The Trinitarian Beliefs of the Ante-Nicene Period Pt. 2

The Case of Origen

In this section (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/the-trinitarian-beliefs-of-the-ante-nicene-period-pt-1/), I am going to quote from the third chapter of Fortman’s book where he discusses Origen’s Trinitarian views. All bold, capital and/or underline emphasis will be mine.

Origen

The second point is the procession of the Son from the mind of the Father, as ‘will proceeds from understanding.’ Here is one of the earliest presentations of an immanent intellectual processions of the Son from the Father that excludes all materiality from the Father and Son and marks out a line of thought that will reach its crest in the theology of Aquinas. The third point is the appearance of the word homoousios. If the text is authentic, and there ‘seems to be no cogent reason why it should not be,’43 then Origen is here the first to use the word homoousios in speaking of the Son’s basic relation with the Father. What did he mean by ‘consubstantial’? Basically homoousios meant ‘of the same stuff’ or ‘substance.’44 However, ‘of the same substance’ might mean ‘of generically the same substance’ or ‘of identically the same substance.’ In later theology ‘consubstantial’ will mean that the Son is ‘of identically the same substance as the Father,’ possesses the same identical substance as the Father, and thus is God in the strictest sense as much as the Father. But in the light of Origen’s subordinationism it would seem that he understood consubstantial only in its generic sense, even though his monotheism should point toward ‘identity of substance.’

Was Origen a subordinationist? The answer must be both no and yes. He was not a subordinationist in the later Arian sense, for he did not consider the Son a creature, produced out of nothing and in such a way that there was a moment when the Son was not. Verbally at times he called the Son a creature (ktisma) and created, but only because he with many others understood Prov 8.22 of the Son. But he always taught that the Son issued from the Father by way of unitive eternal generation and not by way of separative production ad extra.

In other ways, however, he was definitely subordinationist, for he made the Son inferior to and subordinate to the Father. For only the Father was God in the strict sense, ho theos, autotheos. The Son was only theos, a ‘secondary God,’ who possessed the Godhead only by participation or derivation. He did not see the oneness of Father and Son as an identity of substance but rather as a moral union of virtually identical wills or a union like that of man and Christ to form one spirit. He considered the Son the Father’s minister and said ‘we should not pray to any generate being, not even to Christ, but only to the God and Father of the universe’ (Or. 15.1; Cels. 8.13). He said openly that the Son was inferior to the Father: ‘we… declare that the Son is not mightier than the Father but inferior to Him’ (Cels. 8.15); ‘we say that the Savior and the Holy Spirit are very much superior to all things that are made, but also that the Father is even more above them than they are themselves above creatures even the highest’ (Jo. 13.25).

Origen tried to build a harmonious synthesis of strict monotheism and a Platonic hierarchical order in the Trinity–and failed. Along with a great deal of excellent theology he handed down an unfortunate mixture of truth and error that would exert an unhappy influence on Greek theology for a long time.

Holy Spirit

The status and the origin of the Holy Spirit baffled Origen. He felt that the matter had been left open by the Church (Princ. 1), but owing to the lack of Biblical and traditional data he did not know what to think.

At times he seems to affirm the divinity of the Holy Spirit quite clearly, for he says that everything was made except the nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that nowhere is it stated that the Holy Spirit is a creature (Princ. 1.3.3; 2.2.1). The Spirit ‘is ever with the Father and the Son; like the Father and the Son He always is, and was, and will be‘ (Ep. ad. Rom. 6.7). He is ‘associated in honor and dignity with the Father and Son’ (Princ. praef. 4).

In other passages, however, the Spirit is definitely inferior to the Son (Jo. 2.6.), and where the Father’s action extends to all beings, the Son’s to all rational creatures, the Holy Spirit’s only extends to the saints (Princ. 1.3.1-8).

What disturbed Origen most was the origin of the Holy Spirit: was He born like the Son or created (Princ. praef. 4.3). Since ‘all things were made by’ the Word, the Holy Spirit too must be His work (Jo. 2.6). Origen had reason to be disturbed, for he was facing one of the deepest aspects of the trinitarian mystery, the eternal origin and distinction of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In one passage: ‘God the Father from whom both the Son is born and the Holy Spirit proceeds (Princ. 1.2.13), Origen expressed the origin of the Holy Spirit as procession from the Father, as St. John had expressed it and the Greek Church would continue to express it. But elsewhere he saw only two possibilities for the Holy Spirit, that He was born or that He was made. He could not accept the Holy Spirit’s origination as generation, and so he chose to view the Holy Spirit as ‘made by the Father through the Son’ (Jo. 2.6.). He was moving dimly toward a third type of origination that is neither generation nor creation but which will later be called ‘spiration’ by the Council of Lyons (Denz 850).

Trinity

Origen is trinitarian in his thought: ‘We, however, are persuaded that there are really three persons [treis hypostaseis], the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’ (Jo. 2.6.). For him ‘statements made regarding Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are to be understood as transcending all time, all ages, and all eternity‘ (Princ. 4.28), and there is ‘nothing which was not made, save the nature of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit‘ (Princ. 4.35). ‘Moreover, nothing in the Trinity can be called greater or less’ (Princ. 1.3.7).

Other writers before Origen had regarded the three as distinct, but often they looked to this distinction only as manifested in the economy. Origen, however, clearly maintains that each of the three is a distinct hypostasis, an individual existent from all eternity and not just as manifested in the economy. This is one of his most important contributions to Greek theology and stems directly from his belief in the eternal generation of the Son. (Chapter Three. The Pre-Nicene Phase, pp. 54-58)

Lord willing, I will be posting more in this series in the near future.

Further Reading

Origen’s Christology (https://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/origens_christology.htm)

 

 

The Trinitarian Beliefs of the Ante-Nicene Period Pt. 1

In this post, I begin a series where I will be quoting from one of the best treatments on the historical study and development of the Trinity of the last century. The book is titled The Triune God: A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity (Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 1999) and was written by Edmund J. Fortman.

I start this off by citing the summation of Fortman’s third chapter, where he sums up the teaching of the NT writers and the ante-Nicene fathers concerning the Trinity. All bold, capital, and/or underline emphasis will be mine.

Summary

It will be helpful to recapitulate the flow trinitarian thought thus far so as to see what its status was on the eve of the Nicene conflict that was to play such a tremendous part in the further development of trinitarian thought and dogma.

