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”). [1] 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. [2] 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). [3] 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.” [4] 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] 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. [6] 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]. [7] 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].” [1] 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” [1] 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.)

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