All you do BEFORE you get saved under the blood of Jesus, all you do AFTER you are saved you a believer respond to God accepts Christ COURT!
2 Cor. 5. 9 Therefore, we and our honor, whether we're home or away, to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether good or evil. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men but to God we are clear, I hope, and to be obvious to your consciences. 12 We now give us not again commend to you, but we give you occasion to praise you of us, that you may have nothing to set against those who boast that they are the outward appearance and not in heart. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold, the new has come!
God will make us overcomers all believers, but unfortunately there are only a few that God "success" with, the main reason for that is that God's word is not preached as Paul did when he preached the whole counsel of God for salvation (Acts . 20th 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am clean for everyone's blood; 27 for I held nothing back, but preached unto you the whole counsel of God.).
What you do before you get saved you will never be held accountable before God for
Scripture speaks of the people themselves are dead in their sins and transgressions. Living in a spiritual darkness and make the mind and will of the flesh. And we have ormegift under our tongues and our hearts are darkened and turned from God and the ruler of this world is Satan. So we saved and pass from darkness to light. Want to take me 10 points that illustrate this theme that as Gentile says you are responsible to God for your life. But taking than accept Jesus and be saved, then all new literal. But as believers should be responsible within its God with his life from the day they say YES to Jesus in their hearts and lives.
From my commentaries Colossians 1 Dispenser newsletter 13 For he hath delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into his beloved Son.
At one time we too dark children and lived like them. We did not know better, at least most of us. But now we have been delivered, and it has been a tremendous upheaval, we are now placed in the Son of God beloved kingdom. What characterizes the kingdom is a contrast to the rich we were in before. Before dark, now light. Before the hate, now love. Before frivolity, now responsible to follow Jesus and God's word. Before anything-now we live under God and bound to Christ and His Word. All things were new, so we must live then or it'll be worse off with us than those who have never experienced this.
14 In him we are redeemed and have received forgiveness of sins.
We are redeemed by His precious blood. What we are enjoying and will enjoy forever and forever is not easily acquired by God. He renounced his own son and let him die in our place. The forgiveness of sins is so deep that God remember them no more in remembrance, and all of the effects of sin, he has begun a healing process, which the Bible calls for holiness.
1) From the day we are saved we come into God's light, God's children and are responsible for our lives as believers and shall pay or lose pay. Here we made very many passages. But you can make do with two.
2 John. 8 Take heed that you do not lose what I have gained through your work, but that you may receive a full reward
1 Cor. 3. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 But if any man on this foundation build with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 then shall every man's work will be revealed, for the day will show it, because it is revealed with fire, and how each man's work is, it should fire test. 14 If the work that one has built, says himself, he shall receive a reward; 15 on one's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.
We can not lay any foundation other than Jesus, but on this foundation to build every believer's life, and than will pay or lose \ lose either the whole or part of the salary. Joshua met the Lord in Joshua 5, and thus he was transformed. It is these experiences that we need, but what we will be tested on? On our allegiance against the light, the possibilities and abilities we have made use of.
1 Cor. 4.1. Thus I observe us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God! 2 Moreover it is required of stewards that they have no faith. 3 But for me, it has little to say to be judged by you or by any human court; yes, I judge me not even himself; 4 for well I know nothing of myself, but so I'm not justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
2) All the things we do before we are saved "can" we do not and should not be held responsible for what a Christian. Having already taken this subject thoroughly, but will include some verses from the Bible.
1 Cor. 5. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? I also do not judge just them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put the evil from you!
We should not judge those that are without a past when they are already dead in their sins and transgressions. And when a sinner receives Jesus is all the old passed away and all things have become new literal. Therefore we can not claim that one who is unsaved and be saved that he should be held accountable in the same way as a believer. He will make up as much as possible, but from the day you start to walk with Jesus and God. So everything was new and start with a clean slate and nothing can required. This is simplified, yet very important. All I did before I was saved as 16-year-old is under Jesus' precious blood, and from the day I got saved. Everything should I be responsible for as a believer of Christ within its court.
3) Everyone shall give account of himself.
Rom. 14. 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or, why do you despise your brother? we are all going to be presented to God's court. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall praise God. 12 Therefore let each of us make God accounts himself.
We can not live on and to others when it comes to our fidelity reward as a believer. We are all Christian grace, yet to do any accounting for themselves.
4) Our life will once again be tested, and then we lose the "salary". Or get the full "salary".
We have been on before, but we repeat it one more time when too many believers accuse others of the life than even today. It is healthy p complain a bit to get out what is in than. But those complaints every day and the same thing again and again got into an impasse that is demonic and that Satan delights in. We have to walk in from the street 666 complaints over the hallelujah street 777 Otherwise we lose our reward. Eg. worrying is a sin for believers than, think of it as the Lord has promised to support you. Our attitudes, motives, heart and recommendation concerning the things and the people that come into our lives for the Lord will try and ask.
5) preachers and preaching the greatest responsibility. There are many scriptures to take off, but those who preach God's word has a particularly large and responsible mission. Includes two scriptures that shows that.
James 3 1. My brothers! not many of you become teachers, since I know that we will also heavier judgment!
1 Tim. 5. 17 The elders who are good pastors, be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth. And a worker is worthy of his wages.
We read here that a good sense that labor in the word and doctrine should be "double" salary and not many become teachers because they will be stricter judgment. It is to hold a ministry and mission is the largest and most important.
6) To be like Jesus is God's goal with all believers.
Rom. 8. 29 For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
It shows God's goal and standard for us, it is we should be conformed to His beloved Son Jesus Christ. It must and we will never lose sight of that is what Lord works with and in our lives with His Spirit and His Word, that we should be like Jesus in one and all.
7) Some of the believers will reign with Christ during the 1000 year kingdom, the rest will do it forever.
2 Tim. 2. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also vessels of wood and clay, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Holder then some himself pure from these, he will be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master, prepared for every good work.
In a large house church is, then it will be "noble" man and the guy who is not. Crucial to that is how one stands against word and allegiance than showing against the spiritual light one has and follows his conscience. Here the majority of believers wrong, why? The main reason for that is that through the church's 2000-year history, the majority of those who have preached the word of God given stones to bread. The consequence of that is that most Christians are dwarf Christians and many times barely enough there! But fortunately, there are some here and some there who preach the word of God and live right then, they are great in the kingdom of God.
Matt. 5. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
8) Are you in the light or dark?
From my commentaries Ephesians 5 8 For you were once darkness itself, but now - in the Lord - you are light. Live then as children of light!
The light is perhaps the most times in the Bible is used as a picture of the things of God's kingdom. And when God created the world, He knew that light was essential for all life. First we had the light come. So could life spring forth.
But in the spiritual world it is so. If John the Baptist was said that he was going to testify about the light, the true light that enlightens every man. In John's Gospel we see the light, the Word and Jesus in a way are merged together into one term. How is the kingdom of God. Without the word of Jesus, we would all live in a spiritual darkness. Gospel had revealed that we could reach salvation. The light had to find us to redeem us from eternal darkness. Also King David knew about this relationship: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119.105)
The light we associate with something good and hot, which gives confidence and joy. But light can also be dangerous. Anyone who has something to hide, is deathly afraid of bright lights are turned on to reveal what is hidden in darkness. And in a spiritual context, the light just have such a revealing feature. In Joh.3 0.19 to 20, we read: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For the one who does evil hates the light and will not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
9 Lights fruit is goodness, righteousness and truth.
Firstly honor the God that we walk in the light. Second, we have a natural who can not otherwise (1 Joh.3: 9), but a third thing is that the dark hurt us. John 12:35 says something interesting. "Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light among you. Walking the while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you. He who walks in darkness knows not whither he goeth, and John 11:10 where Jesus says, "He who walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." When we walk in the light, then followed the ad of right and truth. Psalm 23 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
10 Try what is pleasing to the Lord!
Matthew 22 chapter, verse 29: "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." This is the basis. But we also need to try, fail, and learn to walk God's way. This is a constant learning process that will last this life, and secure the portions of it coming! (End of quote).
We've tried to be the focus of this article is to be saved and to be saved. We sing a song: When Jesus came, when Jesus came.
Oh, what a difference when Jesus came!
I can explain what a - what happened in my mind,
but what a difference when Jesus came in! (End of quote).
I have unfortunately learned too many believers to know that people who did not notice any difference in the material before they were saved. And the ones that I have experienced and know the difference, they walk in the light and walk with God as Enoch. Enoch is a picture of the believer in the end times who could not live on the second, but used his own spiritual life, and through it he won victory weather day as a believer.
From my commentaries Ephesians 6 13 Therefore take the whole armor of God, that ye may resist in the evil day and to stand after having won everything.
Therefore encourage apostle believers to take God's armor on so that they can resist in the evil day (v. 13). The days are different. Some days we look back with joy, others we would like to forget. The days to come, we know nothing about, but experience shows that some will be good other evil. We should note that the devil is the strategist and often find a day when we feel everything is hard and heavy, when he comes with his wiles and temptations to try to cause us to fall.
Especially worse for the people of God is persecution times. In our time there are many in the world who are persecuted for their Christian faith, and the world is experiencing more martyrs than any time in history. Pursuing Reading Time will culminate at the Antichrist come and the great tribulation. Therefore it is important that we take the whole armor of God, that we may be standing.
9) World "light" are the believers become. Daniel and his friends influenced surroundings, not nearby destinations them. It is God's purpose and goals for us believers in the day and at any time. The world does not characterize us but we characterize the world. We are God's extended arm in this time, we are the body of Christ on earth while he is head is in heaven at the Father's right hand.
10) The righteous are saved hard, not easily saved. This that we will enter heaven and put skid marks after us sounds wonderful, but Scripture teaches that we are "so" far be saved when the game is so great. It's like we win with a goal, usually after extra time and a penalty shoot-out. This is what the Bible teaches, not this convenient and easy solutions when it comes to our final salvation, it is very difficult to be saved and preserved through a long life and a full reward. There are few who can do it, why Jesus says that we will fight to get through the narrow gate.