In the New Testament writings Jesus was called the ‘Son of God, ‘Lord,’ and ‘Word’ and was assigned the divine functions of creation, salvation, and judgment. He was explicitly said to be God and with God FROM ETERNITY, to be one with the Father and in the Father. The Holy Spirit was not explicitly called God, but at times He was put on a level with the Father and Son in terms of divinity and personality. To Him were ascribed the divine functions of inspiration, vivification, justification, sanctification. There was no formal doctrine of one God in three co-equal persons, but the elements of this doctrine were there.

The Apostolic Fathers maintained that there was only one God. They affirmed the divinity and distinct personality of Christ quite clearly and that of the Holy Spirit less clearly. They offered no trinitarian doctrine and saw no trinitarian problem.

The Apologists went further. They affirmed that God is one but also triadic. To Christ they ascribed divinity and personality explicitly, to the Holy Spirit only implicitly. To try to express Christ’s mysterious relationship with God, they used the concept of a pre-existing Logos somehow originating in and inseparable from the Godhead, which was generated or emitted for the purposes of creation and revelation. Thus they had what is called a ‘two-stage theory of the preexistent Logos,’ or a Logos endiathetos and a Logos prophorikos. But in describing the origin of the Logos-Son, they sometimes presented the personality of the Logos and the generation of the Son obscurely as to leave a strong impression that the Logos-Son was a non-eternal divine person, a diminished God drastically subordinate to the Father. But they did not go as far as the later Arians would and make the Son only a creature and an adopted son of God.

The Alexandrines made further contributions to the development of trinitarian thought. Clement affirmed one God and adored the trinity of the Father, Word, and the Holy Spirit. Although he has some subordinationist passages, his general doctrine is that the Son is eternally generated by the Father and is one and the same God with the Father. But how the three are one and the same God he does not explain.

Origen maintained the eternal generation of the Son and thus abandoned ‘the twofold stage theory of the pre-existent Logos’ and substituted ‘for it a single stage theory.’49 

While other writers had spoken of the three, they had not answered the question, ‘three what’? Origen answered it by saying they were ‘three hypostases’ (Jo. 2.6), and thus seems to have been the first to apply the Trinity this word that Greek theology ultimately accepted as the technical description of what the Latins called the personae of God.50 He made it clear that these three hypostases were not only ‘economically’ distinct, but essentially and eternally.

In some of his commentaries (Num. 12.1; Lev. 13.4) he apparently applies ‘the conception of a single ousia to the divine triad’ and contends that there ‘is a single substance and nature of the triad,’51 and in one passage he seems to say the Son is homoousios with the Father. But he probably meant He was only generically, not identically, consubstantial.

To some extent Origen was a subordinationist, for his attempt to synthesize strict monotheism with a Platonic hierarchical order in the Trinity could have–and did have–only a subordinationist result. He openly declared that the Son was inferior to the Father and the Holy Spirit to the Son. But he was not an Arian subordinationist for he did not make the Son a creature and an adopted son of God.

Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria made a notable, if unintended, contribution to the developing crisis by bringing into prominence the three basic trinitarian deviations that are known to history as Sabellianism, Subordinationism, and Tritheism, and the urgent need of precise trinitarian concepts, terms, and distinctions. His encounter with the Pope of Rome also turned a strong light on the term homoousios that was soon to occupy the center of the stage at Nicea. (Chapter Three. The Pre-Nicene Phase, pp. 59-61)

Lord willing, I am going to quote the rest of Fortman’s excellent discussion of the Trinitarian beliefs of the ante-Nicene Fathers in subsequent posts.

Here’s the link to the second installment where I cite Fortman’s discussion of Origen’s Trinitarian beliefs (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/the-trinitarian-beliefs-of-the-ante-nicene-period-pt-2/).

 

Jehovah Gets Pierced! Pt. 2

In this section (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/10/jehovah-gets-pierced/) I am going to address the two main objections to reading Zechariah 12:10 as “they will look to/on Me.” Here, once again, is how the passage reads:

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” New American Standard Version (NASB)

Now contrast this with the following version:

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of mercy and supplication, so that when they look on him whom they have thrust through, they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and they will grieve for him as one grieves over a firstborn.” New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE)

I’ve already provided the evidence for the reading “they will look to/on Me,” in the previous post. The textual data and ancient versions all confirm that this is the original reading.

Now in support for the variant “on him,” it is argued that this reading makes better sense within the context since the verse goes on to speak of the Jews mourning for him, not Me. It is claimed that it is difficult to see why the text would switch from a first person singular pronoun (“Me”) to a third person singular one (“him”).

It is further argued that John supports the latter reading since he cites this very text in his Gospel:

“And again another passage says: ‘They will look upon him whom they have pierced.’” John 19:37 NABRE

The fact that John’s citation employs the third person pronoun him, is seen as evidence that this is what Zechariah 12:10 originally said.

Even though these two objections were already dealt with in some of the citations that I quoted in the previous post, I am going to address them here for the benefit the readers.

To begin with, there are plenty of examples where God switches between first and third person address, as we find in the following references and within the very same chapter of Zechariah 12!

“On that day I will set Judah like a fiery pot among wood and as a flaming torch among cut grain. And they will devour to the right and left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem will still reside in her place, the place of Jerusalem. The LORD will deliver the tents of Judah as before, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of those dwelling in Jerusalem will not eclipse Judah. On that day the LORD will defend those residing in Jerusalem; and even the one who stumbles among them will be as David on that day. And the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD going out before them. On that day I will seek to destroy all the nations who come out against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and over those dwelling in Jerusalem a spirit of favor and supplication so that they look to Me, whom they have pierced through. And they will mourn over him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly over him as a firstborn.” Zechariah 12:6-10

For thus says the LORD of Hosts: He has sent Me after glory to the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. For I will swing My hand against them, and they will become plunder for their servants. Then you will know well that the LORD of Hosts has sent Me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for I am coming and will dwell in your midst, says the LORD. And many nations will join themselves with the LORD in that day, and they will be My people. And I will reside in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of Hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and He will again choose Jerusalem. Be still, all flesh before the LORD, for He is stirred from His holy habitation.” Zechariah 2:8-13

“And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the LORD of Hosts: Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion, every man to his brother. Do not oppress the widow, orphan, sojourner, or poor. And let none of you contemplate evil deeds in your hearts against his brother. But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears so that they should not hear. They made their hearts hard like a diamond so as not to hear the instruction and words that the LORD of Hosts sent by His Spirit through the former prophets, and there was great anger from the LORD of Hosts. Therefore it happened that as I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear, says the LORD of Hosts. So I scattered them about among all the nations whom they did not know, so the land was left desolate behind them with no one coming or going. And they made a desirable land desolate.” Zechariah 7:8-14

