Monday, May 21, 2018


Each word of this title expresses one of my urgencies, because 1 became convinced they were Paul's own urgencies, either articulated as such or inherent to his understanding of the gospel. Thus: the Holy Spirit as person, the person of God himself; the Holy Spirit as God's personal presence; and the Holy Spirit as God's empowering presence.

The Holy Spirit as Person.

For most of us our understanding of the Spirit falls considerably short of personhood. We think of the Spirit as wind, fire, water, oil; impersonal images all; and refer to the Spirit as "it." No wonder many regard the Spirit as a gray, oblong blur. It is otherwise with God and His anointed one. Even though we start with the primary biblical understanding of God, that He cannot be imaged by what is created, we nonetheless have had much less difficulty in identifying with God, because in the Old Testament the images and anthropomorphisms at least let us catch a glimpse of true personality. And with the coming of God’s anointed one Jesus, all of that has been given a moment of historical focus. Our understanding of God is forever marked by the fact that He has been "fleshed out" at one point in our human history. Even if God seems distant, transcendent, "from eternity to eternity," we are not in the dark about God and his character. As Paul put it, the glory of God has been imaged for us in the one true human who bears the divine image, Jesus God’s anointed one: and by beholding his "face" we see the glory of the eternal God (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:4, 6). The burden of this study is that we must recognize the same to be true about the Spirit, not simply theoretically, but really and experientially. The Spirit is not lightly called the Spirit of Jesus God’s anointed one. God’s anointed one Jesus has put a human face on the Spirit as well. If we are truly to understand Paul, and to capture the crucial role of the Spirit in his theology, we must begin with his thoroughly biblical Unitarian presuppositions. Not only has the coming of God’s anointed one changed everything for Paul, so too has the coming of the Spirit. In dealing with the Spirit, we are dealing with none other than the personal presence of God himself.

The Holy Spirit as God's Presence

Absolutely central to Paul's theology of the Spirit is that the Spirit is the fulfillment of the promises found in Jeremiah and Ezekiel: that God himself would breathe on us and we would live; that He would write his law in our hearts; and especially that He would give his Spirit "unto us," so that we are indwelt by Him. What is crucial for Paul is that we are thus indwelt by the eternal God. The gathered called-out Assembly and the individual believer are the new locus of God's own presence with His people; and the Spirit is the way God is now present. One of the key images, therefore, that Paul associates with the indwelling Spirit is that of "temple," part of the significance of which is that it functions for Paul for the corporate, gathered called-out Assembly as well as for the individual believer. With this imagery in particular Paul picks up the Old Testament motif of God's "presence" with the people of God. This theme is one of the keys to the structure of the book of Exodus, where Israel comes to the holy mount, the place of God's "dwelling," the place where they are forbidden to go on the threat of death. Only Moses is allowed into God's presence. But God plans to "move" from the mount and dwell among his people by means of a "tabernacle." So after the giving of the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-24), Moses receives the precise instructions for constructing the tabernacle (Exodus 25-31). But this is followed by the debacle in the desert (Exodus 32), followed by God's announcing that "my presence will not go with you"; an angel will go instead (Exodus 33). Moses recognizes the inadequacy of this solution and intercedes: "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Exodus 15-16 NIV).

God's Presence with Israel is what distinguishes them, not the Law or other "identity markers."

This in turn is followed by the further revelation of God's character (Exodus 34:4-7) and the actual construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 35-39), all of which concludes with the descent of God's glory which "filled the tabernacle" (Exodus 40:35). With that, they journey to the place which "the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name" (Deuteronomy 12:11 and passim). At a later point in time the motif of the divine presence, as outlined here, was actually equated with "the Holy Spirit of the Lord" (Isaiah 63:9-14). In a canonical reading of the Old Testament the Deuteronomy promise is finally fulfilled in the construction of Solomon's temple, where the same glory as in Exodus 40 descended and "filled his temple" (1 Kings 8:11).

Israel's failure caused it to forfeit God's presence. This is the tragedy.

The temple in Jerusalem, the place where God has chosen to dwell, is finally destroyed; and the people are not only carried away captive, but the captives and those who remained were no longer a people distinguished by the presence of the living God in their midst-although it is promised again in Ezekiel's grand vision (Ezekiel 40-48). The second temple itself evinces mixed feelings among the people. In light of Solomon's temple and the promised future temple of Ezekiel, Haggai complains, "Who of you is left who. saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?" (Haggai 2:3). It is this complex of ideas and images that Paul picks up in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 6:19. His introductory, "do you not know that ... " followed by "you are the temple of God [in Corinth]," strongly suggests that this is the rich history that Paul here has in mind.

The called-out Assmebly corporately and individually, is the place of God's own personal presence, by the Spirit. This is what marks God's new people off from "all the other people on the face of the earth."

Therefore Paul's consternation with the Corinthians behavior; which had the effect of banishing the Spirit; the living presence of God that makes them his temple. This is the context of continuity in which we should read scores of Spirit texts in the apostle. This is how we know God's love for us in His anointed one (Romans 5:5); this is what makes us certain that we are God's very children (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:15-16); this is why holiness is not optional (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8), why we must not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30), why Timothy must not flag in the context of external pressures (2 Timothy 1:6-7)~because we are in indwelt by God Himself. The Spirit is the fulfillment of God's promise to dwell in and among his people; the Spirit is God present among us.

The Holy Spirit is God's Empowering Presence

In keeping Paul's Old Testament roots, the presence of God by His Spirit also meant for Paul the powerful and empowering presence of God. We are not left on our own as far as our relationship with God is concerned; neither are we left on our own to "slug it out in the trenches," as it were, with regard to the Christian life. Life in the present is empowered by the God who dwells among us and in us. As the personal presence of God, the Spirit is not merely some "force" or "influence." The living God is a God of power; and by the Spirit the power of the living God is present with and for us and in us. But in Paul power is not to be thought of merely in terms of the miraculous, the extraordinary. Rather, because of his basic eschatological framework (see Romans chapter 12) Paul understood the Spirit's power in the broadest possible way. On the one hand, the future had broken in so powerfully that signs and wonders and miracles are simply matter-of-fact (1 Corinthians 12:8-11; Galatians 3:5); on the other hand, the Spirit also empowers for endurance in the midst of adversity (Colossians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 12:9-1O); and for everything else as we endure, awaiting the final glory, of which the Spirit is the guarantee.

