 2012 at 3:44 pmMargaret

    Jaco – Good to hear from you again.

    My first reaction is – what about the passages which imply that Jesus, the Son of God, was the agent THROUGH whom the one God (Yahweh, the Father) created all things? If you can show me that it was NOT through Jesus that God created all things, then my thinking will have to change. But the evidence has to come from the Bible, please.

    And yes, Sarah, God HAS exalted him above all creatures. But where is the evidence that he is, indeed, a creature?

    I do have some thoughts on the word “begotten,” Tim, but that can wait until we answer Xavier’s question about Hebrews 1:10, as well as mine about 1 Co. 8:6, etc.

  33. on 01 Mar 2012 at 10:10 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Margaret,
    It’s good to see you back on K.R. again… 🙂

  34. on 02 Mar 2012 at 12:41 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    My first reaction is – what about the passages which imply that Jesus, the Son of God, was the agent THROUGH whom the one God (Yahweh, the Father) created all things?

    Could you clarify how you understand “through” in these passages? what does “through” mean?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  35. on 03 Mar 2012 at 10:06 amSarah

    Hi Margaret,

    “And yes, Sarah, God HAS exalted him above all creatures. But where is the evidence that he is, indeed, a creature?”

    Luke 1:35 would have to be the strongest evidence to me that Jesus was created by God. One who is begotten has a point of origin.

    With regards to your comment about all things being created through Jesus, I believe this is speaking of all things pertaining to the new heavens and earth. It happens “through” Jesus because he was the conduit for speaking God’s words of both life and judgment.

    Also notice also that God didn’t speak through Jesus until “these last days” according to Hebrews 1:2. That limits the scope to the new creation rather than the original creation. God’s words created the original heavens and earth. God later spoke through Jesus, and these words God spoke through Jesus will eventually create a new heavens and earth by destroying sin and causing the whole created order to become renewed.

  36. on 03 Mar 2012 at 4:41 pmMargaret

    The Greek word dia means by means of, or through the agency of. That is why it fits this thread so perfectly.

    Sarah, I hear you. But when I read 1 Corinthians 8, I am persuaded that idols are absolutely worthless. Why? Because nothing comes FROM them, and nothing comes THROUGH them.

    That is a powerful argument – IF the “all things” includes everything I see around me. But if it deals only with things that don’t even exist yet, then the argument is worthless. That would leave the whole visible creation for the idols to claim.

    When Paul said that all things come FROM the one God, THROUGH the one Lord, I believe he meant nothing less than “ALL things” – without exception. And I believe Colossians 1:15-16 refers to the same thing, for the same reasons.

    That brings us back to Xavier’s problem re Hebrews 1:10 – which no one has yet resolved.

    As for Hebrews 1:2, I don’t believe it means that God created the present universe through prophets, but will create the future worlds through his Son. The prophets were the channels through whom God’s words were spoken to men in the OT. But in these last days, God has spoken to us through his Son, who is the Prophet that Moses foretold.

    I’ll leave Luke 1:35 until later. If the “one Lord” had nothing to do with the visible creation, then I have no reason to question your interpretation of Luke 1:35.

  37. on 03 Mar 2012 at 5:02 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    The Greek word dia means by means of, or through the agency of. That is why it fits this thread so perfectly.

    So then what would it mean that God created the heavens and the earth “through the agency of” Jesus ? How would God have created heaven and earth “by means of” Jesus?

    There are several passages in Isa which show that YHWH Himself is the Creator Who created things by Himself without any helper(s) … These statements seem to exclude the possibility that God created “by means of” or “through the agency of” Jesus (or any other “assistant” or “agent”)

    Can the word “through”, or the Greek word dia have additional meanings to the one you mentioned above, depending on context and grammatical considerations?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  38. on 03 Mar 2012 at 7:37 pmMargaret

    Maybe so. Can you give examples?

    By the way, the law of agency embraces the kind of language you are quoting from Isaiah. Let me quote from the article above:

    The LORD told Moses that he would be “Elohim [God] to Aaron” (Ex. 4:16). He says, “I have made you Elohim to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet” (Ex. 7:1). In Exodus 7:17-21 the LORD says: “By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood…”
    The LORD then says to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt … and they will turn to blood.’” … Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile “and all the water was changed into blood.”

    The LORD had said that He Himself would strike the waters with the staff in his own hand. Yet, it was Aaron’s hand that held the rod, and Aaron who struck the Nile. Clearly, Aaron is not God. Rather, Aaron stands as God’s agent, in the place of God. One might even say he is “God,” not literally, but in a manner of (Hebrew) speaking. One might even say in this case that God (as principal) was represented by Moses (the agent), who in turn was represented by Aaron!

  39. on 03 Mar 2012 at 11:01 pmSarah

    Margaret,

    I understand where you’re coming from on 1 Cor 1:8. But I disagree with the idea that Paul’s argument is worthless unless he’s saying Jesus is the unreated creator of Genesis 1.

    Before you decide what “all things” is in that verse, I think you have to look at the body of Paul’s writings to determine how he views Jesus’ relationship to “all things”. Also, I think you have to consider what Jesus himself says about how he relates to “all things”.

    Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Mat 19:28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    These passages show that Jesus is the redeemer of all things, and that the renewal of all things comes through him. So I don’t see an allusion to the original Genesis creation when it talks about all things coming through Christ. In 1 Cor 8, I think the underlying point is that idols are worthless because they cannot impart new life to a dying world, while Christ can. The so-called gods and lords of heaven and earth will all pass away with this present age. See also 2 Cor 6:16, where Paul contrasts idolatry with the life Christ brings through the resurrection.

    Heb 1:10 is a better argument for your case. However, with all the other evidence pointing to Christ as the agent of the NEW creation, plus the context of Heb 2:5 where Paul said he was speaking about the world to come, I think it must be viewed in light of majority evidence. It’s a challenge, though. And one worth considering.

  40. on 04 Mar 2012 at 2:55 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    Maybe so. Can you give examples?

    The Greek word dia may mean “through” in the sense of what would be expressed in our day language as “on behalf of” or “with a view toward”.

    By the way, the law of agency embraces the kind of language you are quoting from Isaiah.

    Not really …. because in the passages in Isa, the text states explicitly that there was NO ONE beside YHWH Himself involved in the creation etc … whereas the text to which the article and your quotation refer, do rather explicitly state that there are others involved who would act “as agents”.

    One must not take what is said in one particular situation and then sort of “generalize” it and apply it to another unrelated situation.

  41. on 05 Mar 2012 at 11:52 amMargaret

    Sarah, Paul is NOT saying that Jesus is the creator of Genesis one. In fact, Jesus is never called the creator of ANYTHING. He is always the agent THROUGH whom the Creator accomplishes his purposes.

    I certainly agree with you that it is through Christ that God has reconciled the world to himself. Jesus is both the one through whom new life comes, and the monarch of the new world created through his agency.

    But that does not explain 1 Corinthians 8:6. It begins with the one God, the Father, FROM WHOM “all things” come. Is there anything, anywhere, to limit that statement to a future creation?

    If there is, then the Corinthians are free to give the idols credit for the visible creation, and Paul’s argument is worthless.

  42. on 05 Mar 2012 at 11:57 amMargaret

    Wolfgang, I want to leave the OT until later; but the meaning of the word through is relevant to 1 Corinthians 8:6.

    Can you give an example of a sentence in an English Bible where through is used in that way?

    Or can you give an example of a sentence in the Greek text where the word dia is used that way?

  43. on 05 Mar 2012 at 2:11 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    you mention above:

    Sarah, Paul is NOT saying that Jesus is the creator of Genesis one. In fact, Jesus is never called the creator of ANYTHING. He is always the agent THROUGH whom the Creator accomplishes his purposes.

    What do you understand “the agent through whom” to mean? how or in what way is Jesus the agent and how was the agent Jesus involved in the creation of all?
    Did Jesus live at the time of Gen 1 and actually do something (either directly or indirectly) as “the agent through whom” God created?

    As far as I can see from the overall scope of the Scriptures and what they say regarding the man Jesus, Jesus was not alive at the time of Gen 1 and thus could not actively have been doing anything as God’s agent in bringing about the creation … thus, the way or manner in which a “through him” would need to be understood is that God created all things “through (on behalf of, with regards to, with him in mind) him” by having Christ and his redemptive work in mind in all that God planned and carried out.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  44. on 05 Mar 2012 at 4:50 pmMargaret

    Wolfgang – so far as Exodus 7 is concerned, I see your point. Here is a better comparison:

    In Isaiah 43:11, Yahweh says, “I, even I, am Yahweh, and beside me there is no savior.”
    And in Hosea 13:4 – “I am Yahweh your God … and you shall know no god but me, for there is no savior beside me.”

    On the other hand, 2 Kings 13:5 says, “And Yahweh gave Israel a savior …”
    Also, Nehemiah in his prayer to God (Nehemiah 9:27) says, “… when they cried to you … you gave them saviors, who saved them out of the hands of their enemies.”
    And Isaiah promises (Isaiah 19:20) “… they shall cry unto Yahweh because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a savior, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.”

    These “saviors” delivered them from physical enemies; but now comes one who will “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). So Peter tells the Jews, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus …” (Acts 5:30), and “has exalted him with his right hand to be a prince and a savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins” (v. 31).

    As long as the law of agency is kept in mind, there is no contradiction. Yahweh, the Father, is the only savior, and there is no other. He saves through the agents that he sends. But no IDOL, nor any agent SENT by an idol, can save. Idols are nothing. Nothing comes FROM them, and nothing comes THROUGH them.

    As for your explanation of “through” – you are basing your interpretation on an assumption that is not yet proved. In fact, it is the very question that is under consideration.

    Can you give a clear example of the word being used as you have suggested, without assuming that it cannot mean what it appears to mean?

  45. on 05 Mar 2012 at 7:10 pmSarah

    Margaret,

    Before we go any further, can you please (a) explain exactly what you believe Paul means when he says “all things came through Christ”, as it relates to Genesis 1 and (b) provide other scripture that you believe supports this view?

  46. on 05 Mar 2012 at 8:38 pmMargaret

    Thank you, Sarah. I’d be glad to.

    The Greek word dia is translated by or through, meaning by means of or through the agency of. It is never, to my knowledge, translated for, meaning for the benefit of. But I’m open to correction on that.

    The obvious meaning (to me) is that the Father created “all things” through the agency of his Son. I have already explained why I believe that has to include the visible creation.

    If that is the correct interpretation, then a whole lot of things fall into place. Christ is the agent of Yahweh in creation, as well as in redemption. So Hebrews 1:10 is no longer a problem.

    Neither is Colossians 1. God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. But the Son of his love is the one THROUGH whom “all things” were created – things in the heavens AND things on the earth. The passage would not make sense if the “things in the heavens and things on the earth” do not include the visible things of creation. How could the Colossians be expected to understand a concept like that?

    There are several other New Testament passages that make perfect sense if this is the correct interpretation. “The Word became flesh … He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world did not know him. But as many as received him, etc.” The world was MADE by him. But the world did not know him. Who might that be, if not Jesus, the Christ? And so on.

    Then there is Genesis 1:26. When God said, “Let us make man in our image,” to whom was he speaking?

    He wasn’t speaking to “other gods”. Those are exactly the things that he has definitely ruled out.
    I don’t think he was speaking to angels, either.

    The only one who is described as “the image of the invisible God” is Christ. Hebrews 1:3 describes him as the “express image of his essence,” or “the exact representation of his very being”. This is the only one I can think of to whom God would say, “Let us make man in our image”.

    Again – I am open to correction – as long as it comes from the Bible. I have been awed, over and over again, by the consistency of the Word of God, if we let it mean what it says.

  47. on 05 Mar 2012 at 10:14 pmSarah

    Thanks for the clarification, Margaret. I’ll turn from the “all things” discussion to a few of your other points for a moment.

    You said, “The Word became flesh … He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world did not know him. But as many as received him, etc.” The world was MADE by him. But the world did not know him. Who might that be, if not Jesus, the Christ? And so on.”

    Why can’t God’s word actually be his word? Are you aware that there are some 50 Bible translations that interpret this passage as such? Here’s a 1534 translation by the famous William Tyndale: 

    “In the beginnynge was the worde, and the worde was with God, and the worde was god. The same was in the beginnynge with god. All thinges were made by it, and without it, was made nothinge that was made. In it was lyfe, and the lyfe was the lyght of men, and the lyght shyneth in the darcknes but the darcknes comprehended it not”

    You also said, “Then there is Genesis 1:26. When God said, “Let us make man in our image,” to whom was he speaking?”

    The angels. Here’s why:

    Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

    2Sa 14:17 “…May the word of my lord the king bring me rest, for my lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil.…”

    It is reasonable to assume the “us” of Gen 1:26 is the same “us” of Genesis 3:22. If God was addressing a pre-existent Jesus here, why did he say “like ONE of us”, which strongly implies he was addressing a large number of beings? Angels act as God’s agents throughout the OT, and we know they were present at the creation, so it makes perfect sense to me that God would address them when he says “let us make man…” 

  48. on 05 Mar 2012 at 11:16 pmMargaret

    The reason I start with 1 Corinthians 8 is that it makes sense in only one way. Colossians 1 is the same. So is Hebrews 1:10. But let’s go to John 1.

    I agree that the “Word” can be understood in more than one way; but since this Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, he/it obviously became a man. So the man that he/it became had a previous existence WITH God in Genesis 1.

    That man is also called the only-begotten Son of God, whose function was similar to that of the Word. He came to reveal God. And in Revelation 19:13 he (NOT it) is called “the Word of God”. So I am justified in connecting the Word with Jesus.

    Hebrews 10, especially verses 5-10, seems to suggest that the body in which Christ died for sins was PREPARED for him, in order that he might “come to do thy will, O God.” It all fits.

    Another small detail that fits this scenario is the description of Melchisedec as “having no beginning of days nor end of life, being made like unto the Son of God.” I believe that Melchidedec was intended to be, in type, what the Son of God was in reality.

    Your argument re Genesis 3 has some merit as a possible inference; but I can find nothing associating angels with the work of creation – either in the Old Testament or the New.

    That cannot be said about Jesus, if the verses citted in the first paragraph mean what they seem to say.

    Sarah, I do appreciate this exchange. I do not expect ever to understand everything about God or about his Son, but I do want to understand everything that the Bible makes clear. And having different views expressed and defended helps to clarify what remains fuzzy.

  49. on 06 Mar 2012 at 1:53 amWolfgang

    Margaret.

    you continue to write about “agency” and “through him (Jesus”, etc.. I had asked you previously to clarify what you understand this phrase to mean.

    What do you understand “the agent through whom” to mean? how or in what way is Jesus the agent and how was the agent Jesus involved in the creation of all?
    Did Jesus live at the time of Gen 1 and actually do something (either directly or indirectly) as “the agent through whom” God created?

    In your reply you then moved to the topic of “Savior” to explain “agency”, in that God was the Savior (as the author of the plan, etc.) and others were “saviors” as God’s agents (as the ones carrying out or being instrumental in the carrying out of the salvation plan). My point again is, that this comparison does not apply to the question of “created through him” … since there was no other person present and alive who could have been acting as God’s “Creator” agent. As several passages in Isa indicate regarding Who made heaven and earth and Who created it, there was only One (not Two or more), God alone “with His own hands”.

    Therefore, I would like to ask again and I would like to know how you understand the “through created him (Jesus)” in terms of the “agency” concept …. how was Jesus the agent in the case of the creation? Did he do something? If so, what?

  50. on 06 Mar 2012 at 10:48 amMargaret

    Thank you, Wolfgang. Your previous comment made me do some studying. I now know that the Greek word dia CAN have the meaning “because of” – IF it is used with the accusative case. For instance, in Matthew 10:22 the Lord Jesus warns his disciples that they will be hated because of his name.

    However, when used with the genitive case, it means through; and when it refers to a person, it means through the agency of.

    In 1 Corinthians 8:6, it is used with the genitive case. Therefore, there is no question about its meaning. It means through the agency of.

    Paul uses three prepositions in this sentence, and all of them imply motion: out from (the SOURCE); unto (the OBJECT); and through (the AGENT). So the sentence can be translated this way:

    There is one God, the Father, out of whom come all things, and we are for (toward) him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things come, and we go (back) to the Father through him.

    That is the law of agency in a nutshell.

    Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15-16 that “all things” were created in him and through him and for – but not FROM him. He is not the source.

    Paul also tells us that the “all things” include everything in the heavens and the earth, everything seen and unseen. I don’t know how the visible creation can be left out of that.

    So – was Paul a reliable witness? Could he be expected to know what the Old Testament taught?

    I think so. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and studied at the feet of Gamaliel. If anyone knew the OT scriptures, it was Paul.

    For that reason, I am satisfied that what Paul said does not contradict what the OT teaches, and it certainly harmonizes with the suggestion that God was talking to his “agent” in Genesis 1:26.

  51. on 06 Mar 2012 at 11:46 amSarah

    Margaret,

    Discussions like this help clarify what I believe and challenge me to consider other views, so I do appreciate you engaging in a debate with me.

    In your concept of a pre-existent Jesus, do believe him to be a separate being from God? In other words, do you believe God created him as a spirit and then directed that spirit to create the world?

    From my perspective, your arguments would be more convincing if you could explain why the Bible explicitly states in several places that Jesus came into existence at a particular point in time post-creation. These would include:

    “And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength)” (Isa 49:5 NASB) [formed = yatsar = “divine activity of creation”]

    “Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. (10) Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.” (Psa 22:9-10 NASB)

    “The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luk 1:35 NASB) [child = gennaō = “to be begotten”]

    “(1) Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. … (4) For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. (5) Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1Jo 5:1, 4-5 NASB) [born = gennaō = begotten]

  52. on 06 Mar 2012 at 12:43 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    what does “through Jesus” mean in the case of God created all things “through him” ? How was Jesus an agent for God in the creation?

    I do not understand how you understand that God created “through (with the agency of) Jesus” … would you please clarify? How was Jesus God’s agent in the act of creation in Gen 1?

  53. on 06 Mar 2012 at 1:46 pmMargaret

    Wolfgang, I have already answered your question as far as it needs to be answered. The ONLY way that dia can be understood when it is with the genitive case is “through the agency of”. That settles the issue, in my view.

    Either Jesus was the agent through whom God created ALL THINGS in the heavens and in the earth, ALL things visible AND invisible, or Paul didn’t know what he was talking about.

    I prefer to believe that he knew more than I do.

    Sarah, your comments deserve more time than I can give them now, but I appreciate the need to do more searching.

  54. on 06 Mar 2012 at 4:13 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    Wolfgang, I have already answered your question as far as it needs to be answered.

    No, you have not answered my question … you just repeat “dia with the genitive case is through the agency of”.

    Well, great, fine, wonderful … BUT I am asking you, WHAT does that mean? HOW are we to understand this phrase? What did Jesus do as God’s agent in the creation of all things? How was Jesus the agency through which God created heaven and earth?

    Anyone can repeat a phrase from the Scriptures 1000 times over, but that doesn’t help someone else understand … and does not even of necessity mean the person doing the repeating understands what the phrase means.

    You give the impression that you understand it … so, please, tell us in your own simple words what “through the agency of Jesus” means in the context of God creating heaven and earth …

  55. on 06 Mar 2012 at 9:00 pmMargaret

    Sarah, I will try to answer your questions, in my own words.

    I believe that the Word, who was WITH (the) God in the beginning, was separate and distinct from the one the Word was with. For one thing, you can’t be WITH someone unless you are someone/something else. Besides, the Word became flesh – something that (the) God never did.

    At the same time, although the Word was not “the God,” the Word was “God” (theos, without the article, implying sameness of quality, rather than numerical oneness.)

    I believe that the Word, in becoming flesh, took the form of a man. I believe that the man whose form the Word took was called “Jesus”.

    I believe that the man, Jesus, began with his conception in the womb of Mary. The Word was in the beginning with God; but the man that the Word BECAME had a beginning.

    I am not troubled when the two names are used interchangeably. When Paul says that the one Lord, Jesus the Messiah, was the agent through whom God created all things, he knew perfectly well that the MAN was not there. But the Word that BECAME the man WAS there.

    I have not looked at all the OT quotations that you have listed (although I intend to), but I have been looking at some OT quotations that are applied to Christ in the NT. One, of course, is Hebrews 1:10-12.

    The letter to the Hebrews probably was not written by Paul, but it was certainly written by someone who knew the OT Scriptures well. So when he applies a passage like Psalm 102:25-27 to Christ, he isn’t doing it out of ignorance. He knows that the passage in Psalm 102 is directed to Yahweh. Then why is he applying it to Yahweh’s Son?

    Not because he thinks that Yahweh and his Son are numerically one. There is too much evidence to the contrary, right in this chapter.

    But if we understand the quotation in the light of agency, then there is no problem. The Son was the agent through whom God laid earth’s foundation in the beginning. That can’t be talking about anything except the Genesis creation, surely. And according to the law of agency, the principal and the agent are considered one.

    Then there are the quotations in Hebrews 7 and 8 and 9 and 10. I would love to go through all of those chapters in detail, because they are wonderful; but I will stick to the quotations. One is “You prepared a body for me.” (10:5). Why? Because he needed a body in which to die.

    And then, “Here I am. I am coming to obey your will.” (So much for numerical oneness.)

    The terms “Word” and “Son” obviously refer to the same person. The Word became flesh. The Son partook of flesh and blood, in order to be like the people for whom he was the high priest.

    I don’t understand all the nuances of the different words, but I am convinced that the man Jesus, who began in a virgin’s womb, was nevertheless the Word of God, as Revelation 19:13 explicitly calls him.

  56. on 07 Mar 2012 at 1:54 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    I believe that the man, Jesus, began with his conception in the womb of Mary. The Word was in the beginning with God; but the man that the Word BECAME had a beginning.

    I am not troubled when the two names are used interchangeably.

