Seeing Things in Context Continued


       altScripture #8:  Jude 1:4-5: For certain men have secretly slipped in among you – men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Verse 5: Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe (NET).

       The NET translators, as do the ESV translators, show Jesus as the one who saved the people out of the land of Egypt.  They have chosen this rendering because the Greek Iēsous (Jesus) appears in a small number of early Greek renderings of verse 5.  The majority of Greek manuscripts have Kurios (Lord) and some have Theos (God).  Most English translations appear to use manuscripts that have Kurios and thus show the Lord as having saved the people.  It is sometimes argued that because Jude initially refers to Jesus Christ as Lord, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is being referred to as the one who saved the people out of Egypt.  We know from the OT that it was YHWH who delivered the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 20:2). 

       I think I have sufficiently demonstrated in the material already presented that YHWH is the Father and only the Father and Jesus, the Son, is not YHWH.  Therefore, I will not cover that same ground again.  Scholars have clearly demonstrated that there are many variants in the Greek Biblical manuscripts where scribes involved in copying the manuscripts changed wording to reflect a particular theological point of view.  A number of references to Jesus have been altered to show Him to be God.  A must read for anyone interested in the dynamics associated with these alterations is the book, The Orthodox Corruption Of Scripture by Bart D Ehrman.   

      Since the majority of Greek manuscripts do not have Iēsous in Jude 1:5, and since we know it is YHWH who delivered the Israelites out of Egypt and since I believe I have adequately demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate that Jesus is not YHWH, I will have to conclude that when Jude writes of the Lord delivering His people he is speaking of God the Father.   I will also have to conclude that the NET and ESV translators of Jude are choosing Greek manuscripts that represent their conviction Jesus is God and are not taking into account the whole of Scripture in establishing their theology.  

       Scripture #9: Acts 20:28: Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God (Theos), which he bought with his own blood (NIV).

       Since it is Jesus who shed His blood, some believe this passage says God shed his blood and so Jesus must be God.  Some Greek manuscripts substitute Kurios for Theos in this passage and thus render the passage as “church of the Lord.”  The ASV apparently used a Greek text showing Kurios instead of Theos.

       Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood (ASV).

       It should be noted that “church of the Lord (Kurios)” is a variant rendering as it is evident that Theos is the word found in the oldest Greek manuscripts and “church of the Lord” is found nowhere else in the NT whereas “church of God” is found twelve times and is also attested too in the writings of the early church fathers.  The NASV has changed the rendering to “church of God.”

       Some commentators have pointed out that the literal translation of the Greek at the end of this passage is “with the blood of his own.”  The phrase “his own” is felt to be a reference to the Son and therefore the passage is sometimes translated as “with the blood of His own Son.”  

       Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son (RSV)

       Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son (NET).

       As can be seen, there are several different ways of translating this passage depending on the Greek manuscript used and the manner in which the Greek construction is understood.  The “church of God” rendering is found in the older Alexandrian texts.  New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman believes the variant readings found in Greek texts are a reflection of the continuing battle in the early centuries of the Church over how to understand the relationship between the Father and the Son.  There were the Adoptionists who believed Jesus was not deity and became the Son of God during His earthly ministry.  On the opposite end were the Patripassians (type of Modalism) who believed God was only the Father and this God who is Father took on humanity and appeared as Jesus Christ to shed His blood for the sins of mankind. 

       Ehrman believes the textual variant of “church of the Lord” was an attempt to moderate the Patripassian view that God the Father became Jesus and shed his blood.  Some later Greek manuscripts are seen to further adjust the passage to read “the church of the Lord and God.”  In the oldest Greek manuscripts, the end of this passage is rendered “the blood of his own” while in later texts, including most modern Greek texts, the rendering is “his own blood” thus making “his own” refer back to God.  What it appears we are seeing is that over the centuries, copiers (scribes) of the Greek text made adjustments of the Greek text to reflect what those in positions of Church leadership promoted as orthodox.  What appears to be the case, as Ehrman points out, is that at times adjustments were made one way and at other times adjustments were made the other way in order to counter what were considered unorthodox teachings.