Person, Presence, power: these three realities are what the Holy Spirit meant for the apostle Paul. Because this was so, he "theologizes" about Christian life in a way that makes him neither a triumphalist, nor defeatist, but realist. To recapture the Pauline experience and understanding is the key to our finding our way into the "radical middle," where we expect neither too much nor too little. Here we will know life and vitality, attractive life and vitality, in our personal lives and in the community of faith. Here we will constantly have the veil removed so that we might behold God's own glory in the face of His anointed one Jesus, so that we are constantly being renewed into his likeness. Here we will regularly expect, and see, both the working of miracles and the fellowship of his sufferings, without sensing frustration in either direction. If we do not have the Spirit, Paul says, we do not belong to God or His anointed one at all.

An Additional Note:

The giving of the Spirit within John’s gospel is hinted at in John 19:30 and 34, but is explicitly recounted in John 20:22: on the evening of resurrection Sunday Jesus ‘breathed’ on the disciples and said to them “received the Holy Spirit”.

The key feature here is surely the use of the verb ‘breathed’ (enephysesen). For that verb is used twice to denote the divine creative breath in the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible.

First in Genesis 2:7 – God ‘breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life; and man became a living being’.

Second in Ezekiel 37:9 in Ezekiel’s great vision of an exiled Israel as a valley of dry bones, where Ezekiel is instructed to prophecy: Come you four winds, O breath (or wind or Spirit) and breathe on those slain, that they may live. It could hardly be clearer that what is in view in these usages of the verb ‘breathed’ is the breath of the breath/Spirit of life.

In depicting the scene in John 20:19-23 in just these terms, then, there can be little doubt that John intended his readers to understand this event as the new creation – Jesus the beginning of God’s new creation giving the spirit of new creation life to his disciples as God had given old creation life to Adam in the beginning. So who are in God's anointed one Jesus are new creations having the indwelling of his spirit in us to enable us to walk according to the words His Father gave to him to give to us to obey. If we walk in faith obedience to the words that Jesus has given to us we will be in the coming new age as co-rulers with him and co-inheritors!!!

Lazarus and the rich man

We have seen up to now that the Bible clearly teaches that the dead are dead, i.e. they are without consciousness, waiting for the resurrection. This we recognise is against the traditional view that believes that though somebody dies “his soul continues living”. We have however seen, from a multitude of Scriptures, that this traditional view cannot be correct, as it contradicts Scripture. There are though a few passages of the Bible that being misunderstood are used by tradition to support its doctrine of a supposed life immediately after death. One such passage is the story of the rich man and Lazarus, given in Luke 16:19-31. There we read:

Luke 16:19-31: "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, ‘for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’"

Now before we say anything about a passage, especially one that seems to contradict many other passages, we need to study its context. To whom did Jesus say this story ? This we can easily find by looking at the verses that precede the above passage. Starting from Luke 16:1 we can see that the Lord spoke to His disciples and gave them a teaching that ended with the following conclusion: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. ” (Luke 16:13) Now to this the Pharisees that were around responded as follows: “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him” (Luke 16:14). Then Jesus moved on and replied to them:

Luke 16:15-19: “And He said to THEM [the Pharisees], You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery. There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.”

I have intentionally included verse 19 in the above. Because this is part of the same talk that started in verse 15 and was addressed to “them”, them being the Pharisees. It was to them that Jesus tell the story of Lazarus and the rich man. He was not giving there a sermon to the people or a teaching to his disciples (though they were present). In contrast His eyes were looking at the Pharisees and His words were addressed to them. It was only after He completed this story that He turned again to the disciples, for we are reading in Luke 17:1 “then He said to the disciples….”. In other words, looking in chapter 16 as a whole we can see that what the Lord said in that chapter was addressed to two different groups of people: what he said from Luke 16:1 to 13 was addressed to the disciples with the Pharisees hearing. To this the Pharisees reacted deriding him. Then from verses 15-31 (which also includes the story we are looking at) He turned to the Pharisees and addressed them. When He was done with them, He turned again to the disciples (Luke 17:1).

It was therefore to the Pharisees that the Lord addressed the Lazarus and the rich man story. Now looking at this story we may feel very perplexed as there are elements in this that are not seen elsewhere in the Bible. Let’s see some of them:

i) The rich man died and went to Hades, where he was apparently tormented. As it appears from the passage he was still conscious as he could see, feel and speak. Moreover he had still sympathy and concern for his brothers and he wanted to warn them. This description of Hades and the state of the dead is in obvious contradiction with many Scriptures, some of which we give below:
Ecclesiastes 9:4-6, 10: "But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living KNOW that they will die; BUT THE DEAD KNOW NOTHING, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; NEVERMORE WILL THEY HAVE A SHARE IN ANYTHING DONE UNDER THE SUN. ....... Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might FOR THERE IS NO WORK OR DEVICE OR KNOWLEDGE OR WISDOM IN THE GRAVE (Sheol) WHERE YOU ARE GOING."

Psalms 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave (Hebrew: Sheol, Hades in Septuagint) who will give you thanks?”

Psalms 31:17: “let them be silent in the grave (Hebrew: Sheol, Hades in Septuagint)”.

Psalms 115:17: “The dead do not praise the LORD, nor any who go down into silence. [Septuagint: go down into Hades i.e. Hades = silence]”

Psalms 30:9: “What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it declare your truth? 

