Are both our faith and works needed for salvation?

Are both our “faith and works” needed for Salvation?

It is a long-standing Christian tenet that a person has to have faith and do good works, i.e. follow the Ten Commandments, Aseret ha-Dibrot, Torah ( Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21). As to whether our obedience to the Law is a requirement to be saved, not just faith, is where teachings differ even among those in traditional Christianity. But not to traditional Judaism and Islam that hold “our works” to be essential. What is the truth? What exactly is the proper role of “our faith and works” to salvation? Do our “works” really lead to salvation, or what some believe that having “works” is proof that one is “saved”? Are our good works the “result of salvation”? Notice the reward for our obedience or “works”/deeds:eternal life
  

Rom. 2:6-9 ” Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;”
The preceding verses clearly support the principle that the reward for “patient continuance” in”our works” is “immortality, eternal life”; whereas, the consequence of sin is death. Why no mention of reward for our faith? Is this really the contextual truth? Eternal life being the result of having “works”, the righteousness of obedience(Rom. 6:16), what then is the end-result of having faith? What then, is in it for “our faith”? 

Follow God’s commandments:
The Law is the Ten Commandments given to Moses in 2 tablets of stone. This defined sin as a violation of that Law as in I John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
From Genesis, disobedience (sin) to the Law even before it was given in Mt. Sinai, nevertheless was met with punishment of eternal death. This is the final death (2nd death) from which there is no resurrection; hopeless, were it not for the set plan of Passover Lamb “slain from the foundation”, as a substitute for us, as in:
Rev. 13:8 “…..the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (NIV)
Contrariwise, a natural death (1st death) is a consequence of being mortal, and as such can die. If Adam/Eve did not sin, they would still die the natural 1st death as they were mortals. Having been created, as such, humans already have been destined to die and afterwards the judgment at resurrection, as in:
Heb. 9:27″It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

On the other hand, eternal death, the 2nd death is the consequence of Adam’s sin. It even includes any human being, peri-Adamic, i.e., any human before, during or after Adam’s life on earth. This principle is based on all sin imputed to one man (Adam), after the Law was given at Mt Sinai, so death of one man, i.e. man-Jesus’ can also be imputed to and counted as our death, (and that of humanity) as in: 
Rom. 5:12-15 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
Romans 5:17″For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:21 “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.”

The Old Testament (Tanach) clearly confirms that eternal death (2nd death) is a consequence of sin:
Gen. 2:17″but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Referring to the 2nd and eternal death. Note that Adam and Eve did not actually die after they sinned but was driven out of the garden of Eden, lived and had offspring and died a natural death).

Gen. 3:3″but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.”

Ps. 34:21″Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.”

Ezek. 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him”

The New Testament also confirms that eternal death (2nd) is the punishment for sin:
Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
James 1:15 “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

Romans 6:16″Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”
Romans 7:5″For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”
Romans 7:11″for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me”

The take-home message from the preceding verses clearly exacts eternal death for those who do not follow the Ten Commandments, and continue living in sin, following the “flesh”. 

Role of Faith and “works” in defining righteousness ?

Following the Law is commanded for all, otherwise the punishment is eternal (2nd) death. Righteousness that comes from following the Law has its reward, but not our justification or reconciliation with the Father for Adam’s sin, which comes from faith as in:
Gal. 2:16 “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”
It is “our faith in Christ Jesus” that justified and reconciled us to the Father. It is the “righteousness of faith, not the righteousness of works”. Our own righteousness that comes with following the Law does not compute, as in:
Isa 64:6“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”.
Rom 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one”.
Whatever “goodness” we have is not good enough for reconciliation with the Father. Even Job learned that his own righteousness, following the law on his own, is not what the Father is calling for. Read the whole Book of Job which shows that God decides what is required, even when others consider Job “righteous and an upright man”; God punishes even the righteous as a type for what would happen to man-Jesus. The narrative in Genesis about being “like God” is not going to come to fruition by the action or “works” of Adam/Eve themselves eating the “fruit”, and for that matter, by any man, except by the man-Jesus himself. Nothing can any man do for justification, except to have faith. Rather, death as a consequence of sin, has to be paid for. It took the death of man-Jesus, as a Passover Lamb, to be substituted and imputed for the death of humanity. Jesus’ death, which was his “works” (including following the Law) did not gain “righteousness” for reconciliation of mankind. Rather, it was Jesus’ “righteousness of faith” in the Father, trusting that his death will account for justification and reconciling us back to Father and against the eternal death of humanity . Faith was counted by the Father, in love, as righteousness worthy of reconciliation/justification. As Paul said, in 

Rom. 5:6-10 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Righteousness as accepted by God for reconciliation is the “righteousness of faith”, so no one can boast, not the “righteousness of works”, even that of man-Jesus. Having been justified, we then shall (future) be saved. We need to be justified first, and be reconciled with the Father, before salvation comes in the future.