1 Pet. 4. 18 And it is just hard saved, where shall become of the ungodly and the sinner? 19 Therefore, and those who by the will of God must suffer, surrender their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good.
Final Comment: unfortunately, Christianity is hard to live out where wealth is greatest. Therefore it is actually extra try for Entire than believers here in prosperity Norway, why? For the world has so penetrated into the church.
The complaints 1 10 enemy laid hands on all her treasures, for she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary, those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.
It has been prophesied again and again in large and extensive revivals, but the opposite has happened, why? The main reason for that is that God's word has not been and is not being preached to the apostles and early Christians preached it so that the faithful can be stirred up to live the life that we as believers have been called in Christ Jesus. I know it may sound painful and tough, but the truth is that preaching today is far too lax, poor and diluted. Therefore, we also see a dull, indifferent and seduced Christianity!
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onsdag 29. august 2012
tirsdag 28. august 2012
Nr. 358: The Bible has been translated for it to match the Trinitarian doctrine
Nr. 358: The Bible has been translated for it to match the Trinitarian doctrine John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NIV) 1. It is imperative that the serious student of the Bible come to a basic understanding of logos, which is translated as “Word” in John 1:1. Most Trinitarians believe that the word logos refers directly to Jesus Christ, so in most versions of John logos is capitalized and translated “Word” (some versions even write “Jesus Christ” in John 1:1). However, a study of the Greek word logos shows that it occurs more than 300 times in the New Testament, and in both the NIV and the KJV it is capitalized only 7 times (and even those versions disagree on exactly when to capitalize it). When a word that occurs more than 300 times is capitalized fewer than 10 times, it is obvious that when to capitalize and when not to capitalize is a translators’ decision based on their particular understanding of Scripture. As it is used throughout Scripture, logos has a very wide range of meanings along two basic lines of thought. One is the mind and products of the mind like “reason,” (thus “logic” is related to logos) and the other is the expression of that reason as a “word,” “saying,” “command” etc. The Bible itself demonstrates the wide range of meaning logos has, and some of the ways it is translated in Scripture are: account, appearance, book, command, conversation, eloquence, flattery, grievance, heard, instruction, matter, message, ministry, news, proposal, question, reason, reasonable, reply, report, rule, rumor, said, say, saying, sentence, speaker, speaking, speech, stories, story, talk, talking, teaching, testimony, thing, things, this, truths, what, why, word and words. Any good Greek lexicon will also show this wide range of meaning (the words in italics are translated from logos): speaking; words you say (Rom. 15:18, “what I have said and done”). a statement you make (Luke 20:20 – (NASB), “they might catch him in some statement). a question (Matt. 21:24, “I will also ask you one question”). preaching (1 Tim. 5:17, “especially those whose work is preaching and teaching). command (Gal. 5:14, “the entire law is summed up in a single command”). proverb; saying (John 4:37, “thus the saying, ‘One sows, and another reaps’”). message; instruction; proclamation (Luke 4:32, “his message had authority”). assertion; declaration; teaching (John 6:60, “this is a hard teaching”). the subject under discussion; matter (Acts 8:21, “you have no part or share in this ministry.” Acts 15:6 (NASB), “And the apostles… came together to look into this matter”). revelation from God (Matt. 15:6, “you nullify the Word of God ”). God’s revelation spoken by His servants (Heb. 13:7, “leaders who spoke the Word of God”). a reckoning, an account (Matt. 12:36, “men will have to give account” on the day of judgment). an account or “matter” in a financial sense (Matt. 18:23, A king who wanted to settle “accounts” with his servants. Phil. 4:15, “the matter of giving and receiving”). a reason; motive (Acts 10:29 – NASB), “I ask for what reason you have sent for me”).  The above list is not exhaustive, but it does show that logos has a very wide range of meaning. With all the definitions and ways logos can be translated, how can we decide which meaning of logos to choose for any one verse? How can it be determined what the logos in John 1:1 is? Any occurrence of logos has to be carefully studied in its context in order to get the proper meaning. We assert that the logos in John 1:1 cannot be Jesus. Please notice that “Jesus Christ” is not a lexical definition of logos. This verse does not say, “In the beginning was Jesus.” “The Word” is not synonymous with Jesus, or even “the Messiah.” The word logos in John 1:1 refers to God’s creative self-expression—His reason, purposes and plans, especially as they are brought into action. It refers to God’s self-expression, or communication, of Himself. This has come to pass through His creation (Rom. 1:19 and 20), and especially the heavens (Ps. 19). It has come through the spoken word of the prophets and through Scripture, the written Word. Most notably and finally, it has come into being through His Son (Heb. 1:1 and 2). The renowned Trinitarian scholar, John Lightfoot, writes: The word logos then, denoting both “reason” and “speech,” was a philosophical term adopted by Alexandrian Judaism before St. Paul wrote, to express the manifestation of the Unseen God in the creation and government of the World. It included all modes by which God makes Himself known to man. As His reason, it denoted His purpose or design; as His speech, it implied His revelation. Christian teachers, when they adopted this term, exalted and fixed its meaning by attaching to it two precise and definite ideas: (1) “The Word is a Divine Person,” (2) “The Word became incarnate in Jesus Christ.” It is obvious that these two propositions must have altered materially the significance of all the subordinate terms connected with the idea of the logos.  It is important to note that it was “Christian teachers” who attached the idea of a “divine person” to the word logos. It is certainly true that when the word logos came to be understood as being Jesus Christ, the understanding of John 1:1 was altered substantially. Lightfoot correctly understands that the early meaning of logos concerned reason and speech, not “Jesus Christ.” Norton develops the concept of logos as “reason” and writes: There is no word in English answering to the Greek word logos, as used here [in John 1:1]. It was employed to denote a mode of conception concerning the Deity, familiar at the time when St. John wrote and intimately blended with the philosophy of his age, but long since obsolete, and so foreign from our habits of thinking that it is not easy for us to conform our minds to its apprehension. The Greek word logos, in one of its primary senses, answered nearly to our word Reason. The logos of God was regarded, not in its strictest sense, as merely the Reason of God; but, under certain aspects, as the Wisdom, the Mind, the Intellect of God (p. 307). Norton postulates that perhaps “the power of God” would be a good translation for logos (p. 323). Buzzard sets forth “plan,” “purpose” or “promise” as three acceptable translations. Broughton and Southgate say “thoughts, plan or purpose of God, particularly in action.” Many scholars identify logos with God’s wisdom and reason. The logos is the expression of God, and is His communication of Himself, just as a “word” is an outward expression of a person’s thoughts. This outward expression of God has now occurred through His Son, and thus it is perfectly understandable why Jesus is called the “Word.” Jesus is an outward expression of God’s reason, wisdom, purpose and plan. For the same reason, we call revelation “a word from God” and the Bible “the Word of God.” If we understand that the logos is God’s expression—His plan, purposes, reason and wisdom, it is clear that they were indeed with Him “in the beginning.” Scripture says that God’s wisdom was “from the beginning” (Prov. 8:23). It was very common in Hebrew writing to personify a concept such as wisdom. No ancient Jew reading Proverbs would think that God’s wisdom was a separate person, even though it is portrayed as one in verses like Proverbs 8:29 and 30: “…when He marked out the foundations of the earth, I [wisdom] was the craftsman at His side.” 2. Most Jewish readers of the Gospel of John would have been familiar with the concept of God’s “word” being with God as He worked to bring His creation into existence. There is an obvious working of God’s power in Genesis 1 as He brings His plan into concretion by speaking things into being. The Targums are well known for describing the wisdom and action of God as His “word.” This is especially important to note because the Targums are the Aramaic translations and paraphrases of the Old Testament, and Aramaic was the spoken language of many Jews at the time of Christ. Remembering that a Targum is usually a paraphrase of what the Hebrew text says, note how the following examples attribute action to the word: And the word of the Lord was Joseph’s helper (Gen. 39:2). And Moses brought the people to meet the word of the Lord (Ex. 19:17). And the word of the Lord accepted the face of Job (Job 42:9). And the word of the Lord shall laugh them to scorn (Ps. 2:4). They believed in the name of His word (Ps. 106:12).  The above examples demonstrate that the Jews were familiar with the idea of God’s Word referring to His wisdom and action. This is especially important to note because these Jews were fiercely monotheistic, and did not in any way believe in a “Triune God.” They were familiar with the idioms of their own language, and understood that the wisdom and power of God were being personified as “word.” The Greek-speaking Jews were also familiar with God’s creative force being called “the word.” J. H. Bernard writes, “When we turn from Palestine to Alexandria [Egypt], from Hebrew sapiential [wisdom] literature to that which was written in Greek, we find this creative wisdom identified with the Divine logos, Hebraism and Hellenism thus coming into contact.”  One example of this is in the Apocryphal book known as the Wisdom of Solomon, which says, “O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy who hast made all things by thy word (logos), and by thy wisdom hast formed man…” (9:1). In this verse, the “word” and “wisdom” are seen as the creative force of God, but without being a “person.” 