My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will visit judgment on the male goats. For the LORD of Hosts will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like His majestic horse in battle. From him comes the cornerstone, and from him the tent peg. From him comes the bow for battle, and from him every ruler goes out, all these together. And they will be as mighty men, who trample down in the muddy streets in battle. They will fight because the LORD is with them, and He will put to shame those riding on horses. I will make strong the house of Judah, and will deliver the house of Joseph. I will restore them because I have compassion on them. They will be like I had never rejected them; for I am the LORD their God, and I will respond to them. Then Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their hearts shall rejoice as with wine. Their children shall see this and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the LORD. I will whistle to them and gather them in, for I have ransomed them; they will be numerous as they were numerous before. When I scatter them among the nations, they will remember Me in the distant lands; they will live with their children and then return. I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, until there is no room for them. He will pass through the sea of distress, and will put down the waves in the sea: All the depths of the Nile will be dried up; and the arrogance of Assyria will be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt will turn away. I will make them strong in the LORD, and they will go to and fro in His name, says the LORD.” Zechariah 10:3-12

“The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go down, warn the people, lest they force their way to the LORD to look, and many of them perish. Let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break through against them.’ Moses said to the LORD, ‘The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, “Set boundaries around the mountain, and sanctify it.”’ Then the LORD said to him, ‘Go, get down, and come up, you and Aaron with you, but do not let the priests and the people force their way through to come up to the LORD, lest He break through against them.”” Exodus 19:20-24

“Now God spoke all these words, saying: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven idol, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water below the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them who hate Me, and showing lovingkindness to thousands of them who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His name in vain.” Exodus 20:1-7

We even find this phenomenon employed in the NT as well:

“Therefore they could not believe. For Isaiah said again: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes and perceive with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’” John 12:39-40

“For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’” Romans 14:11

This brings me to my next point. The NT often cites the Old Testament quite loosely, in a less than literal manner, and/or quotes a different form of the Hebrew text. For instance, compare how the NT writers cite the following OT passages:

“‘Awake, O sword, against My shepherd and the man of My association,’ says the LORD of Hosts. Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter. I will turn My hand against the small ones.” Zechariah 13:7

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will fall away on account of Me this night, for it is written: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.”’” Matthew 26:31

These next cases are quite interesting:

You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts from people, yes, even from the rebellious, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” Psalm 68:18

Here we have the Psalmist employing the second person singular pronouns to refer God. Compare this with how Paul cites it:

“Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’” Ephesians 4:8

Note how the Apostle switches from the second person to the third person singular.

And:

I will send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. He is coming, says the LORD of Hosts.” Malachi 3:1

In this prophecy, Jehovah refers to himself in the third person, which is then changed by the Gospel writers:

“For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Look, I am sending My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’’’ Matthew 11:10 – Cf. Luke 7:27

“As it is written in the Prophets: ‘Look, I am sending My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’” Mark 1:2

Instead of Jehovah speaking of himself in the third person, the prophecy now has God employing second person address to refer to someone else, namely, Jesus Christ.

What the foregoing shows is that just because John employs the third person singular pronoun in his citation of Zechariah 12:10, this does absolutely nothing to prove that this is the original reading of the verse in question.

The fact is that the textual evidence and ancient versions all point in the same direction, namely, the passage from Zechariah speaks of Jehovah God being physically pierced through, an event which took place the day the Lord Jesus was pierced by a Roman soldier’s spear as he died on the cross for the sins of creation.

This in itself explains why certain copies of Zechariah were changed from Me to him. The scribes that produced those manuscripts were obviously troubled by a prophecy, which foretold that God would be physically thrust through, one that confirmed the Christian understanding that Jesus Christ is none other than that very God whom the Jews handed over to the Romans to pierce him as he hung on the cross for their salvation.

As the translators of the NET Bible put it:

tn Or “on me.”

tc Because of the difficulty of the concept of the mortal piercing of God, the subject of this clause, and the shift of pronoun from “me” to “him” in the next, some mss read אֶל אֵת אֲשֶׁר or אֱלֵי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (ʾel ʾet ʾasher or ʾele ʾet ʾasher, “to the one whom,” a reading followed by NAB, NRSV) rather than the MT’s אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (ʾelay ʾet ʾasher, “to me whom”). The reasons for such alternatives, however, are clearthey are motivated by scribes who found such statements theologically objectionable – and they should be rejected in favor of the more difficult reading (lectio difficilior) of the MT.

tn The Hebrew term בְּכוֹר (bkhor, “firstborn”), translated usually in the LXX by πρωτότοκος (prōtotokos), has unmistakable messianic overtones as the use of the Greek term in the NT to describe Jesus makes clear (cf. Col 1:15, 18). Thus, the idea of God being pierced sets the stage for the fatal wounding of Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God (cf. John 19:37; Rev 1:7). Note that some English translations supply “son” from the context (e.g., NIV, TEV, NLT). (NET Bible https://netbible.org/bible/Zechariah+12; underline emphasis ours)

So much for the feeble attempt of getting around this rather clear and explicit prophecy to God becoming flesh in order to be pierced through by his people in order to bring about their salvation, as well as the salvation of the nations.

 

Jesus is the Most High God!

In this post, I am going to present the evidence that identifies Jesus as the most High God.

1. Jehovah is the Most High God.

The God-breathed Scriptures are quite clear that Jehovah is the Most High God:

“And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,” Genesis 14:22

“I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.” Psalm 7:17

“The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.” Psalm 18:13

“that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” Psalm 83:18

2. Jesus is identified as Jehovah God in the flesh.

The sacred writings are equally clear that Jesus is the incarnation of Jehovah God, e.g, Jesus is Jehovah who became a human being. This can be seen from the Gospels where Jesus is portrayed as fulfilling two OT prophecies, which announced the coming of Jehovah to his very own temple:

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judæa, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” Mark 1:1-8 – cf. Matthew 3:1-3, 11-15, 11:10; Luke 3:1-6, 15-17; 7:27

“He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias… John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” John 1:23, 26-36

The Gospels identify the Baptist as the Herald, the envoy, whom God sends ahead of him to prepare for his coming. Here are the prophecies in question:

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 40:3-5

Isaiah announces that Jehovah himself would appear after sending a herald in the wilderness to announce to Israel that their God is about to come.

And:

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord (ha Adon), whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to HIS temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1

Malachi foretells that the Lord himself, i.e., ha Adon, would personally come to his temple in Jerusalem.