Notice that it was not just anybody’s faith; rather it is the faith of Jesus, to initiate this process, as in 

Rom 3:22-23″Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”

Eph. 2:8-10 ” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Because of the Father’s love and by his grace, that he counted faith for righteousness; the “righteousness of faith” that was for reconciliation. 

How did we actually get saved
?

As Rom. 5:10 states, Jesus’ death, as proof or aftermath of his faith in the Father that what was promised will come into effect, reconciled us to the Father and ends there. But this “reconciliation/justification” was not based on that “works of Jesus”. It was not because of the “righteousness of works” so “no one can boast”. Rather, it was the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith” that the Father will count his death as full payment for the eternal death of mankind, that reconciled us. That said, while Jesus’ faith was the basis for “reconciliation/justification” that did not actually save us. Instead, we are “saved by his life”. Meaning, Jesus’ faith that the Father would resurrect him back to life for us to be saved.; again “faith-based”, not “works-based”.

What then in his resurrection or his life that empowered us to be saved? Consider what Jesus said before he died in John 16:7, that he has to go the Father in heaven to receive the Holy Spirit for us:

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

Jesus had to be resurrected to receive this promised “power” and “gift” of the Holy Spirit, based again on Jesus’ faith and trust in the Father. Jesus acknowledged this receipt of the HS to be crucial, for without which, salvation will not happen even in his life. And with that gift and promise of the Holy Spirit in us, what then? John 1:12 states that this is the power that will help us becomes “sons of God”, 

John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

Note that without the Holy Spirit in us, we will not become “sons of God” And having such, gives us “immortal/spirit bodies” at resurrection, which is the essence of “salvation” from eternal death. This HS is a gift based on the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith”, and not his “works”. And, this was an unwritten covenant between the Father and YHVH/Jesus before any action of Jesus materialized, before the foundation of the world. Hence, trust in the Father that he will fulfill all he promised to YHVH/Jesus and righteousness that comes from “faith instead of works”. Faith or substance/evidence because YHVH/Jesus was with God the Father (Compare Jn. 1:1 and Heb. 11:1 ).

Holy Spirit prophesied to come in Old and New Testaments

Ezek. 32:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow”
Ezekiel. 39:29 “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.” 

Joel 2:28-29″And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Compare with Ac.2:14-21)

Isa. 32:15-17 “till the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”

Isa.44:3-5 “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel”

Zech. 12:10 “And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem”

Matt. 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Jn. 1:33 “And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

Jn. 7:37-39 “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

Jn 14:16-17, 26 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bein you.But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Jn. 15:26-27“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”

Jn. 16:13 (AMP).“But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the Truth. For He will not speak His own message ; but He will tell whatever He hears , and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come ”   

Mk. 1:7-8 “And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Lk. 3:16 “John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

 Lk 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Lk 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Ac 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  

 Ac 1:5 “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Instead of the Ten Commandments written in our “stone heart”, the Holy Spirit was prophesied to come into us and write them in the “fleshly tables” of our heart, and empower us to follow. 


Fulfillment of the Promise
:

Ac 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Ac.2:32-33″God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 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.”

 Ac 2:38-39 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Rom. 8:11-13 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Rom. 8:14-17 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Eph.3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”
Clearly, the preceding verses confirmed that Jesus received this HS from the Father and now has been poured to the apostles starting the day of Pentecost and to many during that time and still being given into us. This will bring life and strength to our mortal bodies for so long as we allowed ourselves to be led by and to walk with the HS. With it, we are adopted to “Sonship”, to be “born” as “sons of God” at resurrection.

Does the presence of the Holy Spirit of power in us, take away our freedom of choice?



