Glad Tidings It deals with subjects such as
- The One God,
- Jesus Christ
- Kingdom Focus
- Christian Living; + other subjects.
What follows is a combination of four articles on the subject of
The One God by Sean Finnegan.
I have added a few colors and amendments.
(Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise
Only The Father Is God
by Sean Finnegan
Jesus knew that this was his last time with the disciples before he would be taken into custody. He prayed just before he made his way across the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane. The disciples listened earnestly; ... As he prayed he did not look down, instead he looked up to the Father. In the beginning of his prayer, he made an extraordinary statement about eternal life.
He said, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3). According to this verse, there are two who must be known: the only true God, and Jesus Christ. Jesus considered the Father to be the only God and he considered himself to be distinct from that only God. This simple truth is elevated to the highest degree when he prefaced the statement with, "This is eternal life...." That is to say, eternal life depends on one’s understanding of God and His Son.
In addition, Paul the apostle was inspired by God to write along the same lines in his first letter to Timothy.
I Timothy 2:3-6 NASB
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God,
and one mediator also between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as a ransom for all,
the testimony given at the proper time.
There are two closely linked desires of
1) for all to be saved, and
2) for all to come to know the truth.
In verse four "the truth" does not refer to all true things in general but a very specific truth. The next two verses explain "the truth" that God desires all men to know.
The first ingredient is that there is only one God. The second is that the man Christ Jesus is the one mediator between the one God and mankind. The third is that Jesus gave himself a ransom for all at the right time.
There is no confusion between Jesus and God; they are fully distinct in nature and in function. According to the greeting of this letter (I Timothy 1:2), God is the Father, and Jesus Christ is our Lord. Just a few verses earlier then where we are now, it says that the only God is immortal. (In the word "immortal," the prefix, im, means not; and mortal means can die; thus immortal means cannot die.) However, the third ingredient of "the truth" is that Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all. In order for Jesus to die, he must be mortal. Therefore, we conclude that the one God (the Father) is completely distinct from the one man (Christ Jesus). It is as important to recognize this distinction, as it is to understand that Christ gave himself as a ransom for all.
A third text that offers clarity on this issue can be found in I Corinthians. The context concerns idolatry and eating the foods that are sacrificed to idols. Paul recognizes that there are many who are called gods.
I Corinthians 8:6 NASB
Yet for us there is but one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and we exist for Him;
and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
by whom are all things, and we exist through him.
This text leaves no wiggle room for complicated definitions of God. He is the Father Who created all things. He is the source from which everything, including Jesus, originated. He is the one God, and we are able to come to Him through the one Lord, Jesus Christ. The Father made everything, and we experience all things through Christ.
There are many other places in the New Testament that speak of God as the Father. Consider the following scriptures: John 1:18; 4:23 and 24; 6:27; 8:41 and 42, 54; 20:17; Romans 1:7; 15:6; I Corinthians 1:3; 8:6; 15:24; II Corinthians 1:2 and 3; 11:31; Galatians 1:1,3 and 4; Ephesians 1:2 and 3, 17; 4:6; 5:20; 6:23; Philippians 1:2; 2:11; 4:20; Colossians 1:2 and 3; 3:17; I Thessalonians 1:1, 3; 3:13; II Thessalonians 1:1 and 2; 2:16; I Timothy 1:2; II Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 3; James 3:9; I Peter 1:2 and 3; II Peter 1:17; II John 1:3; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:5 and 6.
The overwhelming weight of Scripture
teaches that only the Father is God. He is the awesome Creator of everything in
existence. He is the most powerful Being in the universe. He has no equal, as
even Jesus confessed (John 10:29; 14:18). He is called the "one God and Father
of all who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:6 NASB). About
two thousand years ago, He brought into existence His perfect Son who would save
mankind from destruction. Jesus, the perfectly obedient one, followed God’s plan
flawlessly. As a result today we have access to the Father through him.