Since the temple in Jerusalem was built for God, and not for man,

“Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.” 1 Chronicles 29:1

And since the phrase ha Adon is only used of Jehovah,

“Therefore saith the Lord (ha Adon), the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:” Isaiah 1:24 – cf. 3:1; 10:16, 33; 19:4; Exodus 23:17; 34:23; Micah 4:13

This establishes that the Lord whom the messenger prepares the way for is none other than Jehovah God Almighty himself.

And since this envoy/messenger is said to be John the Baptist, and since the Baptist came to prepare for the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ,

“Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” Acts 19:4

This means that Jesus Christ is that Jehovah God Almighty, the very Lord of the temple, whom the prophets announced would be visiting his people!

Note the logic behind this:

  1. John was the voice and messenger that was sent to prepare for the coming of Jehovah God to his very own temple.
  2. John came to prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. Jesus is, therefore, that Jehovah God whom the OT prophets foretold would be coming to his very own temple.

There’s more.

The inspired writer to the Hebrews has God the Father ascribe to his glorious Son,

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord [the Son], in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” Hebrews 1:8-12

The following Psalm, where David glorifies Jehovah as the unchanging Creator and Sustainer of all creation!

“A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee… But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations… I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.” Psalm 102:1, 12, 24-27

In other words, even God the Father praises, glorifies and confesses Jesus Christ as being none other than Jehovah God Almighty!

3. Jesus is, therefore, the Most High God.

Since the NT identifies Christ as Jehovah Almighty, this means that Jesus is none other than the Most High God. There’s simply no way of getting around this inspired biblical truth.

This now brings me to my next point.

Jesus shares the status, glory, and honor of God the Father.

The Hebrew Bible testifies that Jehovah is far above all the gods, and that these gods are to, therefore, worship him:

“Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods… For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.” Psalm 97:7, 9

The Jews who initially translated the OT into Greek understood these gods to be angelic beings:

Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship him, all ye his angels. Psalm 96:7

The OT writings further declare that there is none like Jehovah in respect to his exalted status:

“Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” Psalm 113:5-6

And yet the NT ascribes this very exalted position to the Lord Jesus,

“and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Hebrews 4:14

“For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;” Hebrews 7:26

The inspired authors of the Christian Scriptures even go as far as to attribute the passage where angels are commanded to worship Jehovah Most High to the Son!

“who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high… And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him… But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” Hebrews 1:3, 6, 13

In fact, every created being in the entire creation renders unto Jesus the same exact worship that God the Father receives,

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And EVERY CREATURE which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and ALL that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, AND UNTO THE LAMB for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:8-14

And which the Hebrew Bible ascribes to Jehovah himself!

“I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isaiah 45:23

“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11

This once again shows that Jesus is, in fact, Jehovah God Most Hight, even though he is not the Father.

Christ: The Son of the Most High

At the same, the Lord Jesus is said to be the Son of the Highest:

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” Mark 5:1-7

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:26-33

What this shows is that the NT also identifies the Father as Jehovah God Most High. And since the Father and the Son are personally distinct from each other, and since Jesus himself is said to be Jehovah God in the flesh, this means that the one true God Jehovah is a multi-Personal Being. Once again, notice the logic of this:

  1. The Father and the Son are both identified as Jehovah God Most High.
  2. The Father and the Son are not the same self, but are personally distinct from one another.
  3. Jehovah is, therefore, a multi-Personal Being who eternally subsists in at least two divine Persons, namely, the Father and the Son.

There is simply no way around these explicitly revealed truths of the inspired Scriptures.

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural citations are taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.

Further Reading

The Exalted Lord of Glory (https://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_most_high.htm)

 

 

An Inspired Cross-Dresser? Further Proof for Muhammad Being a Fraud

OR: How Muhammad’s Deity Helped His Prophet to Become a Moral Failure as a Husband by Permitting Him To Mistreat His Wives

The Islamic sources candidly testify that Muhammad mistreated his wives, preferring some to others, such as his child bride Aisha, and even neglected those women whom he was least attracted to.

What makes this shameful mistreatment all the more reprehensible is that Muhammad justified his willful neglect of specific wives and his preferential treatment of Aisha by claiming that “revelations” would only “come down” to him when he would wear Aisha’s dress!

2442. It is related from ‘A’isha that the wives of the messenger of Allah fell into two parties. One party contained ‘A’isha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sawda, and the other party contained Umm Salama and the rest of the wives of the messenger of Allah. The Muslims knew of the love of the messenger of Allah for ‘A’isha, so when any of them had a gift which he wanted to give to the messenger of Allah he would delay it until the messenger of Allah was in ‘A’isha’s house. Then the person with the gift would send it to the messenger of Allah while he was in ‘A’isha’s house. The party of Umm Salama spoke about it and said to her, “Tell the messenger of Allah to speak to the people and say, ‘Whoever wants to give a gift to the messenger of Allah should give it to him in the house of whichever wife he is.'” Umm Salama spoke to him about what they had said, but he did not say anything. They asked her and she said, “He did not say anything to me.” They said to her, “Speak to him.” She said she spoke to him when he went around to her as well, but he did not say anything to her. They asked her and she said, “He did not say anything to me.” They said to her, “Speak to him until he speaks to you.” He went around to her and she spoke to him. He said to her, “Do not injure me regarding ‘A’isha. The revelation does not come to me when I am in the GARMENT of any woman except ‘A’isha.” She said, “I repent to Allah from injuring you, Messenger of Allah.” Then they called Fatima, the daughter of the messenger of Allah, and sent her to the messenger of Allah to say, “Your wives ask you by Allah for fairness regarding the daughter of Abu Bakr.” She spoke to him and he said, “O my daughter, do you not love what I love?” She said, “Yes indeed.” She returned to them and informed them. They said, “Go back to him,” but she refused to go back. They sent Zaynab bint Jahsh and she went to him and spoke harshly, saying. “Your wives ask you by Allah for fairness regarding the daughter of ibn Abi Quhafa.” She raised her voice until she turned to ‘A’isha, who was sitting down, and abused her until the messenger of Allah looked at ‘A’isha to see if she would speak. ‘A’isha spoke to answer back Zaynab until she had silenced her. She said, “The prophet looked at ‘A’isha and said, ‘She is indeed the daughter of Abu Bakr.’”

Al-Bukhari said that the last words is the story of Fatima which is mentioned from Hisham ibn ‘Urwa from a man from az-Zuhri from Muhammad ibn ‘Abdu’r-Rahman.

Abu Marwan said from Hisham from ‘Urwa, “The people used to aim to send their gifts on the day of ‘A’isha.”

