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Trinitarian Doctrine

Discussion in 'Paterology, Christology & Pneumatology' started by jbenjesus, Mar 7, 2002.

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  1. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

    165
    +0
    Christian
    I don't see anything wrong with calling someone brother, whether they are truly are in the kingdom or not. If not, then it's a faith confession for that person. If they are in the kingdom then they are my brother.

    I have not tried to attack you personally Zone. I am addressing the original question you asked me in the first post of this thread. I am addressing the confounding issues that arise when you hold to a 3 person God.

    Jesus is my Lord and my God.

    The One who redeemed me from the curse of sin.

    I worship none other, for there is no other, than Jesus only.
     
  2. A Sheep

    A Sheep Stop the suffering in Iraq

    +1
    OT TRINITY:

    Rebuttal attempts by unitarian in red.

    Let's assemble the data:
    Criterion One: The statements and creedal formulae that there is only ONE God, will have enough specificity to eliminate false gods, but enough ambiguity to 'allow' for multiple personalities within the ONE God. Obviously, the best place to look for this data will be in the arguments of the Unitarians (some Christians, Jews, Moslems).


    Data element One: The use of the "composite unity" word for 'one' in the Shema of Deut 6.4-5.

    This is the famous Shema: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one." There are two words for 'one' in Biblical Hebrew: 'ehad (composite unity--one made up of parts) and yahidh (uniqueness-only one of its kind). This verse is sometimes used by groups within the Jewish tradition to assert the numerical unity of God, over against what they perceive as a 'Christian' notion of plurality-in-unity. But this verse actually does the opposite. Instead of using YAHIDH, which MIGHT be of some support to their position, it uses 'EHAD, which lends itself to the plurality position. Consider some other passages in which 'EHAD is used:

    Gen 2.24--the man and his wife will be one (ehad) flesh--clearly a composite unity.
    Ex 26:6, 11--the fifty gold clasps are used to hold the curtains together so that the tent would be a unit (ehad).
    2 Samuel 2:25--many soldiers made themselves into 'one group' (ehad)
    Gen 34:16 --the men of Shechem suggest intermarriage with Jacob's children in order to become 'one(ehad) people'.
    Joshua 9.2 -- the western kings agree to fight Joshua as "one (ehad) force"
    Josh 10.42-- "And Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one (ehad) time" (NAS) or "All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one (ehad) campaign" (NIV)
    Ex 24.3 --"Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one (ehad) voice, and said"
    2 Chr 5.12--"and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets 13 in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one (ehad) voice to praise and to glorify the Lord"
    Gen 11.6--"And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one (ehad) people, and they all have the same language."
    The point here is that IF a strict UniTx was intended, THEN this passage would not use such a misleading word for 'one'. (cf. TWOT: s.v. "It stresses unity while recognizing diversity within that oneness.")

    Data element Two: the use of the plural 'Elohim' for God, INSTEAD of 'El' (the singular form)--WITH singular verbs and pronouns.

    This has been generally explained as a 'plural of majesty' or 'singular of intensity' . But all the related ANE cultures use the singular form "El" without a single case of 'Elohim'--there are no ANE parallels to support this usage. If this incipient plurality-in-unity was either an implication of religious experience (e.g. "we experience Him as multiple-agents in One God") or simply a revelation, THEN there would be no better way to 'say it' in the text than Elohim(plural)+verb(singular)! (see TWOT, s.v. 'Elohim').

    [Two additional notes on the Shema: (1)I personally find it VERY suggestive that the Shema uses the plural Elohim in it, giving a rough structure like this: "Hear O Israel: YHWH (sg) [is] ELOHIM(pl) of us; YHWH(sg) [is] a UNITY(composite sg)." This might have been a subtle corrective to popular tendencies to make YHWH, the Angel of YHWH, and the Spirit of YHWH into SEPARATE deities, instead of a united-Godhead. (2) I personally think the passage is about the UNIQUENESS/Distinctiveness of God, instead of His unity--rendering the sense of the passage more along the lines of "the LORD is OUR God; the Lord is our ONLY God." 'Ehad means this in a number of passages such as I Chr 29.1; II Sam 7.23; Ezk 33.24.]

    But although this might be suggestive, I cannot give it too much weight. The standard Hebrew grammars point out that plural nouns with singular verbs, in honorific contexts, can also be applied to humans [BHS:122f, 7.4.3b-d]:

    "Humans may be referred to with honorific plurals, chiefly 'master' (not 'husband') and 'lord':

    q"The ox knows its owner, the donkey its master's manger" (Is 1.3)

    q"Wisdom preserves the life of its possessor." (Ecc 7.12)

    q"Our lord, King David, has made Solomon king." (1 Kgs 1.43)


    But it still remains suggestive, because of its "odd" use relative to other deities:

    "Most honorific plurals in the Bible involve the God of Israel, and the most common of these is elohim, used about twenty-five hundred times. When used of the God of Israel, this term usually takes singular agreement; when used of various gods, it takes plural agreement."


    Again, this is HIGHLY ambiguous and SOMEWHAT suggestive, in favor of a 'Pluri-tarian' view.


    Data element Three: the strange 'us' passages in Gen 1.26, 3:22, 11.7; Is 6.8.

    Gen 1.26: Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,
    Gen 3.22: And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us,
    Gen 11.7: Come, let us go down and confuse their language
    Is 6.8: Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
    These passages have been the subject of TONS of writings and analysis. The standard non-plurality understandings of these passages use the angelic 'hosts of heaven' as the 'us'. God includes the angelic court in His use of the word 'us' (perhaps like the 1 Kgs 22 passage--which DOESN'T USE the 'us' word though!)--cf. Oswalt, NICOT in loc.
    The main reason I reject this view is that God nowhere 'shares' this work with others. So Grogran (EBC, Is 6.8):

    There are, of course, many biblical passages that picture God surrounded by the heavenly hosts. Not one of these, however (unless the present passage is an exception), suggest that he, the omniscient and all-wise God, called on them for advice or even identified them with him in some way in his utterance...In a context that speaks both of waters and mountains (and so of nature) and of nations (and so, by implication, of history), the Lord refutes the notion that he consulted others (Is 40:13-14). The plural, therefore, suggests either the divine majesty or that fullness of his being that was to find its ultimate theological expression in the doctrine of the Trinity.

    It is interesting that even the Rabbi's recognized that Gen 1.26 was support for the triunity of God. In the Midrash Rabbah on Genesis:

    Rabbi Samuel bar Nahman in the name of Rabbi Jonathan said, that at the time when Moses wrote the Torah; writing a portion of it daily, when he came to this verse which says, "And Elohim said let us make man in our image after our likeness," Moses said, Master of the Universe why do you give herewith an excuse to the sectarians (who believe in the triunity of God)? God answered Moses, You write and whoever wants to err let him err.

    Also, there is a long passage in the Talmud (Jers., Ber. 12d, 13a) dealing with the problems of the singular-plural combinations in single texts; most explanations of which are really non-answers. The participants in the discussion point out several such verses, including Josh 24.19--"for He is a holy (plural) God"!


    Summary: The three data elements above show that there ARE passages in which the UNITY of God is affirmed BUT WITH the requisite ambiguity to suggest plurality-in-unity. In other words, the character of the data--making word and grammatical choices suggestive of plurality--indicates a probability of the trinitarian 'hypothesis".



    Criterion Two: Statements of manifestations of God will include a set of events in which the manifestation of God INTERACTS with God ( in a way suggestive of separate personality) AND a set of events (with perhaps some overlap) in which the manifestation of God is CALLED 'God' (or unambiguously IDENTIFIED as divine and not simply angelic).

    In these case, there are two major manifestations (i.e. Angel of YHWH, Spirit of YHWH) and one eschatological figure (i.e. King Messiah) that interact with YHWH and yet are still IDENTIFIED/CALLED 'YHWH'.


    Data Element One: The Angel of YHWH is consistently portrayed as an agent FOR YHWH, portrayed as YHWH, and portrayed as INTERACTING WITH YHWH.

    Gen 16:

    The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?" I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered. Then the angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count." The angel of the LORD also said to her: You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers." She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."

