Monday, December 10, 2012

Zechariah 14

Over the course of this past year, as a result of this on going conversation, much of which has also taken place in person or over the phone, our Trinitarian Friend no longer considers himself "Trinitarian" as far as the traditional definition goes.  However he won't go so far as to say that Jesus is not God.  He believes they are separate beings, but that Jesus pre-existed and is divine (which to him means-God).    Anyhow, it's a step towards believing in One God and the man Jesus as His anointed One—the Messiah.  Please join the conversation by leaving your comments.

So the conversation continued recently.  Here's the request from our not-quite-unitarian-but-no-longer-Trinitarian Friend : )

I'd be interested in your exegesis of Zach 14:3


Biblical Monotheist answers:


Understanding the principle of agency can really help in scriptures like this. A very brief explanation for Zechariah 14 comes from a book I have. This brief explanation refers to the principle of Jewish Agency, which you can read about below the Exodus verse.
From page 210 “They Never Told Me THIS in Church” by Greg S. Deuble
In Zecharaiah 14 we have a remarkable prophecy that Christians eagerly anticipate. It concerns a day yet future when God Himself will go out and fight against the nations of the world that will be gathered against Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem. This is popularly known as the Battle of Armageddon. On that day, just when the enemies appear ready to strike the knock-out blow God Himself will intervene in the world’s history and “his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south” (Zech. 14:4). The feet that cause this earthquake in the Hebrew Bible are the LORD’s feet. However, Christians believe this to be a reference to Jesus Christ himself returning at the Second Coming to inaugurate the Kingdom of God on earth. The argument is that since Jesus’ feet are spoken of as God’s feet, then Jesus must be God Himself. In the light of what we have seen so far, this cannot be. If we keep in mind the principle of Jewish Agency, we will have a right understanding that Jesus’ feet are spoken of as God’s feet in exactly the same way Aaron’s hand is spoken of as the LORD’s hand in Exodus 7:17-19.
Exodus 7:17-19 “17 Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.18 And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.19 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.
The Principle of Agency in Scripture
In the Bible there are examples of human principals using fellow humans for agents, of God as divine principal using angelic agents, and of God using human agents. This notion of principal and agent is the key to understanding the relationship between the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Divine Principal and Human Agency
The LORD told Moses that he would be “Elohim [God] to Aaron” (Ex. 4:16). He says, “I have made you Elohim to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet” (Ex. 7:1). In Exodus 7:17-21 the LORD says: “By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.” The LORD then says to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt — over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs — and they will turn to blood.’” Moses and Aaron did as the LORD had commanded. Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile “and all the water was changed into blood.”
The LORD had said that He Himself would strike the waters with the staff in his own hand. Yet, it was Aaron’s hand that held the rod, and Aaron who struck the Nile. Clearly, Aaron is not God. Rather, Aaron stands as God’s agent, in the place of God. One might even say he is “God,” not literally, but in a manner of (Hebrew) speaking. One might even say in this case that God (as principal) was represented by Moses (the agent), who in turn was represented by Aaron!
Divine Principal and Angelic Agency
Genesis 18 begins by saying that “the LORD appeared to Abraham” (v. 1). We read that Abraham “looked up and saw three men” (v. 2). The implication is that one of the three is in a sense the LORD. Later it is the LORD who says, “I will surely return to you about this time next year” (vv. 10, 13). When the men get up to leave the LORD speaks yet again (v. 17). Finally, two of the angelic men turn away. As the NIV has it, “Abraham remained standing before the LORD” (v. 22). The alternative, given as a footnote, reads “but the LORD remained standing before Abraham.” It was not literally the LORD (the principal) who appeared to Abraham; it was an angel (His agent). As agent of the LORD, however, the angel is treated as the LORD. We know this must be so because the Bible is adamant: No one has seen God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; 1 Tim. 6:16). Note too that the one angel who directly represents God is worshiped as God’s agent.
When Jacob wrestled with a heavenly being, he is said to have “seen God face to face.” So Jacob is said to have wrestled with “God” (Gen. 32:24-30). However, we know from the word of the LORD to the prophet Hosea that Jacob in struggling against God actually wrestled with an angel (Hos. 12:3-4). Jacob did not literally wrestle with the LORD (the principal); it was with an angel (His agent) that he wrestled. However as the agent of the LORD the angel is treated as the LORD. Again, we know this is so because the Bible insists: No one has ever seen God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; 1 Tim. 6:16). So too, when Jacob, as an old man, blessed Joseph’s children he said, “May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm — may he bless these boys” (Gen. 48:15-16). Surely, God Himself is not an angel, but the angel as His agent represented Him.
Another very clear example of this type of thinking is as follows. According to Deuteronomy 4:12 it was the LORD who spoke to Israel “out of the fire” to give them His Law at Sinai. It is said to be the LORD’s own voice that they heard. Yet several Scriptures reveal the speaker to have been an angel. Stephen says that “he [Moses] was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai” (Acts 7:38). He told the Jews, “You have received the law that was put into effect through angels, and have not obeyed it” (v. 53). Paul also says, “The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator [Moses]” (Gal. 3:19). Hebrews 2:2 only serves to confirm this point, saying that the message (the law) was “spoken by angels.” This is no contradiction. The LORD did not literally speak “out of the fire.” An angel spoke. However as the agent of the LORD the angel is treated as the LORD. It is as if the LORD actually spoke.
Scripture affirms that it was God who “opened the doors of the heavens” and “rained down manna” for the people of Israel to eat during their wilderness wanderings. He gave them “the grain of heaven” to eat (Ps. 78:23-24). The manna did not literally come down from heaven, the throne of God. It was “from heaven” in that it was a gracious gift of God. So too, the manna is called “the bread of angels” (Ps. 78:25). This is probably not because angels actually have manna for breakfast. God himself provided the food, but he did it through the agency of His angels.
Read the rest of the article on agency here:


