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This is the third post in a moderated debate between Biblical Unitarian Danny Dixon and Trinitarian Marc Taylor. A complete list of posts can be accessed here.

1. That the Lord Jesus is the First and the Last necessitates that He is Almighty God in that He always existed.

a. Brown: The formula “the first and the last” is only found as a self-designation of the exalted Christ (1:17; 2:8; 22:13). This goes back to the Heb. wording of the divine predicates in Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12. In the Gk. translation of this expression the LXX has avoided the divine title of eschatos and uses a paraphrase instead, perhaps because of negative undertones. The formula belongs essentially to the synonymous phrases “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13; Alpha being the first, and Omega the last letter of the Gk. alphabet), and “the beginning and the end” (22:13). The application of these divine predicates to the exalted Christ means the ascription to him of a rank equal with God’s with the attribution of the functions of Creator and Perfecter (NIDNTT 2:58, 59, Goal).

b. Kittel: A more common antithesis in the NT is prwtos/ esxatos. The exalted Christ is ho prwtos kai ho esxatos in Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13; the reference here is to the beginning and the end. ho prwtos refers to pre-existence, being in eternity before all time, while ho esxatos refers to being in eternity after all time (TDNT 6:867, prwtos).

c. NIDOTTE: Occasionally used with its antonym (“last”), this adj. forms a merism typical in Sem. languages, in which polar extremes describe totality. In Isaiah’s expression of monotheism, Yahweh is both “the first” and “the last”, meaning the only (probably an enumeration in which he is the only number, Isa 44:6, and see also 41:4; Neh 8:18; Rev 1:8) (3:1027, rishown)

d. Thayer: the eternal One, Rev. 1.17; 2.8; 22.13 (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, prwtos, page 554).

e. Vine: of Christ as the Eternal One, Rev. 1:17 (in some mss. ver. 11); 2:8; 22:13 (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Last, page 641).

2. The fact that the Lord Jesus is Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16) necessitates that He is Almighty God in that YHWH shares this same appellation (Deuteronomy 10:17) with Him in heaven at the same time.

a. There is only one (singular) Lord of all lords (plural) in heaven at this time. To whom does it apply? If it only refers to the Father then that contradicts Revelation chapters 17 and 19 where it refers to the Lord Jesus. If it only refers to the Lord Jesus then that would make the Lord Jesus “Lord” of the Father since the Father is referred to as Lord (Acts 4:29).

b. Neither option bodes well for for those who insist that the Lord Jesus is not Almighty God. The truth of Scripture reveals that this appellation equally refers to both YHWH and the Lord Jesus. That this is the case the TDNT refers to this as Christ’s “divine equality” with God (TDNT 5:273, onoma). Thayer cites both Revelation 19:16 and Deuteronomy 10:17 saying it refers to the “Supreme Lord” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, kurios, page 366).
Supreme means – 1. highest in rank or authority; paramount; sovereign; chief 2. of the highest quality, degree, character, importance, etc. 3. greatest, utmost, or extreme (Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, supreme, page 1430).

c. Agency: Those who insist that this is simply a case of “Agency” will often appeal to the relationship between Pharaoh and Joseph (Genesis 41:40-44). In Genesis 41:40 however we see that Pharaoh will still be greater than Joseph in his throne. That is not anything like the equality concerning “Lord of lords” (i.e. Supreme Lord) as mentioned in Revelation and Deuteronomy. Whereas Pharaoh was the “supreme” (greatest, utmost) ruler of Egypt Joseph was not. In fact, according to Genesis 41:43 Joseph rode in “the second chariot” not the first one with Pharaoh showing he wasn’t equal. The Hebrew word for “second” is mishneh and Gesenius’s Lexcion defines it as “the second rank, the second place”. Along with Genesis 41:43 2 Kings 25:18 is also cited demonstrating that the second priest Zephaniah is not equal with the first priest Seraiah. Here as with Pharaoh and Joseph there remains a distinction cancelling out “equality”.

3. Praying to/worshiping the Lord Jesus proves that He is Almighty God (See 4c below).
Some of the passages where this takes place is Acts 1:24, 25; 7:59; Romans 10:13 and Revelation 22:3.

a. In Acts 1:24 the Lord Jesus receives proseuxomai which is due unto God alone.
1. Kittel: From the very first proseuxesthai means calling on God,
whereas it is not always clear to whom the request is directed when desthai is used (TDNT 2:807, proseuxomai).
2. Louw/Nida: to speak to or to make requests of God – ‘to pray, to speak to God, to ask God for, prayer.’ (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, 33.178, Pray – euxomai; proseuxomai; euxee, proseuxee, page 409).
3. Mounce: The fact that people pray to both God (Mt. 6:9) and Jesus (Acts 1:24) is part of the proof of Jesus’ deity (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words, pray, page 531).
4. Thayer: The noted linguist Professor Grimm wrote concerning proseuxee that it “is a word of sacred character, being limited to prayer to God” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, deesis, page 126).
5. Vine: concerning proseuxomai writes that it: “is always used of prayer to God” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Pray, page 871) .