    Notice:

    This angel promises to 'increase the descendants'--a promise only GOD makes
    This angel is called YHWH by the writer.
    This angel is called God by Hagar.
    This angel refers to the LORD in the 3rd person
    NOTE: Before I go to the next passage, ask yourself this question--"How ELSE could I explain this passage WITHOUT recourse to a notion of plurality-within-God (assuming you believe the text to be authoritative revelation)?". This is the CRUX of the issue for me. In this passage and MANY, MANY others, you will be confronted with the phenomena of one Person who is called/acts like GOD and yet who refers to GOD in the 3rd person as someone Else. In a monotheistic worldview WITHOUT the plurality of persons in God, THESE PASSAGES will be unexplainable and MORE problematic that the whole notion of 'trinity'! You need to sort through this now. What are the alternative understandings of the ABOVE passage that would do AS GOOD A JOB at explaining the details of the passage?
     
  3. A Sheep

    A Sheep Stop the suffering in Iraq

    +1
    Pushback ONE: Consider the writings of a modern Rabbi on a later passage:

    "The angel in Scripture is not to be identified with God. The angel is the messenger of Gd and speaks in His name, and is often called by the Name of Him who sent him. The speech and action are the work of the angel, but the thought or will is God's... The angel is here spoken of as God, because he represents the Almighty."

    The rabbi here asserts that since the angel is (1) a messenger of God and (2) represents Him, then it is proper for scripture/humans in the story to call the angel 'YHWH'.


    [Although the source I cite above did not give any supporting data, this general position can also be found in the ancient rabbinical literature. In the Talmud (Sanh 38b) there is a record of a discussion between a rabbi and a heretic (probably a Christian), over the Angel in Ex 24.1. The argument there is that since the angel (Metatron) had God's name IN him (cf. Ex 23.21) it was okay to call him "YHWH". When the heretic asks why we don't then worship the angel (since he APPEARS to be able to pardon sin--verse 21), the rabbi ends up with an obscure answer that (1) strains the text and (2) no one understands. The end result, however, is that in conclusion the rabbi DENIES that the angel went with Israel (as promised in vss.20-23)! (see CTM: 285ff) I have to reject this 'answer' in light of the CLEAR statement in Num 20:16 that He did use an Angel in this process, and Judges 2.1: "The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers."]

    [The argument about God's name being IN him, is too ambiguous to be useful. I can use that for MY argument--that it UNIQUELY applies to the Angel of YHWH, and others could use it to argue as above. It is simply too 'loose' of a statement to have impact on our issue.]

    Now, when I start to evaluate this position, the first thing I note is that it is simply an assertion--there is NO evidence given for it whatsoever. The second thing I note is that it is TESTABLE--we have many, many occurrences elsewhere in scripture where someone speaks for YHWH and represents Him--both angels and humans (e.g. prophets and priests). So it should be testable by looking at some of those passages. If we find passages in which a human (for example) is called 'YHWH' or 'God' in an address, or in a recounting of the event, THEN the Rabbi's point is obviously demonstrated. On the other hand, if we cannot find any such passage, then the natural sense of the text must NOT be discarded because of a religious presupposition--it is a matter of exegesis FIRST, and theology SECOND. Likewise, in passages in which 'regular' angels speak for God/represent God, if we find any of THEM called 'God' or 'YHWH' then the Rabbi's point is defensible--otherwise, it is merely unfounded conjecture.

    Any humans called 'YHWH' in the act of representing/speaking for Him? This category would contain priests, prophets (especially), and kings. None that I can find.

    Any 'regular' angels called 'YHWH' in the act of representing/speaking for Him? None that I can find. (There are surprisingly few OT verses that deal with 'regular' angels--most are of THE Angel of the LORD.)

    The closest parallels I can find to these Angel of YHWH passages in the OT are the references to the disclosures of Gabriel to Daniel in Dan 8-12. In this passage, Gabriel delivers a lengthy message from God, without ONCE giving an indication that he is 'identified with' YHWH. For example, all references to God are in the 3rd person (no 1st person slips), and the references to Israel all are of 'your people' not 'MY people'. (On the other hand, the visions of Zech involving the Angel of YHWH, with similar types and amounts of material DO include an occasional 'slip' of that type--cf. 3:4--"I have taken your iniquity away" and 6:8--"appeased my wrath")

    So, from a hypothesis 'testing' approach, the data seems to confirm the special character of the Angel of YHWH passages.

    Pushback Two: "Just because the Lord speaks about Himself in the 3rd person doesn't NECESSARILY mean He is referring to someone else--we have OTHER passages in scripture where that happens and it CANNOT mean what you are making that mean, Glenn". For example, the Talmud in Sanh 38b dealing with Gen 19.24--"And the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD"--points out Gen 4.23--"And Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech". Lamech refers to himself in the 3rd person, but that doesn't prove that HE was a bi-unity!
    This argument was further strengthened later by additional verses from I Kings 1.33 ( he/David/ said to them: "Take your lord's servants with you and set Solomon my son on my own mule" and Esther 8.8. [To this we might also add 2 Sam 20.6]

    Some of you have already seen the weakness of this argument...that it doesn't really match many of the passages we are discussing. Notice the pattern of the 'counter' examples:

    1. They are all EXCLUSIVELY and TOTALLY 1st person disclosures (most of my examples have a mixture of 1st, 2nd, 3rd person elements in them).

    2. They would ONLY be relevant when YHWH (the Father) was speaking and used both 1st and 3rd persons (ALL but one of my examples are the opposite--the Angel of the LORD is speaking).

    3. The ONE case where it MIGHT apply is the Genesis 18 passage--but ONLY IF deny the contextual identification of the speaker as the Angel of YHWH--see below).

    4. And, actually, in NONE of the counter-examples does the speaker actually refer to a PERSON, but only to possessions of the person. In other words, the king doesn't refer to "the king" but rather the king refers to "the king's ring".


    Given all these indications of non-applicability to my texts, I cannot see any good reason to abandon my position.


    Gen 21

    But God said to him, "Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring." Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, "I cannot watch the boy die." And as she sat there nearby, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation."

    Notice:

    God repeats the promise of This angel in the Gen 16 passage
    The Angel repeats the promise of God as HIS OWN promise
    This angel refers to God in the 3rd person.
    The angel speaks 'from heaven'--there is no need for a 'representative' in this case. (If the angel is NOT YHWH, then this scene is certainly misleading!)
    Gen 22
    But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

    Notice:

    The Angel says Abraham did not withhold his son from Himself, even though it was God who ordered it (22.2)
    This "non-withholding" clause identifies the Angel with the YHWH of the "I swear by myself" passage
    This angel refers to 'God' and 'YHWH' in the 3rd person.
    The angel repeats the blessing that had been previously uttered by YHWH and by the Angel (Gen 16, 21)
    The angel speaks 'from heaven'--there is no need for a 'representative' in this case. (If the angel is NOT YHWH, then this scene is certainly misleading!)
    Gen 18
    Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

    Notice:

    This figure is NOT explicitly called the "Angel", but appears as one of three 'men' (vs. 2)--two of them are later called 'angels' --in all probability it is the Angel of YHWH(19.1)
    This figure is called YHWH
    This figure refers to 'YHWH' in the 3rd person
    This figure has 'chosen' Abraham--election is purely a divine action .
    [This passage, and the ensuing acts of the 'two men' in 19, are fraught with the mixture of singular and plural. There is a strong possibility that all three of these angels/men were YHWH--cf. esp. 19.24: "Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah -- from the LORD out of the heavens." You have a YHWH on the ground, and one in heaven?! Strange stuff, but either the regular exegesis supports my position, OR a much stronger trinitarian position!]
    Gen 31
    The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob.' I answered, 'Here I am.' And he said, 'Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.' "
     
  4. A Sheep

    A Sheep Stop the suffering in Iraq

    +1
    Notice:

    The Angel of God calls HIMSELF the "God of Bethel"
    The Angel of God calls himself the recipient of Jacob's vow--which was made to YHWH in Gen 28
    Exodus 3
    There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight --why the bush does not burn up." When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

    Notice:

    The Angel of God calls HIMSELF the "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"
    The writer calls the Angel "God"
    Exodus 13:21-22 with 14:19-20
    By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

    Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

    Notice:

    The same events are ascribed to BOTH YHWH and the Angel of God
    Numbers 22:34-35 with 22:38 and 23:12
    Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back." The angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you." So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

    "Well, I have come to you now," Balaam replied. "But can I say just anything? I must speak only what God puts in my mouth."

    He answered, "Must I not speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?"

    Notice:

    The Angel is called both God and YHWH
    Judges 2.1-4
    The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "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, 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? 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." When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the LORD.

    Notice:

    The Angel claims to be the one who achieved the exodus and the one the Mosaic Covenant was with!
    I Chron 21
    And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the LORD saw it and was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was destroying the people, "Enough! Withdraw your hand." The angel of the LORD was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

    Notice:

    The Angel was sent by GOD
    Other Passages:
    (1) In the Gideon story (Judg 6), one reads "and the angel of the Lord appeared to him" (v12), and a little later , "and YAHWEH turned to him and said" (v14). In v.22 Gideon equates the two.