By another isnad, ‘A’isha said, “I was with the Prophet when Fatima asked for permission to enter.” (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 54. The Book of Gifts and their Excellence, VII: The one who gave a gift to his friend aiming for a time when he was with one of his wives rather than another http://bewley.virtualave.net/bukhari20.html#gifts; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Here’s is another version of this same hadith:

Narrated ‘Urwa from ‘Aisha:
The wives of Allah’s Apostle were in two groups. One group consisted of ‘Aisha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sauda; and the other group consisted of Um Salama and the other wives of Allah’s Apostle. The Muslims knew that Allah’s Apostle loved ‘Aisha, so if any of them had a gift and wished to give to Allah’s Apostle, he would delay it, till Allah’s Apostle had come to ‘Aisha’s home and then he would send his gift to Allah’s Apostle in her home. The group of Um Salama discussed the matter together and decided that Um Salama should request Allah’s Apostle to tell the people to send their gifts to him in whatever wife’s house he was. Um Salama told Allah’s Apostle of what they had said, but he did not reply. Then they (those wives) asked Um Salama about it. She said, “He did not say anything to me.” They asked her to talk to him again. She talked to him again when she met him on her day, but he gave no reply. When they asked her, she replied that he had given no reply. They said to her, “Talk to him till he gives you a reply.” When it was her turn, she talked to him again. He then said to her, “Do not hurt me regarding Aisha, AS THE DIVINE INSPIRATIONS DO NOT COME TO ME ON ANY OF THE BEDS EXCEPT THAT OF AISHA.” On that Um Salama said, “I repent to Allah for hurting you.” Then the group of Um Salama called Fatima, the daughter of Allah’s Apostle and sent her to Allah’s Apostle to say to him, “Your wives request to treat them and the daughter of Abu Bakr ON EQUAL TERMS.” Then Fatima conveyed the message to him. The Prophet said, “O my daughter! Don’t you love whom I love?” She replied in the affirmative and returned and told them of the situation. They requested her to go to him again but she refused. They then sent Zainab bint Jahsh who went to him AND USED HARSH WORDS SAYING, “Your wives request you TO TREAT THEM and the daughter of Ibn Abu Quhafa ON EQUAL TERMS.” On that she raised her voice AND ABUSED ‘Aisha TO HER FACE so much so that Allah’s Apostle looked at ‘Aisha to see whether she would retort. ‘Aisha started replying to Zainab till she silenced her. The Prophet then looked at ‘Aisha and said, “She is really the daughter of Abu Bakr.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 755 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=47&translator=1&start=0&number=755)

{Sidenote: The Salafi translator of Sahih Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, has deceitfully translated the Arabic as “beds” which disagrees with Bewley’s rendering. Sadly, this kind of dishonesty and deceit are all too typical of Muslims who will do anything they can to cover over their prophet’s gross immorality and wickedness.}

Here’s another hadith:

She told that the people used to choose: ‘A’isha’s day to bring their gifts, seeking thereby to please God’s messenger. She said that God’s messenger’s wives were in tow parties, one including ‘A’isha, Hafsa, Safiya, and Sauda, and the other including Umm Salama and the rest of God’s messenger’s wives. Umm Salama’s party spoke to her telling her to ask God’s messenger to say to the people, “If anyone wishes to make a present to God’s messenger, let him present it to him wherever he happens to be.” She did so and he replied, “Do not annoy me regarding ‘A’isha, for inspiration has not come to me when I was in any WOMAN’S GARMENT but ‘A’isha’s.” They then called Fatima, sent her to God’s messenger, and she spoke to him, but he replied, Do you not like what I like, girlie?” She said, “Certainly,” so he said, “Then love this woman.” (Bukhari and Muslim.) (Mishkat Al Masabih, English translation with explanatory notes by Dr. James Robson [Sh. Muhammad Ahsraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore-Pakistan, Reprint 1990], Book XXVI- Fitan., Chapter XXXVIII, “The Fine Qualities of the Prophet’s Wives”, Volume II, p. 1361; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Pay close attention to the fact that Muhammad’s wives demanded equal time and attention, which they most certainly deserved. Their complaints highlight the point of Muhammad being a failure as a husband since he didn’t give the same amount of time or love to all his women.

And how does Muhammad respond? Does he make an effort to correct his blatant mistreatment of his wives? No! Instead of doing the right thing, he claims that his deity only gives him divine revelations when he is in bed with Aisha!

Imagine that! Muhammad blames his idol for discriminating against his wives!

Even Aisha noticed how Muhammad’s god would come running to gratify his messenger’s desires and justify his gross immoral behavior and misconduct:

Narrated Aisha:
I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, “Can a lady give herself (to a man)?” But when Allah revealed: “You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).” (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=311)

‘A’isha reported: I felt jealous of the women who offered themselves to Allah’s Messenger and said: Then when Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed this:” You may defer any one of them you wish, and take to yourself any you wish; and if you desire any you have set aside (no sin is chargeable to you)” (xxxiii. 51), I (‘A’isha.) said: It seems to me that your Lord hastens to satisfy your desire. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3453 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=008&translator=2&start=0&number=3453)

Doesn’t this show that Muhammad had no shame and did not hesitate to blame everything on his deity? And yet this is the same man that Muslims want to foist upon the world as a mercy and a prophet!

What kind of prophet would justify his abusing and mistreating women by claiming that God only sends down revelations to him in the home of a specific wife, and in the dress of a particular woman who he so happened to favor over and above the rest? Is this a man that people should look to for moral guidance, a role model for others to emulate?

On the contrary, instead of honoring such a charlatan, this man needs to exposed for what he truly was, namely, a wicked, vile immoral antichrist who has now been subjected beneath the glorious feet of the Lord Jesus, Muhammad’s God and Judge, whom Muhammad will have to confess as his sovereign Lord before being sent into the everlasting destruction that he deserves for what he has done to mankind:

“The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)… And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” Acts 10:36, 42

“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:9-12

“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-28

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

 

Jehovah Gets Pierced!

The Hebrew Bible contains a remarkable prophecy, which is found in the book of Zechariah. The prophet foresaw the time when Israel would mourn for having committed the sin of piercing Jehovah their God!