Jesus Has A
by Sean Finnegan
Jesus is fully human. He was born (Luke 2:11), grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52), learned obedience (Hebrews 5:8), became tired (John 4:6), slept (Mark 4:38), had limited knowledge (Mark 5:30; 13:32), and died (Philippians 2:8). Jesus also prayed frequently (Matthew 14:23; Mark 14:32-39; Luke 6:12; John 11:41; 12:28; 17:1ff); he would go up to a mountain alone to spend time with his God. Jesus provides the supreme example of how we should live our lives because he is just like us. The only differences are that he was supernaturally begotten and he never sinned. However, there is much disagreement on this issue of who Jesus is today.
There are many verses in the Bible that make it clear that God is the Father of Jesus Christ.
So that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
II Corinthians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
II Corinthians 11:31
The God and Father of the Lord Jesus,
He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly places in Christ,
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory,
may give to you a spirit of wisdom
and of revelation in the knowledge of him.
Ephesians 3:14 (KJV)
For this cause I bow my knees
unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
We give thanks to God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
praying always for you,
I Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
II John 1:3
Grace, mercy and peace will be with us,
from God the Father
and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father,
in truth and love.
However, we will concentrate on the four
places in Scripture in which Jesus used the words "my God."
Perhaps a brief survey of these four texts will provide insight into the relationship between Jesus and his God
(Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46; John 20:17; Revelation 3:12).
The first two places are Mark 15:34 and Matthew 27:46. They will be considered together because they are two corresponding records of the same historical event – the crucifixion.
At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice,
"ELOI, E L O I , L A M A SABACHTHANI?"
which is translated,
"MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,
"ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is,
"MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"
Jesus is pictured crying out in agony while he hung in excruciating pain. Hospitals are like this today. A while back a friend of mine had his appendix removed. While we were waiting in the emergency room for the doctor, I experienced an eerie mixture of sounds. Some of the patients were snoring; several were crying out for God; and still others were muttering under their breath, "Lord, have mercy." Jesus was facing death, and he called out to his God, just as the rest of us would have done. He quoted the first line of a psalm that was well-known to him. Psalm 22 contains detailed prophecy about what he was experiencing during his crucifixion. When David wrote the psalm, he was going through some very difficult times; he felt that he was near death. He cried out to "my God." Yahweh is the God of David (Psalms 25:1 and 2). Jesus identified with this psalm of David. He called out to the same God (Yahweh) as David did.
The third place in which Jesus said "my God" is found in the Gospel of John.
Jesus said to her,
"Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father;
but go to my brethren and say to them,
'I ascend to My Father and your Father,
and My God and your God.' "
In this brief interchange Jesus explained his view of God succinctly and matter of factly. If someone asked Jesus, "Who is God?" he would say, "My God and your God." It is just as simple as that. There is no need for complex definitions or paradoxes. Jesus had and still has a God – the Father.
The last text to consider is found in the book of Revelation. The letter to the church at Philadelphia concludes with the following statement.
He who overcomes,
I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God,
and he will not go out from it anymore;
and I will write on him the name of My God,
and the name of the city of My God,
the new Jerusalem,
which comes down out of heaven from My God,
and my new name.
over, the term "my God" is repeated by Jesus. Even in his resurrected and
glorified position, he still recognizes that the Father is his personal
Though the Father has granted all authority in heaven and earth to him (Matthew 28:18), Jesus still keeps clear Who his God is.
