Post Index

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Son

(Dear readers, it appears there is problem with blogspot, hence, this painful appearance of my blog article.
I trust they will get this resolved soon. Thank you for your patience. gt)
Select articles:


There are many voices. They all want to be heard. Mostly they are voices with a negative message with respect to Jesus. Their message is often nothing more than a hollow assertion that “Jesus is not God.” Others will actually bring a morsel of a scripture to support their assertion such as the one which is the focus of this article.


These words spoken by Jesus that the Son can do nothing of Himself is just one example heard from those voices. Although many Christians are familiar with these words many of them have never wondered or saw the need to examine the meaning of these words. They fall easy prey to the message of those voices. Certainly, those who seize these words to make their assertions to deny the deity of Jesus have themselves not done anything to examine the meaning of these words.


The conclusion extracted from these words is that this is an acknowledgment by Jesus of his inferiority and weakness on the level of a human being, not God, but is this the case? Here is a broader scope of the passage from John 5:19-21.



Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20 "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. 21 "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.


unity and harmony
Jesus notes the single reason why the Son can do nothing of Himself. Anything that the Son does is contingent on the Father initializing the action which the Son then does _ in real time, together with the Father, simultaneously. The imagery is one of synchronicity and of unity and harmony between the Father and Son. It was not up to the Son to determine or choose the things that he did even if it were to please the Father. Everything he did was just as he saw the Father do.


weakness or inferiority?
This is not a position or admission of weakness or inferiority by Jesus. Clearly, what Jesus is indicating is that the time while the Son was on earth to fulfill the will of the Father was not a time during which the Father sat back while the Son fulfilled his will. The Father, Jesus revealed, was actively engaged and involved in what the Son was doing. Does it seem incongruous that God is working? After all didn’t he rest on the seventh day? There is something very significant about this close collaborative work between Father and Son.


a prophet, the prophet and Jesus
What is as much overlooked and overrun, at least in discussions in which I have engaged, is the assumption by Unitarians and Trinitarians alike to declare and refer to Jesus as a prophet. While Jesus refers to himself as a prophet [1] it appears it is as the people thought of him as a prophet. Those words are seized as another glee-filled example of mistaken notions as to what constitutes a prophet and how the Father communicated with the Son. You can read the scripture regarding what constitutes a prophet in Numbers 12 and my blog article on the same topic here. Unlike the prophets to whom God revealed himself through visions and dreams, the Father and Son had a real time contiguous relationship and connection with each other. There were no visions and dreams. Jesus, in accordance with Numbers 12, was no more a prophet than Moses. See the references to the prophet [2] by Peter and Stephen in Acts 3 and Acts 7 to what is generally assumed to be Jesus as a prophet or the prophet. However, those references to the prophet in the book of Acts are enclosed parenthetically by references to the prophetS, not a single prophet. Both passages in Acts reveal that the prophecy of Moses to a prophet in Deuteronomy 18 was not to a single prophet, but to the succession of prophets which God would sent to Israel long after the death of Moses. Those prophets, like Moses and like Jesus who were not prophets, were no less for Israel to be heed and obey as messengers of God.


Therefore, there is little surprise and less wonder that when such an important foundation and understanding of what constitutes a prophet is missing with respect to Jesus. So, too, there is an even more serious and consequential misunderstanding of the Son and why he declares that he can do nothing of Himself as an opportunity to assault his deity.


numeric quantitative values
A key major problem and a flaw shared by so-called Unitarians and so-called Trinitarians is their irresistible allure to ascribe numeric quantitative values to the word, one. For instance, the former tout and boast their numeric value of one (such as God is one from the Shema) while the latter sheepishly tout and boast that God is one, but _ three in one. Both, so-called Unitarians and so-called Trinitarians believe in this manner that they have understood and clarified the God whom they both love. However, neither of these two present a cohesive comprehensive account of the plural and singular forms in the Shema. Some are oblivious to these forms while others, like one rabbi, boast that “we just ignore it.” I will add, as I have often noted, that these original language single word definitions in isolation are hardly any more helpful than to ascribe numeric quantitative values to a word.


conclusion
I have no doubt that some who seize the words of Jesus that he can do nothing of Himself and who subsequently deny the deity of Jesus, love God. However, this does not diminish or minimize a mistaken notion founded on a superficial glance at those words. Merely declaring that Jesus is not God sounds like the schoolyard taunt which invites the response, “Is too!” “Is not!” in the manner of children.

Jesus provides a fuller understanding for us as to what he meant when he spoke those words. These words are misunderstood in much the same way as what it is that constitutes a prophet. There is a false declaration which of Jesus as a prophet. It is not surprising to hear a similar misunderstanding about the deity of Jesus and instead make the false declaration that Jesus is not God.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Jesus: a gluttonous man and a drunkard

This was the disparagement, the gossip, that was spread to malign Jesus, the Son of Man. It was said that Jesus was a gluttonous man and a drunkard. This was said of Jesus in contrast to John the baptist whose life mission was in the fringe of society and in the wilderness of the river Jordan. Alas, the comparative morality of the twenty first century is not new. The populist perception of John was as one of being a truly a religious, holy and pious man. The falsehood about Jesus being a gluttonous man and a drunkard neither troubled nor fazed Jesus in the least.

