Saturday, December 5, 2015
We left off with last weeks article mentioning the apostle John's opening statement found in his Gospel. The truth of the deity of Christ was seen and felt by John as well as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit of Truth. (Jn.16:12-14)This first verse is stating, and making the claim that he absolutely accepted, and understood Jesus to be God in the flesh! He later in this chapter comes right out and says that the Word who is Jesus became flesh. (Jn.1:14) He wanted this to be clear for all his readers from the very start! It would be best for us to look at this scripture in three parts. We will label them parts A, B, & C for simplicity and look at it grammatically. We will be primarily be dealing with Part C which has come under many attacks. The whole verse reads as:
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.In beginning was the Word and the Word was with the God and God was the Word. So Part A as we break this verse down, will simply “In beginning was the Word”.Part B will be “and the Word was with the God”.and the last part which we will note as Part C shall be “and God was the Word.”
The Jehovah's Witnesses and the so-called Christian cults love to attack Part C. They translate this part of the verse as: “and a god was the Word.” Their rational is biased on the fact that there is no definite article before the word God (θεὸς ). Their contention therefore is that this is stating that Jesus is not “the God”! So what they do, is to make the word God in part C a lesser god. By changing the capital G and making it a small g, and placing the indefinite article “a” in front of it.
Firstly, I want to point out something that most don't share, nor even know about the definite article... the assumption made is that if there is no definite article, then it must have an indefinite meaning and be translated with the indefinite article "a" in front of it. The Greek language has a definite article “the” and even about 30 renderings of it depending on, case, mood, tense etc. ... but it does not have an indefinite article per say as we do in English. The indefinite articles ‘a’ or ‘an’ are often supplied in our Bibles
At times it could and should be supplied, but we cannot always assume that it is always appropriate. Greek doesn’t even operate with the same exact rules as English in regards to the use of the definite article ‘the’. In many instances in which English would not include the word ‘the’ the Greek text includes it. As an illustration, we would never say in English: The Peter walked upon the waters to come towards the Jesus. (Matt.14:29) Yet this is how they spoke and wrote in Koine Greek!
… ὁ Πέτρος περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ
… The Peter walked upon the
ὕδατα ἐλθεῖν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.
water to come towards the Jesus
Let me also point out that the truth of the matter is that if it actually did have the definite article (ὁ) before it, then the ‘Oneness” view would be correct! It would then emphatically state that ‘the God” was ‘the Word’ leaving no room for them to be two separate entities within the one God! As a side note the Jehovah's Witnesses fail to use their same rule for translating Jn.1:1 “a god” in Jn.1:6, 12, &13 all speaking of God the Father, and all without the definite article in the Greek in that same chapter! Below I will list them for you!
Jn.1:6 Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ ὄνομα αὐτῷ Notice how there is no article at all between the words Jπαρὰ and θεοῦ! According to what the Jehovah Witnesses state concerning Jn.1:1c. This verse should be rendered: came to be a man sent from “a god” ...
Now let's look at Jn.1:12 ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.
Again according to what the we have been told by the deity of Christ deniers, since there is no article between τέκνα and θεοῦ this verse should be rendered:
As many but received Him He gave them power to become sons “of a god” …then in the very next verse Jn.1:13 we read: οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν. Again let me point out to you that there is no article between the words ἐκ and θεοῦ! Yet no one renders this verse as “a god” or as “of a god” (θεοῦ would equate to “of God” in the Greek of this verse as well as the last verse we just looked at because they are in the Genitive case denoting possesion.) So you can see by their quoted rule this should be rendered “of a god”, Yet they don't do so. Why? Because that would collapse, and destroy their teachings on who Jesus is!
Looking at Part C καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος we should note that the subject here is “the Word” (ὁ λόγος) the article ὁ (the) in front of it is just a marker to designate which noun is the subject, so we emphatically know that the Word is the subject. Both words θεὸς and λόγος are Nominative case with endings in “ος” and therefore can both qualify as the subject. So the way to qualify the Subject is to see which has the article in front of it. Without the article it would be a predicate. The predicate serves to assert or deny something pertaining to the subject. In this case the word θεὸς would be the predicate (Since it doesn't have the article.) Therefore the predicate is asserting something about the subject which is “The Word”. It's assertion is that the Word is God! Plain and simple. It shows that the Word is deity! It/ He “The Word” was towards the God (Part B) and obviously a separate entity from the Father, yet possessing the attribute of being God!
