Shalom! My name is Adam Pastor

Welcome to ADONI MESSIAH which means
"My Lord Messiah" -
a fitting epithet to who Jesus (or Yeshua) is!

Here, I attempt to present the Apostolic Truths according to the Scriptures, that there is
One GOD, the Father, namely, YAHWEH,
and One Lord, GOD's only begotten Son,
Yeshua the Messiah.

And that one day YAHWEH will send His Son back to Earth to inaugurate the Everlasting Kingdom of GOD


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The One God = the Father of Jesus: The Concept Is Easy (John 17:3)

The One God = the Father of Jesus:
The Concept Is Easy
(John 17:3)

The ground fallacy of the Trinitarian argument is that Jesus is to be identified as Yahweh. Since the Father is Yahweh, saying that Jesus is Yahweh makes two Yahwehs! Trinitarians are fond of saying "Jesus is Yahweh," but they seem to forget that they believe the Father is also Yahweh. Two who are Yahweh makes two Yahwehs.

Jesus however, in his classic statement of monotheism, said "you [Father] are the only one who is truly God" (John 17:3). In that phrase we have both the words monos (alone, only) and theos (God). Jesus excluded himself from the Godhead by saying that his Father is "the only one who is truly God." According to the laws of language which we all understand, this means that Jesus is not the only true God. Only the Father belongs to the category of "the only true God." Jesus is another person. He is the Son and he was sent by the Father who alone is the true God.

Jesus appears to think that this understanding is vital to the quest for eternal life: "This is eternal life: that they come to know YOU [Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you commissioned."

This really is not difficult, and it was not meant to be! J.A.T. Robinson at Cambridge stated the obvious when he wrote, "In the first place it should be noted that John is as undeviating a witness as any in the New Testament to the fundamental tenet of Judaism, of unitary monotheism (cp. Rom. 3:30; James 2:19). There is the one, true and only God (John 5:44; 17:3). Everything else is idols (1 John 5:21)."

The same scholar is right to point out that the NT sometimes uses the same language of God and of Jesus. That is true. Jesus is functioning for the Father and is His deputy. But Jesus is not the One God. Only His Father is actually the One God (John 17:3). With this truth in place, Jews and Muslims can join the Christian quest, based on the assurance that only one Person is the true God. Jesus is His unique prophet, servant and Messiah. Paul summed up this non-complicated idea with this: "There is one God and one mediator between the one God and man, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). With these statements all arguments can be safely laid to rest.

Jesus, quoting the most important of all commands, said, "The Lord our God is one Lord" (Mark 12:29). This is the Greek NT version of "Yahweh our God is one Yahweh" (Deut. 6:4-5). Yes, Jesus does things which Yahweh does, because his Father, Yahweh, has authorized this. Jesus and God work together in perfect harmony. Bur there is only one Lord God: "The Lord our God is one Lord" (not two or more Lords!)

The fundamental distinction between the One God, the Father, and the Son is that the Son of God is begotten. This word "begotten" means he has a beginning. But God (Yahweh) has no beginning. He is self-existing:
"I am who I am" (Exod. 3:14). The Son of God not only had a beginning of existence, began to exist in time (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35; 2 Sam. 7:14-16), but he also
died and was tempted and fell asleep. But God does not do these things. God is not only unbegotten, i.e. He has no beginning, but He also cannot die. That should convince anyone that Jesus who died cannot be God! A person who is incapable of death cannot die! Is that so hard? The Son of God was limited in his knowledge, and said so (Mark 13:32).

If we identify Jesus as Yahweh we are committing ourselves to belief in two who are Yahweh and this is two Yahwehs รข€” one too many. This would contradict Jesus who said "the Lord our God is one Lord." The Lord God of the Bible, who is always a WHO and never a WHAT, "is one Yahweh [LORD]." That is easy to understand. It also sounds like Jesus, who said exactly that: "You, Father, are the only one who is truly God" (John 17:3).

God has revealed Himself using human language in Scripture (thank God He has!). It is a cop-out to say that the Bible's human, yet inspired language is inadequate. It is all we have. God speaks in Scripture, and not once did He say that He is an "essence" or a "What." There are thousands of examples of the various words for God in the Bible (Adonai, Lord, YHVH, Elohim, God, and Theos). Not once is God called an essence (ousia in Greek). The word "God" never means a triune Being. James White, struggling to defend the Trinity, says that the word God "can refer to all three persons at once," but he offers no example. [1] There are none.

In desperation some have resorted to a very easily detected language muddle. They have alleged that the Hebrew word for "one" is really "compound one." The fact that no standard lexicon of the biblical Hebrew language ever heard of this idea does not deter them one moment. It may be difficult for them to look this up in a Hebrew lexicon. But they can ask anyone who knows Hebrew or look up all the occurrences of echad ("one" in Hebrew) and see for themselves. (The word for "one" in Hebrew appears in masculine and feminine forms.)

Some rely on someone else. A zealous reader ... who is determined to believe in the triune God writes to inform us that Jimmy Swaggart Ministries told him that "one" may mean "more than one," i.e. "compound one." It is hard to respond respectfully (as we should) to this sort of claim. Would Jimmy Swaggart claim to be any sort of expert in this field? I doubt it. He does not claim to define English words. He knows that Webster's does much better at that. The equivalent for biblical Hebrew is the Brown, Driver and Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, or other equally good ones available on good Bible software. The facts of the language can be examined easily in English by looking up all the 970 appearances of the word "one" (echad) and seeing what they mean. It is a complete falsehood to state that echad means "more than one." "Abraham was one single person [echad]," Ezekiel wrote in 33:24. Moses said that God is "one single Lord." (Deut. 6:4 quoted by Jesus in Mark 12:29). That is not so hard.

"One" in English and in Hebrew means one and not two. Ponder that statement from Jesus: "The Lord our God is one Lord" (Mark 12:29). What are you hearing there? Three Lords? Or one Essence in three Persons? The language of Jesus is refreshingly straightforward and comforting. He often spoke of a child-like approach being the one he treasured most in his people.

"God is one Essence in three Persons" is completely foreign to the words of Jesus. The absence of the word "Trinity" in the Bible might not be a difficulty for Trinitarians, but the total absence of the concept of the Trinity should be cause for concern. "God" in Scripture never signifies God, the triune Essence. Does that not strike churchgoers as astonishing?

Here are some more helpful examples of that word "one" (echad): One place (Gen. 1:9), one man (Gen. 42:13), one law (Ex. 12:49), one side (Ex. 25:12), one ewe lamb (Lev. 14:10), one of his brethren (Lev. 25:48), one rod (Num. 17:3), one soul (Num. 31:28), one of those cities (Deut. 4:42), one way (Deut. 28:7), one ephah (1 Sam 1:24), one went out into the field (1 Kings 4:39). One shepherd (Ezek 37:24), one basket (Jer. 24:2), one thing (Ps. 27:4), two are better than one (Ecc. 4:9), for one day or for two (Ezra 10:13). Abraham was only one person (Ezek. 33:24), a unique day Zech 14:7. [2]

So we invite any reader to show from a standard lexicon of Hebrew that "one" means more than one. Now of course "one" can describe a compound noun. You can have "one family." But think carefully. What does the word "one" mean here? Your 12-year-old will be insulted by the question! "One family" means just that. Not two families or three families!

