Jesus was and is not part of a trinity or even a duality of God, so why do you believe that he was/is?
I am responding to your article, Was Jesus God? I don't believe in the trinity of God, but we shouldn't believe in his duality either. In Hebrew, Yah is ECHAD (one), not two. It's good to stick to biblical terminology otherwise Jews and Arabs will not listen to our gospel, especially if we tell them that God came down and died for us. Yah is eternal and immortal and cannot die. The Scriptures always call Jesus the Son of God. He never taught that he was God, as he couldn't do anything without his Father. He was the son of God (second Adam, superior) like Adam was here on earth and then was exalted above the angels after his resurrection. Jesus is divine but is not "God" (as he doesn't have the Father's authority). That is why he asked us to pray to the Father, not to himself. I am sure Jesus is not El Elyon (the Most High God). When Jesus said he was one with the Father, he meant one in the spirit, not one and the same.
People often miss the point that Jesus had to be a man on earth, as a perfect man's sacrifice was required. He was exalted above the angels after his resurrection. He is on the same level as his Father in heaven, but he wasn't on earth as he was tempted and God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). Satan is not stupid as he told him "if you are the son of God...." He knew what he was saying. Jesus told Satan that only to God you will bow down and worship only Him. He didn't say "I am God and you must worship me." Jesus said to his disciples "I am going to my God and your God." I am sure he knew what he was saying. It's like many Christians today say that Jesus didn't really mean that all commandments apply today. Jesus said:
"Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are" (John 17:11).
It is obvious that he meant one in the spirit, but Christians try to say that he said one and the same. We can't twist the scripture and we must keep it in context.
I will respond to most of your points below:
<< I don't believe in the trinity of God, but we shouldn't believe in his duality either. >>
I respect your disbelief in a trinity or even in a duality of God. I also have read or heard, from other sources, all of the points that you have included in your email, and none of them have convinced me of your point of view.
I have no interest in changing your perspective, nor should you be concerned about changing mine. However, I will go ahead and comment on some of the points you have made, primarily to demonstrate to you that I am firm and steadfast in my belief system and to show you that there is zero chance that I am going to adopt your belief that Jesus was not God.
<< In Hebrew, Yah is ECHAD (one), not two. >>
Actually echad, as in the description of God in Deuteronomy 6:4, denotes a unified or composite one. On the other hand, yachid denotes a single or absolute numeric one. For more about this, see the singular and multiple section in my Who Is God? commentary.
The multiple nature of God is like the compound nature of water. Water can exist as a room-temperature liquid, as a freezing-cold solid, or as a scalding-hot vapor. If a cube of ice is placed in a pan, which is set atop a hot burner on a stove, it gradually will turn into a liquid and then evaporate as a gas.
During this process, there will be liquid water, solid ice, and gaseous vapor all existing at the same time. Yet, the essential molecule of all three, H2O, is identical. Likewise, the essence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the same; but each one has characteristics that are diverse from the other two.
<< It's good to stick to biblical terminology otherwise Jews and Arabs will not listen to our gospel, especially if we tell them that God came down and died for us. Yah is eternal and immortal and cannot die. >>
I have received countless emails from Jews and Arabs (including Muslims) who have found my reasoning and logic that Jesus must have been God to be very plausible. This has been instrumental in leading them to a saving knowledge and acceptance of Jesus as Messiah, Lord, and Savior.
Jesus, the physical manifestation of God made to be in human likeness (Philippians 2:7), did come down from heaven to die for us. Jesus was sinless; no mere man ever could be sinless, nor could a mere man absorb and compensate for the virtually infinite sins of humanity. Only a perfect God could do this. Jesus did not give up His deity while on the earth; rather, He surrendered the privileges and prerogatives of His eternal deity, even unto death, which was the epitome and ultimate model of humility (2:8).
When the body (not the spirit or soul) of Jesus died, YHVH or Yahveh (the whole, unified, composite, immortal God) did not die because, as you noted, He cannot die. Moreover, the spirit and soul of Jesus were away from His body for only an insignificant interval of time in the overall infinite realm of eternity, and then His body became full of life again and was transformed into a glorified, imperishible form. So the death of Jesus' body was not enduring; it was only brief and temporary.