    (2) Ten times "the angel of YHWH" appears in Judges 13 (and "the angel of God" two times, v6,9) to announce the birth of Samson. Toward the end of the narrative Manoah exclaims, "we shall surely die, for we have seen God" (v22).
    Pushback: "Glenn, the word for ANGEL is the same word translated 'messenger' elsewhere. So all those passages in which the ANGEL speaks as YHWH (in the 1st person) could simply be short forms of a message from Yhwh, WITHOUT the "thus says the Lord" clause.

    For example, Glenn, the passage in Gen 22 that you cite has the Angel saying the LONG form:

    The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous..

    Here we have the Angel speaking with an "I swear" but adding quickly "declares the Lord". This would form the general pattern of all the later OT prophets, who consistently spoke as YHWH in the 1st person, but ALWAYS qualified it by "declares the Lord". So why couldn't the Angel's messages be simply shortened forms of prophetic utterances, and so not leading us to believe he was claiming to be/acting like YHWH?"

    Response: The angel IS often a messenger, but the main reasons I don't find this objection strong enough to overturn the original arguments:

    1. 'Short forms' in the OT are exceptionally rare (Is 11.9?) so why would we believe there was such a thing? The prophets were VERY CAREFUL to make it clear it was the word of THE LORD!

    2. My argument in Gen 22 hinged upon the 'withheld' clause and not from the form of the blessing pronouncement.

    3. The passages had OTHER means of identifying the Angel with YHWH than JUST the pronouncements--the response of the humans, the actions of the Angel, more explicit identifications (esp. Ex 3).

    4. Whoever did the 'collapsing' (the editor/author/compiler) obviously was not that hyper-sensitive to what types of 'pluritarian' heresy he/she would generate! To a unitarian monotheism, these 'tensions' would have been glaring. [Compare the rabbinic story of how God rebuked Solomon for using a three-fold 'holy, holy, holy', and forced him to write Ecc 4.8, due to such sensitivities! (Debar r. ii. 33, also Bamm. r. xvi. 14)]

    So the objection seems weaker and less substantial than does the original argument.


    Summary: The Angel of the LORD is both God and yet refers to someone else as God. (If we don't believe there are TWO gods, I think we are 'locked into' developing some kind of plurality-within-unity concept.) This figure is beyond the normal angels and indeed is somehow SPECIALLY linked to the 'being' of God--He is called the angel of "His presence" (Is 63.9) , the angel with God's "Name" in Him (Ex 23:20-23), and is placed in a parallel construction with God's action in Zech 12.8 ("and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them.").
     
  5. A Sheep

    A Sheep Stop the suffering in Iraq

    +1
    Data Element Two: The Spirit of God.

    Let's look at some passages that manifest some sort of 'distinction' between God and His Spirit (e.g. sending, putting, withdrawing, giving)

    Gen 1

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

    Num 11:29

    But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!"

    Neh. 9:20

    You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.

    Ps. 51:11

    Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

    Ps. 104:30

    When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

    Isa. 32:15

    till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest.

    Isa. 42:1

    "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.

    Isa. 48:16

    "Come near me and listen to this: From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there." And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit.

    Isa. 63:11

    Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people -- where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them,

    Ezek. 36:27

    And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

    Hag. 2:5

    'This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.'

    Now, we look at some passages that demonstrate the personal characteristics of this 'remote Agent' of God

    Neh. 9:20

    You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.

    Ps. 106:33

    for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses' lips.

    Ps. 143:10

    Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

    Isa. 34:16

    Look in the scroll of the LORD and read: None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order, and his Spirit will gather them together.

    Isa. 63:10

    Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.

    Isa. 63:14

    like cattle that go down to the plain, they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name.

    Micah 2:7

    Should it be said, O house of Jacob: Is the Spirit of the LORD angry? Does he do such things?" "Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright?



    Pushback: "Glenn, let me ask the same question about the Rabbinic understanding of the Holy Spirit--did they believe it was God? Did they treat it like a separate person in the Godhead?"

    Response: The talmudic data discusses the Holy Spirit (their term) as a manifestation of God's presence on earth. As such, it is clearly divine--since it is simply a 'manifestation' of God. However, it is also given personal characteristics/actions (e.g. weeping--Lament R. I.45; being 'driven away' --Gen R. LXV. 4). But again, the implications are not drawn.



    Pushback: "Glenn, SURELY you are pressing the data on the Spirit of God a little too far. It seems to be nothing more than a manifestation or theophany of God on earth. How strong do you think your data is to support a SEPARATE PERSON in God?"

    Response: Now, overall, it seems obvious to me that the arguments about the Holy Spirit are not as 'strong' as those about the Angel of YHWH, simply because the relation of Spirit to individual is somewhat more fuzzy. In other words, if the Holy Spirit is an 'internal part' of God, then we would EXPECT the Spirit to be called YHWH; we would expect God to refer to it by 'my spirit' (just as I will refer to "my heart is heavy''), but we might NOT expect God to refer to it as "THE Spirit"--a seemingly independent title or reference. But this is JUST what we find in a couple of passages (Ex 31.3; 35.31) and this title becomes a standard way of referring to God's Spirit throughout OT history. "The Spirit" can somehow be referred to as 'distinct from' God (within bounds).

    At the same time, I am not sure we eliminate the 'problem' by calling it a 'manifestation'. This particular manifestation has all the attributes of God's presence, as well as personal characteristics. God 'dispatches' this Spirit, just like He 'dispatched' the Angel. As being in God, they both could be called 'manifestations' but they both seem to be 'more'.


    Summary: The Spirit of God seems to be a 'dispatch-able' Agent (like the messenger Angel), who can grieve, teach, give rest, be angry, be rebelled against, etc. He is at the same time a 'part of' God and 'distinct from' God. Plurality-in-unity.



    Data Element Three: King Messiah



    Since it is commonly understood that the Messiah was sent from God and ruled FOR God on earth, and therefore was QUITE 'distinct from' God, all that needs to be shown in this section is that the Messiah was ALSO declared to be divine himself. There are two points I want to demonstrate here in this regard:

    First, that many of the messianic passages were understood by non-Christian Jewish interpreters (and therefore not even remotely suspect of high-Christological bias!) as teaching of a super-human, super-angelic Messiah;

    Second, that at least two OT prophesies make explicit statements about the Messiah being YHWH.

    First: that ONE of the MANY messianic expectations of non-Christian Jewry was of a super-human, super-angel Messiah. (For full documentation of this, see my Messianic Expectations in 1st Century Judaism--Documentation from Non-Christian Sources)

    The data for this position divides into three types: pre-Christian Jewish writings, data gleaned from the NT about Jewish expectations at the time of Christ (which we will NOT consider, since these are in the NT), and then from post-Christian writings (e.g. the Rabbinix).
     
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    Pre-Christian Jewish writings.The normal sources that one consults here are: The Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Hebrew OT, early portions of the Jewish Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphix, and the documents from Quman.

    The LXX renderings:

    (1) Gen 49.10 and Num 24:7, 17 points out that the kingdom of the Messiah was higher than any kingdom that is earthly
    (2) Ps 72: 5,7: The existence of the Messiah was pre-mundane: before the Moon and Eternal
    (3) Ps 110:3: The Messiah existed before the morning star
    (4) Is 9.6: This passage shows that the Messiah was superior to men and angels...The 'Angel of the Great Council' is also the 'Angel of the Face' (as the Targum on the passage demonstrates)


    The Jewish Apocrypha is generally silent on the entire Messianic issue (their concerns seemed to lie elsewhere).

    The Jewish Pseudepigraphix gives us several strong statements:

    (1) Sibylline Oracles 3.285,286: the Messiah is the 'king sent from heaven' who would 'judge every man in blood and splendor of fire'.
    (2) Sibylline Oracles 3.652: the Messiah is called the "King whom God will send from the sun".
    (3) The Book of Enoch: Variously describes the Messiah as "The Woman's Son" (62.5), "The Son of Man" (48.2;62.7; 69.29), "The Son of God" (105.2)--[Note: This passage actually reads "I am my Son"--an equation of identity if there ever was one!]
    (4) The Psalms of Solomon (17-18) describe a highly developed Royal Messianic figure, bordering on perfection of qualities.

