In part one of this series we looked at what God revealed to us about His Son through the mouths of the Holy Spirit-inspired prophets of the Old Testament – in particular: Moses, Samuel and King David.
Before we continue along with these Old Testament prophets, let’s consider one last revelation given to King David:
For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. Ps. 22:16 – 18. NKJV
King David is referring to his enemies (dogs = evil men) but the ultimate fulfillment of this scripture [the piercing, being on display (crucifixion), the division of the garments and the casting of lots] cannot be applied to David but to Christ.
Now, we leap forward in time to 740 – 710 B.C. to the time of the prophet Isaiah. His first Messianic prophecy concerns both the birth and one of the names given for the Messiah:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Is. 7:14 NKJV
The only virgin birth ever recorded in the Bible is that of Jesus. ‘Immanuel’ means ‘God is with us.’ (See Mt. 1:23) Isaiah continues with his prophecies with one that reveals the great changes the Messiah will bring:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. Is. 9:2 NKJV
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice, from that time foreword, even forever. Is. 9:6, 7. NKJV
So, the Messiah (the Christ) will bring the light of God to people who have suffered at the hands of the god of this world (Satan) and will establish an eternal kingdom of peace and righteousness for all.
What I’d like you to look at are the descriptions of the Messiah’s name. I contend that these are not literal names of the Messiah but instead speak of His qualities – especially with regards to the descriptive(s) ‘Mighty God’ and ‘Everlasting Father.’ I present again the scripture we looked at in part one of this series:
[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is he Firstborn of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP
‘Exact likeness’ is written as ‘image’ in other translations. (ESV, NKJV, NASB) ‘Likeness’ and ‘image’ of God are not the same as ‘being’ God to me. Your image in a mirror is not the same as you, even though it looks exactly like you.
I profess that Jesus is the closest we are going to get to God but that He is separate and distinct from Him; and that Christ was created from God before the creation of the universe took place – thus at a point before time itself, which would be indeterminable for man to decipher.
I must point out that my contentions are contrary to the majority of mainstream Christian thinking, which holds to the ‘Trinitarian’ concept, which maintains that Jesus is God. The concept could be right. I don’t know. But it is an elephant in the room that brings division to some parts of the body of Christ. In fact some ‘Christians’ will excoriate you if don’t ascribe to the trinity. The primary purpose in my teachings is to bridge these divisional gaps where judgment creeps in. So let’s thresh it out a little…
The Trinity is a man-derived explanation formulated to try to shed light on a number of scriptures that the Trinitarians claim prove that God is a ‘triune’ God – existing as three persons: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
This concept was first ratified in 325 A.D. at the First Council of Nicaea where approximately 300 bishops convened at the behest of the Roman emperor Constantine.
[I want to be perfectly clear that I believe that God can and does bring greater revelation to His children continually; and there is no doubt that there are mysteries in the Bible yet unsolved. (See Dt. 29:29) So again, perhaps the trinity concept is correct; it’s just that the Trinitarians themselves have such difficulty explaining it.]
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God – separate and distinct from Him; yet I don’t think that belief diminishes who He is in any way. Just look at what God placed within and upon His Son: (By the way, this type of thinking was labeled Arianism, after Arius, a Christian priest in Alexandria, Egypt, who held these views at the time of the Council, which declared his thoughts to be heretical for going against their construction.)
For it was in Him (Jesus) that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities, all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.
And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him consist (cohere, are held together). He is also the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing that He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent].
For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him permanently. And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross. Col. 5:16 – 20. AMP
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… Heb. 1:3 ESV
Jesus was God’s creative agent for everything and He keeps it all in existence. He is the head of the church, the first to be resurrected to eternal life, is filled with every power of His Father, and all things can only come to the Father through the Son. You can’t get more preeminent than that.
But how would Jesus sit at the right side of Himself? (If He were God.)
The word ‘trinity’ is located nowhere within the Bible. It was a doctrine created by man to explain a scriptural concept that was not fully comprehendible, i.e. trying to define the infinite God to the finite mind of man. No one can fully understand everything that God says or does:
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. Is. 55:9 NKJV
Yes, God, the Holy Spirit, and the pre-carnal Christ were 100% Spirit beings. After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, He became a Spirit (God) – Man, the nature of which is beyond our comprehension.
All three have equal divine attributes. They exist within a unique, harmonious working relationship: The Father commands (designs), which are committed (created) through the Son’s obedience. Christ reveals God. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ and He brings the spark of life to Christ’s creations.
In like manner, God planned salvation, Jesus accomplished it by His atoning work on the cross, and the Holy Spirit imparts it to God’s children. (It still looks like ‘separate and distinct but working as one’ to me.) Consider these words of God:
“Here, O Israel: the LORD our God is one!” Dt. 6:4 NKJV
“…for I am God and there is no other, I am God, and there is none like Me.” Is. 46:9 NKJV
A clear case for a singular God to me, but the Trinitarians maintain that the Hebrew word for ‘God’ in this case (Elohim) is a plural word and the the Hebrew word for ‘one’ (echad) is used in a collective sense. Food for thought.