RESPONSE FROM FRIEND:

Am I following you? Am I capturing your interpretation of Zcharaiah 14:3? If I am not capturing it could you either modify my understanding of your interpretation or write your own?
This is what YOU are saying
YHVH will go out and fight against those nations in the same way he fought against the Amorites, Amalakites and all Phillistines; He will fight them through His agents. Just as he had his agents Moses, Joshua, Josiah and David in days of old he will have His agent Yeshua (Joshua) who will descend (just as he ascended into heaven) and touch down on the mountain splitting the mountain in 2. His agent Yeshua will have a name written on his pant legs that reads 'King of [all] Kings and Lord of [all] Lords (and agent of all agents)' It is important that we be clear that it will not be YHVH that will fight on that day but His agent. The agent will not represent himself as if he possessed any authority inherently but he will be a conduit through which the power and authority of YHVH will flow uninhibited."
New International Version (©1984)
Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle.
New Living Translation (©2007)
Then the LORD will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past.
English Standard Version (©2001)
Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as he does when he fights a battle.
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
American King James Version
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
American Standard Version
Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Douay-Rheims Bible
Then the Lord shall go forth, and shall fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Darby Bible Translation
And Jehovah will go forth and fight with those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
English Revised Version
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Webster's Bible Translation
Then will the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
World English Bible
Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Young's Literal Translation
And gone forth hath Jehovah, And He hath fought against those nations, As in the day of His fighting in a day of conflict.



Answer from Biblical Monotheist:
I think you captured it pretty well! We see it over and over again. God says He will act when in fact He is going to empower His angels and His people to do the work. Actions that are directly attributed to God are in fact carried out by his commissioned agents; ones sent by God. In a sense we, too, are His commissioned agents/ambassadors (John 20:21, 2Cor 5:20).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two Kingdoms? Two Gods?

Continuing on this conversation, our Trinitarian friend speaks first.

I am curious, if you were in the upper room that night listening to all the disciples talk whose words would you give more credence to Thomas' words or Peters? 
 
