Home Page  Christian Works  JW Articles  LDS Series  Catholic  SDA

Who Is Jesus Christ? — A Biblical Case For The Real Jesus

Rich Kelsey

unknown person

 

"After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11)

 

How the Apostles Described Jesus To the Early Church:

On the Day of Pentecost, the day the New Testament Church was born, the Apostle Peter inspired by the Holy Spirit said this about Jesus:

"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." (Acts 2:22-23)

Peter called Jesus a man; he also explained that God did miracles, wonders and signs, through him. It's noteworthy that this gospel message was the very first message preached to the church — that of God working through a human Christ.

The Apostle Peter went on to explain:

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ— this Jesus whom you crucified." (Acts 2:36 NASB)

In other words: God has exalted Jesus to the position of Lord:

"... a person possessing supreme power and authority ..." (KJV Dictionary Definition: lord) 

The Apostle Paul explained:

"For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." (Romans 14:9 NASB)

 

According To the Bible, Jesus Christ Has a God:

■  "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52)

■  Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" (John 20:17 NASB)

■  "... so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 15:6)

■  "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort ..." (2 Corinthians 1:3)

■ "The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying." (2 Corinthians 11:31)

■  "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)

■ "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." (Ephesians 1:17)

■ "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you." (Colossians 1:3 NASB)

■ "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." (1 Peter 1:3)

■ "... and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever!" Amen” (Revelation 1:6)

 

In the section above Christ's own Apostles acknowledged that Jesus Christ, in his resurrected heavenly glory, has a God.

These are not obscure, hard to understand, or figurative references. This was the gospel message of the early church.

Jesus Christ was, and presently is,

"... a man ..."

 as the scriptures maintain:

"... He [God] has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31 NASB)

The Apostle Paul explained:

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5)

 

The Father Is the One God of Scripture:

■  "... yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." (1 Corinthians 8:6)

■  "... one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:6)

■  "To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Philippians 4:20)

■  "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1:27 NASB)

The Bible speaks of the Father as the only true God:

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3 NASB)

 

Even After Death, Jesus Christ Is Distinct From God:

■  "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God." (Mark 16:19)

■  "Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear." (Acts 2:33)

■  "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." (Acts 5:31 NASB)

■  "But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." (Acts 7:55)

■  "'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'" (Acts 7:56)

■  "Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." (Romans 8:34)

■  "But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3)

■  "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, 'All things are put in subjection,' it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all." (1 Corinthians 15:22-28, NASB)

■  "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1)

■  "But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God." (Hebrews 10:12)

■  "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2 NASB)

■  "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God." (Revelation 3:2)

■  "Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name." (Revelation 3:12)

 

In the last two quotes from the section above, Jesus speaks

"... of my [his] God ..."

five times.

 

We Will Be Like Him:

"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He [Jesus Christ] appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." (1 John 3:2)

Seeing that in the future we will,

"... be like Him ..."

doesn't it only make sense that in the past, Jesus Christ was also like us.

One question remains:

Did Jesus Christ have his own person?

Or, was Jesus merely,

"God in flesh"

with the person, or soul of Christ, being

"God the Son"

of Trinitarian dogma?

Or, perhaps

"God the Father"

of scripture?

One thing is certain:

If Jesus was never a man with a real human soul, then, he was never like us!

 

Whose Soul?

Remember the opening quote in this study:

"After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11)

It speaks of Christ's soul. It states that he (Christ) will be satisfied; and, it implies that Jesus gained knowledge.

Human beings have souls, human beings gain knowledge; yet, Trinitarians claim that Jesus is the incarnation of the supposed Eternal Second Person of the Trinity,

"God the Son."

Yet, Isaiah 53:11 is not a figurative passage, neither is it difficult to understand; and it also calls Jesus a

"servant."

Some of us may wonder if claiming a

"coequal person" (see Trinitarian Terms)

is also a

"servant"

to another

"coequal person" (see Trinitarian Terms)

makes any sense?

Also, doesn't the concept of an eternal person, seeing

"... the light of life ..."

seem odd. 

Therefore, perhaps Jesus Christ is a man whose person is not

"God the Son"

of Trinitarian dogma?

