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



Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Who is God in John 1:1? by Keith Dyer

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”


I have always found it interesting, to say the least, that the word “word” (logos) is capitalized here. Some years ago my son was questioning the doctrine of the Trinity after hearing arguments against it from an American convert to Islam. Now, I must confess that I was very flustered when questioned about this admittedly contradictory teaching. Before I even attempted to defend it, I prefaced my remarks with the undebatable statement, 
“it’s a mystery - you must take it by faith!” 

I knew that Trinitarian apologists depended heavily on the gospel of John, especially 1:1 to support the doctrine of the Deity of Christ and I remember going directly there to make my case. It made perfect sense to me at the time, that because the word was given a capital “W” it was obviously meant to highlight the fact that Jesus was being identified as the Word and the Word was God. If Jesus is God, and the Father is God, and the Spirit is God (although this passage says nothing about the Spirit), then the Trinity must be a true doctrine because the Bible also sets forth the truth that there is only One God. And since the Bible cannot contradict itself, the One God must be composed of three persons... case settled, the Trinity doctrine is upheld.

Of course, there were many Biblical facts I overlooked regarding the issue of Jesus’ nature, not the least of which is the irrefutable fact: that Jesus NEVER claimed the designation “God”, for himself - EVER!

But, like most other Christians today (and the last 1700 years), I was taught the supposed “cornerstone” of Christian doctrine, the Trinity, and as all Trinitarians do, whether they realize it or not, I read that doctrine into this verse, as well as every other passage of Scripture that seemed to suggest it. I didn't realize it then, but I was guilty of reading my own preconceived ideas into the Scripture, thus changing its meaning in order to support what I believed to be true.

Every good Bible student knows that in the original manuscripts there is no punctuation or distinction between upper and lower case so, logos was NOT capitalized in the original documents. Further, there is nothing special or out of the ordinary about the syntax of logos in John 1:1 compared to its appearances everywhere else in the New Testament - over 300 times! It is always translated as word, saying, thought, account, speech, etc. Only here in John 1:1 is it capitalized and purported to provide proof for the Deity of Jesus. Further, logos is not used again in any verse of new testament Scripture as a reference to Jesus; so why do the translators capitalize logos in John 1:1?

Make no mistake, this is not done as a result of pure translation! It is interpretation based on the bias of the translators. This interpretative maneuver does a disservice to the English Bible reading public because it equates the Word with a personal being, separate and distinct from God the Father, and having an existence in eternity along with Him. This Trinitarian doctrine of the literal pre-existence of Jesus is no more than inference and conjecture given credence by translators capitalizing the Word. Thus, it is read as though John were saying that “Jesus was in the beginning with God and Jesus was God,” or that “the Son was in the beginning with God and the Son was God.” 

But we must posit the question: is this what the writer, John, wanted to say? If it is indeed what John meant to say then he could easily have done so plainly. But he did not! He said “the word” was in the beginning with God, and the word was God”! Further, the word of John 1:1 is said to be God, not the Son of God, or "God the Son". Look at it again: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Who is God in this verse?
Generally it is accepted that by God, in the first instance, is meant “the Father”. But if that’s true, then to be consistent, John must be saying that the Word was with the Father, and the Word was the Father. Do Trinitarian Christians really mean to say that Jesus (the Word) was Yahweh? Were they one and the same? If, as Trinitarians claim, the terms Jesus, the Word, and God the Son are all synonymous, why didn’t John clarify by saying “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was the God the Son”?

This traditionally accepted view of John 1:1 is fraught with inconsistencies and errors of reason. The kind of logic that identifies the Word of 1:1 as a separate being, now known as "God the Son", on the basis of verse 14 (and the Word became flesh) is frankly, unfounded and nonsensical!. It is true that the word did become flesh, and John definitely equates that word [become flesh] with Jesus. But, if the logos of John 1:1 is taken in it’s normal usage, (plan, purpose, account, message, etc.) the conclusion of a pre-existent being would not only be avoided, it would be preposterous.
...
John used Hebraisms readily understood by Jewish readers of his day.
In fact, John may well have been thinking in terms of the Hebrew davar (word), or perhaps more likely the Aramaic “memra” (word), in his use of logos. Remember that although the gospels were written in Greek, the authors, with the exception of Luke, were Hebrew and thought like Hebrews. In fact, modern scholarly work has recognized that Aramaic was the predominant language of the common people of Israel at that time, including Jesus himself. If this is true, then John would have used “word” (logos/davar/memra) as a synonym for God (Yahweh). This usage would have clear implications of John’s Jewish monotheistic roots and mindset.

The “Encyclopedia of Religion” states:
“Exegetes and theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity … Although the Hebrew Bible depicts God as the father of Israel and employs personifications of God such as Word (davar), Spirit (ruah), Wisdom (hokhmah), and Presence (shekhinah), it would go beyond the intention and spirit of the Old Testament to correlate these notions with later trinitarian doctrine.”
In his book, “The Only True God, A Study of Biblical Monotheism”, the author, Eric H.H. Chang (please read free on the internet Eric Chang, The Only True God) writes in detail regarding the usage of memra in the Targums (a commentary of the Hebrew Scriptures in Aramaic). The “Word of the Lord God” is often used in tandem with “Yahweh God” as though it were a separate being. For example, in Genesis 18:17 the Targum reads thus:
“And the Lord said with His Word, I cannot hide from Abraham that which I am about to do; and it is right that before I do it, I should make it known to Him.”
Here, “the Lord” is Yahweh and “with His Word” is memra. This distinction is not seen in English translations of the Bible. The Word here is not to be understood as a separate entity any more than we are to understand “Wisdom” as a separate being who was with God in the beginning (Prov 1:20; 3:19; 8:12). Rather, the Word, like wisdom of Proverbs, is a personification of God’s creative thought, speech, purpose and plan which, in reality, equates to God Himself since it expresses His very being. John also uses a similar grammatical construction in 1John 1:2 where he refers to “eternal life” as being “with the father”.