Think about it; Thomas was probably the voice of reason. It is quite possible that he was the more educated man there and while we may write him off as a nay sayer because he was called "Ditto" by his friends..by his friends, in other words it was probably a jab by fellows who also thought Thomas' thoughts but didn't have the guts to say it over and over again, repeat himself or repeat others. Chances are he was the one who always said, "I told you so" and he was right much of the time in spite of his pessimistic, existential thought processes. And yet he was still one of the 12 and will probably have a special seat in the Kingdom as he was not only chosen by Jesus but he risked his life to be hanging out with him and the rest of the disciples and though more outspoken no less fallible. I can think of many biblical characters whose bad choices/words could more easily discredit them and dismiss their words as historical documentation rather than inspired words. "Adulterous Murderous David", "Disobedient Solomon" ("Do not multiply wives.... horses") "Arguing Job" would all sit nicely next to "Doubting Thomas" should the words of the former be placed on par with those of Thomas? Thomas never murdered anyone. It does seem that if it were as important as you say it is that there be no confusion about Jesus NOT being the One True God then Jesus would have at least brought some clarity by responding to Thomas' statement. His failure to clarify leads me to believe that the connection between Jesus and the Father is so tight that although they are different persons they are so unified that the difference between these persons is impossible to explain to humans or at least the ones in the upper room.
 
You know me well enough to know I'm not defending the building of either/any doctrine but it does seem that your hasty demotion of Thomas is suspiciously convenient....Seems to me that the guy that denied Jesus 3 times was a less reliable source than the one who didn't utter the words "my Lord and my God" after touching his resurrected body.
 
Also, when you quote from the Shema, "The Lord your God is one Lord..." how do you know that the Shema is not saying, "the lord your god is one lord?" after telling me there are many uses for the word god I have no confidence that this "One True God" that the shema discribes is ever really mentioned in scripture as more than a god or a lord. After all we can't be sure that anything in the scripture is either literal or figurative/allegorical/symbolic/typical can we? If so how? Actually perhaps the word "god" does not have as much weight as the word lord? If so Jesus could be higher than the one True God because Jesus is the "Lord of Lords" and the father is only the God of gods..... but.....as you have said the word lord can refer to anyone so how do we know if the one lord spoken of in the Shema is the lower case lord..... or if the title lord of lords has any real significance either? Perhaps you can help me....or just write me off as a Doubting Don.
Kingdom of God or "Kingdom of his dear Son"? Whose Kingdom is it? If you say both I say you cannot serve 2 masters and you can't have 2 God's.
 
That was fun but my serious point is that it seems that if your logical arguments can be inverted your sword is a blade with a handle at each end. I have a hard time taking Anthony Buzzard any more seriously than I take John Mac Aurthur....which is pretty serious but I understand where each are coming from and the constituencies they serve.


Biblical monotheist friend answers:



First let me start with a clarification. I’m not sure who started the “demotion” of Thomas, but it wasn’t me.  I’ve never said anything negative, discrediting, or down grading of Thomas; nor is there anything on my website.  There is nothing wrong with what Thomas said.  

Second, let’s keep it simple by not bringing in any pre-suppositions or Greek philosophy/mythology.

To answer your specific question regarding the word lord in the Shema:
Deuteronomy 6:4 says Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:”  That means, our God is one. As you may or may not know, when you see “Lord” (all caps) in the Old Testament, know that it’s used in the place of God’s actual name (I have no idea why we don’t use his name; if he gave it, we should use it.)

Literally it says: “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our God is one Yahweh” (English word for Yahweh is Jehovah)

“God” is NOT our heavenly Father’s name. (Likewise, “LORD” is not our heavenly Father’s name.)  We, with a Western mindset, use “God” as His name, but it’s not. Therefore when we hear Thomas say “my lord and my God,” we think, “Well, there you have it!  Thomas calls Jesus God and Jesus didn’t deny or clarify so this proves Jesus must actually be God himself! ” 

Jesus had NO NEED to clarify anything.  All Jews, including Jesus, knew there was only one true God and therefore it was obvious that either 1) Thomas was using the word “theos” in the lesser sense, NOT as God Almighty, Yahweh himself:
John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
1 Corinthians 8:5-6 “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
Mark 12:29 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:”
. . . Or . . .