One thing is certain: Isaiah 53:11 makes perfect sense when one takes into account the biblical understanding of Jesus Christ, as a man:

"... For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many." (Romans 5:15 NASB)

 

What Does the Word "Christ" Mean?

The very designation

"Christ"

means

"anointed."

On this subject, speaking of Jesus, the Bible records:

"The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.' Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'" (Luke 4:17-21)

This saying of Christ marked the beginning of his ministry.

Here is the passage from the Old Testament:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor ..." (Isaiah 61:1)

When we see the word LORD in all caps, it indicates that the name YHWH, which is Yahweh without the vowels was originally in the text. Yahweh is the name of God from the Old Testament.

"By early post-biblical times, the name of Yahweh had ceased to be pronounced. In modern Judaism, it is replaced with the word Adonai, meaning Lord, and is understood to be God's proper name and to denote his mercy. Many Christian Bibles follow the Jewish custom and replace it with 'the LORD.'" (Yahweh, Wikipedia)

When Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1, he was proclaiming that God was anointing him.

 

Another Description Of Christ's Ministry:

"You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:36-38)

 

Different Religious Mindsets:

Jesus Christ's ministry was to,

"... the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24)

Christianity began as a strictly Jewish phenomenon, with the Old Testament law, which had been entrusted solely to the Jewish peoples, pointing to, and then being fulfilled in Christ. Non-Jewish nations began to hear about the gospel only after Peter had a vision in which he realized the gospel was now available to the Gentiles.

Early Jewish believers understood that Christ fulfilled the role of their long awaited Messiah. Non-Jewish people had no such heritage. So, there was a vast difference between how Christianity developed throughout Israel in the First Century and how Christianity developed throughout Rome during the Fourth Century. Instead of understanding Christianity as a fulfillment to Old Testament law, as the Jews did, Romans viewed Christianity as a refinement to their established pagan religion.

 

Rome Makes Christianity The Official Religion:

In 391 A.D., Christianity became the official religion of Rome; shortly after that,

■  The title pontifex maximus, which was originally held by the chief priest over Rome’s pagan cults, was assigned to the current Pope.

■  The temple of the Greek goddess Artemis, known in Rome as Diana, was rededicated to Mary.

and,

■  The Roman fast of Lent, (giving up certain foods or activities for 40 days), which started out as a pagan tradition of weeping and mourning for the deity Tammuz, was given Christian meaning.

 

Roman Authority & Control:

In the Fourth Century, when Constantine took the throne, Emperors in Rome were commonly thought to be incarnate gods. At the very least, they were thought of as having been given divine power to rule. This divine authority was eventually transferred to the Roman Pope, the supposed Vicar of Christ, who is regarded as Jesus Christ's earthly representative.  

Under Roman rule, during The Dark Ages, the Roman Church exercised strict control over what people living within Rome's jurisdiction could profess.

Today, through the observance of ancient Roman creeds, the Roman Church continues to impact what much of Christianity believes. In this study we compare the Athanasian Creed, as well as modern Trinitarian statements of faith with scripture. Then, as we filter out Roman tradition, a biblical perspective of the real Jesus soon emerges:

 

Was Today's Supposed Orthodox View of God Originally Born in Rome?

The Roman emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea for political reasons, because Christians in Rome were divided on theological issues; and, he wanted the controversy to settle down. The meeting consisted of fiercely heated debates; it lasted almost two months.

Constantine stated:

"... receive with gladness the heavenly gift and the plainly divine command; for all that is transacted in the holy councils of the bishops is to be referred to [as] the Divine will." (Schaff and Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 48)

 

Council of Nicaea, 325 A.D.:

"The Council was opened by Constantine with the greatest solemnity. The emperor waited until all the bishops had taken their seats before making his entry. He was clad in gold and covered with precious stones in the fashion of an Oriental sovereign. A chair of gold had been made ready for him, and when he had taken his place the bishops seated themselves. After he had been addressed in a hurried allocution, the emperor made an address in Latin, expressing his will that religious peace should be re-established." (Nicea, The New Catholic Encyclopedia)

Once the creed was written, Emperor Constantine signed it. In addition to banishing Arius, bishop of Alexander, who was teaching a non-orthodox view of God, the Council also banished two other bishops who refused to sign the creed.

