The Hierarchy of Godhead

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Colosians 1:25-27)

For many people who have difficulty in harmonizing the revelations of the New Testament with the monotheistic view of the

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Old Covenant, their only resort is to embrace the teaching of the Trinity as the nearest explanation to the biblical God. But not few also were those who fell into the modalistic view of the Pentecostals. Both views are unbiblical. God is neither Trinity nor like what Pentecostal onenesses think about Him. It’s true that there are three powerful Beings or Godhead but unlike the Trinitarian view, these three are not coequal in power.  Of course, no one will say that when it comes to supremacy, a son is equal to his father or the father is equal to his son, or else it will be no sense at all to call them “father” and “son”.  The term “father” and “son” signify the hierarchical relationship between two persons. The term “father” signifies one’s respect and honor to the person whom he applied the term, and so the term “son” signifies one’s position as lower or subordinate to his father. In fact, Christ had this statement in the gospel of John;

“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)

And again in John 10:29, it says,

 “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all…” 

This declaration did not only surpassed the authority of Christ Himself but including the power of the Holy Spirit. When Christ said, “My Father is greater than all”, that’s absolute. It doesn’t only mean to say that no one is above Him but also no one is equal to Him. Hence, Christ said, “my Father is greater than I.” Thus we shouldn’t expect that Jesus Christ is also the Father. That’s wrong and misleading!

The monotheistic view of the Old Covenant is quite incomplete. I’m not saying that it’s wrong,  but I believe, base upon the gospel, that that’s incomplete. Perhaps, the confusion among the Jews whenever they are at reading of the Book of Genesis (particularly Genesis 1:26)  explains how incomplete are the teachings of the Old Covenant concerning to the nature of God. Monotheism is the hallmark of Jewish religion, yet most of the time they were confused by some verses of the Torah. This is because something was hidden during the time of the Old Covenant, and the reason why the New Covenant was given is to explain the mysteries of the Old Covenant. Paul explains,

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” (Eph. 3:3-6)

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: ” (Ephesians 3:9)

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Colosians 1:25-27)

Compared to the New Covenant,  the Old Covenant doesn’t have enough details about Christ, if it’s not, as Paul said, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”. It was Him (Christ) to whom the Father said, “Let us make man in our image”. John declared, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;” (John 1:1; I John 1:2)

And Christ said; “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with theebefore the world was.” (John 17:5)

Christ was with the Father before the foundation of world. And during the creation, He was with Him as a “master workman“, as an “intelligent architect“, hence John said, “all things were made through Him”. Is not saying that Christ is God? Of course He is. But unlike the Trinitarian belief, Jesus Christ is not equal with the Father, or He is the Father (like the claims of Pentecostals). Being WITH the Father is not being the Father.

What Christ had stated is this, “I and my Father are one.” This is not saying that He is also the Father or He is equal with the Father. But the best way to explain this is the same way how Christ explained it. And he said,

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” (John 17: 20-23)

The oneness of the Father and Christ is not in power or in authority neither they are absolutely one being, but as the Church is one in the sight of God, so Christ in the Father. The best representation to describe how Christ become one with the Father is the unity of the Church as one body. Perhaps, we can also use the oneness of a husband to his wife, as the book of Genesis described. This was how the Bible explained the oneness but hierarchical description of the Godhead. The Father is greater than the Son and the Holy Spirit and yet they are one.

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Why Christ Is Not the Father?

During the night of His prayer at the Mount of Olives, the Lord Jesus Christ set the way on how believers will attain everlasting life. In His prayer to the Father, the Lord declared;

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

The statement is very clear and plain as a stream that flows through the paradise of God, that those who wish to live in eternity must have the knowledge about the Father and the Messenger He had sent to redeem the fallen race of man. And in conformity to  this prayer, the gospel helped us by supplying plenty of details about everlasting life. Christ, during His earthly ministry, presented before the world a loving Father who provides every good thing for His children and the One who is worthy for all the glory and praises of the entire creation because of His unfathomable wisdom, love, mercy and justice; that for the sake of the fallen race, sent His beloved Son, the Joy and Prince of His heavenly kingdom, to save them from the curses of sin. Concerning to this Prince, those disciples who witnessed the story of His great sacrifice and humility never left us without full knowledge about Him. By their letters, they presented to the world a Son who loved not His own life and covet not the glory that He have since the foundation of the world but unconditionally and wholeheartedly submitted Himself to the plan of redemption; a Son who seek not His own glory but the glory of His Father in heaven.