    Qumran: The group at Qumran consistently expected a future Messiah, with 'advanced qualities', but put much more emphasis on the human, Davidic aspects of the Messiah. So 4QFlor 1:10-13 on 2 Sam 7.13-14 describes the Messiah as Son of David, Son of God.

    So, the pre-Christian Jewish writings show that the belief in a pre-mundane, eternal, super-angelic, super-human Messiah was held at least by certain influential and literate Jewish leaders. [It is generally accepted by scholars today that NO SINGLE understanding of the Messiah was normative in Israel. Different groups held different conceptions of Him, and at least ONE group did not believe in one at all--the Sadduccees, who also denied the existence of angels and the resurrection.]

    Consider some of the scholarly assessments of this data today:

    [Note: from the introduction to I Enoch in OTP: vol 1, 9: "The Messiah in 1 Enoch, called the Righteous One, and the Son of Man, is depicted as a pre-existent heavenly being who is resplendent and majestic, possesses all dominion, and sits on his throne of glory passing judgment upon all mortal and spiritual beings"--a human political leader, eh?!]
    Even the Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner (who attempts to minimize 'traditional' notions of the messiah) readily ADMITS that the messianic expectations of pre-Mishnahhic Jewry WERE those of an exalted super-human figure! Neusner believes that the compilers of the Mishnah were attempting to resolve the same issues, but in a different way. In describing this attempt, Neusner gives a telling description of what the 'older' traditions were (in "Mishnah and Messiah", JTM:275): "We focus upon how the system laid out in the Mishnah takes up and disposes of those critical issues of teleology worked out through messianic eschatology in other, earlier versions of Judaism (emphasis mine). These earlier systems resorted to the myth of the Messiah as savior and redeemer of Israel, a supernatural figure engaged in political-historical tasks as king of the Jews, even a God-man(emphasis mine) facing the crucial historical questions of Israel's life and resolving them: the Christ as king of the world, of the ages, of death itself."




    ......................................................................................................................
    Strangely, the post-Christian Jewish writings also have an 'super-Messiah' strain. Edersheim (LTJM:123) finds this surprising:

    If we now turn to works dating after the Christian era, we would naturally expect them, either simply to reproduce earlier opinions, or, from opposition to Christ, to present the Messiah in a less exalted manner. But since, strange to say, they even more strongly assert the high dignity of the Messiah, we are warranted in regarding this as the rooted belief of the Synagogue."

    There is an immense amount of Rabbinic data on the super-human, super-angelic character of the Messiah, of which I can only mention a few items:

    (1) The Messiah was eternal, created before the world, appearing in the world during the times of Jacob, Pharaoh, Imperial Rome, etc. (Targum on Is 9.6 and Micah 5.2; Midrash on Prov 8:9; Talmud--Jer. Ber. 2.4, p.5a; Sanh 98a; Ber. R. 85; Yalkut on Is 60)

    (2) The Messiah would be greater than the patriarchs, higher than Moses, and loftier than the ministering angels (Tanch, Par. Toledoth 14; Midr. on Ps 18:36) and indeed even be given God's OWN 'crown and glory' (Midrash on Ps 21:3!).

    (3) The messiah is even given credit for the work of God in creation! (the passage "the Spirit of God moved upon the deep"--Gen 1--is paraphrased in three places as "This is the Spirit of King Messiah": Ber r.2, and 8; Vayyikra R. 14)

    (4) The messiah is actually called YHWH in two passages(!)--Midrash on Lam 1.16 and on Ps 21)


    The rabbinic data leads clearly to the understanding that one MAIN belief of Israel was that "the Messiah expected was far above the conditions of the most exalted of God's servants, even His angels; in short, so closely bordering on the Divine, that it was almost impossible to distinguish Him therefrom" (LTJM:1.179).

    Second, that at least two OT prophesies make explicit statements about the Messiah being YHWH. [The above material was cited and discussed to show that the concept of a super-human, super-angelic Messiah was NOT FOREIGN to non-Christian Jewish understanding of the messianic passages. IN LIGHT OF THIS "HIGH-VIEW" of the Messiah, I now want to examine 2 OT passages that appear to distinctly call the Messiah YHWH. I cannot be accused of making a "human-only" Messiah into some Divine figure (as Christians are sometimes accused). That OTHERS accepted the Messiah as 'more than man' is adequate defense from any such criticism in my direction.]

    I wish to briefly look at two messianic passages: Zech 12 and Mal 3.

    Zech 12.10: "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on ME(emphasis mine), the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for HIM (emphasis mine) as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

    Note:


    YHWH is speaking (He pours out the Spirit).
    YHWH is 'looked upon' by the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
    YHWH is 'pierced' by the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
    It switches to a 3rd person, in the middle of the sentence(!) "mourn for HIM"
    Remember, God the Father has NEVER been seen, nor can be 'pierced'!
    The verse is understood of Messiah Son of Joseph (the suffering messiah) in the Talmud (Sukk. 52a).
    This passage has both unity AND distinction.
    Mal 3.1 (coupled with Is 40.3-5):

    "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before ME (emphasis mine). Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. (Mal)

    A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. (Is)

    These passages were considered by the Rabbinical writers as part of a messianic-passage-complex that included Is 35.1-10; Hosea 2.14; and Ex 23.20.

    The main thing to note here is that the forerunner (Elijah-->John the Baptist) preceded both YHWH and the Messiah...

    These two passages illustrate that the admittedly super-human/super-angelic nature of the Messiah was that of YHWH (even though the Messiah was SENT BY YHWH). Also, please note that in biblical cosmology, the ONLY 'being' higher than the angels is GOD HIMSELF. To ascribe status to the Messiah 'greater than that of angels' pushes one either to (1) a plurality within God; or (2) postulating some completely unknown, unrevealed, undiscussed, undisclosed higher status of creature!.
     
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    A Sheep Stop the suffering in Iraq

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    Summary. Even the data about the King Messiah strongly suggests a necessary plurality within God--or these texts are highly misleading! [Remember, these kinds of passages are FULLY predicted by trinitarianism (not explained by it, however!), but not by ANY of the rival theories.]

    Pushback: "Glenn, if the data demonstrates this 'tension' between the concept of One God and the evidence of multiple agents being called 'God', then how did Rabbinical Judaism deal with these passages? Surely they had an exegetical understanding of these verses that avoided this conclusion?"

    Response: The interesting thing about this is that you CAN find this 'problem' in the Talmudic literature! Whereas most of the above passages are assigned to Gabriel and Michael, there was also a higher angel named Metatron, who was the angel that went before the Israelites in the wilderness (see talmudic discussions at Exodus 23.20). A. Cohen, in Everyman's Talmud (Dutton Books), discusses the 'heretical identification of Metatron with God' in passages such as San 38b and Chag 15a (p. 52-53). These discussions center around the texts we have cited above--the 'problem' IS THERE in Jewish thought and remains unresolved to this day.

    [God had specificially told His people that He would 'dwell among them', and the Jews of the time of Christ (and later) still saw this as future. For a list of other non-Christian Jewish writings that illustrate that this "plurality problem" was present in pre-Christian Judaism, consider these scholarly summaries and these passages].

    OVERALL SUMMARY of CRITERION TWO:
    There seems to be abundance of data that fits this criterion, with reference to the Angel of YHWH, the Spirit of YHWH, and to a lesser extent, the King Messiah.

    Criterion Three: Attempts on the part of humans to worship/invoke different Divine agents will be allowed, AND attempts to worship superhuman/angelic beings will be denounced.

    The data for the first part of this should be obvious from the passages above. In them the Angel of YHWH was treated as deity WITHOUT 'rebuke' in the Scripture. So in Gen 31.13, Jacob's vow to YHWH was actually a vow to the Angel of YHWH. Gideon makes an offering to the Angel (Jud 6.18ff). In the Judges 13 passage we get 'close to' a rebuke. The husband wants to offer a sacrifice to the Angel BEFORE he is aware that it is the Angel of the Lord (he apparently assumes that he is a 'regular' angel). The Angel of YHWH stops him from this, by insisting that he only offer it to YHWH (the implication being that only YHWH is an appropriate object of offering). In the process of making the offering, the husband recognizes the Angel of YHWH and responds by assertions of deity to the angel. The ending is instructive:

    Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD. "We are doomed to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen God!"

    There is not a lot of data in the OT about the second part--one way or the other. There just weren't that many encounters with regular angels. When they ARE referred to, they are never worshipped (so we cannot find any 'rebuke' passages).

    So we do have a small amount of confirming data in this category, even with such a small sample size.