        In the case of Acts 20:28, it appears that “church of God” and “the blood of his own” is what the author intended as this is the rendering found in many of the oldest manuscripts and is also in harmony with other Scriptures.  This would permit the passage to say that God purchased the church through the shedding of the blood of His own Son.  This would harmonize well with I John 1:7 where God's Son Jesus is seen as shedding His blood for sin.  Yet in most of the more recent Greek texts, we see the rending “his own blood.”  This appears to be a deliberate “adjustment” to support the idea that the reference to God in this passage is a reference to Jesus and therefore tacitly provides support for Incarnational and Trinitarian theology. 

       All this raises the obvious question as to how much orthodoxy influenced the transmission of Scripture versus Scripture being allowed to influence and determine orthodoxy?  This is a very delicate dynamic and it should instruct us to be very careful in how Scripture is used to establish doctrine, especially a doctrine as foundational as the nature of the Father, Son and Spirit.  It is very apparent that Greek texts differ in their rendering of certain passages and English and other language translations taken from such Greek texts will reflect such differences.  Historically, translators have had to make choices as to what texts to use.  It is evident from the variance seen in renderings that choices are often made on the basis of what is orthodox theology at the time.  This, however, does not ensure that the rendering chosen is that which best reflects the thinking of the original author.

       Scripture #10: 1 Timothy 3:16: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory (KJV).

       The KJV translation of this passage suggests Jesus is God as it speaks of God (Theos) being manifest in the flesh and we know it is Jesus who was manifested in the flesh.  Theos is found in a Greek Byzantine text along with a few other Greek manuscripts.  The King James translators apparently used these texts in providing this rendering. 

       This rendering is sometimes used by Trinitarians as a “proof text” to show that Jesus is God.  Yet the oldest Greek Manuscripts do not show Theos but a different Greek construction that doesn’t say God was manifest in the flesh, but say “he” or “who,” was manifest in the flesh.  Most scholars believe this is referring to the Christ who was manifest in the flesh.  In ancient Greek manuscripts, copyists abbreviated the word Theos (God) with the Greek letter's theta and sigma with a line drawn over the top to indicate it was an abbreviation. The Greek theta looks like a o with a line running horizontally through the middle (θ).  In the early fifth century manuscript called Codex Alexandrinus, it was determined that the o in this passage did not have a line running through it and the line above it had been added at a later time.  This meant the letter was not theta but omicron which when combined with sigma means who or he.  Most modern translations render this passage using the word “He” as referring to Christ as seen in the following renditions.

       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).

       And we all agree, our religion contains amazing revelation: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory (NET).

       Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed: He was made visible in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory (New Jerusalem Bible).

       Even though the New Jerusalem translation was made by Catholic scholars who are Trinitarians, they chose to use Greek texts they felt were closer to the original even if it didn’t necessarily support Trinitarian doctrine as do the texts used by the KJV translators. The Simple English paraphrased Bible says it this way:

       We must agree that the secret of our faith is great:  Christ appeared in a human body.  He was shown to be right by the Spirit.  He was seen by angels.  He was preached among the nations.  He was believed in the world.  He was taken up to heaven.

       Trinitarian theologian Thomas F Torrance writes that this passage “came to play a central and important role in formulating the doctrine of the Trinity” (The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons, page 74).  This is felt to be the case because Paul speaks of the “mystery of godliness” which is believed to relate to the Trinitarian nature of God.  Is Paul talking about the Trinitarian nature of God?  Paul writes that Christ appeared in a human body which is to say the anointed of God was a human.  He manifested righteousness in all He did and said which is what the Greek word translated “vindicated” in the NIV and justified in the KJV means.  Angels ministered unto him at the time of His temptation in the wilderness and in the garden of Gethsemane.  He was preached among the nations and many believed in Him.  He ascended to his God and Father. There is nothing here to suggest Jesus is God as God is God or that God is a Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit.

       The Greek word translated mystery in this passage is mystrion.  It does not mean something that can’t be understood but something that is understood as private knowledge held by an individual or group.  The discussion in 1 Timothy chapter three is all about qualifications to be an elder or deacon in the Church of God.  This information was private to the internal structure of the Church and had to do with how potential leaders in the Church were to relate to God. 

       The Greek word translated “godliness” in the KJV and NIV is eusebeia which means devotion and piety toward God.  Paul is concluding his discussion of qualifications for elders and deacons by saying the knowledge of devotion and piety is great.  He proceeds to list various dynamics of the Christ event as demonstration of this knowledge of devotion and piety.  This passage has nothing to do with defining God as a Trinity.