  

Original Nicene Creed, 325 A.D.:

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father
Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
By whom all things were made;
Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;
He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
And in the Holy Ghost."

The original Nicene Creed did not contain the words,

■  "Trinity"

■  "persons"

■  "coequal"

 or

■  "coeternal." (see Trinitarian Terms)

Historians maintain that the Trinity doctrine was still in its infancy in 325 A.D.:

"The simplest outline of the doctrine was formulated in the 4th century..." (Trinity, doctrine of, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3)

 

The Emerging Catholic Church:

Emperor Constantine was the son of the Roman officer Constantius. Constantius raised Constantine in the upper class of society. Intellectuals from the schools of higher learning where Constantine was educated regarded Christianity as a crude religion, in language, status, and outward appearance. Constantine made Christianity fashionable to the higher classes. He took the title of pontifex maximus, standing as chief priest over the pagan cults. He then brought pagan priests into the Church, giving them high administrative offices; soon afterwards, Christianity had all the splendor of Rome's previous religions:

"... Rome's original religious hierarchy and many aspects of its ritual influenced Christian forms, and many pre-Christian beliefs and practices survived in Christian festivals and local traditions." (Wikipedia, Religion in ancient Rome — 2/28/2016)

 

Rome Makes Christianity The State Religion:

In 391 A.D., Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman state. Eventually, every man, woman, and child, living within Rome's jurisdiction was forced to convert to the Roman Church. This forced conversion brought even the most diehard pagans into the Church.

In 431 A.D., during the Third Ecumenical Council, the title,

 "Mother of God"

was formally bestowed upon Mary, at

"The Church of Mary" (link)

where the meeting was held.

"The competing view, advocated by Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople, was that Mary should be called Christotokos, meaning 'Birth-giver of Christ,' to restrict her role to the mother of Christ's humanity only and not his divine nature." (First Council of Ephesus, Wikipedia)

Nestorius’ view was rejected and labeled as heresy. Then, Nestorius was removed from his position in the Church and his teachings were banished.

Clearly, the Roman Church Fathers were unwavering in their faith that Mary had something to do with Jesus Christ's

"... divine nature ...;"

yet, would the Apostle Paul, or any of Christ's original apostles, agree with what the Third Ecumenical Council stated?

And, if not, what might this imply:

It might imply the Church Fathers were fathering another church?

 

Did Mary Replace Diana?

"From the earliest ages ... the Catholic Church ... has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven." (Ad Caeli Reginam, His Holiness Pope Pius XII Encyclical on Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary Promulgated October 11, 1954, NewAdvent.org) 

Before Mary, the Roman Goddess Diana was known as,

 "Queen of Heaven." (see documentation)

Another thing to consider: From the Book of Acts, which records what Christ’s Apostles said and did, all the way through, to the end of the Bible, Mary’s name is mentioned once:

"They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." (Acts 1:14)

Contrast this with:

"Overall, there are significantly more titles, feasts and venerative Marian practices among Roman Catholics than any other Christian traditions." (Encyclopedia of Catholicism by Frank K. Flinn, J. Gordon Melton, p.p. 443–444)

Catholic scholars admit:

"Towards the end of the fourth century, the name Mary becomes rather frequent among Christians…" (Catholic Encyclopedia, The Blessed Virgin Mary, newadvent.org)

Therefore, from the start of the New Testament Church in Jerusalem, about 30 A.D., throughout the next two centuries, the name Mary was not in frequent use among Christians. Then, about the time Christianity becomes Rome's official religion, the name Mary becomes used frequently.

Obviously, when Rome got control of Christianity, the gospel of Christ changed:

Mary, was given a prominent role in Christian worship, with Dania's shrine rededicated to her, churches named after her, feasts and festivals held in her honor; and, extra-biblical traditions attributed to her. 

Example:

The Roman Church's tradition that Mary was caught up to heaven bodily is not found in scripture:

"The earliest known literary reference to the Assumption is found in the [sixth century] Greek work De Obitu S. Dominae.  Catholic faith, however, has always derived our knowledge of the mystery from Apostolic Tradition." (The Feast of the Assumption, Catholic Encyclopedia, newadvent.org / Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 6)

If pagan thinking, and/or, tradition influenced the Roman Church's view of Mary, could such thinking have also influenced the Church's view of who Jesus is?