So to be literal in English we have the subject coming first in the sentence structure and the predicate comes after... this is why you’re Bibles read in the reverse order of the actual Greek. The Greek reads “And God was the Word”, but our English bibles read: “And the Word was God.”
Throughout this entire verse in all three parts we see the Word (Jesus) being the subject. In part a we see ὁ λόγος as having the article as well as being in the nominative case. So we see that He existed in the beginning. What beginning? Well, I think it's easy to see and understand that when we read the Septuagint rendering of Gen.1:1 it sates:“In the beginning God created ...” Gen.1:1 (LXX) For those who have read my articles in Allyn Morton's TFC Magazine where I dealt with and shared many Targums, I have already noted in article six that the targum Neofiti stated that Gen.1:1 is rendered as: From the beginning, THE WORD [Memra] of the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth with wisdom."
No wonder the apostle John while inspired by the Holy Spirit was to pen this opening statement to his gospel. He had understood that Jesus was not only God, or part of the Godhead, but that He was none other than the Memra (Aramaic for the word, Word!) of whom he listened to from his youth as they spoke of the Memra or Word of God!
In Part B of this sentence, we again see the the Word is in the in the nominative case which make it the subject, whereas the God τὸν θεόν is in the Accusative case – the direct object. We are made aware that the Word was with The God. (The Father.) The Word doesn't replace God, but rather is always πρὸς which means towards, with, beside or even face to face with Him.
I want to also point out and expose a complete fallacy that has been erroneously spread throughout Christianity about Jesus and John's termλόγος. Many contend that the apostle John penned the first chapter of his gospel, as if he spoke of Jesus as the Logos (Gr. λόγος ) From a totally Greek mythical perspective, and not as a Hebrew using Hebraic theological commonly known as truth from the Targums that were read after a passage in the synagogue each Sabbath. The cults and the deity of Christ naysayer’s love to take this proverbial, “ball” and run with it! They falsely assert that the doctrine of the Trinity is a teaching which originated out of fourth century paganism! The study of the tar gums on the other hand show us something completely different from that hypothesis and its false perspective! I emphatically say No to that idea!
The “WORD” was not a Greek philosophical idea, such as “wisdom” “logic” or anything else you want to insert! By the time of Christ, Jews of higher learning were already understanding that the “WORD” throughout their Old Testament was referring to a divine entity within God Himself, yet separate from the Father. They even had a concept where they considered the “Word” as God to the “Second Power”, but united with YHWH! The ancients of Israel completely understood this concept of two literal powers in heaven, both being part of the “echad” (one) God of Israel.
We certainly see this in the first chapter of the gospel of John. The evangelist presents Jesus as – the WORD OF GOD! He presents this understanding that the Word was united with the Father yet separate, and yet also God! The Apostle John never borrowed any of his terminology like “The Word” from Greek paganism, Greek thought, mythology, or philosophy! He used a term found right in his own Bible and Targums! He then did something amazing!!!! He said in a nutshell, Jesus was that Logos we have studied and learned about all our life! Jesus is the God who appeared to our forefathers, and we have seen Him, heard Him, beheld Him, our hands touched Him, and I am bearing witness and proclaim this to you that you may believe and have complete joy! (Jn.1:1,14; 1 Jn. 1-3) Until next week, God bless you and take care!
Saturday, November 28, 2015
There is no single topic as important as the doctrine of the deity of Christ! Get this one important fact wrong, and your doomed for all eternity! It has always been my main emphasis of study and focus when looking into the word of God through the study of scripture! Lately this focal point has been questioned, challenged, and denied even within the preterist community! What a shame and dissapointment! Preterists who I have held in great esteem have become an utter disappointment in this area! You would think that in the application of sound herminutics, this truth would not need to be challenged, but to my chagrin, it has proven to be a stumbling block for many who I would consider to be wise yet have stumbled in foolishness! Leaving many with a faith that has become shipwrecked, and devoid of truth!