I am sure readers are finding their way into the subject by now. "The Lord our God is one Lord," says Mark 12:29, reporting Jesus' own precious words. Is that clear? "One Lord" does not mean three Lords or two Lords. Well did a very learned scholar bewail the fact that the Trinity is really a contradiction in terms: "It is a contradiction, indeed, and not merely a verbal contradiction, but an incompatibility in the human ideas conveyed. We can scarcely make a nearer approach to an exact enunciation of it [defining God], than of saying that one thing is two things." [3]

Tragically noble believers have had to die at the hands of cruel and misunderstanding church authorities determined to impose their confusing concept of God, based on Greek philosophical terminology, on them. The death penalty was issued for non-Trinitarians. At other times, believers in God as a single Person are just told that they are heretics who will burn forever! As a race how far have we progressed?

That God is a single (echad) Divine Person is said over and over again in the Bible. The repetition is massive and impressive. We all know that a pronoun stands for a noun, and single personal pronouns tell us that we are dealing with a single p/Person. God has chosen to reveal Himself not only as "one Lord," "one Father," but as "I" and "Me," and "He" and "Him." Those words do not confuse us. We use them all the time with no possibility of being misunderstood. So with God. He reveals Himself (note Himself, as a singular personal pronoun) thousands and thousands of times as one single Divine Person. There is no other way known to language by which one can define himself as a single Person.

But with our fatal tendency as humans to spoil a marvelous, unifying and health-giving truth, we appear to prefer torturing our brains with the impossible idea that God is both three and one at the same time. No Bible verse (out of 31,000!) has the word "three" next to God. The Bible writers and Jesus whose teaching is recorded for us had never heard of a triune God, except perhaps as a pagan concept to be rejected. Yes, of course the Father, Son and holy spirit are quite often mentioned together, but in such verses, we never read that the three make up the One God. (1 John 5:7 in the KJV is a forgery, as is now publicly known to all.)

We invite readers to examine all points of view. By all means read what others have to say. But don't necessarily accept a "favorite" ministry as the last word on Hebrew words. They may just be passing on what they have heard, but have not verified. ...

The God of Jesus is the God of Israel and of the Bible. Ask any Jew about his God and he will shrink from the notion that God is more than one supreme Lord. Are Jews and their rabbis and rabbi Jesus to be rejected as not understanding the word "one"? It is a fascinating issue to search out. And while you are at it, why not write to the MacArthur Study Bible editors and ask them why they (inadvertently) misreported what the Bible actually says in Psalm 110:1. Will anyone accept the challenge to ask them a question? On Mark 12:36, "The Lord said to my Lord," they say "The first word for Lord is Yahweh, which is God's covenant name. The second word for Lord is a different word which the Jews used as a title for God ... Jesus was proclaiming [by quoting this verse] the Messiah's deity."

That second word is positively and definitely not the word Jews used for God! Ask any Jew. He will tell you the second "lord" in Psalm 110:1 is the Hebrew word adoni ("adonee") and in every one (not two!) of its 195 occurrences means a lord who is not God, but a human or occasionally angelic superior. Note the contradiction. The Study Bible asserts what is not true. The second "lord" they say is the word for God. It is not. It is the word which never means the supreme One God. The lesson is that believers are supposed to be alert and on the watch, not just believing everything they read from "favorite" teachers.

Will anyone report back on what the Study Bible might say? But don't let them fob you off with a nonanswer about Hebrew vowel points. The vowel points are part of our received text and we have fortunately complete certainty that there is no corruption of the text quoted by Jesus (Ps. 110:1, cited in the gospels). The Hebrew word "adoni" means "my lord," not Lord God. It is never the title of Deity. The Greek version of the Old Testament and the New Testament inspired in Greek render the word "adoni" perfectly as "my lord."

I trust our readers will now see that as they bow in prayer, the universe is constituted like this: There is one God, the Father, and no one else but Him, and there is one Lord Messiah (Christ) Jesus.
He is not God but the Son of God.
And within five minutes you can find out what "Son of God" means for Jesus, and how he acquired that title. Luke 1:35 is the key: "For this reason he will be the Son of God." The reason: God became His father by biological miracle in Mary. That explains what Son of God means. The angel was clear and concise. But the church's traditions have overwhelmed and suppressed the precious words of Gabriel. Point this out to your friends.

... Jesus is the Son of God, the second Adam. Jesus was created, begotten in the womb of the Jew Mary. Luke 1:35 gives us the perfect explanation of what it means for Jesus to be the Son of God.

If you get involved in an instructive discussion about Yahweh and who He is, here is a possible way to approach the question. How many Yahwehs are there? Is there just one Yahweh, or if Jesus is Yahweh, does that make two, and if you add the Holy Spirit does that make three? So is the one Yahweh (Mark 12:29) really three Yahwehs? That sounds like 3Xs make 1X. Logicians call that logical nonsense. The word YHVH [i.e. YAHWEH] needs to be given a clear definition so that we worship God "in spirit and truth." Truth is life-giving and health-giving (1 Tim. 6:3). Confusion and conflict in the mind does no one any good. It fosters an insidious dishonesty. The important thing for Christians is to follow Jesus' teaching, to sound like him, to recite and believe his creed and his definition of God. Is that asking too much?

[1] The Forgotten Trinity, p. 71.

[2] I am indebted for this list to Lindsey Killian and Dr. Emily Palik in their The God of the Hebrew Bible and His Relationship to Jesus.

[3] A.H. Newman, Sadler's Gloria Patri, p. 39.

