January 13, 2010

Dr. Brown Debates Kermit Zarley on the Deity of Jesus (Part Two)

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Excellent book on the preexistence of the Son:
The Preexistent Son

138 Comments
  1. To Zvi:

    “…plus the fact that the name of hashem is spelled differently here than in all other places…”

    Are you talking here about Genesis 18:1 ?

    Genesis 18:1 reads:
    “YHWH appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.”

    YHWH is spelled here in the Hebrew “Yod”, “Hey”, “Vav”, “Hey” (YHWH) – like always.

  2. I write as a Jewish believer in Jesus. I have read Dr. Brown’s commentary about the trinity in “Jewish Objections to Jesus”. Although well written, I did not find it persuasive. It seems like his point is that the OT allows room for the trinity although it is not explicitly stated (he can correct me if I’m wrong). I do agree that the ‘Old Testament’ is the key to understanding who God and Jesus are (along with of course Jesus’ own words).

    Does ANYONE think Moses and the Israelites (as a whole) have ever viewed the God Israel in a pluralistic, triune way? The Jewish Shema (Deut. 6:4) has been recited by Jews for millenniums since Deuteronomy was written, and there has not been confusion among Jews about what the word ‘echad’ (one) means.

    Here’s what God spoke through Moses in Deut 13: 6-8:
    6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul secretly entices you, saying “Let us go and serve other gods WHICH YOU HAVE NOT KNOWN, NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR FATHERS,
    7 “of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth,
    8 “YOU SHALL NOT CONSENT TO HIM or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him;”

    Does anyone want to propose that Moses knew God in a way, other than in a strict monotheistic way?…. that Moses knew God as pluralistic (Father, Son, and Spirit) ?

    Deut 6:4 “Hear O Israel, the LORD your God, the LORD is one”

    Deut 4:39 ” Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; THERE IS NO OTHER.

    Deut 32:39 ” Now see that I, even I, am HE, and there is no God besides ME, I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal, nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

    Armed with this understanding I can read the rest of the bible and it not only makes sense, but is scripturally sound !

    I can fast forward from Moses to Jesus and read:
    John 4:22-23 “You (Samaritans) worship what you do not know; WE (JEWS) know who we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming and now is, when THE TRUE WORSHIPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER in spirit and in truth;

    In Mark 12:29, Jesus quoted and affirmed Deut 6:4, the creed of the Jews. (The MOST IMPORTANT commandment He said)

    In John 17:3 Jesus identifies the Father as “the one true God”

    John 20:17 Jesus said he is going to “my God and my Father”

    It should be painfully obvious that Jesus brought no new revelation about WHO and HOW MANY God is. No Torah grounded Jew is going to look at Jesus who has a God and Father, as co-equal and co-eternal in nature with that same God, and as if Jesus was the co-creator in the Genesis account.

    This topic alone makes me believe that the serpent from Genesis 3 is alive and well.

    1 Thes 5:21
    “but test everything that is said to be sure it is true, and if it is, then accept it. ” (TLB)

  3. Erica, I am speaking os 18:2 and 19:18 alef,daled,nun,yud, and although there are times that god is referred to as such,still in all in both verses the 3 beings are ALL called by this name so either they are all divine or none of them are.

  4. Dr. Brown,I would love to see you debate rav Amnon Yitzchack(you can google him if you dont know who it is) and although he speaks in hebrew I’m sure you can work it out,he is considered to be a world class debater.

  5. Zvi,

    Thanks for the reference. For many years now, I am on record as saying that I will gladly have a live debate with any qualified rabbi or counter-missionary. Feel free to contact him and if he’s open, I will gladly pursue it. Again, thanks, and I have heard of him before.

  6. Erika,

    The references to “arm of YHWH” etc. are types, metaphors regarding the one YHWH. In and of themselves these are not personages, as you suggest. For example, Jesus is said to be the manna from heaven in John 6, does that mean he literally is the bread that came down from heaven? I do not think so.

    Similar metaphor is used in 1Cor 10, where Messiah is said to be “the spiritual rock” that followed the Israelites in the wilderness, and the body of Christ described as “one bread” [vv.16-17]. But to the writer it is clear that these things “became types [examples] for us” [vv.6, 11].