       Scripture #11: Matthew 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

       Trinitarians often point to Matthew 28:19 as proof of the Trinitarian nature of God.    Trinitarians believe these statements show a mutual indwelling of Father, Son and Spirit which makes them the one single Being God.  Jesus is understood to be saying “in the name of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” 

      Matthew 28:19 is commonly used as a baptismal protocol in the Christian community. What is of interest is that this baptismal protocol is not found to have been used by the early Church.  All Scriptural references to baptism show baptism being done only in the name of Jesus. Here are a few examples:

       Acts 2:38: Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

       Acts 10:48: So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

       Acts 19:5: On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

       One reason we see the early church not following the baptismal protocol found in Matthew 28:19 may be that this formula was never uttered by Jesus.  Eusebius (260 to 340 AD), Bishop of Caesarea, was a prolific writer of church history up to his time and often quoted Scripture in his writings including Matthew 28:19.  Eusebius never quotes Matthew 28:19 as it appears in modern translations but always finishes this verse with “in my name.”  He shows Jesus saying that baptism was to be done in His name.  Eusebius was quoting from manuscripts that are no longer extant.  Our modern translations are taken from later Greek manuscripts.  In view of this and the Scriptures repeatedly showing baptism being only done in the name of Jesus, it would appear that the baptismal protocol found in modern translations of Matthew 28:19 is suspect.  On the other hand, there is mention of this protocol in the Didache, a manual of Christian living which dates from the early second century and which was regarded as canonical Scripture by Clement of Alexandria and Origen. 

       In view of a mixed perspective as to the authenticity and application of the Matthew 28:19 passage, it should be used with caution in the establishment of doctrine.  Since this passage has to do with the doctrine of baptism, any application of this passage to other doctrinal perspectives should be done with even greater caution.  Therefore, the use of this passage as a “proof text” for the Trinity can only be employed provided there is ample support for the Trinitarian position within the whole of Scripture.  In this series of essays, I have amply demonstrated that such broad Scriptural support for the Trinity does not exist, while on the other hand, I believe I have demonstrated that there is broad Scriptural support for a non-Trinitarian position.

       Even if the Matthew 28:19 passage is a valid recording of a protocol Christ gave relative to baptism, such baptism protocol doesn’t establish the Father, Son and Spirit as coequal, coeternal and consubstantial indwelling distinctions of a Trinitarian God.  In fact, it may establish just the opposite. Three distinctive entities are named here. The Father is first named and we know the Father is shown to be God throughout the Scriptures. The phrase God the Father is used repeatedly in the NT. Secondly, the Son is named. The Son is shown throughout the NT to be the Son of God.  The Son is never referred to as God the Son. The Holy Spirit is shown throughout the NT as being the power of God which is disseminated through the Son and further disseminated by the Son to us.  The Holy Spirit is always referred to as the Spirit of God. It is never referred as God the Spirit.  

       Scripture #12: 2nd Corinthians 13:14:  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

       Trinitarians see this passage as identifying God as Father, Son and Spirit.  Is this the case?  It can be seen throughout his writings that Paul uses the word God to designate the Father and the word Father to designate God. So it can safely be said that in this passage Paul is distinguishing between the Lord Jesus and God the Father as he does in 1 Corinthians 8:6 where he clearly says the Father is the only God in distinction from Jesus being Lord.  

       In 1 Timothy 5:21, Paul says, “I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels….”   No one would conclude from this statement that God, Jesus Christ and angels are in some kind of Trinitarian relationship.  Therefore, it appears a real stretch to conclude Paul’s remarks to the Corinthians in 13:14 reflects his belief God is a Trinity.  Sometimes 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 is used as evidence for God being a Trinity. 

       1 Corinthians 12:4-6: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.    

       This entire chapter is dealing with the gifts of the Spirit.  Verse four speaks of the Spirit as being from God and it is through the Spirit that is from God that various gifts are seen as given to members of the Church.  In Part Twenty-Three of this series of essays it will be shown that the Spirit is the power and intrinsic attributes of the one and only God which He shares and distributes throughout his creation.  As such, the Spirit is not a distinction of a Trinitarian Godhead but the very core of God’s nature.