Isaiah 38:18-19: “For the grave [Sheol] cannot praise you, death can not celebrate you: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for your truth. The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do this day: the father shall make known your truth to the children. ” (NKJV-KJV)

As it is obvious from the above, Sheol (in Hebrew) or Hades (in Greek) is a place of silence and non-consciousness. There is no tormenting or refreshing there. There are no feelings of sympathy and there is no knowledge there. There are really more than 70 occurrences of the words Sheol and Hades in the Bibleand nowhere do we see in them the characteristics we see in the above story. Really in our story we see the rich man in Hades, speaking, feeling, having sympathy and being tormented. Why is that? Before we see the why, let’s also see some other points of this story. Let’s focus on the poor Lazarus.
ii) So for poor Lazarus we read:

Luke 16:22: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom”

Once again this sentence contains strange references, unprecedented in the Bible. Indeed, there is no other Biblical reference to “Abraham’s bosom” and to angels bringing people there. There are as we said more than 70 occurrences of the words Sheol and Hades in the Bible that define Hades, literally the grave, as the place that all dead – without distinction – go. But we never read of an “Abraham’s bosom” there, nor do we read that the poor or the just go to a different place than the rich or the unjust. Why is Jesus making such references that have no parallel in the Scripture and in fact contradict it in many points?

The answer can be found by going back to the context: to whom was Jesus addressing this story? As we saw this was not intended to be a general teaching on the dead but it was addressed specifically to the Pharisees that scorned him because he was teaching that there is no way to work both God and money. This audience we read were “lovers of money”, “covetous” and they “were justifying themselves among men”. The Pharisees had, as we can read in other places in the Scripture, traditions that didn’t have anything to do with the Word of God. They believed things that were foreign to Scripture and made the Word of God of no effect. Mark 7:1-13 give us some insight on how far from the Bible this sect was:

Mark 7:1-13: “Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash theirhands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honours Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men––the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. "For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ "But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban" ––’(that is, a gift to God), "then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."”

The last phrase “and many such things you do” shows that the above were not the only instances where the Pharisees were clearly deviating from Scripture. In fact, as it happens many times today, they had replaced the Word of God with their traditions. In fact, as it happens many times today, they had replaced the Word of God with their traditions. Their teaching were not teachings coming from the Scripture but traditions with no base on the Bible and in fact traditions that were blatantly contradicting the Bible. Now why do I say all these things about the Pharisees? The reason is simple: because though the “bosom of Abraham” and the other strange things that appear in the rich man and Lazarus story do not appear anywhere else in the Bible, and in fact contradict other references in the Bible, they do appear in the traditions the Pharisees believed. Here is what the Catholic encyclopedia tells us about the beliefs of the Jews of the 1st century.


In the Holy Bible, the expression "the Bosom of Abraham" is found only in two verses of St. Luke's Gospel (16:22-23). It occurs in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus the imagery of which is plainly drawn from the popular representations of the unseen world of the dead which were current in Our Lord's time. According to the Jewish conceptions of that day, the souls of the dead were gathered into a general tarrying-place the Sheol of the Old Testament literature, and the Hades of the New Testament writings (cf. Luke 16:22; in the Greek 16:23). A local discrimination, however, existed among them, according to their deeds during their mortal life. In the unseen world of the dead the souls of the righteous occupied an abode or compartment of their own which was distinctly separated by a wall or a chasm from the abode or compartment to which the souls of the wicked were consigned. The latter was a place of torments usually spoken of as Gehenna (cf. Matthew 5:29, 30; 18:9; Mark 9:42 sqq. in the Latin Vulgate) — the other, a place of bliss and security known under the names of "Paradise" (cf. Luke 23:43) and "the Bosom of Abraham" (Luke 16:22-23). And it is in harmony with these Jewish conceptions that Our Lord pictured the terrible fate of the selfish Rich Man, and on the contrary, the glorious reward of the patient Lazarus. In the next life Dives found himself in Gehenna, condemned to the most excruciating torments, whereas Lazarus was carried by the angels into "the Bosom of Abraham", where the righteous dead shared in the repose and felicity of Abraham "the father of the faithful". But while commentators generally agree upon the meaning of the figurative expression "the Bosom of Abraham", as designating the blissful abode of the righteous souls after death, they are at variance with regard to the manner in which the phrase itself originated. Up to the time of Maldonatus (A.D. 1583), its origin was traced back to the universal custom of parents to take up into their arms, or place upon their knees, their children when they are fatigued, or return home, and to make them rest by their side during the night (cf. 2 Samuel 12:2; 1 Kings 3:20; 17:19; Luke 11:7 sqq.), thus causing them to enjoy rest and security in the bosom of a loving parent. After the same manner was Abraham supposed to act towards his children after the fatigues and troubles of the present life, hence the metaphorical expression "to be in Abraham's Bosom" as meaning to be in repose and happiness with him. But according to Maldonatus (In Lucam, xvi, 22), whose theory has since been accepted by many scholars, the metaphor "to be in Abraham's Bosom" is derived from the custom of reclining on couches at table which prevailed among the Jews during and before the time of Christ. As at a feast each guest leaned on his left elbow so as to leave his right arm at liberty, and as two or more lay on the same couch, the head of one man was near the breast of the man who lay behind, and he was therefore said "to lie in the bosom" of the other. It was also considered by the Jews of old a mark of special honour and favour for one to be allowed to lie in the bosom of the master of the feast (cf. John 13:23). And it is by this illustration that they pictured the next world. They conceived of the reward of the righteous dead as a sharing in a banquet given by Abraham, "the father of the faithful" (cf. Matthew 8:11 sqq.), and of the highest form of that reward as lying in "Abraham's Bosom". Since the coming of Our Lord, "the Bosom of Abraham" gradually ceased to designate a place of imperfect happiness, and it has become synonymous with Heaven itself. In their writings the Fathers of the Church mean by that expression sometimes the abode of the righteous dead before they were admitted to the Beatific Vision after the death of the Saviour, sometimes Heaven, into which the just of the New Law are immediately introduced upon their demise. When in her liturgy the Church solemnly prays that the angels may carry the soul of one of her departed children to "Abraham's Bosom", she employs the expression to designate Heaven and its endless bliss in company with the faithful of both Testaments, and in particular with Abraham, the father of them all. This passage of the expression "the Bosom of Abraham" from an imperfect and limited sense to one higher and fuller is a most natural one, and is in full harmony with the general character of the New Testament dispensation as a complement and fulfilment of the Old Testament revelation.