If we are going to follow Jesus, then we should have the same God that he had. From the texts considered it is clear that he had only one God, the Father. Jesus never once prayed to or called the holy spirit his God. The Father never called the Son His God. Every time that Jesus used the words "my God," they were always in reference to the Father. Let us seek to follow Jesus in every area of our lives, especially when it comes to our relationship with God.
by Sean Finnegan
Someone once asked the question: "Can God microwave a burrito so hot that He cannot eat it?" To answer yes implies that God cannot eat extremely hot burritos. To answer no implies that God cannot heat it to such a level. This sort of question is flawed because it consists of a contradiction. It is similar to saying, "Can God make a square circle?" The definition of "square" is that there are four right angles with equal sides, whereas the definition of "circle" is that there are no right angles and only one side. Thus, the question involves a contradiction of definition and is therefore meaningless. Sometimes we ask questions like this in the realm of theology. The reasoning usually starts with the assumption "God can do anything," and quickly progresses to "He could become man and die if He wanted to."
I believe that the statement, "God died," is just as meaningless as the burrito question.
It is my position that there are certain attributes that God cannot change. For example, God cannot lie, cheat, steal, covet, become weak, commit suicide, die, etc. This is because these sorts of qualities contradict God’s attributes by definition. So let us consider how the Bible defines God with respect to mortality and see what can be concluded.
For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever,
whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite.
But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar,
raised my eyes toward heaven
and my reason returned to me,
and I blessed the Most High and praised
and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
I Timothy 1:17
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever.
I Timothy 6:15 and 16
... He who is the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone possesses immortality
and dwells in unapproachable light,
whom no man has seen or can see.
To Him be honor and eternal dominion!
(Also see Deuteronomy 32:40; Psalms 41:13; 102:12, 24-27; Isaiah 40:28; etc.)
God lives forever; He is immortal.
("Immortal" means cannot die.)
This is part of Who God is. If He died, then He would have to cease being God. There is just no way around it. In fact, death can be a test of deity. If someone claimed to be God, then he or she should also be immortal. If this person were shot with a gun, then he should not die. In fact, no matter what was done to him or her (including dropping a nuclear bomb on the head), such a person would continue to live–all because if someone claims to be God, he must be immortal. This does not mean that all immortal beings are God, but it does mean that if someone claims to be God, then he better be immortal.
I once discussed this apparent contradiction (how could Jesus be God if he died) with an assistant pastor in a local church. He told me that Jesus did not really die, just his body did. Jesus continued to live. His soul (mind/consciousness) left his body upon death. Thus, Jesus died but continued to live. This is certainly an interesting proposition. But, how would you test it to see if it were true or not? How do the Scriptures speak of the death of Christ? Are special words used that would imply that his soul migrated, ascended, or escaped? Consider the following verses.
Matthew 17:22 and 23
And while they were gathering together in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
"The Son of Man is going to be
delivered into the hands of men;
and they will kill him,
and he will be raised on the third day."
And they were deeply grieved.
"I am the good shepherd;
the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
to fulfill the word of Jesus which he spoke,
signifying by what kind of death he was about to die.
but coming to Jesus, when they saw that
he was already dead,
they did not break his legs.
Revelation 1:17 and 18
When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man.
And he placed his right hand on me, saying,
"Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,
and the living One;
and I was dead,
and behold, I am alive forevermore,
and I have the keys of death and of Hades."
(Also see Mark 9:31; Luke 9:22; John 15:13; 18:31; Acts 2:23 and 24; 3:15; 5:30; 7:52; I Corinthians 15:3; I Thessalonians 4:14; etc.)
No fancy or ethereal words are used. Jesus died; they killed him; he laid down his life (soul); he said of himself, "I was dead." Jesus died just like the millions of humans who preceded him. It is as simple as that. If "died" really meant "continued to live," then we are back to square circles–meaningless definitions.
The Bible teaches repeatedly that death is like sleep (Daniel 12:2; John 11:11-14; Ephesians 5:14). There is not any activity, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in death (Ecclesiastes 9:10). In fact, those who are dead do not think at all (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Death is like dreamless sleep–a cessation of consciousness. The only escape from death is resurrection (John 5:28 and 29; I Corinthians 15:21- 23; I Thessalonians 4:14-17).