    I do not think that Joh 1 is using “the Word” as a name for an already living person who then later sort of changed forms from “{ what form? }” to “man of flesh and blood”…

    John emphasizes in his writing that his gospel has as its topic “the Son of God” (cp Joh 20:31). I would say that Joh 1 rather simply teaches that in the beginning of the Son of God was “God’s logos / word / plan / concept” — which is verified by Peter in 1Pe 1:20 where we read that Messiah Jesus existed in God’s foreknowledge from “before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times”. John declares emphatically that Jesus did not just show up on the scene “out of the blue”, but from the beginning God was involved, in that God had devised the plan {logos} of a Messiah, and God’s word has throughout history come to pass. Through God’s Word (that is, what God has planned, declared, designed) all things were made and – as other passages of Scripture tell – all things led up to what then became reality in these last times, when that man (the central figure of God’s plan, word, concept) was conceived and born.

    The terms “Word” and “Son” obviously refer to the same person. The Word became flesh. The Son partook of flesh and blood, in order to be like the people for whom he was the high priest.

    “The Son” (Messiah Jesus) existed from before the foundation of the world until the conception and birth as “word” (plan, concept), after that as a “man” (a living being of flesh and blood).
    Straying away from understanding the terms “word” as “word” and reading into the text what is not there while following some more or less trinity doctrine influenced “pre-existence Christology theology” confuses the issue.

    Thus, I understand the matter of “agency” in the “through him (Jesus)” in reference to matters prior to his birth and life as what we today might perhaps call “with him in view”, “in regards to” … God ALONE acted, there was no living being helping Him along as His agent, but God acted in accordance with and in order to bring about His Word (plan, concept) about the Messiah. After Jesus was born and when he lived and ministered, he did in fact in a more literal sense act as God’s agent and things were done “through him” in a manner where he then actually did what God wanted done. But, such was not available prior to the Messiah Jesus existing as a living man of flesh and blood who could carry out God’s instructions and God’s will.

  57. on 07 Mar 2012 at 8:52 amMargaret

    Sarah, I am so grateful to you – and to Xavier and Jaco and everyone else – for making Hebrews 1:10 so clear. It was (to my mind) one of the fuzzy areas before. It isn’t any more.

    There are TWO OT quotations in vv.8-12. The first is quoted from Psalm 45:6-7, and the second from Psalm 102:25-27. The first is the context that helps to explain the second.

    First: “Your throne, God, is forever and ever … God, YOUR GOD, has anointed you …”
    There is no question that the writer does NOT consider the Son and his God to be numerically one. The anointed “God” cannot possibly be the one who is doing the anointing.
    That is the context for the second quotation.

    “You at the beginning, Lord, founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands …”
    There is no question that Psalm 102:25 is referring to Yahweh. Nor is there any question that the Genesis creation is what the psalmist had in mind. But the Son, being the agent of Yahweh, can be addressed with the same words.

    The writer of the Hebrews crafted his letter well. He doesn’t quote Psalm 102 until he has quoted Psalm 45, making it clear that he is NOT equating the Son with Yahweh. He is identifying the Son as the AGENT of Yahweh in creating the heavens and the earth.

  58. on 07 Mar 2012 at 10:46 amSarah

    Margaret,

    Thanks for taking the time to clarify some of your views. I can understand why these arguments seem compelling, but I think there are significant problems with this view of Jesus. They are these:

    (1) The idea of a pre-existent being entering a body is a Greek concept that originated with Plato. He taught that souls lived in heaven before being born in creation. He also taught the idea of an immortal soul, and an immaterial existence after death in which the soul returned back to heaven where it supposedly started. These ideas were foreign to Jewish thought, and were superimposed on the scriptures, eventually giving rise to Gnosticism. These pagan concepts gradually wormed their way into Christian thought and have dramatically influenced how scripture is viewed by mainstream Christianity to this day.

    (2) The Jewish concept of existence is seen most clearly in the creation of Adam. He is composed of both a material part (flesh) and an immaterial part (spirit/breath) – but ONLY once these two things were joined together was Adam called a living being. There is no mention in scripture that the consciously pre-existent soul of Adam entered his fleshly body. Rather, the Holy Spirit breathed into him. Why is this important to our discussion? Because Paul calls Jesus the “Last Adam”. And because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. These things do not point us to an immaterial pre-existence of Jesus, but to the creation of the first Adam, as our template for explaining how and when Jesus became a living being.

    (3) Even if we set these things aside, several problems still arise. If Jesus pre-existed, it would seem he lost his memories of this pre-existence when he became a man. After all, scripture says he grew in wisdom and favor with God. And it appears he neglected to mention his participation in the creation when he spoke to his disciples about it:

    “And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning mad them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” – [Mat 19:4-6 NASB]

    (4) The Jewish concept of the word of God is evident throughout the Old Testament – it is the commands, statutes, promises, and judgments of God. It is quite literally words issuing forth from God and delivered to man in various ways. When the “word of God” comes to the prophets, we are not given any hint that this means anything other than what it says – God’s words came to the prophets by means of the Holy Spirit.

    We know that Jesus was indwelt by the Holy Spirit in a superior way, such that he was in direct communion with God. Isaiah 11 prophesies this. And we know that Jesus routinely said he was delivering the words of God to Israel. I agree with you that Jesus is explicitly named “The Word of God”, but the question is, when was he given that name? After his resurrection:

    “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” – [Philippians 2:9 NASB]

    I think it likely Paul had this OT verse in mind: “I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” – [Psa 138:2 NIV]

    Jesus was bestowed the name “Word of God” as a result of the his obedience to God’s words during his life on earth. Jesus became know as the Word of God because he faithfully fulfilled this prophecy given about him:

    “ ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (19) ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.” – [Deu 18:18-19 NASB]

    That’s all I have time to write at the moment. Hope that helps explain where I’m coming from.

  59. on 07 Mar 2012 at 2:53 pmMargaret

    Thank you for the explanation, Sarah. But before I reply, I would like to see your explanation of Hebrews 1:10.

    I am not inclined to blame that on Greek philosophy. I believe it was written by someone who knew the OT a lot better than I do, and who understood Jewish thought a lot better than I do.

    (The same thing is true of Paul, of course.)

  60. on 08 Mar 2012 at 1:26 pmSarah

    Margaret, Heb 1:10 is a good question. I will accept your challenge and plan to research it in my spare time. I would be wary of putting all my theological eggs in one proof-text basket, though. Especially when the weight of evidence points in the opposite direction.

  61. on 09 Mar 2012 at 1:12 amMargaret

    While I wait for your explanation of Hebrews 1:10 (which, I suppose, will also explain 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1), I can reply to two of your previous points.

    (1) Greek philosophy may or may not have anything to do with the New Testament. I believe that the New Testament is the Word of God, and I don’t have to interpret it as if the Greek philosophers had spoiled it.

    (2) The term “living being” is applied to all animals (Genesis 1:28, 2:19), not just Adam. All these living beings have in them “the breath of life” (Genesis 7:21-22).

    I like the fact that Jesus is the “second man” from whose work of redemption will come a whole new race of men, bearing his image (Romans 8:29).

    But he is the “last Adam”. Adam was given dominion over all of God’s creation. Others have exercised dominion since then; but Christ is the last. His throne is for ever and ever. He will never be displaced.

  62. on 09 Mar 2012 at 2:56 amRon S.

    Margaret,

    Hello. I haven’t had a chance to reivew all of your posts in this thread. I just skimmed through a lot of these, so forgive me if I ask something someone else already has asked or you answered already.

    You are suggesting that Heb. 1:10 is showing that Jesus was the creator. That he did it as God the Father’s agent. Is that right?

    Do you believe that Jesus is God? Or are you coming from a Jehovah Witness type of background where you view Jesus not as God (in any trinity or Oneness sense), but as a pre-existent secondary god or super-powerful being/angel doing the bidding of Yahweh – the Father – the One True God??

    Have you read Sir Anthony Buzzard’s explanation of Heb. 1:10? If not, please visit this link and let me know your thoughts.
    http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/92.htm#1

    After that, I would invite you to read two articles/papers by a friend of Kingdom Ready’s – Ray Faircloth.
    1. http://www.biblicaltruthseekers.co.uk/uploadData/1-10.%20NOT%20AGENT%20OF%20GENESIS%20CREATION.pdf
    2. http://www.biblicaltruthseekers.co.uk/uploadData/1-11.%20AGENT%20OF%20NEW%20CREATION.pdf

    I think both of Ray’s and also Anthony’s written work answer all of the questions/issues you have brought up.

    And I will leave you with another thought. This is something I always bring up as a challenge against trinitarians. And it is part and parcel of my “common sense” and logical view of the Bible.

    If Jesus pre-existed his birth as an immortal divine being and was the one who created the world instead of God the Father – the Almighty Yahweh, then the Bible is flat-out deceiving us. At best it is misleading us. At worst – we’re being lied to plain and simple.

    You see the picture painted by Scripture is two-fold. First is the fact that it shows that Yahweh ALONE is the creator (something I think that Wolfgang has tried to point out to you here already). All those verses in Isaiah are too specific and just don’t work with an agent standing in place of YHWH. Plus when you combine that with the fact that Jesus himself said that “GOD MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE” (Why didn’t Jesus say “I made them” in Mark 10:6?).

    Then the second major issue is the fact that the Messiah was always promissed to be a literal descendent of Eve, of Abraham, of King David. That just isn’t the real truth if he existed before that. Paul gave Jesus the title of the LAST ADAM. That wouldn’t be accurate either. If Jesus pre-existed his birth, and was the one who created Adam, the he really was the first Adam – or the Zero Adam. And worst of all, Jesus wouldn’t be a human being. His whole life on earth would really be just a puppet show to “sell us” on the idea that he was human. Real human beings don’t pre-exist their conception in their mother’s wombs. An super-powerful spirit being existing for thousands or millions or billions (however long you want to assign to it) and going down into an fetus to be born as a human is a sham, a stage-show. It is just an act to try and meet the prophetic requirements that God gave from the start to Eve. It is dishonest and there’s just no way around that.

    Do you not see the huge problem that any kind of pre-existent demi-god/angel Messiah presents to the facts of what is presented throughout Scripture???

  63. on 09 Mar 2012 at 9:14 amMargaret

    Thank you, Ron. Your questions are valid, and I want to answer them.

    You are suggesting that Heb. 1:10 is showing that Jesus was the creator.

    No, I am NOT. Jesus is never called the creator of anything, as far as I know. That is a tri-unitarian claim.

    That he did it as God the Father’s agent. Is that right?

    Yes, that’s right. That is what Paul says (quite explicitly, it seems to me) in 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:16.

    Do you believe that Jesus is God?

    Absolutely not.

    Or are you coming from a Jehovah Witness type of background where you view Jesus not as God (in any trinity or Oneness sense), but as a pre-existent secondary god or super-powerful being/angel

    Not that, either. I have no such background, and Hebrews 1 makes it absolutely clear that the Son is not an angel.

    If Jesus pre-existed his birth, and was the one who created Adam, the he really was the first Adam

    Again – Jesus did NOT create Adam, and he was NOT the first man. More about that later.

    If Jesus pre-existed his birth as an immortal divine being and was the one who created the world instead of God the Father – the Almighty Yahweh, then the Bible is flat-out deceiving us. At best it is misleading us. At worst – we’re being lied to plain and simple.

    I have heard this same kind of language from trinitarians who use the same “proof texts” to show that Jesus must be Yahweh. It won’t work.

    Thanks again. I am more than willing to be taught something new, and I will read those three articles before commenting further.

  64. on 09 Mar 2012 at 6:52 pmMargaret

    I downloaded Anthony Buzzard’s article in order to study it in detail. I think it covers all three aticles.

    Frankly, I agree with much of it. But I will limit my comments to the two points which I understand differently.

    Hebrews 1:5 quotes Psalm 2:7 – “Today I have begotten you.” Sir Anthony sees that as the Messiah’s conception. I think it refers to his resurrection. Here’s why.

    In Acts 4:25-28 the disciples quote the first two verses of the Psalm in their prayer to God: “Why did the heathen rage? … The kings of the earth stood up and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.”
    Notice how they apply those words: “… against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together.”

    Then in Acts 13:33 Paul tells the Jews in Pisidian Antioch, “God has fulfilled [the promise] unto us their children, in that he raised up Jesus again; as it is written in the second Psalm, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”

    The two quotations fit together perfectly. Clearly, the disciples associated Psalm 2 with the Messiah’s death and resurrection – not his conception.

    As for Hebrews 1:10, Sir Anthony has given a very persuasive argument in favor of considering the words to be Yahweh’s answer to the suppliant whose complaint fills almost 23 verses. He explains, “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…”

    That’s fine. But who is the suppliant? If it is the Messiah, where does Jesus fit in? As has been pointed out several times, the man Jesus was born long after the suppliant wrote the Psalm.

    I find the idea of agency more straightforward. It requires a lot less manipulating.

    By the way, Sir Anthony does not mention the last half of 1 Corinthians 8:6. Agency is certainly involved there.

  65. on 10 Mar 2012 at 5:33 amMargaret

    I hope I can mention one other problem.

    I have been assured that Yahweh ALONE is the creator in Genesis one, and that rules out any “agents” in the matter of the Genesis creation.

    On the other hand, I have also been assured that when God said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26), he was talking to angels. To quote Sarah,

    “Angels act as God’s agents throughout the OT, and we know they were present at the creation, so it makes perfect sense to me that God would address them when he says “let us make man…”

    Isn’t there some kind of contradiction here?

  66. on 10 Mar 2012 at 10:17 amtimothy

    Margaret,

    as always “IMHO”

    I think that all your efforts here are very noble. However would you stop and consider that Jesus Christ is coming back in the blink of an eye. Christians have a mission for GOD. Christians have been fully equipped to carry out their mission.

    ””’A “shaliach” or agent/emissary represented someone and was treated as that individual because legally they were. In our modern society, the closest we get to that is to appoint “Power of Attorney” to someone. They can make legally binding decisions for us because we have designated them to serve in that capacity for us.””’

    Christians have “power of attorney” to use name of *Jesus Christ*.

    John 14:
    12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

    Christians are emissaries, ambassadors for Jesus Christ.

    2 Corinthians 5:
    18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

    19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

    20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

    Christians are emissaries/shaliachs to carry out:
    ” their ministry of reconciliation”.
    Christians are fully equipped with holy spirit and have written power of attorney to use the name of Jesus Christ.

    IMHO one should be a doer of the word of GOD.

    James 1:
    21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

    22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

    23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

    24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

    Timoyhy

  67. on 10 Mar 2012 at 1:55 pmRon S.

    Margaret,

    “Isn’t there some kind of contradiction here?”

    No, not at all. The following verse (Gen 1:27) makes it quite clear that God Himself was the only one who actually made man. As was discussed in Ray Faircloth’s paper “Jesus was NOT the Agent of the Genesis Creation” (2nd link in my first reply to you – #62 above), the Hebrew word “bara” that means create (in the singular) is never used in Scripture to describe anything done by a created being (angel, man, or otherwise). It is only used by God alone. This eliminates Jesus as being any kind of pre-existing “agent” creator for God.

    Again, take a closer look at this paper by Mr. Faircloth and his section on Gen. 1:26. This in particular should answer what your questioning:

    “Note 47sn of the NET Bible explains that:
    … In its ancient Israelite context the plural is most naturally understood as referring to God and his heavenly court (see 1Kgs 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Isa 6:1-8). (The most well-known members of this court are God’s messengers, or angels. In Gen 3:5 the serpent may refer to this group as “gods/divine beings.” See the note on the word “evil” in 3:5.) If this is the case, God invites the heavenly court to participate in the creation of humankind (perhaps in the role of offering praise, see Job 38:7), but he himself is the one who does the actual creative work (v. 27). Of course, this view does assume that the members of the heavenly court possess the divine “image” in some way. Since the image is closely associated with rulership, perhaps they share the divine image in that they, together with God and under his royal authority, are the executive authority over the world.”

    BTW, on this subject I’ve just encountered a different, yet interesting theory about Gen. 1:26. I’m currently reading a facinating brand new book by a true unitarian Messianic Jew from Israel by the name of Uri Marcus (now going by the full Hebrew name of “Uriel ben-Mordechai”) called “IF? The End of a Messianic Lie“. In it, Uri posits the following explanation of the plural in Gen 1:26 followed by the singular in Gen 1:27:

    “In Breishit [Genesis] 1:26, the US, the OUR, and the OURSELVES refer to none other than the Heavens and Earth, for from both realms (His own and that of the Earth) did HaShem take, in order to create man. Man’s flesh He created from the dust of the earth, the “Adamah” and for man’s soul, HaShem took the elements found only in the realm of the Heavens of G-d, even from the breath of the Almighty. For this reason, HaShem says, “Let US, in the respective image and likeness of all of US present, the celestial and the terrestrial, each of them separately give their portion, so that in combination, the creation of man emerges from the image of both, and from the likeness of both.” For this is what sets man apart from the rest of creation. If he were to have been created with only the celestial elements, he would have lived forever, and would not have died – forever locked into a condition of impurity. If he were to have been created with only terrestrial elements, he would have been unable to inherit eternal live, for eventually this Earth is destined to pass away.”

    Uri also gives the various passages from Deut where God calls upon the Heavens and the Earth as witnesses (e.g. Deut 4:26, 30:19, 31:28) to show how God used this expression elsewhere at important events.

    I may write a detailed article post about Uri’s presentation of this in the future. And I’m sure to post an overall book review of his new book when I’m finished reading it (which for now is VERY slowly – lol).

  68. on 10 Mar 2012 at 5:55 pmMargaret

    Thanks, Ron.
    I guess Sarah’s presentation of the angels as “agents” led me to believe that she understood “Let us …” as an imperative. I’m not yet convinced that it isn’t.

    Uri’s explanation retains the imperative mood, and it is certainly interesting; but I don’t know of any way to test it. Not yet, anyway.

    One thing that HAS been tested, though, is Anthony Buzzard’s interpretation of Psalm 2:7.

    Would you agree that Acts 4:25-28 and Acts 13:33 show that the disciples associated Psalm 2 with the Messiah’s death and resurrection, and NOT with his conception?

  69. on 10 Mar 2012 at 10:47 pmSarah

    Margaret,

    “I guess Sarah’s presentation of the angels as “agents” led me to believe that she understood “Let us …” as an imperative.

    My present position aligns with the commentary Ron quoted from the NET Bible. Sorry if I was unclear.

  70. on 11 Mar 2012 at 3:04 amWolfgang

    Ron,

    even just from reading the part you quote, it appears to me that this explanation of U. Marcus may be called interesting, BUT – as far as I am concerned – seems very “far fetched” and “bending” simple principles of language, such as recognizing subject, predicate and object of the sentence.

    When recognizing that there is one single “person”, God, speaking and declaring His intention (1:26), and then (in 1:27) He alone is doing what He said, with NOBODY else included in the carrying out of what He had declared, it seems rather clear to me that God in His statement (in 1:26) was not addressing anyone else, even though using the word “us”. Or are we to conclude that God first invites others to participate (“Let us {do this and that}…”) and then excludes them again (without a mention made or reason given) ?

    Thus, there will need to be a different explanation, how (linguistically speaking) a singular person speaking can use a plural pronoun and still be the only one meant.

  71. on 11 Mar 2012 at 8:38 amMargaret

    Thank you, Wolfgang. You have stated what my own reaction to Uri’s explanation was. I’m not discounting it, but it seems “far-fetched”.

    One thing we all seem to agree on: the person who was speaking was singular. God is not a plurality. He had to have someone/something else in mind when he used the plural pronoun “us”. And there should be some scriptural clue(s) that will help us to understand it.

    The only clues that come to my mind are in the NT. We are told that “the word” (whatever that means) was in the beginning WITH “the God”. And the words of God were certainly instrumental in all the acts of creation. Is there a connection here?

    One other thing. The Spirit of God (whatever THAT means) was already hovering over the surface of the planet before the “six days” began. That “spirit” is not mentioned again in the narrative, but I doubt that we are meant to forget it.

    Come to think of it, Job 33:4 puts the two together:

    The spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gave me life.

    I want to get back to Timothy’s post, though. No matter how our much our theology may differ, what our Lord Jesus (God’s anointed king) wants of us is OBEDIENCE. Dallas Willard (with whose theology I do NOT agree) gave a definition of the word “disciple” that moved me greatly. It goes like this:
    A disciple of Jesus is someone who walks WITH him, in order to learn FROM him how to be LIKE him.

    That makes me hungry.

  72. on 11 Mar 2012 at 1:15 pmSarah

    No matter how our much our theology may differ, what our Lord Jesus (God’s anointed king) wants of us is OBEDIENCE. Dallas Willard (with whose theology I do NOT agree) gave a definition of the word “disciple” that moved me greatly. It goes like this:
    A disciple of Jesus is someone who walks WITH him, in order to learn FROM him how to be LIKE him.

    Amen, Margaret!

  73. on 11 Mar 2012 at 4:27 pmDoubting Thomas

    I will double Amen that!!!

  74. on 11 Mar 2012 at 9:24 pmMargaret

    Getting back to the subject of Hebrews 1:10, Xavier’s post #8 describes my own reaction:

    The problem for me is that there’s really no precedent for interpreting “in the beginning you laid the foundation of the heavens and earth…” as referring to the Messianic age.

    Like I stated above, in every one of its OT usage, this phrase is always used [it seems] for the Genesis creation. Whilst I appreciate the interpretation, it sounds like a long shot to me. Too many acrobatics to explain this one verse out of its Biblical context.

    Exactly. There is nothing in the biblical context (Psalm 102) to suggest that it refers to anything other than the Genesis creation.

    The Hebrew version is translated “of old” rather than “in the beginning,” but both versions have “thou hast laid the foundation of the earth, etc.” in the past tense. So the phrases “in the beginning” and “of old” are synonymous terms. The psalmist is talking about something that was already long past.

    It’s pretty hard to make that refer to a future creation.