       When one carefully examines Scriptures that are purported to give evidence to support the Trinitarian concept of God, it can be seen that these Scriptures do not provide such evidence.  When these Scriptures are examined side by side with the many passages we have studied that provide straightforward, unambiguous evidence as to the Father being the one and only Supreme God, it should be apparent that the weight of Scriptural evidence clearly shows God the Father as separate and superior to the Son and the Son as a subservient agent of this God.        

       Scripture #13: John 12:40-41: He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him (NIV) (Most translations say "saw his glory" which is how the Greek reads)

       Trinitarians believe John’s statement about Isaiah seeing Jesus’ glory is associated with Isaiah seeing the glory of YHWH as recorded in Isaiah chapter six. Therefore, it is believed Jesus is identified as YHWH.

       Isaiah 6:1-3: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord (Adonai) seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD (YHWH) Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

       Isaiah 6:9-10: He said, "Go and tell this people: "`Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."     

     Let us examine the text of Isaiah chapter 6 from where John quotes Isaiah and determine whether the conclusion that Isaiah is seeing YHWH as Jesus is a valid conclusion.

     Isaiah 6:1: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord (Adonai) seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

       Isaiah, during the reign of King Uzziah of Judah, had a vision of Adonai, which is seen throughout the OT as synonymous with YHWH.  To say Adonai is to say YHWH.  In 6:2-3 and 5, YHWH is clearly identified as the Being seen by Isaiah.  It is recorded that seraphim were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD (YHWH) Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  In 6:8, Isaiah hears the voice of YHWH asking “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”   Isaiah answers: “Here am I. Send me!”  We then see YHWH giving to Isaiah the message He wants Isaiah to take to the people of Judah as recorded in 6:9-10.

       The context of Isaiah 6 is Isaiah seeing the glory of YHWH and responding to YHWH’s request for someone to go to the people of Judah and tell them it is because of their ever hearing and never understanding and ever seeing and never perceiving, that their cities will be destroyed.  Isaiah volunteers to take this message to Judah.  Biblical history shows the Babylonians invaded Judah and destroyed their cities and took them into captivity.  In John 12:40, John paraphrases Isaiah’s quote of YHWH’s message to the people and applies it to the Israelites of Jesus’ day.  History shows first century Israel was judged when the temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 and many were taken into captivity.   

       Because John paraphrases Isaiah 6:9-10 and goes on to say, “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' (his in the Greek) glory and spoke about him,” it is believed Isaiah was seeing the glory of Jesus when he speaks of seeing the glory of YHWH in Isaiah 6:1.  Did Isaiah record what God said in 9-10 because he saw the glory of YHWH?  No, he did not.  Is there an association between Isaiah seeing the glory of YHWH in 6:1 and John saying Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory?  No there is not and here is why:

       When John writes that “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him,” John is not alluding to Isaiah 6:1.  Isaiah did not see the glory of Jesus in 6:1. Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus in Isaiah 53.  John is referring back to what Isaiah said in Isaiah 53:1 which John quotes in John 12:38.  It is in Isaiah 53 where Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus.

       John 12:38b: Lord who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  

       Isaiah 53:1: Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD (YHWH) been revealed.

       It is John’s quote of Isaiah 53:1 in John 12:38 that is associated with John’s statement in 12:41 when he said, “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.”  It is in Isaiah 53 where Isaiah sees the glory of Jesus and speaks about Him.  Isaiah 53 is an overview of the first coming of Christ.  In this chapter, Isaiah writes about Christ growing up, being despised and rejected by men, taking on himself our infirmities, being pierced for our transgressions, oppressed and afflicted and being led like a lamb to the slaughter.  Isaiah writes that upon completing His sufferings, Christ is glorified in that He receives life and a portion among the great. 

       It is in Isaiah 53 that the prophet speaks about Jesus and sees His glory.  John 12:38, is a direct quote from Isaiah 53:1.  Because it is in Isaiah 53 that Isaiah sees the glory of Jesus and speaks about Him, it should be evident John’s statement in 12:41 is associated with Isaiah 53 and not Isaiah 6:1

       Rather than John 12:41 showing Jesus is YHWH, it shows just the opposite.  Isaiah 53 shows Jesus as the suffering servant of YHWH and not that Jesus is YHWH.  Isaiah 53:1 speaks of the arm of the LORD (YHWH).  Isaiah 53:2 speaks of Christ growing up before him.  Who is the “him”?  The “him” is YHWH who is referred to in verse one.  The arm of YHWH is Christ.  In Isaiah 53:4 we read “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God (’ĕ·lō·hîm), stricken by him, and afflicted.” Jesus is seen as being punished by God. If Jesus is God, we have God punishing God. In Isaiah 53:10, the prophet writes the following:

       Isaiah 53:10: Yet it was the LORD's (YHWH’s) will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD (YHWH) makes  his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD (YHWH) will prosper in his hand.