But however clear are the details of the Holy Scriptures about the Father and the Son, false preachers and corrupt theologians are continually destroying the gospel that even the very comprehensible details are illogically presented and twisted deliberately. Among these perverted teachers of religion are the so-called “Oneness theologians” who interpreted the nature of Godhead in a very complicated and illogical way that resulted into serious contradictions of biblical verses and harmed the mind of those people who want to know the truth. According to their invented doctrine;

“The Incarnation caused the eternal God to exist within two distinct consciousness – human and divine. God continued to posses a timeless omniscient ‘DIVINE CONSCIOUSNESS’ in heaven – while at the same time – He experienced a human existence  within the mind of the man Jesus Christ. Thus the One personal God of the Old Testament simultaneously exists as two distinct beings – being both God (Father) and man (Son). “

Plenty of Oneness denominations are scattered throughout the world. In the Philippines, there are 7 well-known Oneness groups that have their respective branches abroad. And based on my own experience, reasoning with them is a tragic one. I clearly seen how logic was badly destroyed when Oneness theology begins to strike the mind of its listeners, even to the mind of a known degree holder. The notion that the Father is Jesus Christ, the Son is Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost is also Jesus Christ is a clear invention unsupported even by a single paragraph from the Bible.  And since the doctrine of Oneness Pentecostals about God lack of biblical support, their defenders are trying hardly to withstand those verses that clearly state the truth, and when they can’t refute the obvious meaning of the verse,  they finally retired into telling that the matter is still a mystery. But the Bible is not a book of mystery or secrets. It’s a book of revelations – a book that the details are comprehensible  by human mind.  It has sufficient details for us to know who is our heavenly Father and who is Jesus Christ our Savior.

Oneness theology destroys logic, etymology, and lexical categories. It removes the sense of the biblical chapters and verses until the

meaning is finally twisted or polluted. Lets take for example the praying of Jesus. We all know that praying is an act of communication performed by a man to his God, thus it requires two distinct  individuals – the one who pray and the recipient of his prayers. And most of the time when we are praying to God in an open area, we lift up our face to heaven – to the direction of God’s throne and habitation, like what Jesus did according to John 17:1. If it’s true that Jesus Christ is also the Father, what then the necessity of lifting up His head to heaven as He is speaking to another individual other than Himself? Is He talking to Himself with a piece of dramatic act? That’s nonsense! Oneness defenders formulated an explanation concerning to the praying of Jesus but still they don’t have even a single biblical verse that supports this explanation. Furthermore, according to the book of Matthew;

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

The story of Christ’s baptism tells us that while the Son (as He was addressed by the voice from heaven which is obviously His Father’s) is with the Baptist in the Jordan River, the voice of the Father was heard from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And at the same time, the Spirit of God is descending like a dove and lighting upon the Son. This description perfectly explains that there are three active individuals separated by space in this specific scenario – the Father (which is the owner of the voice), the Son (which is in the River), and the Spirit of God (which is descending like a dove).  Therefore, the claim that the Son is both the Father and the Holy Spirit is illogical and unbiblical in its  fullness, or may be Oneness Pentecostals are trying to devoid this scenario of its meaning.

The Messenger

If there is a single biblical term that really ignored by these Oneness preachers, this is definitely the term “messenger”. “Messenger” stands for the One who bears a message; the bearer of a verbal or written communication, notice, or invitation, from one person to another. The office of a “messenger” which Christ possessed according to the Holy Scriptures defines the relation of the Son to the Father. Christ is not the Father or the Father sent Himself to the world, but Christ is the messenger of the Father (or the Father sent Jesus Christ). The reasoning that the Father existed within two distinct consciousness – one divine in heaven and the other human in the mind of the flesh – and that makes Him to exist simultaneously as two distinct beings,  is nothing but a fallacy when the concept of the word “messenger” is concerned. That is amounting to say that the Father sent Himself to the world as a messenger of His own self, and there’s indeed no such thing mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. What was written in the Bible is this; “And we know that the Son of God is come… “(I John 5:20). Come from where? Christ said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (6:38 of John). Christ came to the world not to do His own will, but the will of the One who sent Him. It explains  that Christ is not the same person who sent Him, or else the phrase “not to do my own will” will become nonsense. The next question is, “Who sent Jesus Christ?” In John 12:49 it says, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” This is a direct and very clear statement of Christ Himself that He is not the Father. His arrival on earth is not according to His own will and the words that He speak are not of Himself… therefore, Christ is not the Father! And again, in John 13:16 Christ said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” Is Christ the Father? Of course not, because the Sender is greater than the one who is sent.

Please do not be deceived by this false movement. Friendliness, good music and good food will not save you. We must pass this and all doctrine through the lens of Scripture. If a teaching is contrary to the entirety of God’s Word….it is error.