    Observation: WHAT IS STRIKING about all this data is that there is NO attempt to 'synthesize' this into a coherent whole--the tension within a strictly monotheistic system is simply NOT addressed. The Israelites don't try to 'wrestle' the concept to the ground, establish a logical schema for it, or even to probe the implications--they simply recognize YHWH in each of those experiences.

    It is interesting to me that the awe of encountering the Angel of YHWH did NOT stop them from engaging in some reflective work. For example, when Jacob wrestles with the Angel of YHWH in Gen 32, he is amazed that he saw 'God face to face, yet my life was spared'. And in Exodus, Moses is consistently warned that if anyone sees YHWH's face, he will die--yet Moses speaks face-to-face with YHWH frequently (cf 33.20 with 33.11). The Angel of YHWH seems to be the One who is always seen face-to-face in history, whereas YHWH Himself is never seen. A plurality-in-unity understanding makes this a little easier to understand, but their early efforts in this area stayed very pragmatic--they were still alive after confronting God!

    Yet the Old Testament writers--from the end to the beginning--did not think it blasphemous to accord this special Angel the very SAME honor, glory, and status of God--often, in the EXACT same statement! So, early in the OT we have Israel, upon his deathbed, blessing the children of Joseph:

    Then he blessed Joseph and said, "May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm -- may he bless these boys. (Gen 48:15f)

    This Angel was the God of Abraham and Issac, and was Israel's shepard. Could anything be plainer than that statement?

    And Hosea, recounting the experience of Jacob's wrestling with the Angel, attaches the highest title of deity in all of Scripture to this angel:

    In the womb he grasped his brother's heel; as a man he struggled with God. He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there --the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name of renown! (Hos 12.3-5)

    This Angel was the "LORD God Almighty"?! Could anything be plainer than that statement?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    What emerges from this cursory study of some OT passages is a concept of a plurality of agents, that are very much God, but still somehow separate agents WITHIN God. So the Angel of YHWH seems to be the main 'external interface' with humans and the Spirit of God seems to be the main 'internal interface' with us. In other words, an Israelite would meet God 'face-to-face' in the Angel, but would be confronted with God INSIDE his thoughts by the Spirit of God.

    Conclusion:
    There seems to be an abundance of 'stubborn' data that there are multiple agents who can be appropriately called 'YHWH', and although there are STRONG prohibitions against idolatry in the OT, NOT ONCE is there any indication in the text that ascribing deity to the Angel of YHWH or Spirit of YHWH is considered blasphemous. Indeed, the grammatical and lexical data gives reasonable indication that plurality may be a basic aspect of the One God of Israel.
     
  8. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

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    "Chapter 7. OLD TESTAMENT EXPLANATIONS

    In the preceding chapters we presented the basic Bible truths about God. We have asserted that He is essentially one and that the fulness of God dwells in Jesus. In this chapter we will discuss a few Old Testament passages that some trinitarians use in an attempt to contradict these basic truths. We will examine these references to show that they do not contradict, but rather harmonize with, the rest of the Bible. Chapter 8 - NEW TESTAMENT EXPLANATIONS: THE GOSPEL and Chapter 9 - NEW TESTAMENT EXPLANATIONS: ACTS TO REVELATION will do the same for some New Testament verses of Scripture.

    Elohim

    The most commonly used Hebrew word of God is Elohim. This is the original word in almost every Old Testament passage where we see the English word God. It is the plural form of the Hebrew word Eloah, which means God or deity.

    Most scholars agree that the use of the plural word Elohim indicates God's greatness or His multiple attributes; it does not imply a plurality of persons or personalities. The Jews certainly do not see the plural form as compromising their strong monotheism. Flanders and Cresson explain that the plural usage in Hebrew has a certain function other than to indicate plurality: "The form of the word, Elohim, is plural. The Hebrews pluralized nouns to express greatness or majesty." [21]

    The Bible itself reveals that the only way to understand the plural form of Elohim is that it expresses God's majesty and not a plurality in the Godhead, both by its insistence on one God and by its use of Elohim in situations that definitely portray only one person or personality. For example, Elohim identifies the singular manifestation of God in human form to Jacob (Genesis 32:30). The Israelites used the word elohim for the golden calf they made in the wilderness (Exodus 32:1, 4, 8, 23, 31), yet the Bible account makes it clear that there was only one golden calf (Exodus 32:4, 5, 8, 19-20, 24, 35).

    The Old Testament often uses elohim for singular pagan gods such as Baalberith (Judges 8:33), Chemosh (Judges 11:24), Dagon (Judges 16:23), Baalzebub (II Kings 1:2-3), and Nisroch (II Kings 19:37). The Bible even applies Elohim to Jesus Christ (Psalm 45:6; Zechariah 12:8-10; 14:5), and no one suggests there is a plurality of persons in Jesus. So the word Elohim does not indicate three persons in the Godhead. Only one being called Elohim wrestled with Jacob, only one golden calf was called elohim, and one Lord Jesus Christ is God made manifest in flesh.

    Genesis 1:26

    "And God said, Let us make man in our image." (Genesis 1:26)

    Why does this verse use a plural pronoun for God? Before we answer this, let us note that the Bible uses singular pronouns to refer to God hundreds of times. The very next verse uses the singular to show how God fulfilled verse 26: "So God created man in his own image" (Genesis 1:27).

    Genesis 2:7 says, "And the LORD God formed man." We must therefore reconcile the plural in 1:26 with the singular in 1:27 and 2:7. We must also look at God's image creature, which is man. Regardless of how we identify the various components that make up a man, a man definitely has one personality and will. He is one person in every way. This indicates that the Creator in whose image man was made is also one being with one personality and will.

    Any interpretation of Genesis 1:26 that permits the existence of more than one person of God runs into severe difficulties. Isaiah 44:24 says the LORD created the heavens alone and created the earth by Himself. There was only one Creator according to Malachi 2:10. Furthermore, if the plural in Genesis 1:26 refers to the Son of God, how do we reconcile this with the scriptural record that the Son was not born until at least four thousand years later in Bethlehem? The Son was made of a woman (Galatians 4:4); if the Son was present in the beginning who was His mother? If the Son be a spirit being, who was His spirit mother?

    Since Genesis 1:26 cannot mean two or more persons in the Godhead, what does it mean? The Jews have traditionally interpreted it to mean that God talked to the angels at creation. [22] This does not imply that the angels actually took part in creation but that God informed them of His plans and solicited their comments out of courtesy and respect. On at least one other occasion God talked to the angels and requested their opinions in formulating His plans (I Kings 22:19-22). We do know that the angels were present at the creation (Job 38:4-7).

    Other commentators have suggested that Genesis 1:26 simply describes God as He counseled with His own will. Ephesians 1:11 supports this view, saying that God works all things "after the counsel of his own will." By analogy, this is similar to a man saying "Let's see" (let us see) even when he is planning by himself.

    Others explain this passage as a majestic or literary plural. That is, in formal speaking and writing the speaker or writer often refers to himself in the plural, especially if the speaker is of royalty. Biblical examples of the majestic plural can be cited to illustrate this practice. For example, Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar, "We will tell the interpretation thereof before the king" even though Daniel alone proceeded to give the interpretation to the king (Daniel 2:36). King Artaxerxes alternately referred to himself in the singular and the plural in his correspondence. Once, he wrote, "The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me" (Ezra 4:18). In a letter to Ezra, Artaxerxes called himself "I" in one place (Ezra 7:13) but "we" in another place (7:24).

    The use of the plural in Genesis 1:26 also may be similar to the plural Elohim in denoting the greatness and majesty of God or the multiple attributes of God. In other words, the plural pronoun simply agrees with and substitutes for the plural noun Elohim.

    Still another explanation is that this passage describes God's foreknowledge of the future arrival of the Son, much like prophetic passages in the Psalms. We must realize that God does not live in time. His plans are real to Him even though they are in the future as far as we are concerned. He calls those things that are not as though they are (Romans 4:17). A day is as a thousand years to Him and a thousand years is as a day (II Peter 3:8). His plan - the Word - existed from the beginning in the mind of God (John 1:1). As far as God was concerned, the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world (I Peter 1:19-20; Revelation 13:8). It is not surprising that God could look down the corridors of time and address a prophetic utterance to the Son. Romans 5:14 says that Adam was a figure of Him who was to come, that is, Jesus Christ. When God created Adam, He had already thought about the Incarnation and created Adam with that plan in mind.