“In the Holy Bible, the expression "the Bosom of Abraham" is found only in two verses of St. Luke's Gospel (16:22-23). It occurs in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus the imagery of which is plainly drawn from the popular representations of the unseen world of the dead which were current in Our Lord's time. According to the Jewish conceptions of that day, the souls of the dead were gathered into a general tarrying-place the Sheol of the Old Testament literature, and the Hades of the New Testament writings (cf. Luke 16:22; in the Greek 16:23). A local discrimination, however, existed among them, according to their deeds during their mortal life. In the unseen world of the dead the souls of the righteous occupied an abode or compartment of their own which was distinctly separated by a wall or a chasm from the abode or compartment to which the souls of the wicked were consigned. The latter was a place of torments … -- the other, a place of bliss and security known under the names of "Paradise" and "the Bosom of Abraham" ”

See in the above the emphasis to the “Jewish conceptions of that day”. We are not speaking here about Scripture based traditions that originate from God but “traditions of that day”, “popular representations of the unseen world”. The Bosom of Abraham, the just being in it, the angels bringing them there, the punishment of the unjust, the chaos between these two places and the other points we read above as the view of the Pharisees, have no parallel in any other part of the Scripture except the story of the rich man and the Lazarus. In other words: WHAT THE LORD USED IN THIS STORY, SPEAKING TO THE PHARISEES, WAS WHAT THE PHARISSES THEMSELVES BELIEVED TO BE HAPPENING AFTER DEATH. He used their own story to pass his own message. We can understand the Lord’s point in the conclusion given in the last sentence of the above story:

Luke 16:31: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

Obviously the rich man hadn’t heard, which is to say hadn’t followed, the Moses and the prophets, the Word of God, and ended up tormented. He was an unjust rich and his richness didn’t help him to avoid getting the tormenting share. On the other hand the poor man, though he was poor he was a man that followed the Word of God, the Moses and the prophets, and because of this ended up in Abraham’s bosom. And this is exactly what the Lord wanted to tell to these Pharisees. In Luke 16:13 he told the disciples “you cannot serve God and mammon”. Then Luke 16:14 tells us: “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him”. These people were lovers of money and they were not keeping the Word of God, the Moses and the prophets. In fact as we read elsewhere they were making the Word of God of no effect. Yet, they thought that somehow they would be saved – which according to their (false) traditions meant that after death they would go to the “Bosom of Abraham”. Then the Lord, using their own weapons, their very own traditions, turns to them and gives them a story where the poor ended up in the Bosom of Abraham because he kept the Word of God but the rich and unjust – like they were – ended up in torment. The riches were not sufficient to save him from this. Only keeping the Word of God could do this. It is a teaching to covetous Pharisees that in short tells them: “don’t think that riches will save you. What will save you is to follow the Word of God (the Moses and the prophets)”. To tell them this, the Lord used one of the most effective ways: their own language i.e. the language of their traditions about salvation and condemnation.

To conclude, the Lord didn’t intend with this story to give a sermon on what happens in the afterlife, as many have taken His words to mean, ignoring the context and the Pharisees beliefs that elsewhere the Lord judged severely saying that they bring the Word of God to no effect. What the Lord did, was addressing the Pharisees, using their very own beliefs about the afterlife to tell them that what matters is not riches but keeping the Word of God. He used their own framework, their own beliefs about afterlife, to add his own conclusion. He could choose another framework to say the same thing. But few will doubt that the most effective way to speak to somebody is using a language that is familiar to him. And this is what the Lord did: he spoke to them using their picture of the afterlife as a framework, adding to it the message He wanted. It is very sad that many have taken this framework, these wrong Pharisaic beliefs, and turn them into a doctrine about the dead. This is indeed a doctrine but a Pharisaic one. We hope that this article will help the reader to draw his own conclusions.

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Short Dissertation on the Christology of the Bible by a gentleman who goes by the name of "Seeker"

This is an attempt to bring some clarification to all of the unproven and misleading theories on the personhood of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Please read and prayerfully consider what is written herein and approach it with an open mind. The scriptures used throughout are from the NASB, but please feel free to look them up using any version you like. I pray that God will help you to truly KNOW the Messiah, the Son of God.

Shouldn’t we know our Savior? The One who redeemed us unto eternal life and shed His blood for us? But how can we know Him if we have the wrong perception of who or what He actually is? How can we be like Him as we’re commanded to, if we think He’s something He’s not? In order to know Christ we must first lay the groundwork of knowing who or what God is.

1. How Many Gods or Persons within God?

Let’s see what the Old Testament says:
Deuteronomy 6:4, Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

Isaiah 43:10, Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

Isaiah 44:6, … there is no God besides Me.

Isaiah 45:5, I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God…

Isaiah 46:9, For I am God, and there is no other; {I am} God, and there is no one like Me,

Let’s see what the New Testament says:
Mark 10:18, And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

Mark 12:29, Jesus answered, The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD';

John 5:44, How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the {one and} only God?

John 17:3, This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

1 Corinthians 8:6, yet for us there is {but} one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we {exist} for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we {exist} through Him.

1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God, {and} one mediator also between God and men, {the} man Christ Jesus,

The Jews of Jesus time, and apparently Jesus and Paul (from the scriptures above), thought God was one being; it was the bedrock of their faith. As Anthony Buzzard [& Charles Hunting] state in [their] book
[1] The Doctrine of the Trinity – Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, “Not once do we find Jesus criticizing his fellow countrymen for holding an inadequate understanding of the number of persons in the Godhead.”