Devoid of the Holy Spirit, Adam & Eve had the freedom of choice and they chose wrongly; a bane to whole humanity. Without the Holy Spirit on the other hand, Abraham, also with the freedom to choose, followed God, on faith that his promises to him will be fulfilled. Clearly, without the Holy Spirit of power, one can choose rightly or wrongly. Nonetheless, no matter how good we are, still we are as “filthy rags”(Isa. 64:6).
However, some teachers have it that the Holy Spirit in us is so powerful that we have no “freedom of choice” and in a way has to follow it. Many instances of “forcible compliance” have been mentioned, for those prior to the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit of power was given. As a classic example, notable among them of God’s prevailing power no matter what, was the story of Jonah. The narrative goes that God commanded him to go and warn Nineveh of impending destruction in the hands of God. But, he was so stubborn that instead, he went the opposite way from Nineveh. He was then swallowed by a “big fish”. He was praying before he died in the belly of the fish. After 3 days and 3 nights, he was vomited in the shore of Nineveh, where he was resurrected to life. Fear, being the beginning of wisdom(Prov. 9:10), he then followed God’s command and warned the inhabitants of Nineveh of their impending doom. It can be argued that Jonah was being forced, and he was. Yet, even with that horrible experience, he could still say “No” to God. And there are and will be people in that category that will end up in the “lake of fire”. However, Jonah wised up and followed God this time around, as he should. 

The preceding example is ample enough to support the principle that even when forced and without the Holy Spirit of power in us, freedom of choice is maintained. Still, it begs the question: what if we have this Holy Spirit of power? Does it negate our freedom to choose? The narrative about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane proved otherwise. Fully imbued with the Holy Spirit, still he did not follow his own will. Instead, he “walked in the Spirit” and let the Father’s will “be done”, as in:

Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
This is what the Father wants and hopes that we will do, to be “one” with him as his way is “the way, the truth and the life”John 14:6) Our battle is spiritual (Eph. 6:12), to overcome the flesh using the power of the Holy Spirit in us. God desires a “mature and willing soldier”, not a robot. 

Summary:
The aftermath of faith is reconciliation or justification, nothing more. As crucial a step that is, it is just the beginning of the process of salvation. Having been reconciled, we then “shall be saved by his life”. Jesus had to be resurrected to receive the gift of the the Holy Spirit for us , as promised by the Father. The “righteousness of faith”, initiated by Jesus and becomes actionable by us, was the acceptable payment for Adam’s eternal death ( and the whole mankind’s) due to sin that the Father recognized, not the “righteousness of works”, so no man (including man-Jesus) can boast. Conversely, “righteousness of works” is the principle that will “render reward” i.e., future salvation, eternal life/immortality at resurrection, for those who continue to walk “in the Spirit”, those who “bear fruits of the Holy Spirit”. While actionable by us, these are works of the Spirit in us and in conjunction with our “spirit of man”, although strictly speaking not ours, per se. 
Salvation is attainment of immortality, eternal life ( Rom. 2:6-9). Jesus proved this with his own resurrection to immortality; he was changed from man-Jesus, in a twinkling of an eye after 3 days and 3 nights being dead in the tomb, into an immortal and glorious body. As Jesus received the Holy Spirit coming out of the water of the River Jordan and with this power that he followed perfectly, he became “one” with the Father. His works or obedience were the “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, and again, strictly speaking not his own, per se. After receiving the Holy Spirit for us from the Father at resurrection, he then at Pentecost gave his church this gift. The “elect” then used this power for sanctification by following the Law, now written, “not in tables of stone but in the fleshly tables of their heart”, to walk in the Spirit.
Our faith and works are needed indeed. But, how did we have faith and works? Paul stated in:

Rom. 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”

As humans we were created with ears to hear material things. But, it is God who opens our ears (Matt 16:17) for faith to come and for us to understand”spiritual truth”, a gift, for us to do “good works”. While these are our works, they actually are “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, given as a gift based on the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith and therefore by ” the grace of God”.