    However, if everything in heaven and earth was created through the agency of the Son (as 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:16 seem to say) there is no need for any kind of acrobatics. The verse is meaningful, just as it is written.

  75. on 12 Mar 2012 at 12:33 pmSarah

    Margaret,

    It’s pretty hard to make that refer to a future creation.

    I have some thoughts, but I’m not prepared to offer an interpretation of Heb 1:10 yet. It will take me some time to reflect and research.

    In the meantime, I think you must justify your own interpretation, in light of the fact that Hebrews 1:10 is addressed to the “Son”. A son is not a son until he is begotten by his father. We are told in Luke 1:35 that Jesus was originally begotten in his mother’s womb, and about 33 years later he was begotten the second time when he rose from the dead. Jesus the Son was begotten quite some time after the earth was created. So, for your argument to stand, you must prove from scripture that a son can consciously exist before he is born.

    There is nothing in the biblical context (Psalm 102) to suggest that it refers to anything other than the Genesis creation.

    Psalm 102 is very much eschatological.

    (12) But you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations.
    (13) You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come.
    (14) For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.
    (15) The nations will fear the name of the LORD, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
    (16) For the LORD will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory.
    – Psalm 102:12-16

  76. on 12 Mar 2012 at 10:44 pmMargaret

    Indeed it is, Sarah. The sufferer is beseeching the God who founded the earth and made the heavens to hurry up and bring about the restoration of Zion. But that doesn’t mean he’s waiting for the earth and the heavens to be made. That work is already in the past, if the verb tense means anything.

    Since Jesus was “begotten” twice, the word has a meaning apart from conception, wouldn’t you think? He wasn’t conceived twice.

  77. on 13 Mar 2012 at 1:07 amRon S.

    Margaret,

    “Would you agree that Acts 4:25-28 and Acts 13:33 show that the disciples associated Psalm 2 with the Messiah’s death and resurrection, and NOT with his conception?”

    No. I would not agree at all. Psalm 2 is 100% about the Messiah’s birth/coneption. That is what “begotten” means. It means to father, to bring into existence.

    Here’s what Anthony Buzzard wrote about this several years back in his Focus on the Kingdom magazine (Aug 2004):

    “A Misleading Translation in the KJV — Acts 13:33

    The begetting of Jesus was foretold in the important verse Psalm 2:7: God said of His Son who was one day to be born: “You are My Son; Today I have begotten you.” Paul quotes this verse in an important sermon in Acts 13. In verse 33 he refers Psalm 2:7 to the “raising up” of Jesus. In Acts 13:33 “raising up” does not refer to the resurrection of Jesus—he was not begotten as Son for the first time at his resurrection—but to the Father’s procreation of His unique Son in Mary. The KJV has wrongly added the word “again” to the text, making the reader think of the resurrection. F.F. Bruce is one of several expert commentators who insist that verse 33 is the fulfillment of verse 23 which promises that God will send the Messiah, i.e., “raise him up,” put him on the scene of history. By contrast verse 34 (Gk. de) speaks of the resurrection of Jesus, when God raised him from the dead. A different proof-text is supplied for this fact. The word “raise up” can point to the origin of a person, his appearance in history: see Acts 13:22, 3:22, 7:37. Acts 13:23 speaks of the arrival of Jesus and it is this “raising up” of Jesus which fulfills the promise “today I have begotten you.” Our text harmonizes exactly with the begetting of Jesus announced in Matthew 1:18 (genesis) and 20 (“begotten [the word is not “conceived”] in her”). John refers also to the creation/begetting of the Son in I John 5:18, where the KJV has a corrupted text, corrected by modern translations. “He who was begotten—brought into existence—keeps him [the believer].””

  78. on 13 Mar 2012 at 1:17 amRon S.

    Wolfgang,

    “Or are we to conclude that God first invites others to participate (“Let us {do this and that}…”) and then excludes them again (without a mention made or reason given) ?”

    So God couldn’t have invited the Angels to come and be present as witnesses during the pinnacle of His crowning creative achievement? To have them as members of the divine heavenly council even if He (God alone) was doing the actual creation of man Himself? If no reason is given, then does that mean it couldn’t happen that way??

    “Thus, there will need to be a different explanation, how (linguistically speaking) a singular person speaking can use a plural pronoun and still be the only one meant.”

    OK, let’s hear it then. Please tell us your “different explanation”.

  79. on 13 Mar 2012 at 3:38 amWolfgang

    Ron S.,

    So God couldn’t have invited the Angels to come and be present as witnesses during the pinnacle of His crowning creative achievement?

    God’s statement was about “Let US MAKE …”, not about “Let ME MAKE and you be my witnesses …”, or? God spoke of “US make” (in v. 26) and then we read about “HE made” (in v.27). It is about “make man” and there is no other action such as “be witnesses” mentioned. Neither are there any other heavenyl beings, nor is there a heavenly court mentioned anywhere in the context.

    My explanation was already indicated above => there is a figure of speech involved by which the plural (“us”) is put for the singular (“me”) for the purpose of emphasis.

  80. on 13 Mar 2012 at 3:22 pmMargaret

    Ron – would you agree that in Acts 4, the disciples are definitely applying the first part of Psalm 2 to the circumstances leading to the crucifixion of the Messiah? Followed by ???

    Wolfgang, you are making a lot of sense.
    Is it possible that Genesis 1:2, coupled with Job 33:4, might identify the Spirit of God as an actual participant, and not a witness?
    Just a suggestion.

  81. on 13 Mar 2012 at 3:31 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    Is it possible that Genesis 1:2, coupled with Job 33:4, might identify the Spirit of God as an actual participant, and not a witness?

    I would point out that “the spirit of God” is NOT a separate “person” or living being from God. God is SPIRIT (cp Jesus’ words)
    In Gen 1,2, “the Spirit of God describes nobody else but God Himself.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  82. on 13 Mar 2012 at 3:35 pmMargaret

    Ron – would you agree that in Acts 4, the disciples are definitely applying the first part of Psalm 2 to the rebellion of rulers against God’s Messiah, leading to his crucifixion? Followed by ??? God laughs at them, and says, …

    I can’t think of any way that this could refer to the conception of Jesus. What rulers were gathered against him then?
    Besides, the speaker in Psalm 2 is talking about Yahweh’s decree, making him king. It was not to a fetus that God said, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”

    Wolfgang, you are making a lot of sense.
    Is it possible that Genesis 1:2, coupled with Job 33:4, might identify the Spirit of God as an actual participant, and not a witness?
    Just a suggestion.

  83. on 13 Mar 2012 at 3:41 pmMargaret

    Sorry – I didn’t realize that I had already sent the comment before finishing it. I’ll try to be more careful.

    You may be right about the Spirit, Wolfgang. Nevertheless, it is true that God SENDS his Spirit in the NT, and that seems to suggest something distinct from the sender. I’ll look up some references.

    It isn’t something I would burn at the stake for, but it seems to fit.

  84. on 13 Mar 2012 at 4:23 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    my understanding concerning “the Spirit” in these instances is this: The term “spirit” (respectively, “holy spirit”) is used to designate both God Himself as the Giver, and it is used to also describe the gift which God gives

  85. on 13 Mar 2012 at 10:15 pmSarah

    Margaret,

    Since Jesus was “begotten” twice, the word has a meaning apart from conception, wouldn’t you think? He wasn’t conceived twice.

    Reminds me of Nicodemus’s question: How do you climb back into your mother’s womb? ALL of God’s children are born twice, a birth and a resurrection. You still haven’t proven that a son can exist as a conscious immaterial spirit and subsequently enter the womb.

  86. on 13 Mar 2012 at 11:07 pmMargaret

    I can accept your understanding of the Spirit, Wolfgang. But that gift (like the gift of the Son) seems to act as an agent, as well as a gift. I won’t say more about that until I have done some serious studying.

    Sarah, I can only go with the evidence. You haven’t shown how a person can be conceived twice, either. The fact is, things are often a lot more complex than we are willing to admit.

    So far, I find compelling evidence that God created the heavens and the earth through the agency of his Son. That evidence still stands. The unexplained HOW questions I am willing to leave with God.

  87. on 14 Mar 2012 at 2:14 amtimothy

    Margaret,

    Read this (nasb) sentence from Ephesions and believe it is written to you.

    Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

    Using your geometry skills, make a clean drawing of verse 18.

    Now what you see is a **fourth** dimension.

    The natural world is three dimensional the spiritual world is **four** dimensional and when one becomes rooted and grounded in love they will be able to comprehend and know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.(1 Corinthians 13)

    Hear is the latest version of an online class where one may begin to experience the **love** http://lhim.org/resources/classes.php?id=31

    Genesis 1:26…..”let us make”

    “since no specific information is provided, questions about what is not written may distract the reader from what is written, and thereby he may miss the point.” chapter one, “The Foundation”, kingdom studies books volume one.

    So what is the point? take the class and find out.

    Timothy

  88. on 14 Mar 2012 at 3:18 amtimothy

    Magaret,

    Sarah wrote:

    “Reminds me of Nicodemus’s question: How do you climb back into your mother’s womb? ALL of God’s children are born twice, a birth and a resurrection.”

    Sarah did not say anything about anyone being conceived twice. Kingdom studies volume three “Living Sacrifice” chapter ten “New Birth” explains.

    In my post #66 I have tried to bring to mind “brevity of time”. What i am mindful of is that Christians have faith, hope and love. Hope is for the return of Jesus Christ. Therefor as a Christian one should focus on being GOD’s agent through Jesus Christ, “NOW”.

    Jesus Christ is coming back and he has only you, as an ambassador to speak his gospel about the coming Kingdom of GOD.

    1 Corinthians 9:
    25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

    26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

    27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

    Are you beating the air? Shadow boxing? Trying to squeeze Jesus Christ a person born 11 September 3 BC back through a time tunnel to the creation of our world and all that is in it.

    “Are you kingdom ready?”

    Timothy 8)

  89. on 14 Mar 2012 at 10:58 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    I can accept your understanding of the Spirit, Wolfgang. But that gift (like the gift of the Son) seems to act as an agent, as well as a gift.

    I would say that the gift does NOT act at all …. it is the person who has received the gift who would be the one who acts and utilizes the potential power inherent in the gift.

  90. on 14 Mar 2012 at 1:10 pmMargaret

    Sarah did not say anything about anyone being conceived twice.

    You’re right, Timothy, and I apologize to her (and to you) for the inaccuracy.

    My original point was that Psalm 45 was clearly associated by the disciples with the Messiah’s death and reasurrection – NOT with his conception. That is still true.

    As for the Spirit if God, Wolfgang, you have a point.
    Many years ago I typed all the verses in the NT that contained the word “spirit” (400 plus) on card stock, cut them apart, and separated them into piles according to the context. As I recall, the subject is a lot more complex than any of us have grasped.

    I have brought all those verses out again, Wolfgang, and will try to find evidence for your view. But it will take time to study the subject, even superficially. I will save further comments about that subject until I am done.

    By the way, Dale Tuggy has been posting a very interesting (and I think valuable) series of posts on “Worship in Revelation”. It’s worth anyone’s while to check it out.

  91. on 14 Mar 2012 at 2:39 pmSarah

    You’re right, Timothy, and I apologize to her (and to you) for the inaccuracy.

    Quite all right.

    My original point was that Psalm 45 was clearly associated by the disciples with the Messiah’s death and reasurrection – NOT with his conception. That is still true.

    I agree.

  92. on 16 Mar 2012 at 11:41 amMargaret

    Wolfgang – I have now read through my list of verses several times – after first removing all the passages that deal with things other than God’s Spirit. (The word is used in a great many different ways, actually.)
    Then I removed anything that might be understood in more than one way. Finally I removed all but a few passages that I don’t think will fit your position.
    But first I had better make sure I understand what your position is. I don’t want to make the mistake of misquoting someone again.

    I believe you have said that the Spirit of God/Holy Spirit usually refers to God himself. Otherwise, it refers to the gifts that God gives to men. The gift (ability) itself is the spirit in that case.

    Does that express your position, or should it be corrected/explained/enlarged upon?

  93. on 16 Mar 2012 at 12:37 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    I believe you have said that the Spirit of God/Holy Spirit usually refers to God himself. Otherwise, it refers to the gifts that God gives to men. The gift (ability) itself is the spirit in that case.

    I would not necessarily say “usually refers to God Himself”, I would say that – depending on the context – the words “[the] holy spirit” may refer
    (a) to God Himself (that is, to the Father, the Creator, the Almighty, etc.), or
    (b) to the gift which God gives (which is power, ability, etc.)

  94. on 16 Mar 2012 at 8:04 pmMargaret

    Thanks, Wolfgang.
    I assume that the title “Spirit of God” fits the same two meanings. Depending on the context it would refer either

    (a) to God Himself (that is, to the Father, the Creator, the Almighty, etc.), or
    (b) to the gift which God gives (which is power, ability, etc.)

    I agree that the context is crucial.
    I think there are several passages that don’t fit either of those two possiblities. I have cut them down to six, but I don’t intend to discuss them all in one post. (That’s because I don’t enjoy reading long posts myself.) I’ll give you the references, though, so you can look them up ahead of time if you feel like it. They are:
    – John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:13 (dealing with the advocate/comforter, the Spirit of the truth)
    – Romans 8:26-27 (which seems to be on a related theme)
    – 2 Corinthians 13:14
    – Ephesians 4:3-6
    – Hebrews 9:11-14
    – Matthew 28:19-20

    1. In the three passages in John, Jesus told his disciples that he was leaving them. They were going to experience hardship. But he would ask the Father to send them the comforter/advocate – the Spirit of the truth that comes forth from the Father. The Spirit of truth would say nothing on his own initiative, but would teach them only what he himself had heard. (Jesus made the same claim for himself as the agent of God.)

    2. Romans 8:26-27 seems to show us the “advocate” at work. Paul says we don’t know what to pray for as we should, so the Spirit makes intercession for us with “groanings that cannot be expressed.” But “he who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he intercedes for the saints according to [the will of] God.”

    The Spirit is praying to God, and therefore cannot BE God. But God knows the MIND of the Spirit, even though the prayers cannot be expressed in words. So this spirit (whatever it is) has a MIND.

    By the way, I am quoting from an interlinear translation, which may have errors. Please point out any that you see.

  95. on 17 Mar 2012 at 1:58 amWolfgang

    Hi Margaret,

    for both passages in Joh 14 as well as Rom 8, I consider the references to spirit of God / spirit sent from God, etc. to be a reference to the gift holy spirit which Christ was prophesying and which God then gave and which they received at Pentecost and afterwards.

    The language used in describing the functioning of this spirit from God is not the usual simple literal descriptive style, but rather by means of “personification” (a figure of speech) emphasis is drawn to what would be available to them once this spirit (other places described as “gift”) had been received by them.

    From the overall scope of the NT passages speaking about this topic, it seems to me that factually / literally speaking, the terms “(the) holy spirit” either refer (a) directly to God (as a descriptive title, similar to “the Almighty”, “the Creator”, etc), or (b) to that which God then has given as His gift (which is “power from on high”)

    Thus it follows that understanding references to “holy spirit” in these passages literally (rather than as involving a figure of speech), that is as referring to some kind of “acting (spirit) person” seems to be a wrong understanding. Who would this “spirit” then have been … an angel, or what? I don’t think the Scriptures are speaking about a “spirit person” who came replacing Jesus after he ascended, or?

    Therefore I understand these passages as speaking about the holy spirit gift, but using the figure “personification” to emphatically describe its functioning and what it provided to the recepients.

  96. on 17 Mar 2012 at 3:20 amtimothy

    Wolfgang and Margaret,

    Really fully loaded post from you two.

    Thanks,

    Timothy 🙂

  97. on 17 Mar 2012 at 10:38 amMargaret

    The language used in describing the functioning of this spirit from God is not the usual simple literal descriptive style, but rather by means of “personification” (a figure of speech) emphasis is drawn to what would be available to them once this spirit (other places described as “gift”) had been received by them.

    Thanks, Wolfgang. There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit is a gift. So is the Messiah. No argument there.

    I also agree that personification occurs in the Bible. But I am not convinced that it fits here. It seems like a strange way for Jesus to be talking, given the circumstances.

    Nor can I understand why Paul would talk about the Spirit (who makes intercession for the saints) as having a MIND in tune with God, praying according to the will of God, even though the prayer cannot be expressed in words.

    If this is just an ability to pray that God gives to men, I cannot understand why the gift would not include the words to express it.

    Can you give me an example of this kind of thing in Paul’s writings?

  98. on 17 Mar 2012 at 11:17 amSean

    Jesus himself said he was using figurative language in the last supper discourse.

    John 16:25
    “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.

  99. on 17 Mar 2012 at 11:58 amtimothy

    Margaret,

    1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14 covers “pneumatikos” or spiritual matters.

    All of my learning and knowledge about “pneumatikos” is taught in KR Kingdom Studies, Authored by Seans Father, volume three “Living Sacrifice”, chapters 5, 6 and 7.

    http://kingdomready.us/pdfs/kingdomstudies/bk-livingsacrifice.pdf

    ll Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    agapao se

    Timothy 🙂

  100. on 17 Mar 2012 at 2:17 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    if these passages do not involve the figure of speech personification, then who is this literal person said to be the spirit, also described as comforter? Who then did come after Jesus had left?

    I do not see any arrival or presence of such a “holy-spirit-person” after Jesus’ ascension being mentioned in the Scriptures … therefore it seems clear to me that the passages in which “holy spirit” is described as a “person” must involve the figure of speech “personification” and can not be speaking about a literal person.

    This is similar to Prov 8:22ff where we have a passage in which “wisdom” is described by use of the figure of speech personification as “a woman”. Now, to me this is obviously NOT speaking about a literal woman, whose name was “wisdom” or who displayed a lot of wisdom in her doings …

  101. on 17 Mar 2012 at 10:47 pmMargaret

    Wolfgang – IF the Holy Spirit of God is an entity at all, then his title identifies him. He/it needs no other identity.

    Timothy – I’m glad you mentioned the “spirituals” of 1 Corinthians 12. I’m looking at that chapter right now.
    Paul wants the Corinthians to UNDERSTAND about these spiritual gifts. He tells them there are “different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit; different kinds of services but the same Lord; different kinds of workings but the same God, working all things in all.”

    Then in verse 8 he goes into detail about the gifts given by [through the agency of] the Spirit. Notice [emphasis added]:

    For through the Spirit is given to one a word of wisdom; to another a word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another workings of powers; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another kinds of languages; to another interpretations of languages; but the one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing separately to each as he purposes.

    God is the one who works ALL things; but the Spirit is the one through whom the gifts are given.

    It reminds me of the words of the Lord Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3. He used the analogy of wind. You can’t see wind; but you can see the things that are CAUSED by wind. You can’t see the Spirit either; but you can see the gifts that are GIVEN by means of the Spirit.

  102. on 18 Mar 2012 at 12:59 amtimothy

    Margaret,

    STARTING AT ZERO.

    Everything began for me over thirty years ago when I first spoke in tongues, after an exhaustive teaching.

    Like one you may receive by taking this class on line. And of course following along by reading the collateral Kingdom Studies books volumes one, two and three. you can even email for a syllabus which you may print.

    http://lhim.org/resources/classes.php?id=31

    you wrote:

    Timothy – I’m glad you mentioned the “spirituals” of 1 Corinthians 12. I’m looking at that chapter right now.
    Paul wants the Corinthians to UNDERSTAND about these spiritual gifts. He tells them there are “different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit; different kinds of services but the same Lord; different kinds of workings but the same God, working all things in all.”……….

    Why will you not read from the link i gave you ????????

    I can read, from above, that you have not…..why…..because you are calling the “pneumatikos” spiritual gifts. When you do not get that correct then you have a damaged word GOD is trying to teach you.

    When you truly do: Romans 10:9 & 10, you will receive the “GIFT” of holy spirit which has nine(9) different manifestations (these are nine different and separate evidences) and which are not each a separate gift.

    GOD is no respecter of persons…..every person receives the same portion “pressed down, shaken together and flowing over”. to fill and make full=pletho/pleroo. Each person, with holy spirit has the same ability to operate(the person is not operated). the person has their own spiritual ability, and freedom of will to operate all nine of the manifestations at will.

    There is one “GIFT”, holy spirit, and nine manifestations of “the GIFT”.

    At least read chapter five.

    agapao se

    Timothy 😉

  103. on 18 Mar 2012 at 9:15 amMargaret

    I confess that I have not read your link, Timothy, and I’ll tell you why. I have read a multitude of “courses” (Trinitarian, Watchtower, etc.) ALL of which have revealed something I had not noticed, but ALL of which had conclusions that could not be supported from the Bible. Frankly, I vastly prefer to read the Bible itself.

    However, I will read the link you suppied before continuing. And I can expect to learn SOMETHING from it, without being obliged to swallow everything it teaches, without careful comparison with what the Bible actually says.

    In the meantime, what you describe as “The Gift” certainly sounds like something other than either God himself or the gifts described in 1 Corinthians 12.

    But I will save further comments until I have looked at your link. And thank you for continuing the conversation.

  104. on 18 Mar 2012 at 9:26 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    Wolfgang – IF the Holy Spirit of God is an entity at all, then his title identifies him. He/it needs no other identity.

    So then we would have
    (a) God (who is The Holy Spirit)
    (b) the Holy Spirit (who is a “person”, but not God but separate from God)
    (c) Gift holy spirit (which is “power from on high”, spiritual power, enabling receivers of this gift to do such “spiritual things/manifestations” as mentioned in 1Co 12:7ff)

    To me point (b) seems illogical and “unnecessary” … what would be the purpose of such a separate “Holy Spirit person”? Where else in Scripture does such a “Holy Spirit person” (which himself is not God) show up and for what purpose ?

  105. on 18 Mar 2012 at 9:36 pmMargaret

    Wolfgang – a) has not at all been proved. That’s the point.

  106. on 19 Mar 2012 at 2:07 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    Wolfgang – a) has not at all been proved. That’s the point.