Take into account also that regarding the promise of the Messiah, the Bible never proclaims or even alludes to the idea that God Himself would become a man, or that a being known as “the Word” or “God the Son” would become a man. Note what God said to Moses:
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” -- Deut 18:18-19 (ESV)
Consider the critical points in this prophetic word:
  1. That God Himself would “raise up” the prophet. God accomplished this "raising up" when He miraculously created and implanted human seed into the virgin Mary (Luke 1:35). In this way, the birth of Jesus, the "second Adam" (Rom 5:12-19; 1Cor 15:45-49), God's word became flesh in that HIs plan was given expression through the vehicle of a human being whom God Himself prepared for such purpose (Heb 10:5-10). Also, Luke adds the helpful insight that Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52)
  2. That this prophet would be “like you [Moses]” and “from among their brothers”, meaning he would be a man, an Israelite, who had a close relationship with God, just like Moses. The bloodline of the Messiah can be traced through the Bible, but Matthew and Luke both give a detailed genealogical list of Jesus family tree. Take special note however, of Luke’s genealogy where he traces Jesus ancestry all the way back to Adam, “son of God” (Luke 3:38). The point here is often overlooked but critical in understanding that Jesus was, according to Luke, a real human being with roots all the way back to the creation of the first man! There is no hint in Luke that Jesus was a hybrid "God-Man", only that Jesus was completely human and fathered by God. The parallel of two Adams found in Paul's' writings supports that he considered Jesus to be a man who came into existence like all men, through birth, with the exception that he was miraculously conceived.
  3. That God would “put [his] my words in his mouth”. Over and over, Jesus himself declared that he did not speak his own words on his own authority but he spoke the words of his Father, God. The ... “word became flesh”, is God’s expressive mind embodied in the real flesh and blood person, Jesus of Nazareth, not a pre-existent being, God the Son, taking on human flesh. 
    The Scripture says that “the Word became flesh”, not that God the Son became flesh! There is no such person as "God the Son" in the Bible or it's teachings. However, if Jesus was indwelt by the the Word (logos) or Memra of Yahweh, then it was Jesus explicitly speaking God's words, in God’s Name, and not his own - which is exactly what Jesus said, and what Moses prophesied! (John 14:10, 24; 17:8; Deut 18:18-19)


The Last Word
Finally, if John intended to convey to his readers that Jesus was God, an equal member of a Trinity, he not only could have said it plainly in John 1:1, he would have had ample opportunity to say it plainly throughout his gospel. But conversely, he closes his gospel with the simple, straightforward, statement of intent; that “...these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,... (John 20:31). 

Neither the title “Christ” nor the phrase “Son of God” means God in the Bible. Christ is the equivalent of the Hebrew “Messiah” which means ‘anointed one’ or “chosen One”. John’s argument was the same as that of Paul and the early Church; that Jesus was the Christ, (Acts 5:42; 17:3; 18:5,28) not that he was God. Likewise, “Son of God” is a synonym for Messiah. To interpret “Son of God” as meaning “of the same substance”, as do the creeds of Christendom, is to ignore all logic and meaning of words, and to insert Greek philosophy into God's word. One cannot be both a Son of God and God, equal in every sense.


Conclusion

There is no question that most English translations of the Bible make certain passages, especially in the gospel of John, misleading. However, prayer and reason can prevail in revealing the correct interpretation of Scripture, so long as the seeker is willing to admit that he/she may have been mislead in their current understanding. Too often, we Christians ask for guidance of the Spirit to aid in our understanding, while concurrently approaching the Bible as though we already know certain things we have been taught to be factual. This is closed mindedness, and a closed mind is certainly no way to discover distinctions between truth and error. We must value truth over all, and be willing to let go of tradition, no matter how deeply seated!

A little reason goes a long way in uncovering the verity of the matter, but sadly, the doctrine of the Trinity has prevailed for so long, because of group mentality and fear, that an incomprehensible mystery is now touted as divine truth.Someone has perceptively said, “A lie repeated often enough carries more weight than the truth!” 
It’s time for Christians to rethink this incomprehensible doctrine, ask honest questions, and desist from the reliance of creeds that were formulated centuries after the death of Christ and the apostles!

The more I study, pray, and contemplate this truth - that Jesus is the Son of God, not God the Son - the more concerned I become of the ramifications for today’s church. I cannot help but wonder how God will judge this enormous deception and twisting of Scripture that has invaded His Church and deified His Christ, usurping the place of God the Father who, according to Jesus, is the only true God! (John 5:44; 17:3) I can only pray that with the plethora of information available today via the internet, along with the many quality books being written on the subject, more and more people will become enlightened to the truth.
If God could get through to me, having been thoroughly entrenched in the false doctrine of the Trinity for almost 40 years, then I am convinced that He can, and will, make Himself known to others who sincerely seek the truth!

The above article was taken from:
"Who is God in John 1:1?"

Some editing has been done on the above article.