 

Yes, having “works” is proof, but not that one is already “saved” which is yet future at resurrection, nor good works the “result of salvation”. Rather, “good works” accepted by the Father are an indication or as a result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, the power that the “spirit of man” follows, to bring forth “fruits of the Holy Spirit”. 
Trust is evidence-based, i.e., faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Heb. 11:1). CreatorYHVH/Jesus was with the Father (John 1) from the very beginning and knew of his power and will deliver what he promised. He then trusted him with all that was promised him. Righteousness of man-Jesus’ faith imputed his death for the death of humanity, the “righteousness of faith” for reconciliation/justification of mankind. On the other hand, “righteousness of man-Jesus’ “works” result in his “immortality/eternal life”. With his life, he could then receive the promised Holy Spirit from the Father, to then be given to us; as in, we are “saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10). Similarly and on the same mechanism, righteousness of our faith imputed our eternal death to the death of man-Jesus for “reconciliation and justification”; righteousness of our “works” results in our “immortality/eternal life”. 

In essence, righteousness of faith brings about reconciliation or justification; whereas, righteousness of works/obedience leads to salvation, i.e., immortality/eternal life. Ultimately, all boil down to God’s love that brings about grace for our reconciliation and salvation. He established the plan for both goals. To paraphrase John 3:16, God so loved the world that he graced and gifted us with his only begotten Son to die as a Passover Lamb, substituted for our death so that we will be reconciled to him. And having done so, we still needed to be saved as promised to his Son. His death, as seminal it was, it was not the proximate cause of our salvation; rather,it reconciled or justified us to the Father. Jesus’ life post resurrection gave us the power to be “sons and daughters of God”, as in:

John 1:12 ““But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”
Original post: 3/30/17

BORN AGAIN?

Born Again?

Are you a “born-again Christian”? Many in today’s world, claim now to be so (1). But is this a tenable teaching? When, really, can one be “born again”?


A Must, to see the Kingdom of God

The critical significance of being “born again” cannot be overemphasized. Jesus himself alluded to this principle when Nicodemus approached him “at night”. Notice the narrative in John 3:1-8 (NIV):

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Jesus affirmatively without equivocation and emphatically, that the only way to see the kingdom of God, and by common parlance be saved, is to be “born again”. For anyone who was already born, it can be puzzling to be born again. And Nicodemus, a learned and member of the Jewish ruling Council, carried the same doubt. Continuing on:

How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

From the above narrative, one sees that Jesus acknowledged the difference between the 2 births as far as the original makeup and end-product, i.e., “flesh gives birth to flesh” but the “Spirit gives birth to spirit“.  It originates with flesh/matter and the finished product is flesh; and so does the spirit starts it and finished with spirit-product. There is a physical birth that manifests as flesh-composed and a spiritual birth that manifests as spirit-composed. 


Birthing is a Process

As a common knowledge, being born of water in a physical birth is a process. Biologically, it takes a process of fertilization of the ovum by the sperm (both matter) to develop into a zygote, then development into maturity for about 9 months in the womb of a mother before delivery as a full-term newborn flesh-baby, i.e., “flesh gives birth to flesh“. Similarly, and by deduction, being born of the Spirit is a process that follows the same stages, spirit to spirit, i.e., the “spirit of man” (psyche/mind, the spirit-component of man) has to be “fertilized” by the spirit of God, goes through the process of mind-development in the “womb of the church” through sanctification and guidance of the Holy Spirit of God, develop wisdom, bear fruits shown in action, before delivery into “full-term” immortal glorious-spirit body at resurrection; i.e., “spirit gives birth to spirit”. This spirit-birth is yet future as in:
For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God”(Rom. 8:19). (at the resurrection of the firstfruits.”



As physical development in the womb may not come to maturity and can “abort“, so can spiritual development in the church may not come to fruition (by not being overcomers) and although “written in the book of life” (Rev. 3:5; 17:8; 20:15; 22:19; Phil. 4:3) may not “bear fruits of the Holy Spirit” and miss out. 


Why the need for the Holy Spirit in us?

Man is weak as far as the “flesh” is concerned because this “flesh-body” is ephemeral and will die and decay as it was formed from matter, dust, ground, earthy and will go back thereto, as in Eccl. 12:7
and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
It did not come directly from God, unlike the “breath of life” (spirit of man) that made the body a “living being” (compare Gen. 2:7, Jer 18:1-6 and Rom.9:21). But this “spirit of man” gets all its influences from the physical senses and stores them in memory; it becomes a composite of all the flesh experiences.This “spirit of man” needs re-education through the guidance, direction and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, to be strong, be “one” with God, before a “glorious body” will be formed. Jesus alluded to the weakness of man’s flesh in:
Matthew 26:40-45 “And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? . See also Mk. 14:38-40


How will man be strengthened ?