 

The Athanasian Creed:

Origin: The most likely time frame is in the late fifth or early sixth century AD – at least 100 years after Athanasius. (Wikipedia, Athanasian Creed — 2/28/2016)

"Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding ..." (see entire creed)

 

When the Athanasian Creed was drafted as dogma, requirements were added to the Christian faith which go beyond what can be found in scripture. Example: Nowhere in the Bible is it demanded that,

"we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance."

To stipulate that those who fail to do so,

"cannot be saved"

is without a doubt an extra-biblical teaching.

 

The Doctrine Of The Trinity:

Compare,

"... the only true God ..." (John 17:3 NASB)

of the Bible, with descriptions of the Trinity doctrine as spelled out below:

"In Trinitarian doctrine, God exists as three persons or hypostases, but is one being, having a single divine nature. The members of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will. As stated in the Athanasian Creed, the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated, and all three are eternal without beginning. 'The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit' are not names for different parts of God, but one name for God because three persons exist in God as one entity. They cannot be separate from one another. Each person is understood as having the identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures." (Trinity Wikipedia — 2/28/2016)

 

A Better Way To Describe God?

Some Christian Apologists have drafted newer versions of Trinitarian dogma to make up for what they consider to be problems with the earlier Roman creeds; here is an example:

"Economic or relational subordination is simply a term to describe the relationship that exists among God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Essentially, economic subordination within the Trinity refers to what God does while ontological subordination refers to who God is. ... Correctly understanding subordination in the Trinity helps us avoid several false teachings about the nature of God. Having a right view of God is important so that we do not manufacture a god in our own image." (How can there be subordination in the Trinity?, got Questions.org)

Yet, is this newer statement of faith really a better way to describe God?

The Bible admonishes us to establish our faith,

"... on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone." (Ephesians 2:20 NASB)

However, the Apostles had never heard of the word Trinity during their lifetimes:

"Speaking of Trinitarianism in the ante-Nicene period is somewhat anachronistic, since the word Trinity (Lat. trinitas) was first coined by the Latin father Tertullian in the 2nd century, and the Trinitarian doctrine was not solidified as dogma until the early 4th century." (Development of Trinitarian theology – Theopedia on-line)

And, neither the word Trinity nor any of the 66 terms used to describe the doctrine can be found in the Bible. (see documentation)

 

Two Persons Of God Who Know Too Little:

Here is another example of problems harmonizing Trinitarian dogma with scripture:       

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." (Matthew 24:36 NASB)

Obviously, any supposed person of God, or in this case, persons:

"God the Son"

and,

"God the Holy Spirit,"

 who do not know what

"the Father"

knows, cannot be co-equal with Him!

This is a real problem for Trinitarians: Because not only is

"God the Son"

lacking in information which the Father has,

"God the Holy Spirit"

is also lacking in information which the Father alone possesses!

Doesn't only make sense that any God or person of God who does not know

"... the end from the beginning ..." (Isaiah 46:10)

is not the God described in scripture.

 

Jesus Christ Was Sent From God:

There are many verses in scripture which speak of Jesus Christ being sent from God. Many people believe that for Jesus to be sent from God, it has to mean that he was in heaven before he was sent!

Yet, is this way of thinking based on scripture? The following short section will make the answer to this question as clear as water:

In the Gospel of John it is written:

"There came a man sent from God, whose name was John." (John 1:16 NASB)

That Bible verse is speaking about John the Baptist. Obviously, John the Baptist was not in heaven before he was:

"sent from God."

Yet, the same exact words used to describe John being sent were also used to describe Jesus being sent.

On this subject, John the Baptist is quoted in the Gospel of John, saying:

"'... He [God] who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'" (John 1:33 NASB)

Also: Jesus speaking about God sending himself, said:

"As You [Holy Father] sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." (John 17:18 NASB)

And, again:

"So Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.'" (John 20:21 NASB)

Those verses explain that each and every one of us has the potential of being sent,

"as the Father has sent [Jesus]."