    Yes, YHWH is way beyond our “human dimensions” [as you suggest], but He [singular] has revealed Himself [singular] as the one and only “true God” of Israel [Deu 6.4; Mar 12.28-29].

    Abraham did worship others apart from YHWH, did you read my previous post regarding worship? Also, the NT writers distinguish clearly between that exclusive, “sacred/divine worship”, offered to God the Father alone [latreuo: LXX, Ex 3:12; 7:16; Deu 4:28; Jdg 2:11, 13; in a religious sense to worship God, Mat 4:10; Luk 1:74; 2:37; 4:8; Act 7:7; 24:14; 27:23; Rom 1:9; Phi 3:3; 2Ti 1:3; Heb 9:14; 12:28; Rev 22:3; “worshipping creatures [other] than the Creator”, in other words, false gods, Rom 1:25; LXX, Deu 4:28; Jdg 2:11, 13] and general worship/reverence offered to others[prokuneo: for “angels”, Rev 19.10; 22.8; human beings, Mat 8.2; 18.26; 20.20; Acts 10.25; false gods or idols, Act 7:43; Rev 13:8; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4].

    Where idolatry lies is in worshipping others apart from the One Deity, YHWH [God the Father], as God Himself. Something Christians are not supposed to do since we pay reverence, obeisance, worship to Jesus Christ as the “lord Messiah” [Acts 2.36; 2Cor 4.5] and not the Lord God!

    It is equally notable that [the Apostle Paul uses] the normal prayer terms (deomai, deesis)…to God and never to Christ… [Jesus] is neither simply the content of the thanksgiving (the phrase is dia with the genitive “through”, not dia with the accusative “on account of” [cp. Col 1.16]), nor its recipient…

    Such uniformity in Paul’s usage should certainly make us hesitate before asserting that Paul [divinely] ‘worshipped’ Christ [as Deity], since the evidence more clearly indicates otherwise. James Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, p 257-260 [emphasis added].

    For my full study see: http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-does-bible-mean-by-worship.html

    Dr. Brown,

    Obviously not everyone shares the beliefs of this forum. Just because the majority do, does not make it true either. Just look at what traditional Christianity has done with Jesus’ teachings regarding the Gospel, is it Kingdom of God oriented? Yet, Jesus went to his grave and came out of it preaching and teaching something called the coming Kingdom of God on earth [cp. Acts 1.3]. This is the reason why he came [Lu 4.43] not just to do “3 day’s work” [viz. Billy Graham].

    But, is anyone even aware of this simple biblical teaching? I do not think so.

    Furthermore, in regards to the issue of how many are “God” and who is the Son of God, its all a muddle as we can see. Some profess a “mere man” Jesus [Muslims], some a demi-god Jesus [Trinis], some a fully Detiy-Jesus [Trinis, Oneness], some an angelic-Gnostic Jesus [JWs], yet others a tritheist Jesus [Mormons]. In the process, turning the Jesus of the Bible into Sui Generis.

    As time went on and proto-orthodox Christians came to believe that Christ was both divine and human, they needed to explain how that was possible [not from scripture]. Near the end of the 2nd century, one of the common solutions was that Christ was himself God the Father, come to earth in human form. This view was widespread among the proto-orthodox in Rome, and it was the view advocated by the Roman bishop himself at the beginning of the 3rd century. But it came to be mocked as ‘Patripassianist’ (a view that made the ‘Father suffer’), castigated as false and deemed heretical [yet it survives to this day as Oneness]. Bart Ehrman, Lost Christianities, 2003, p 254.

    Thus, a variety of Christological positions played their role in the transmission of the New Testament text: orthodox scribes who believed that Jesus was both God (contra the adoptionists) and distinct from the Father (contra the Patripassianists), sporadically modified texts that could be used by heretical opponents of either persuasion. See further discussion on Acts 20.28, pp. 87-88, Bart Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 1993. p 84, 114, n. 185.

    When you shoot the messenger you shot down the message that came with it, this is where we have stood for almost 2 000 years now. In a sort of theological Dark Age with a made up “plastic Jesus”:

    …in the Christian understanding of Christ as being one with the Father, there is a constant possibility that faith in God will be absorbed in a ‘monochristicism’—i.e., that the figure of the Son in the life of faith will overshadow the figure of the Father and thus cause it to disappear and that the figure of the Creator and Sustainer of the world will recede behind the figure of the Redeemer. The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 16, Christianity Macropaedia article, p 274.