Prophesy has been made to achieve this event of empowering man. Consider the following:
Jer. 18: 1-4 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. (Man sinned and became marred so God remade the clay to be better)
Isa. 29:16 “You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding “?” (we were made clay but marred and incomplete).
Isa. 64:8 “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (God is still working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit). 
Isa. 45:9 “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?”
Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary” (strength was future, but now is developing, as the Holy Spirit has been given)
Jeremiah 31:25 “For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes”

Rom. 9:20 “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” ( we were made flesh + “breath of life”).
The preceding verses proved that while man was made as such, God will re-visit him to be transformed and “be made again”.


Why and the Ultimate End?



The answer lies in Heb 2:6-18:
But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. 

But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.      

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.For in that he himself hath suffered “.
Essentially, man was created lower than angels, flesh-composed but with the “spirit of man” in him. Yet, he is the best of creation and destined to “reign or dominion over all” (Gen. 1:26). Even so, he is vulnerable to sickness and death(first). As Heb. 9:27 states:

it is appointed for man to die once and after that the resurrection“. 

Being matter/flesh-composed, Adam would die a natural death, “as appointed“, which is the 1st death. In general,  all flesh deteriorates, ages and dies. The consequence of sin of Adam in Genesis is death, eternal death or 2nd death, not natural death. Since Adam sinned and imputed to humanity, this resurrection  referred to for all is towards “damnation” or “eternal or second death” in “Gehenna fire” (John 5:29) unless this death has been paid for.  

This is why the Creator YHVH(Jesus) became human to suffer death by crucifixion (not a natural death) so that through his death and on his faith, he can “deliver humanity from the fear of death“. And this, by having his death, as a substitute (Passover-lamb) for mankind. This then reconciles humanity to the Father. With the resurrection of Jesus, he was then given the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (by the righteousness of faith of Jesus) to be subsequently given to us. The Holy Spirit in us then “sanctifies” those who follow instead of rejecting his will.

This prophecy that God will re-shape and strengthen man found the start of its general fulfillment for mankind on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit of God was sent. Read this event in Acts Chapters 1 & 2 when this power was given. The same power that dwells in the “spirit of man”, in the holiest of the temple which is in us, has been guiding, teaching, nurturing the “spiritual zygote” being developed in us during this “period of sanctification“. Remember that God does not dwell in a “temple made by hands” (Acts 7:48). The Holy Spirit is the power that is writing the Ten Commandments, “not in tables of stones but in the fleshly tables of our heart”(2 Cor. 3:3). Paul continued to affirm that this is the power that helps our weakness and strengthens us, as in:

Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;”




How and to whom this Holy Spirit was given?

For us to answer the question, one has to be clear about the effect of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Specifically, Jesus’ death is substitutionary for our “second/eternal death” that came about because of Adam’s sin at the garden of Eden. His death reconciles us to the Father. Again, his death is a payment for the consequence of Adam’s sin so that we will be reconciled to the Father. As necessary as that death is, his death did not finally save us. Rather, we are saved by “his life” (has to be resurrected from death to life) as in Rom. 5:10 ,

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” 



He needed to die first, be resurrected to life to go get this Holy Spirit from the Father, as in John 16:7:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you”


Summary:

To be “born again” is to manifest as a “glorious spirit-composed body” which can only happen at resurrection, not before and not now. Much like flesh-birth that the zygote has to develop before actual birth, spirit-birth is also a process that takes time to develop before it actually happens in a”twinkling of an eye” (I Cor. 15:52). Jesus’ death paid for the sin of humanity as a consequence of Adam’s sin. On the faith of Jesus, he was then resurrected by the Father to go to heaven and receive the promise of the Holy Spirit of power. Jesus then subsequently has been giving this power to those who believe, I.e., “the faithful”. Through a process of “sanctification” by the Holy Spirit of God, we then become “one” with the Father. Any “good works, decision or righteousness” that come from our “flesh” without the guidance of the Holy Spirit are as “filthy rags” and as “dung” to God (Isa. 64:6;Rom. 3:10; Phil. 3:8-9). While not on our own flesh , it still “our works” but due to the “gift of God” which is the power of the Holy Spirit. Even Job has to be “lectured” by God that while “perfect” on his own, that he was still dirty in the eyes of God. (Read the whole book of Job). 
Our righteousness is the “righteousness of our faith” that started with faith “of” Jesus for which he received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit then given to the faithful to bear “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, not fruits of our flesh. It has to be God’s fruits in us and not our fruits that come from flesh. One can deny or reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, because freedom of choice is key to the development of wisdom and to be “one” with the Father. Even Jesus with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has to correctly choose between “his” will and that of the Father’s (Matt. 26:39; Lu.22:42) to be “one” with Him. 