 

What Jesus Did — The Purpose of Christ:

The scriptures record:

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5 NASB)

Several truths are brought out in Galatians 4:4-5:

      1. Jesus was born of a woman,

      2. Jesus was born under the Law,

     3. so that He might redeem those who were under the Law.

The

"He"  

in Galatians 4:5 is not merely speaking of Christ's body, the

"He"

is in reference to Jesus Christ, as a person.

On this subject in the book of Isaiah it is written:

"But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death," (Isaiah 53:10-12 NASB)

When God declares,

"... I will allot Him a portion with the great,"

God is speaking about the person of Jesus Christ. 

 

Jesus Christ / the Last Adam:

It was Jesus Christ

"Himself" (Isaiah 53:12 NASB)

who made the decision to remain obedient to God, unlike Adam.

"Although He [Jesus] was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8 NASB)

Like Christ, Adam's father was God. Like Christ, Adam was called

"... the son of God." (Luke 3:38 NASB)

The Bible calls Adam,

"... a type of Him who was to come." (Roman's 5:14 NASB)

The

"Him"

in Romans 5:14 is a reference to Christ.

Jesus did what Adam failed to do, he remained obedient to God.

Now, if Jesus Christ were not an actual human being like Adam, then Adam would not have been

"... a type ..."

of Christ.

The word

"... type ..."

 meaning:

"a category of people or things having common characteristics." (Oxford Dictionary, Oxford University Press)

Note: Any understanding of Jesus Christ which does not allow him the possibility of disobeying God would place Christ in a category of people unlike Adam:

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin." (Hebrews 4:15)

 

Jesus Christ / Son of God:

While there are several verses in the Bible proclaiming that Jesus is,

"... the Son of God,"

in Luke's Gospel, the angel Gabriel explains to Mary why Jesus is to be called that:

"... 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child [Jesus] shall be called the Son of God.'" (Luke 1:35 NASB)

 

Faithful Followers Of Christ Will Also Be Called Sons Of God:

■  "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 NASB)

■  "for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." (Luke 20:36 NASB)

■  "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:14 NASB)

■  "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God." (Romans 8:19 NASB)

■  "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26 NASB)

 

The Father Manifested / Manifests Himself, In and Through, His Christ:

■  "... Jesus said to them, 'I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?'" (John 10:32)  

■  "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does."(John 10:37) 

■  "But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." (John 10:38)

■  "For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it." (John 12:49)

■  "I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." (John 12:50) 

■  "Jesus gave them this answer: 'I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.'" (John 5:19)

■  "By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me." (John 5:30)

■  "Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." (John 14:10 NIV)

■  "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the (His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power)." (John 14:10 Amplified Version)

■  "Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.' Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!'" (John 20:27-28 NASB)

■  "It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor)." (2 Corithians 5:19 Amplified Version)

■  "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." (Colossians 2:9)

 

Jesus Receives Authority / Exaltation / Possessions From God:

■  "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'" (Matthew 28:18 NASB)

■  "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth." (Philippians 2:9-10 NASB)

■  "In a loud voice they sang: 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!'" (Revelation 5:12)

■  "Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:12)

 

Sound Teaching Skills:

While researching doctrine, a student should look up every verse pertaining to the subject in question. Some Scriptures at first glance may appear to run contrary to the subject's general theme. Prudent Bible teachers do not use those Scriptures to establish doctrine; they are initially set aside. They first use easier-to-understand proof texts to build a working concept; then after much study, they look into the harder-to-understand verses and bring them into harmony with the main body of evidence. Using this systematic approach in our study, the following harder-to-understand Bible passages have been set aside until now: Now is the time to bring those passages into harmony with the general tenor of Scripture.

 

Hard To Understand Scriptures:

The Apostle Peter, speaking about Paul's epistles said:

"He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:16 NASB)

The point being, some scripture verses are,

"... hard to understand ..."

Also, Peter spoke of people distorting,

"... the other Scriptures ..."

Therefore, in the days of the Apostles, it wasn't just Paul's words which were being misinterpreted.

Is it possible that Peter could say the same thing about how people are interpreting the Scriptures today?