b. In Acts 7:59 Stephen prayed that the Lord Jesus would receive his spirit and the Jews knew that their spirit would return “unto the God who gave it” (Ecclesiates 12:7).

c. In Romans 10:13 Paul applies YHWH of Joel 2:32 directly to the Lord Jesus to be called upon.

d. In Revelation 22:3 we see that the Lamb is the recipient of latreuw which is due unto God alone.
1. Kittel: The ministry denoted by latreuein is always offered to God (or to heathen gods…R. 1:25…Ac. 7:42) (TDNT 4:62, latreuw).
2. Moulton and Milligan: in Biblical Greek always refers to the service of the true God or of heathen deities (The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, WM.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, copyright 1982, page 371).
3. Moises Silva: As used in the New Testament, the word latreuw denotes actions that are always evaluated positively when God is the grammatical object and negatively with reference to any other object (Karen H. Jobes in Moises Silva’s “Biblical Words and Their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical Semantics”, copyright 1994 revised and expanded edition from 1983, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, page 203).

4. The Messenger of YHWH is Almighty God.

a. The Hebrew word for angel means “messenger” (mal’ak). It could refer to supernal beings (Psalm 148:2) or to people (Joshua 7:22) or in fact to YHWH Himself. This Messenger although being YHWH is also distinct from YHWH (Exodus 23:20-23; 2 Samuel 24:16; cf. 1 Chronicles 21).

b. In Genesis 48:16 Jacob states, The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads ; And may my name live on in them, And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac ; And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

c. No one but God alone should be prayed to for no one but the omniscient God would be capable of hearing this prayer (along with all others directed to Him) and no one but the omnipotent God would be able to act on what was requested of Him.

d. Not only does the Messenger have YHWH’s name “in him” (Exodus 23:21) – in a sense so do Michael (“Who is like God”) and Gabriel (“man of God”) – but His very name is YHWH (Hosea 12:3-5).

6 Responses to “1st Trinitarian Constructive (2a)”

  1. on 28 Aug 2010 at 10:14 amFrank D

    There was a reference made to contoversies in the early church and I tried to go back and find the comment but was unsuccessful. (I think Jaco brought it up).

    If the doctrine of the Trinity was adhered to by Paul and the early church, where is the controversy with the Jews? Doesn’t history show us that this controversy didn’t arise until Helenistic interpretation entered into the church? It came to it’s head and Constantine called the Counsel of Nicea. This ‘counsel vote’ bounced back and forth over the next 50 years or so with many books burned and people martyred. This was all put to rest not by revelation from God but by the blood of saints and fear.

    As was stated in the comment I could not find, there was no controversy in the New Testement. But, when it arose, it was not accomplished by spreading the Good News but rather by the acts of who I would accuse of doing the work of the adversary.

    So, how can the doctrine of the trinity be viewed as scriptural when even trinitarians admit it was developed post-Pauline?



  2. on 28 Aug 2010 at 2:06 pmRay

    Should we ask ourselves if the Trinity doctrine is absolutely the express concept of God given to us from the Bible?

    I am one who says in answer to that question, No. I do not believe that it is.

    Should the conception of the Trinity be an absolute impositon upon another by any one of us? My answer to that is No. I do not believe that it should be so.

    Is the acceptance of the Trinity doctrine by all people the absolute and perfect will of God? My answer to that is No. I do not believe that it is.

    Might Jesus say, “I am God.” and leave the interpretation of that to those born of the spirit of God? Yes. That is my opinion.

    Is it robbery if Jesus says, “I am the Almighty God.”? No, not in my opinion.

  3. on 28 Aug 2010 at 2:10 pmRay

    I would like to add one word to my first answer in post 3 above, and that is the word “necessarily”, which is to say that I do not believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is necessarily the absolute
    express concept of God given to us by the Bible.

    I am one that does not feel right about putting his name on the doctrine.

  4. on 28 Aug 2010 at 2:11 pmRay

    …That is I would not want to put his name on the doctrine….necessarily.

  5. on 28 Aug 2010 at 3:43 pmSean

    Frank D,

    On early Christian controversies recorded in the NT and conspicuous absence of a trinitarian controversy, click here to see a post from a while back.

  6. on 29 Aug 2010 at 10:22 amFrank D

    Thanks, Sean.


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