    S. Johnson,

    Could you point explicitly to where scripture says “the infinite…became finite” [i.e. God became a man]? Instead the Bible explicitly teaches that “God is not a human being” [Num 23.19; 1Sam 15.29] and that His very nature [being] does not change [Mal 3.6].

    That the one Creator God can appear [theophanies] and work through agents [angels, humans] is another matter entirely.

    Thanks for recommending those books but how about re-reading the virgin birth narratives and studying the koine Greek words the NT writers use regarding “the origin” [genesis, Mat 1.1, 18-20] and “coming into existence” [gennao, John 1.14; cp. ginomai, Rom 1.3] of the Son of God.

    [Christ] is unique in His existence. His existence is peculiarly determined by the power of God. This is the most important feature in the Lucan infancy story…Luke [1.33-35] is here describing the conception of Jesus as the miracle of the Virgin Birth…the divine miracle which causes pregnancy…In the background stands the biblical conception of the God who begets His Son by a verbal act which cannot be rationalised…For this reason the Son has a special name not borne by other men, namely, “Son of God”…

    At the beginning of His existence a special and unique act of divine power…gives Him the title “Son of God”…the linking of the Messianic title “Son of God” with the miracle of conception and birth. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 2: 300.

    In his birth narrative Luke is more explicit than Matthew in his assertion of Jesus’ divine sonship from birth (1:32, 35, note also 2:49 where Jesus recognizes God as his Father). Here it is sufficiently clear that a virginal conception by divine power without the participation of any man is in view (1:34). But here too it is sufficiently clear that it is a begetting, a becoming, which is in view, the coming into existence of one who will be called, and will in fact be the Son of God, not the transition of a preexisting being to become the soul of a human baby or the metamorphosis of a divine being into a human fetus. Christology in the Making, Eerdmans, 1996, 50-51. [emphasis added]

  7. Dr. Brown,

    I appreciate you taking time to read my post and reply. I look forward to hearing future radio shows dealing with this topic and other Jewish related issues.

    To answer your question – I see 2 general possibilities here with Deuteronomy 13:6-8 in mind. (I invite anyone’s input on this)

    1) That Moses and the patriarchs knew God as Father, Son, and Spirit (even though there is no record of this) and then just like the pronunciation of God’s Name became lost, so did the idea of His triune nature……when we get to John 4:22, Jesus said “the Jews know who they worship”….the interpretation being that the disciples who are Jews, know God as the Father, Son, and Spirit…and the Father in verse 23 should be worshipped as the head of the triune Godhead. (I’m doing the best I can to present this point)

    OR

    2) Moses and the patriarchs knew God in a strict monotheistic way, God having one sacred Name (denoting one single individual).
    Centuries later Jesus affirmed the Jewish Shema in Mark 12:29. Jesus also said many times “You have heard it said, but I say to you….” never do we read Jesus correcting the Jews understanding of who (and how many) God is, but on the contrary, He confirmed it as He did in John 4:22 saying “the Jews know WHO they worship”…..being ‘the Father’ in verse 23.
    In James 2:13 we’re told we “do well” to believe there is one God (as even the demons believe). Paul said in 1 Cor 8:6 that to us “there is one God, the Father”.

    Since I take #2 as being accurate, I have to ask myself….Who came up with the trinity doctrine? Admittedly, I think the devil is a likely candidate to concoct such a concept.

    You mentioned in a reply to Xavier that this topic is starting ‘to beat a dead horse’ I hope you don’t mind if the lively conversation continues about ultimately what Jesus answered to the question “what is the GREATEST commandment ?”

    Thanks for creating this forum where people can participate in mind stimulating dialogue 🙂

  8. I’m quite surprised that the word echad can be used at all as a proof to trinitarians. Although we find that morning and night became one day,the word “echad” is only referring to the day as a whole. In other words,athough the day is comprised of different componenets that all come together to create a “day”, doesn’t suggest that a day is the same entity as morning or night is,so therefore it is still possible for an entity like g-d that will share no other components,to still be called “echad” because in the cases of morning and night, and husband an wife there happen to be some contributing factors, but the final product,which is “day” is as one and alone as one can be.