3. The logos, that is, the plan, purpose and wisdom of God, “became flesh” (came into concretion or physical existence) in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15) and His chief emissary, representative and agent. Because Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father, he represents everything that God could communicate about Himself in a human person. As such, Jesus could say, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). The fact that the logos “became” flesh shows that it did not exist that way before. There is no pre-existence for Jesus in this verse other than his figurative “existence” as the plan, purpose or wisdom of God for the salvation of man. The same is true with the “word” in writing. It had no literal pre-existence as a “spirit-book” somewhere in eternity past, but it came into being as God gave the revelation to people and they wrote it down. 4. The last phrase in the verse, which most versions translate as “and the Word was God,” should not be translated that way. The Greek language uses the word “God” (Greek = theos) to refer to the Father as well as to other authorities. These include the Devil (2 Cor. 4:4), lesser gods (1 Cor. 8:5) and men with great authority (John 10:34 and 35; Acts 12:22). At the time the New Testament was written, Greek manuscripts were written in all capital letters. The upper and lower case letters were not blended as we do today. Thus, the distinction that we today make between “God” and “god” could not be made, and the context became the judge in determining to whom “THEOS” referred. Although context is the final arbiter, it is almost always the case in the New Testament that when “God” refers to the Father, the definite article appears in the Greek text (this article can be seen only in the Greek text, it is never translated into English). Translators are normally very sensitive to this (see John 10:33). The difference between theos with and without the article occurs in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with “the theos,” and the Word was “theos.” Since the definite article is missing from the second occurrence of “theos” (“God,”) the usual meaning would be “god” or “divine.” The New English Bible gets the sense of this phrase by translating it, “What God was, the Word was.” James Moffatt who was a professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis at Mansfield College in Oxford, England, and author of the well-known Moffatt Bible, translated the phrase, “the logos was divine.” A very clear explanation of how to translate theos without the definite article can be found in Jesus As They Knew Him, by William Barclay, a professor at Trinity College in Glasgow: In a case like this we cannot do other than go to the Greek, which is theos en ho logos. Ho is the definite article, the, and it can be seen that there is a definite article with logos, but not with theos. When in Greek two nouns are joined by the verb “to be,” and when both have the definite article, then the one is fully intended to be identified with the other; but when one of them is without the article, it becomes more an adjective than a noun, and describes rather the class or sphere to which the other belongs. An illustration from English will make this clear. If I say, “The preacher is the man,” I use the definite article before both preacher and man, and I thereby identify the preacher with some quite definite individual man whom I have in mind. But, if I say, “The preacher is man,” I have omitted the definite article before man, and what I mean is that the preacher must be classified as a man, he is in the sphere of manhood, he is a human being. [In the last clause of John 1:1] John has no article before theos, God. The logos, therefore, is not identified as God or with God; the word theos has become adjectival and describes the sphere to which the logos belongs. We would, therefore, have to say that this means that the logos belongs to the same sphere as God; without being identified with God, the logos has the same kind of life and being as God. Here the NEB [New English Bible] finds the perfect translation: “What God was, the Word was.”  5. It is important to understand that the Bible was not written in a vacuum, but was recorded in the context of a culture and was understood by those who lived in that culture. Sometimes verses that seem superfluous or confusing to us were meaningful to the readers of the time because they were well aware of the culture and beliefs being propounded by those around them. In the first century, there were many competing beliefs in the world (and unfortunately, erroneous beliefs in Christendom) that were confusing believers about the identities of God and Christ. For centuries before Christ, and at the time the New Testament was written, the irrational beliefs about the gods of Greece had been handed down. This body of religious information was known by the word “muthos,” which we today call “myths” or “mythology.” This muthos, these myths, were often irrational, mystical and beyond understanding or explanation. The more familiar one is with the Greek myths, the better he will understand our emphasis on their irrationality. If one is unfamiliar with them, it would be valuable to read a little on the subject. Greek mythology is an important part of the cultural background of the New Testament. The myths were often incomprehensible, but nevertheless, they had been widely accepted as the “revelation of the gods.” The pervasiveness of the muthos in the Greco-Roman world of the New Testament can be seen sticking up out of the New Testament like the tip of an iceberg above the water. When Paul and Barnabas healed a cripple in Lystra, the people assumed that the gods had come down in human form, and the priest of Zeus came to offer sacrifices to them. While Paul was in Athens, he became disturbed because of the large number of idols there that were statues to the various gods. In Ephesus, Paul’s teaching actually started a riot. When some of the locals realized that if his doctrine spread, “the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty” (Acts 19:27). There are many other examples that show that there was a muthos, i.e., a body of religious knowledge that was in large part incomprehensible to the human mind, firmly established in the minds of some of the common people in New Testament times. Starting several centuries before Christ, certain Greek philosophers worked to replace the muthos with what they called the logos, a reasonable and rational explanation of reality. It is appropriate that, in the writing of the New Testament, God used the word logos, not muthos, to describe His wisdom, reason and plan. God has not come to us in mystical experiences and irrational beliefs that cannot be understood; rather, He reveals Himself in ways that can be rationally understood and persuasively argued. 6. In addition to the cultural context that accepted the myths, at the time John was written, a belief system called Gnosticism was taking root in Christianity. Gnosticism had many ideas and words that are strange and confusing to us today, so, at the risk of oversimplifying, we will describe a few basic tenets of Gnosticism as simply as we can. Gnosticism took many forms, but generally Gnostics taught that there was a supreme and unknowable Being, which they designated as the “Monad.” The Monad produced various gods, who in turn produced other gods (these gods were called by different names, in part because of their power or position). One of these gods, called the “Demiurge,” created the earth and then ruled over it as an angry, evil and jealous god. This evil god, Gnostics believed, was the god of the Old Testament, called Elohim. The Monad sent another god, “Christ,” to bring special gnosis (knowledge) to mankind and free them from the influence of the evil Elohim. Thus, a Gnostic Christian would agree that Elohim created the heavens and earth, but he would not agree that He was the supreme God. Most Gnostics would also state that Elohim and Christ were at cross-purposes with each other. This is why it was so important for John 1:1 to say that the logos was with God, which at first glance seems to be a totally unnecessary statement. The opening of the Gospel of John is a wonderful expression of God’s love. God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). He authored the opening of John in such a way that it reveals the truth about Him and His plan for all of mankind and, at the same time, refutes Gnostic teaching. It says that from the beginning there was the logos (the reason, plan, power), which was with God. There was not another “god” existing with God, especially not a god opposed to God. Furthermore, God’s plan was like God; it was divine. God’s plan became flesh when God impregnated Mary. 7. There are elements of John 1:1 and other phrases in the introduction of John that not only refer back in time to God’s work in the original creation, but also foreshadow the work of Christ in the new administration and the new creation. Noted Bible commentator F.F. Bruce argues for this interpretation: It is not by accident that the Gospel begins with the same phrase as the book of Genesis. In Genesis 1:1, ‘In the beginning’ introduces the story of the old creation; here it introduces the story of the new creation. In both works of creation the agent is the Word of God.  The Racovian Catechism, one of the great doctrinal works of the Unitarian movement of the 14th and 15th centuries, states that the word “beginning” in John 1:1 refers to the beginning of the new dispensation and thus is similar to Mark 1:1, which starts, “The beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ.” In the cited passage (John 1:1) wherein the Word is said to have been in the beginning, there is no reference to an antecedent eternity, without commencement; because mention is made here of a beginning, which is opposed to that eternity. But the word beginning, used absolutely, is to be understood of the subject matter under consideration. Thus, Daniel 8:1, “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me AT THE FIRST.” John 15:27, “And ye also shall bear witness because ye have been with me FROM the beginning.” John 16:4, “These things I said not unto you AT the beginning because I was with you. And Acts 11:15, “And as I began to speak the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us AT the beginning.” As then the matter of which John is treating is the Gospel, or the things transacted under the Gospel, nothing else ought to be understood here beside the beginning of the Gospel; a matter clearly known to the Christians whom he addressed, namely, the advent and preaching of John the Baptist, according to the testimony of all the evangelists [i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke and John], each of whom begins his history with the coming and preaching of the Baptist. Mark indeed (Chapter 1:1) expressly states that this was the beginning of the Gospel. In like manner, John himself employs the word beginning, placed thus absolutely, in the introduction to his First Epistle, at which beginning he uses the same term (logos) Word, as if he meant to be his own interpreter [“That which is from the beginning…concerning the Word (logos) of life.” 1 John 1:1].  While we do not agree with the Catechism that the only meaning of beginning in John 1:1 is the beginning of the new creation, we certainly see how the word beginning is a double entendre. In the context of the new creation, then, “the Word” is the plan or purpose according to which God is restoring His creation. 8. To fully understand any passage of Scripture, it is imperative to study the context. To fully understand John 1:1, the rest of the chapter needs to be understood as well, and the rest of the chapter adds more understanding to John 1:1. We believe that these notes on John 1:1, read together with the rest of John 1 and our notes on John 1:3, John 1:10, John 1:14, John 1:15, and John 1:18 will help make the entire first chapter of John more understandable. 1 Timothy 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. (NIV) 1. Although the above verse in the NIV does not support the Trinity, there are some Greek manuscripts that read, “God appeared in the flesh.” This reading of some Greek manuscripts has passed into some English versions, and the King James Version is one of them. Trinitarian scholars admit, however, that these Greek texts were altered by scribes in favor of the Trinitarian position. The reading of the earliest and best manuscripts is not “God” but rather “he who.” Almost all the modern versions have the verse as “the mystery of godliness is great, which was manifest in the flesh,” or some close equivalent. 2. In regard to the above verse, Bruce Metzger writes: [“He who”] is supported by the earliest and best uncials…no uncial (in the first hand) earlier than the eighth or ninth century supports theos; all ancient versions presuppose hos or ho [“he who” or “he”]; and no patristic writer prior to the last third of the fourth century testifies to the reading theos. The reading theos arose either(a) accidentally, or (b) deliberately, either to supply a substantive for the following six verbs [the six verbs that follow in the verse], or, with less probability, to provide greater dogmatic precision [i.e., to produce a verse that more clearly supports the Trinitarian position].”  