If there is only one God (and according to the above mentioned scriptures there is), then who is this one God?

Let’s see what the Old Testament says:

NOTE: we must remember that when the Old Testament uses LORD in all capital letters, it is a place where the Tetragrammaton (YHVH or YHWH - Yahweh) was used in the original.

As quoted earlier:

Deuteronomy 6:4, Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

Isaiah 45:5, I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God…

So YHVH (LORD) is the one true God. There are many, many examples from the Old Testament, but for the sake of space and time these two should suffice. They clearly say that YHVH (LORD) is the only God.

Let’s see what the New Testament says:
Mark 12:29, Jesus answered, The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD (YHVH) OUR GOD IS ONE LORD (YHVH)';

Since Jesus quotes Deut. 6:4 in Mark it is clear that the one God – YHVH in the Old Testament is the same one God in the New Testament. As we have already quoted, Jesus said the following, in John, while praying to the Father:

John 17:3, This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

And Paul says:

1 Corinthians 8:6, yet for us there is {but} one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we {exist} for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we {exist} through Him.

John and Paul in 1 Corinthians tell us who this one God – YHVH – is; He is the Father. So the Father in the New Testament is synonymous with YHVH in the Old Testament. Both Testaments say that YHVH, or the Father, is the ONLY God.

Some will say “I thought Jesus was God the Son”? No, the Bible says Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man (“God the Son” is a term invented by men and is not found in the Bible). He is the Son of Man because His mother was Mary (human, mankind), and He is the Son of God because His father was God.

Granted, many beings are called god: Angels, OT judges, Moses, Jesus, Satan, etc, but not in the sense that John means it in the above passage. Did this make them co-equal with God?

Was Christ co-equal with God while on earth or was He subordinate to God while on earth? Most people would say he was subordinate simply because the evidence in scripture is overwhelming, but while many would say He was subordinate, a good portion of these would also add that “His human side was subordinate – not His God side”. Is this splitting of Christ’s nature into a “God” side and a “human” side Biblical - separating Jesus into two parts? Here is an interesting scripture:

1 John 4:2, By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;

An ancient text for 1 John 4:1-2 is reconstructed from Irenaeus (Ch. 16:8, ANF, Vol. 1, fn. p. 443); it gives a slightly different reading:

Hereby know ye the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ came in the flesh is of God; and every spirit which separates Jesus Christ is not of God but is of antichrist.

Socrates the historian says (VII, 32, p. 381) that this passage (from Irenaeus) is the true reading and that it became corrupted by those who wished to separate the humanity of Jesus Christ from his divinity. Is this separation Biblical?

Let’s see what the scriptures say about His position while on earth:

Matthew 20:23, …but to sit on My right and on {My} left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.

Matthew 26:39,… My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.

Matthew 26:53, Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

Mark 10:18, And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

Mark 13:32, But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father {alone.}

Mark 15:34, Jesus cried out with a loud voice… "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"

John 4:34, Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

John 5:19, …Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless {it is} something He sees the Father doing…

John 5:20, For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…

John 5:22, For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,

John 5:26, For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

John 5:30, I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

John 5:36, But the testimony which I have is greater than {the testimony of} John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish--the very works that I do--testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.

John 7:16, So Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

John 7:28, Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.

John 8:26, …but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.

John 8:28, …and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.

John 8:40, But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God...(notice he doesn’t say “which I heard from the Father” – but “God” – I thought Jesus was God?)

John 8:54, Jesus answered, If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God';

John 10:35-36, If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?

John 12:49, For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment {as to} what to say and what to speak.

John 14:10, Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

John 14:28, …If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

John 17:3, This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

John 18:11, …the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?

No hint of a “man side” and a “God side”. We shouldn’t try and make scripture fit our doctrine, but we should make our doctrine fit scripture. It is interesting that the majority of texts come from John – the one gospel that Trinitarians and others like to use to prove Jesus is God.

Let us now look to see if Christ was subordinate to the Father after His resurrection and ascension:

1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God, {and} one mediator also between God and men, {the} man Christ Jesus, - notice he’s still called a man after his resurrection and ascension.

1 Corinthians 8:6, yet for us there is {but} one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we {exist} for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we {exist} through Him.

1 Corinthians 11:3, But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:24,28, then {comes} the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

Revelation 1:1, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him…

Thus far we have seen that there is only ONE TRUE GOD and that this one God is YHVH of the Old Testament and the Father of the New Testament. We have seen that Jesus was subordinate to this one God both while on earth and after His resurrection and ascension. If Jesus is not the ONE TRUE GOD then what is He? Was Jesus a pre-existent being or an angel? If Christ was a pre-existent being above the angels, he could not have been eternal; only God is eternal. If He is been here from sometime before the creation of the earth then why do we never hear from him or about him in the Old Testament? Some would say that we do! They would counter that He was Michael the Archangel; others would say He was the Angel of YHVH. The chances of this are so remote that we won’t consider them in too much depth other than to quote a couple of scriptures:

Hebrews 1:1-2, God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…

1 Peter 1:20, For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.

When the Apostles in the New Testament go to such great lengths to explain to us who Jesus is, why do they not say He was Michael? Why do they not say He was the Angel of YHVH? In the beginning the Apostles didn’t understand everything Jesus was telling them, but by the time they wrote the New Testament (which I’m sure most reading this believe is inspired) they had been endowed by the Holy Spirit.

What about the passages that say Jesus created the world? Let’s look at them:

Eph. 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Eph. 3:9, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; (the KJV has the words “by Christ Jesus” at the end of this verse, but the earliest manuscripts do not have this).

Col. 1:16, For by Him all things were created, {both} in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him.

The only one that says anything was created BY Christ is Col. 1:16.