  9. Rich,

    I do hope the discussion will continue on this forum, but on the radio, there are obviously other topics to take up.

    Since I don’t have the time to get into in-depth discussions here, I just want to make one point: In vol. 2 of my series, which you mention, I argue that the best explanation of the biblical text is that God is complex (triune) in His nature. So, you didn’t accurately present here what I sought to present in the book.

    Enjoy the forum!

  10. Zvi,

    Good job! You are correct: God is certainly one — even though His unity is complex, just like a husband and wife are truly one flesh or evening and morning are truly one day. Again, if you had read my actual writings on this, you would understand the arguments better about echad.

  11. Dr.brown, all I’m saying is that it MUSN’T be that echad is speaking in a case where there are multiple components but rather it can ALSO be speaking of a case when there is but one componenet, as the echad is referring to the final product regardless. But I do apreciate that you still go through my arguments.

  12. Zvi,

    That’s exactly the same point I make in my book. We agree! (Seriously.)

    I wish I had time to read and respond to every argument here, but as you know, I’m not able to do that. But I do read what I can and pitch in here in small ways.

  13. There is something that I would like to bring up to the audience. Ibelieve that there is a major difference between a jew and a gentile when it comes to belief in the trinity. Without getting into the validity of religion and the nt, we all know for certain that the ot was given to the jews and not to the gentiles, for a gentile is not obligated to observre kosher and I dont think anyone disagrees on that. With that said we still find in the ot that idolatry was prohibited to all even prior to the Torah being received by the jews,as were basic moral laws that jews and gentile alike had to observre,and when violated payed for it as we can see that gd brought a flood upon the earth. So the guidlines of believing in god and what constitutes idolatry are not necessarily the same for a jew who is bound by the laws of the torah, and a gentile who is only bound by pre torah law which we happen to call noahide laws. In fact for all those that are intersted there is a dispute between the rabbis whether a gentile who believes that g-d shares his divinity with another like the sun,the moon or even jesus whether he has comitted idolatry,in fact the jewish code of law which all orthodox jews follow believe that a gentile will NOT get punished for believing in the divinity of jesus,it is only jews that have to follow the torah which says to believe in “no other gods”.

  14. Shalom Zvi,

    Dr. Brown mentioned you are an orthodox Jew…..I want to ask a question to you that Yeshua of Natzeret asked his talmidim in the gospel of Mark 16:15. As if Yeshua himself asks you, “who do you say that I am?”

  15. Zvi,

    God bless you for seeking to honor the parameters of this forum. Please feel free to respond to Rich, and again, thanks for being a real mensch.

    Rich,

    Because we’re trying to keep this forum on topic, we had requested that Zvi not get into a Jewish-Christian discussion here, so I’d encourage you to take up these issues with him privately (or, on another thread here that Zvi can point you to). So, once Zvi responds, please do carry out this important discussion at another location here. Thanks!

    Again, Zvi, thanks for being honorable.

  16. zvi & Dr. Brown,

    The ‘compund one’ argument does not account for the simple fact that the plurality alluded to in such statements as “one day, one team” etc. is placed on “day, team”. These are still “one” and not “2” or “3 days”. Same goes with “one flesh”, we are still talking about 2 seperate, individual, absolute human beings.

    Following comment is from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament on echad:

    In the famous Shema of Deut 6:4, “Hear, O Israel… the LORD is one,” the question of diversity within unity has theological implications. Some scholars have felt that, though “one” is singular, the usage of the word allows for the doctrine of the Trinity…[but] the verse concentrates on the fact that there is one God and that Israel owes its exclusive loyalty to him (Deut:9; Deut 6:5). The NT also is strictly monotheistic

    Anthony Buzzard rightly dissects Robert Morey’s ‘compund unity’ thesis in his book The Trinity: Evidence and Issues (World Publishing, 1996):

    Morey includes a footnote to p. 25 of the standard Lexicon of Biblical Hebrew for support. But the page he appeals to contains not a
    word of support for his theory that ‘one’ really means ‘compound unity.’ The lexicons rightly define ‘one’ as the cardinal number ‘one.’ Echad is the word for ‘one’ in counting. Imagine the chaos of communication if ‘one’ really means more than one.