This article was taken from:

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Try Something Simple

Try Something Simple
... The Bible was not meant to produce the tangle of divided denominationalism we presently find in what is called the Christian church. The varieties of the faith, ostensibly based on the same recorded teaching of Jesus and his Apostles, cannot surely all represent Jesus faithfully. Paul urged his readers "above all to say the same thing and be perfectly united in one judgment" (see 1 Cor. 1:10-13). It is surprising to us that church members seem to be quite unperturbed by the fragmented religion which now appears as Christianity.
The half-brother of Jesus, Jude, even in the first century was calling on his audience to "return to the faith once and for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). No doubt Jude remembered his brother Jesus praying that "they may be one, even as the Father and I are one" (John 17:11).
Again, where is the concern or outrage over the splintered church? Is it sufficient just to be brought up in one of the many brands of Christian belief and practice and assume that "this will do"? Does not the New Testament rather warn that only a whole-hearted and single minded pursuit of truth at all costs will suffice to make us real disciples of Jesus? Did not Jesus sound very "narrow" and demanding when he said that "unless you give up everything for my sake and the Gospel’s," we cannot really rate as true disciples at all? (Mark 10:29). Note the important parallel recording of this statement: "Unless we give up everything for the Kingdom of God ... " (Luke 18:29). The Gospel is about the Kingdom of God.
The Non-Complicated Concept of God
The simplicity of a child appealed to Jesus as the model of good discipleship. "Unless you get converted and accept the Kingdom of God as a little child, you won’t enter it at all," that is, you won’t be saved (Luke 18:17).
With these uncompromising demands on us, ought we not be in constant search for truth, to ensure that we have not been somehow diverted from the faith as Jesus and Paul taught it?
... We suggest three simple concepts as the solid basis of true faith in God and in Jesus:
Firstly ... defining the true God, the God who demands worship in "spirit and truth" (John 4:26), as the obvious first priority. "There are," Paul observed to the Corinthians, "many gods and lords." He was referring to the pagan world. But for Christians, "there is no God except one." Who is that? "But for us [Christians] there is one God, and He is the Father" (1 Cor. 8:4-6). "One God, the Father."
I want to suggest that this proposition is remarkably un-complex. "There is no God except the One God, the Father" is the combined sense of Paul’s creed. By no stretch of the imagination did Paul sound like a good Trinitarian who declares confidently that "there is no God except the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Paul did not say that and could not have believed in what today is considered to be the hallmark of correct belief, that God is a triune Essence consisting of three coequal Persons. Paul (and Jesus) were Jewish-Christian unitary monotheists believing that the Father of Jesus belonged alone to the class of absolute, unbegotten Deity. Jews continue to believe this.
Jesus, ... was an inflexible adherent to belief that the Father was "the only one who is truly God" (John 17:3), and at the same time belief in himself as Son of God, not God, was in harmony with his definition of the Father as "the only true God" (John 17:3). Jesus makes eternal life dependent on this lucid concept of God as one Person, and of himself as a separate individual, the Messiah, Christ, whom God commissioned as mediator.
This is not complex or difficult at all, until one sets one’s mind against it. 1300 times in the New Testament the Father is called "the [one] God" (o theos, "the God"). Never does the word God refer to "three Persons as one God." Is it not clearly an impossible task to maintain that writers who never mean the triune God when they say "God" actually believed that God was a triune God?! Where is the common sense in the pew, when no one seems to be concerned at all about a definition of God as three, a view never represented anywhere in the Bible? Could the Bible really teach us that God is three, when with thousands of references to "God" under various titles, the writers never convey the sense of a triune God? To say otherwise seems to us to be a demonstrable departure from plain sense and ordinary logic.
Jesus the Messiah, Son of God
Our second suggestion ...: that our rapt attention be directed towards Jesus’ foundation statement about the church: It was to be firmly and securely built on the proposition that "Jesus is the Messiah, Son of God" (Matt. 16:16-18). Never did Jesus speak of any church based on belief on himself as God Himself!
One Lord God and one Lord Messiah. Two Lords but only one true God. Since one of the two Lords is God the Father, "who is alone the true God" (John 17:3) the other lord cannot also be God. This would add up to two Gods, a biblical impossibility. Psalm 110:1, cited in the NT more than any other verse from the OT, gives us exactly what we expect, the detail of the two Lords. The first is the Lord God, Yahweh, who speaks in an oracle here toanother lord. That second lord is not another God! With beautiful precision the rabbis pointed the word ADONI (pronounced adonee) for the second lord, the one to whom Yahweh addressed His oracle. That second "lord" in the Hebrew is invariably a title of someone who is not the Lord God! Some 195 times in the Hebrew Bible adoni designates a non-Deity superior. When the Lord God is described the word (449 times) is ADONAI.
The rather frantic attempts of Trinitarians to get rid of this umbrella text do not convince. They say that the vowel points of the Hebrew text have been falsified! But there is no shred of evidence for this. And the Greek translation of adoni as "my lord" simply proves that when the Greek translation of the OT was made in BC times, the text read exactly as it still does today. The Jews were scrupulously careful with the text. The inspired NT Scripture equally confirms that ADONI was in the Hebrew text, and it means "my lord [Messiah]," not the Lord God.
Again we ask, is this concept of one Lord God the Father and one Lord Jesus the human Messiah so difficult to grasp? Did not Paul summarize exactly what we have been trying to explain when he said, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the MAN Messiah Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5)? We invite our readers to relax for a moment and breath a sigh of relief at the sublime simplicity of the Bible when it comes to the basics of true faith. The Trinity as a concept is a nightmare of complex language and obscurity. That is why sermons are almost never preached on it!
The Saving Gospel of the Kingdom Preached by Jesus
Thirdly, ... we invite readers to start their discipleship with Jesus where he started, at the beginning of his ministry. In Mark 1:14-15 we find a summary command from the Messiah encapsulating the heart of his Gospel Message. Remember that the words of Jesus are saving words. We are to pay attention to them, understand them, if we expect to be saved. Salvation is offered to "all those who obey Jesus" (Heb 5:9: John 3:36). It is quite insufficient to expect a relationship with Jesus on the basis of vague "acceptance of Jesus in the heart," in the absence of a proper response to Jesus as required by him in his first command to us: "Repent and believe the Gospel of the Kingdom" (Mark 1:14-15). The Gospel is something we are to believe and obey.
Mark 1:14-15 is Jesus’ own directive to all of us. Jesus’ own tireless evangelism is preserved for us in three corroborating accounts. These are Matthew, Mark and Luke. They contain the Gospel of the Kingdom according to Matthew, the Gospel of the Kingdom according to Mark and the Gospel of the Kingdom according to Luke. Yes, the saving Gospel according to these three writings, and of course John dedicated his writings to the same Gospel of the Kingdom, using different terminology to describe the same truth and painting, deliberately, a different portrait of the same Jesus, choosing his own particular emphases.
The apostle Paul obeyed the commission of Jesus to preach the same Gospel of the Kingdom. Paul identified the Gospel of the Kingdom as the Gospel of grace (Acts 20:24-25). It is indeed very gracious of God to offer us immortality in His future Kingdom, if we respond to the Gospel of the Kingdom announced as "God’s Gospel" by all the NT writers. God invites us graciously, if we believe His Son’s Gospel of the Kingdom and his death on our behalf, to be the Kingdom of God, the royal family in training that is, being groomed now, and in the future to function as executives with Jesus. The whole point of Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah is that he will be in charge of God’s Kingdom which will take office worldwide, with its capital in Jerusalem, when Jesus returns.
For three simple texts making our point, please consider Daniel 7:18, 22, and 27.