References:

1. History of born again:

http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Born-Again-Christians-Christianity-Evolution/2015/02/06/id/623238/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_again
http://www.giveshare.org/churchhistory/born%20again.htm
http://about-i-am.net/bornagain.html

Original post:March 12, 2017

INCARNATION, Questions and Controversies?

INCARNATION, Questions and Controversies?

This is a bedrock teaching of Christianity and provides an anchor to one’s belief. Without it, the whole foundation of this religion will crumble. It is no wonder that believers are passionate about it, being a starting point of the process of salvation. But, it is not without dissenters.


Did it happen?

In the 1st-3rd century, rejection of incarnation has been championed by Ebionites and Gnostics (1). The word itself is not found in the Holy Bible. What is known from the Tanach(Old Testament) and carried through New Testament times was the prophecy of and certainty by the prophet Isaiah, testified also by Luke that a human Messiah would come from God, as in:  
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord (Adonay/YHVH) himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”(God with us).
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”
 Luke 1:31-33 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”   
Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the cityof David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Micah 5:2 “But you, O BETHLEHEM Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah,Yet OUT OF YOU (Bethlehem) SHALL come forth to ME THE One to be RULER in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of OLD, from EVERLASTING.”    
Notice that Isa. 7:14 suggests that he himself will give a sign or re-translating the original Greek can be construed as he himself will be given as a sign, although this maybe a stretch. In Lu. 2:11, the word “Christ” means Messiah, and the “Lord” is “kyrios” meaning the supreme/YHVH, suggesting he himself will be the Savior. In Micah 5:2, this newborn baby has an everlasting beginning.

While the preceding verses “intimate” the process of incarnation, they were not specific enough nor precise and leave some to doubt the interpretation. These verses may rightly assume but did not actually nor emphatically attest that God will become flesh, i.e., incarnate, in the person of Jesus. No one has seen the moment YHVH ELOHIM incarnated or changed from immortal to mortal human.That being said, an unequivocal proof that incarnation in fact occurred had to come only from testimony from YHVH ELOHIM himself. After all, he was the one who incarnated. That is why that has to begin with Jesus and subsequently attested to by writers of the Bible. This subsequent testimony appears to be a later understanding as progressively revealed and understood about Jesus. Remember that the gospel of John, written way after Jesus’ resurrection, is different in emphasis compared with the previous 3 synoptic gospels(2). 

Notice the following:
Jesus said in John 8:58 “Before Abraham was, I am”. Jesus himself was quoted as witnessed by John that he lived before Abraham.  Likewise, Jesus clues us in as to his beginning, as in John 17:5 “And now O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself with the glory I had with You before the world was”     

Then, apostle John testified in:          

John 1:1 “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, And the Word was God”     
John 1:3 “All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made”   
John 1:14 “And the Word became 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”
John 3:31 “He who comes from heaven is above all”   
John 6:62 “What then if you see the Son of man ascend where He was before”
 I John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim to you concerning the Word of life.”  
Paul also testified in:
I Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh”  
Colossians 1:16 “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were made through Him and for Him”    
Hebrews 1:10 “To the Son He says, ‘…You O Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of your hands”       

 
The preceding verses are patently obvious and compelling that YHVH ELOHIM, the Creator of all, came from heaven, that he was with God-Father before the world was and he incarnated into human flesh. A human witness to the actual change from immortal to mortal is impossible. And on that truth lies the very essence of incarnation, and by extension salvation, that it is based on faith, anchored on trustworthy testimony of the Creator YHVH Elohim himself, who became man-Jesus.


Why did he incarnate?    

It is very difficult for anyone to voluntarily give up position and power. For a human king, monarch or queen of a kingdom, President or Prime Minister of a country and for that matter, a dictator, a tyrant to step down from a position of honor, respect or power, is inconceivable. Can a Chairman of the Board, CEO or any management position accept a lower position or being an ordinary person ? That would be unheard of. Unless, temporarily and of course, a trade-off was made that would make the person better in whatever capacity. Yet, YHVH Elohim, the Creator of all visible and invisible, did just that. From a spiritual body he became human flesh, for excellent reasons, thus reflecting his love for his creation and “oneness” with the Father as to the ultimate plan for humans.