    Ecclesiastes 4:9 speaks of two being better than one (echad). The use of ‘one’ in the sentence ‘The two shall become one flesh’ does not mean that ‘one’ is really plural. It means that two human beings in marriage become one (not two) things. The idea of plurality is not found in the word ‘one’ at all. It is found in the context: male and female human persons.” ⎯Buzzard, Does Everyone Believe In The Trinity?

    If we stick to scripture [which is what we’re supposed to do], Jesus himself tells us how he is one with his God and Father [cp. John 10.30] when he prays that believers may also become one with them, in the same way:

    I 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… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17.11, 21

    So that now, according to the Apostle Paul, “whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in [through] the spirit” [1Cor 6.17]. It seems there are more than 3 persons in the “Godhead”, does it not?

    Jesus shows the kind of profound unity that should be the norm among genuine believers. As the following verses indicate (through John 17:26), this is to be a reflection of the unity that has existed eternally [ideally] between the Father and the Son (v. 11), namely, the unity of a common mind and purpose, an unqualified mutual love, and a sustained comprehensive togetherness in mission, as revealed in the Father-Son relationship characterized by Jesus’ own ministry. ESV Study Bible, John 17.11

  17. Thank you Dr.brown, Firstly I’m glad to see that we agree on something! I’ll try to be as brief as I can, I believe there is a dispute among the rabbis whether jesus believed that he was g-d,and in that case he would be considered a heretic, however the the talmud does discuss somone by the name of “yeshu”who was executed for that very sin, but it is questionable whether this was the jesus as we know him.

  18. Rich and all others,if you would like to debate this any further you can post on the “debate with rabbi shmuly boteach” blog.

  19. Xavier,

    Please review my discussion of this with reference to the NJPSV version and the related rabbinic commentaries for echad as one in the sense of “that one alone” (as opposed to other gods or regional Yahweh’s). And nothing that Mr. Buzzard writes here addresses the claim in question, namely that echad as traditionally rendered in the Shema must mean absolute unity. Perhaps I can take it up with him on the air; until then, I remain thoroughly unimpressed with the arguments.

  20. In light of the topic of this thread (Was Jesus divine, and did He deem himself to be divine?) I find the Talmudic account (mentioned above by Zvi) of a certain “Yeshu” who was executed for claiming to be God, to be quite significant..

    He that hath ears to hear, let him hear..

  21. Xavier;

    I only have time for a few lines. I never said that the infinite became finite, that would be a logical contradiction. What I said was that Jesus had two natures, that of deity and that of human. Understanding this is key to understanding the Trinity. The human nature was an addition to Deity not a substitute. Sorry if I was not clear.

  22. The debate about ‘echad’ reminds me of Bill Clinton…..”it depends what the definition of the word is, is….” Echad means the number one. If God wanted to tell us solely about his unity, perhaps a word like yachad (together), would have been appropriate.

    Does anyone contend that Moses and the patriarchs viewed the God of Israel in a pluralistic way…anything even hinting to a tri-unity?

    And Zvi, you have permission from Dr. Brown to answer my previous post….. if you don’t mind answering.

  23. Dr. Brown,

    …echad as traditionally rendered in the Shema must mean absolute unity.

    Your statements contradict each other, since you also claim for the one God as described in the Shema a “complex unity”. So, I do not follow what your argument is, unless your trying to cloud the issue, as you have done in reference to John 17.3. Where in your book you recognize that Jesus calls the Father “the only true God”, i.e. the only one that is God. Yet, you contradict this statement by giving to the Son of God a co-equal identity with God the Father [YHWH of the OT].

    zvi,

    I did refer to Num 23.19; 1Sam 15.19, as well as Mal 3.6 where YHWH says He does not change.

    S. Johnson,

    You have any scripture to back up the double nature of Jesus Christ? The NT emphatically states that the whole person, that is, the Son of God died on the cross. No where, as far as I know, does it even hint that part of the Son of God died.