<< The Scriptures always call Jesus the Son of God. He never taught that he was God, as he couldn't do anything without his Father. >>
When Yahveh appeared to Moses in the burning bush, He told Moses that He was the "I Am" (Exodus 3:14). In Greek, "I Am" translates as ego eimi or, specifically, as follows:
Several times, this appears in Greek Bible translations when Jesus was applying that term to Himself (Matthew 14:27; Mark 14:62; John 8:58, 13:19, 18:5,6). Jesus also made a claim to be at one with, or equal to, the Father (John 10:30). According to Leviticus 25:16, anyone who blasphemed God was to be stoned to death. The chief way for an ordinary man to blaspheme God was to make a claim to be God.
The Jews certainly understood that Jesus was claiming to be God. Thus, believing Him to be an ordinary man, and deeming Him to be blaspheming God, they were intent on stoning Him (John 8:59, 10:31-33).
Indeed, Jesus could do nothing without the Father because, as He taught, He and the Father were one (John 10:30) and anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father (John 14:9). Isaiah called the Messiah (Jesus) "Mighty God" and "Everlasting Father" (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus was and is coexistent with the Father; they were and are unified as one (echad).
Isaiah also called the Messiah "Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14), which means "God with us." An angel reiterated this to Joseph after Mary was found to be with child (Matthew 1:23). Jesus was Immanuel because He was God, Who came to us in human form as the physical manifestation of God.
<< He was the son of God (second Adam, superior) like Adam was here on earth and then was exalted above the angels after his resurrection. >>
The first man, the imperfect Adam, was from the dust of the earth; whereas, the second man, the perfect Jesus, was from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47). Jesus was infinitely superior to Adam, who was a mere man, because Jesus was God. More about this is in the first and last Adam section of my Creation commentary.
<< Jesus is divine but is not "God" (as he doesn't have the Father's authority). >>
Jesus said that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). This included the authority to forgive the sins of a paralytic, after which the Pharisees considered Him to be a blasphemer, since only God can forgive sins (Luke 5:20,21,24). But Jesus was not a blasphemer because He was God.
Also, the Father has entrusted all judgment to the Son, Jesus (John 5:22). Ultimate authority and judgment belong to God alone, so they belong to Jesus because He is God.
<< I am sure Jesus is not El Elyon (the Most High God). When Jesus said he was one with the Father, he meant one in the spirit, not one and the same. >>
On the contrary, I am sure that Jesus is God—that is, He is deity—and that He is one with the Father, in all ways. Paul wrote, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form..." (Colossians 2:9). Thomas said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Also, only God rightfully can be worshiped, and Jesus was worshiped (Matthew 2:2,11, 14:33, 28:9) because He was God.
There is much more evidence in the Scriptures to convince me that Jesus was and is God, most of which I have not even included in my commentaries or in my email responses, including in this email. However, I have included some points in other email responses that I have not written in this email. In case you do have an interest in reading any of these, they are here:
<< People often miss the point that Jesus had to be a man on earth, as a perfect man's sacrifice was required. >>
Yes, but it was not possible for Jesus to be a perfect man unless He had been God incarnate. He inherited the sin nature from Mary, a sinner (who acknowledged that God was her Savior in Luke 1:46,47), and He would not have been able to prevail over this sin nature had He not been diety. It is not possible for any mere man to overcome his sin nature.
<< He was exalted above the angels after his resurrection. >>
God said that the angels would worship His firstborn when Jesus was brought into the world (Hebrews 1:5,6). At that time, He already was exalted over the angels.
Jesus was instrumental in creating and making everything, including the entire universe (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2). Furthermore, "about the Son he [God the Father] says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever...'" (Hebrews 1:8). Continuing to speak, God the Father said about His Son, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands" (Hebrews 1:10).
In essence, the Father envisioned and conceived of all things, and the Son generated them and brought them into existence. Jesus' work as a carpenter on earth (Mark 6:3) reflected His construction of the whole universe as God.
Only God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. God the Father was including, along with Himself, the Son Jesus as God and as co-Creator of all things. Jesus was, is, and always will be God. This does not mean that there is more than one God; it means that there are multiple facets or elements of which the unified God is composed.