If Jesus did not really die, then are our sins really [forgiven?] The Old Testament, which serves as our schoolmaster, may shed some light on what being a sacrifice for sin means.
Leviticus 4:14-16, 18 and 19
when the sin which they have committed becomes known,
then the assembly shall offer a bull of the herd
for a sin offering
and bring it before the tent of meeting.
Then the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before YAHWEH,
and the bull shall be slain before YAHWEH.
Then the anointed priest is to bring some of the blood of the bull to the tent of meeting;
...and all the blood he shall pour out at the
base of the altar of burnt offering
which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
He shall remove all its fat from it and offer it up in smoke on the altar.
Could you wound, maim, or nearly kill the sacrificial animal for it to take effect? Absolutely not! The animal must die because, as Paul said, "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Someone had to die. Fortunately, God in His grace allowed animals to be substituted for the people who sinned. Yet, as the book of Hebrews explains in detail, the sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to Christ and what he would do on behalf of mankind.
Hebrews 7:26 and 27
For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest [Jesus],
holy, innocent, undefiled,
separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
who does not need daily, like those high priests,
to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people,
because this he did once for all when he offered up himself.
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands,
a mere copy of the true one,
but into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for us;
nor was it that he would offer himself often,
as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.
Otherwise, he would have needed to suffer often
since the foundation of the world;
but now once at the consummation of the ages
he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
In order for our sins to be [sacrificed] for, Jesus had to die (cease to live) as our substitute sacrifice just like the animals in the Old Testament. Jesus’ death makes possible our forgiveness, justification, reconciliation, and escape from the wrath to come.
For while we were still helpless,
at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by his blood,
we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son,
much more, having been reconciled,
we shall be saved by his life.
Colossians 1:21 and 22
And although you were formerly alienated
and hostile in mind,
engaged in evil deeds,
yet he has now reconciled you
in his fleshly body through death,
in order to present you before him holy and blameless and beyond reproach
I Thessalonians 5:9 and 10
For God has not destined us for wrath,
but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
so that whether we are awake or asleep,
we will live together with him.
Taking all of this into account, we can conclude the following:
1. God cannot die;
2. Jesus died;
3. If he did not really die, then our sins are not really [sacrificed] for;
Jesus is not God.
I do not think there is a way around this conclusion. If there is,
then I would like to know.
( You can email me : sean@KingdomReady.org).
This seems to be the best way to understand Jesus’ death. If Jesus is not God, but God’s supreme representative commissioned to speak His words and perform His will, then how remarkable is it that he obeyed his whole life through to the death! He could have failed. He could have given in to temptation. Yet, he humbled himself to the disgrace of a criminal’s death on a cross.
And, having died, he remained asleep, totally unconscious of his three-day sojourn in utter darkness, until at once God Himself shattered the darkness by raising His beloved Son from death to life eternal.
It is a beautiful story, which I believe is cheapened when Jesus is thought to be God – one who would not have been able to fail, could not really be tempted, and did not really die.
Jesus Confirmed the
by Sean Finnegan sean@KingdomReady.org
Fact: All Jews believe that God is one.
The Jewish people use the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) as their chief source of religious information. In this set of sacred Scripture are dozens of statements concerning the exclusive nature of God. Consider a few of these below:
Exodus 20:2 and 3
"I am Yahweh your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before Me."
Deuteronomy 4:35, 39
To you it was shown that you might know
that Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.
Know therefore today, and take it to your heart,
that Yahweh, He is God in heaven above
and on the earth below;
there is no other.
Isaiah 45:5 and 6
I am Yahweh, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am Yahweh, and there is no other,
But Yahweh is the true God;
He is the living God and the everlasting King.
At His wrath the earth quakes,
And the nations cannot endure His indignation.
One of the primary expressions of Jewish faith, recited twice daily in prayer, is called the Shema ["shema" is the Hebrew word meaning "hear" or "listen"]. This section of Scripture (see below) is called the Shema because that is its first word.