    Taking this idea a step further, Hebrews 1:1-2 says that God made the worlds by the Son. How could this be, seeing that the Son did not come into existence until a point in time much later than creation? (Hebrews 1:5-6). (See Chapter 5 - THE SON OF GOD.) To paraphrase John Miller (quoted in Chapter 5 - THE SON OF GOD), God used the Sonship to make the world. That is, He hinged everything on the future arrival of Christ. Though He did not pick up the humanity until the fulness of time was come, it was in His plan from the beginning, and He used it and acted upon it from the start. He created man in the image of the future Son of God, and He created man knowing that although man would sin the future Sonship would provide a way of salvation.

    God created man in the beginning so that man would love and worship Him (Isaiah 43:7; Revelation 4:11). However, by reason of His foreknowledge God knew that man would fall into sin. This would defeat God's purpose in creating man. If this was all there was to the future, then God would have never created man. However, God had in His mind the plan for the Incarnation and the plan of salvation through the atoning death of Christ. So, even though God knew man would sin, He also knew that through the Son of God man could be restored and could fulfill God's original purpose.

    It is apparent, then, that when God created man he had the future arrival of the Son in mind. It is in this sense that God created the worlds through the Son or by using the Son, for without the Son, God's whole purpose in creating man would have failed.

    In summary, Genesis 1:26 cannot mean a plurality in the Godhead, for that would contradict the rest of Scripture. We have offered several other harmonizing explanations. (1) The Jews and many Christians see this as a reference to the angels. Many other Christians see it as (2) a description of God counseling with His own will, (3) a majestic or literary plural, (4) a pronoun simply agreeing with the noun Elohim, or (5) a prophetic reference to the future manifestation of the Son of God.

    Other Plural Pronouns

    There are a few other Old Testament uses of plural pronouns by God, namely Genesis 3:22, 11:7, and Isaiah 6:8. A reading of these verses of Scripture will show that they can easily mean God and the angels (all three verses) or possibly God and the righteous (Isaiah 6:8). Any of the first four explanations given for Genesis 1:26 could adequately explain these plural usages."

    - David Bernard
    ---continued next post---
     
  9. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

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    "The Meaning of One (Hebrew, Echad)

    Without wavering, the Bible states that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Some trinitarians suggest that one in respect to God means one in unity rather than absolutely one in numerical value. To support this theory they appeal to the Hebrew word echad, which the Bible uses to express the concept of one God. The word apparently can mean both one in unity and one numerically, for Strong defines it as "united, one, first." Biblical examples of the word used in the sense of absolute numerical oneness are enlightening: a list of Canaanite kings each designated by the word echad (Joshua 12:9-24); the prophet Micaiah (I Kings 22:8); Abraham (Ezekiel 33:24); a list of gates each designated by echad (Ezekiel 48:31-34); and the angel Michael (Daniel 10:13). Certainly, in each of the above cases echad means one in numerical value. In view of the many Old Testament passages that describe in unequivocal terms God's absolute oneness (see Chapter 1 - CHRISTIAN MONOTHEISM, especially the scripture references in Isaiah), it is evident that echad as used of God does mean the absolute numerical oneness of His being. To the extent that echad does convey a concept of unity, it connotes a unity of God's multiple attributes, not a cooperative union of separate persons.

    If echad does not mean one in number, then we have no defense against polytheism, because three (or more) separate gods could be one in unity of mind and purpose. However, it is clearly the intent of the Old Testament to deny polytheism, and it does use echad to mean one in numerical value.

    Theophanies

    A theophany is a visible manifestation of God. (See Chapter 2 - THE NATURE OF GOD.) Since God is omnipresent, He can manifest Himself to different people in different places at the same time. It does not take a concept of more than one God to explain any of the theophanies; the one God can manifest Himself in any form, at any time, and in any place.

    Let us analyze some specific theophanies or supposed theophanies often used to support the concept of a multi-person Godhead.

    Appearance to Abraham

    Genesis 18:1 says Jehovah appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre. Verse 2 says Abraham looked up and saw three men. Some trinitarians try to use these three "men" to prove a trinity of God. However, verse 22 reveals that two of the "men" left Abraham and went towards Sodom, but Jehovah remained to talk with Abraham a little longer. Who were the other two men? Genesis 19:1 says that two angels arrived in Sodom that evening. Clearly, the three human manifestations that appeared to Abraham were Jehovah and two of His angels.

    Some interpret Genesis 19:24 to mean two persons: "Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven." However, this does not mean one LORD on earth asked another LORD in heaven to rain down fire, because there is only one LORD (Deuteronomy 6:4).

    Rather, it is an example of restatement. Many passages in the Old Testament phrase one idea in two different ways as a literary device or as a means of emphasis. There is no evidence that after God's temporary manifestation to Abraham He lingered around and traveled to Sodom to oversee its downfall. The Bible only says the two angels went to Sodom. The NIV shows more clearly that Genesis 19:24 merely repeats the same idea in two ways: "Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah - from the LORD out of the heavens." We should note that both statements describe the LORD as one being in one place doing one thing - in heaven, raining down fire.

    The Angel of the LORD

    We have discussed this subject in Chapter 2 - THE NATURE OF GOD. Many passages that describe a visitation of the angel of the LORD also indicate that the angel was really a manifestation of Jehovah Himself. There is no problem with this; it is easy enough for the one God to manifest Himself in angelic form.

    A few passages describe the angel of the LORD as a separate being from the LORD. Therefore, these passages must refer to a literal angel, whatever "the angel of the LORD" may be in other passages. Indeed it is possible to interpret most (and some believe all) the "angel of the LORD" passages to mean a literal angel and not a manifestation of God. Under this view, the passages that attribute acts of the LORD to the angel do not mean the angel is the LORD Himself.

    Rather, they mean the LORD performed the acts by delegating them to an angel to do. For example, the LORD spoke or the LORD appeared by sending an angel to speak or appear.
    So there are two ways to explain the "angel of the LORD" passages in a way that is consistent with one God. First, we can agree that the angel of the LORD is a manifestation of God in some passages, but only an angel in passages that clearly describe two beings Alternatively, we can assert that the angel of the LORD does not describe an actual manifestation of God but only an angel who acts as an agent and messenger for God. The Hebrew and Greek words for angel simply mean messenger.

    There is an interesting problem related to the appearance of the angel of the LORD to David at Oman's threshing floor (II Samuel 24:16-17; I Chronicles 21:15-30; II Chronicles 3:1). II Samuel 24:16-17 clearly describes the angel of the LORD as being separate from the LORD, yet the passage in II Chronicles says the LORD appeared to David. There are three ways to reconcile this. First, we should note that "the LORD" appears in italics in II Chronicles 3:1 in the KJV This means the translators supplied a word not actually in the original, but either implied therein or necessary for a proper English sentence. Possibly the subject of the sentence actually should be "the angel of the LORD" instead of "the LORD." Second, we can use an explanation similar to one advanced in Chapter 2 - THE NATURE OF GOD. Namely, it is proper to say the LORD appeared to David when He sent His angel to David, just as it is correct to say the LORD speaks to someone when He uses an angel, an audible voice, or an impression on the mind rather than a direct conversation with a visible manifestation of God. This is similar to prophecies in which the writer or speaker uses the first person ("I") even though the source is clearly God. Third, one could say that both the angel and the LORD appeared to David, with I Chronicles describing the former and II Chronicles describing the latter. In any case, these passages cannot show more than one LORD.

    The most complex passages relating to the angel of the LORD are in Zechariah. Zechariah 1:7-17 describes a vision seen by the prophet. In the vision, he saw a man on a red horse standing among myrtle trees. An angel then began to talk to Zechariah. The man among the myrtle trees was identified as the angel of the LORD. Presumably he was the angel talking to Zechariah, although some think two angels were present. In any case, the angel of the LORD spoke to the LORD and the LORD answered him (verses 12-13), thus proving the angel of the LORD was not the LORD, at least in this passage. Then, the angel talking to Zechariah proclaimed what the LORD said (verses 14-17). Thus, the angel was not the LORD; rather, he simply acted as a messenger and repeated what the LORD had said. Zechariah called the angel lord (verse 9, Hebrew adon, meaning master or ruler), but he did not call him Lord (Adonai) or LORD (Yahweh or Jehovah). Of course, lord is not a term reserved for God alone, as Lord and LORD are; for one properly can address even a man by the title lord (Genesis 24:18).

    Zechariah 1:18-21 describes two other visions. In his vision of four horns, Zechariah asked a question, the angel answered it, and the LORD gave a vision of four carpenters (verses 18-20). Then Zechariah asked a second question and "he" answered (verse 21). The "he" of verse 21 was the same angel that had been talking all along - the same "he" of verse 19. If "he" in verse 21 was actually the LORD, then the LORD was speaking in that verse by using the angel. So, in this passage, the LORD gave the visions and the angel did the actual explaining. This does not require the angel to be God.