Here the Greek word “en” occurs twice. The first time it is translated as “by”, and the second time it is translated as “in”. The normal use of this Greek word is “in”. This word should be translated as “in” just as it is in Eph. 2:10 and its second occurrence in Col. 1:16 by the same translators. Here it is in the Revised Standard Version (RSV):

Col. 1:16, for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.

The word that is translated as “through” in Col. 1:16 is the Greek word “dia”. It can have the meaning of “because of” or “on account of”. Jesus is the reason for all of creation – both physical and spiritual. Many reputable Greek scholars such as J.H.Moulton in Grammar of New Testament Greek say that Colossians 1:16 should be rendered “for because of him”, and the Expositor’s Greek Commentary says on this verse: “en auto: This does not mean ‘by him’ ”. You’ll also notice that Col. 1:16 does not say that Christ created the Heavens and the earth. It says “in him all things were created, IN heaven and ON earth…”. It then goes on to tell us that these are thrones, dominions, principalities, and authorities. Christ was put over everything and given the authority to restructure the arrangements of spiritual powers and rankings.

I Peter 3:22, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

Eph 1:21-22, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

Col 2:10, …He is the head over all rule and authority;

Phil 2:9-11, For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

As for Eph. 3:9, the KJV has extra wording on the end of Eph. 3:9 in which they translate the Greek word “dia” as the English word “by”, when, once again, it should be translated either as “through” or as highlighted below (if the words are really supposed to be there, which is highly doubtful), just as the NASB and RSV translators do in Col. 1:16 near the end of the verse. Here are the definitions of both words in Strong’s:

En – a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest (intermediate between 1519 and 1537)
-- in, by, with etc

Dia - a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act
-- through a) of place 1) with 2) in b) of time 1) throughout 2) during c) of means 1) by 2) by the means of 2) through a) the ground or reason by which something is or is not done 1) by reason of 2) on account of 3) because of for this reason 4) therefore 5) on this account

Here are just a few scriptures that show God – YHVH – created everything.

Gen. 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Isa. 42:5, Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it,

Isa. 45:12, It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their host.

Isa. 45:18, For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it {and} did not create it a waste place, {but} formed it to be inhabited), I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Even if Jesus did not take part in creation did He pre-exist (can one exist before they exist)? The Old Testament type was “a lamb from among the flock”; one without spot or blemish. Jesus had to be one of us, not God masquerading as a man who was not really “tempted in every way as we are” and who could not really die, and not some Angel or pre-existent being.

As [2] J.A. Baker states:

“It simply is not possible at one and the same time to share the common lot of humanity and to be aware of oneself as one who has existed from everlasting with God”. And as stated in [3] “One God and One Lord – Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith”: …if Jesus were aware of being “God” in some way, or could remember his former state of glory in heaven, then his experience of earthly life would be very different from ours. Consequently, our ability to identify with both his overcoming temptation and leaving us a righteous path to follow is seriously compromised. We are then essentially left without a “mediator”, but are being asked to be like God Himself, instead of developing absolute trust in God, our heavenly Father, as Jesus did, and becoming like him as he said we could and should.

Did He pre-exist in God’s mind as the Word – Logos – Reason – Plan for everything that would happen? Yes! Did God foreknow Jesus in a very real way? Yes:

1 Peter 1:20, For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.

Here’s what Strong’s says the definition of the word “foreknown” (proginosko) is:
1) to have knowledge before hand
2) to foreknow
a) of those whom God elected to salvation
3) to predestinate

How do you foreknow someone who has always existed?
Did God foreknow us? Yes!
Romans 8:29, For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined {to become} conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

Eph. 1:4, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

2 Tim. 1:9, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

God did foreknow us, but we did not pre-exist except in His heart and mind.

Did the Apostle John pre-exist?
John 1:6, There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.

We know the Apostle John did not pre-exist, but when we see this same type of wording (“sent from God”) applied to Jesus, we somehow read pre-existence into it.

2. Did/Does Jesus have a God?

Let’s see what the scriptures say:

Matt 27:46, About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" (also in Mark 15:34)

John 17:3, This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

John 20:17, Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.' "

Some may say that Jesus made these comments in the flesh while on earth. Even though this is not a good argument – this splitting of Christ into two natures (as we have seen), this argument certainly doesn’t hold water for the remainder of these verses, which are after his Death, Burial, and Resurrection.

Romans 15:6, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Cor 1:3, Blessed {be} the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

2 Cor 11:31, The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

Eph 1:17, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

1 Peter 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,


Rev 1:1, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated {it} by His angel to His bond-servant John,

Rev 1:5-6, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood-- and He has made us {to be} a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him {be} the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Rev 3:12, He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

Many Trinitarians subconsciously read the word “Father” in place of God when they see Jesus and God in juxtaposition; reading their own theology back into the scriptures.

3. Was He a Man?

Let’s see what the Old Testament says:
Deut. 18:15, The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,

Numbers 24:17-19 "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult. 18 And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, While Israel does valiantly. 19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, And destroy the remains of the city."

II Samuel 7:12-13 When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Isaiah 11:1-3, There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. 3 His delight is in the fear of the LORD,

Isaiah 49:1-8, "...The LORD hath called me [Jesus] from the womb; from the bowels of my mother [Mary] hath he made mention of my name [Matthew 1:20-21, Luke 1:28-33] the shadow of his hand hath he hid me...And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant... to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth [referring to Christ Jesus]...have I [God] heard thee...have I [God] helped thee: and I [God] will preserve thee [Jesus, the Christ], and give thee for a covenant
[New Testament]..."

Jer. 23:5, "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

The following verse in Daniel is a prophecy of the future ascension of Jesus to God to receive his dominion and glory. Daniel is seeing this vision from a Heavenly point of view; hence the “coming with the clouds of heaven” is actually a vision of Jesus’ coming to the Father after His resurrection ... Here He is called the Son of Man.