“Biblical Unitarians” are not Biblical, Part I

After publishing my post entitled “Unlocking the Mystery of Christ Nature“, a comment was posted on the dashboard that brought me into a website owned by the so-called “Biblical Unitarians”, and their ministry was named as “Spirit and Truth Fellowship International”. The website was located here. I’m not familiar with the Unitarians before, but after reading their site, I feel so worry about the great error that they taught concerning Jesus Christ. By studying first the background of the group, I learned that the founder whose name was Victor Paul Wierwille was associated with the Bible translator, George Lamsa, who proudly admitted of being raised in the Nestorian church.  Wierwille became associated in 1957 with Aramaic Bible scholar George Lamsa  who finished his translation work for The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts (Lamsa Bible) in Wierwille’s home.Lamsa and Wierwille together produced the first American Aramaic grammar in 1960 for the study of Biblical manuscripts with the ancient Estrangelo letters.Believing that the original New Testament  was written in Aramaic, he became a supporter of George Lamsa’s  translation of the Bible, and used it frequently.  From the time that they were connected for a single work, Wierwille’s view regarding Christ had changed. From the belief of Christ’s Deity, he shifted into a Nestorian-like doctrine.  Wierwille believed and taught the deity of Jesus Christ for 20 years, until finally he made his break with biblical teaching on Jesus when Lamsa entered his life.

Now, we will try to answer the discourses of Wierwille’s “Biblical Unitarians” concerning Christ, and let see if, as they claimed, they were biblical indeed.

What really the Bible says about this matter?

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)

Here are the two natures of Christ; the Godhead and the human body. In these two natures, which one suffered death according to the Bible?

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?But he spake of the temple of his body.” (John 2: 19-21)

Which one died? The temple of His body, and not the Spirit that dwells inside earthly temple or the body.

Peter further said;

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (I Peter 3:18)

The Unitarian teaching that the entire being of Christ (both flesh and His Deity) died in the Calvary was definitely a big mistake because the Holy Scriptures, as what we have shown, clearly stated that the only part that suffered death was the body and not the Spirit.

Was it impossible that God have  God higher than Him? Biblically speaking, that’s possible. We should remember that the Father is the Most High God, and that Christ is His Son, and as a father is higher than his son, so the Father to Christ.

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. (Hebrews 1:8-9)

Let’s read the Bible and find out in what state when Christ was being tempted.

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18)

The Bible clearly states that to overcome death, Christ should overcome temptation, and He cannot be tempted unless He partakes with flesh and blood because sin works only through flesh and not with the Spirit. Therefore, to destroy the body which was ruled by sin, Christ made Himself in the like of the sinful flesh.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6)

We must remember that Christ humiliated Himself by acquiring the likeness of a sinful man, of a servant, and not of God. Therefore, expecting Him to say that He was God is an absurdity. In His prayer, Christ wanted us to know, not just the Father, but also Himself. Although He never testify for Himself (because that was the Father’s concern), yet He prayed that we must know Him, too.

And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. (John 5:37)

And how the Father borne witness of Christ?

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. (Hebrews 1:8)

Of course, He should pray because while in flesh He was completely dependent on His Father. Again, the Apostle Paul said that because of meekness, Christ

…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death.” Thus, while He was in the world, Jesus set an example for all Christians, and we should learn from these examples.

Ok, let see how…

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Heb.2:14)

The “children” mentioned here are the “children of God” according to verse 13. The children of God, according to verse 14, are partakers of flesh and blood.  It means that the “children of God” are not completely children of flesh, but only partakers of it. Why? Because the children of God are also partakers of the divine nature. That divine nature was the Spirit that enables us to have the thinking of Christ.  Paul said;

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (II Cor. 4:7)

By joining the divine nature with the flesh and blood, Christ made Himself in the likeness of God’s children in earth; children that doesn’t only partake with flesh and blood, but also partakers of the divine nature.

CONCLUSION

Wierwille’s “Biblical Unitarians”, by being failed to comprehend the character of our Savior, misunderstood the words of testimony regarding the Deity of Christ. They failed to comprehend the mysteries hidden behind the humble character of the Savior, and by careless conclusion of those things that they never completely understand, they embraced a teaching which contradicts the precious truths about the Savior.

The questions like “why Christ never called Himself God?”, or “if Christ is God, why He prays to the Father” are examples of questions being raised in a carnal mind that doesn’t have the ability to see afar off. They only see those things revealed upon literal eyes and not the deepest part of things. Christ said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11:29). By such character, of course, we cannot expect Christ telling that He was God.