    In Zechariah 2:1-13 we find a second angel who declared the word of the LORD in Zechariah's hearing to the first angel. Again, this does not mean the second angel was God but only that he was transmitting God's message. This indicates that the first angel definitely was not God or he would have already known what God's message was. "

    - David Bernard

    ---continued next post---
     
  10. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

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    "Zechariah 3:1-10 presents a new situation. First, Joshua the high priest stood before the angel of the LORD and Satan (verse 1). "And the LORD said unto Satan, the LORD rebuke thee" (verse 2). The easiest way to explain this is to say the prophet wrote "the LORD said" meaning that the LORD said it through the angel. This is why the spoken words were "the LORD rebukes thee" instead of "I rebuke thee." Next, the angel began to speak to Joshua as if he were God (verses 3-4). Perhaps the easiest explanation is that the angel was a messenger transmitting God's word.

    Finally, the passage more clearly portrays the angel as a messenger for God and not God Himself, because the angel began to use the phrase "saith the LORD" (verses 6-10).

    The most logical explanation of the angels in Zechariah can be summarized as follows. Throughout the Book of Zechariah, the angel of the LORD was not the LORD but a messenger of the LORD. Sometimes this is obvious from the angel's use of phrases such as "thus saith the LORD," while other verses omit this qualifying or explanatory phrase. The LORD spoke in all these passages by using His angel. There are other possible explanations, such as the following three: The angel was not the LORD but had the name of the LORD invested in him; the angel was not the LORD in chapters 1 and 2 but was the LORD in chapter 3; or the LORD spoke directly in Zechariah 3:2 and 3:4 while the angel stood by silently. In sum, we do not need to accept two persons of God to explain the "angel of the LORD" passages. Certainly the Jews have no problem in reconciling the angel of the LORD with their belief in absolute monotheism.

    The Son and Other References To the Messiah

    There are a number of references to the Son in the Old Testament. Do they signify a duality in the Godhead? Do they prove a pre-existent Son? Let us analyze these passages to answer these questions.

    Psalm 2:2 speaks of the LORD and His anointed. Psalm 2:7 says, "I will declare the decree: the LORD bath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." Psalm 8:4-5 speaks of the son of man. Psalm 45:6-7 and Psalm 110:1 also contain well known references to Jesus Christ, the former describing Him both as God and as an anointed man and the latter describing Him as David's Lord. Proverbs 30:4, Isaiah 7:14, and Isaiah 9:6 also mention the Son. However, a reading of these verses of Scripture will show that each of them is prophetic in nature. Chapters 1 and 2 of Hebrews quote every one of the above passages in the Psalms and describe them as prophecy fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

    Thus the passages in the Psalms are not conversations between two persons in the Godhead but are prophetic portraits of God and the man Christ. They describe God begetting and anointing the man Christ (Psalm 2:2-7), the man Christ submitting to the will of God and becoming a sacrifice for sin (Psalm 45:6-7), and God glorifying and giving power to the man Christ (Psalm 110:1). All of this came to pass when God manifested Himself in flesh as Jesus Christ. (For more on supposed conversations in the Godhead, see Chapter 8 - NEW TESTAMENT EXPLANATIONS: THE GOSPEL. For a full explanation of the right hand of God mentioned in Psalm 110:1, see Chapter 9 - NEW TESTAMENT EXPLANATIONS: ACTS TO REVELATION.)

    The passages in Isaiah are clearly prophetic since they are in the future tense. In sum, the Old Testament references to the Son look forward into the future to the day when the Son would be begotten. They do not speak of two Gods or two persons in God, but rather of the humanity in which God would incarnate Himself. Similarly, other Old Testament references to the Messiah are prophetic and represent Him as both God and man (Isaiah 4:2; 42:1-7; Jeremiah 23:4-8; 33:14-26; Micah 5:1-5; Zechariah 6:12-13). Any duality seen in these verses of Scripture indicates a distinction between God and the humanity of the Messiah.

    For a discussion of the fourth man in the fire (Daniel 3:25), see Chapter 2 - THE NATURE OF GOD. That passage does not refer to the Son of God begotten in the womb of Mary, but to an angel, or possibly (but doubtfully) to a temporary theophany of God.

    The Word of God

    No one can maintain seriously that the Word of God in the Old Testament is a second person in the Godhead. God's Word is a part of Him and cannot be separated from Him. The Word of God does not imply a distinct person any more than a man's word implies that he is composed of two persons.

    Psalm 107:20 says, "He sent his word." Isaiah 55:11 says, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth." From these verses of Scripture, it is obvious that God's Word is something that belongs to Him and is an expression that comes from Him, not a separate person in the Godhead.

    The Wisdom of God

    Some see a distinction of persons in descriptions of the wisdom of God, particularly those in Proverbs 1:20-33, 8:1-36, and 9:1-6. However, these passages of Scripture merely personify wisdom as a literary or poetic device. We are all familiar with many examples in literature where an author personifies an idea, emotion, or other intangible thing for the sake of emphasis, vividness, and illustration. The utter fallacy of trying to make the Bible's literary personification of wisdom imply a personal distinction in God is plain for all to see, for all the above passages personify wisdom as a woman! So if wisdom is the second person in the Godhead, the second person is female.

    The proper way to view wisdom in the Bible is to regard it as an attribute of God - part of His omniscience. He used His wisdom in creating the world (Psalm 136:5; Proverb 3:19; Jeremiah 10:12). Just as a man's wisdom is not a separate person from himself, so God's wisdom is not a separate person from God. Wisdom is something that God possesses and something that He can impart to man.

    Of course, since Christ is God manifested in flesh, all the wisdom of God is in Christ (Colossians 2:3). He is the wisdom of God as well as the power of God (I Corinthians 1:24). This does not mean Christ is a separate person from God, but rather that in Christ dwells all of God's wisdom and power (along with God's other attributes). Through Christ, God reveals His wisdom and power to man. Wisdom is simply an attribute of God described in the Old Testament and revealed through Christ in the New Testament.

    Holy, Holy, Holy

    Does this threefold repetition in Isaiah 6:3 somehow hint that God is a trinity? We do not think this theory is very credible. Double or triple repetition was a common Hebrew literary practice, and it occurs many times in Scripture.

    Basically, it was used to give added emphasis. For example, Jeremiah 22:29 says, "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD." Certainly this verse of Scripture does not indicate three earths. (If the triple repetition of the word holy has any other significance, it is a suggestion of the past, present, and future existence of God recorded in Revelation 4:8.) We conclude that "holy, holy, holy" strongly emphasizes God's holiness and does not imply a plurality of persons.

    Repititions of God or Lord

    Is there evidence of a plurality of persons from repetitions of God or LORD in the same verse, such as threefold repetitions (Numbers 6:24-26; Deuteronomy 6:4) and twofold repetitions (Genesis 19:24; Daniel 9:17; Hosea 1:7)? A reading of these passages of Scripture will show they do not indicate a plurality in the deity. Let us analyze them briefly.

    Numbers 6:24-26 is simply a threefold blessing. Deuteronomy 6:4 says God is one. Two of the repetitions in that verse are "LORD God." Does this mean two persons of God are indicated every time the phrase LORD God appears? Of course not. It just identifies the one God as none other than the LORD (Jehovah) worshiped by Israel. We have already discussed Genesis 19:24 in this chapter. In Daniel 9:17, the prophet merely speaks of God in the third person, and in Hosea 1:7 God speaks of Himself in the third person.

    This is not unusual, for in the New Testament Jesus spoke of Himself in the third person (Mark 8:38). In summary, all passages of Scripture that repeat the words God, LORD, or some other name for God follow common, normal usage. None of them suggests a plurality in the Godhead.

    The Spirit of the LORD

    A number of Old Testament passages mention the Spirit of the LORD. This presents no problem, for God is a Spirit. The phrase "Spirit of the LORD" merely emphasizes that the LORD God is indeed a Spirit. It further emphasizes the LORD's work among men and upon individuals. It does not suggest a plurality of persons any more than when we speak of a man's spirit. Indeed, the LORD makes this plain when He speaks of "my spirit" (Isaiah 59:21).