    I don’t quite understand what you are trying to get at here …
    How do you want to PROVE this? Are the words of Scripture that God is HOLY (cp. Isa 6) and that God is SPIRIT (cp Joh 4:24) not sufficient? If then the term “Holy Spirit” are used in a context as a reference to God Himself, then what further proving is needed?
    From the overall scope of Scripture, it seems clear to me that there is not a second “Holy Spirit” person beside God Himself described in Scripture … just as “the Almighty” is not a separate “almighty Person” aside from God Himself, who is referrred to as being Almighty, etc ..

  107. on 19 Mar 2012 at 12:26 pmMargaret

    Timothy – thank you so much for the link to Mr. Finnegan’s book. I read chapters 5-7 and enjoyed it very much. I plan to read the rest of the book later.

    I agree with you that the subject is “spiritual matters,” which includes MORE than just the gifts. So yes – I learned a lot, and I really don’t disagree with anything major.

    Just now, I want to stick with what fits the subject of this thread: AGENCY. And Mr. Finnegan has a lot to contribute to that subject. He quotes vv. 4-6 from the KJV:
    “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit.
    And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
    And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”

    He explains that the word “administrations” is really “services,” and the word “operations” is really “workings”. So we have:
    one God, who is “working” everything toward a goal – the carrying out of his purposes;
    one Lord, under whom all service is done; and
    one spirit, who “graces” us with the gifts we need to carry out those services.

    Mr. Finnegan obviously differentiates between the one spirit and the one God. And that brings us to the subject of AGENCY.

    We all agree that the one Lord is the agent of the one God. But it is just as clear (from the text) that the one spirit is ALSO the agent of the one God. It is through the spirit that the gifts are given (see vv. 7-9).

    And all of the gifts, all of the services, are meant to produce UNITY. To quote Mr. Finnegan, “Through the grace of God, we all have a gift to serve in the Body. Each of us is unique with a God-given ability to serve as only we can. No one needs to envy another because we all have a special free gift of service to render … We should just be thankful for everyone’s service and realize that the Lord is the head of the Body, not us.”

    I’d love to quote more, but that’s enough for one post.

  108. on 19 Mar 2012 at 4:28 pmMargaret

    It would be worth anyone’s while to read chapters 5-7 in Mr. Finnegan’s book. But here are a few more quotations that are relevant to this thread:

    All Christians have received the same spirit as a gift from God. All have the same Lord Jesus Christ and the same God Who is the Father of all and Who works all in all.

    The spirit enables us to serve in the Church as God wants.

    Unity is God’s design for the Church. He made: one body, one spirit, one Hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. And, of course, He is one God.

    Then Mr. Finnegan quotes Ephesians 4:3-6:
    Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    This is another passage where the one Spirit is clearly distinguished from the one God. They are separate and distinct. And what the spirit is responsible for here is UNITY.

    In other words, “God the Holy Spirit” is not in the Bible. That title was made up by Trinitarian theologians. The biblical title is “the holy Spirit OF GOD”.

    The end of chapter 5 takes us to the end of 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul turns our attention from the gifts of the spirit to the fruit of the spirit: LOVE. That’s what chapter 13 is about, and it is wonderful.

    And thank you again, Timothy. Those chapters were well worth reading.

  109. on 20 Mar 2012 at 6:45 amtimothy

    Margaret,

    YAHWEH bless you.

    I am joyful that you have read the chapters about pneumatikos/agape and are seeing, in your mind, through spiritual eyes.

    Facebook,,,Timothy H. bliss,,,

    Perhaps you might reread posts #s 66, 87 and 102.

    TODAY !!!

    We are children of the GOD and father of our lord Jesus Christ.
    We are agents/ambassadors for GOD via our brother Jesus Christ.
    We have been fully equipped to carry out our ministry of reconciliation.

    agapao se

    Timothy 🙂

  110. on 20 Mar 2012 at 8:58 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    In other words, “God the Holy Spirit” is not in the Bible. That title was made up by Trinitarian theologians. The biblical title is “the holy Spirit OF GOD”.

    Yes, speaking of “God the Holy Spirit” as part of a “3 person in one Godhead” construct like “God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit” is a trinitarian theological title.

    However, God is referred to in Scripture as “the Holy Spirit”, just as He is referred to as “the Father” or “the Almighty” or “Creator”, etc.

    Consider Lk 1:35 … “35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.”
    As we can see, the emphasized terms are not referring to 3 different persons, but are all terms referring to one and the same person (God = the Most High = the Holy Spirit)

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  111. on 20 Mar 2012 at 11:24 amMargaret

    Timothy – I have now read the first four chapters of Mr. Finnegan’s book, and I think it is great. I hope to read the rest later.

    Wolfgang – thank you for giving one example to support your view. I think it can be understood just as easily in the context of agency, since the spirit of God is the POWER of the Highest. But it could easily mean what you say.

    In the meantime, Mr. Finnegan has given two examples (in 1 Corinthians 12 and in Romans 12) where the one spirit is certainly seen as being DISTINCT FROM the one God. So – even if your example means what you say it does, it does NOT explain the obvious distinction between the holy spirit and God that is found in those passages.

    I would like to add another one: Matthew 28:18-19.

    All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

    The distinction hardly needs to be pointed out.

    I would like to add what Samuel Clarke wrote about this passage about 200 years ago:

    In the name of the Father, who originally gave that Power;
    In the name of the Son, to whom that Power is given;
    And in the name of the Holy Ghost, by whom (by whose more immediate operation and influence) our Lord exercises that Power.

    I can’t think of a better way to put it.

  112. on 20 Mar 2012 at 11:55 amtimothy

    Margaret,

    Here is link to Living Hope resources:

    http://lhim.org/resources/resources.php

    8)

  113. on 20 Mar 2012 at 1:10 pmWolfgang

    Margaret

    In the meantime, Mr. Finnegan has given two examples (in 1 Corinthians 12 and in Romans 12) where the one spirit is certainly seen as being DISTINCT FROM the one God. So – even if your example means what you say it does, it does NOT explain the obvious distinction between the holy spirit and God that is found in those passages.

    Could it be that Mr. Finnegan is understanding “the holy spirit” in those passages as the gift holy spirit which God gives, which is also how I would understand those passages ? Certainly a gift is distinct from the Giver …

    A slightly different illustration for the same matter, just from an entirely different realm: Remember, “Ford built Ford” … but the 2 “Ford” are certainly distinct from one another and one of them is a human person while the other is an automobile, but due to a certain connection both are called “Ford”

    Returning to our biblical topic: The Holy Spirit (God, the Giver) gives holy spirit (His gift, power) to those who believe on Christ.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  114. on 20 Mar 2012 at 10:35 pmRay

    Here’s an interesting verse from Daniel:

    Daniel 7:15
    I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, ….

  115. on 20 Mar 2012 at 10:52 pmRay

    Now I wonder if Daniel’s spirit (that part of him that was of the Spirit of God) could have been making intercession for him.

    I Peter 1:11
    Searching what, or what matter of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

    In this world there is communication without words at times. There are many kind of symbols and signals used to communcate messages.

    In visions information is communicated without words being spoken at times.

    Sometimes information is immediately received even as there is more information given about it later by the Spirit.

  116. on 20 Mar 2012 at 11:01 pmtimothy

    Ray,

    Daniel 7:
    15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

    Exactly !

    Wolfgang what is your auffassungskraft ?

    😉

  117. on 20 Mar 2012 at 11:38 pmMargaret

    It IS interesting, Ray. The word spirit is definitely used in a great many ways, and this particular passage shows one of them.
    However, “holy spirit” and “spirit of God” are much more restricted.

    And thank you, Wolfgang. Certainly, the gift of God’s spirit and the gift of God’s son are both distinct from God, the Giver.

    I would go further, though, and suggest that the wording in the passages Mr. Finnegan quotes has the idea of agency built into them. The spirit is the one THROUGH which/whom the gifts come, and THROUGH which unity (fellowship) is produced.

    Matthew 28:18-19 can certainly be understood that way.

    In fact, that is the only way I can understand why Jesus would command his apostles to baptize disciples “in the name of … the Holy Spirit.” What kind of inanimate gift would fit a command like that?

    I think that this command has to do with the authority that has been given to God’s Son, and is put into operation through his Spirit.

    One more passage that fits this view is 2 Corinthians 13:14.

    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

    Clearly, the Holy Spirit is separate and distinct from God.

    In fact, it is the Holy Spirit that “indwells” us – that makes “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God” experientially real to us. The “fellowship of the Holy Spirit” will lead to unity.

    That makes good sense, it seems to me.

  118. on 21 Mar 2012 at 2:25 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    And thank you, Wolfgang. Certainly, the gift of God’s spirit and the gift of God’s son are both distinct from God, the Giver.

    first, I would make a distinction between “gift of God’s son” and “gift of God’s spirit” … the one is a human being, a living and acting person (God’s Son), the other is “a thing”, power, but NOT an acting living being being.

    Next, I would say one can speak of “agency” in the case of a living and acting person, but a thing or power – since it doesn’t act by itself – is not “an agency”.

  119. on 21 Mar 2012 at 3:53 amRay

    How about looking at the evidences of manifestations of God or appearances of angels (messengers?) in the Old Testament in light of
    John 1:18?

    John 1:18
    No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

    Suppose it was Jesus who had one way or another declared God each and every time there was something manifest that was declaring God
    or sent from God in the Old Testament.

    This would mean that Jesus sent an angel if a message was sent to this earth by an angel, for example.

    If there was a glory of God that was seen, it was the glory that came from Christ.

    I suppose that the manna that was sent from heaven was sent by Christ.

  120. on 21 Mar 2012 at 7:56 amWolfgang

    Ray,

    I don’t think that the phrase “the only begotten Son … hath declared him [God]” in Joh 1:18 has anything to do with events during the OT times.

    Cp what Heb 1:1 states, where we read that God in times previously spoke to the fathers through the prophets (in the OT times before Christ was born and then later ministered pblically), but “in these last days” (approx 2000 years ago) God spoke to them through His Son.

    Jesus Christ was not alive and acting during the time prior to his life on earth approx 2000 years ago. The only way in which Christ existed and was present prior to his conception, birth and life on earth, was as “Word” in God’s foreknowledge (cp. 1Pe 1:20). He did not exist as a living person prior to the conception and birth, thus he could not have been acting as God’s agent prior to his birth and life on earth.

  121. on 21 Mar 2012 at 8:26 amtimothy

    Ray,

    Consider that, Jesus began his human DNA life when he was conceived and born of Mary:

    Revelations 12: (nasb)
    1) A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2) and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

    This wonderful event, the birth of GOD’s only begotten son, took place on September 11, 3BC.

    http://www.cortright.org/revsign.htm

    All the evidences you are claiming happened before Jesus became a DNA human being.

    It is never written in scripture that Jesus went back to the past. It is written that he is coming back.

    Acts 1: (nasb)
    9) And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10) And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11) They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

    Timothy 8)

  122. on 21 Mar 2012 at 2:22 pmMargaret

    We seem to be avoiding the evidence already presented (and not yet refuted) that it was through the agency of the one Lord Jesus Christ that all the things in heaven and in earth were created (Colossians 1:16) – including the heavens and the earth that were created in the beginning by Yahweh (Hebrews 1:10).

    It does not inspire much confidence to have the same old statements repeated, without clear scriptural evidence to prove that the passages cited don’t mean what they say.

    The same is true with regard to the spirit. The question is not whether the word “spirit” is used in many different ways. Of course it is.

    But it is impossible to think that baptizing “in the name of … the holy Spirit” means “baptizing in the name of … a thing”. Nor can I imagine a prayer like 2 Corinthians 13:14 having any meaning if the “fellowship of the holy Spirit” is just the fellowship of a “thing”.

    As for “acting by itself,” it is doing exactly that in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. But NOT on its own initiative, as John 14:26 and 16:13 make perfectly clear.

    In other words, both God’s Son and God’s Spirit act as AGENTS of God himself.

  123. on 21 Mar 2012 at 5:08 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    yo you are proposing that there are 3 separate “persons”, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?

  124. on 21 Mar 2012 at 5:21 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    We seem to be avoiding the evidence already presented (and not yet refuted) that it was through the agency of the one Lord Jesus Christ that all the things in heaven and in earth were created

    This has definitely already been refuted … with the rather simple truth being mentioned that Jesus was not alive at the time and thus could not have acted as an agent or God’s helper in the creation. Furthermore, scripture from Isa was mentioned which states that God ALONE and without anyone’s help or agency accomplished the creation of heaven and earth.

    Once again, an overall scope of the Scriptures is needed in order to be able to correctly understand somewhat difficult scriptures in light of many clear ones … rather than experiencing the pitfall of misunderstanding certain difficult scriptures and by using that understanding as basis for considering the otherwise clear passages and misunderstanding those as well

  125. on 21 Mar 2012 at 5:37 pmRay

    In regards to #121, Jesus in the Spirit did many things being with God from everlasting. He even witnessed to those men who in the days of Noah, while the ark was being made, were in bondage to sin. He did this not in the flesh, but by the Spirit of God, being in the Spirit, the same Spirit whereby the saints are clothed with, whether they are alive on this earth, or have fallen asleep in Christ.

  126. on 21 Mar 2012 at 5:40 pmMargaret

    Wolfgang – Yahweh is the ONLY Saviour. He ALONE saves. But he saves THROUGH HIS AGENTS.

    So the “difficult” passages that call Jesus “the Saviour” are not difficult at all.

    Yahweh is also the ONLY Creator. He ALONE created the heavens and the earth. But the passages you call “difficult” give evidence that he created the heavens and the earth THROUGH HIS SON.

    Hebrews 1:10 is perfectly clear to anyone whose mind is not closed, Wolfgang. Yahweh is the ONLY Creator. But the Son is the one THROUGH WHOM the heavens and the earth were created in the beginning.

    In other words, you have refuted nothing.

  127. on 21 Mar 2012 at 5:47 pmRay

    I believe there are Christians who will say that Jesus has been declaring God from the beginning, even before the world was made.
    (Micah 5:2)

  128. on 21 Mar 2012 at 7:03 pmMargaret

    That’s true, Ray. They are associating Jesus with the Word of God, which has always expressed God’s mind.

    IF the Word which became flesh – the Word through whom the world was made – is in fact Jesus (as there is plenty of evidence to suggest), then those people are right.

    God’s great high priest is called a priest for ever after the order of Melchesidek.

    That certainly applies to the future; but there must be some reason why the writer says that Melchesidek was made (typically) “like unto the Son of God” – HAVING NEITHER BEGINNING OF DAYS NOR END OF LIFE (Hebrews 7:3).

    The “figure of speech” is Melchesidek. The reality is the Son of God.

  129. on 21 Mar 2012 at 8:38 pmtimothy

    Ray,

    you are for sure familiar with the idiom chapter and verse ?

    chapter and verse:

    when did John the baptist receive holy spirit ?

    chapter and verse:

    when did Jesus receive holy spirit ?

    chapter and verse:

    when did you, Ray, receive holy spirit ?

    chapter and verse:

    when will John the baptist receive a spiritual body ?

    chapter and verse:

    when did jesus receive his spiritual body ?

    chapter and verse:

    when will you, Ray, receive a spiritual body ?

    Timothy 8)

  130. on 21 Mar 2012 at 8:53 pmtimothy

    Margaret,

    2 Corinthians 2:
    11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices………..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=exdK7Lirngg

    Timothy 8)

  131. on 22 Mar 2012 at 6:12 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    Wolfgang – Yahweh is the ONLY Saviour. He ALONE saves. But he saves THROUGH HIS AGENTS.
    So the “difficult” passages that call Jesus “the Saviour” are not difficult at all.

    I understand this like you do … God is the author of the plan of salvation, Jesus is the one who then carried it out. This poses no problem, because when it was carried out, Jesus was alive and able to carry it out.

    Yahweh is also the ONLY Creator. He ALONE created the heavens and the earth. But the passages you call “difficult” give evidence that he created the heavens and the earth THROUGH HIS SON.

    This most definitely can NOT be understood in the same way as the matter above regarding “Savior”, for the simple reason that Jesus was NOT alive and able to do any creating or helping with creation at the time of which we read in Genesis.

    You claim that God “created the heavens and the earth THROUGH HIS SON” … what do you mean with that claim? For example, do you mean that Jesus was alive and helped God with the creation? Do you mean that Jesus was alive and he actually created everything while God only made the plan? Do you mean something else? If so, what do you mean?

  132. on 22 Mar 2012 at 6:13 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    I am interested in learning your answer to my earlier question about if you believe that there are 3 “persons” … God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?

  133. on 22 Mar 2012 at 3:52 pmMargaret

    You claim that God “created the heavens and the earth THROUGH HIS SON” … what do you mean with that claim?

    1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:10 all tell me that everything – including the heavens and the earth – came into being through the agency of the Son.

    I am not obliged to explain what the authors meant by what they said, Wolfgang, but I believe they knew what they were talking about, and I accept their word.

    HOWEVER, I have already given you my own opinion. I believe “the Word” that became flesh answers your question.

    About “persons”: I think we agree that Jesus is (or was) a “person”.

    I don’t know whether God is a “person” or not. If you mean a human person, then absolutely not. But we can agree that he is the living God, whether or not he should be called a “person”.

    As for the holy Spirit, I don’t know whether it/he should be called a “person” either. The one thing I am certain of is that Jesus would NOT!! ask his disciples to baptize people in the name of a “thing”.

    Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 and many other passages name three distinct entities; but only ONE of the three is God. The other two are the Son OF GOD and the Spirit OF GOD.

    Whether God and/or his Spirit can rightly be called “persons” does not really matter to me.

    I hope that answers your questions.

  134. on 22 Mar 2012 at 4:04 pmWolfgang

    Margaret.

    I am not obliged to explain what the authors meant by what they said, Wolfgang, but I believe they knew what they were talking about, and I accept their word.

    In the first place, I did not even ask you to explain what the authors meant … I asked you to explain what YOU mean when you say that God created the heavens and the earth THROUGH CHRIST ! Since YOU use this expression, I would think that YOU KNOW what you mean with what you say, don’t you?

    Now, as for “explain what the authors meant by what they said” … I would say that it is of utmost importance to understand what the authors meant with what they wrote … since that is the only true and correct understanding, whereas an understanding which is not in accordance with what the authors meant is of necessity incorrect.

  135. on 22 Mar 2012 at 8:11 pmMargaret

    I think the authors meant what they said, and if we have to do a whole lot of “explaining” to make it mean something else, we should probably examine our pre-conceptions.

    However, let’s take another look at the first chapter of Hebrews.

    Right at the beginning, the writer turns our minds to the idea of agency. It was through the Son that God made the ages. The Son purged our sins; but he did it as the agent of God – not as an independent Savior.

    To the Son God said, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever … THY GOD hath anointed thee …”, making clear that the Son’s title of “God” was the title given BY God to his AGENT.

    Then comes the quotation from Psalm 102:25-27, a passage that was originally directed to Yahweh, and cannot refer to anything except the creation of the heavens and the earth. Now it is being applied to the Son.

    Therefore, it seems clear to me that the author intends us to recognize AGENCY here, just as in the previous verses. He is not equating the Son with Yahweh. He is showing that the Son was the AGENT of Yahweh in the creation of the heavens and the earth.

    I studied, carefully, Anthony Buzzard’s explanation that this refers to the messianic age, and commented on it (#65). Much as I admire Sir Anthony, I have to agree with Xavier that it requires “Too many acrobatics to explain this one verse out of its Biblical context.” (Comment #8)

    Perhaps you can better explain what the author meant.

    Then there is 1 Corinthians 8. The meaning there is clear, too. All things come FROM the one God, THROUGH the one Lord. ALL things, not just a few. That is why Paul can tell the Corinthians that idols are NOTHING. Nothing comes FROM them and nothing comes THROUGH them.

    Take the original creation out of the “all things,” and you have destroyed Paul’s argument. The Corinthians are then free to credit the idols with the making of everything they can see around them.

    So I believe Paul meant exactly what he said. Does that answer your question?

  136. on 23 Mar 2012 at 5:25 amWolfgang

    Margaret

    Does that answer your question?

    No, it does not answer my question … you have nicely avoided answering my question. Here it is again:

    What do YOU mean when you speak of GOD CREATED the heavens and earth THROUGH CHRIST ?

    I’ll add the following so you can perhaps better understand my question:
    For example, do you mean that Christ lived at the time of Gen and helped God as His agent with the two of them creating the heavens and earth?
    Do you mean that Christ was alive at the time of Gen and he actually did the creating by himself and carried out what God “as the architect” had instructed him to do?
    Do you mean perhaps something else with your above statements?

    Now, there is no need to repeat what you already have written or comment on what the author of Heb and 1Co wrote .. I have read and know what they wrote. I would like to know what YOU mean with what YOU write about “God created THROUGH Christ (as God’s agent)”.

  137. on 23 Mar 2012 at 10:06 amMargaret

    Now, there is no need to repeat what you already have written or comment on what the author of Heb and 1Co wrote .. I have read and know what they wrote. I would like to know what YOU mean with what YOU write about “God created THROUGH Christ (as God’s agent)”.

    I mean exactly what is written in these passages, as well as others which have already been quoted.

    Perhaps the Word of God is not enough for you. It is for me.

  138. on 23 Mar 2012 at 10:26 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    guess what … I also mean exactly what is written in these passages .. and yet, it seems that we do not mean the same thing … so now what?

    You still did not answer my question (even with the help of the additional questions to clarify the intent of my question) … why?

    Not only I am anticipating your answer to those questions … so, please, why don’t you answer?

    And, by the way, I think just about everyone here will claim what you claim, that the Word of God is enough for them. The real question is not whether the Word of God is enough for you or for me … but, who does have the Word of God and who has perhaps a false understanding of what they read?

  139. on 23 Mar 2012 at 12:27 pmMargaret

    Wolfgang, I apologize for being rude.

    My answer to your question is found in the first chapter of John. I submit that this chapter fits very well with ALL of the passages already quoted.