3. When properly translated, 1 Timothy 3:16 actually argues against the Trinity. “By common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory” (NASB). This section of Scripture beautifully portrays an overview of Christ’s life and accomplishments. It all fits with what we know of the man, Jesus Christ. If Jesus were God, this section of Scripture would have been the perfect place to say so. We should expect to see some phrases like, “God incarnate,” “God and Man united,” “very God and very man,” etc. But nothing like that occurs. Instead, the section testifies to what non-Trinitarians believe—that Christ was a man, begotten by the Father, and that he was taken up into glory. Titus 2:13 While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (NIV) 1. Scholars debate the exact translation of this verse, and the two sides of that debate are seen in the various translations. Some scholars believe that “glory” is used in an adjectival sense, and that the verse should be translated as above in the NIV. Versions that follow suit are the KJV and the Amplified Version. Many other versions, such as the Revised Version, American Standard Version, NAS, Moffatt, RSV, NRSV, Douay, New American Bible, NEB, etc., translate the verse very differently. The NASB is a typical example. It reads, “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” The difference between the translations is immediately apparent. In the NIV, etc., we await the “glorious appearing” of God, while in the NAS and other versions we await the “appearing of the glory” of God our Savior (this is a use of “Savior” where the word is applied in the context to God, not Christ. See the note on Luke 1:47), i.e., we are looking for the “glory” of God, which is stated clearly as being “Jesus Christ.” Of course, the glory will come at the appearing, but Scripture says clearly that both the glory of the Son and the glory of the Father will appear (Luke 9:26). God’s Word also teaches that when Christ comes, he will come with his Father’s glory: “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory” (Matt. 16:27). Keeping in mind that what is revealed in other places in the Bible about a certain event often clarifies what is being portrayed in any given verse, it becomes apparent from other scriptures referring to Christ’s coming that the Bible is not trying to portray God and Christ as one God. In this case, the glory of God that we are waiting for is Jesus Christ. 2. It has been stated that the grammar of Titus 2:13 forces the interpretation that Jesus is God because of the Granville Sharp Rule of grammar. That is not the case, however. The Granville Sharp rule has been successfully challenged, and an extensive critique of it occurs in this appendix in the notes on Ephesians 5:5. The point is that when Scripture refers to “our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” it can mean two beings—both the “Great God,” and the “Savior,” Jesus Christ. The highly regarded Trinitarian Henry Alford gives a number of reasons as to why the grammar of the Greek does not force the interpretation of the passage to make Christ God. 3. The context of the verse helps us to understand its meaning. The verse is talking about saying “no” to ungodliness while we wait for the appearing of Jesus Christ, who is the glory of God. Its purpose is not to expound the doctrine of the Trinity in any way, nor is there any reason to assume that Paul would be making a Trinitarian reference here. It makes perfect sense for Scripture to call Christ “the glory of God” and for the Bible to exhort us to say “no” to ungodliness in light of the coming of the Lord, which will be quickly followed by the Judgment (Matt. 25:31-33; Luke 21:36). 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (KJV) 1. Many Trinitarians claim that the final sentence in the verse, “This is the true God,” refers to Jesus Christ, since the closest noun to “This” is “Jesus Christ.” However, since God and Jesus are both referred to in the first sentence of the verse, the final sentence can refer to either one of them. The word “this,” which begins the last sentence, is houtos, and a study of it will show that the context, not the closest noun or pronoun, must determine to whom “this” is referring. The Bible provides examples of this, and a good one is in Acts 7:18 and 19 (KJV): “Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. The same (houtos) dealt subtilly with our kindred…, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.” It is clear from this example that “the same” (houtos) cannot refer to Joseph, even though Joseph is the closest noun. It refers to the other king earlier in the verse, even though that evil king is not the closest noun. If it were true that pronouns always referred to the closest noun, serious theological problems would result. An example is Acts 4:10 and 11: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This [houtos] is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner” (KJV). If “This” in the last sentence refers to the closest noun or pronoun, then the man who was healed is actually the stone rejected by the builders that has become the head of the corner, i.e., the Christ. Of course, that is not true. An even more troublesome example for those not recognizing that the context, not noun and pronoun placement, is the most vital key in determining proper meaning, is 2 John 1:7: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (KJV). The structure of this verse closely parallels the structure of the verse we are studying. If one insists that the final phrase of 1 John 5:20 refers to Jesus because he is the closest associated noun, then that same person is going to be forced by his own logic to insist that Jesus Christ is a deceiver and an antichrist, which of course is absurd. Thus we conclude that, although the last phrase of 1 John 5:20 may refer to Jesus Christ, it can just as easily refer to God, who appears in the phrase “Son of God” and, via the possessive pronoun “his,” in the phrase “his Son Jesus.” To which of the two it refers must be determined from studying the words in the verse and the remoter context. 2. Once it is clear that the last sentence in the verse can refer to either Jesus or God, it must be determined which of the two it is describing. The context and remoter context will determine to whom the phrase “true God” applies. The result of that examination is that the phrase “true God” is used four times in the Bible beside here: 2 Chronicles 15:3; Jeremiah 10:10; John 17:3 and 1 Thessalonians 1:9. In all four of these places, the “true God” refers to the Father and not the Son. Especially relevant is John 17:3, which is Jesus’ prayer to God. In that prayer, Jesus calls God “the only true God.” These examples are made more powerful by the consideration that 1 John is a late epistle, and thus the readers of the Bible were already used to God being called the “true God.” Add to that the fact that John is the writer of both the Gospel of John and the Epistles of John, and he would be likely to use the phrase the same way. Thus, there is every reason to believe that the “true God” of 1 John 5:20 is the heavenly Father, and there is no precedent for believing that it refers to the Son. 3. From studying the immediate context, we learn that this very verse mentions “him that is true” two times, and both times it refers to the Father. Since the verse twice refers to the Father as “the one who is true,” that is a strong argument that “the true God” in the last part of the verse is the same being. 4. Not all Trinitarians believe that the last sentence in the verse refers to the Son. A study of commentators on the verse will show that a considerable number of Trinitarian scholars say that this phrase refers to the Father. Norton and Farley each give a list of suchscholars. In his commentary on 1 John, Lenski writes that although the official explanation of the Church is to make the sentence refer to the Son: This exegesis of the church is now called a mistake by a number of commentators who believe in the full deity of Jesus as it is revealed in Scripture but feel convinced that this houtos clause speaks of the Father and not of His Son. ” Hebrews 1:2 But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (NIV) 1. The Greek word translated “universe” (or “world” in many translations) is the plural of the Greek word aion, and actually means “ages.” There are other Greek words that mean “world,” such as kosmos and oikoumene, and when the Devil tempted Jesus by showing him all the kingdoms of the “world,” these words are used. This verse is referring to the “ages,” not the “world.” Vine’s Lexicon has, “an age, a period of time, marked in the N.T. usage by spiritual or moral characteristics, is sometimes translated ‘world;’ the R.V. margin always has ‘age.’” Bullinger’s Critical Lexicon has: “Aion [age], from ao, aemi, to blow, to breathe. Aion denoted originally the life which hastes away in the breathing of our breath, life as transitory; then the course of life, time of life, life in its temporal form. Then, the space of a human life, an age, or generation in respect of duration. The time lived or to be lived by men, time as moving, historical time as well as eternity. Aion always includes a reference to the filling of time”  Since most translators are Trinitarian and think that Jesus was the one who made the original heavens and earth, they translate “ages” as “world” in this verse. But the actual word in the Greek text means “ages,” and it should be translated that way. 2. Trinitarians use the verse to try to prove that Jesus Christ created the world as we know it, but the context of the verse shows that this cannot be the correct interpretation. Verses 1 and 2 show that God spoke through Jesus “in these last days,” whereas He had spoken “in the past” in various ways. If indeed it were through Jesus that the physical world was created, then one of the ways that God spoke in the past was through Jesus. But that would contradict the whole point of the verse, which is saying that God spoke in other ways in the past, but “in these last days” is speaking through the Son. 3. Since verses 1 and 2 say that it was “God” who spoke through prophets and through His Son, it is clear that God is the prime mover and thus different from the Son. These verses show that the Son is subordinate to God and, as a “mouthpiece” for God, is compared to the prophets. 4. The fact that God appointed the Son to be “heir” shows that God and the Son are not equal. For the Son to be the “heir” means that there was a time when he was not the owner. The Bible was written using common words that had common and accepted meanings in the language of the time. The doctrine of the Trinity forces these words to take on “mystical” meanings. Yet there is no evidence in Scripture that the writer changed the meaning of these common words. We assert that if the Bible is read using the common meanings of the words in the text, there is simply no way to arrive at the doctrine of the Trinity. The word “heir” is a common one and, because death and inheritance are a part of every culture, it occurs in every language. Any dictionary will show that an heir is one who inherits, succeeds or receives an estate, rank, title or office of another. By definition, you cannot be an heir if you are already the owner. No one in history ever wrote a will that said, “My heir and the inheritor of my estate is…ME!” If Christ is God, then he cannot be “heir.” The only way he can be an heir is by not being the owner. That Christ is an “heir” is inconsistent with Trinitarian doctrine, which states that Christ is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. If Christ were God, then he was part owner all along, and thus is not the “heir” at all. These verses teach that God is the original owner, and will give all things to His heir, Jesus Christ. It is obvious from the wording of these first two verses that the author of Hebrews does not consider Christ to be God. 5. The entire opening section of Hebrews, usually used to show that Christ is God, actually shows just the opposite. More proof of this is in verses 3 and 4. After Christ sat down at the right hand of God, “he became as much superior to the angels” as his name is superior to theirs. “God” has always been superior to the angels. If Christ only became superior after his resurrection, then he cannot be the eternal God. It is obvious from this section of Scripture that “the Man” Christ Jesus was given all authority and made Lord and Christ. 6. Since aionas means “ages” and not “world,” it is fair to ask in what sense God has made the ages through Jesus. First, it must be understood that the word “made” is extremely flexible. It is the Greek word poieo, which, both alone and in combination with other words, is translated more than 100 different ways in the NIV, and thus has a wide range of meaning. Some of the ways poieo is translated are: accomplish, acted, appointed, are, be, bear, began, been, bring, carry out, cause, committed, consider, do, earned, exercise, formed, gain, give, judge, kept, made, obey, performed, preparing, produce, provide, put into practice, reached, spend, stayed, treated, was, win, work, wrote, and yielded. Although most people read poieo in Hebrews 1:2 as referring to the original creation, it does not have to mean that at all. The context dictates that the “ages” being referred to are the ages after Christ’s resurrection. In verse 2, Christ became heir after his resurrection. In verse 3, he then sat at God’s right hand after his resurrection. Verses 5 and 6 also refer to the resurrection. The context makes it clear that God was not speaking through His Son in the past, but that He has spoken “in these last days” through His Son, and “given form to” the ages through him (Note #1 on Hebrews 1:10 below provides more evidence for this.)