Deuteronomy 6:4 and 5
Hear [Shema], O Israel!
Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one!
You shall love Yahweh your God
with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your might.
At times, the children of Israel strayed from this bedrock creed of worshipping only Yahweh. When this happened, the prophets reproved the people with fiery words of judgment.
Judges 10:13 and 14
Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods;
therefore I will no longer deliver you.
Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen;
let them deliver you in the time of your distress.
Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of Yahweh.
Thus says the Lord Yahweh,
"Because your lewdness was poured out
and your nakedness uncovered
through your harlotries with your lovers
and with all your detestable idols,
and because of the blood of your sons
which you gave to idols,
therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers
with whom you took pleasure,
even all those whom you loved
and all those whom you hated.
So I will gather them against you from every direction
and expose your nakedness to them
that they may see all your nakedness.
Thus I will judge you like women who commit adultery or shed blood are judged;
and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy."
Israel is repeatedly likened to a traitor, an adulterous wife who takes all that God gives her and then sneaks out to have relations with the other gods. The message is simple: return to Yahweh as your sole God, and you will be delivered; worship someone or something else, and you will be punished severely. Yahweh is jealous–He does not want His people to have any other gods (Deuteronomy 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; 32:16, 21).
Fact: Jesus is a Jew.
Mary was a Jew; Joseph was a Jew. Eight days after Jesus was born, he was circumcised (Luke 2:21) according to the Jewish rite handed down by Abraham. Then they offered the appropriate sacrifice (two turtledoves) for a firstborn son (Luke 2:24). Jesus was taught the Jewish Scriptures. He followed the Jewish law. He went to the temple in Jerusalem at 12 years of age (Luke 2:42). Later, he became a Jewish rabbi who traveled from town to town proclaiming that the God of the Jews was soon to intervene in the normal functioning of human affairs and establish the Kingdom of God on earth (a very Jewish concept often called by Jews today "the messianic age"). Jesus was known to be the Jewish Messiah who would reign on the throne of David (the Jewish ancestor who reigned over Israel). There is little doubt that Jesus was (and still is) a Jew.
He never once preached a sermon redefining the number of persons in the Godhead. He was completely consistent with the Jewish environment within which he operated. He had been told about the perils of forsaking Yahweh as the one true God of Israel. He had read the prophets and was intimately acquainted with the God about Whom they spoke.
Fact: Jesus explicitly confirmed
that God is one.
Although it is often supposed that through Jesus’ words and actions he opened people’s eyes to see his deity, what does the Scripture say? We are not left to guess if Jesus believed the same as the Jewish people, because he explicitly confirmed the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4.
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing,
and recognizing that he had answered them well, asked him,
"What commandment is the foremost of all?"
"The foremost is,
'HEAR [Shema], O ISRAEL!
THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD
WITH ALL YOUR HEART,
AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL,
AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND,
AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' "
This statement leaves no wiggle room for additional persons in the Godhead. The LORD (Yahweh) our God is one, and He is the One deserving all our love. Yet, this is not an isolated incidence of confirmation.
John 17:3 This is eternal life,
that they may know You, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Here, Jesus used different words to convey the same simple truth. Jesus prays to his Father (John 17:1) and makes a categorical statement: the Father is the only one who is truly God.
Conclusion: Followers of Jesus should believe God is one.
As followers of Jesus, we should adopt his beliefs as our beliefs. This is the chief task of a disciple (to imitate his master). Jesus never quoted (or even heard of) the Athanasian Creed, wherein it is stated that God is a trinity. I know that most modern Christians define God as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, what did Jesus say? Whom did Jesus worship? He worshipped the Jewish God as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures. The New Testament never redefined God (although Jesus did amplify God's Fatherly role). Let us be like Jesus who proudly answered those who questioned him with a firm declaration of the Shema.
Shema is the creed of Jesus,
then perhaps it should be our creed as well.