Jesus was happy and confident in himself as he went about the Father’s business in and among and with sinners.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Only True God

The purpose of this article to examine the expression, the only true God, which appears in the scriptures. There is a similar and related expression appears a second time in the scriptures.

The gospel according to John opens with a message that is often cited and quoted about the Word who became flesh. My own reason for citing this reference is for what John reveals about the mission of the Begotten Son several verses into the first chapter, namely, that the Begotten Son came to explain God. We understand that explanations are communicated with words and through words. This is what Jesus stated often. He declared that the words that he spoke were not his own words. They were the words which the Father had given him to speak to explain God. Additionally, this is true of the works that Jesus performed. The works which Jesus did were just as he saw the Father doing the same works. The words and the works is what Jesus cited for Philip and the disciples as proof that the Father dwelt in him.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

First Believe?

I must admit it is refreshing to hear an atheist who presents his argument, or objection as in this case, without the usual excess peppering of his message (I encourage you to view the video: First Believe?) with claims and appeals for logic and reason or mockery and derision. Too often the mere inclusion of these lofty puffs about logic and reason in one’s speech are taken as proof that one’s argument is on solid logic and reason simply because the individual says it, and therefore it is so. This is not limited to atheists. Christians tout and flaunt the same claims with each other as well as with atheists. This is not to dismiss logic and reason. (It amuses me to hear Christians toss around what was once solely the atheist ploy and brand about a strawman. And you thought scarecrows weren’t real, right?)


I agree with Matt about the proposition that I will describe and what amounts to, for working purposes, not as a bait and switch, but as a switch and bait.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Deity and the diversity and unity of one

We try hard to enhance and fill out our understanding of deity and the God whom we love. We think we have attained this by touting ourselves as so-called unitarians or trinitarians and even, perhaps, as Arians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. We think if we just use the right name, especially in the Hebrew language form of that name, that we have understood these things. Of course, there is the stout claims and assertions to defense of our understanding. It is a telltale sign of our lack of understanding when that defense is usually in the form of negative assertions. These include “Jesus is not God” “Jesus is not the Father” as though this were on par or as though it equates with teaching and conveying our understanding of the written revelation of the word of God. So much time is expended in exchanges calling out and sticking the label on the person with whom we engage in discussion together with all presuppositions rather to listen to the person’s words. Invariably, those views center on a small handful of passages together with a message from rote memory sometimes without much ability by the individual to offer much or any explanation.

 

The purpose of this article reflects a fundamental conviction of mine, namely, that the greater part and easier part of the scriptures for our understanding is readily apparent for the reader.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter and righteousness

What is righteousness? What is the righteousness of God? Can we possibly know that what we do is the righteousness of God?


Jephthah is a man who judged Israel. He was a mighty warrior who led Israel in their defeat of Ammon, one of the enemies of Israel. As the son of a harlot he had known rejection. His own siblings cast him out of the family only to call Jephthah to come and deliver Israel from their enemy. Although Jephthah reminded them of their rejection of him he set aside his feelings about the matter and came to the aid of his fellow Israelites. However, these are not the accomplishments which often come to mind about Jephthah, particularly among women some of whom anger and bitterness are stirred up. Jephthah sacrificed as a burnt offering his daughter whose name is not recorded in the scriptures. It is a fair question to ask what possible righteousness could there be in the act of sacrificing a human being, of one’s own virgin daughter by the hand of her own father?


Please understand, this is not some perverse call for human sacrifice. Rather it is an effort to understand both Jephthah and Jephthah’s daughter’s acts of righteousness.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Yahweh, Lord of hosts

The scriptures testify of God and of his purposes and the fulfillment of his purposes from antiquity to the time Jesus and the apostles walked this earth. (see Ephesians 1 for a succinct testimony of the Lord God and his purpose for redemption, the fulfillment of redemption and the affirmation of redemption.) My purpose in this article is to align a small glimpse of this testimony from the Tanakh, that is, the Old Testament along with the New Testament reference to those same testimonies. I will present the ways in which God refers to himself, the mindset of the hearers and his purpose to fulfill and accomplish his will. I prefer to leave it to the reader to draw the inferences and conclusions concerning the meaning and significance of this testimony of God for themselves.

Israel is a people and a nation who has the unique distinction of having being the people with whom the Lord God chose to associate himself and to declare himself as the God of Israel. Yet, for all the works, wonders and words which Israel heard, both directly from God and through his servant Moses and later the prophets, they did not believe in him. Initially, the first time when Moses informed the leaders of Israel of the words that the Lord had spoken to him they were quick to tell Moses that they would do all that the Lord spoke to Moses. Immediately following that session with the leaders the people heard the voice of God. Their reaction was one of terror and fear. They couldn’t bear to hear the voice of the Lord and pleaded with Moses to talk with God and whatever God told Moses for them to do they would do it.

(check out these two blog articles Christianity Unmasked & Human Sacrifice at Mt Moriah and Egypt
The first article was my response to Rabbi Blumenthal's article. Six months are I published it he learned about my article. This led to a prolonged amiable and respectful discussion with the rabbi as well as a few of his congregants who were a little less genial, but it was good that they joined us too. You can read our exchange in the comments  The rabbi saw the second article and we engaged in a much shorter discussion again.)