I heard a Pastor gave reasons for incarnation like love and glory of God to be shown. Some may give other altruistic reasons, and rightfully so. Yet, no one should forget the most basic reason alluded to in:
Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it was the Lord’s good plan to bruise him; put Him to grief, make His soul an offering for sin . . .” 
Also, notice the following reason given clearly by Paul:
Romans 5:15, 18-19 “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. . . . Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Note: righteousness is of faith (not works) and obedience is to the plan of the Father that attains salvation based on faith (not works of Jesus even); this is not about obedience to the Law/Ten Commandments but to the Law of faith as planned by the Father; see Gal 5:1-26).

Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? ”
Hebrews 10:4-5 “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said, ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me”  
1 Corinthians 15:22, 45 “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin FOR us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 
 1 Peter 1:19 “We were redeemed, . . .with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

In essence, all the sins of humanity (whether before or after the garden of Eden narrative) were imputed on (the first) Adam so that righteousness can be imputed from the “second Adam”/Jesus, based on faith and love, not Jesus’ works of the Law/Ten Commandments but his “obedience” or concurrence with the Law of faith as planned by the Father, so no one can boast. He took on the consequence of death for mankind; he died the “appointed”(Heb. 9:27) first (temporary) death . All of us will experience this first death. And he died to free us from second “eternal” death( Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6,14, and Rev. 21:8.). By his resurrection as promised by the Father, he proved that we can also be freed from “eternal death”. Jesus then received the Holy Spirit of power (John 16:7) to be given to us  for our “seal and sanctification” along  this process of salvation . With Jesus resurrected as immortal and having himself been freed by the Father from second death, others also will. He died the first death as a mortal man, so we do not have to die the “second/eternal death” as promised by the Father through a process of being “born again of the spirit”. As an immortal YHVH, he has to incarnate into mortal flesh, otherwise how could he have died and be a propitiation/atonement for our sins? See I John 2:2

 

Mechanics of Incarnation and its sequelae



The story of Nicodemus in John 3:1-12 gives us an inclination of what entails incarnation. In the narrative, Nicodemus was asking how could man be born again. Notice verses 3-6 ” Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot † see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can † he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot † enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Here, it is obvious that Jesus was referring to 2 births, viz., first human birth to flesh as in “born of water” and subsequently a second birth as in”born of the Spirit”. There had to be 2 births, otherwise John 3:3 states, no one (including Jesus) will not see the kingdom of God; no salvation without those requirements. He differentiated the 2 births in v-6, ” that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The mechanics therefore of YHVH’s incarnation is, from his previous immortal composition, he has to become flesh through the human process of inception, growth and development in-utero of a mother, be delivered from the womb to become an actual live mortal person. This human process is different from any known human existence. Jesus “came from above”, heavenly; unlike other humans that came from the ground, “earthy”. As an incarnate YHVH, he did not sin and therefore did not carry the penalty of death from the sin of Adam. Mary was pregnant with him, not because of Joseph; she was a mother by “surrogacy”, i.e., nothing from Mary’s egg nor Joseph’s sperm contributed to Jesus’ inception; nothing from mortals. Having no sin as imputed to all from Adam’s, Jesus can rightfully be a pure/clean substitute, a Passover, for mankind.

After going through human inception, intrauterine growth and development, birth (born of water), childhood-to-adulthood growth and development, then, and only then can a person, including man-Jesus, be “born of the spirit” through a process of “adoption-Sonship “, starting with “spirit-baptism”. And Jesus went through the process as “first of the firstfruits” for his “church-body” that will individually also has to go through the same. As YHVH-Creator, he created all. When he became Son of God at resurrection, from mortal man-Jesus to immortal, then he received from the Father, the spirit-power to create “his body-church”, “spirit-composed” children of God, a “God-kingdom”. 
As a potter, with the spirit-power given to him by the Father, the prophecy in Jeremiah 18:1-4 (RSV) is being fulfilled:
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.”
He died and resurrected to receive this power as in, 
John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you”. Acts 2:32-33(ESV)

“This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”


Power of flesh is weak?