Pointing to the future new society of the Kingdom of God, Daniel wrote: "Then the sovereignty of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the saints of the Most High God and all nations will serve and obey them" (RSV, etc.). Echoing this promise, Jesus assures his followers: "Blessed are the meek; they are going to inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5). Is that a difficult concept? Surely not. But note the devious and misleading departure into vagueness and dishonest translation in the Good News Bible, when it wrote, "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit what God has promised." And what, the reader is left wondering, is that? Jesus, as the Greek says unambiguously, did not leave his audience in a haze of uncertainty. He named the inheritance -- the earth. Later in Revelation 5:10 we read that Jesus has died for an international royal family who are going to "rule on the earth," a text which Jehovah’s Witnesses at your door are unable to receive and believe. They cannot seem to grasp that the reward of all the faithful is to rule with Messiah on a renewed earth.
... We call to our aid the powerfully effective words of leading evangelical commentator, the Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright. In his interesting book Surprised by Hope, he shares our complaint about the stupor which so easily comes over uncritical and unanalytical churchgoers."God," says the bishop, "is not going to take us all off to heaven. He is going to remake heaven and earth and bring them together." Then he observes: "Most Christians today, I fear, never think about this from one year to the next. They remain satisfied with what is at best a truncated and distorted version of the great biblical hope. The popular picture is reinforced again and again in hymns, prayers, monuments, and even quite serious works of theology and history. It is simply assumed that the word heaven is the appropriate term for the ultimate destination, the final home, and that the (biblical) language of resurrection, of the new earth as well as the new heavens, must somehow be fitted into that. What we see in today’s church is, I think, a confused combination of several things ... This many-sided confusion plays out in the hymns we sing, in the way we celebrate the Christian year, and in the type of funerals or cremations we have" (p. 10).
The bishop speaks of the "blatant Platonism" and "paganism" in some hymns and he mentions the line "and fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there." The bishop notes that these misleading words, so beloved by churchgoers, say nothing of the biblical hope of resurrection and a new heaven and earth.
The bishop is perhaps too generous in his criticism. Can "a truncated and distorted version of the great biblical hope" of the Kingdom of God, the heart of the Gospel as Jesus evangelized it, really qualify as saving faith? Peter is much severer in his judgment when he bewails the fate of those who distort the Scriptures of Paul "to their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:16). Paul spoke of any obscuring of or confusion over the resurrection of Christians in the future as a "cancer" in the church (2 Tim. 2:17, 18, where Paul names the perpetrators of this dangerous error).
What makes things more amazing is the fact that the Reformer Martin Luther was clearly and rightly in favor of the simple notion that the dead are not now conscious but "asleep" until the resurrection. Here are some of his words:
"We Christians," he said, "should train and accustom ourselves in faith to despise death and regard it as a deep, strong, sweet sleep; to consider the coffin as nothing other than a soft couch of ease or rest. As truly before God it is just this." Jesus testified, Martin Luther said,"Lazarus our friend sleeps but I go that I may awaken him out of his sleep" (John 11:11). Then Luther pointed to Matthew 9:24 where Jesus said about a dead young girl: "The maiden is not dead but is sleeping." And he woke her up.
Here are some more words of Luther the Protestant Reformer about what happens when we die:
"After death the soul goes to its bedchamber and to its peace and while it is sleeping it does not realize its sleep." We should learn to view our death, Luther said, "in the right light so that we need not become alarmed on account of it as unbelief does, because in Christ it is indeed not death, but a fine, sweet and brief sleep, which brings us release from this vale of tears...and we shall rest securely and without care, rest sweetly and gently for a brief moment as on a sofa until the time when he shall call and awaken us together with all his dear children ... For since we call death a sleep, we know that we shall not remain in it, but be awakened and live and that time during which we sleep shall seem no longer than if we had just fallen asleep." Finally Luther said, "Scripture everywhere affords such consolation and speaks of the saints as if they fell asleep and were gathered to their fathers, that is had overcome death through this faith and comfort in Christ and awaited the resurrection, together with the saints who preceded them in death."
I really think that there can be no doubt that Martin Luther fully endorsed the biblical idea that death is like sleep and that resurrection is like waking up. There is no need to confuse this simple biblical pattern by introducing the idea that souls never die and that people remain conscious and active the moment they die. That scheme would mean that the futureresurrection of the dead would be virtually pointless. If you can attain to glory the moment you die, why in the world would you have to be resurrected in the future? It makes no sense at all.
You may like to know that the great William Tyndale, who was martyred for his faith and who accomplished the marvelous task of translating the New Testament into plain English for the public, ran into opposition from the established Church precisely on the issues we have been discussing. Along with Martin Luther, the German Reformer, Tyndale the Englishman also went on record to oppose the popular idea that the dead depart to heaven as disembodied souls.
The English political leader Sir Thomas More had objected to Luther’s teaching that "all souls die and sleep till the judgment day."[1] Here are the remarkable words of Tyndale as he sought to prove his understanding about death and the resurrection from the Bible: "You [church leaders] by putting departed souls in heaven, hell and purgatory, destroy the arguments by which Christ and Paul prove the resurrection. The true faith speaks of the resurrection, which we are warned to expect at every moment. The heathen philosophers, denying the resurrection, said that souls cannot die. And the Pope joins the spiritual doctrine of Christ and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they cannot agree, no more than the spirit and the flesh do in a Christian man.And because the Pope agrees to heathen doctrine, he corrupts the Scripture to establish it. Again, if souls go to heaven, tell me why they are not in as good condition as the angels. And if so, what possible reason is there for the future resurrection?"
With the simple creed of Jesus and Paul in place -- that the Father of Jesus is "the only one who is truly God," and that Jesus is the Lord Messiah, as announced to the shepherds (Luke 2:11) and worthy of the title Son of God precisely because of the miracle worked in Mary (Luke 1:35) -- we are able to read the Bible in a Hebrew frame of mind. Hebrews knew about "legal agents," where an emissary or representative spoke on behalf of his principal. Angels could speak as God and for God. Moses was to be "God to Pharaoh" (Exod. 7:1), meaning that he was God’s agent in a mission to Pharaoh. Jesus constantly claims to be speaking as God, and for God, while at the same time emphasizing that far from being God Himself, he is the Son of God. As Son he was begotten, procreated supernaturally in time some 2000 years ago. He can of course thus not be God Himself. God cannot be born and God cannot die! Jesus did both. He was begotten, brought into existence (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35) by the one God who is in the NT called "God-Father" (theos pater).
Jesus, as Son and agent of the One God, was sent on a mission, occupied always with his Father’s business. That task was to "preach the Gospel about the Kingdom of God"(Luke 4:43), which is the name of the new government which Jesus as Messiah will introduce worldwide at his Second Coming. "Kingdom of God" is a thoroughly political term. It means, firstly, God’s new society to be governed by Jesus and the saints of all the ages.The Kingdom of God is in fact the land of Israel, over which the Israelite and Jewish kings ruled (1 Chron. 28:5; 2 Chron. 13:8). A kingdom is a territory to be supervised by a king.The capital of that Kingdom will be Jerusalem, the city which will then be purged of all wickedness and unbelief. At that future time the Kingdom of God will produce a situation in which the "earth will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9). The true knowledge of the true God will be universally accepted as the Kingdom of God makes itself dominant worldwide after Jesus is back here presiding as the first successful world governor. His faithful will compose his cabinet officers and they will minister justice and peace to all (1 Cor. 6:2; Matt. 19:28).
The "Kingdom of God" has been currently dropped from Gospel language, almost always. This is a fundamental mistake in Bible study, since the Kingdom of God, understood as Yahweh’s Kingdom on earth, provides the central core of the Christian Gospel to be believed. So Jesus commanded, and we are to obey him and his Gospel (Mark 1:14-15). The death and resurrection of Jesus of course confirmed the promise of the Kingdom, which could never be reality unless Jesus was brought back from death and is now waiting his time to return.