       Isaiah is showing it was YHWH’s will to crush Jesus and make His life a guilt offering and that the will of YHWH will prosper in his hand.  If Jesus is YHWH, this passage makes no sense whatsoever. In Isaiah 53:11 YHWH is seen as referring to Jesus as His righteous servant and in 53:12 YHWH is seen as giving Jesus a portion among the great. These passages clearly show Jesus as a servant of YHWH God and not that Jesus is YHWH God. 

       Isaiah is showing YHWH as the God of Jesus and not that Jesus is YHWH.  Isaiah 53 offers strong evidence that Jesus is not YHWH but the servant of YHWH through whom YHWH’s will is carried out.

       Scripture #14:  Jeremiah 23:5-6: "The days are coming," declares the LORD (YHWH), "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD (YHWH) Our Righteousness.

       The righteous branch of David is generally believed to be a reference to Christ. Therefore, it is believed Christ is being called “The Lord (YHWH) Our Righteousness,” and therefore Christ is YHWH.  Since the Trinitarian God is seen as the one God YHWH and is an indwelling of Father, Son and Spirit, this passage is seen as YHWH the Father speaking about YHWH the Son in a Trinitarian relationship of Father, Son and Spirit.

       Is this passage of Scripture saying Christ is YHWH?  We have YHWH declaring He will raise up to David a righteous branch who will be called “The Lord (YHWH) Our Righteousness.”  Under the Trinitarian perspective we would have to conclude YHWH the Father is raising up YHWH the Son as a righteous branch of David.  In view of all we have already covered showing how Jesus is the agent of YHWH the Father; it is much more congruent with the rest of Scripture to see Christ called “Lord (YHWH) Our Righteousness” as a title showing He is the representative of YHWH Elohim and not Himself YHWH Elohim. This would be similar to Christ being called Emanuel (God with us) where Christ wasn’t literally God but was God’s representative as we discussed earlier.

       Something or someone being called a certain name doesn’t mean they are literally what that name signifies.  In Jeremiah 33:16, Jerusalem is called, “The LORD (YHWH) Our Righteousness.”  Jerusalem is not literally YHWH. Jerusalem is called “The LORD (YHWH) Our Righteousness” because YHWH would display His righteousness there in the person of Christ Jesus.  This doesn’t make Jerusalem or Jesus YHWH but the vehicle through which YHWH’s righteousness is revealed.

        The OT shows many titles for YHWH and these titles are used by OT characters in many ways to show YHWH’s involvement in their lives.  Abraham called the mountain upon which he was going to sacrifice Isaac, “The Lord (YHWH) will provide” (Genesis 22:14). Obviously, the mountain wasn’t YHWH.  Moses built an altar and called it “the LORD (YHWH) is my banner” (Exodus 17:15). Obviously, the altar wasn’t YHWH.  Gideon built an altar and called it “The Lord (YHWH) is our peace” (Judges 6:24). The altar wasn’t YHWH.

       Scripture reveals Jesus is the righteousness of YHWH and not that Jesus is YHWH. Jesus was a reflection of the perfect righteousness that characterizes YHWHThe name "Lord (YHWH) Our Righteousness" appears to simply be a title given to Christ to reflect the righteousness given to Christ by God. That this appears to be the case is strongly suggested by what Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians. 

        1 Corinthians 1:30 It is because of him (God) that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

       This proclamation by Paul is seen by scholars as a reference to Jeremiah 23:5-6.  As is true in much of Paul's writings, he identifies God as Father (1 Corinthians 1:3). Christ is seen as becoming wisdom (righteousness, holiness and redemption) through God the Father. As seen throughout this discussion, Christ is the agent of God the Father who represents all the dynamics of God's character.  This, however, does not mean Jesus is YHWH God. 