Nr. 357: Jesus is the image of God, Jesus is God's pattern image
Nr. 357: Jesus is the image of God, Jesus is God's pattern image The Bible records a number of instances where an agent of God is referred to as “God” or “the LORD” Himself, and in many of these cases the agent (usually an angel) actually speaks and acts in God’s stead. This is an important biblical phenomenon that foreshadows the coming of Christ. Jesus Christ represented God in a manner that went beyond the way the prophets represented Him. Christ claimed to act in God’s stead in a way that the prophets never said that they did: “…I always do what pleases him” (John 8:29), “…I do exactly what my Father has commanded me…” (John 14:31). Christ spoke as one who knew God and His will intimately through personal acquaintance. He also claimed to speak and act with authority he had directly received from God Himself, whom he identified as his “Father.” His miracles, his command of the elements and demons, and his assertion that how people related to him determined their final destiny all speak of his unique and complete manifestation of God in the human sphere. As we have explored in Chapter 2 and throughout this book, Jesus Christ is the very image of God and therefore God’s ultimate communication of Himself. Yet it is clear that he is not God Himself, if only because he is God’s ultimate agent. Many orthodox Bible commentators view some Old Testament accounts of angelic manifestations as appearances of Jesus in his “pre-incarnate” state, but in the following list we will cite evidence that even Trinitarian commentators recognize that this is an inference and not by any means conclusive. These examples of “God-manifestation” are qualitatively different from the speaking for God that prophets have always done.  The prophets have spoken for God, but not manifested His presence or been identified with God so powerfully and intimately that to see them was to “see” God. Isaiah, Jeremiah and others were recognized as God’s spokesmen, but were never identified with God Himself. The following are examples of angels actually standing in the place of God such that afterward the human beings involved said they had encountered God Himself. Their identity as angels is unmistakably preserved in Scripture despite the fact that they were making God’s very presence and power manifest. The concept of agency is simply that an agent or representative speaks and acts on full behalf of the one who sent him. This is commonly practiced in modern times in what is known as power of attorney. In the Roman world an agent of the Emperor was called the Imperial legate, although the standard usage of the word “legate” today refers to a representative of the Pope. According to the Jewish understanding of agency, the agent was regarded as the person himself. This is well expressed in The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion: Agent (Heb. Shaliah): The main point of the Jewish law of agency is expressed in the dictum, “a person’s agent is regarded as the person himself” (Ned. 72b; Kidd. 41b). Therefore any act committed by a duly appointed agent is regarded as having been committed by the principal, who therefore bears full responsibility for it with consequent complete absence of liability on the part of the agent.  Modern agency usually means that an agent, not the principal, is present. In the Bible, it is occasionally less clear that an agent is speaking and not the principal, and most of us are not used to seeing an agent speak without identifying himself as an agent. Therefore, we thought it a significant enough aspect of this study on One God & One Lord that we should provide examples such that the reader could become familiar with it. Hagar and the Angel (Gen. 16:7-14) The beginning point for this idea of angels manifesting God’s presence is found in Genesis 16:7-10, 13 and 14. Charles Ryrie calls this use of “The angel of the LORD…” a “theophany, a self-manifestation of God.” The angel speaks as God, identifies himself with God, and claims to exercise the prerogatives of God. Ryrie also recognizes that the idea that this “angel” is the preincarnate Son of God is an “inference,” i.e., that it is not directly stated: Since the angel of the LORD ceases to appear after the incarnation, it is often inferred that the angel in the O.T. [Old Testament] is a preincarnate appearance of the Second Person of the Trinity [emphasis ours].  The NIV Study Bible acknowledges the principle of divine agents being identified with God Himself. Recognizing this principle also leads the editors to back away from the traditional interpretation—that the angel was really Jesus in his “pre-incarnate” divine state: …Since the angel of the Lord speaks for God in the first person (v. 10) and Hagar is said to name “the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’” (v. 13) the angel appears to be both distinguished from the Lord (in that he is called “messenger”—the Hebrew for “angel” means “messenger”) and identified with him. Similar distinction and identification can be found in 19:1, 21, 31:11 and 13; Exodus 3:2 and 4; Judges 2:1-5, 6:11, 12, and 14, 13:3, 6, 8-11, 13, 15-17 and 20-23; Zechariah 3:1-6, 12:8. Traditional Christian interpretation has held that this “angel” was a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ as God’s messenger-Servant. It may be, however, that, as the Lord’s personal messenger who represented him and bore his credentials, the angel could speak on behalf of (and so be identified with) the One who sent him…Whether this “angel” was the second person of the Trinity remains therefore uncertain….  We are glad that the authors of the NIV Study Bible allow for the possibility that the one talking to Hagar could be an angel, but we believe that is not stating the case strongly enough. The Bible says, “The angel of the LORD said to her….” Angels are quite common in the Old Testament, and are messengers of God, certainly not God themselves (and being “the second person of the Trinity” is being “God”). In order to make the jump from “a messenger for God” to being “God—the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ,” there would have to be some clear scriptural evidence that showed that was the case, but that evidence does not exist. The concept of agency, that the agent speaks on full behalf of the “sender,” explains the records more than adequately. In Genesis 16, the angel of the LORD addressed Hagar—“…I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” She replied, “…I have now seen the One who sees me,” as though she were talking to God, but the record makes it clear she was speaking to an angel of God acting as God’s agent, not to God Himself. Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:1-24) God is said to have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, but actually sent two angels to do the job. The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening (v. 1). They informed Lot that “we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it” (v. 13). The angels grasped Lot’s hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city for Yahweh was merciful to them (v. 16). Lot called the angels “my lords” (v. 18), asking them if he could retreat to Zoar instead of to the mountains. God spoke via the angels: “He [God, singular, not “they,” the angels] said to him [Lot]” that his request was granted (v. 21). ThenYahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire, and He overthrew those cities, etc. (v. 24). These Scriptures combine to portray a beautiful picture of agency. Of course God is the one who supplied the power and authority, but the angels actually did the work. We use the same kind of language today. The owner of a construction company might be showing off some of the buildings his company had built. He might well say, “I built that building,” and everyone would understand that he did not actually do the physical work, but was the planner and the authority behind the job. Jacob’s Dream (Gen. 31:11-13) This is another record that clearly identifies the speaker as an angel. Jacob said to his wives, “The angel of God said to me in a dream…I am the God of Bethel…” This is powerful proof that the concept of agency was not confusing to the people who knew the customs and the culture. Jacob was comfortable saying that an angel said, “I am the God of Bethel.” Jacob knew nothing of a Trinity, and there is certainly no evidence that Jacob would have recognized that he was talking to the Messiah. Jacob understood the idea of agency and was comfortable with it. Jacob Wrestles With “God” (Gen. 32:24 – 30) In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestled with “a man” until daybreak (v. 24), but verse 28 says he had “…struggled with God and with men….” In verse 30, Jacob said he “…saw God face to face….” From Genesis alone we would have to assume that this was one of the times in which God Himself took on the form of a man in order to better relate to mankind  However, the book of Hosea speaks of the same record and lets us know that the one who wrestled with Jacob was an angel. Hosea 12:3 and 4 states: “…as a man he [Jacob] struggled with God, He struggled with the angel and overcame him….” Thus, the one who is called “God” in Genesis is identified as an angel in Hosea, a clear example of agency. Moses and the Burning Bush (Exod. 3:2, 4, 6 and 16) Exodus 3:2 says, “…the angel of Yahweh appeared to him [Moses] in flames of fire from within a bush….” Yet the record then goes on to say that “God” and “Yahweh” spoke to Moses. The reader has to pay attention in this record because, although the angel is said to be in the fire, the record never actually says the angel speaks. It is possible that this is an example of agency where the angel spoke for God, or it could be that the angel was involved with the fire and when Moses drew near the bush, then Yahweh Himself spoke. Angelic Accompaniment in the Wilderness and into the Promised Land Understanding the concept of agency allows us to better understand the records of the LORD accompanying the Israelites in the wilderness. Some records indicate an angel was in the pillar of fire, while others indicate that it was God in the pillar of fire. Exodus 13:21a (NASB) And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light…. Exodus 14:19 (NASB) And the angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. Exodus 23:20-23 (20) “See, I [God] am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. (21) Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. (22) If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. (23) My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. Exodus 23:21 gives us more evidence of the custom of agency. God said that His “Name” was “in” the angel. A study of the culture and language shows that the word “Name” stood for “authority.” Examples are very numerous, but space allows only a small selection. Deuteronomy 18:5 and 7 speak of serving in the “name” (authority) of the LORD. Deuteronomy 18:22 speaks of prophesying in the “name” (authority) of the LORD. In 1 Samuel 17:45, David attacked Goliath in the “name” (authority) of the LORD, and he blessed the people in the “name” (authority) of the LORD (2 Sam. 6:18). In 2 Kings 2:24, Elisha cursed troublemakers in the “name” (authority) of the LORD. These Scriptures are only a small sample, but they are very clear. God told the Israelites to obey the angel because God’s name, i.e., His authority, was in him, and thus the angel represented God. The Israelites and the Angel (Judg. 2:1-4) In reading Judges 2, one might think that it was God Himself speaking. Judges 2:1-3 (1) “. . . I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, (2) and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? (3) Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.” This is a clear example of an angel standing in for God Himself. Verse 1 opens with, “The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said….” And verse 4 says, “When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things….” So the record clearly identifies that it was an angel who was actually speaking. He was speaking for God. Gideon and the Angel (Judg. 6:11, 12, 14, 16 and 22) The record of Gideon is another clear example of an angel acting as an agent of God. The one talking with Gideon is clearly identified as an angel in the record: Judges 6:11 and 12 (11) The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. (12) When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” These