    John tells us that the Word was WITH God, and therefore was not God himself. All things that exist came into existence through the agency of the Word. (ch. 1:1-5)

    The Word (also called “the true light”) became flesh. That true light (now a man) was in the world; but even though the world was MADE BY him, the world did not recognize him. Those who RECEIVED him were given the authority to become sons of God. (vv. 9-13)

    It is clear that the man (whom the Word became) was Jesus, the Messiah.

    That solves the problem, it seems to me. It FITS all those passages that have already been quoted, plus several other passages that no longer need to be explained away.

    Now that I have answered your question, Wolfgang, I hope you will answer mine. How can 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Hebrews 1:10 and Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 7:3 be made to fit the idea that the Son of God had no existence prior to the birth of Jesus?

    One at a time will do.

  140. on 23 Mar 2012 at 2:02 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    thank you for your further note with your further answer to my question(s). I see that you seemingly understand “the Word” in Joh 1 to be a reference to a living acting “person” (of some kind, obviously not a human) who later became a human being (“became flesh”).

    As for Joh 1, I understand “Word” to mean “Word” but not “Jesus” … for me, the term “logos / Word” describes “word, plan, concept, idea”. In the beginning the Messiah existed in the form of “word, thought, concept” in God’s foreknowledge (cp 1Pe 1:20), and this “word” then was made known and when the time was fulfilled what until then had been “Word” became the reality in the conception and birth of the man Jesus Christ.

    As I have mentioned before (perhaps in some other thread), I at times use the illustration about myself and my children. Before my wife and I were married, we discussed various topics relevant to our marriage, among them the topic of “children”. From that time on, our children were in existence as “word, thought, idea” in our plans. A year and a half after our wedding, our son was born … what had been “word” in our plans “became flesh” … the plan (word) actually came into existence (flesh).

    I shall try and comment on those other passages shortly

  141. on 23 Mar 2012 at 6:15 pmtimothy

    Sarah & Wolfgang,

    Wolfgang has written the most intelligent analogy I have ever contemplated:

    [[” As for Joh 1, I understand “Word” to mean “Word” but not “Jesus” … for me, the term “logos / Word” describes “word, plan, concept, idea”. In the beginning the Messiah existed in the form of “word, thought, concept” in God’s foreknowledge (cp 1Pe 1:20), and this “word” then was made known and when the time was fulfilled what until then had been “Word” became the reality in the conception and birth of the man Jesus Christ.

    As I have mentioned before (perhaps in some other thread), I at times use the illustration about myself and my children. Before my wife and I were married, we discussed various topics relevant to our marriage, among them the topic of “children”. From that time on, our children were in existence as “word, thought, idea” in our plans. A year and a half after our wedding, our son was born … what had been “word” in our plans “became flesh” … the plan (word) actually came into existence (flesh).”]]

    Ephesians 1:4-5, 9, 11 (kjv)
    4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
    5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will…..

    GODs hierarchical, top down, intelligent source design.

    9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:…..

    11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:…..

    GOD is an intelligent being and has information, a blueprint in his mind
    of intelligent design.

    Ephesions 2:
    18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;…..

    GODs word is HIS intended plan in HIS foreknowledge.

    Timothy 8)

  142. on 23 Mar 2012 at 7:54 pmMargaret

    I understand the analogy, Wolfgang, but it falls far short of explaining the text.

    For example, when your son “became flesh,” the world that he came into was not “made” by him. (See verse 10.)

    I also greatly appreciate God’s sovereign will, Timothy. But there is ample evidence that he carries out his designs through the agency of his Son.

    In fact, that is the subject of the New Testament, and the subject of this thread, it seems to me.

  143. on 23 Mar 2012 at 9:57 pmSarah

    Isn’t this discussion now just repeating points already made several times over?

  144. on 23 Mar 2012 at 11:27 pmMargaret

    Isn’t this discussion now just repeating points already made several times over?

    Yes, it is, Sarah, but with some important variations. For example, the idea that the word is to Jesus what a parent’s “plan” is to a child sounds quite reasonable – until you remember that the Word, when it became flesh, came into a world that was MADE by him. So that analogy won’t work.

    But I would be quite happy to move on while I wait for Wolfgang’s explanation for Hebrews 1:10, etc.

    I have been looking at John 17:5 for a long time, but haven’t mentioned it because I did not know how to be sure of the meaning of the prepositions. I know now, and anyone who wishes can test what I am saying; so here goes.

    Jesus says to his Father, “And now glorify me, Father, with thyself, with the glory that I had with thee before the world was.”

    with thyself = para seauto
    with thee = para soi

    “Thyself” and “thee” both refer to the Father.

    Jesus is asking to be glorifiied with (para) the Father …
    … the same glory that he had with (para) the Father before the world was.

    The factor that governs the precise meaning of para is the CASE that it is used with. Both seauto and soi are in the DATIVE case, meaning that in both clauses, the glory was something he had BESIDE or NEAR the Father -not just in the Father’s mind. The clauses are parallel in meaning.

    That certainly harmonizes with what is said about the Word in chapter 1.

  145. on 24 Mar 2012 at 1:38 amtimothy

    Margaret,

    Going back to post # 107.

    Have you spoken in tongues ?

    Timothy 8)

  146. on 24 Mar 2012 at 8:58 amSarah

    Margaret,

    You are focusing on the problems you see with our view, but I haven’t heard you deal honestly with the problems I’ve pointed out regarding your view. For example, the fundamental Jewish concept of human existence. John was a Jewish man. Are you proposing that John, in a rather vague way that is unrepeated anywhere else in scripture, radically redefined what it means to be human? Wouldn’t this at least this take some exlaining to his Jewish audience? If John is saying what you claim, where in the account of Christ’s conception do you find the consciously pre-existent “word” entering Mary’s womb? I think these are some very good reasons to reconsider your opinion about what it is John is saying.

    But even more significantly, the passages you point to as proof that Christ participated in the original creation are the words of the apostles. Yet the apostles never made any fundamental claims about Jesus that Jesus did not first make about himself. And this is where you run into a major problem. Can you find me even ONE time Jesus claimed to be the agent of the original creation? Meanwhile, I can show you verses like Mark 13:19, where Jesus affirms Genesis 1 as the Jews ALREADY understood it:

    Mar 13:19 “For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.”

  147. on 24 Mar 2012 at 10:53 amWolfgang

    Margaret.

    For example, when your son “became flesh,” the world that he came into was not “made” by him. (See verse 10.)

    well …neither was the world that Christ came into made by HIM. The use of masculine personal pronouns in Joh 1,1ff for the noun “Word” is a wrong translation. The correct English translation should be “IT” … “Word” is a neuter noun and thus should use a neuter pronoun.

    By the way, the German Luther Bible translation does have this correct, whereas most (if not all) English translations unfortunately all have masculine pronoun “him”.

  148. on 24 Mar 2012 at 1:38 pmtimothy

    Wolfgang,

    “das”

    der Sieg

    Timothy 8)

  149. on 24 Mar 2012 at 5:08 pmMargaret

    Let the pronoun be “it” then, Wolfgang. The fact remains, when the Word became flesh it entered a world that was MADE by “it”. So your analogy does not work.

    However, having become flesh, I think it’s fair to say that the one who was in the world – the one that the world did not know – was a man. Therefore, they did not know “him”.

    I will address your questions Monday, Sarah.

    In the meantime, my desire is to honor the Messiah’s wish (command) to “remember” him. I think we all agree that he is worthy.

  150. on 24 Mar 2012 at 10:10 pmMargaret

    I know this isn’t Monday, Sarah, but one thing has been on my mind for several weeks. I haven’t had time to look through the Bible for examples or counter-examples, but I want to mention what I believe to be a principle of agency, and you can let me know if there is scriptural evidence to the contrary.

    I believe that it would be unbecoming for an agent of God Almighty to claim credit for something that God had done through him.

    For example, I don’t think Aaron ever said that HE turned the water of the Nile into blood. I don’t think Moses ever claimed that HE parted the waters of the Red Sea. It was God who did those things, and the agent knew it.

    [There is an example of Moses suggesting that he brought water out of the rock; but he was angry at the time, and he was rebuked for his indiscretion.]

    Jesus seldom (if ever) took personal credit for what he did or taught. He said that his words were not his own; that he did nothing on his own initiative; that the healings he did were done by the power of the Spirit of God.

    So IF Jesus had said, “I created the heavens and the earth,” then
    a) it would have been completely out of character, and
    b) he would have been claiming to be the Creator – something he is never called. Instead, he is identified as an AGENT of the Creator.

    The rest I really do intend to leave until Monday.

  151. on 24 Mar 2012 at 11:46 pmRay

    I believe there is a time for everything in the Word and that God has no limits. I trust there may be a time when we may need to know the Lord’s glory he had in the creation and he may certainly tell us about it.

    Concerning how God has appeared at times or may have appeared, sent messages, and communicated things concerning himself, there are so many possibilities.

    God may have appeared in visions. Christ may have appeared in visions. Angels may have been sent in the image and likeness of Christ to communicate things concerning Christ. Christ himself may have appeared on this earth in the likeness of an angel.

    There are so many possibilities.

    I wonder what a man might say concerning what he had seen if in fact he had seen Christ in a vision, having never heard of his coming to this earth to be born a man child from the womb of Mary.

    How might an Old Testament believer have described what he had seen in such a case? Might he simply have said that he saw someone as the son of man, or simply say he saw the Lord, as David had spoken of a Lord who was of God. (Psalm 110:1)

    Can you imagine someone seeing in a vision the Lord Jesus, one who had never heard the gospel at all? How might he describe what or who he saw?

    I’ve heard of a Muslim who received a vision of the Lord and he then wanted to learn about Jesus.

    When we see a painting of the Lord, don’t we know who it is? I think we usually do and yet we have not seen him in the flesh, though some of us have seen him in a vision.

    If we know the Word we will recognize him. If we know what the fruit of the Spirit is, we will know him when we see him.

  152. on 25 Mar 2012 at 5:07 amtimothy

    Wolfgang,

    “promoting the gospel of the kingdom and the creed of Jesus” so reads the purpose of this LHIM blog.

    What i believe: http://lhim.org/aboutus/statementofbeliefs.php

    Wolfgang and Timothy went to the same school and have the same Gospel to proclaim. They carry the same gesellenbrief/fuhrerschein stamped pfal. Fully instructed to operate the same
    KPZ(kraft pneumatikos thing).

    Here and now experiences with Ephesians 6:12 are lambano and
    1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

    UZW

    Timothy 8)

  153. on 25 Mar 2012 at 10:37 amRay

    One of the things that I believe is that men tend to pick and choose which meaning of a word is the one they will go with, and that words have differing uses.

    This we have to do and as men we don’t always make the right choices.

    As I look in my dictionary at the word death, one way the word is used describes “any ending resembling dying; total destruction”.

    What is it to be dead in tresspasses and sins? It seems to mean that there is an existance that does not have it’s life of God, no life in Christ, according to the Spirit of God.

    When we were dead in tresspasses and sins, (Eph 2:1) were we alive or not?

    Yet God sent his active force, action and power, his administration representative, ambassador, king, and Son, Jesus to deliver us from so great a death.

  154. on 25 Mar 2012 at 11:23 amWolfgang

    Ray,

    When we were dead in tresspasses and sins, (Eph 2:1) were we alive or not?

    Sure, we were alive … or were you laying as a corpse in a coffin?

    So then, what is the meaning of “dead in trespasses and sins”? I would say, based on an overall scope of the Scriptures, that the phrase describes the situation that a sinner is under the sentence of death, condemnation in regards to eternal life (same as Adam was dead on the very day he ate of the fruit of the tree, just as God had told him would happen).

  155. on 25 Mar 2012 at 11:30 amWolfgang

    Ray,

    One of the things that I believe is that men tend to pick and choose which meaning of a word is the one they will go with, …

    indeed …

    Perhaps the main hindrance for people in their search for truth is membership or allegiance to a church, a group, a denomination, etc. from whose “official doctrine” they can’t deviate without fear of being “ex-communicated” or otherwise suffering loss of various kinds.

    I’ve yet to meet a church, a group, a denomination who truly has as their main belief that man is free to believe and be convinced as he/she choses and that “doctrinal conformity to the group” is not decisive for fellowship. I used to be involved in a group which propagated “biblical research” and insisted that “we will change once we learn differently” … aside from these being “nice words”, the reality was quite different after all.

    After many years of involvement with Christians of various theological backgrounds, it seems that someone is only free to search and believe when he/she is truly independent of any church, group or denomination.

  156. on 25 Mar 2012 at 8:38 pmSarah

    Wolfgang,

    After many years of involvement with Christians of various theological backgrounds, it seems that someone is only free to search and believe when he/she is truly independent of any church, group or denomination.

    All I can say is, thank the Lord for the internet!

  157. on 26 Mar 2012 at 12:51 pmMargaret

    I agree that we tend to justify what we grow up with. But sometimes we can’t. I grew up an Anglican. I finally had to discard the theory of tri-unity, because the evidence is too overwhelming that God is ONE, not three.
    Not everyone will look at the evidence, though.

    Getting back to Sarah’s questions: I am no expert on Jewish thinking, Sarah; but I know of one person who was. It was the writer to the Hebrews. He obviously knew the Tanakh well. He quoted from it copiously all through his letter. If anyone understood how Hebrews thought, it should have been he.

    His first chapter has already been dealt with in Comment #136. But there is some wonderful teaching regarding the high priestly office of the Son that I have been reveling in for the past couple of days.

    Five times the author quotes all or part of Psalm 110:4 – “Yahweh has sworn with an oath and will not repent; Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (ch. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:17, 21).

    Chapter 7 is all about the similarities between Melchizedek and the Son of God. Some of them are evident from the narrative in Genesis 14:17-20. For example, his name means “King of Righteousness”. He is the king of Salem, which means “peace”. [Both of those things fit the Messiah, the prince of peace, whose scepter is a scepter of righteousness.] And so on. I hope you read the whole chapter.

    But “a priest forever” doesn’t come from what the narrative SAYS. It comes from what the narrative does NOT say. And quoting Psalm 110:4 five times impresses on us that the writer had the backing of the Tanakh in saying that Melchizedek’s priesthood was everlasting.

    He goes on to list a few more details that the narrative doesn’t tell us. Melchizedek was without mother or father (as far as the record is concerned). He was without beginning of days or end of life (as far as the record is concerned). He was MADE LIKE the Son of God as far as the record is concerned.

    So without beginning of days or end of life describes Melchizedek TYPICALLY, but it describes the Son of God ACTUALLY. The evidence is consistent with the evidence of chapter 1.

    Then there is chapter 10. But that can wait.

  158. on 26 Mar 2012 at 1:06 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    Melchizedek was without mother or father (as far as the record is concerned). He was without beginning of days or end of life (as far as the record is concerned). He was MADE LIKE the Son of God as far as the record is concerned.

    So without beginning of days or end of life describes Melchizedek TYPICALLY, but it describes the Son of God ACTUALLY.

    How can a man — and without doubt, the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, was a man — be ACTUALLY without beginning of days or end of life? This is “actually” impossible. Thus, it follows that what is said concerning Melchisedek applies in the same manner to Jesus Christ.

    The matter at hand is the PRIESTHOOD and in both cases, Melchisedek as well as Jesus, were not of the “proper” priest line descend (to which record of the proper geneaology the phrase “without beginning of days nor end of life” refers). Yes, indeed, Melchisedek was a type of PRIEST of which Jesus Christ was the Antitype.

  159. on 26 Mar 2012 at 2:31 pmtimothy

    Margaret,

    Back to post # 145

    ” Margaret,

    Going back to post # 107.

    Have you spoken in tongues ? ”

    Did you dechomai or lambano ?

  160. on 26 Mar 2012 at 2:43 pmtimothy

    Sarah,

    teaching 11-6-2011
    Rev Vince Finnegan
    Psalm 110

    at 01:17 (one hour seventeen minutes)

    http://lhim.org/sunday/sermon_archive.php

  161. on 26 Mar 2012 at 5:05 pmMargaret

    Wolfgang – that MAY be a possibility.

    But then, I have to wonder why the writer bothered mentioning those details about Melchizedek at all. It certainly leaves the impression that they have a bearing on Christ’s priesthood. Don’t they?

    If the words “no beginning of days and no end of life” really mean what you say, then Christ is NOT a priest for ever, because Melchizedek wasn’t.

    Is that what you are suggesting?

  162. on 26 Mar 2012 at 7:27 pmSarah

    Timothy,

    Thanks for the link in post #160. I actually listened to that one already and it was very good.

  163. on 26 Mar 2012 at 9:21 pmRay

    Wouldn’t it be something if everyone took part in one kind of bodily resurrection or another, one part unto life eternal with God in heaven, and the other part unto death and eternal damnation where their bodies were forever being torn apart, eaten by worms, burnt, where they were thrown about, trampled on, kept in darkness, etc. forever?

    That could make for a dramatic science fiction movie for Halloween or something I suppose….except it might not be so much based on fiction.

    What kind of things did the head (Jesus) of God’s divine agency say about the everafter?

  164. on 26 Mar 2012 at 9:53 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray,
    Your description of hell actually originally came from a fictional book written about 500 years or so ago. Dentes Hell (not sure of the spelling). Most of our modern beliefs about hell and about Satan come from this fictional book…

  165. on 27 Mar 2012 at 2:57 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    If the words “no beginning of days and no end of life” really mean what you say, then Christ is NOT a priest for ever, because Melchizedek wasn’t.

    Is that what you are suggesting?

    The phrase “no beginning of days and no end of life” is simply a descriptive expression for “genealogy” … the point regarding both Melchisedek as well as Jesus is that they both were NOT of the priestly genealogy (which was the line of Levi and Aaron).

    The expression has nothing to do with any ideas like them “being priests from before their birth and beyond their death into eternity”. It emphasizes the truth that they did not have a “levitical” genealogy through Aaron and yet were priests of the Most High God. In that Melchisedek was a type of Christ .. and therefore Christ is said to be a priest after the order of Melchisedek (rather than being a priest of the line of Aaron)

  166. on 27 Mar 2012 at 10:48 amMargaret

    I appreciate your point, Wolfgang, but the writer has ALREADY said, “without genealogy” (translated “without descent” in the KJV). That has already been said, explicitly.

    Besides, “without beginning of days or end of life” does not sound like genealogy. It sounds like no beginning and no end. That’s a strange way to talk about genealogy.

    But let’s say we don’t agree on the meaning of “no beginning” and “no end”. The fact is, there are several other passages in the same letter which seem to make the same point: the Son of God did not begin to exist when the man Jesus was born.

    I have already referred to chapter 1. I want to look at at least two more: one in chapter 2 and one in chapter 10.

  167. on 27 Mar 2012 at 11:52 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    as I read the book of Hebrews, there is not one verse which states that the Son of God was alive and existed as a living being prior to when the man Jesus was conceived and born.

    Heb makes very clear in the opening chapters that the Sohn of God was THE MAN (not the angel, not God, not {some whatever other kind of living being}) Jesus.

    Thus, any and all scriptures which MAY APPEAR to us — reading the passages today and in our respective translation — as if the Son od Gof (the man Christ Jesus) had been alive prior to his conception and birth, must be considered within the overall scope of the Scriptures and the truth that the Son of God did NOT exist as a living being, but did exist solely as “word” in God’s foreknowledge (cp 1Pe 1:20, Joh 1:1ff)

  168. on 27 Mar 2012 at 2:42 pmMargaret

    Actually, Wolfgang, I am not entirely dependent on translations. There is a lot of help available for understanding what the Greek text actually means.

    In fact, by mentioning two possible meanings for dia in a previous post, you have helped me learn how to find out the EXACT meaning of Greek prepositions like pros (John 1:1), and para (John 17:5), and dia (1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; etc.) Thank you for that help.

    I agree that THE MAN, Jesus, did not exist before his conception. That is not in dispute.

    However, your reference to God’s foreknowledge does not explain John 1:1, which tells us that the Word was WITH (near to) the God. In fact, it was THROUGH the Word that all things came into being (v. 3). That just doesn’t fit foreknowledge of something in the future.

    Now for more evidence in Hebrews.

    Chapter 2 introduces the idea of the Messiah’s priesthood.

    Verse 11 and 12 speak of his “brethren”. Verse 13 calls them “children” (referring to disciples, as quoted from Isaiah 8:18).

    Then comes verse 14:

    Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. (KJV)

    The Greek word for “destroy” means to “render powerless”. The devil has been rendered powerless (though not yet destroyed) through the death of the Messiah.

    But in order to accomplish this victory, the Son of God had to die. He had to become like the “children” that he was setting free from the fear of death (v. 15). So – because they were “partakers” in flesh and blood, he took part in the same (flesh and blood). What for? In order to die.

    This is not a “proof” text, by any means; but it certainly harmonizes with all the passages which refer to the preexistence of the Son of God, and which have yet to be refuted.

    Including John 17:5.

    By the way, Wolfgang, Trinitarians also tell me I have to interpret everything not agreeable with their theory by “the overall scope of the Scriptures”. What I look for is evidence.

  169. on 27 Mar 2012 at 3:10 pmSarah

    Margaret,

    From post #150:

    I believe that it would be unbecoming for an agent of God Almighty to claim credit for something that God had done through him.

    I’m not suggesting he should have claimed credit for it apart from God. But he most certainly did make claims as God’s agent. He said he was the light of the world, the truth, the door, the bread of heaven, etc, etc. And he said he would raise the dead. He always gave credit to the Father, of course, but he still made the claims in order to show he had God’s authority. Therefore it would not have been out of character for him to inform the disciples that he made the earth and everything that was in it…if such was the case. Wouldn’t it have been necessary, in order to change their existing view of Genesis 1?

    We know these two things: Jesus mentioned the act of the original creation several times and yet did not so much as hint that he participated in any way. Jesus also mentioned the “re-creation”, if you will, and unquestionably claimed he would participate in it as God’s agent. Therefore, when I look at the NT passages you mentioned, I believe I am on more solid footing when I view them through the lens of re-creation than original creation. I didn’t always see things this way. But after I researched the matter more carefully I was compelled to change my view.