2)Thomas was merely crying out to His risen Lord AND to the God that caused this miracle of the resurrection.

Only someone with Hellenistic (Greek) influences would think Thomas was calling Jesus “God Almighty or Yahweh or a second essence of God.  From a Jewish perspective and Jewish use of the word “God”, it’s perfectly acceptable and understandable.

Some uses of God (elohim/theos) as used in the lesser sense:
1) Jesus himself refused the accusation that he was making himself God and goes on to acknowledge that MEN were called gods in the scriptures.
John 10:33-36 “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” P.S. A few verses later John tells us that he wrote these things so we would believe Jesus was the Son of God. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John 20:31
2)Moses was god to Pharaoh.  Exodus 7:1 “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.”

3) Satan is the god of this world. 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

4) Paul says there are many gods and many lords. 6 “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
5) Many people have their belly as their god.  Philippians 3:19 “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”

Take a quick look at the following verses with our God’s actual name (Yahweh) put back in where our current Bibles say “LORD” (all caps).

Exodus 6:3 “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.”

Deuteronomy 4:35 “Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that Yahweh he is God; there is none else beside him.”

Isaiah 42:8 “I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Jeremiah 16:21 “Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is Yahweh.

Leviticus 19:12 “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am Yahweh.”
***more verses at the end

It really needn’t be confusing.  It’s God’s Kingdom of which Jesus will rule and reign, THEN he will give it back to his Father.  No need to serve two masters OR two gods.  Just believe what the Bible simply states.
1 Corinthians 15:24 “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. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 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. 28 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.”

Luke 22:29 “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;”

It’s the Kingdom of God which is ruled by His Son until he delivers it up to his Father.   Their connection is fully explainable and completely comprehensible; yes even to US.  As long as we don’t try make it more than what the Bible says. They are one in purpose.  If I send my son to act in my place and give him all authority and power to act on my behalf, he is my agent, his words are my words; everything ultimately comes from me through my son.
Acts 10:38 “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
Acts 7:9 “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,” God was with Joseph, that doesn’t  make him God.
John 3:34 “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”
Acts 28:31 “Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”
Truly we must throw out ALL presuppositions that come from Greek philosophy and traditions of men, and read the Bible for the plain truth that it clearly states.  Then take the hard to understand verses and align them with what we KNOW is true. Not the other way around.
Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”


*** Exodus 3:15 “And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Yahweh God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

1 Kings 5:3 “Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of Yahweh his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Yahweh put them under the soles of his feet.”

2 Chronicles 6:7 ”Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of Yahweh God of Israel.”

Psalm 103:1“Bless Yahweh, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”

Proverbs 30:9 “Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Yahweh? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”

Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, Yahweh is my God.”

Psalm 110:1 “Yahweh said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” 

Isaiah 12:4 “And in that day shall ye say, Praise Yahweh, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.”


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More on 2 Peter 1:3 - A Conversation Between Friends on the Unity of God

Please leave your comments and join this conversation.

Regarding 2 Peter 1:3 (Please read previous post)

Non-trinitarian friend: Am I missing something? I’ve answered this twice. All power comes from God through Jesus. Why don’t YOU tell me whose divine power has given us everything, and then maybe I’ll understand what you’re getting at. Jesus says all power comes from the Father. I can’t help but agree with my brother and Lord Messiah Jesus.


Regarding your comment/question:

Trinitarian friend: if I'm hearing you correctly what you are saying is that all references to Jesus coming forth from the father teach that the Father and the Son are separate beings but all references that indicate and discuss how the Spirit comes forth from the Father should be not be understood as teaching that the Spirit and the Father are refering to the same person?