verses are very clear, but in verse 14 “the LORD” turned to him and spoke to him, and in verse 16 “the LORD” talked to him. To English readers this can be confusing, but it did not confuse Gideon. He recognized that it was an angel who was speaking to him, and in verse 22 he said, “…Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” Gideon had no trouble understanding that the angel could represent God. Manoah and the Angel (Judg. 13) The record in Judges 13 is very interesting because when the angel first showed up, he was not recognized as an angel at all. Both Manoah and his wife thought he was a man of God (Judg. 13:3, 6 and 21). Finally, they realized it was an angel: “…Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.” However, no sooner had he recognized that he had been speaking to an angel, not a man, that he exclaimed, “We are doomed to die…We have seen God!” (v. 22). The fact that the record makes it clear that he knew what he saw was an angel shows us that he understood that he did not see God, but God’s representative. An intriguing fact about this record is that as long as Manoah thought he was with a man of God who was representing and speaking for God, he was comfortable, but when he realized he was talking to an angel, he became afraid. This is a good example of people being uncomfortable in the presence of God. God often wants to get closer to us than we, as humans and sinners, want Him to get. The Angel and Joshua the High Priest (Zechariah 3:1-7) Zechariah 3:6 and 7 (6) The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: (7) “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. This record in Zechariah is similar to dozens of others in Scripture where men or angels speak in the name of the LORD. Before the Lord or Before the Judge? The concept of agency can cause translators some real difficulties. The Hebrew word Elohim is flexible and can refer to “the Supreme God” (which is how it is used most often), “a god,” “gods” (because Elohim is plural), “angels” or “heavenly beings” or “judges.” This has caused the translators some problems in verses such as Exodus 21:6, as the following translations show: KJV: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges… NIV: then his master must take him before the judges… NASB: then his master shall bring him to God… RSV: then his master shall bring him to God… The situation in Exodus was that a slave was to be released after seven years of service, but in some cases the slave did not want to be released. In those cases the master was to bring him “to the Elohim” to become a slave forever. Because the judges represented God as his agents on earth, they are called by His name, “Elohim.” There is a sense in which both of the above translations are correct. The judges did in fact represent God, Elohim, and if they did not, there was no reason to bring the slave to them in the first place, because the vow was to be binding before the LORD. So there is reason to translate Elohim as “God” here. On the other hand, the actual representatives of God were the judges, and they were the ones who actually witnessed the slave’s commitment. They were the tangible, flesh and blood representatives of God on the earth. For that reason, “judges” is the better contextual translation of Elohim in Exodus 21:6, 22:8 and 9. Conclusion We have shown that there are times when someone acting as God’s agent is called “God” or is said to speak as “God.” The above verses demonstrate that both angels and men represent God on earth. Instead of squeezing these verses to prove the doctrine of the Trinity, which is clearly not taught in the Old Testament, we should instead understand them according to the culture of the times. The concept of agency was even more common then than it is now, because our swift means of direct communication, such as telephone and travel by car and airplane, have made the actual practice of agency less necessary. Instead of veiled references to the Trinity, what these verses clearly show that we have a loving, trusting God who allows angels and people to represent Him. Endnotes: 1. Broughton and Southgate, op. cit., The Trinity, p. 64ff. Broughton and Southgate coined the term “God-manifestation” to represent these occasions when angels stood in for God. Back to top 2. (The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion, R. J. Z. Werblowsky and Geoffrey Wigoder. (New York, Adama Books, 1986), p. 15. Back to top 3. The Ryrie Study Bible, p. 30. Ryrie argues that in each of these “theophanies,” God Himself is present and acting, missing the point of the angelic agency. It is often argued that Jesus is probably “the angel of the Lord” because those words never appear after his birth, and it seems “reasonable” to Trinitarians that this angel would appear right on through the Bible. The fact is, however, that the angel of the Lord does appear after Jesus’ conception, which seems inconsistent with the premise that the angel of the Lord is the “pre-incarnate Christ.” The record of Jesus’ birth is well known. Mary was discovered to be pregnant with Jesus before she and Joseph were married, and Joseph, who could have had her stoned to death, decided to divorce her. However, “an angel of the Lord” appeared to him in a dream and told him the child was God’s. Matthew 1:24 states, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” Thus, Jesus was already in Mary’s womb when the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph. From this we conclude that “the angel of the Lord” cannot be Jesus because Jesus was at that time “in the flesh” inside Mary. Back to top 4. The NIV Study Bible, p. 29. Back to top 5. For times that God Himself comes in the form of a man see Verses that Trinitarians use to Try and support the Trinity (Gen. 18:1).
Nr. 356: God the Father is the origin of Jesus Jesus came forth from God the Father from the Old Days
Nr. 356: God the Father is the origin of Jesus Jesus came forth from God the Father from the Old Days The doctrine of the Trinity depends upon the reality of a “third person” called “the Holy Spirit” to complete a supposed multi-personal Godhead. Without such a separate person who is “co-eternal” and “co-equal” with the Father and the Son, the “Triune” God disintegrates. It is therefore wise to consider the reasons why this idea is not supported by logical scrutiny nor the weight of scriptural evidence. Before exploring the reasons why this teaching is not biblically sound, we should first consider its practical consequences. We must obviate the common objections that we are merely splitting hairs over unprovable doctrines, which truth is not at stake and that one teaching is equivalent to another as long as each is sincerely believed and God is approached with humility and love. It is our assertion that the teaching that “the Holy Spirit” is a separate “person” from God, the Father, is not true and results in some serious practical disadvantages to living the Christian life, namely: a. Confusion about the distinction between “the Giver” and “the gift” results in misunderstanding of many verses of Scripture that become unintelligible, and the truth is exchanged for a man made myth. b. A lack of recognition of the permanence of the gift of holy spirit in the life of a believer results from the confusion about the coming and going of a “person.” c. Worship, praise, prayer, song and liturgy are directed toward an imaginary “third person” in the traditional Christian “Godhead,” but it ought to be directed primarily to God, the Father and secondarily to the Lord Jesus Christ. The only true God, the Father, seeks those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth [reality]” (John 4:23), in other words, worship Him for who He really is. d. Improperly discerning and understanding what the gift of holy spirit is, many Christians naively assume that virtually all spiritual manifestations are from the true God, and too often fail to discern the genuine from the counterfeit, and are therefore led into error. e. Furthermore, being willingly “ignorant of spiritual matters” (1 Cor. 12:1; 14:37 and 38) these Christians run the risk that the Lord will disregard their worship, leaving them vulnerable to demonic influences. f. Failing to understand that “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets,” and instead being taught to be “controlled” by the Holy Spirit, many become influenced by demons, even while thinking that they are being “led by the spirit” of God. g. Many are not walking in the power of the spirit because they are waiting for a “person” to move them, while God is waiting for them to utilize by faith that which they have already been given. We are now ready to examine the principal reasons for denying the Trinitarian assertion that “the Holy Spirit” is a separate person from the Father, the one God of Scripture. These are drawn from our own ruminations and from the work of James H. Broughton and Peter J. Southgate (The Trinity: True or False? 1995), Anthony Buzzard (The Doctrine of the Trinity; Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, 1994), Charles Morgridge (The True Believer’s Defence, 1837), Fredric A. Farley (The Scripture Doctrine of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, 1873) and The Racovian Catechism, 1609. 1. God is said to have a throne (1 Kings 22:19; Dan. 7:9), inhabit heaven as His dwelling place (1 Kings 8:30,39,43 and 49), and yet “heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain” Him (1 Kings 8:27). So how can He be said to have a throne and a dwelling place and yet be uncontainable? Ps. 139:7 indicates that God’s spirit and His presence can be equivalent terms. God is therefore omnipresent by His “spirit,” which is not a separate “person.” This presence can also be extended by His personal ministers and agents, whether Christ, angels, or believers. None of these is a separate person who is also “God” in some multi-personal Godhead, but rather empowered agents who are equipped to do the will of God. 2. Exodus 23:20-22 mentions the angel of God’s presence that would go before Israel in the wilderness. “Person” God has permitted angels to speak as if they were God Himself, and even to use His personal name, YAHWEH. A few examples of this principle are Manoah and his wife (Judges13:21 and 22), Jacob wrestling (Gen. 32:24-30; Hos. 12:3-5), Moses (Ex. 3:2-4 , 6 and 16) and Gideon (Judges 6:12, 13, 16 and 22). What is sometimes attributed to Jesus or to “the Holy Spirit” in the Old Testament is better explained by this principle of God manifesting Himself by means of an angelic messenger who speaks for Him in the first person (“I the Lord,” etc.) and manifests His glory. 3. Although the Hebrew word for “spirit” (ruach), can refer to angels or evil spirits, which are persons or entities with a personality, the Hebrew usage of “the spirit of God” never refers to a person separate from, but a part of, God Almighty. Neither does the phrase, “the spirits of God” occur, which would refer to separate spiritual entities within a multipersonal God. a. Zechariah 6:5 refers to the “four spirits of the heavens” riding in chariots, but the NIV text note supplies an alternate reading of “winds,” which makes more sense in the context—the four winds of heaven going North, East, etc.). b. Revelation 1:4 refers to the “seven spirits” before the throne of God. Are these seven “Holy Spirits,” or sentient entities, within the “Godhead?” The context provides the answer: they are the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne (4:5 – NRSV) and the seven horns and seven eyes of the slain Lamb (5:6). These are likely the same “spirits” mentioned in Isaiah 11:2 in connection with the Messiah: the spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of counsel, the spirit of might, the spirit of knowledge and the spirit of the fear of the Lord. These “spirits” are undoubtedly symbols of the intense power of insight and judgment with which the Lamb will judge and reign over the earth during the Millennium. 4. As with the Hebrew word, ruach, the Greek word for spirit (pneuma) also has many different meanings, the correct one also being determinable only from the context of each occurrence. Although Greek has both upper and lower case letters, the early manuscripts employed either one or the other. Therefore, no accurate distinction can be made in the original manuscripts of the Bible between upper case “Holy Spirit,” a proper noun referring to God, and lower case “holy spirit,” referring to an impersonal force. Compounding the problem is the fact that the article “the” was often added by translators, leading the reader to think that “the Holy Spirit” is referring to a separate person, a third person of “the Holy Trinity” as taught by traditional Christian orthodoxy. 