From the third century the Church lost its grip on the "concrete" and "political" Gospel of the Kingdom and it retreated into a very different concept -- that the Church now is really the Kingdom. This empowered ecclesiastical authorities to tell nations what to do, even using methods of extreme cruelty to enforce their dogmas. By the middle of the second century the Messiah, Son of God, who originated in the womb of his mother as the blood descendant of David, was being exchanged for a curious, so-called "preexisting" figure. Someone who antedates his own birth is strange indeed and very foreign to the identity of the biblical Messiah. The Son of God of Matthew and Luke definitely does not enter the womb of his mother from outside and emerge disguised as human! That would not be a begetting, bringing into existence, at all. It would be an odd transformation from one state of existence to another -- more like atransmigration. The New Testament never ever suggests that the descendant of David’s royal family, the Messiah, is in fact billions of years older than his ancestor! The Bible spares us all such convolutions.
"Preexistence" is a foggy term thrown about but seldom analyzed.
In 150 AD Justin Martyr was promoting a Jesus who had been begotten as Son within time, but long before Jesus was born to Mary. This innovation contradicted Luke 1:35 and Matthew 1:18, 20. It subsequently developed into the GOD the SON of later orthodoxy, enshrined in creeds permanently.
Once the Son of God was given a new origin, before his real origin in Mary (Luke 1:35), the true biblical hero and the biblical story were radically altered. Jesus was no longer really human and despite John’s strong warnings about a non-"coming in the flesh," i.e. human Jesus (1 John 4:2-3), that less than human Jesus became in fact the new center of devotion. This was not the end of the evolution of doctrine. When the preexisting Son of God was finally "promoted" a stage further and made "co-equal God," "Jesus" was even less human and, worse still, the One God was now two Persons -- a God the Father who remained in heaven and a God the Son who walked the earth. In horror, Islamic and Jewish monotheists were forced to rejectChristianity in that form, believing that God could not be two or three. A deep rift then developed between these three religions, Islam, Judaism and "orthodox" Christianity, and it remains to this day. Beating a path back to the simplicity of Jesus’ own creed in John 17:3 and Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 will signal a giant step towards recovery. The Bible will be allowed to speak in new and brilliant terms.
Here is a matchlessly simple conversation between Jesus and a blind man who had recovered his sight. [John 9:10] "How were your eyes opened?" the skeptical Jews asked him. [v.11] "A man called Jesus made some clay and anointed my eyes ... [v.17] He is a prophet ... [v.33] If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." For this witness to the truth the man was kicked out of the synagogue! Jesus then found him and asked him, [v.35] "Do you believe in the Son of God?" The blind man answered, "Who is he, Lord, so that I might believe in him?" Then came the reply: "You have both seen him and it is he who is talking to you." "Lord, I believe," said the man who had regained his sight (both literally and spiritually). He then worshiped Jesus as the Lord Messiah and Son of God (John 9).
Without a firm foundation in Scripture we have nothing to found any religious views on. The New Testament attests over and over again that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord Messiah, "the Lord, son of David" (Matt. 15:22; 20:31). It says nothing about Jesus being God Himself. Yes, the Bible claims he is the final and perfect agent of the one God, who is his sponsor. Jesus speaks for God and in seeing and hearing him, one hears God, who commissioned him. But to say that Jesus IS God, makes two Gods and moves us into a form of polytheism.
Worse still, the paganized version of Christianity which became standard "orthodoxy" had the gall to accuse Jews of deicide, killing God. This was a further step into darkness and cruelty, since the immortal God (1 Tim. 6:16) cannot die!
In conversation with a Samaritan lady (John 4), Jesus said in reply to her observation that "we know that the Messiah is coming," "I who am talking to you am he." The original reads "I am -- the one speaking to you." I am who? I am the Messiah. This is the cry of all the New Testament books, and the same lesson in the identity of Jesus as Messiah was given to the blind man: "He is the one talking to you." Messiah, Lord Messiah, Son of God. These are the identifying labels of the true Jesus. The Greek "I am" is the idiom in these interchanges for"I am the one, I am he." This is positively not the Greek of the statement of God in Exodus 3:14, where God said "I am the self-existing one" (Ego eimi o ohn). It is a falsehood to argue that the "I am he" of John’s Jesus means "I am God." It means "I am the Messiah, the Son of God." That is the stated purpose for the composition of the whole of John’s Gospel (John 20:31).
Finally Thomas, who had failed to grasp the unique position of Jesus as God’s agent, came to the truth. He addressed Jesus as "my lord and my God" (John 20:28). On this one text, evangelicals believe that the rest of the Bible is overthrown! It is not: John goes on to say that every word of his book points to the identity of Jesus as Son of God (John 20:31), not God, which would make two Gods. The fact is simply that Thomas, who had up till then not seen God in Jesus (John 14:5-7), finally does so. "My God" (i.e. "I now see, Jesus, what you said earlier about seeing Jesus = seeing the Father"). ...
There is no "progressive revelation" in the Bible as to how many the One God is. This is proven by Jesus’ express repetition of the unitarian creed of the Jews (Deut. 6:4) in Mark 12:29. Mark wrote his gospel to evangelize us and help us to believe truth. He includes a clear statement about the creed of Jesus, which ought to be our creed as his followers. Here it is: "The Lord our God is one Lord." Count the lords, and see that two Lords are out of the question. One is not two! Jesus is the Lord Messiah (Luke 2:11), "the Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah)" over and over again. He is never God Himself who is 1300 times in the NT designated as "the God."
Jesus is also the Lord’s (God’s) Messiah (Luke 2:26).
The Bottom Line
In the Gospel of the Kingdom according to John, Jesus repeatedly and passionately urges his audience to believe his word. John 5:24 is typical of a series of verses which emphasize and summarize the heart of true Christian faith. "Truly I tell you that he who hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and has passed from death to life." What an amazing saying! Obviously all depends on hearing and believing the word(s) of Jesus. Many readers are unable to define that "word" which is the condition of true belief. The word of Jesus is of course the Gospel about the Kingdom of God, as Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us. John assumed that readers had already grasped the proper definition of Jesus’ Gospel, which certainly was not at this stage a message about his death and resurrection.
Most Bible readers are so conditioned to think of the saving Gospel as only about what Jesus did (died and rose) and not about what Jesus preached, that they do not hear the words of Jesus in John accurately.
John 5:24, the heart of true believing, takes us back to the opening words of Jesus in Mark 1:14-15 where Jesus commands belief in God’s immortality program through the saving Gospel about the Kingdom. "The word" is simply the code word and abbreviation for the Gospel of the Kingdom, Jesus’ Gospel, on which the true faith is to be based. Insofar as the phrase Gospel of the Kingdom is absent from the vocabulary of the churches, Jesus’ voice has been silenced. A return to the language of Jesus himself would transform the Church’s present fragmented condition. Christianity is certainly not about souls going to heaven. It is not about God, who cannot die, dying! It is all about Jesus coming back to the earth to reside here and inherit the land/earth with the faithful, and to supervise the Kingdom of God from its capital Jerusalem where the restored throne of David will provide the world with just government and a new society.
God is one Person; Jesus is the Messiah, the very expression of the One God and His uniquely begotten Son. The Gospel is about getting prepared for the coming Kingdom of God on earth at Jesus’ return. The Torah of Messiah is about truth and love, not about strict compliance in the letter with the Law of Moses. There is no "God the Son" in the Bible. There is the Son of God whose origin is in the womb of his mother. The One God generated His Son, as the new Adam, the head of a new race of human persons destined for immortality and participation in the coming Kingdom.
The popular proposition "the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God" names three who are each God and is a veiled polytheism, offensive (rightly) to Jews and Muslims. It is a confusion of the New Testament proposition that Jesus is the Son of God, the human Messiah. And it obstructs our understanding that God is a single Divine Person.
[1] Froom, Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, p. 94.
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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Who Knows Best Who Jesus Is? Jesus!