<< He is on the same level as his Father in heaven, but he wasn't on earth as he was tempted and God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). Satan is not stupid as he told him "if you are the son of God...." He knew what he was saying. >>
Jesus was incapable of yielding to temptation because He was God. However, He was capable of being tempted because, as a man, He had inherited the sin nature common to the rest of humanity. Otherwise, Satan would not have bothered trying, hoping that somehow Jesus would succumb to the temptation. However, Jesus was able to overcome every temptation because He was God incarnate. Jesus' human nature was capable of being tempted, but His God nature was not; in effect, His God nature "trumped" his human nature.
Following one of Satan's unsuccessful persuasive endeavors, Jesus told him, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test" (Matthew 4:7; Luke 4:12). This was a reference to the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:16 not to test God. In saying these words, Jesus was signifying that He Himself was God, since He was the one Satan was putting to test.
<< Jesus told Satan that only to God you will bow down and worship only Him. He didn't say "I am God and you must worship me." >>
It seems that you have misinterpreted this brief passage (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8). Satan wanted Jesus to worship him. Jesus did not imply that Satan should worship God (whether the Father or Himself, Jesus). Presumably, He knew that Satan never would do this.
He was saying that there was no way that He, Jesus, would worship Satan. This was because He was committed (according to the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:13) to worshiping, serving, and obeying only God the Father.
<< Jesus said to his disciples "I am going to my God and your God." I am sure he knew what he was saying. >>
Yes, Jesus knew what He was saying, and He often spoke of God and the Father interchangeably. As the physical representative of the Father to other people on earth, He wanted for them to know the Father as God.
Jesus also taught others to pray to the Father in His (Jesus') name, as the Father is the Source and perfect Giver of all things. In His unlimited humility, Jesus usually (though not always) deflected attention away from Himself as God and pointed to the Father as God, for the benefit of His audience (including us).
Jesus did not consider equality with God the Father something to be grasped (Philippians 2:6), as He Himself, the Word, had been God from eternity past (John 1:1,2). Also, He knew that only after His personal sacrifice on the cross for humanity would he, again, be elevated to equality with the Father in heaven.
For instance, in John 16:23-28, Jesus used the term "Father" repeatedly. He was showing not only that He revered and esteemed the Father above all else but also to demonstrate to His listeners that they should do the same. Finally, they said that they believed He came from God (16:30), understanding that Jesus had been referring to "the Father" as "God."
This in no way detracted from Jesus' own deity, though. They understood that He was placing Himself on a level of obedience and deference to the Father, as He was wanting them to do as well.
God identified Himself as "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 21:6). He added that whoever overcomes, "I will be his God and he will be my son" (21:7). Indeed, all those who overcome the world are sons of God the Father.
Jesus—the one who was speaking to John (22:16)—also called Himself "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 22:13). He, the supreme Son of God, was making one of many claims to be God. He would have been speaking blasphemy if He Himself were not God; but He was and is God.
<< It's like many Christians today say that Jesus didn't really mean that all commandments apply today. >>
That is true. God's commandments are forever. Until heaven and earth disappear, not even the least bit of the Law will pass away until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).
<< In John 17:11 Jesus said:
"Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are."
It is obvious that he meant one in the spirit, but Christians try to say that he said one and the same. We can't twist the scripture and we must keep it in context. >>
Nothing is obvious with the poor translation of that verse in the NKJV. Here is the word-for-word translation of John 17:11,12 directly from the Greek:
11And no longer am I in the world, and they in the world are, and I to thee come. Father holy, keep them in the name of thee which thou hast given to me, that they may be one as we. 12When I was with them, I kept them in the name of thee which thou has given to me, and I guarded, and not one of them perished except the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:11,12—Greek)Most Bible versions render a better translation than the NKJV and the KJV. For instance, this is how the NIV translates that passage:
11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. (John 17:11,12—NIV)Jesus did not ask the Father to keep, through His name, those He had given to Jesus. Rather, Jesus asked the Father to keep them in the Father's name, which the Father had given to Jesus. So, in fact, this is further evidence that the Father and Jesus share the same name, which is YHVH/YHWH or Yahveh/Yahweh. This is because the Father and Son always have been God, together, as one.
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