5. Scholars admit that the concept of the Trinity cannot be substantiated in the Old Testament. In particular, “the Holy Spirit” as any kind of independent or distinct entity has no place in Old Testament revelation. Therefore, they say, the concept must be derived from the New Testament. With the exception of a few comparatively difficult verses in the Gospel of John that are often misunderstood, the New Testament also gives no certain and incontrovertible indication of a “Holy Spirit” as a personal being co-equal with the Father and the Son. This is a rather glaring omission if the Triune God is supposed to provide the foundation of Christian orthodoxy, yet the “tri-unity” of God cannot be clearly established even with New Testament revelation. Thus it makes sense to understand “holy spirit” in the New Testament just as it was understood in the Old Testament, either God Himself or His presence and power. 6. The Greek word for “spirit,” pneuma, is neuter, as are all pronouns referring to the spirit, making them necessarily impersonal. New Testament translators knew this grammatically, but groundlessly translated references to the coming “spirit of truth” as “He” instead of “it” because of their Trinitarian prejudice (e.g., John 14:17). If they had consistently translated the neuter pronouns of John 14 through 16 as “it,” “its,” “itself” and “which” instead of “he,” “his,” “him,” “who,” and “whom,” the case for the “personality of the Holy Spirit” would largely disappear from Christian belief. Such a major theological doctrine with such important implications for foundational Christian theology cannot depend on a few pronouns, but rather should be founded upon the weight of the biblical evidence considered as a whole, apart from tradition and prejudice. 7. Any translation from one language to another must recognize the relative unimportance of gender. For the most part, languages that assign a gender to nouns do so in a rather arbitrary manner. For instance, the Spanish word for car is masculine, el carro, while a bicycle is feminine, la bicicleta. Yet no one would translate into English “the car, he…” or “the bicycle, she…” Either word would require the neuter “it” to reflect the impersonal nature of the object. A writer or a poet might employ such a figurative expression in the use of pronouns, but any reader acquainted with the objects referred to would recognize the figure of speech employed. Such poetic personification is employed in reference to “the Comforter.” 8. The figure of speech Personification is common in Scripture, and is defined as attributing personal qualities, feelings, actions, etc., to things that have no real personality or personal consciousness. Wisdom is personified as such in Proverbs 8 and 9, yet no sensible person would seriously consider that a literal person named “Wisdom” helped God create the world, as Proverbs 8:30 says. The spirit of God is personified as “the Comforter” in John 14:16 and 26, 15:26, 16:7. Therefore, personal pronouns are appropriate to agree with the personal nature of the figurative title. It is clear from John 16:13 that this Comforter is “sent,” “does not speak of himself” and is instructed (“whatever he hears he speaks”). 9. The “Comforter,” more properly translated as “Counselor,” is said by Jesus to fill the void created by his going to the Father (John 14:12). By this spirit he would still be present: “I will come to you” (14:18); “I am in you” (14:20); and “I will show myself” (14:21). By this spirit his work with them would continue: “It will teach you”(14:26); “It will remind you of everything I have said” (14:26); “It will testify about me” (15:26); “It will convict the world of guilt” (in preparation for his judgment—16:8); “It will guide you into all truth” (16:13); “It will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you” (16:14). All of these statements point to the role of the gift of holy spirit in continuing the work that Jesus started, and even empowering his followers for greater works. This spirit is not independent and self-existent, but is “the mind of Christ” within the believer, influencing, guiding, teaching, reminding and pointing the believer to follow his Lord and Savior. This spirit is certainly not “co-equal” when by its very design it serves the risen Lord and Christ. Yet because it carries the personal presence of Christ into the life of every believer, the use of Personification is highly appropriate. As a practical matter, holy spirit in us will not lead us anywhere that the Lord himself would not lead us if he were personally present. We can study Christ’s life and his priorities in the written Word to verify whether the “spirit” leading us in is fact the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ or whether it is “another spirit.” For instance, he whose basic commitment was “it is written” will not be leading his followers away from relying on Scripture as the only rule of faith and practice. 10. The “soul” or the “spirit” of man is often personified like the spirit of God is. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” (Ps. 42:5). “I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, thou hast much goods laid up…’” (Luke 12:19). “The spirit indeed is willing…” (Matt. 26:41). “The spirit of Titus was refreshed…” (2 Cor. 7:13). Yet no one would argue that the “spirit of man” is a separate person from the man himself. The figure of speech Personification is universally and readily recognized, and in the case of “the Comforter” ought to be recognized as well. 11. The spirit of man bears the same relation to man as the spirit of God bears to God (1 Cor. 2:11). As the spirit of man is not another person distinct from himself, but his human consciousness or mind by which he is able to be self-aware and contemplate things peculiar to himself, so the spirit of God is not another person distinct from God. It is that consciousness and intelligence that is essential and peculiar to Him whereby He manifests and reveals Himself to man. As the spirit of man means the man himself (the essence of a man is his mind), so the spirit of God means God Himself. The parallel usage of mind and spirit is seen in the Apostle Paul’s citation of Isaiah 40:13 (NRSV) (“Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has instructed him?”) and in Romans 11:34 and 1 Corinthians 2:16 where “spirit” is rendered “mind.” 12. If the “spirit of truth” in John 14:17 is a person, then “the spirit of error” in 1 John 4:6 must also be a person, since the two are directly contrasted. The fact is that each “spirit” represents an influence or a power under which a person acts, but neither is a person in itself. 13. 1 Corinthians 2:12 directly opposes the “spirit of the world” with “the spirit which is of God.” As the “spirit of the world” is not a person separate from “the world,” neither is the “spirit of God” a person separate from God. Each is an influence emanating from a source that produces certain attitudes, behaviors or “fruit.” 14. The “breath” of God and the “spirit” of God are synonymous terms (Job 4:9; Ps. 33:6; Ps. 104:29 and 30; John 3:8; Job 27:3). It is as inconceivable that the breath of God could be a person distinct from God as that the breath of a human could be a person distinct from a human. It is especially absurd to speak of one self-existent and eternal person as “the breath” of another such person. 15. The “spirit of God” is synonymous with the “hand” and “the finger” of God (Ezek. 3:14; Job 26:13; Ps. 8:3; Luke 11:20). It is nonsense to call a “co-equal and co-eternal person” the “hand” and finger” of another such person. In fact, as a man’s hand and finger are subordinate and submissive to the will of a man, so the spirit of God is subordinate to the will of God. As what is done by the hand of a man is done by the man himself, so what is done by the spirit of God is done by God Himself. His spirit is his will in action, performing that which He “sends” it to perform. 16. The “spirit of your Father,” is synonymous with “the holy spirit,” and is said to speak in our stead on certain occasions when we might be brought before men for possible persecution or trial (Matt.10:19 and 20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11 and 12). On the same topic, Luke 21:15 says that Christ will give us “a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” Rather than saying that a person called “the Holy Ghost” will speak through us, these verses teach that we will be inspired by the supernatural power of God and Christ to speak as they give us guidance. 17. If the spirit is a sentient (able to sense, be self-aware), separate and distinct being with personality, then Jesus either did not know this or was very inconsistent in giving “Him” proper due. In Matthew 11:27, Jesus asserts that “no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son…” If “the Holy Spirit” is a person distinct from the Father, and is also omniscient and almighty “God,” then would He not also have to know the Father and the Son? Jesus’ statement, then, would not have been true, and in fact would be a lie. The same is true for Jesus’ assertion in Matthew 24:36 that no one knew the hour of his Second Coming except the Father. How could “the Holy Spirit” be kept in the dark about this very important prophetic event? Are we to believe that it is possible for one member of the Godhead to keep a secret from another member while sharing the same eternal and divine “essence” of “Godself?” 18. If the spirit of God is a unique and separate person, and having “spirit” is prerequisite to having a unique and separate personality, then the person called “the Spirit of God” must have his own “spirit” peculiar to himself and distinct from the Father and Son. We would then be forced to the absurd belief in “the spirit of the Spirit.” If “the Holy Spirit” has no spirit of His own, then He could not be said to have a separate “personality.” If “God” is three co-equal persons, the third person can no more be “the spirit” of the first person, than the first person can be “the spirit” of the third person. To avoid this absurdity, “the spirit of God” cannot have a separate personality, but must be the power, influence, sufficiency, fullness or some extension of the Father, the real and unitary person called the One True God. 19. The spirit of God is said to be divisible and able to be distributed. God took of the spirit that was upon Moses and put it upon the 70 elders of Israel (Num. 11:17-25). Joel 2:28, quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost, says that God “will pour out of my spirit” (Acts 2:17). Understood literally, the Greek says “some of,” or “‘part of’ my spirit.” The footnote in Weymouth’s translation reads “literally ‘of’ or ‘from’ my spirit—a share or portion.” Though we cannot conceive of how a person might be so divided, we can understand that the spirit of God, as the power of God, might be distributed among many. 1 John 4:13 echoes this truth in saying, “We know that we live in Him and He in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” (NIV). 20. Many words associated with God’s spirit give it the attributes of a liquid, which by definition cannot refer to a person. This liquid language is consistent with the spirit being His presence and power. We are baptized (literally “dipped”) with and in it like water (Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5). We are all made to “drink” from the same spirit, as from a well or fountain (1 Cor. 12:13). It is written on our hearts like ink (2 Cor. 3:3). We are “anointed” with it, like oil (Acts 10:38; 2 Cor. 1:21 and 22; 1 John 2:27). We are “sealed” with it as with melted wax (Eph. 1:13). It is “poured out” on us (Acts 10:45; Rom. 5:5). It is “measured” as if it had volume (2 Kings 2:9; John 3:34). We are to be “filled” with it (Acts 2:4; Eph. 5:18). This “filling” is to capacity at the new birth and to overflowing as we act according to its influence. Even the use of spirit as “wind” implies a liquidity, for air masses behave as a fluid, flowing from areas of higher to lower pressure. All this figurative language must be designed to point us to the truth that the spirit of God is the invisible power and influence of God. It comes into our lives to buoy us up, to help us, to comfort us, to unite us and anoint us for the work to which He has called us. As liquid seeks the lowest level, so the spirit of God comes to us in our lowly and needy state, beneath our sins and iniquities, our faults and our failures to lift us up to stand in all the grace and truth that Christ brought. 