       Scripture #15: 1 Timothy 1:17: Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

       Some believe because he is addressing “the King,” Paul is identifying Jesus as the "only God" in this passage.  Is this the case?  Paul begins his letter to Timothy by saying, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope” (Verse one) Paul distinguishes between God as savior and Christ Jesus as our hope.  In verse two, Paul again distinguishes between God and Christ when he writes, “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”  In verse eleven Paul speaks of the “glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” 

       As previously discussed, Paul, in his writings, identifies the Father as the one and only God.  Also, as previously discussed, Scripture identifies God the Father as King and the facilitator of salvation through His anointed agent Christ Jesus.  In Colossians chapter one it is God the Father who is seen as invisible.  Jesus, in speaking of the Father, shows Him to be invisible when He said that no man has seen God at any time.

       In view of the foregoing, there is every reason to believe Paul is speaking of God the Father as the only God in 1 Timothy 1:17.  Paul’s statement appears to be another one of his doxologies.  As discussed in our review of Romans 9:5, doxologies are closing statements, hymns or prayers directed to the praise of God.  Rather than 1 Timothy 1:17 identifying Jesus as God, it is further establishing Paul’s understanding that it is the Father who is the one and only God.

        Scripture #16:  Hebrews 11:26: He (Moses) regarded disgrace (Greek oneidismos) for the sake  of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (NIV).

       Because of the manner in which this passage is rendered in some translations such as the NIV, it is argued that if Moses suffered disgrace for the sake of Christ, Christ must have been already in existence as the Son of God. However, the Greek oneidismos, translated "disgrace" in the NIV means "reproach" and is so rendered in most translations.  The writer is saying Moses suffered the reproach of Christ which is to say Moses experienced suffering just as Christ experienced suffering in anticipation of something much greater to be achieved.

       Hebrews 12:2: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

       Moses was willing to set aside the power and influence he had in Egypt and endure the shame and disgrace of having to escape from Egypt.  In this respect he suffered reproach just as Christ did in Christ having to set aside the power God had given Him and suffer the shame and disgrace of the cross. 

       In 13:12-13, the writer clearly shows the reproach Christ suffered is the suffering he experienced in going to the cross. In like manner, Moses suffered reproach (suffering) in having to leave Egypt and live in the wilderness.

       Hebrews 13:12-13: And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace (oneidismos) he bore.

       The NKJV renders the 11:26 passage in the following manner. 

       Hebrews 11:26: esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he (Moses) looked to the reward.

       The writer is simply paralleling the reproach Moses suffered with the reproach Christ suffered.  There is nothing here to suggest that Christ existed at the time of Moses.

       Scripture # 17: 1 Peter 1:10-11: Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.

       Because the writer speaks of it being the Spirit of Christ in the prophets that pointed to the sufferings of Christ, some believe this proves Christ must have existed during the time of the prophets. It must be noted, however, that to say one has the spirit of Christ is the same as saying one has the Spirit of God. Scripture reveals Jesus was given by the Father a full measure of The Father's Spirit from the time of His birth. In Peter saying the Spirit of Christ was in the prophets is to say the same Spirit that was given to Christ (The Spirit of God the Father) was also in the prophets.  This passage in 1 Peter can hardly be used as a "proof text" for the existence of Christ during the time of the prophets.  

       Scripture #18: Ephesians 5:5:  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.        

       Some believe this passage identifies Jesus as God because it speaks of the kingdom of Christ and of God.   Since it is believed there is only one kingdom and such kingdom is commonly called the Kingdom of God in Scripture, it is concluded Christ must be God. 

       It is clear that Jesus speaks of having a kingdom as we see recorded in several Gospels and other Scriptural passages. Does this mean Jesus is God?

       Luke 22:28-30: You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  

       John 18:36: Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."         

       Hebrews 1:8: But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.

       1 Timothy 4:1: In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:       

       Colossians 1:13: For he (God the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.

       2 Peter 1:10-11: Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

       Revelation 3:21: To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.       

       So, while it is true that the Son of God is given and has a kingdom and even shares His kingdom with His disciples as we saw in Luke 22:28-30, that kingdom is conferred upon Jesus by the Father and for all intents and purposes is the Kingdom of the Most High God.  While Christ speaks of being a king and having a kingdom, He also speaks of it being the Father’s kingdom. We see this in what Jesus said at the Last Supper before He was arrested.