Here is an example of a hard to understand section from Scripture which people often read Trinitarian concepts into:

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:5-11 NASB)

Envision Jesus growing up, as the Scriptures record:

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52)

 Then, when Christ turns 30, he fully steps into his position as God's anointed; with,

"... many good works from the Father ..." (John 10:32)

being accomplished through his hands. 

One thing is certain: After finding himself,

"... in the form of God," (Philippians 2:6)

Jesus Christ took the right attitude. 

That's what this passage in Philippians 2 is addressing: The attitude Jesus Christ took, how he humbled himself; and, how we should follow his example by taking the same attitude. Any interpretation of Philippians 2 which takes the focus of off Christ's attitude and presents circumstances which we cannot follow should be considered suspect.

The words:

"... but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant ..."

does not demand a change in Jesus Christ's nature; again, his attitude could still be the focus.

Also: The words,

"Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death ..."

while difficult for many to understand, could again be speaking of Christ's attitude.

Envision, on any given day, when Jesus was performing great miracles, such as healing the sick, feeding the 5,000, walking on water, raising the dead, etc.

Then picture Jesus marveling over his prophetic ministry:

"Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, 'A great prophet has arisen among us!' and, 'God has visited His people.'" Luke 7:16 NASB

That must have been a humbling experience for Jesus Christ; again: The main focus of Phillipians 2:5-11 is about the attitude Jesus took; and, how we should have the same attitude. To read into Phillipians 2:5-11 teachings of Christ's supposed pre-incarnate nature, which is unlike anything we can associate with, is no doubt a departure from the general context, and quite possibly the actual meaning of the passage.  

 

Let's Consider Who The "Him" Is, In The Text:

Whom did God exalt?

Was the "Him" in Phillipians 2:9

"God?"

 Or,

 "God the Son"

from Trinitarian dogma?

Or, could

"Him"

be a reference to the human soul of,

"... the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5)

Because we are instructed to,

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus," (Philippians 2:5)

the Scriptures may be indicating that we are dealing with more than a body with God or a person of God inside; but rather, a man like us with a real human soul.

 

For example, in the Old Testament it is written:

"... He [the LORD] said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.'" (Psalms 2:7-8 NASB)

That passage speaks of a day when Jesus Christ receives an inheritance from God. It strongly suggests that a person other than,

"God the Son,"

who is one of the supposed

"Co-equal persons"

of God from Trinitarian dogma, receives a reward from God for being a faithful son. Because, it doesn't make any sense that one supposed,

"Co-equal person"

of God, would receive anything from another supposed,

"Co-equal person"

of God?

And, if the Trinity's

"God the Son"

ended up with exactly what he had before he became a man; then, the scriptures about him receiving an

"... inheritance ..."

 are meaningless.

 

Does Matthew 28:19 Establish The Trinity?

Let's consider the passage in context:

"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'

'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,'

'teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20 NASB)

Matthew 28:18 speaks of Jesus receiving authority; Jesus is the

"Me"

in the passage.

In the very next verse (v. 19), Christ tells his Apostles to

"make disciples of all the nations,"

also,

"the name"

is mentioned.

Is the name in question,

"... the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ...",

as understood in the light of Trinitarian dogma:

■  "'The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit' are not names for different parts of God, but one name for God because three persons exist in God as one entity. They cannot be separate from one another. Each person is understood as having the identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures." (Trinity, Wikipedia — 2/13/2016)

and,

■  "The word is in the singular, the 'name,' not names. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the final name of the one true God." (Scofield Reference Notes, 1917 Edition)

Or, is it possible that

"the name"

in question, is a reference to

"Jesus"?

Not just his authority, but Christ's actual name?

One thing is certain: In the next verse (v. 20), the word

"I"

is spelled out twice; and, it is referring to Jesus Christ.