The word of Yahweh concerning Israel: Thus says Yahweh, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: ‘Lo, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of reeling to all the peoples round about; it will be against Judah also in the siege against Jerusalem. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will come together against it. On that day,’ says Yahweh, ‘I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But upon the house of Judah I will open my eyes, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through Yahweh of hosts, their God.” On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour to the right and to the left all the peoples round about, while Jerusalem shall still be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. And Yahweh will give victory to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be exalted over that of Judah. On that day Yahweh will put a shield about the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of Yahweh, at their head. And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on Me whom they have pierced (wehibbtu elay et asher-daqaru), they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadadrim’mon in the plain of Megid’do. The land shall mourn, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shim’e-ites by itself, and their wives by themselves; and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves. In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.’” Zechariah 12:1-3, 7-14; 13:1

That this is a clear Messianic prophecy can be easily proven from the fact that even later rabbinic sources interpreted it in respect to Messiah son of Joseph, the Messiah whom they believed would be killed in battle and then subsequently raised back to life. As the renowned Messianic Jewish scholar Dr. Michael L. Brown explains:

“There is also an extraordinary comment about the atoning power of the death of Messiah ben Joseph made by Moshe Alshekh, the influential sixteenth-century rabbi, in his commentary to Zechariah 12:10:

I will yet do a third thing, and that is, that ‘they shall look unto me,’ for they shall lift up their eyes unto me in perfect repentance, when they see him whom they pierced, that is, Messiah son of Joseph, for our Rabbis of blessed memory, have said that he will take upon himself all the guilt of Israel, and shall then be slain in the war to make atonement in such manner that it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced him, for on account of their sin he has died; and, therefore, in order that it may be reckoned to them as a perfect atonement, they will repent and look to the blessed One, saying that there is none beside him to forgive those that mourn on account of him who died for their sins: this is the meaning of ‘They shall look upon me.’

“What extraordinary words–and they are the words of a greatly respected, traditional rabbi.” (Brown, The Real Kosher Jesus: Revealing the mysteries of the Hidden Messiah, 11. The Secret Of The Atoning Power Of The Death Of The Righteous, pp. 157-158)

Here are a couple of other rabbinic sources, which confirm the Messianic interpretation of Zechariah 12:10:

What was the mourning for? R. Dosa and the rabbis differ: One holds that it was for the Messiah the son of Joseph, who was killed; 1 and one holds that it was for the evil angel, who was killed. 2 It would be right according to one who holds that it was for the Messiah the son of Joseph, because he explains as supporting him the passage [Zech. xii. 10]: “And they will look up toward me (for every one) whom they have thrust through, and they will lament for him, as one lamenteth for an only son, and weep bitterly for him, as one weepeth bitterly for the firstborn”;…

The rabbis taught: The Messiah b. David, who (as we hope) will appear in the near future, the Holy One, blessed be He, will say to him: Ask something of me and I will give it to thee, as it is written [Ps. ii. 7-8]: “I will announce the decree . . . Ask it of me, and I will give,” etc. But as the Messiah b. David will have seen that the Messiah b. Joseph who preceded him was killed, he will say before the Lord: Lord of the Universe, I will ask nothing of Thee but life. And the Lord will answer: This was prophesied already for thee by thy father David [Ps. xxi. 5]: “Life hath he asked of thee, thou gavest it to him.”…

It is written [Zech. ii. 3]: “And the Lord showed me four carpenters.” Who are the four carpenters? Said R. Hanah bar Bizna in the name of R. Simeon the Pious: Messiah b. David, and Messiah b. Joseph, Elijah, and Cohen Zedek.

It is written [Micah, v. 4]: “And in this (manner) shall there be peace: If Asshur should come into our land; and if he should tread in our palaces, then will we raise up against him seven shepherds, and eight anointed men. Who are the seven shepherds? David in the centre; Adam, Sheth, Methushelach, at his right; Abraham, Jacob, and Moses at his left. And who are the eight anointed men? Jesse, Saul, Samuel, Amos, Zephaniah, Zedekiah, Messiah, and Elijah. 1…

Footnotes

79:1 There was a tradition among the ancient Hebrews that two Messiahs would appear before the redemption of Israel one of the tribe of Joseph and one of the tribe of Jehudah, a descendant of David and the expression “who was killed” means who will have been killed. The Jewish Christians at that time, who did not believe in the divinity of Christ, but in his Messiahship (i.e., that the traditional Messiah ben Joseph meant the son of a man by the name of Joseph, but not of the tribe of Joseph, as Christ was, and that his fate was to be killed before the appearance of Messiah b. David), explain this passage to have reference to Christ. (Tract Succah (Booths), Chapter V, from the Babylonian Talmud, translated by Michael L. Rodkinson [d. 1918], Section Moed (Festivals)Tracts Betzh, Succah, Moed Katan, Taanith, Megilla and Ebel Rabbathi or Semahoth, Book 4: Volumes VII. and VIII. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/t04/suc07.htm; underline emphasis ours)

And:

a spirit of grace and supplications: That it should come into their mind to supplicate Me, and they will be in My good graces.

a spirit: Talant in Old French, a desire.

they shall look to Me because of those who have been thrust through: Jonathan renders: And they shall supplicate Me because of their wanderings.

And they shall look to Me to complain about those of them whom the nations thrust through and slew during their exile.

and they shall mourn over it: Over that slaughter.

as one mourns over an only son: As a man mourns over his only son. And our Sages expounded this in tractate Sukkah (52a) as referring TO THE MESSIAH, SON OF JOSEPH, WHO WAS SLAIN. (The Complete Jewish Bible With Rashi Commentaryhttps://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16216#v=10&showrashi=true; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Now according to the NT, this was partially fulfilled when God the Father sent forth his very own Firstborn, his one and only Son, to die for the sins of his people on the cross:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18 ESV

“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, ‘NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.’” John 19:34-37

“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God didsending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh… 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; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:3, 29-32

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Colossians 1:13-15

“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, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’? And again, ‘I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME’? And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.’” Hebrews 1:1-6

The NT also states that the rest of the prophecy will be realized when the Lord Jesus returns from heaven, whereby all the tribes of the earth will mourn when they see the one they had pierced:

“BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.” Revelation 1:7

Suffice it to say, not everyone is comfortable with a prophecy that says Jehovah will be pierced through. It seems that scribes had major difficulties with this verse since some of them changed the text so as to make it refer to someone other than Jehovah being pierced. Note, for instance, the following translation:

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on HIM whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.” Revised Standard Version (RSV)

However, the majority of Hebrew manuscripts, ancient translations, and early witnesses confirm the reading “on ME“, just as the following scholar acknowledges:

In this disputed section the majority of the Hebrew MSS read… (wehibbtu elay et asher-daqaru), “they will look to Me, the one they have pierced through.” A few, however, read… (eley et asher), “to the one whom,” etc., employing the poetic form of the preposition… Other Hebrew MSS, however, reflect a vorlage that requires a rendering, “they will look on Me in place of him whom they pierced.” The end result is that it is not YHWH who is pierced but someone else. Clearly the notion of YHWH being subjected to such a highly anthropomorphic conception was more than some devout scribes could countenance. The Hebrew evidence overwhelmingly favors the traditional reading of the MT.