Daniel 7:13-14 I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

Zech. 6:12-13, Then speak to him, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; 13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both." '

There are many more Messianic prophecies but it is widely known that the Jews never expected anything other than a human Messiah. However, couldn’t the Jews have gotten it wrong (as they often did in Jesus time)? They may have gotten it wrong in their extra-biblical writings and musings, but not in the inspired Word of God. Some might say it was simply veiled in the Old Testament that the Messiah was actually going to be God himself and this wasn’t revealed until the New Testament; let’s take a look at the following passage in the Old Testament:

Psalm 110:1, The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."

Let me again quote from Anthony Buzzard’s [& Charles Hunting's] book [1] The Doctrine of the Trinity – Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound.

It has been argued by some that this verse should be rendered ‘God said to my God…’ They insist that David knew of a duality in the Godhead and under inspiration declared the eternal Sonship and Deity of the one who was to become the man Jesus. Such a theory involves a misuse of the Hebrew language which can easily be cleared up. The two words for ‘lord’ in the sentence ‘the LORD said to my lord’ are significantly different. The first ‘LORD’ is Yahweh… [and] refers to God, the Father, the One God of Israel (as it does on some 6700 occasions). The second word for ‘lord’ (here, ‘my lord’) is adoni, meaning according to all standard Hebrew lexicons, ‘lord,’ ‘master,’ or ‘owner,’ and it refers here, by way of prediction, to the Messiah. If David had expected the Messiah to be God, the word used would not have been adoni, but adonai, a term used exclusively for the One God. Psalm 110:1 provides a major key to understanding who Jesus is. The Hebrew Bible carefully distinguishes the divine title adonai, the Supreme Lord, from adoni, the form of address appropriate to human and angelic superiors. Adoni, ‘my lord,’ ‘my master’ on no occasion refers to the deity. Adonai, on the other hand, is the special form of adon, Lord, reserved for address to the One God only. A reader of the Hebrew Bible is schooled to recognize the vital distinction between God and man. There is an enormous difference between adoni, ‘my master,’ and adonai, the Supreme God. No less than 195 times in the Hebrew canon adoni marks the person addressed as the recipient of honor but never as the Supreme God. This important fact tells us that the Hebrew Scriptures expected the Messiah to be not God, but the human descendant of David, whom David properly recognized would also be his lord. It is unusual for scholarly writing actually to misstate the facts about a word appearing in the Hebrew or Greek text. Astonishingly, however, a remarkable error crept into statements on high authority regarding the identity of the Messiah in this crucial Christological passage in Psalm 110:1. Notice now the evidence of widespread confusion in the treatment of this Psalm. The status of Jesus as the human adoni has proved to be an embarrassment to later ‘orthodoxy.’ A Roman Catholic writer, in an effort to support his traditional doctrine of the eternal Son, states: In Psalm 110:1 ‘Yahweh said to Adonai: Sit thou at my right hand.’ This passage is cited by Christ to prove that he is Adonai, seated at the right hand of Yahweh (Matt. 22:44). But Adonai ‘my master,’ as a proper name is used exclusively of the Deity, either alone or in such a phrase as Yahweh Adonai. It is clear, then that in this lyric Yahweh addresses the Christ as a different Person and yet identical in Godhead. The information is incorrect. The second lord of the Hebrew text is specifically not adonai but adoni. The latter is never a divine title. The former always designates the Deity. The whole Trinitarian argument from this Psalm fails because the facts of the language are wrongly reported.

That pretty much says it all. The Old Testament seems pretty clear that the Messiah who was to come was going to be a true, flesh-and-blood, man.

Let’s see what the New Testament says:
Can God be tempted? Not according to James:
James 1:13, "God cannot be tempted with evil" Jesus was tempted…"

Luke 4:1-2, "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil."

Luke 22:28, "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations."

Hebrews 2:18, "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted..."

Hebrews 4:15, "...but was in all points tempted like as we are..."

If his temptations weren’t real then he wasn’t “in all points tempted like as we are”. If there was no real possibility of Jesus giving in to these temptations, then they weren’t really temptations. Do any other New Testament scriptures insinuate he was a man?

John 8:40, "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God..."

The rest of these verses are the Apostles speaking after Jesus’ resurrection.
Acts 2:22-24, 22 Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

Acts 2:36, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

Acts 3:22, "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren..."

Acts 13:23, "Of this man's seed (David's) hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:"

Romans 5:19, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (one man, Jesus Christ, verse 15) shall many be made righteous."

1 Corinthians 15:21-23, "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam (a man) all die, even so in Christ (a man) shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward..."

1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

The above verse in 1 Timothy should be clear enough. Notice it does not say “one mediator between ‘the Father’ and men”, but “between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. If Jesus were God, this scripture wouldn’t make any sense.

Hebrews 1:4, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Hebrews 1:11-12, For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You."

Hebrews 5:7-9, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

Hebrews 7:14, For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

Rev. 5:5, and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."

For Christ to truly come from the tribe of Judah, he had to be of Mary’s egg. Not an angel put in her womb and not God himself entering Mary’s womb, but an actual baby conceived in her womb from her egg (not from Joseph, but from God – virgin birth). The KJV uses the words “sprang out of Juda” in Hebrews 7:14. The Greek word is “anatello” and means “rise – to cause to rise – of the earth bringing forth plants – etc.”

Luke records the conversation between the Angel and Mary in this way:
Luke 1:35, The angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

The Greek word here translated as “for that reason” (therefore in the KJV) is dio, and it means “wherefore; on account of”. The reason Jesus would be called the Son of God was because the Power of the Most High God was going to overshadow Mary and she would conceive, and for that reason, or on account of this, He would be called the Son of God.

We have seen that Jesus was a man, a mediator between God and man; we are to be like Christ – heirs with Him; God is our Father and Christ is our Brother:


Romans 8:17, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with {Him} so that we may also be glorified with {Him.}

Romans 8:29, For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined {to become} conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

Hebrews 2:11-12, For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one {Father;} for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, "I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE."