“Professing to be wise, they became fools.” Rom.1:22
I remember many, many years ago, standing in opposition against many in the student center at college debating so called Christians and church groups who denied the deity of Christ! As the president of the campus Protestant Club, I was shocked at how many times this topic came into question and even ended up in heated debates! Fortunately, I was very successful in those debates in my defense. I never in my wildest imagination thought that I would see the day that I would have to defend this simple and basic tenant of our faith both then, and now! Sad to say, many Christian brothers and sisters who once held to the Deity of Christ have denied this truth in view of their eschatology! Eschatology does not need to redefine all areas of our faith! Over the next several weeks, I am going to share some of my studies on this fascinating topic in an effort to help build up your arsenal to defend this monumental truth!
Let me begin by first stating that historically speaking the deity of Jesus was never even challenged in the Christian church until about the year A.D. 190 when a Byzantine leather merchant (Shoemaker / tanner ) named Theodotus denied it! Of course the Judiazers and unbelievers challenged it from the beginning. But I’m speaking of members of the primitive church, those who professed to be Christian and were members of the church of the first couple of centuries. Of such we have both Oriegn of Alexandria Egypt (A.D. 185 -254) and Arius of Alexandria Egypt (AD.250-336) these are the most profound heretics of the early church! It is their repackaged teachings about the person and their anti-deity of Christ concepts that you get lectured on when visited by these so called Christian cults who come knocking on your door! It’s not new, it’s old and just the same old heresy the Christian church had to purge itself from at the end of the first century! It has since reared its ugly head many times being repackaged, renamed, retooled, and unfortunately, re-taught to those unable to discern the truth!
The first step we need to take in getting to the bottom of this conflict, is that we need to know what Christ said of Himself. Likewise, Jesus even said that He through the giving of the Holy Spirit would even later enlighten them with more knowledge that the Apostles were not ready to hear! Even the Apostle Paul would come to revelations of the identity of the person of Jesus and His deity, and write about it!
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” Jn.16:12-14 (NKJV)
So what in fact did Christ say of Himself pertaining to this topic? Did He say that belief in his deity was or is essential to salvation? Yes He did, and I think He made it abundantly clear!
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”John 8:24 (NKJV)
εἶπον οὖν ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν
I said therefore to you that you will die in the sins of you
ἐὰν γὰρ μὴ πιστεύσητε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις
if for not you believe that I AM you will die in the sins
Later in that very same chapter Jesus said:
Jn. 8:58 “Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί”
Truly, truly I say to you before Abraham was born I Am
Now what was the IMMEDIATE RESPONSE? (See Jn. 8:59)
ἦραν οὖν λίθους ἵνα βάλωσιν ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν
Took up therefore stones that to throw (they) upon Him
Why would they want to kill Him by stoning! Why? It’s because He claimed to be God! He literally claimed to be the “I Am” Who was, Who is, and Who always will be! In other words, Jesus said to them that when God spoke to Moses – it was actually Him at the burning bush in Exodus3:14! We will look at many other scriptures of Jesus claiming that He was God in the flesh throughout the upcoming studies, but I want to leave you with an example of the Spirit of truth who Jesus said would guide the apostles into all truth, and glorify Him. (Jn.16:14) Let's look at what the Apostle John wrote as enlightened, and inspired by the Holy Spirit:
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
In beginning was the Word and the Word was with the God and God was the Word. Jn.1:1
In the beginning Jesus was, meaning that as the Father existed eternally, He existed as well. This is clearly brought out in the second verse of John’s Gospel.
οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν
This one was in beginning towards the God. Jn.1:2
The Greek word πρὸς which means “toward” or “with” denotes direction as in being positionally towards something, looking to, moving to, relating to, showing that another personage is in view.
And yet this other one is also called God!The Apostle John never borrowed any of his terminology like “The Word” from Greek paganism, Greek thought, mythology, or philosophy! He used a term found right in his own Bible and theTargums! Notice that he states that the Word was in (the bosom of)God, (Jn.1:18; 14:18) with God, and was God! (Jn.1:1b.) This wordπρὸς shows us separation between the Word and another, namely God the Father, all the while both being the one God! Some like the Jehovah's Witnesses on the other hand, translate the end of this verse as: “and the word was a god.” Their rational is biased on the fact that there is no definite article before the word God (θεὸς ). I will answer that next week when we pick up this study next week. Thanks for your time and I hope you will join me again in the up and coming studies over the next several weeks