  170. on 27 Mar 2012 at 4:22 pmMargaret

    Thanks, Sarah. I see your viewpoint. He knew WHAT he was, and what God intended him to DO. But his authority from God to act as God’s Messiah was that God had SENT him, and that’s what he wanted people to recognize.

    Frankly, I just can’t imagine his saying that HE made the heavens and the earth. That would have been taking the glory away from the Creator and PROBABLY would have started a useless argument. Everyone knew (so did he) that GOD created the heavens and the earth. What agents he might have used did not alter that fact.

    We can agree that his words and his works – which were not his own -were evidence enough to prove that he was, indeed, SENT by God. The evidence was there, if people were willing to look at it.

    As for the New Testament passages already mentioned, I believe that some of them cannot be taken to mean anything but the original creation. But I am willing to look at any evidence that fits the context.

  171. on 29 Mar 2012 at 7:07 pmRay

    Thomas, I don’t think Jesus read the book you refer to in #164. I know I haven’t. Don’t know anything that’s in it.

    I know Jesus talked to his disciples about everlasting punishment where the disobedient and unbelieving will go, and he spoke of this place just before he gave himself over to be crucified. (Matt 25:46)

    I don’t think he spoke of this as if it were where he would be going, but rather because the time was near to the end of his life just before his death and it was something of importance that he wanted his followers to be aware of.

    It seems to me that it’s an important part of the gospel since it’s about what we deserve for our sins, and God delivering the followers of Christ out of it, by faith and obedience to him, by that faith which is in him.

  172. on 30 Mar 2012 at 4:31 pmMargaret

    I have been going through Hebrews again, looking especially at all the passages where the word “age” (aion) is used. I think it has a bearing on how we understand Hebrews 1:2. [All emphasis is added.]

    The singular word is used in the expression “forever” (lit. unto the age) – ch. 5:6; 6:20; 7:7; 7:24; 7:28.
    It is also used of the coming age (probably the messianic age) – ch. 6:5.

    The plural word is used three times:
    1:2 – “[the Son] whom he [God] appointed heir of all things, through whom indeed he [God] made the ages”.
    1:8 – “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever …” (lit. unto the ages of the ages).
    9:26b – “… But now at the completion of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

    There is a definite parallel between ch. 1:2-3 and ch. 9:26. In chapter 1, God MADE the ages through his Son, after which the Messiah made purification for our sins through himself (v.3).
    In ch. 9, at the COMPLETION of the ages, the Messiah was manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

    That certainly sets the stage for the rest of chapter 1, in which God gives to his agent an everlasting throne (v. 8), followed by the quotation from Psalm 102 regarding the making of the heavens and the earth – a quotation which makes perfect sense in the light of agency.

    Chapter 10 is relevant, too. But that can wait.

  173. on 30 Mar 2012 at 7:26 pmRay

    I find verse 26 of Hebrews 9 of interest as it seems to me to be written with the idea of his existance in mind.

    It seems to be saying that though Jesus existed from at least the time that the foundation of the world was put in place, set, or made, he had no need to suffer for sins, for it was for a set time that he would come to suffer once for the sins of the world, which thing he did when the fullness of time had come for that purpose of God the Father.

  174. on 30 Mar 2012 at 9:38 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Ray,
    You said, “Thomas, I don’t think Jesus read the book you refer to in #164. I know I haven’t. Don’t know anything that’s in it.”

    This idea that the Devil and the demons all have horns and carry pitchforks ect… comes directly from the fictional book “Dentes Hell” (unsure of spelling). About 500 years ago the R.C. church was teaching about eternal torment in hell. Dente decided to write a fictional book about what hell might be like. Almost everything in this fictional book has been passed down to us as being the reality of what hell really is like. The “REALITY” is that all of our beliefs on hell are based on a fictional book written about 500 years ago.

    The punishment for sin is death, not eternal torture and suffering in hell/hades… 🙂

  175. on 30 Mar 2012 at 11:50 pmRay

    Believers base the reality of hell on the scripture. That’s reality.

    Jesus told us of a place of everlasting punishment where the unrighteous will go. (Matt 25:36) He spoke of this place also at other times, even telling of how their worm dieth not. (Mark 9:44)

    Now don’t you think that a man would have to have a body of some type in order for the worm to eat and not die? Wouldn’t a man have to have a body that did not return to dust in order for the worm to not die?

    Or else, what would the worm eat or consume? … Hell is real. Hell is a place of everlasting punishment as Jesus said. He didn’t base these things he spoke of on any book he read that some man wrote.

    He spoke of these things because he knew what the kingdom of heaven was all about, and he knew God the Father as no one else had known him for he was with him but was manifest in those last days when he came into this world in the flesh, to warn us of the wrath to come and give us a way to escape it, offering us eternal life instead, by the faith of God that is in him and is all about him.

  176. on 30 Mar 2012 at 11:55 pmRay

    The second death is eternal punishment. That’s what the second death is. Because there is a second death, are we not to know by this, that the first death is not the end of it? The second death has an end. It ends in the lake of fire that has no end. It is eternal torment and punishment reserved for the devil and his angels. (messengers?)

  177. on 31 Mar 2012 at 3:42 amtimothy

    Doubting Thomas,

    excuse me for butting in.

    The book Dante’s Inferno. Google for a great wiki story.

    When i was a kid, the Sunday newspaper funnies, always had Haltos Inferno:

    http://arflovers.com/arf_tour10.htm

    8)

  178. on 31 Mar 2012 at 10:49 amMike

    Ray,

    You are right in that hell is real, and that it is everlasting punishment. However, allow me to suggest that the popular conception of hell is not a Biblical one. Nobody is denying Jesus’ statements about hell, simply that they may be taken out of context. I believed as you do for most of my life, but have since changed my view.

    One resource that I would suggest is a book by Edward Fudge titled “The Fire That Consumes”. He also has a website which may contribute to this discussion.

  179. on 31 Mar 2012 at 1:17 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray,
    Matthew 25:36, “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

    I believe you have accidentally posted the wrong verse in your above message. As for the worm that never dies, Y’shua is referring to Gehenna which was a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem. They would dump the bodies of criminals and others that were not seen fit to be buried in this dump where there was always a fire burning. The fire was used to consume the carcasses of dead animals as well as the criminals and any other garbage they might have.

    It was a filthy place where the worm would never die because there were always carcasses and garbage for the worms to eat. I believe Y’shua was saying that in the second death the bodies would be consumed (never to exist again) just like the carcasses in the garbage dump (Gehenna) were consumed. I think it is a mistake to think that a loving God would endorse an eternal punishment of torture where people never die. This just doesn’t fit with my concept of a loving God. It also doesn’t fit with my understanding of the scriptures… 8)

  180. on 31 Mar 2012 at 1:32 pmtimothy

    Doubting Thomas,

    here is the scripture…that fits with my understanding too.

    Revelation 2:11
    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

    Revelation 20:6
    Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

    Revelation 20:14
    And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    Revelation 21:8
    But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    8)

  181. on 31 Mar 2012 at 5:36 pmMargaret

    This conversation is interesting and I’d like to join; but first I want to get back to the subject of agency.

    I find verse 26 of Hebrews 9 of interest as it seems to me to be written with the idea of his existance in mind.

    Verse 25 agrees with what you say, Ray. The priests of the old covenant had to offer sacrifices year after year. But the Messiah did not. If he had, it would have meant suffering often since the foundation of the world (beginning with Adam). But instead, at the completion of all those ages he was manifested to put away sin through the sacrifice – not of others – but of himself.

    Chapter 10 explains further. Those sacrifices that were offered since the foundation of the world could never perfectly cleanse the offerer, and therefore there could never be an end to them. They served as a reminder – not just of the sin, but of God’s promise of a new covenant.

    For this reason (v. 5), when the Messiah was coming into the world, he said [to God], “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.”

    Verse 10 tells us what that body was for. By the will of God (that the Messiah came to do), we are “sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, ONCE FOR ALL. … For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (v. 14).

    You really need to read the whole letter, slowly and often, to appreciate the wonder of it. The old covenant priests were God’s agents; but all of them ended in death, and the work they did was imperfect. God’s perfect and primary agent – having no beginning of days nor end of life – can save to the uttermost those who come to God by him. His work is perfect and complete and never needs to be repeated.

  182. on 31 Mar 2012 at 8:38 pmRay

    For those who partake of the first resurrection, it seems that they escape death and hell forever for death and hell are thrown into the lake of fire. Praise the Lord for such a great salvation.

    But what of those who partake of the second resurrection, and what kind of body do they receive, an earthly one just as they had before or what?

  183. on 31 Mar 2012 at 9:18 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray,
    I don’t know very much about the second resurrection. Maybe someone else can answer that question for you… 🙂

  184. on 31 Mar 2012 at 10:00 pmtimothy

    Ray,

    I agree with Doubting Thomas….I do not know any more about the second resurrection.

    But you are in luck because MARGARET knows a lot about the resurrected body.

    😉

  185. on 01 Apr 2012 at 7:47 amRay

    Unless we are certain that we have already attained unto the first resurrection, (last I checked I am still in an earthly body) we ought to give heed to the warnings of Christ, about a condition that will exist that is everlasting and is punishment for the unrighteous and unholy.

    If indeed there is another resurrection that the saved do not partake of, and such a resurrection is about a body that is not earthly, then it seems to me that a worm could feast upon such a thing and could have all it wanted to eat and such a body would not die, if indeed such was the punishment of God.

    The things Jesus warned us of certainly came from God’s divine agency, which thing we could call the kingdom of heaven.

  186. on 01 Apr 2012 at 11:21 amtimothy

    Ray,

    From your post # 185 I perceive that you did not carefully read the scriptures quoted in my post # 180.

    Seems as though you already have your mind made up to answers to your questions!

    The divine agency a christian needs to be concerned about is what?

    🙂

  187. on 01 Apr 2012 at 6:57 pmRay

    It seems to me that the divine agency Christians should be concerned about is the rule of God which is Christ.

  188. on 01 Apr 2012 at 7:47 pmtimothy

    Ray,

    From post # 66:

    ””’A “shaliach” or agent/emissary represented someone and was treated as that individual because legally they were. In our modern society, the closest we get to that is to appoint “Power of Attorney” to someone. They can make legally binding decisions for us because we have designated them to serve in that capacity for us.””’

    Christians have “power of attorney” to use name of *Jesus Christ*.

    John 14:
    12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

    Christians are emissaries, ambassadors for Jesus Christ.

    2 Corinthians 5:
    18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

    19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

    20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

    Christians are emissaries/shaliachs to carry out:
    ” their ministry of reconciliation”.
    Christians are fully equipped with holy spirit and have written power of attorney to use the name of Jesus Christ.

    Timothy 8)

  189. on 02 Apr 2012 at 7:17 pmRay

    The idea that earthly bodies of living people whose souls inhabit them, that they will be thrown into an everlasting hellfire and when that happens, their earthly body is immediately burned up and they then simply cease to exist, doesn’t fit the teaching of the scripture.

    To understand these things more clearly, we must come to the teachings of Jesus, of whom the kingdom of heaven is all about along with God the Father and his holy Spirit.

  190. on 02 Apr 2012 at 7:48 pmMargaret

    Has anyone read Dale Tuggy’s latest post? It’s amusing – but sobering. For every single one of us. None excluded.

    There is some evidence, Ray, that “eternal fire” means eternal in its consequences, rather than eternal in its duration. It’s a possibility.

    In the meantime, the evidence is mounting that the Son of God existed before the birth of the child, Jesus. There is more to come.

  191. on 02 Apr 2012 at 8:16 pmtimothy

    Ray,

    I do not know where you were taught the word of GOD. One thing I do know is that wrong teaching can be corrected by right teaching.

    Now bear with me and observe carefully.

    1) GOD gave Jesus revelation and he spoke what GOD told him to speak. Matthew,Mark,Luke and John, by revelation from Jesus Christ, wrote the things he taught, in the four Gospels.

    2) All the other NT books were written from revelation given to Luke, Paul, James, Peter, John and Jude by: Jesus Christ.

    3) Doubting Thomas answered all about the bodies and worms already in his post # 179!

    Revelations 1:
    1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

    2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

    Now you just read where the book of revelations came from, Jesus Christ to: John. Do you follow so far?

    Now here again are the same verses i quoted in post # 180:

    Revelation 2:11
    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

    Revelation 20:6
    Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

    Revelation 20:14
    And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    Revelation 21:8
    But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    These verses were given by revelations from Jesus Christ to: John, so can you perceive that they are the teachings of the same Jesus Christ ?

    Ray how does this not fit the teachings of the scripture? Huh? (your post # 189)

    Do you want to learn about holy spirit, receiving the holy spirit into manifestation and being able to receive revelation from Jesus too?

    Timothy 🙂

  192. on 02 Apr 2012 at 8:46 pmtimothy

    Margaret,

    Yes, of course there is evidence that the son of GOD existed before the birth of the child Jesus. What are you driving at now?

    Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

    IMHO It seem to me that you are ever learning but just don’t get it !

    You ask loaded questions and exhaust scholars like Wolfgang who spends days fully answering these questions. Then it seems like you have ignored everything he taught and jump to another far fetched idea that is contrary to all sound doctrine.

    Timothy 8)

  193. on 03 Apr 2012 at 11:36 amMargaret

    Thank you, Timothy, for reminding me of how much I owe to Wolfgang. Thanks to him, I now know how to find out the specific meaning of a Greek preposition in a specific context. For that, I am very grateful.

    It means I can be sure of what John 1:1 SAYS, even though I might not be sure what it MEANS. It says that the Word was WITH God – at the side of the one God. And everything that came into being came through the agency of that Word. Then the Word became flesh …

    It also makes me sure of what John 17:5 SAYS, even though I may not be sure of what it MEANS. Jesus is praying that the Father will “glorify me WITH (by, near to) yourself …”

    And I think we all agree that the prayer was answered, literally. God raised Jesus from the dead and set him at his own right hand and glorified him there.

    But then Jesus goes on to specify, “with the glory that I had WITH (by, near to) you before the world was.”

    It’s the same spatial relationship as in the first clause.

    The glory he always had (and has earned again on earth) is the glory of always doing the will of his God.

    I desire to do the same.

    So – thank you, Wolgang.

  194. on 03 Apr 2012 at 7:36 pmRay

    Going through life I’ve met up with a few apparent Christians who would seem to be going on to the resurrection of the just, except their character revealed much about themselves as if they were under some kind of anti-Melchisedec type of spirit, as if the purpose of that was in order that they might somehow attain unto the resurrection of damnation that Jesus talked about. (Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47, John 5:29)

  195. on 03 Apr 2012 at 10:55 pmtimothy

    Ray,

    Melchizedek is a very important part of the doctrine about Jesus Christ and even with the origin of tithing. He was a prist and king as is Jesus Christ our king and high priest today.

    you wrote:
    “except their character revealed much about themselves as if they were under some kind of anti-Melchisedec type of spirit, as if the purpose of that was in order that they might somehow attain unto the resurrection of damnation that Jesus talked about.”

    Ray, I do not understand what you mean. Would you try to explain what you mean.

    Timothy 🙂

  196. on 03 Apr 2012 at 10:58 pmtimothy

    Ray,

    Wolfgang wrote in his post # 165:

    “The phrase “no beginning of days and no end of life” is simply a descriptive expression for “genealogy” … the point regarding both Melchisedek as well as Jesus is that they both were NOT of the priestly genealogy (which was the line of Levi and Aaron).

    The expression has nothing to do with any ideas like them “being priests from before their birth and beyond their death into eternity”. It emphasizes the truth that they did not have a “levitical” genealogy through Aaron and yet were priests of the Most High God. In that Melchisedek was a type of Christ .. and therefore Christ is said to be a priest after the order of Melchisedek (rather than being a priest of the line of Aaron)”

    Timothy 8)

    This is the best discription about Melchizedek and Jesus Christ.

  197. on 04 Apr 2012 at 12:44 amRay

    Timothy,

    What I meant about the character of men is that sometimes we meet people whose love isn’t really love, their patience isn’t really patience, their goodness isn’t really goodness, for so much of what they do is to be seen of men rather than to please God.

    And I think there is a spirit that must be over them to cause them to be in such a condition, one that is so contrary to real peace and righteousness. And it seems to me that such a spirit would endeavor to bring them to a place where they are worthy of the
    judgment which will be given to Jesus concerning their future, which will be laid against them from the Father and will end in eternal suffering, torment, anguish, and terrors.

    Though they desired to be teachers of men and would repeat the scriptures, they didn’t seem to grasp the instruction of them to the end that it would be the salvation of their souls.

    When it came to concepts Jesus taught about being born again, or of the Son of man being in heaven, these things seemed to escape them.

    And it seems to me that if they were genuinely worhipping men, then a door might have opened unto them of God into the kingdom of heaven, and the eternal light would have enlightened them to the extent they would receive a filling of the things of God and they would have received the things of Christ when he came to them.

  198. on 04 Apr 2012 at 3:52 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    to add some further information on the use of dia with the genitive … here are some more details with samples from a rather exhaustive Greek-English Lexicon (Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich) :

    _________________________________________________


    d. to denote the efficient cause: διὰ νόμου ἐπίγνωσις ἁμαρτίας (only) recognition of sin comes through the law Ro 3:20; cf. 4:13. τὰ παθήματα τά διὰ τοῦ νόμου passions aroused by the law 7:5. διὰ νόμου πίστεως by the law of faith 3:27; Gal 2:19. ἀφορμὴν λαμβάνειν διὰ τῆς ἐντολῆς Ro 7:8, 11; cf. 13. διὰ τ. εὐ. ὑμᾶς ἐγέννησα (spiritual parenthood) 1 Cor 4:15. διὰ τῆς σοφίας with its wisdom 1 Cor 1:21. Opp. διὰ τῆς μωρίας τοῦ κηρύγματος through the foolishness of preaching=foolish preaching ibid. διὰ τῆς Λευιτικῆς ἱερωσύνης Hb 7:11. Freq. διὰ (τῆς) πίστεως Ro 1:12; 3:22, 25, 30f; Gal 2:16; 3:14, 26; Eph 2:8; 3:12, 17 al. πίστις διʼ ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη faith which works through (=expresses itself in) deeds of love Gal 5:6. διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ if God is willing Ro 15:32; by the will of God 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; 8:5; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 2 Ti 1:1.
    e. denoting the occasion διὰ τῆς χάριτος by virtue of the grace Ro 12:3; Gal 1:15.—3:18; 4:23; Phlm 22. διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀρετῆς in consequence of his glory and excellence 2 Pt 1:3 t.r.

    IV. At times διά w. gen. seems to have causal mng. (Radermacher2 142; POxy. 299, 2 [I AD] ἔδωκα αὐτῷ διὰ σοῦ=because of you; Achilles Tat. 3, 4, 5 διὰ τούτων= for this reason) διὰ τῆς σαρκός because of the resistance of the flesh Ro 8:3.—2 Cor 9:13; 1J 2:12.

    —————————

    Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : A translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (180–181). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    ________________________________________

    Even when speaking of “agency”, there is always the question regarding the meaning of what kind or manner of agency …. not always does “agency” denote a literal living person acting as an agent.

    The context and overall scope of a topic or subject matter will determine the meaning in a particular passage.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  199. on 04 Apr 2012 at 6:47 amtimothy

    Ray,

    I fully agree with you about false….humility

    Acts20: (kjv)
    28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

    29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

    30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

    Also about the spiritual….devices

    Ephesians 6: (kjv)
    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    1 Corinthians 12: (nasb)
    31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

    1 Corinthians 13: (nasb)
    2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
    3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
    4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
    5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
    6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
    7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
    9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
    10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
    11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things.
    12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
    13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.

    Faith Hope and Love

    *HOPE* for the return of Jesus Christ and the *FIRST RESURRECTION*

    Ray here is a class:
    http://lhim.org/resources/classes.php?id=31

    Timothy 🙂

  200. on 04 Apr 2012 at 2:57 pmMargaret

    Timothy – it is true that Mechizedek had no genealogy – that is, none RECORDED for us.

    However, the writer has ALREADY SAID THAT – clearly and explicitly. There is no reason for him to say it again.

    Besides, words like “beginning” and “end” do not describe genealogy. They describe TIME.

    “No end of life” means “no end of LIFE“. And no beginning of days means no beginning of DAYS. It has nothing to do with genealogy.

    ———————-

    Wolfgang, I appreciate your input. I, too, use the BAG Lexicon, and I am aware that when the object of dia is a thing, in the genitive case, the proper translation is by means of rather than through the agency of.

    In the case of 1 Corinthians 8:6, the object is a person. Therefore, the proper translation is “through the agency of”. And the context – which has already been discussed at length – requires that translation. Otherwise, Paul’s argument that idols are nothing – nothing comes FROM them and nothing comes THROUGH them – is meaningless.

    As for the overall scope of the topic, I have already given several passages from Hebrews and John’s Gospel and Paul’s epistles that strongly imply that the Son of God was the agent through whom God created all things. I think the first chapter of Hebrews cannot be understood in any other way. So far, no reasonable alternative has been suggested.

    On the other hand, I am open to correction. I would really appreciate it if you would tell me the passages which prove that the Son of God was NOT the agent through whom God created the heavens and the earth. Then I would know what you mean by “the overall scope of the topic.”

  201. on 04 Apr 2012 at 3:52 pmSarah

    On the other hand, I am open to correction.

    Are you really? When you’ve been challenged, you summarily dismiss anything that may call into question your own interpretation of Hebrews. At least be honest and admit that you are promoting a particular position on this thread rather insistently…

  202. on 04 Apr 2012 at 6:01 pmMargaret

    Sarah – Let’s both be honest and admit that MOST of the people on this thread (you included) are promoting a particular position rather insistently. I see nothing wrong with that, as long as we are all willing to look at ALL the evidence, for and against. In fact, that is the best way to get those positions TESTED.