The confusion is because you start out seeing three different gods. You see the spirit as God and Jesus as God and God as God. I start by believing the Bible when it says that God is one. And I believe Jesus when he says that God alone is the only true God (John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.).

God is holy and he is spirit. This is how the father dwelt in Jesus—through his spirit. Just like, the father dwells in a believer, once they repent and believe the gospel. The answers are right there in the scriptures in the previous email. (Matt 10:20, Mark 13:11, Luke 24:49, John 15:26, Acts 2:17-18, 1 Cor 2:12, Eph 3:20, Luke 24:49) Read them.

True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth. It does not say that true worshipers will worship God the father, God the son and God the spirit.

John 4:23-24 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”


People in the old testament did not think there was a second god person called “the spirit of the LORD” that came upon him and would work in their lives. The knew it was God’s spirit; His power and presence. Scripture tells us that a man from the seed of David would be the Messiah. He was sent by God (commissioned, sent forth) and would be the Son of God. He’s the son of God, not God the Son.

God is one.

Jesus is his son.

Through Jesus, we can have eternal life and he gives us the promise of his Father, the Holy Spirit, God’s spirit, the Spirit of Truth. As believers we are now endued with power and delivered from darkness by the Gospel. You could say we have divine power since this is power from on high—from God.



I have no idea what hermeneutical principles are. I never went to cemetery—I mean seminary (I couldn’t resist), so I’m not familiar with man’s terminology. I start by believing that God is one, like the scriptures say. If we come to a passage where it appears that someone else is called God, we know that no one else is God, therefore we need to look at the context to determine the sense in which the word god is used. If it’s not referring to the One True God, the Father, the creator of the universe, then it means god in a lesser sense. Like Satan is the god of this world, Moses is god to Pharaoh (“And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” Exodus 7:1), and the judges of the old testament were called gods (Referring to psalm 82:6 Jesus said, “ Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” John 10:34). As I have mentioned before, I believe you could say (biblically) that the first Adam was the god of the original creation (God the Father’s representative or agent). Likewise, the last Adam (Jesus) could be called the god of the new (restored) creation (again, God the Father’s representative or agent).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Divine Power and Spirit of Truth - A Conversation between Friends on the Unity of God

I hope you can follow this conversation between two friends.


Question from Trinitarian friend (TF) in BLACK.
Reply from Biblical Monotheist (MF) in BLUE
Response from Trinitarian Friend (TF) in RED
TF: I appreciate you answering my questions by quoting scripture. I have been careless in my understanding of the divine family (the word divine family does not appear in the scripture but it is implied so i assumed you would accept is as a more accurate description than the word trinity) and your questions and answers have sharpened my mind and heart. MF: I still prefer using our Heavenly Father (or God, our Father) and his Son Jesus. The word “divine” is only used twice in scripture and once it’s referring to US being partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
TF: I'll use your terms since things that are mentioned only once or twice in scripture are less significant....like the word translated Godhead in Col.2:9; this is the only time it appears so you cannot build a doctrine around it. In the same light Thomas is the only disciple that called Jesus " my Lord and my God" (and Thomas the least of the disciples doubter that he was...) Thomas' single references among all the references made by apostles is not one to build a doctrine on. --I'm not being sarcastic I'm hoping that you will affirm or correct my understanding of your viewpoint.

TF: I have looked over your response to my I Peter 1:3 question and I do not see an answer perhaps this is a question that should be asked in person:
2 Peter 1:3 says "His divine power..." What does the context say to you? Whose divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness by our knowledge of Him.....? MF: I did answer on the previous email. It was this:
I believe Scripture shows us that any power Jesus has is from God, hence, divine. “. . .but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” John 14:10. TF: Agreed
Any power we have is from God. All comes from God through Jesus (Jesus is the mediator between God and man 1 Tim 2:5). So whether you say the context is Jesus or God (giving the divine power) in 2 Pet 1:3, both ways— it originates from God. Jesus said, “. . . I send the promise of my Father.” Luke 24:49 TF:Agreed
All authority and power is ultimately from God. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matt 28:18 TF:Agreed
Everything originates from God. Jesus actually said that whoever believes on him, doesn’t believe on him but rather, believes on him that sent him. John 12:44 TF:Agreed
TF: Perhaps 2 Peter 1:3 is an instance where it is ok to ignore the context but if not and you read the verse in the context it seems that one must choose a hermeneutical principle upon which one will discern whose divine power is being spoken of in vs. 2. Then again perhaps this is one of those one time references that can be ignored.