There is no textual reason, then, for rejecting the reading, “they will look to Me, the one they have pierced through.” The difficulty lies, therefore, in the hermeneutical and theological aspects of the question. As to the former, the passage clearly teaches that YHWH (the speaker throughout in the absence of clues to the contrary), having poured out the spirit of grace leading to the people’s supplications, will be seen by them as having been pierced by them. This will cause the people to break out in lament for Him, the one over whom they will grieve as they would over the death of a first-born son.

It is immediately apparent that the shift in pronoun from “they will look to Me” to “they will lament for him” is at the crux of the matter. If YHWH has been pierced through, who is the “him” who is being lamented? Or, to put it another way, why should the lament not be for YHWH, the one who has been pierced through? It is questions like these, of course, that gave rise to the textual options adduced above.

The most satisfying resolution, it seems, is to admit of a change in pronoun as a grammatical, stylistic feature without a change of the subject. That is, it is YHWH throughout who is describing the situation, and it is He who is the subject at every point. It is He who has been pierced and He whom His people, having come to their senses as to what they have done, mourn in repentance. From YHWH’s viewpoint it is “Me” that is the focus; from the standpoint of the people it is “Him.” Such a transition from one person to another is not at all uncommon in Hebrew composition, especially in poetic and prophetic language(GKC 144p). (An Exegetical Commentary – Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, by Eugene H. Merrill, M. Phil., Ph.D., Zechariah – Part 4 Oracle Concerning Israel (12:1-14:21); bold emphasis ours)

A leading Reformed scholar concurs:

“Some scholars, however, are not content to take the passage as it stands but make every conceivable effort to evacuate the passage of any and all references to the Messiah and his deity. These efforts begin, not surprisingly, with the expediency of textual emendation. Despite the fact that the original Hebrew of 12:10 clearly reads ‘they will look unto me’ and has the support of the large MAJORITY of reliable Hebrew manuscripts, the LXX, the Old Latin, the Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, the Aramaic Targums, and the Greek versions of Aquilla, Symmachus, and Theodotion, some scholars and modern versions such as the Revised Standard Version, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, and Moffat’s version, have chosen to follow a MINORITY of unreliable Hebrew manuscripts and have changed the ‘unto me’ to ‘unto him’… Now the presence of the third-person pronoun in the following phrase is factual enough, but it is not a conclusive argument that the former first-person reference must be emended to harmonize with it.

“I say this on three grounds: first is the fact that the reading ‘unto me,’ as we have already noted, is supported by the VAST MAJORITY of ancient witnesses; second the ‘unto me’ is by far the harder reading. That is to say, it is readily conceivable why a scribe would alter ‘unto me’ to read simply ‘unto,’ but it is not readily apparent why a scribe would change the simple ‘unto’ to ‘unto me.’ Even though he himself prefers the easier reading and accordingly emends the text, H.G. Marshall acknowledges the arbitrary character of his choice when he writes:

The point may… be made, and, in fact, has been made… that [‘unto]’ is the easier reading; hence it is more probable that it is an error for [‘unto me’] than vice versa. There is great force in this objection. Indeed, it so weakens the case for [‘unto’] that those who feel the incongruity of the Massoretic text will have to resort to emendation.

“And third, the shift from the first to the third person may be an instance of either the common enallage (a grammatical change) of verbal number frequently met with in the speeches of Yahweh (see the many instances where Yahweh, as the first person speaker, refers to himself in a given speech in the third person as Yahweh) or the differentiation-identity pattern we have already had occasion to note for the reader (see Zech 2:10-11; MT, 2:14-15) in which the Messiah is both personally identified with God and yet, at the same time and in the same context, distinguished from him.” (Robert L. Reymond, Jesus: Divine Messiah – The New and Old Testament Witness [Christian Focus Publications, Scotland 2003], Part One: The Old Testament Witness, 2. The Old Testament Witness to the Messiah, pp. 145-146; bold and capital emphasis ours)

In responding to the Jehovah’s Witnesses distortion of this passage noted Evangelical scholar and apologist Ron Rhodes writes:

“Here is the critical point: In the New American Standard Bible, it is Yahweh (or Jehovah) who is speaking in this verse, and it is therefore Jehovah who says, ‘They will look on Me whom they have pierced.’

Obviously this means that Jesus is Jehovah… Granted there is some debate over how this verse should be translated. Following are what I consider to be the most important considerations:

“First, foundationally, it is very clear that Yahweh or Jehovah is the speaker in this verse. In fact, verses 2 through 12 are a single discourse tied to the ‘Thus declares the LORD [Yahweh]’ (NASB) in verse 1…

“Third, assuming the correct translation has Jehovah saying ‘they will look on Me whom they have pierced,’ the New Testament portrays this verse as being fulfilled in the person of Jesus (see Revelation 1:7, where Jesus is the ‘pierced’ One), thereby lending support for the idea that Jesus is Jehovah (or Yahweh). However, a problem emerges with a cross reference, John 19:37, which reads, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced,’ seemingly lending support to the ‘on him’ rendering of Zechariah 12:10, which would remove the Jehovah-Jesus connection. It seems a complicated problem to solve.

“My studied opinion is that the English Standard Version clarifies things rather nicely. More specifically, the ESV renders the relevant portion of the verse, ‘When they look on meon him whom they have pierced’ (emphasis added). This is not too unlike the NET Bible rendering: ‘They will look to methe one they have pierced’ (emphasis added). Similarly, the New International Version renders it, ‘They will look on methe one they have pierced’ (emphasis added). Since Jehovah is the one doing the speaking, it is clear in these translations that Jehovah Himself is the One who is pierced, thereby drawing the connection between Jehovah and Jesus.

“I can make one further observation. New Testament scholars have long emphasized that New Testament quotations of the Old Testament (as in John 19:37) are often loose quotations, with little or no attempt at being exact. A change of pronoun (from ‘me’ to ‘him’) is no big deal in the Hebrew mindset. To illustrate, consider Psalm 68:18, where we read, ‘When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train…’ (emphasis added). In Ephesians 4:8 the apostle Paul quotes this verse, but renders it with different pronouns: ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train…’ (emphasis added). Paul felt free to change pronouns without fear of doing injustice to the Word of God. I suggest the same is true of John 19:37.” (Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses [Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR 2009], 3. The Christ of the New World Translation, pp. 81-83; bold emphasis ours)

Hence, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the fact that according to Zechariah 12:10, it is Jehovah who shall be pierced, thereby further confirming that Jesus is indeed Jehovah God since he is the One who was pierced on the cross and therefore perfectly fulfills this prophecy.