    But then again, we’re back to illogical fallacies regarding this double nature theme. For if Jesus was fully Deity and fully human all the time, why does he feign not knowing certain things [Mar 5.9, 30.16; 13.32; Lu 8.30, 45; John 11.34; 21.17]. Or that he remains subordinate to someone else whom he calls “God the Father” [1 Cor 15.27-28]?

    There are ways in which the Old Testament and the New differ. Yet they constitute one book. Both Testaments present the same One [not triune] God. The God who speaks in Jesus Christ in the New Testament is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob [and Jesus]. The God who works in Christ as His final agent in the New is the God who delivered Israel from Egypt and who spoke to her at Sinai.

    The New Testament never doubts that the God of which it speaks is also the God of the Old Testament. The God who acted in creation in Genesis has acted also in Jesus Christ. As Paul puts it: ‘For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ’ (2Cor. 4:6).

    The God who spoke to Israel in various ways and manners also spoke in his Son Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1ff.) W. D. Davies, Introduction to the NT, p. 6-7.

    In other words, that ONE “God was in Christ” [2Cor 5.19] and not “God was Christ”, or a “person” thereof!

  24. Zvi, my question was basically “who is Yeshua” to you ? (God incarnate, Moshiach, a false moshiach, a make believe story ?)

  25. Hi, S. Johnson

    Certainly these verses point at least in part to the human nature of Jesus, just as the NT did. Jesus grew in wisdom, there were things in His human nature He did not know. The premise in your objection seems to be that the Messiah can be ONLY human.

    S. Johnson, the premise all trinitarians start off with is to argue their case for God in terms of his “nature.” This has never been the concern for either Jews nor Christians. Not His “nature” but his identity was their concern. “Nature” is a concept imported from Hellenistic thinking, and is NOT scriptural. Scripturally speaking the Messiah is firstly inferior to Yahweh, originated by Yahweh, different from Yahweh and a full member of the human race.

    He has two natures that intersect. He is not the infinite that became finite. He did not abandon His devine nature, but rather added on an additional nature that was fully human.

    NOTHING in scripture says this. Jesus was fully human (Rom. 5:15), subject to exhaustion (Joh. 4:6), thirst (Joh. 4:7), hunger (Joh. 4:8), pain (1 Pet. 2:21), anxiety (Lu. 22:44), ignorance (Mt. 24:36), limited goodness (Mr. 10:18), even death. All these show that the Messiah was the human servant of Isa. 52:12-53:13, the promised prophet like Moses (Deut. 18) They also show overwhelmingly ontological separateness from Yahweh, ontological inferiority and dependence upon Yahweh, and in servitude to a will separate and higher than his own. These are but few of the overwhelming evidence showing just that, explaining the humanity of the Messiah, without fallacious leaps, extra-biblical concepts, or linguistic acrobatics.

    As far as the terms “firstborn” and “begotten” go, these also provide for no contradiction. Firstborn is used elsewhere where it does not mean first born in the literal sense. For example, in Exodus 4:22: ‘Thus says the LORD’, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. ” The privileges and preeminence of the firstborn are in sight here.

    That’s fine. The anthropomorphism explains itself. It explains itself further by the notion of TEMPORALITY, of AUTHORITATIVE INEQUALITY with the one whose firstborn he is, as well as the notion of APPROVAL by the one making the appointment. This is only from the term first-born itself. Lu. 1:35 gives the starting point and the ultimate reason for him being a son.

    Even if you don’t buy that, it still does not seem problematic to me as Jesus body was in some sense begotten. That is, His body came to be at some point–He acquired an additional nature that was fully human.

    Nowhere does Scripture state this. Even if monogenes means “uniquely begotten,” Scripture explains in what way: Matthew 1:20, 21. There’s no need to read back into scripture what it doesn’t say.

    Since there is no logical contradiction here, there is no problem.

    There are serious logical fallacies in all of this. The greatest of which is the fallacy called: affirming the consequent. Since the trinity doctrine is nowhere taught in the Bible, not even in clear confessional statements by Paul or the apostles according to Luke’s “Acts,” trinitarians will always be on the affirming side of the consequent, putting them in an unfavorable position (logically) to start with.