21. The “holy spirit” is clearly said to be given by God to men. A divine “person” cannot be given or bestowed by another divine person, because to be given is to be under the authority of another. If “the Holy Spirit” is co-equal with the Father, He cannot be under His authority. 22. By definition, the spirit of God is derived from God. What comes from God as its source cannot also be “God,” without the term “God” being reduced to a formless and incomprehensible abstraction. Nothing and no one can be both a source of a thing and the thing itself. 23. In biblical usage, “the Holy Spirit” is a synonymous term for “God.” In Acts 5:3, Peter says Ananias lied to “the Holy Spirit.” In verse 4 Peter says he lied to “God.” This is an example of the common Semitic parallelism of equivalent terms, and is not evidence that Ananias lied to two separate persons. If that were the case, why would verse 4 not say that Ananias lied to “the Father” instead of to “God.” Neither is this parallelism evidence that another divine person called “the Holy Spirit” is also “God” and therefore part of a triune “Godhead.” 24. “The holy spirit” is equivalent to “the power of the Most High,” as Luke 1:35 (NIV) clearly indicates by another use of parallelism (cp. Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 10:38; Rom. 15:13; Rom. 15:18 and 19; 1 Cor. 2:4 and 5). The context is the conception of Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:18 also records that Mary “was found to be with child through ‘the Holy Spirit.’” Yet all through the New Testament are references to the fact that God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. If “God” is “the Father,” and “the Holy Spirit” is also “the father” of the baby Jesus, there is a potential paternity suit. Trinitarianism leads to much unnecessary confusion by asserting a separate personality of “the Holy Ghost,” and cannot explain away the logical conclusion that according to that view the Son has two “Fathers,” or two separate persons fathering Jesus. 25. The “Holy Spirit” (properly “holy spirit”) is used synonymously and interchangeably with “the spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7; Phil. 1:19); “the spirit of the Lord” (Luke 4:18, etc.); “the spirit of his son” (Gal. 4:6); “the spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19). In this usage, “the spirit” is the mind and power of Jesus Christ, who fills and guides believers to do the will of God, his Father. He is, after all, the expert in how humans can be influenced to obey the will of God without coercion or intimidation. The following are examples of the interrelationship and interdependence between the Lord Jesus Christ and his “spirit.” a. Acts 13:2 says, “The Holy Spirit said, ‘Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.’” Later in Acts 16:6 (NIV), in the midst of the work Paul was called to, “the Holy Spirit” kept Paul and his companions from preaching in Asia. Verse 7 (NIV) says that the “spirit of Jesus” would not allow them to enter Bithynia. b. 2 Corinthians 3:17 and 18 says that the Lord (Jesus) is “the Spirit.” He has been invested with all spiritual authority and power to effectively carry out his responsibility as the Head of his body. By his “spirit” he is able to guide and direct his many servants (2 Cor. 12:8 and 9). c. Galatians 5:22 and 23 list the “fruit of the spirit” (the nature of Jesus Christ); John 15:5 says “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” d. We are sanctified by the spirit (2 Thess. 2:13); we are sanctified in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:2), whom God made to be sanctification for us (1 Cor. 1:30). e. The spirit of truth, holy spirit, is the counselor (parakletos); we have an advocate (parakletos) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). f. We are strengthened by the spirit in the inner man (Eph. 3:16); Christ dwells in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). g. We have access to the Father by the spirit (Eph. 2:18); in Christ and through faith in him we have access with confidence to God (Eph. 3:12). h. The spirit apportions to each one individually as he chooses (1 Cor. 12:11 – AMP); the Lord Jesus pours out the spirit (Acts 2:33) and gave some apostles, some prophets, etc. (Eph. 4:11). i. The spirit intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26); Christ Jesus intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34). j. The Spirit says to the churches… (Rev. 1:1); the revelation of Jesus Christ…to show to his servants (Rev. 2:7). 26. Many Trinitarians assert that “the Holy Spirit” comes and permanently dwells within a believer when he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior. But many also teach that the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer after he is born again. They also pray for “the Holy Spirit” to attend their meetings, and welcome “Him” to come as He desires. This puts them in the difficult position of having to explain how a Christian can have the person of “the Holy Spirit” simultaneously dwelling in him and coming and going from Christian meetings. The simple answer to this dilemma is that there are two usages of “the spirit” that must be distinguished. One is “the gift of God’s nature that is permanently received when a person is born again.” The other is “the power and influence of God” as He manifests His presence in His Creation (Gen. 1:1) and among His people (2 Chron. 5:14). In contrast to the permanent gift, this can wax and wane according to the faith of those present and the will of God in the situation. The gift of God’s nature, holy spirit, is not always being energized into manifestation. God, “the Holy Spirit,” (the Giver) energizes the spirit within believers as they act in faith (Acts 2:4). 27. John 7:39 says that the Holy Spirit was not yet given, and in Acts 1:4 and 5 (NIV) Jesus tells his disciples to wait for “the gift of my Father” that would come “in a few days.” If the Holy Spirit is a person, and He was present in the Old Testament, then how is it possible for Him to be spoken of as “not yet given.” It is also confusing to contemplate how the gift of a “person” is even possible, and the only answer Trinitarians can provide is that this is part of the “mystery” of the Trinity. This “mystery” is solved when we understand that the spirit of God we receive is not a separate person, but rather the gift of God to empower His people. In the Old Testament, this empowering was temporal, hence David could pray that it not be removed from him (Ps. 51:11). It was also measured out differently to different people, hence Elisha could pray to receive a “double portion” (2 Kings 2:9). It was not given to all, and therefore its presence was noteworthy (Gen. 41:38). Since Pentecost, when the spirit was said to have “come,” it is now in all believers permanently and without measure, as it had been given to Jesus Christ. He who had the spirit “without measure” (John 3:34), enabling him to do his Messianic work, poured out this same spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:33 – NIV). And it is he, the true Baptizer, who fills each believer who comes to him for salvation (Matt. 3:11; Eph. 1:23). 28. The only verse that would indicate that there might be three persons sharing one name is Matthew 28:19: “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” This verse is quoted in a different form by the early Church Fathers, notably Eusebius (d. 340), who quotes the verse at least 18 times as follows: “baptizing them in my name.” This agrees with the testimony of the Book of Acts and Paul’s epistles, which associate only the name of Jesus Christ with baptism. Even if the verse reads as found in modern versions today, it does not validate the “Holy Spirit” being a separate person from God. Arguments from Omission 29. The Holy Spirit is never worshiped as are the Father and the Son, neither does any verse of Scripture command such worship. This is surprising if the Holy Spirit is truly a co-equal and co-eternal member of a triune “God” worthy of worship. If “God” is worthy of worship, and “God” exists in three persons, then shouldn’t each “God” person be worthy of worship? Then why is this idea not found in the Scripture? 30. In the opening of their New Testament epistles, every one of the writers identifies himself with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, but not one does so with “the Holy Spirit.” If they were ignorant of the truth of a “tri-personal” God, and this truth constitutes the foundation of the Christian faith, then their apostleship was incomplete at best, and at worst they were teaching error. Their failure to clearly teach a three person Godhead proves the assertion that the doctrine of the tri-personal God and a third person in an eternal Godhead was not believed or practiced by the Apostles. In fact, the doctrine was not codified until the fourth century in the Athanasian creed. Since it was not believed nor practiced by the apostles, and the apostles were commissioned by the Lord Jesus himself, then it is logical to assert that the doctrine was not believed nor practiced by the Lord Jesus either. 31. Lacking sufficient Scriptural justification, the orthodox view of “the Holy Spirit” was fully developed in the fourth century after Christ and the Apostles, contemporaneously with the rise of Neoplatonic philosophy, which posited an abstract God “beyond being,” in which a variety of divine persons could be “one” in “essence.” This was basically a regurgitation of Gnostic philosophy, which had been vigorously opposed by the first century Apostles but later embraced by many of the “Church Fathers” who helped to establish “orthodoxy.” 32. In the Church Epistles, (Romans through Thessalonians), the Apostle Paul sends personal greetings from “God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” If “the Holy Spirit” were an integral and personal part of a triune Godhead, then why does “He” not send “His” personal greetings as well? The only good answer is that there is no such person, for as an inspired writer of Scripture, Paul was on intimate talking terms with God and the Lord Jesus. If there were a third person involved, wouldn’t Paul have surely known about it and included “Him” in his greetings to the churches? When Paul does include additional persons in his greetings, salutations and adjurations, he names “the elect angels,” not “the Holy Spirit” (1 Tim. 5:21; cp. Luke 9:26 and Rev. 3:5). 33. In the NIV translation, Philippians 2:1 and 2 refers to “fellowship with the Spirit,” yet 1 John 1:3 says that our fellowship is with “the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” Why is the Holy Spirit left out? A better translation of Philipians 2:1 is the King James Version, which renders the phrase “fellowship of the spirit,” pointing to the fellowship among believers who share a common spirit and who therefore ought to be able to get along with each other. 34. In the eternal city of Revelation 21 and 22, both God and Jesus Christ are prominently featured. Each is pictured as sitting on his throne (Rev. 22:1). If “the Holy Spirit” is a “co-eternal” member of a triune Godhead, it is strange indeed that He seems to have no seat of authority on the final throne. This is consistent with the biblical truth that there is one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, and no such separate person known as “the Holy Spirit. By restoring the Father to His unique and singular position as God, we give Him all the worship, credit, respect, and awe He deserves as the One True God. By restoring Christ to his position as the man accredited by God, the only-begotten Son of the Father, the Last Adam, the one who could have sinned but voluntarily stayed obedient, the one who could have given up but loved us so much that he never quit, the one whom God highly exalted to be our Lord, we give Jesus Christ all the worship, credit, respect, and awe that he deserves, and we can draw great strength and determination from his example.
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