Contemplate the words of the prophet Daniel when he was describing his God-given vision of His throne room in heaven:
“I was watching the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” Dan. 7:1`3, 14. NKJV
No one disputes that the ‘Ancient’ is God and the ‘Son’ is Jesus. I’m just saying.
Trinitarians would have you consider the following scriptures:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jn. 1:1 NKJV
There is no doubt that the ‘Word’ is Christ and that He was with God. Where I take exception is ‘the Word was God.’ I agree in the sense that Jesus had to be part of God at one time before He was created from God. (The Trinitarian view is that there was no creation of Jesus as a separate being, but that He has existed eternally with His Father.)
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jn. 20:28 NKJV
This refers to when the apostle Thomas puts his hands on the body of the resurrected Christ. To me Thomas is not acknowledging that Jesus is God but is recognizing that Christ is His Savior and he can see the power of God emanating through the ascended King of kings.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us… (as we are) waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave himself for us to redeem us… Titus 2:11 – 14. ESV
Jesus and the Holy Spirit are personifications of God’s grace. The Trinitarians hold that the ‘great God and Savior Jesus Christ’ is a description of one Person. Could it not be God and Savior?
Most Christians will say that the trinity is a clear revelation that defies man’s logic. It’s just that it is not so clear to me. Doesn’t make it wrong; you have to judge for yourself.
Here are some things that give me pause:
1. When Jesus was baptized, both God and the Holy Spirit were present together but separate and distinct. (Mt. 3:16, 17.)
2. Jesus says He cannot do anything without His Father’s power. (Jn. 5:19, 20.)
3. Jesus said, “…I am going to the Father, for My Father is greater than I.” Jn. 14:28 NKJV
4. Jesus last words upon His death: “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.”
So, I have not embraced the trinity concept, although the majority of Christendom has. However, my gate opens slightly ajar after recently reading an article by Philip N. Odhner: The Teachings of Swedenborg Concerning The Lord Jesus Christ and The Divine Trinity. Emanuel Swedenborg was a Swedish theologian in the 1700s.
He stated that there cannot be two infinite beings because one would limit and finite the other. Further, he said that God is love, which was perfectly manifested in Christ’s salvation for all mankind because the essence of God is to love others outside of Himself.
He continued by relating that for there to be another God from God, that other would have to absolutely one with the Original. Swedenborg taught that God said many times in the Old Testament that He would come into the world (true) and in the New Testament he declared that this appearance referred to His coming through Jesus.
According to Swedenborg, Luke 1:35 teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, and because God is infinite and cannot divide Himself without being finite, He must exist in Christ. Moreover, Christ ‘reordered’ His human mind and body, (i.e. was ‘glorified’) putting on the Divine Human (God-man). Swedenborg continues by saying that before the glorification was complete the human elements that were not yet divine had Him speaking as if He and His Father were separate – all changed (unified) by the resurrection. And it is that Divine Human that God embodied at that moment that allows for man to approach Him in their fallen state.
He refutes the concept of three separate beings existing as one, but instead claims that the Father is the ‘Divine Soul’ within the ‘Divine Body’ (which is Christ) and that the Holy Spirit is ‘Divine Love and Wisdom’ proceeding out of the Divine Body to work the salvation of man – concluding that there is no trinity of ‘persons’ but of ‘essentials’ in Christ (the Divine Human) whose body has the Divine Soul and the Divine Operation (Holy Spirit).
Maybe Swedenborg’s treatment of the trinity is not altogether correct, (He does profess other theological beliefs I have difficulty swallowing and the church based upon his teachings call themselves the ‘true Christian religion – a claim also made by most other denominations) but it is a treatise that I can sink my teeth in. Who knows? I may become a ‘Trinitarian’ after all…
THIS IS THE MAIN POINT!
I don’t know who is right or wrong, (that includes myself). I’m just offering food for thought. If you continue to read God’s word with faith and with prayer for revelation, and still exercise critical thinking when it comes to man’s take on it, I feel I’ve done my job.
What I do know is that God would not give anything to us that was incomprehensible that blocks our way to salvation. So, is Jesus God? The majority of His followers think so. They could be right.
However, I don’t think anyone will be turned away from the gates of eternity if they believe that Jesus is exactly the same as God in all respects, with a name that is exalted over all (except His Father’s), who created the universe and holds it all together, that came so we could see God up close and personal, who sees that our prayers are answered and is God’s Agent of salvation, whom we worship along with the Father. (See Heb. 1:6)
Goodnight and God bless.