    The misunderstanding of the Trinity is at the heart of many “alternative” forms of Christianity, thus its importance cannot be minimized, it is one of the key features that distinguishes “mainstream” Christianity from the rest.

    The formulation of the doctrine is in itself ambiguous and equivocating in its reference to “God.” The “proofs” of the trinity, after combing and prooftexting Scripture reflects this. Hence, in my opinion, the confusion among many church-goers.

    John 1:3 “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”, Col 1:16 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavesn and on earth, visible and invisible….all things have been created through Him and for Him”

    Here you first equate grammatical gender with biological gender, and secondly you assume creative origin of all created things with Jesus. The scriptures you site prove neither.

    But there is the problem with that notion which stems from Isaiah 44:24 “I the LORD am maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by MYSELF and spreading out the earth all ALONE”. [caps added for emphasis] It seems the words “by Myself” and “all alone” could not be clearer. They seem to preclude someone else acting as an agent. Given that the agent theory flys in the face of Scripture, the syllogism stands intact.

    As already pointed out, were their numerous prophecies anticipating the coming of the Messiah. All those were given with anthropomorphisms of some sort. All those prove the separateness and inequality between Yahweh and His Anointed. Jesus is strikingly absent in revelation and in vision in all Yahweh’s dealings in the OT. So, instead of changing or twisting what is explicitly stated (all alone, by Myself) one has to use explicit language as the starting point and clarify what is ambiguous and vague.

    Regards,

    Jaco

  26. OK Zvi, Are you aware of other instruction on how Jews are to minister to Gentiles in the Tenakh? Are you aware of other statements there which indicate that G-d created and placed other people groups within boundaries he established?

    As for the trinity. When John the Baptiser baptised Yeshua for repentance from sin, and as to He being greater than John while so accepting this action from him, two other realities are recorded in the Brit Hadasha (by Mark). 1) a voice was heard from heaven declaring Yeshua His son, in whom He was well pleased, and 2) the Ruach Ha Kodesh was seen, as a dove, descending upon Yeshua from heaven. These are coincidental and curious reports, where, as such, all members of the so-called trinity were shown both separately and together. In fact they were interactively representing a “fulfillment of righteousness.” Certainly this is indicative of the Messianic. What each of these realities then are stated to be in the Brit H. is also very telling of their place and provision for any of those of a New Covenant faith in the completed works of Yeshua.

    Why bother to record these details if it is simply about an idol? Something more is happening, and that is challenging of anyone’s perception of reality.

  27. OK Zvi, Are you aware of other instruction on how Jews are to minister to Gentiles in the Tenakh? Are you aware of other statements there which indicate that G-d created and placed other people groups within boundaries he established?

    As for the trinity. When John the Baptiser baptised Yeshua for repentance from sin, and as to He being greater than John while so accepting this action from him, two other realities are recorded in the Brit Hadasha (by Mark). 1) a voice was heard from heaven declaring Yeshua His son, in whom He was well pleased, and 2) the Ruach Ha Kodesh was seen, as a dove, descending upon Yeshua from heaven. These are coincidental and curious reports, where, as such, all members of the so-called trinity were shown both separately and together. In fact they were interactively representing a “fulfillment of righteousness.” Certainly this is indicative of the Messianic. What each of these realities then are stated to be in the Brit H. is also very telling of their place and provision for any of those of a New Covenant faith in the completed works of Yeshua.

    Why bother to record these details if it is simply about an idol? Something more is happening, and that is challenging of anyone’s perception of reality.

  28. Rich,he was a regular human being who claimed to be moshiach and may have also claimed to be g-d.As I said we can discuss this issue on another website if you’d like.

  29. Rich,

    Zvi had already answered your question above. He did so by citing Talmudic authority on a certain “Yeshu” who was executed for claiming to be God. He noted that current Rabbinic opinion varies regarding the identity of this Yeshu. I think the Talmudic account also says that this Yeshu’s name was “Miriam.”

  30. Please excuse the above typo: the final sentence should read, “I think the Talmudic account also says that this Yeshu’s mother’s name was “Miriam.”

  31. OK Xavier, regarding worshipping angels and human beings you quoted these passages:

    Revelation 19:10 and 22:8
    –> John is REBUKED here for worshipping an angel!!!