This should have thoroughly proven that Christ was a man; not a half man, not sort-of-a-man, not possessing a man’s body, not God masquerading as a man, but a real flesh-and-blood man. There is nothing to make us think He is one-third of a triune being. He is not co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. He is the Son of Man and the Son of God – He is our Lord and Savior.

1 Corinthians 8:6, "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."

Phil. 2:11, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

4. Why a Man?

First of all when man sinned God required that blood be shed to pay for those sins.

Gen. 9:4-6, 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. 6 Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.

Blood had to be shed; without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins:

Hebrews 9:22, without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

But God cannot shed blood; He is not flesh and blood.

Matt. 16:17, And Jesus said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal {this} to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Because blood is required, God set up the whole sacrificial system, but it was only a shadow or type pointing to the Messiah. This is the reason that the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament did not truly atone for sins.

Hebrews 10:4, For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Man sinned, so man’s blood is required. Again, God’s blood is not required – God is not a man and He cannot die.

Numbers 23:19, God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent.

By looking at Adam Christology we can see another reason Jesus had to be a true man (another Adam). The first Adam messed things up and the second Adam came to fix them.

1 Cor 15:45, So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam {became} a life-giving spirit.

Romans 5:14-19, Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One [man], Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.

1 Cor. 15:21-22, For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Do you see the pattern emerging here? Man sinned so man has to pay for those sins. Therefore God, in his amazing foreknowledge and grace, had a contingency plan from the foundation of the world. He would have a man be born in the fullness of time. God’s Spirit would overshadow Mary and she would conceive and give birth to the Messiah who would pay for man’s sins.

The first Adam was called the Son of God because he was made by God; he was a true man, made by God

Luke 3:38, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Therefore, the second Adam had to be a true man, made by God. God created man (Adam) who had the capability of sinning (human nature), but not a propensity toward it (sin nature). He made him genetically perfect and hoped he would be behaviourally perfect. Once he disobeyed and ate of the forbidden fruit, sin nature entered the picture. The birth of our Savior was from God impregnating Mary, creating another genetically perfect man and hoping he would be behaviourally perfect. God was responsible for the flawless genetics, but he could not be responsible for the flawless behaviour. Man is a free will being and as such must choose to obey or disobey. The first Adam chose to disobey; the second Adam was obedient in every way. We again quote from [3] “One God and One Lord – Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith”:

In essence, God took a risk and trusted that the Last Adam would trust Him. This is love in action: taking a risk, giving second chances, demonstrating commitment to a promise.

The Bible is basically a story about two Adams and the two “races” they fathered. Romans 5:12-21 could be summarized like this:

Two Adams
Two Sons of God
Two men
Two gardens
Two temptations
Two decisions
Two results
Two races

Remember this?

Hebrews 4:15, "...but was in all points tempted like as we are..."

Can we really say he was “tempted like as we are” if he existed from eternity past, had a knowledge of this existence, and knew he would return to being God himself? I quote [4] J.A.T. Robinson:

The traditional supranaturalistic way of describing the Incarnation almost inevitably suggests that Jesus was really God Almighty walking about on earth, dressed up as a man. Jesus was not a man born and bred – he was God for a limited period taking part in a charade. He looked like a man, he talked like a man, he felt like a man, but underneath he was God dressed up – like Father Christmas…Indeed, the very word “incarnation” (which, of course is not a Biblical term) almost inevitably suggests it. It conjures up the idea of a divine substance being plunged in flesh and coated with it like a chocolate or silver plating…The supranaturalist view of the Incarnation can never really rid itself of the idea of the prince who appears in the guise of a beggar. However genuinely destitute the beggar may be, he is a prince; and that in the end is what matters.

If it is a requirement that we believe in a Trinitarian God, a Binitarian God, or a God Family; if it is a requirement that we believe Jesus was anything other than the Son of God; why didn’t Peter mention it when he preached this sermon to JEWS (who were extremely Monotheistic and had no conception of the Trinity) in Acts chapter 2 right after he had received the promised Holy Spirit (which should have led him into all truth)?

Acts 2:22-42, Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.' 29 Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." ' 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

As stated earlier, these people listening to Peter were from all over the known world (Roman Empire), but were of the Jewish religion and were in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. The Jewish religion had no concept of a Trinity. These 3000 people could not have had any concept that Jesus was God himself, yet 3000 people were saved and baptized that day! Amazing isn’t it!

It is amazing how the Jews were disingenuously trying to drum up charges against Jesus. At one point they say the following:

John 8:41, "You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God."

And then at another point they say Jesus was making himself equal with God because He said that God was His Father:

John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."

They were speaking out of both sides of their mouth – anything to try and trap Him.

5. Conclusion

Let us not destroy the historical Lord, Jesus Christ by making Him an eternal, pre-existent, omnipotent, untemptable, co-equal God who masqueraded as a man for a short time. He was a man in whom God dwelt, and through whom God spoke and worked and manifested Himself; a man who’s Father was God; a man who submitted to and God - "Not my will, but Thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). The doctrine of the Trinity is not scriptural. The idea of 3 co-equal, co-eternal members of a Godhead is not to be found anywhere in the scripture; to quote Anthony Buzzard [& Charles Hunting] one last time from [their] book [1]

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound:
“Could it be that today’s Trinitarians inadvertently, and in sincerity desiring to exalt Jesus, fall into the trap of ascribing to the Messiah a position as God which he never claimed for himself? A claim to be Deity in the Trinitarian sense would actually be blasphemous by Jesus’ own standards, since he repeatedly affirmed that his Father was the only true God."


1. This book by Sir Anthony Buzzard [& Charles Hunting] can be purchased either by logging on to or by calling 1-800-347-4261.

2. This quote is from the book, ‘The Use of the Fourth Gospel for Christology Today’, by J.A. Baker

3. To read excerpts from this book or to purchase, log on to

4. This quote is from the book, “Honest to God” pg. 65-66