Who Knows Best Who Jesus Is? Jesus!
If you will agree with the above common-sense proposition, let us see what Jesus had to say about his own identity. Churches gather under a longstanding banner -- belief that Jesus is God, Jesus is Yahweh, the God of Israel.
But did Jesus say any such thing? He could so easily have gone about declaring: "I am God." But he never did. Not once. Who then did he claim to be?
The question swirled around in those frenzied days of the ministry of Jesus. Some thought Jesus was one of the prophets, restored to life. Others had other opinions. Jesus as a master teacher, in love with unity and good order, posed the question to his chief students: "But who do you say that I am?" (Matt. 16:15). Forget popular guesses, and let’s get to the real truth. Peter answered confidently, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Is it clear? Wanting to side with Jesus, I am listening carefully to Jesus’ response to Peter’s enlightened answer to the big question -- the really big question on which the whole Christian faith depends.
Jesus greeted Peter’s splendidly correct answer with overflowing joy. Peter, said Jesus, had been gifted with a miracle of understanding and was able to define who Jesus was and is correctly. He is the Son of God and the Messiah. "Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven," and I propose to build my own Church on this stupendous insight that I am the Son of God and the Messiah (Matt. 16:17-18).
Jesus thus told us in clear terms: "I am the Son of God, the Messiah." He knew who he was.
After New Testament times that foundational, unifying and stabilizing truth did not remain in place. It suffered the ravages of Greek philosophy which reworked -- and confused -- the whole biblical teaching about God and His Son, the Messiah. But while Scripture was being written and the apostles were still alive to hold the fort, the cry continued to go out: "These things [the whole gospel of John] were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (John 20:31). Sound familiar? Even later in John’s farewell communications in his epistles, the note of urgency has if anything increased. "He who denies that Jesus is the Christ" has lost out -- he who denies that Jesus is the Son of God. Look up 1 John 2:22; 4:15; 5:1, 5, 10, 13, 20 for a blockbuster emphasis on this point.
All this is quite simple and straightforward, as long as we keep later philosophical language like "two natures," "three hypostases" and "one substance" at arms length, lest it blind us to the much easier words of Jesus. On the rock foundation that I am the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus’ Church is founded. Nothing about his being God!
What more can we say about Matthew? He seems to have paid careful attention to who Jesus is. He opens his whole book with the caption that Jesus is the son of David and of Abraham and also, of course, of God who was the Father of Jesus, causing his genesis, origin (Matt. 1:18; note the word carefully).
Ah, but the book of John, how does this fit the plain teaching that Jesus is 'the Son of God' and Christ? Perfectly. Did not John say expressly that his whole book was written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (20:31)? Look carefully at Jesus’ early days. What do the disciples say? "We have found the Messiah" (John 1:41). We have found the Son of God (see John 1:49). Were they mistaken? Absolutely not.
Now come the precise and confirming words of Jesus in John 4 where he encounters, at a well, a ... lady in Samaria. Jesus, with his marvelous all-embracing style allowing him to talk to all and sundry, engages her in conversation. This much she does know: "We know that the Messiah is coming" (v. 25). Looking her squarely in the eye, Jesus replied, "I am he, the one speaking to you" (John 4:26).
Jesus was not playing games and shifting the whole conversation, thus deceiving the lady. Some would have us believe that there is no connection between "the Messiah" of the lady’s statement and Jesus’ response "I am he." We have learned from John himself that he wrote all he wrote to convince us that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (20:31). "I am he" (hallelujah!) confirms the lady’s expectation that the Messiah was indeed coming. She was privileged to meet that very person. Jesus ought to know who he was and is! He said it here in John 4:26, just as he said it in the other gospels. I am he -- the Messiah.
The Greek for this wonderful saying "I am he" is ego eimi (pronounced in modern Greek ego eemee). John has skillfully set up this phrase as the code for "I am the Messiah" -- certainly not "I am God"! The first and key occurrence of the "I am he" saying is the one we have just examined. There are several others in John. Consistency of course requires that the same phrase be put into English by the same words each time. Sadly your translations, keen to make you think in another direction, have not allowed you to see that Jesus makes exactly the same "I am the Messiah" utterance in John 8:58. Quite unfairly the translators left off the important word "he" when they translated "ego eimi" in John 8:58. In so doing they made it hard for you to recall the claim to Messiahship in 4:26: "I, the one speaking to you, am he."
Jesus persistently and consistently continues to maintain his claim to Messiahship. After all, it was his stated intention to found his Church on this insight.
Even before Abraham, who joyfully looked forward to the Messiah, Jesus is the promised Messiah, the one expected to come. "I am he, the Messiah."
A few chapters later in John 10 Jesus is confronted by hostile Jews who are deeply unhappy with his claim to Messiahship and unique Sonship -- meaning that he was speaking and acting uniquely for his Father, the one God, whose "own Son" Jesus claimed to be. Angrily and maliciously the Jews (at least some of their leaders) accused Jesus of making himself out to be God.
What an opportunity for Jesus to confirm exactly what they suspected -- that he was claiming to be God, or at least "a God." Why did not Jesus simply reply by saying, "Yes, that is right; that is who I am -- God"?
He did no such thing. He explained that he was acting as unique spokesman for that one God, his Father, but far from being God himself (which would have rightly been judged as blasphemy), he was the Son of God. Why are you so perturbed that as the one God sent on a mission as the Messiah,
"I said ‘I am the Son of God’?" (John 10:36).
There from the lips of Jesus himself we have the true identity of Jesus. Are you prepared to believe that he knew who he was and was able to tell them and us?
At his trial with complete consistency he affirmed the charge that he was "the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One" (Mark 14:61-62). Does it sound familiar? To crown it all Jesus summarizes our whole duty as believers: "This is the life of the age to come [eternal life]: that we come to know you [the Father], the only one who is truly God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent"
(John 17:3).
516 times, no less, in the New Testament, Jesus is called the Christ. Is the point about identity clear?
Go through the book of Acts and you will find exactly the same truth being broadcast everywhere. "[I] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" "God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ" (Acts 8:37; 2:36). [See also Acts 9:20,22]