       Matthew 26:29: I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom.”

       Jesus’ statement in Matthew 26:29 is very telling.  He is alluding to the time He will have come in His Kingdom and yet He speaks of it as being the Kingdom of His Father.  In Revelation 12:10, the writer speaks of the kingdom being of God and the authority of His Christ.  Christ is seen as the agent of God in exercising the authority of the kingdom.     

       Revelation 12:10: Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. 

       It should also be noted that in the Sermon on the Mount, in what has become known as "the Lord's prayer"  (Matthew 6:9-10), Jesus instructs his listeners to pray to the Father and ask of the Father that His (the Father's) kingdom come and His (the Father's) will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Here we see the kingdom as being of the Father with its apparent seat of authority in heaven. It's instructive that it is the Father's kingdom concerning which the disciples of Christ are told to pray that it come and not the Kingdom of Christ. In Matthew 6:33 of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs His listeners to seek the Father's kingdom above all else. In Matthew 13:43, Jesus speaks of the righteous shining like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father,

       In 1 Corinthians 15:24, we see that after Christ accomplishes all that the Father has willed that He accomplish, Jesus hands over to the Father the Kingdom the Father conferred on Him.

       1 Corinthians 15:24, 28: Then the end will come, when he (Christ) hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

       Verse 28: When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.  

       It should be obvious from the foregoing Scriptures that the Kingdom is of God the Father. It is the Kingdom of the Father and Christ the Son of the Father possesses the kingdom at the Father's pleasure. Christ is seen as the Kingdom's administrator under the overall authority of the Father who is the Most High God to whom Jesus is subject to as pointed out by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. Therefore, if Ephesians 5:5 shows anything at all about the relationship between Christ and God, it shows God and Christ to be separate entities in speaking of "the kingdom of "Christ and of God."

       Scripture #19: 1 John 5:7: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one (KJV, NKJV).

       This passage is first found in manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate which was a fourth century translation of the Greek NT into Latin.  In the Greek manuscripts that contain this passage it appears it was translated from the Latin into the Greek.  It is not found in any manuscripts that predate the Vulgate.  It was these post Vulgate Greek manuscripts that translators used to produce the KJV, NKJV and other English translations.  Therefore, this passage is found in these English versions of the NT.   Scholars have since determined this passage is a deliberate scribal insertion into the NT text in an apparent effort to give Scriptural support to the doctrine of the Trinity.  This passage is no longer included in translations of John’s epistle (See NIV, RSV, ASV, NET, ESV, etc.). 

      Scripture #20: John 1:15 & 30:  John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'"

       Verse 30:  John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'"

       Jesus was born six months after John the Baptist was born (Luke 1:24-31).  John speaks of Jesus being before him.  It is asked how Jesus could be before John when he was actually born after John was born.  John’s statement about Jesus being before Him is seen as showing Jesus must have existed before His human birth.  How else could Jesus, who was born after John, be said to be before John?

       This conclusion is based on the assumption that in John saying Jesus was before him he must have meant Jesus existed before him. It could just as easily be concluded that John is speaking of Jesus being of a higher rank than John. This conclusion is more in line with how John describes Jesus as compared to himself as recorded in Mark, chapter one.

       Mark 1:7: And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  

       The Greek word rendered “before” in the phrase “because he was before me” is protos. Greek lexicons define this word as to be foremost in time, place, order or importance.  This word appears 100 times in the NT narrative and is often seen to show somebody or something as being first. Luke often uses it in the Book of Acts to signify someone of prominence (See Acts 13:50, 17:4, 25:2, 28:7).  Therefore, to assume that John used this word to say Jesus existed before him is assuming the thing to be proved. 

       In view of John seeing Jesus as being more powerful than himself and in view of how the Greek protos is primarily used in the NT narrative, it is much more reasonable to believe John was seeing Jesus as being first in rank and authority over John and not that he is seeing Jesus as preexisting him. 

       How did John the Baptist perceive and identify Jesus?  He identifies Him as the one sent by God to reveal the Father as the one God (John 1:18).  John identifies Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).  He also identifies Jesus as the Son of God (John 1:34).  There is no indication in any of this that John the Baptist perceived Jesus as preexisting His human birth let alone being God in the flesh.