    So I am sincerely anxious to know what scriptures prove that the Son of God was NOT the agent through whom God created the universe, as Hebrews 1 and 1 Corinthians 8 certainly imply.

    And I will test the passages as honestly as I can.

  203. on 04 Apr 2012 at 7:18 pmRay

    There’s so much mystery around Melchisedec.

    Whenever there’s mystery in the Old Testament about something or somebody, it seems to be about Christ.

    I always wondered about Melhisedec. if he was like an angel, but not an angel, like the son of man, but not the son of man… Could it be that he was an angel who inhabited earth, a “man” who was not born, or what?

    Some say he was a “real” man, a man that was born, that did have a mother and father at one time…etc. but I’m not so sure.

  204. on 04 Apr 2012 at 8:15 pmRay

    I’m considering seriously that Melchisedec was the pre-incarnate Christ.

  205. on 04 Apr 2012 at 10:43 pmSarah

    Sarah – Let’s both be honest and admit that MOST of the people on this thread (you included) are promoting a particular position rather insistently.

    My point is this. You haven’t demonstrated that you are genuinely weighing the arguments against your view. Instead, you sidestep them and carry on with your opinions, all the while saying you are “open to correction”. After a while that begins to sound more like bait than a sincere request.

  206. on 04 Apr 2012 at 11:39 pmMargaret

    I’m sorry that’s what you think, Sarah. I have TRIED to genuinely weigh any evidence presented, whether I have succeeded or not.

    In the case of Hebrews 1:10, for instance, I read Sir Anthony’s explanation carefully and respectfully. But my reaction was the same as Xavier’s – who put it so well that I am going to quote his words:

    The problem for me is that there’s really no precedent for interpreting “in the beginning you laid the foundation of the heavens and earth…” as referring to the Messianic age.

    Like I stated above, in every one of its OT usage, this phrase is always used [it seems] for the Genesis creation. Whilst I appreciate the interpretation, it sounds like a long shot to me. Too many acrobatics to explain this one verse out of its Biblical context

    What do YOU think, Sarah? Is this genuinely weighing the evidence?

    If it is, then I am justified in concluding that the passage means just what it says, WITHOUT any acrobatics. The context makes clear that the writer is not equating the Son with Yahweh. He is identifying the Son as Yahweh’s AGENT in the creation of the heavens and the earth.

    And now I have to ask: Are YOU genuinely weighing the arguments against YOUR view?

  207. on 04 Apr 2012 at 11:56 pmMargaret

    Ray – I think it’s more likely that Melchizedek was simply the king of Salem – making him a type of Christ in name and title.

    His being without any genealogy (so far as the record is concerned), without any beginning of days (so far as the record is concerned), and without any end of life (so far as the record is concerned) means that he was “MADE LIKE the Son of man,” not that he WAS the Son of man. Those details completed the type, it seems to me.

  208. on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:43 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    On the other hand, I am open to correction. I would really appreciate it if you would tell me the passages which prove that the Son of God was NOT the agent through whom God created the heavens and the earth. Then I would know what you mean by “the overall scope of the topic.”

    Can a man (that is, a human being, women included) act and do things as an agent prior to being born ?

    I think I don’t need to quote various scriptures which identify the man Jesus as the only begotten Son of God (e.g. Mt 1:18-25; Lk 1:35ff, etc etc ). The Scriptures overall are clear that the only begotten Son of God is a HUMAN BEING (and NOT a living being of some other kind) … from the first prophetic references (cp. Gen 3:15) to the many declarations after the prophecies came to pass with the birth and life and ministry of Jesus, born of Mary, of the lineage of David and Abraham (cp NT scriptures).

    The Scriptures do not need to state something like “Jesus was NOT God’s agent or God’s helper in the initial creation of heaven and earth” … The Scriptures DO state (without mentioning any other living being as being involved!) that GOD was the Creator, and God Himself even declares via the prophet Isa that He ALONE (without helper or agent) accomplished the creation.

    The overall scope of the Scriptures establishes that God ALONE is the Creator, the overall scope of the Scriptures established that Jesus is a human being … so then, it should be clear that any understanding and interpretation of a passage which would contradict the overall scope of the Scriptures (please note, I don’t say that the passage is contradictory, but that such understanding and interpretation is contradictory) can’t be correct and needs to be examined to see if there is a different understanding and interpretation possible which would be in harmony with the overall scope of the Scriptures.

    As for linguistic details, I would add that lexicon definitions are not always correct either … just because some Hebrew or Greek scholar or a majority of them agrees on something does not make it necessarily true in all cases. Just because a vast majority of theologians agrees that “Son of God” actually means the same as “God the Son” does not make that true. Just because many scholars agree that a Greek preposition followed by a noun in a particular case means “such and such”, does NOT necessarily have to hold true … and actually can’t hold true if it produces an interpretation of a passage which then contradicts the rest of the Scriptures.

    Now, before the “scholars” here start yelling at me about my above comment … I am not assuming or claiming some special “better than scholars” status for myself, and anyone following the principles of evaluating a text and language in its context and overall scope can and will arrive at the same conclusions as I mentioned above … Or have learned “scholars” and “professors” and “masters” etc. become God that they are infallible and above what “lay people” can do?

  209. on 05 Apr 2012 at 9:52 amSarah

    And now I have to ask: Are YOU genuinely weighing the arguments against YOUR view?

    Yes, I am. I mentioned to you much earlier in the thread that I thought Heb 1:10 is the best argument for your case out of all the evidence you’ve presented. I have been studying it, and am considering whether or not it makes the claim that a consciously pre-existent Christ created the material creation as God’s agent.

    I have to take into consideration that the Bible nowhere articulates in clear language the concept of a son as a conscious being who pre-exists his birth. Your argument has lacked any OT support outside the quote in Hebrews 1:10. The NT is built upon the OT, so when I see OT prophecies affirming that Jesus was formed in the womb, and add to that the NT birth narrative, it’s pretty powerful evidence to me that Jesus began to exist in the womb.

    But let’s set that aside for a moment and just consider Hebrews. I have to take into consideration Heb 1:1, which set the tone for the entire book. God spoke through the Son in “these last days”. If that phrase is to have any meaning, then how do you say God spoke through his Son before that?

    I also have to consider that in virtually every single OT passage quoted in this first chapter of Hebrews, the context is eschatological. The theme is the rebuilding of Zion and the destruction of the wicked. Is there any possibility that the “foundation of the heavens and the earth” can refer to something other than Gen 1:1? I think so.

    (16) therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ – [Isa 28:16 ESV]

    (2) Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
    (3) Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest.
    (4) He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
    (5) “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” – [Psa 50:2-5 ESV]

    I looked up the word translated “earth” in Ps 102. “Erets” can mean land, territory, region, or even inhabitants of the land – as shown in Ps 50:4. The eschatological implications of Heb 1:10-12 are that the inhabitants of the heavens and earth who are not joined to Christ, the “foundation stone” of the new age, will be destroyed at the judgment. This is fleshed out in the rest of the book of Hebrews. For corroboration, see also 1 Peter 2:4-9.

  210. on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:30 pmMargaret

    Good work, Sarah! What you have said is definitely worth considering with care.

    I agree with you that God began speaking to men through his Son in the last days, when Jesus lived on earth as “a man speaking to men”. Before that, God spoke to men through prophets, who were also men. And God continues to speak to men through other men. On that we totally agree.

    But according to verse 2, it was through this same Son that God made (past tense) the ages. What ages were those?

    The same word is used in ch. 9:26b – “… But now at the completion of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” These are definitely ages past.

    And if his priesthood had required more than one sacrifice, then he “would often have had to suffer since the foundation of the world” – which is also in the past.

    So the evidence suggests that the Son, through whom God began to speak to men in these last days, is the same Son through whom God made the ages, PRIOR TO these last days.

    That agrees entirely with the words of verse 10. And I see nothing in Psalm 102 that would make the heavens and the earth spoken of there something future. After all, the creating there is in the PAST, not something promised for the future. The “acrobatics” are still not believable.

    As for the body that God made for the Son when he came into the world (ch. 10:5), we can totally agree that this body was formed in the womb.

    But it wasn’t a fetus that said, “… a body you prepared for me … lo, I come to do your will, O my God.” It was the Son who said that, when he came into the world. Read verses 5-9 and see.

    Therefore, when you say

    I have to take into consideration that the Bible nowhere articulates in clear language the concept of a son as a conscious being who pre-exists his birth

    ,
    I think you are ignoring clear evidence of that very thing.

  211. on 05 Apr 2012 at 3:42 pmSarah

    Good work, Sarah! What you have said is definitely worth considering with care.

    I’ll optimistically assume this wasn’t intended to sound patronizing…

    But according to verse 2, it was through this same Son that God made (past tense) the ages. What ages were those?

    That’s a fair question. But consider the Jewish concept of predestination. The ages to come are predestined to be made through the agency of the resurrected Christ. Therefore it was written past tense. This concept can also be seen in Ephesians, where Paul spoke to the church about their future status:

    (5) he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– – [Eph 1:5 ]

    (6) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, – [Eph 2:6]

    But it wasn’t a fetus that said, “… a body you prepared for me … lo, I come to do your will, O my God.” It was the Son who said that, when he came into the world. Read verses 5-9 and see.

    Jesus himself explains what it means to be sent into the world – it is to be commissioned by God for ministry and then sent to that people. He sent his disciples into the world in the very same manner he was sent into the world. It isn’t the sending of a spirit into a body. It is the sending of a person into ministry.

    (18) As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. – [Jhn 17:18]

  212. on 05 Apr 2012 at 4:51 pmMargaret

    Nothing is meant to sound patronizing, Sarah. I get enough of that myself to detest it. But in your last letter you were giving me something to think about, and not just accusing me of insincerity.

    John 17:18 is a good point. I agree with you entirely on that one.

    I also understand the principle of predestination. Ephesians 1:5 actually uses the word.

    But I can’t see predestination in Hebrews 1, for at least three reasons.

    For one thing, when an action is in the future, the verb is USUALLY in the future tense. Right here in this chapter I see
    “They shall perish” (v. 11).
    “As a vesture you shall fold them up, and they shall be changed” (12).
    “Your years shall not fail” (12).
    “Sit at my right hand until I make (future) your enemies your footstool” (v. 13).
    So there is no reason why verse 2 should be in the past tense, UNLESS it refers to a past action.

    Also, there is a parallel between these ages in ch. 1 and the ages in ch. 9, at the completion of which the Son was manifested to put away sins by the sacrifice of himself. I can’t find any place in Hebrews where the ages are future, but spoken of in the past tense. Is there such an example anywhere?

    Lastly, these ages that were made in the past harmonize perfectly with the heavens and the earth that were made in verse 10.

    So I think I am justified in believing that these verses mean just what they say.

  213. on 05 Apr 2012 at 9:06 pmSarah

    Margaret,

    Please forgive me for being terse. It seemed to me as if you weren’t truly interested in a two-sided debate, but perhaps I’ve been wrong.

    Your point about the past tense indicating a past action is a good one. My initial reaction is this: the past actions that Hebrews refers to repeatedly as the foundation for the new covenant are the death and resurrection of Christ. These actions took place many years ago, but they have future ramifications that are yet to be revealed. So there is both a past and a future element to this act of founding the new covenant. While I still think there is a “predestination” element to 1:2, this flows out of a past action – Christ’s sacrifice.

    It strikes me that all the things you attribute to Christ’s pre-existence, I attribute to his post-existence. Considering that Hebrews starts out by talking about the events of the passion week, and the fact that Hebrews launches by placing the Son in “these last days”, I don’t see where a pre-existent spirit being is in view at all. A post-existent Son, however, is the whole the focus of the book.

  214. on 06 Apr 2012 at 7:01 pmMargaret

    I need forgiveness, too, Sarah. But I think we are now into a fair exchange of views, and that can only be profitable for both of us.

    the past actions that Hebrews refers to repeatedly as the foundation for the new covenant are the death and resurrection of Christ.

    We are in complete agreement there. That is clear from ch. 1:3. “Having by himself made purification for our sins …” And chapter 9 tells us WHEN that happened. It happened at “the COMPLETION OF THE AGES”.
    That makes sense only if those “ages” refer to ages that were made in the past – not the future ages of the new covenant. And that fits the past tense of ch. 1:3.

    I looked up the word translated “earth” in Ps 102. “Erets” can mean land, territory, region, or even inhabitants of the land

    True. It is fine to translate erets as land rather than “earth”. That made me look again at Psalm 102.

    There is definitely a desire on the part of the psalmist for the restoration of Zion. Verses 13-17 are especially full of such longings. “Rise and have mercy upon Zion … the Lord shall build up Zion … he shall be seen in his glory, etc.”
    None of this is in the past tense. He is talking about the future. And when that longed for time comes, “your servants’ sons will have a permanent home” (v. 21).
    But then he seems to say, what about me? My days are so short.

    That turns his mind to Yahweh, whose days have no end. “Of old you founded the land” (he says), “and the heavens are the work of your hands.” No future tense here. These things already exist.

    Then he makes four statements about the creation, and three contrasting statements about Yahweh:
    They shall perish.
    But you will stand.
    They will grow old, like a garment.
    You will change them like old clothing.
    They shall be changed.
    But you are he (you do not change).
    Your years shall not end.

    So the psalmist uses the future tense for things still future, and uses the past tense with regard to the founding of the land and the making of the heavens. It all makes sense, just as it is written.

  215. on 07 Apr 2012 at 10:57 amTim (aka Antioch)

    Margaret and Sarah,

    I applaud you both for keeping tempers and argumentativeness in check and for an interesting debate.

    I am still wrestling with Hebrews 1:10. To me, it is the toughest proof text used to support the deity of Jesus. The two major counters I’ve seen:

    1) Jesus is called God but it is not big ‘G’ God and it is referring to his role in the new creation

    2) The text is actually referring to the Father, it has just been confused due to grammatical ambiguity

    I don’t find either one of these convincing – possible, but they just don’t have the ring of truth to me. Still studying and thanks for the well thought out remarks.

  216. on 07 Apr 2012 at 5:39 pmDoubting Thomas

    I would like to wish everyone a happy Easter or Passover. Whichever it is that you personally like to celebrate. I am thankful for this site and for all the Christian friends that I have met on-line. I am especially thankful to our Father in heaven for raising up His son (our Lord Y’shua) from the dead giving us all hope for the future resurrection of the body.

    I’m also thankful that this site isn’t like many other sites where Christians viciously attack each other over minor differences in doctrines. I believe that mature Christians know how to accept others as their brethren even if they have some disagreements in their beliefs. Thank God for sending His Son, our Christ and Lord, to save us all from our sinful natures.

    I hope that everyone has a blessed and inspiring weekend!!!

  217. on 07 Apr 2012 at 7:47 pmRay

    Psalm 133, Psalm 51:6, I Cor 13:9,12.

  218. on 07 Apr 2012 at 11:42 pmMargaret

    Thanks, Tom. I am grateful for those same things.

    And Tim! I am so glad to see your name again! You asked a question (in Comment #30) that I have been wanting to try to answer for a long time. The question was,

    I’m curious to get your thoughts on ‘begotten’? Can Jesus be said to be begotten and not be a creature?

    That’s a question that needs to be addressed. Because I agree with Phil McCheddar. The honors that are heaped upon Jesus in the NT do not seem appropriate for a creature. (See Comment #20.)

    However, IF we accept the evidence that the Son of God did NOT begin his existence when Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb, then we can look for other evidence that he is not a creature.

    Revelation 5:13 tells us that EVERY CREATURE was heard honoring the Lord God Almighty AND the Lamb – at the same time and with the same words.

    Hebrews 1:2-3 describes the Son as the “exact image of [God’s] very being”. “In him” (says Paul in Col. 2:9) “dwells all the fullness of deity in a body.” WHAT body? The body that God prepared for him (Hebrews 10:5).

    When he came to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, “because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he partook of the same [flesh and blood]” (Hebrews 14-16). He did not become an angel (v. 16); he took upon himself the seed of Abraham. He became a man – in order to die.

    I believe that the words applied typically to Melchizedek are literally true of Christ. He was “without beginning of days and without end of life.” And I can tell you, the thought of the eternal submission of the eternal Son to his eternal God motivates me to long for that same kind attitude in my own life.

    I think we all agree that his conception in Mary’s womb was miraculous. But I do not believe that Jesus was a hybrid – half human and half divine. He was wholly human. But he was also (I believe) wholly divine.

    That makes the equal honor for the Son (decreed by God in John 5:23) absolutely appropriate.

    But Tim, your question had to do with the word “begotten”. I think Luke 1:30-35 can be a help there. That’s what I hope we can look at soon.

  219. on 08 Apr 2012 at 7:49 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    you asked the question:

    I’m curious to get your thoughts on ‘begotten’? Can Jesus be said to be begotten and not be a creature?

    I would rather simply say that someone who is begotten is a creature … only God Himself (the Creator) has not been begotten. The arguments based on “begotten but not created” (in the sense of “begotten” means that the one begotten is not a created being and therefore not part of the creation, but must therefore be “part of” the Creator (“God”) are ludicrous and based on non-sensical ideas.

    Conception, begetting, is a manner in which created beings come into existence as part of “procreation” … Now, IF someone who is “begotten” is not a creature (not part of the creation), then I would want to claim for myself as well as for any other human being (aside from Adam and Eve) that they are not creatures but rather “begotten” beings (“Gods” ???)

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  220. on 08 Apr 2012 at 7:58 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    I think we all agree that his conception in Mary’s womb was miraculous. But I do not believe that Jesus was a hybrid – half human and half divine. He was wholly human. But he was also (I believe) wholly divine.

    I would like to point out to you that there can be no such thing as “wholly human AND ALSO wholly divine”!
    God — Who is WHOLLY Divine — can NOT be human (whether quarter, half, any other degree or wholly), because IF that were the case He would not be WHOLLY God anymore.

    IF there were any “dual nature” type of being .. it would have to be “a certain part of one” and “another complementary part the other” to make ONE WHOLE being. There cannot be a “200%” being …

    The above argument about not “half & half” but “whole & whole” is illogical and states an impossibility for a premise … and therefore all further deductions and conclusions made or reached from that false premise must of necessity also be false.

    This is a typical example of a situation where seemingly deductions made and conclusions reached on this premise look correct and true … BUT only as long as one does not realize that the PREMISE is false. The conclusions themselves may be logical … BUT logical reasoning only arrives at a true
    conclusion IF that reasoning is based on a true premise.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  221. on 08 Apr 2012 at 12:10 pmtimothy

    Sarah,

    http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white

    8)

  222. on 08 Apr 2012 at 3:47 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi timothy,
    Happy Resurrection Day!!! That link was pretty cool indeed… 🙂

  223. on 08 Apr 2012 at 4:23 pmtimothy

    Doubting Thomas,

    Yes, happy resurrection day to you too.

    This is the scripture that the link inspires:

    Ephesians 4:10 (kjv)
    He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.

    8)

  224. on 09 Apr 2012 at 9:34 amMargaret

    I am a day late (calendar wise), but it is always great to be reminded of the resurrection. Thank you for that, guys. One thing we agree on is that the resurrected Christ fills all things.

    That makes a good place to start looking at the use of the word “begotten,” Tim, because …

    The only places where I can find God saying, “This day have I begotten you,” are related to Christ’s resurrection. That statement is never used in relation to his physical birth.

    To be honest, I cannot believe that God is the “biological” father of Jesus. Even if it were possible for God to have some kind of physical DNA, and even if such DNA could somehow couple with Mary’s DNA, the result would be a hybrid: half human and half divine.

    That sounds like a pagan myth to me. And I find no biblical reason for concluding such a thing.

    Therefore, I believe our English word “begotten” (as relating to a male sperm) does not fit the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. He was not “begotten” by any male – human or otherwise.

    Is that a fair conclusion? Or is there some evidence to the contrary?

  225. on 09 Apr 2012 at 10:32 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    To be honest, I cannot believe that God is the “biological” father of Jesus. Even if it were possible for God to have some kind of physical DNA, and even if such DNA could somehow couple with Mary’s DNA, the result would be a hybrid: half human and half divine.

    Some questions which may be of help to realize how God could be the “biological” father of Jesus.

    Did God create man?
    Was God thus able to create all parts of man ?
    Would it be possible for God to create a male sperm of the human kind?
    If so, could such God created male sperm provide what is necessary for impregnating a female egg of the human kind (provided by Mary) to bring about the conception of a human being?

    A woman can only conceive a child of the human kind … therfore, in order to have a conception, there must be a male sperm and a female egg of the human kind which can unite and then bring about the birth of a human child after due time.

    One must not think in terms of a “God DNA” and a “human DNA” (such as a “male seed of the ‘God’ kind” and a “female egg of the ‘human’ kind”, because such could not effect a conception in a woman … the woman can only conceive with a male seed of the human kind. There cannot be any beings such as a “God-man” or a “man-God” … reason being the very simple truth that God initially in the process of the creation arranged that progeny only happens “after its own kind”.

    God, as the Creator, could provide a male seed of the human kind by means of a miracle … and thus bring about the “creation” of a “second Adam” by means of a begetting. With Adam, such was not possible, because there was no other human being in existence as of yet, and therefore Adam and Eve were created as “fully developed adult human beings”.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  226. on 09 Apr 2012 at 10:39 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    Therefore, I believe our English word “begotten” (as relating to a male sperm) does not fit the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. He was not “begotten” by any male – human or otherwise.

    See my earlier post — indeed, Jesus was not begotten by any human male nor by any other male of any other kind.
    However, the records in Mt 1:18-25 as well as Lk 1:35ff do describe that Mary conceived a child … therefore a begetting did obviously take place. These very records also describe that the conception (the begetting) would take place via God’s direct and miraculous involvement.
    The word “begotten” thus is not the problem, as a matter of truth, a begetting did take place as can be seen by the descriptions in the above mentioned gospel records. What does NOT fit is the assumption that IF God was involved, there would have been a “God kind male seed” and a “human kind female egg” … such a conception is impossible because of God’s original creation design that procreation happens only “after its kind”

  227. on 09 Apr 2012 at 11:25 amMargaret

    Thanks, Wolfgang. We agree that God is not the “biological” father of Jesus. We also agree that the power of the Almighty caused Mary to bare a son. Miraculously. But a male “sperm” is not indicated in the context.