Another title has surfaced here, requiring your utmost care -- Lord. You will immediately recall that Jesus is "the Lord Jesus Christ," "our Lord Jesus Christ," "Christ Jesus my Lord."
Our most extensive of all New Testament writers and teachers is Luke, companion of Paul on his journeys. Luke’s primary information about the identity of Jesus appears in the early chapters of his work. The angel Gabriel is charged with making clear who Jesus is. In Luke 1:32-35 Gabriel carries out his teaching ministry in a few brief, instructive words, which ought never to have been overlooked or misunderstood. Mary’s baby is identified as the Son of the Most High. Jesus is also the son of David due to his blood relationship through his mother, a descendant of David.
Then, in answer to Mary’s very reasonable question as to a pregnancy without the benefit of a human husband, these words, needing to be shouted from the rooftops: "Holy spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and that is precisely why the baby to be begotten will be holy, the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).
Once this extraordinary baby was born, the believing shepherds were told, "Today has been born in the city of David a savior who is the Lord Christ" (Luke 2:11). Not, I hasten to add, the Lord God! But the Lord Christ and Son of the Most High. Sounds familiar!
Those trusting blind men [and the Canaanite woman] were theologically correct when they addressed Jesus as Lord, son of David (Matt. 20:31; 15:22). This is the exact equivalent of the Lord Messiah/Christ.
and Christ are titles, of course, rooted in Psalm 2 where the One God of Israel and of us all, announced: "
[You are my Son!] Today I have begotten you ... I will set My King on My holy hill ... Ask of Me and I will give you [My Son] the whole earth as your inheritance."
[Psalm 2:7,6,8]
That begetting of the Son happened some 2000 years ago. We know this by merely tracking the "begetting" word from Psalm 2:7 to the same word in Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of the beginning, begetting and birth of the Son. The decree, "Today I will beget you" (Ps. 2:7) came true on the day in which Mary conceived by miracle and the angel reassured Joseph, "What has been begotten [brought into existence] in her is from the holy spirit" (Matt. 1:20). The child thus fathered (begotten) was of course the Son of God.
Luke reports the same good news from Gabriel: "Precisely because of" (dio kai) the miracle in Mary, the child will be called (=will be) the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Take that as the most brilliant definition of the Son of God and cling to it throughout the rest of the New Testament. But beware of turning it on its head or standing it upside down and destroying it by turning it into "God the Son." There is no such person in the Bible.
In Acts 13:33 Paul, traveling often with Luke, and naturally in harmony with Luke, places the begetting, beginning, coming into existence of the Son at the start of Jesus’ life (hardly rocket science, as they say!). It was when God "raised up," i.e. put on the human scene just as He raised up Moses, Pharaoh or David [Exo. 9:16, Acts 7:35, 13:22], that the begetting of Jesus happened. Just exactly as we learned from Matthew 1:20 and from Luke 1:35 (above).
Don’t be misled by the KJV adding the word "again" to "raised up" in Acts 13:33. This would confuse the simplicity of truth by making Jesus Son of God
only at the resurrection: "raised up again." But the resurrection of Jesus is described in verse 34, and a different Old Testament text provides the proof of the resurrection.
Then look at the same simple truth about the begetting, beginning and birth of Jesus in Romans 1:3-4. Jesus is there God’s Son, a descendant of David (Paul and Luke in Luke 1:32-35 in perfect harmony) according to the human blood line, and installed as Son with power at his exaltation to the right hand of the Father.
Jesus did not become Son at the resurrection, nor at his baptism. He was God’s Son by being miraculously procreated in Mary (Luke 1:35 again).
Then to Hebrews 1. God did not speak through a Son in the Old Testament times (Heb. 1:1-2). This should put an end to any speculation about the Son being the Old Testament angel of the Lord! The whole point of Hebrews 1 is to remind us that Jesus is not an angel, never was, and not therefore an archangel (a highranking angel). If Jesus were the angel of the Lord, his coming into existence in Mary would be impossible and the story we have outlined above would be derailed and put beyond recognition.
Hebrews 1:1 to 2:5 gives us an account of the new covenant creation in Jesus, the "society to come about which we are speaking" (2:5). This began when God fulfilled His promise given in 2 Samuel 7:14 that He would one day father, beget, bring into existence His own Son: "I will be his father and he will be My son." We saw how that promise came to be reality in Luke 1 and Matthew 1.
To make the same point about the begetting, procreation of the Messiah, Son of God, the Hebrews writer quotes Psalm 2 about the beginning of the Son of God ("You are My Son; today I have begotten you," Ps. 2:7 quoted in Heb. 1:5). ...
Putting this New Testament-wide information together, data which is entirely consistent and coherent, we are urged to believe simply that Jesus is, as he himself declared, the Son of God (John 10:36). And he really ought to know, and we really ought to believe him -- we claim to be believers!
The alternative to this belief is to subscribe to the strange idea that Jesus is God the Son, an eternally existing member of a triune God. This concept, judged to be an impossibly difficult and illogical mystery even by experts, derails the biblical identity of Jesus completely. Worse still it precipitated the most awful conflicts, excommunications, heresy-hunters, inquisitions and burnings at the stake.
Ask your Jewish friends. They will tell you that the Messiah, God’s anointed, is not God Himself, making two Gods, since the Father is God.
Luke 2:11 [the Lord Christ/Messiah] and Luke 2:26 [the Lord's (i.e. Yahweh's) Christ] provide the elementary and fundamental distinction between God and Jesus.
There are two Lords in the Bible. Firstly, the Lord God who is one single Person, so described by thousands of singular personal pronouns. Second, the Lord Messiah, who began to exist some 2000 years ago (Luke 2:11).
Those two Lords are beautifully described and distinguished by the most popular verse quoted from the Old Testament in the New. Psalm 110:1 speaks of YHVH [Yahweh] addressing David’s lord, the Messiah. That second lord is adoni ("adonee") in the Hebrew text. That form of the word for 'Lord' never means God. Obviously not, since in the Bible, God does not speak to another absolute God. That would be polytheism and this is the ultimate theological disaster.
Bibles which put a capital letter on that second lord in Psalm 110:1 mislead you. When the Hebrew word is adoni it is rendered properly as lord or master (not a title for God). But in Psalm 110:1 the translators of various versions broke their own rules for capitalization. You were supposed to imagine that the second lord was somehow the God-man of traditional creeds. But once people were taught that Jesus is Yahweh, this of course produced the "problem" (a favorite word in theological writings!) of how two Yahwehs could really be one Yahweh. Jesus after all believed that the most important of all truths is that we believe that "the Lord our God is one Yahweh," or Lord (Mark 12:29).