    The LORD God and His Spirit

    This phrase found in Isaiah 48:16 does not indicate two persons any more than the phrases "a man and his spirit" or "a man and his soul." For example, the rich fool spoke to his soul (Luke 12:19), but this does not mean he consisted of two persons. "LORD God" means the sum total of God in all His glory and transcendence, while "his Spirit" refers to that aspect of Him with which the prophet has come into contact and which has moved upon the prophet. The very next verse (Isaiah 48:17) speaks of the "Holy One of Israel," not the holy two or holy three. Isaiah 63:7-11 talks about the LORD and "his holy Spirit," while Isaiah 63:14 speaks of "the Spirit of the LORD." Clearly, no personal differentiation exists between Spirit and LORD. (See Chapter 9 - NEW TESTAMENT EXPLANATIONS: ACTS TO REVELATION for many New Testament examples in which and does not mean a distinction between persons.) The LORD is a Spirit, and the Spirit of the LORD is simply God in action."

    - David Bernard

    ---continued next post---
     
  11. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

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    "The Ancient of Days And the Son of Man

    Daniel saw a vision recorded in Daniel 7:9-28, in which he saw two figures. The first being Daniel saw was called the Ancient of Days. He had a garment as white as snow, hair like pure wool, a throne like fire, and wheels like fire. He sat upon the throne and judged thousands upon thousands of people. Then Daniel saw "one like the Son of man" coming to the Ancient of Days. This man was given an everlasting dominion over all people and an everlasting kingdom. Some trinitarians interpret this to be a vision of God the Father and God the Son. However, let us look at the account a little more closely.

    In the Book of Revelation, it appears that the Ancient of Days is none other than Jesus Christ Himself! Revelation 1:12-18 describes Jesus Christ as clothed in a garment, with hair as white as wool, eyes like a flame of fire, and feet like fine brass as if they burned in a furnace. Moreover, many scriptural passages explain that Jesus Christ the Son of man will be the judge of all men (Matthew 25:31-32; John 5:22, 27; Romans 2:16; II Corinthians 5:10).

    Furthermore, Jesus will sit upon the throne (Chapter 4). In Daniel's vision, the horn (antichrist) made war until the Ancient of Days came (Daniel 7:21-22), but we know that Jesus Christ will come back to earth and destroy the armies of the antichrist (Revelation 19:11-21). In sum, we find that Jesus in Revelation fits the description of the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7. If the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is the Father, then Jesus must be the Father.

    In Daniel 7:13, one like the Son of man comes to the Ancient of Days and receives dominion from Him. Who is this? The scene appears to be a vision of a man who represents the saints of God. This explanation is probably the one most consistent with the chapter. Daniel received the interpretation of the vision beginning with verse 16. Verse 18 says the saints of the most High shall possess the kingdom for ever and ever. Then verse 22 says the saints will possess the kingdom. Verses 26-27 say the kingdom and dominion (same words as in verse 13) shall be given to the saints of the most High, and this kingdom is an everlasting one. Of course, verse 27 concludes by saying all dominions are ultimately under God.

    Daniel 7:16-28, therefore, gives us the interpretation of 7:9-14. By its own terms, the chapter identifies the "one like the Son of man" as a representation of the saints of God. The NIV translates the phrase in verse 13 as "one like a son of man." We should note the lack of the definite article (the) in this translation, which reflects a lack of the same in the original language. We should also bear in mind that in the Old Testament "son of man" can refer to any individual man (Ezekiel 2:1) or to mankind in general (Psalm 8:4; 146:3; Isaiah 51:12). In Psalm 80:17 the phrase connotes a man to whom God has given sovereignty and power. So the interpretation that "son of man" represents the saints is consistent with the use of the phrase in other passages of Scripture.

    Some equate Daniel's "one like the Son of man" with Jesus Christ, since Jesus often called Himself the Son of man. However, this identification ignores the interpretation that Daniel 7 itself gives. If Daniel meant to refer to Christ, why did he not call Him the Messiah as he did in 9:25? Furthermore, even if the "Son of man" in Daniel were Jesus Christ, "one like the Son of man" need not be. In fact, the phrasing could indicate that the man in Daniel's vision is not Jesus, but someone like Him, namely the saints or the church. We know that the saints are sons of God, joint heirs with Christ, brothers of Christ, conformed to the image of Christ, and like Christ (Romans 8:17, 29; I John 3:1-2).

    In any event, we must remember that Daniel's vision was prophetic in nature and not descriptive of an actual situation in his time. If we assume that the man in Daniel 7 is Jesus Christ, then at most the vision shows Jesus' two roles of Father and Son. It cannot teach two persons because the Ancient of Days is identified as Jesus in His divinity. At most this passage may portray the dual nature and role of Jesus, much like the vision in Revelation 5 of the One on the throne (God in all His deity) and the Lamb (Jesus in His human, sacrificial role). (See Chapter 9 - NEW TESTAMENT EXPLANATIONS: ACTS TO REVELATION for a full explanation of this passage in Revelation.)

    In conclusion, "one like the Son of man" or "one like a son of man" in Daniel 7 represents the saints who will inherit the kingdom of God. If it does refer to Jesus Christ, then it describes Him in His human role just as the Ancient of Days describes Him in His divine role.

    Fellow of Jehovah

    In Zechariah 13:7, the LORD spoke of the Messiah and called Him "the man that is my fellow." The key to understanding this verse of Scripture is to realize that the LORD described a "man." That is, He was speaking about the man Christ Jesus, saying this man would be His companion or one close to Him. This verse does not describe one God calling another God "my fellow God." This is even plainer in the NIV and TAB. The former translates the phrase as "the man who is close to me," while the latter has it as "the man who is My associate." Only the sinless man Christ Jesus could approach the holy Spirit of God and be truly close to God. That is why I Timothy 2:5 says, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Of course, through Christ, we can all achieve fellowship with God.

    Conclusion

    The Old Testament does not teach or imply a plurality of persons in the Godhead. We can satisfactorily explain all Old Testament passages used by some trinitarians to teach a plurality of persons, harmonizing them with the many other passages that unequivocally teach strict monotheism. Certainly the Jews have found no difficulty in accepting all the Old Testament as God's Word and at the same time adhering to their belief in one indivisible God. From start to finish, and without contradiction, the Old Testament teaches the beautiful truth of one God."

    - David Bernard
     
  12. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "In conclusion, "one like the Son of man" or "one like a son of man" in Daniel 7 represents the saints who will inherit the kingdom of God. "

    If that was so the word son wouldn't be capitalized :)
     
  13. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

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    Hi LouisBooth,

    I'm not sure if you knew this, but the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts didn't use capital letters or punctuations for that matter.

    The reason it is capitalized in your English Bible is because that is how the translators interpreted said word.
     
  14. TorahsDisciple

    TorahsDisciple I Come To Serve

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    The concept of a triune god..is NOT Biblical. G_D clearly stated that HE would send HIS Messiah..HIS SON...NOT HIMSELF.
    Who was the voice that came from heaven to say "THIS IS MY SON..."?
    To Whom did CHRIST pray?
    Does CHRIST sit on HIS own right hand?
    JESUS proclaimed many times that HE had a G_D:

    JESUS is the Messiah, Lord and King, and is deserving of great praise and honor...But HE IS NOT THE FATHER. G_D did not die upon the cross..HIS SON DID.
    To follow the tri-une/trinity doctrine is to deny G_D and to make an idol of HIS SON.

    It is my prayer that people will see the truth of this.
     
  15. Mandy

    Mandy Well-Known Member

    +7
    Why did Thomas say to Jesus, "My Lord and my God"?
     
  16. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

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    God is unable to die. He did manifest in the flesh, however, and His flesh did die. Yet that body was quickened (made alive) again by God Himself.

    I Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh , but quickened by the Spirit:
     
  17. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

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    He finally received the revelation of the true identity of Jesus Messiah.

    His/my Lord and his/my God!!! :clap:
     
  18. TorahsDisciple

    TorahsDisciple I Come To Serve

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    Thomas was not calling Christ his lord and his G_D...HE was calling out to G_D. Those are two very different things.
     
  19. TorahsDisciple

    TorahsDisciple I Come To Serve

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    The evidence of scripture speaks plainly that the trinity/triune is a fals doctrine. The argument stops where G_D speaks.
     
  20. jbenjesus

    jbenjesus <font color="blue">Berean</font>

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    Although I agree with you about the false doctrine, it really doesn't say He was calling out to God as if in prayer or something.

    Jesus was speaking to Thomas about his unbelief and Thomas answered Jesus concerning that. Thomas responded to Jesus' statement.

    John 20:26-28 - And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

    Thomas confessed and answered Jesus, "My Lord and my God."

    The scriptures speak very plainly and contrary to your statement.
     
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