    Matthew 8:2
    –> Here Yeshua is worshipped – and rightly so, since He is the arm of YHWH and had (and still has!) YHWH’s nature!

    Matthew 18:26
    –> Here a SLAVE is prostrating himself to his master, and this is a parable of human beings prostrating themselves before YHWH.
    The lesson of that parable: If YHWH (the master in that parable whom the slave prostrated to) forgave you all your sins, you too should forgive your debtors!
    By the way – I’m not in favor of slavery, but this was what slaves were doing, and hence Yeshua could use it as a parable for the relationship between humans and YHWH.

    The story goes on that also second debtor fell down before the first debtor, which can be compared to the story in Genesis 33:3 where Jacob prostrated himselg before Esau. This does not mean that this second debtor worshipped the first debtor or that Jacob worshipped Esau – it rather demonstrates the message “I know I have wronged you and am not able to restitute it – I am dependant on your forgiveness – have mercy on me!” A plea for undeserved forgiveness.

    The first part of that story in Mattew 18 tells us about the relationship between the master and the slave – the second part tells us about the relationship between two slaves.

    Matthew 20:20

    –> Here again Yeshua is worshipped, and He does not rebuke the people for it like John gets rebuked for worshipoing an angel in Rev. 19:10 and 22:8
    He simply says that the arm does not decide what to do, rather the arm obeyes the brain!! (Yeshua here again being the arm of YHWH). And in the verses 25-27 Yeshua explains the rules of YHWH’s kingdom: The great ones in YHWH’s kingdom don’t receive adoration from men but rather serve them. Other behaviour is IDOLATRY!!!

    So there is NO problem with worhipping Yeshua – but there is a HUGE problem with worshipping other people!!!

    Acts 10:24

    –> again: Cornesius is so happy here about Peter’s arrival, since this is the open door for Corneslius to enter YHWH’s kingdom, that Cornelius somehow gets a little confused about who is God and who not. Peter quickly clarifies that in the next verse

    (Acts10:26)

    “But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up! I myself am ALSO A MAN!” ”
    Guess what – Peter didn’t deserve the worship!

    Again, Isaiah says that the arm of YHWH has not been revealed to most people – and I just see that this is very true!! I think that Zvi has a clearer understanding here about whom to worship and whom not to worship, with the exception of course of our opinion on who Yeshua was / is.

  32. Erika,

    We seem to be talking past each other here. I will reiterate what I have said before.

    Jesus was “worshipped” [proskuneo, relative worship] as the Christ [annointed one of YHWH], “the Son of the Living God” [Mat 14.33]. No one else, including Jesus, is worshipped [latreuo, rendered sacred/divine service] as God the Father [YHWH].

    “Worship” may be offered to kings as representing God, and even to glorified saints (1 Chron. 29:20; Rev. 3:9). It is fallacious, therefore, to argue that because Jesus is “worshipped,” he must be God. Jesus can be “worshipped” as Messiah. Only the Father is worshipped as God. The same Greek verb does service for both senses of “worship”. Buzzard and Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 203. [emphasis added]

    According to Luke 2.11 this was his birth right, which was recognized by people like the Magi who worshipped him as the promised Messiah, “king of the Jews” [Mat 2.2, 11].

    According to Romans 1.1-4 “through the spirit of holiness [that brought him back to life] was appointed [declared] with power to be the Son of God”. Which means his God and Father has “exalted him to the highest place…to the glory of [that one and the same] God the Father” [Phil 2.10-11].

    As Messiah, Jesus, the accredited representative of the Creator, is honoured in association with the One God, his Father (Rev. 5:12, 13). But he also joins the saints in the Lamb’s song of praise to the Father (Rev. 15:3).

    He is the beginning and end of God’s great plan of salvation (Rev. 1:17). Yet he died (Rev. 1:18), a fact which plainly means that he cannot be God since God cannot die. Only the Almighty God is God Himself.

    In Revelation 1:8 the Father is both the Alpha and Omega and the Lord God Almighty. The latter title (“the Lord God Almighty”) is nowhere given to Jesus, despite the attempts of some red-letter Bibles to apply this verse to the Son, perpetuating the long-standing confusion of the Messiah with God. Ibid., p. 134.

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