An expert writer on the Trinity committed himself in a theological journal to the proposition "God is simultaneously one Person and three Persons"!
The foundations of the universe were shaken and the course of church development permanently disordered by the Church Councils’ decision to speak of three who were each God but mysteriously and illogically only one God. This involved the imposition on the very Hebrew-oriented Bible of categories drawn from the alien world of Greek philosophy. This was a disaster needing recovery and restoration, so that all who meet in the Christian church gather to believe in One God the Father, and one Lord Messiah, the man Messiah Jesus (see 1 Tim. 2:5).This is the simple truth so needed.
Abandoning Jesus’ creed and substituting a different three-in-one creed has been a tragedy as so many expert observers have noted:
"In the year 317, a new contention arose in Egypt with consequences of a pernicious nature. The subject of this fatal controversy which kindled such deplorable divisions throughout the Christian world, was the doctrine of three Persons in the Godhead, a doctrine which in the three preceding centuries had happily escaped the vain curiosity of human researches."[1]
"When we look back through the long ages of the reign of the Trinity ... we shall perceive that few doctrines have produced more unmixed evil."[2]
"Christological doctrine has never in practice been derived simply by way of logical inference from the statements of Scripture ... The Church has not usually in practice (whatever it may have claimed to be doing in theory) based its Christology exclusively on the witness of the New Testament."[3]
"The Greeks distorted the concept of Jesus’ legal agency to ontological identity, creating an illogical set of creeds and doctrines to cause confusion and terror for later generations of Christians."[4]
"Nowhere does the New Testament identify Jesus with God."[5]
"Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon."[6]
"How shall we determine the nature of the distinction between the God who became man and the God who did not become man, without destroying the unity of God on the one hand or interfering with Christology on the other? Neither the Council of Nicea nor the Church Fathers of the fourth century satisfactorily answered this question."[7]
"The adoption of a non-biblical phrase at Nicea constituted a landmark in the growth of dogma; the Trinity is true, since the Church -- the universal Church speaking by its Bishops -- says so, though the Bible does not! ... We have a formula, but what does that formula contain? No child of the Church dare seek to answer."[8]
Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. Son of God is defined by Luke 1:35 and God is the God and Father of Jesus the Messiah, the Lord Messiah born in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago. That Messiah is destined to come back to take over the reins of world government and save us from our astonishing loss of simple Truth. The truth sets us free, as Jesus said so well (John 8:32).
Two or three who are each God makes three Gods, however much we may protest. If each of the members of the triune God is Yahweh then they cannot together make one Yahweh. One will never be three, however much obfuscating language is produced to convince us. One X does not amount to three X’s.
Jesus commanded belief in only one Yahweh (Mark 12:29), and of course in himself as the Lord Messiah, not as a second Lord God.
Paul summed it up in a short and easy-to-grasp formula: "For us Christians there is one God, the Father and no God besides Him" (1 Cor. 8:4, 6). Paul here piles on the singular grammatical forms designating of course one singular and single Person, the Father. Access to that One God is obtained through the mediation of the one man Messiah Jesus, who is not the Lord God (making two [Gods]!) but the Lord Messiah, the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
[Making one Lord Messiah hence one Lord, Eph. 4:5 in contrast to one God and Father, Eph. 4:6]
With this pristine New Testament creed a new era of intelligent dialogue can be opened between three great world religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
It is time to renounce the brain-breaking, befuddling formulas of some Trinitarian experts. I cite in closing the exasperation of a Harvard professor who wrote a key book entitled Reasons for Not Believing the Doctrine of the Trinity. Andrews Norton lamented the appalling complexities to which loss of the pristine creed had led. He was referring to the attempts of "theologians" to explain how Jesus could be 100% God and 100% man. The teaching involved what was called the "Communication of Properties":
"The doctrine of the Communication of Properties," says LeClerc, "is as intelligible as if one were to say that there is a circle which is so united with a triangle that the circle has the properties of the triangle, and the triangle those of the circle."
"It is discussed at length by Petavius with his usual redundance of learning. The vast folio of that writer containing the history of the Incarnation is one of the most striking and most melancholy monuments of human folly which the world has to exhibit. In the history of other departments of science we find abundant errors and extravagances; but orthodox theology seems to have been the peculiar region of words without meaning; of doctrines confessedly false in their proper sense, and explained in no other; of the most portentous absurdities put forward as truths of the highest importance; and of contradictory propositions thrown together without an attempt to reconcile them. A main error running through the whole system, as well as other systems of false philosophy, is that words possess an intrinsic meaning not derived from the usage of men; that they are not mere signs of human ideas, but a sort of real entities, capable of signifying what transcends our conceptions, and that when they express to human reason only an absurdity, they may still be significant of a high mystery or a hidden truth, and are to be believed without being understood."
[1] J.L. Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, New York: Harper, 1839, Vol. 1, p. 399.
[2] Andrews Norton, A Statement of Reasons for Not Believing the Doctrine of the Trinitarians Concerning the Nature of God and the Person of Christ, Hilliard, Gray & Co., 1833, p. 287.
[3] Maurice Wiles, The Remaking of Christian Doctrine, London: SCM Press, 1974, pp. 54, 55.
[4] Professor G.W. Buchanan, from correspondence, 1994.
[5] William Barclay, A Spiritual Autobiography, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975, p. 50.
[6] "Trinity," in The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 782.
[7] I.A. Dorner, The History of the Development of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1882, Div. I, Vol. 2, p. 330.
[8] "Dogma, Dogmatic Theology," in Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition, 1936, Vol. 7, pp. 501, 502.
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