Another thing to consider: The early church called on the name of the Lord Jesus:

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." (Colossians 3:17 NASB)

 

In My Name:

Eusebius of Caesarea, known as the Father of Church history, had access to writings which are now lost; one such manuscript was,

"... a copy of the original Aramaic version of the Gospel of Matthew."  (Eusebius, Wikipedia)

In Eusebius' landmark work entitled Ecclesiastical History, he quotes from an early Gospel of Matthew:

"Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name." (Matthew 28:19)

That quote, along with internal evidence from scripture (Luke 24:47 & the Book of Acts) which we will soon look into, cast a shadow of doubt on whether the words,

 " ... baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," (Matthew 28:19)

were ever spoken by Jesus?

Also: Because Matthew 28:18 speaks of Jesus receiving authority, the structure of Matthew 28:18-20 makes more sense with the content provided by Eusebius:

"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'

[Therefore] 'Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name,'

'teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20)

Earlier Jesus had promised: 

"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18:20 NASB)

And: Jesus spoke of a day to come when his followers would ask for things in his name:

"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full." (John 16:24 NASB)

The last two quotes go hand in hand with the version of Matthew 28:19 quoted by Eusebius, yet, they do not correspond with the orthodox version. Why is that? Could it be that the orthodox version of Matthew 28:19 is of spurious content?

 

In My Name Continued:

For those of us who were unaware that the Trinitarian baptismal formula found in Matthew 28:19 is disputed by some scholars, consider the following quote from Wikipedia:

"In the third section Jesus appears to the disciples in Galilee and issues the Great Commission ending with a trinitarian formula that is much disputed by modern scholars." (Wikipedia, Matthew 28 — 2/13/2016)

The work from Eusebius of Caesarea, entitled Ecclesiastical History, is only one reason why the Trinitarian formula is disputed:

"For the Jews after the ascension of our Saviour, in addition to their crime against him, had been devising as many plots as they could against his apostles. First Stephen was stoned to death by them, and after him James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of John, was beheaded, and finally James, the first that had obtained the episcopal seat in Jerusalem after the ascension of our Saviour, died in the manner already described. But the rest of the apostles, who had been incessantly plotted against with a view to their destruction, and had been driven out of the land of Judea, went unto all nations to preach the Gospel, relying upon the power of Christ, who had said to them, 'Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name.'" (Ecclesiastical History, Book III, 5, ii)

 

People Using Christ's Name In The Book of Acts:

■  "Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" (Acts 2:38 NASB)

■  "But Peter said, 'I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!'" (Acts 3:6 NASB)

■  "'And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.'" (Acts 3:16 NASB)

■  "let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead— by this name this man stands here before you in good health." (Acts 4:10 NASB)

■  "And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus." (Acts 4:18 NASB)

■  "while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:30 NASB)

■  "They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them." (Acts 5:40 NASB)

■  "But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike." (Acts 8:12 NASB)

■  "And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ ..." (Acts 10:48 NASB)

■  "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 19:5 NASB)

■  "... and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified." (Acts 19:17 NASB)

 

Also, speaking of Jesus Christ's name, in the Gospels it is written:

■  "In his name the nations will put their hope." (Matthew 12:21)

■  "and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47)

■  "... these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)

 

Jesus Christ Spoke In Parables:

Let’s consider the following saying of Jesus to understand what he meant by it:

"Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:56-58)

Abraham saw

"... [Christ's] day"

through the sacrificial act he and his son participated in. If those Jews had spiritual enlightenment, they may have understood what Christ was saying.

Having misunderstood the symbolism Jesus alluded to, these men asked Jesus if he had seen Abraham. When Jesus answered,

 "before Abraham was, I am"

Christ was proclaiming divinity.

"I Am"

is a title that shows an attribute of God's nature. It is a Hebrew name for the God of Abraham. Jesus was speaking as God's Christ. Because of that saying, in the very next verse it is recorded that those men took up rocks to stone Jesus to death.

The bible explains:

"... He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples." (Mark 4:34 NASB)

Jesus used a parable that went right over the heads of those religionists. It was not the man who was preexistent. The Spirit of the Almighty God who is living in Jesus is everlasting! When we run across a passage in scripture where Christ is speaking, let's ask ourselves, is Jesus speaking as God or man. Is his message literal or figurative?

 

The Figurative Meaning Of John 17:5

Some of us may be wondering what Jesus meant with the saying:

"Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was." (John 17:5 NASB)

Notice that the word glory is spelled out in the text, then, further down during the same verbal discourse Jesus uses the word glory again: 

"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one." (John 17:22 NASB)

This glory is also mentioned in John Chapter 1.