    With what we now know about zygotes, I think it’s possible that the complementary strand of DNA was Mary’s own, with the addition of a Y-chromosome.

    That is just speculation, I admit; but it fits the “woman’s seed,” which God told Eve (Genesis 3:15b) would bruise the head of Satan – which is what the Son of God “partook of flesh and blood” in order to do. (Hebrews 2:14).

    Nevertheless, Jesus is the “only-begotten Son of God”.

    That term excludes Adam, and every other human being. What does it mean?

  228. on 09 Apr 2012 at 3:03 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    We agree that God is not the “biological” father of Jesus.

    it depends what you mean with “biological” here …
    With what I indicated above, I would actually say that God was the “biological” father of Jesus ! It was God, Who by means of a miracle, provided to the conception of Jesus what would normally be provided by a male human in a “normal” conception.

    Yes, a male “sperm” is not mentioned in the context, BUT it is certainly indicated in the context. Or could you tell me how terms used in the context such as a woman shall “conceive” mean anything other than that male sperm and female egg being involved?

    I would think we should read and understand the Scriptures in light of and from the perspective of the writer and original audience, rather than from a perspective of modern day science … thus I would rather “speculate” that God provided what people then would understand to normally be involved in a “conception” …

    Even with your speculation, God – by means of providing what would normally be provided by a human male – could be called the “biological” father of Jesus … or else, if not God, who would be the “biological” father of Jesus? Human beings do have a “biological” father as well as mother … IF one were missing, there could be no conception followed by the birth of a child.

  229. on 09 Apr 2012 at 3:20 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    To me, there are other miraculous births in the Bible – Sarah, Hannah to name a couple. I don’t think we know how God accomplishes them. I actually think all births are miraculous – otherwise it is us as humans that are creating new spirit beings. I do think God has the say over that. Along that line, whether Jesus was 50% divine DNA or some other mix, I agree that is just speculation.

    Margaret – I have not studied ‘begotten’ in depth – was hoping you would have all the verses queued up for me :). I just know the unitarian case makes a big deal out of ‘begotten’ and I think rightfully so. If begotten = created, then Jesus is not God on that point alone. My understanding of the word is that it alludes to creation but I acknowledge there might be some wiggle room. What did ‘monogenes’ mean to John? Same word (septuagint) used of Isaac and other ‘only’ children in the NT and OT.

  230. on 09 Apr 2012 at 3:29 pmWolfgang

    Tim,

    To me, there are other miraculous births in the Bible – Sarah, Hannah to name a couple. I don’t think we know how God accomplishes them.

    God accomplished those by means of husband and wife having a baby … those conceptions all involved a human father and human mother. Jesus’ case, however, is radically different in that there was no human father involved …. according to the records in Mt 1:18-25 and Lk 1:35ff.

    Thus, what God worked miraculously in those cases made possible for the women to conceive by their husbands. What God worked in Jesus’ case is entirely different in that God Himself – without a husband being involved (!) – provided what normally a human male would provide in order to bring about the conception of a child.

  231. on 09 Apr 2012 at 4:53 pmMargaret

    Tim, I can’t give you all the verses containing the word “begotten” or “born” (which are translated from the same Greek word), but there is a limited number using the word monogenes (pronounced “mono-genays”). That word means “only-begotten” or “only-born”.
    Four passages refer to a natural father or mother:
    Luke 7:12 – Jesus raised a dead man who was an only [born] son of his mother.
    Luke 8:42 – Jesus raised Jairus’s only [begotten] daughter.
    Luke 9:38 – “Look upon my son, because he is an only-born to me.”
    Hebrews 11:17 – By faith Abraham offered up his only-begotten, reckoning that God could raise him from the dead.
    In each of these cases, it is clear that the word describes a biological son or daughter of a mother or father, and cannot apply to an adopted child. The child is clearly OF the parent, generated BY the parent.

    The other five occurrences all refer to the Lord Jesus:
    John 1:14 – The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of an only-begotten from a father.
    Ch. 1:18 – No one has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
    Ch. 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him may not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Chapter 3:18b – … the one who does not believe has already been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
    1 John 4:9 – By this is the love of God revealed in us, because God sent his Son, the only-begotten, into the world, that we might live through him.

    From this I infer that God’s monogenes Son is not adopted nor created. His life comes directly from his Father (as John 5:26 and 6:57 make clear). The life of the Son is the Father’s life, “generated” in his only Son. Which God is able to do, without the help of a mother.

    I would point out, again, that when God said, “This day have I begotten you,” he was NOT talking about the conception of Jesus. He was talking about the eternal offices conferred upon Christ after his RESURRECTION.

    By the way, I am a unitarian. I believe there is only ONE God, and he has been identified by Jesus (John 17:3) and by Paul (1 Corinthians 8:6) as the Father. Nobody else.

    Jesus is not God. He is the only-begotten Son OF God. But I believe that title precedes his coming into the world, when he partook of flesh and blood and tabernacled among men.

  232. on 09 Apr 2012 at 5:59 pmJoseph

    I treat the virgin birth much like the false additions of the Trinity texts. Just the fact alone that Paul never mentions the virgin birth is evidence enough the event has no relevance and suggests that the virgin birth was an addition to the original narrative. Also, don’t forget that not all the gospels mention the virgin birth either. I would tread carefully about making the virgin birth part of a core belief.

  233. on 09 Apr 2012 at 7:16 pmMargaret

    Paul may not mention the virgin birth, but he certainly makes statements that imply the pre-existence of the Son of God. So does the writer to the Hebrews. As for John, he hardly needs to mention it, given his opening chapter.

    Just saying that passages you don’t like are “false additions” doesn’t really carry much weight, Joseph. It leaves the Bible at the mercy of anybody’s whims.

  234. on 09 Apr 2012 at 9:42 pmSarah

    From this I infer that God’s monogenes Son is not adopted nor created. His life comes directly from his Father (as John 5:26 and 6:57 make clear). The life of the Son is the Father’s life, “generated” in his only Son. Which God is able to do, without the help of a mother.

    How can an uncreated son be generated? If you are a unitarian, but you believe the son is uncreated, in what way do you believe the Son was distinguished from the Father while the Son was still a pre-existent spirit?

  235. on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:49 amWolfgang

    Joseph,

    there were some in the early church (as well as today) who regarded Jesus to be the son of Joseph and Mary … and who regarded the passages in Mt 1:18-25 as well as Lk 1,35ff as later additions to the text (inserted for the purpose of “supporting a virgin birth”.

    To me it seems rather improbable, very unlikely, that such relatively large portions could be inserted into the original texts without any real textual trace to be found in the ancient manuscripts in extent today.

  236. on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:54 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    IF Jesus – the Son of God – lived or had a beginning of life prior to his conception and birth, he was not wholly a human being … since human beings do NOT have life of some form prior to conception and birth.

    Thus, IF one were to accept the idea you seem to propound, one would need to sort of “do away with” all passages which describe Jesus as being a human being as having been false additions …

  237. on 10 Apr 2012 at 8:50 amMargaret

    How can an uncreated son be generated? If you are a unitarian, but you believe the son is uncreated, in what way do you believe the Son was distinguished from the Father while the Son was still a pre-existent spirit?
    Good questions, Sarah. I’ll try to answer them.

    There can only be one MONOgenes son of a parent. By definition.
    So Adam was not God’s begotten son. He was God’s created son. No human being, begotten by MEN, fits the description, “the only-begotten Son of GOD”.
    So “begotten” does not mean “created”. Not in the Bible, anyway.

    As for the second question: God is, and always has been, the one and only self-existent God. There is no other.

    His only-begotten Son is uniquely “begotten” (gennao) OF God. His life originates – not in himself – but in GOD, the underived, unbegotten origin of everything. (See John 5:26; 8:57.)

    When it comes to the carrying out of God’s purposes, God is always the principal – never the agent. The Son is always the agent – never the principal. The difference is clear.

    Because the Son is the TRUE Son of his Father, he is (and always has been) subject to his Father’s will. He never strayed from the attitude, “I delight to do thy will, O my God.”
    [I wish I could say that about myself!]

    All of this makes the statements of Jesus much easier to understand, I think. Take Matthew 18:20, for instance. That statement would be outrageous, coming from a mere creature.

  238. on 10 Apr 2012 at 9:22 amMargaret

    Sorry about the formatting, Sarah. I hope I can answer your questions again (briefly), without quoting them.

    Adam was God’s created son. There is only one begotten Son of God. I can’t think of any passage in the Bible where the words “created” and “begotten” are used synonymously.

    As for God: There is only one self-existent God, neither created nor begotten. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    God’s only begotten Son is not God. Obviously. His life originates, NOT in himself, but in his Father – the underived, unbegotten origin of everything.

    Therefore, God is always the PRINCIPAL – never the agent. The Son is always the AGENT, never the principal. He is the true Son, always delighting to do his Father’s will.

  239. on 10 Apr 2012 at 9:31 amWolfgang

    Margaret,

    could you please define the word “begotten”?

    Since you seemingly in Jesus’ case connect the word “begotten” with the resurrection from the dead, what was Jesus prior to the resurrection? Was he a human being who had been “begotten”? or had he been “created”? or perhaps something else?

  240. on 10 Apr 2012 at 9:49 amSarah

    Margaret,

    Piggybacking on Wolfgang’s line of questioning…

    What distinguishes a “created” son from a “derived” son? Do you believe that the Father/Son relationship has eternally existed, or was there a moment in time when the Son became a distinct being with an independent mind and will?

  241. on 10 Apr 2012 at 10:48 amMargaret

    The “begotten” connected with Christ’s resurrection is an official designation, related to his appointment as KING and as PRIEST. Check it out.

    “I will be a father to him” was the promise given with regard to David’s progeny. That’s why “ONLY-begotten” would not fit into THIS set of circumstances. God promised to be a father to Solomon, too – wehn he was on the throne. But Solomon died.

    The resurrection of Jesus meant that HIS kingdom and priesthood are for ever. There will be for him no “end of life”.

    However, his relationship to his Father as the “ONLY-begotten Son of God” is unique. By definition. Nothing and no one else is begotten of God in THIS sense.

    I accept the implication of Hebrews 7:3 that the Son of God was “without beginning of days,” as well as “without end of life.”

    That conviction is strengthened by John 1, which equates the only-begotten of the Father with the Word that was WITH (beside) God in the beginning.

    So the relationship, I believe, is eternal.

    That the Son of God PARTOOK of flesh and blood – that the Word BECAME flesh – that God PREPARED a body for him – a body in which dwelt all the fulness of deity – all of those things are stated in the the Bible.

    The fact remains that Adam was not the “begotten” son of God. He was the “created” son of God. So there has to be a difference, whether I can explain it or not.

    But please – continue to probe. I cannot possibly understand the HOW of what God does, but I greatly desire NOT to say something that the Bible clearly contradicts.

  242. on 10 Apr 2012 at 11:10 amSarah

    I accept the implication of Hebrews 7:3 that the Son of God was “without beginning of days,” as well as “without end of life.”

    That conviction is strengthened by John 1, which equates the only-begotten of the Father with the Word that was WITH (beside) God in the beginning.

    So the relationship, I believe, is eternal.

    This is very interesting to me. I’m trying to figure out how you can believe the Father and Son are in an eternal relationship and not be, at the least, a binitarian. Is it accurate to say you view the Father and Son as co-eternal and co-essential but not co-equal?

  243. on 10 Apr 2012 at 12:39 pmWolfgang

    Margaret,

    The fact remains that Adam was not the “begotten” son of God. He was the “created” son of God. So there has to be a difference, whether I can explain it or not.

    Actually, Adam was NOT at all “the son of God” in a sense comparable to how we read of Jesus as being “the son of God”. Sure there is a difference, a rather simple one: Adam was created by God as an adult human being .. BUT he is nowhere said to have been “a created son”.

    But please – continue to probe. I cannot possibly understand the HOW of what God does, but I greatly desire NOT to say something that the Bible clearly contradicts.

    See above … you contradict flat out what the Bible rather clearly states, such as interpreting “the Word” in Joh 1 as being a living person of some (spirit?) kind … In one go, the Son of God is begotten apparently in eternity past, then he is begotten at the time of his resurrection from the dead … ?

  244. on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:19 pmMargaret

    Is it accurate to say you view the Father and Son as co-eternal and co-essential but not co-equal?

    I will ignore the theological jargon, Sarah. If I think that two things are equal, that’s the word I will use. The trinitarian prefixes are meaningless.

    You asked me earlier how I would distinguish between the eternal God and his Son. I answered your question biblically. That means you already know that I do NOT consider God’s Son to be equal to his Father in at least two ways:
    God is originate; the Son is “begotten”.
    God is always the principal and never the agent; the Son is always the agent and never the principal.
    And that difference is confirmed by the words of Jesus himself, who said, “My Father is greater than I.”

    The scriptures I have already quoted point to an eternal Father/Son relationship. On the basis of those scriptures, I believe that both are eternal. And I suggest that it makes sense for an eternal Father to have an eternal Son.

    Wolfgang – God “created” Adam, and Adam was “the son of God” (Luke 3:38). That makes Adam the created son of God. I wasn’t making anything up.

    The ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON, though, is unique. There can only be one.

  245. on 10 Apr 2012 at 7:57 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Margaret – you have some interesting views. I agree with Sarah that it hints of binitarianism, but in thinking about it, I am reminded of a passage that has bothered me. Gen 1:3

    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

    This was ‘day 1’, yet the stars and sun were not created until ‘day 4’. So what was that original light? The same light that John 1 refers to? Is it Jesus? The word?

  246. on 10 Apr 2012 at 9:50 pmRay

    When it comes to Christ, I don’t necessarily believe that being begotten means he had a beginning. It may be that in one sense it is a beginning, as in something new.

  247. on 10 Apr 2012 at 10:24 pmDoubting Thomas

    Tim and Margaret,
    Please don’t open any emails that you have received from me in the last day or so. Someone has hijacked my hotmail account and are sending out emails with no titles on them. The only thing in the email is a link. Don’t click on the link. I don’t know what it will do, but it isn’t from me. Hotmail has blocked my account and I can’t get into my emails so I can’t send a warning out to my friends to tell them what has happened.

    I don’t know why it is that people do things like this???

  248. on 10 Apr 2012 at 10:28 pmDoubting Thomas

    Sean you also might receive these emails as well…

  249. on 10 Apr 2012 at 10:49 pmMargaret

    Tim – I believe that “the heavens and the earth” were created “in the beginning” – not on the fourth day. So I think the light of Genesis 1:3 was natural light.

    If you look at verse 2 carefully, you will see that the darkness was not in space. It was on “the face of the deep” – on the surface of the water that covered the land until the third day.

    Job 38:9 tells us what CAUSED the darkness on the surface of the earth. And actually, if you read Genesis 1 carefully, AS IT IS WRITTEN, you will find that it is wonderfully confirmed by modern day science.

    For example, it was discovered in 2009 that there was a sudden “explosion” of vegetation on the land surfaces BEFORE the ocean could be fully oxygenated. [I’ll find the url tomorrow.]

    That means there were plants on the land BEFORE there was any appreciable free oxygen in the atmosphere, and therefore BEFORE there could be an ozone layer.

    So there had to be plants on the land BEFORE the sun could be fully exposed, or all life would have been destroyed by lethal radiation.

    In other words, the order of events in Genesis 1 is exactly right.

    But I think there is a thread somewhere on Genesis 1, and maybe someone could give a link to it.

  250. on 10 Apr 2012 at 10:56 pmMargaret

    Thanks, Tom. For some reason I didn’t open those links. Short of time, I guess.

    Ray – our understanding of “begotten” is limited to what we can fit into our experience as humans. What it means in the context of an eternal God is beyond our comprehension. I just want to accept what the Bible says, even if I don’t understand it.

  251. on 11 Apr 2012 at 9:08 amSarah

    Tim,

    This was ‘day 1′, yet the stars and sun were not created until ‘day 4′. So what was that original light? The same light that John 1 refers to? Is it Jesus? The word?

    I’ve wondered that too. One interesting point is that the very end of Revelation presents a direct parallel to this:

    (23) And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
    (24) By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it”- [Rev 21:23-24 ESV]

    This is quoting Isaiah 60:

    (19) The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
    (20) Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. – [Isa 60:19-20 ESV]

    I once heard a pastor point out that “light” is often used as a metaphor for wisdom in the Bible. That seems to fit the usage in Rev 21:24. And, Proverbs 8:22-23 does talk about wisdom being the first of God’s works – perhaps in the sense of God’s entire plan for his creation? It wouldn’t surprise me if this had some bearing on Gen 1:3…

  252. on 11 Apr 2012 at 9:57 amTim (aka Antioch)

    Sarah – that makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

  253. on 11 Apr 2012 at 6:53 pmMargaret

    I enjoyed the idea of “light” as a metaphor for wisdom, Sarah. That makes the Lord everythiing we need for guidance, and seems to fit Isaiah 60 well.

    Just in case someone is interested, here is the url for the 2009 release from Arizona State University about the evidence for vegetation on the land before the ocean could be fully oxygenated – and I hope it is in the form of a link:
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-07/asu-ego070809.php

    That was a real thrill to me. The Genesis story of plants on the earth BEFORE the sun was revealed seemed to make no sense, and atheists hooted at it. But it turns out that any OTHER order would have meant no life on earth, and we wouldn’t be here talking about it.

    This may not have much to do with agency – or maybe it does.
    Anyway, we can rejoice in the Messiah, who has been “made unto us the wisdom (light) of God (1 Corinthians 1:30).

  254. on 11 Apr 2012 at 9:07 pmRay

    I take it that the light spoken of in Gen 1:3 is light as we can see it with our physical eyes, though it could me more than that.

    God doesn’t need a sun to give light, neither a light bulb. I don’t think it was so that he could see, but for our benefit no doubt.

    I take some of the ways God has done things as patterns or promises of what he will do in the future, that many of his works have been a prophetic voice to declare his news being in a mystery in order that men will search these things out.

    I found that Gen 1:2b-1:3 connected well with Luke 1:35 for me.

  255. on 11 Apr 2012 at 11:15 pmMargaret

    I agree, Ray. The metaphor fits Isaiah 60, but NOT Genesis 1. The light in Genesis 1 comes from the “heavens” that were created in the beginning.

    The darkness in verse 2 was not in space. It was on the surface of the earth. And according to Job 38:9, the darkness was caused by CLOUDS, making a “swathing band” of darkness around the infant earth.

    Then God said, “Let light be.” And enough light reached the earth to allow day and night to be discernable. That is what we can expect as the planet rotates, if any sunlight at all gets through.

    But even yet, the cloud was so thick that there was no sky. There was no space between the clouds and the ocean that covered the earth. So God said, “Let the waters below” (the ocean) be separated from the waters above (the garment of cloud). And then there was a sky. You could look up and see a sky – a sky black with clouds (see 1 Kings 18:45) no doubt, but a sky, nevertheless.

    Then God separated the waters from the dry land, making land and seas. And before the work of that “day” was over, there were plants growing on the land.

    THEN God set the sun, moon and stars in the sky where they could be seen, and gave them a job to do. Which means the clouds were no longer blocking the direct rays of the sun.

    That is the wonder of it, in my view. Modern science is actually proving that the Genesis account is not only true, but scientifically “spot on”. There had to be an ozone layer before the sun could be exposed completely.

    Forgive me if this is more than you had in mind, but I certainly agree with you that in Genesis 1:5, the light was visible light. Enough light to make day and night apparent as the earth rotated.

    Nevertheless, the metaphor of light as wisdom is lovely, and I think it probably fits Isaiah 60, as well as our Christian experience.

  256. on 12 Apr 2012 at 6:54 amRay

    Wisdom is the principal thing as the scripture says. It was even in the beginning before there was the deep, fountains, or mountains.
    (Prov 8:23-25) The wisdom of God is the light of the world isn’t it?
    All that the wisdom of God is, is in Jesus. As God delighted in Christ from the beginning, I trust that Jesus also delighted in the wisdom of God. (Prov 8:30)

  257. on 12 Apr 2012 at 7:02 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    I don’t think 1:3 is referring to visible light. Visible light comes from the stars (of which our sun is one). Prior to the creation of any stars, there would not be any visible light. That’s why I think the passage is not talking about visible light but something else.

  258. on 12 Apr 2012 at 10:32 pmMargaret

    You may be right, Tim, but I think “the heavens and the earth” (created in the beginning) refers to the whole universe.

    The darkness on THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH is caused by the “garment of cloud” that God tells Job about in Job 38:9. The light that comes through that cloud produces day and night – a phenomenon perfectly natural to a rotating planet in a functioning solar system.

    That makes perfect sense to me, and it fits the text.

    If you look at day four carefully, you will find that the word “created” is not used there at all. The sun, moon and stars were CREATED in the beginning.

    Can anybody give a link to a thread whose subject is the Genesis creation? I’d love to continue, but we are off the subject of agency.

  259. on 12 Apr 2012 at 11:32 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Margaret,
    Below is a link to an article on creation that might be better suited to your discussion;

    http://lhim.org/blog/2011/10/30/the-creationism-vs-evolution-debate/#comment-99596

    I always enjoy discussing my beliefs on the creation story. It is one of those subjects that people can (usually) disagree with each other on without ending up getting too angry about it… 🙂

  260. on 13 Apr 2012 at 8:16 pmMargaret

    Thank you very much, Tom. I’ll take a look.

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  262. on 14 Jul 2015 at 8:06 pmRay

    It seems to me that it could have very well have been Jesus who appeared with his two angels to Abraham.

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