TF: Here is another question: in John 16:13 who is the Spirit of truth? These require short answers.
MF: Short answer (which was from previous email): I believe that Scripture shows us that the Spirit of Truth, Spirit of God, Spirit of your Father, the Holy Ghost are all phrases that are used interchangeably.
Scriptural backup:
“. . .For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” Matt 10:20
“. . .for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy GhostMark 13:11
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” Luke 24:49
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” John 15:26
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh . . . .in those days of my Spirit.” Acts 2:17-18
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor 2:12)
Through Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost, Spirit of truth, God’s spirit), God’s divine power that works in us (“. . .according to the power that worketh in us” Eph 3:20), the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49). Praise God!
TF: I'm sorry for being so vague here but if I'm hearing you correctly what you are saying is that all references to Jesus coming forth from the father teach that the Father and the Son are separate beings but all references that indicate and discuss how the Spirit comes forth from the Father should be not be understood as teaching that the Spirit and the Father are referring to the same person?

TF: I think we agree that the church is in a sad state but it is a stretch (for me) to connect the sad state of the church to trinitarianism. It seems more likely that the sad state of the church has more to do with their irresponsible/proud/weak leaders, pastors and fathers.
MF: (From previous email & applicable here too) I never meant to imply that a Unitarian/non-Trinitarian church was somehow more perfect than other churches. I believe the sad state is due to “lay” people in addition to pastors for passively and blindly sitting in the pews and not reading and searching the scriptures for themselves. I believe there are many pastors that Satan has put into the pulpits. They are false brethren teaching the words of men and not the words of God.
TF: So you do not believe that trinitarianism (specifically) is the cause of the death of many believers. You would agree with me that it was the evil hearts of men who were bent on controlling others rather than a specific doctrine that led them to perpetrate evil on people in and out of the body of Christ? You agree that these evil men would have used (and did) method of baptism, use of statues and other "tools" of worship, and anything else they could to gain control and silence those who would oppose them?

TF: What is most curious to me about your "monotheism" is that it seems to relish the separateness or individuality of the divine family members while I delight in what they share and their unity; you seem to believe that the divine family has something to gain by maintaining their individuality and I just don't see it. MF: These are all your words, not mine. God is ONE and Jesus is his son. I, too, delight in their unity, as I delight in MY unity with them (John 17:21 “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 as I delight in my unity with my wife. But we’re all still different people. “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Cor 8:6
There’s no relishing in the individuality of God and his Son, Jesus, nor do I believe either of them have anything to gain by maintaining their individuality. Rather, I believe us, as believers in Jesus, do have something to LOSE (not salvation) by believing in a trinity that was taught by Plato almost 400 years before Jesus was born. But that can be discussed in person if you’d like.
I have much more to say about this but it will have to wait until we’re in person, just to save from typing.
TF:I look forward to the more.
TF: My hope is that at the end of these email discussions I will be able to print out these emails and sit down with you and clarify your beliefs so that I am not assuming anything. Perhaps when we have a good understanding of one anothers beliefs we can continue these conversations in a blog that would bring encouragement to others who are in your respective situations. MF: There’s already a blog (and now this blog too) where people have conversations back and forth regarding One God. I don’t use it, I prefer talking rather than typing. http://lhim.org/blog/ There is always a large discussion going on over there by people who really dig into the scriptures. They always enjoy someone asking questions or trying to prove them wrong. : )
Thanks for listening,
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