The question is: When Jesus said,

"... the glory which I had with You ..." (John 17:5 NASB)

could he have been speaking figuratively as the WORD from John 1?

One thing is certain: Much of Christianity considers the text in question as proof for Trinitarian dogma, maintaining that here Christ is pictured in a pre-incarnate state as,

"God the Son."

Yet, the words,

"... the glory which I had with You ..." (John 17:5 NASB)

could have another meaning entirely. 

Perhaps John 17:5 is about Jesus Christ speaking of himself symbolically pictured as the personification of God's original glorious plan?

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory ..." (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB)

 

John Chapter 1— The Logos:

The position that the WORD or LOGOS in John 1:1 created the Universe while existing alongside the Father in a pre-incarnate state is called Logos Christology in the textbooks. Many people who maintain this doctrine call themselves Trinitarians.  They also maintain that, at the time of the virgin birth, this Word became incarnate in the man Jesus.  Add to this, additional Trinitarian convictions, and we have this "WORD" subsisting as the coequal and coeternal,

 "God the Son."

This perception of the nature of Jesus is based on a misinterpretation of the first chapter in the Gospel of John. It is a theory that is formed easily, and at first glance appears to be backed up by Scripture. This is how the theory is formed: Jesus is seen in the book of Revelation sitting on a white horse: 

"And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:13).

From here, we go to John's Gospel and make our connection:

 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1-3).

Because Jesus is called the WORD in Scripture, many Christians in their minds, simply replace the word "WORD" in the gospel of John with the name Jesus. Once this is done the text reveals that Jesus was with God in the beginning creating all things. But this view is based on reverse chronology and a lack of comprehension concerning the concept God is representing in John.

Let us read the text again completely, with a fresh approach. The word "Logos" is the Greek expression of the word "word" in the text. This word "Logos" literally means thought or plan. It would make sense to substitute the word plan for "word" to get an idea of what this passage is depicting.

Verse 1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;" verse 2, "The same was in the beginning with God;"

verse 3, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made;"

verse 14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

All things were made "by him" is a misnomer; in him or through him is a better rendition. John 1 is not saying that the "Logos" is a pre-incarnate Christ. What is being said is that God had a blueprint for creation. God's original plan was fulfilled in Christ. The image that Christ attained was the exact set of specifications the Creator had designated for His glory in this Creation. In John 1, where it reads,

 "and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" 1:1,

the verse is indicating that the nature of God, even his image and likeness, will be revealed in God's finished creation. That is just what we see happen in this creation as we are,

"... transformed into the same image ..." (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB)

This "image" was in the plan from the beginning, the image of Christ. And Christ is the express image of God. Therefore, in John where it reads:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" 1:14

the text is referring to Christ, as the express mirror image of the Father, Christ is also the exact representation of the original plan.

What many fail to see in verse 14 is that the plan became flesh. That happened either when, or sometime after, the child Jesus was conceived. To reverse this series of events violates the whole study. It would be like a great designer drafting a blueprint, then having a carpenter fashion the structure to the exact glory of the original plan. Then someone, later in history and completely unaware of the process, speculates that the structure itself was with the designer in the beginning.

 

Jesus Is The Firstborn Among Many Brethren:

"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
...
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:14-29 NASB)

 

Christ Is Our Redeemer:

Speaking of Jesus in the Bible's Book of Revelation it is written:

"... for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation." (Revelation 5:9 NASB)

Jesus Christ died on the cross for a reason: So he could redeem every man, woman, and child, who puts their faith in him.

 

The following article explains Jesus Christ's role in our salvation and how we can enter in:

■  Through The Door and Into His Image

 

Other related articles:

■  The Rise of Catholicism  < (history of Rome, before and during the time Christianity became Rome's official religion)

■  Then Along Comes Mary  < (eye-opening look into the veneration of Mary, as the Mother of God & Queen of Heaven)

■  Perspective On Trinitarian Terms  < (a study which clearly shows that the Trinity was not taught by the early Church)

 

Home Page   Christian Articles