This means that Jesus is the one Lord spoken of in Zechariah 14, since he is the One who comes to reign as King in Jerusalem:

Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day HIS FEET shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him… And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.” Zechariah 14:1-5, 9, 16-17

We thus have a clear cut prophecy that the Messiah, who is Jesus, is Jehovah God in the flesh who allowed himself to be pierced through by his own people the Jews, for the obvious purpose of providing atonement for their sins!

With the said, it’s time to proceed to the second part of my discussion (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/jehovah-gets-pierced-pt-2/).

 

The Only True God and the Deity of Christ: Why Translations Matter

In this post I am going to show how the particular translation one employs will have a direct impact on how one goes about defending and/or refuting specific objections leveled against the core, essential doctrines of the Christian faith. I will be using the English Standard Version as a case study, specifically in relation to defending the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

According to John’s Gospel, the Father of the Lord Jesus is depicted as the only God,

“I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God (tou monou theou)?” John 5:43-44

And the only true God,

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God (ton monon alethinon theon), and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3

Who is the God of both Jesus and his disciples:

“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’” John 20:17

A surface reading of these texts may give the misleading impression that Jesus is not truly God, but a creature who was brought into being by the Father. After all, since the Father is the only true God, and since Jesus isn’t the Father, but the Father’s beloved Son, then Jesus cannot be the only true God, and therefore must be a creature.

The problem with this logic, however, is that this same Gospel goes out of its way to identify Christ as the unique, divine Son of God who is coequal with the Father, and therefore essentially one with the only true God.

And depending on the translation of the Holy Bible one reads, Jesus himself is said to be the only God there is:

“No one has ever seen God; the only God (monogenes theos), who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” John 1:18

Obviously, this does not mean that Jesus is the only God to the exclusion of the Father or the Holy Spirit, but rather in union with both of them.

Christ is further described as the one and only Master and Lord of all believers:

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (ton monon despoten kai kyrion hemon Iesoun Christon). Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe… It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’… keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 1:14-5, 4-15, 21

Astonishingly, Jude identifies Christ as the very One who both delivered the nation of Israel at the time of Moses, and who then subsequently punished them in the wilderness for their rebellion. He further describes Christ as the very Lord who comes with his thousands of holy ones to judge the wicked, a function which the Hebrew Bible ascribes to the Lord God Jehovah!

“Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” Isaiah 40:10

““I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:10

“Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day HIS FEET shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.” Zechariah 14:3-5

James also identifies Jesus as the Lord Jehovah, since he not only calls Christ the Lord who is the Glory,

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.” James 1:1

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” James 2:1

But he also claims that Jesus is the one and only Lawgiver and Judge, who can save or destroy,

There is ONLY ONE lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12

Being the very Lord of hosts who comes to judge mankind:

“Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” James 5:4-9

In fact, the unanimous teaching of the inspired Christian Scriptures is that Jesus is the Judge of the whole earth whom all the nations must face on the day he comes to judge all creation:

“For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of HIS Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:27

“‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by MY Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?” Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.’” Matthew 25:31-46, 26:1-2

“For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17:24-25

“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory… But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”” Luke 21:27, 36

“For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son… And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” John 5:22, 27

“And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:42

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

“on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” Romans 2:16

“For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:8-12

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom… Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing… At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 16-18

What makes Paul’s comments all the more remarkable is that he break out in praise of the Lord Jesus.

Even more remarkable is what this blessed servant of the risen Christ wrote in his first epistle to Timothy, since there he praises Jesus for being the only sovereign King of all creation, and describes him as the only One possessing the immortality who dwells in light that cannot be seen!

“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which HE will display at the proper time—HE who is the blessed and ONLY Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who ALONE has immortality, WHO dwells in unapproachable light, WHOM no one has ever seen or can see. To HIM be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:13-16

The reason why the foregoing depiction is quite remarkable is that the Hebrew Scriptures identify Jehovah as the God who is clothed in light and reigns as the Lord of lords:

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.” Deuteronomy 10:17

“Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.” Psalm 104:1-2

“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;” Psalm 136:3

This blessed Apostle wasn’t the only inspired writer to identify Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords:

“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that NO ONE knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:11-16

Pay attention to what John says in respect to Christ possessing a name that only he knows. Now if we were to employ the anti-Trinitarian hermeneutic that Jesus can’t be God when the Father is said to be the only true God, then this means that the risen Lord knows more than both the Father and the Holy Spirit since Jesus is the only One who knows what his name is!

Christ is further said to be the Son of God who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, and the Beginning and the End that comes with his reward to recompense every person for what s/he has done:

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze… and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I AM HE who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:18, 23

“‘Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end… I, JESUS, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’… He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. COME, LORD JESUS! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” Revelation 22:12-13, 16, 20-21

To sum up our examination of the teaching of the ESV concerning Christ, we learned that:

  1. Christ is the only God (John 1:18).
  2. Christ is the only Master and Lord (Jude 1:4).
  3. Christ is the only Lawgiver and Judge (James 4:12).
  4. Christ is the only Sovereign King of kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15 – cf. Revelation 17:14; 19:16).
  5. Christ alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16).
  6. Christ alone knows what his name is (Revelation 19:12).
  7. Christ is the Lord who is the Glory (James 2:1).
  8. Christ is the Lord of hosts (James 5:4).
  9. Christ is the Lord who comes with his tens of thousands to judge the wicked and repay all men for what they have earned (Jude 1:14-15; James 5:7-9; Matthew 16:27; 25:31-46; Luke 17:24-25; 21:27, 36; John 5:22, 27; Acts 10:42; Romans 2:16; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 18; Revelation 22:12-13, 16, 20 – cf. Isaiah 40:10; Jeremiah 17:10; Zechariah 14:1-5).
  10. The ESV, therefore, depicts the risen Lord of glory as Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh.

In light of the foregoing, we are either left with Jesus being the only true God Jehovah to the very exclusion of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Or we have to assume that the use of restrictive language in reference to Christ, where he is said to be the only one of something, isn’t intended to exclude the Father and the blessed Spirit. Such language is meant to exclude everything else that is not also God by nature.

In a similar fashion, the Father being depicted as the one and only true God isn’t aimed at excluding the Son or the Spirit, but rather excludes anything and everything else that is not God in essence. And since the God-breathed Scriptures clearly depict both the Son and the Spirit as being truly divine, this means that the Father is the only true God IN UNION WITH his beloved Son and eternal Spirit.

This is the inescapable conclusion and explicit teaching of the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible and clearly highlights why Bible translations do matter.