Somehow, Christians believe that YHVH incarnated but maintained all his powers as before. As a newborn baby, did Jesus have the consciousness, wisdom and power of YHVH, the Almighty Elohim? If he did, why the need to escape the massacre by Herod? He could have easily overcome that with his power, if he had such power, instead of fleeing to Egypt. Why did they have to wait until Herod’s death before going back? Do these clues suggest “lack of power”? Or, as some assumed, Jesus just chose not use his inherent power?
Intellectually, did the 12-yr.old boy Jesus have the knowledge of the Tanach without reading and/or being taught? It does not appear that, as a human, he somehow just spontaneously got this knowledge. Remember that when he went to the Temple as a child, he was quoted as having a discourse with the Rabbi who was surprised of what he knew (Luke 2:41-52). But, is having an advanced understanding of the Tanach, any more different than anyone who really studied and got immersed in what was written? Many scholars can be outstanding in this regard, as well. In verse 52 of the narrative:

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” suggests “growth” and knowledge not intrinsic in him. 

Moreover, the compelling key observation that man-Jesus, being mortal-flesh was weak (Matt 26:41 and did not have spiritual powers was the lack of “miracles” ever performed by him prior to the “spirit-baptism” by the Father at river Jordan (Luke 3:22). Only after he was imbued with the Holy Spirit, seen by John the Baptist as a “dove descending and filling him up”, did he have the power to overcome the temptations of Satan (Matt. 4:1-11) and the 1st miracle of turning water into wine in Cana (John 2:11). The spirit of the Father given to him at river Jordan was for him alone to utilize, much like the spirit we are baptized with at conversion. That is why it was necessary for him “to go away” to receive a specific spirit-power to be given to us for creating his “body/church”, as in Matt. 16:18 and:
1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”
Romans 12:4-5 “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”


Son of God, when and why?



As Jesus said to Nicodemus, one has to be human as in “born of water” before becoming “born of spirit”; “what is born of water is flesh; what is born of the spirit is spirit.”
As mentioned early on in this post, no one voluntarily gives up his position of power unless the trade-off will be better. In fact, YHVH’s trade-off was indeed superior, not only for him but for his creation. And, his choice was not selfish. Rather, it was out of love for his creation and on following the “will” of the Father (Luke 22:42). At the beginning, YHVH Elohim created all, visible and invisible, including angelic beings. But, he did not have the power to create “sons and daughters of the God-kingdom”. Otherwise, why wait until after his own death and resurrection to receive this creative power? After having “born of the spirit” with immortal spirit-body, as “Son of God”, he becomes that Creator for the ultimate gift to humanity. Humans are currently “lower than angels” (Hebrews 2:5-13) but as “sons/daughters of God” will be higher than them as the “world to come” will not be subject to angels, unlike before. Sons and daughters of God are being created within the “church/body of Christ” environment. The Father planned for humans to be in the God-kingdom not have a human-kingdom. Is it any wonder that all human kingdoms fail? 
With all the powers given to Jesus now manifested as as “Son of God”, all the works of the devil will be destroyed, as in, 
I John 3:8 “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.


Summary:

In a nutshell, when YHVH said he incarnated, he actually became human with all that it entails, including “tempted but without sin”, as in:
Heb. 4:15 King James 2000 Bible

“For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.” 
Yes, he has all the weaknesses (and the strengths) of a human being. He did not maintain the powers of an immortal YHVH Elohim. What in “incarnation do we not get? Somehow, people wanted man-Jesus to maintain his YHVH powers as from the beginning, not realizing that by this assumption, they are actually diminishing the ultimate faith of YHVH in the promise of the Father regarding the plan of salvation for humanity. Imagine the YHVH Creator agreeing to become “lower than angels” as a man? THAT IS ultimate trust in the Father that is faith-based; the righteousness of faith providing the basis of salvation. 

In the creation of the God-kingdom, the requirements are to have 2 births, viz., born of water as a human and then born in spirit as Son of God. What is born of water is flesh; what is born in spirit is spirit. This is the “unwritten covenant” between YHVH ELOHIM and the Ancient of Days/God-Father (Daniel 7:13): that YHVH will give up all his powers through incarnation (born of water, as man-Jesus), grow and develop as man-Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit of power at baptism at the river Jordan, crucified as a Passover for humanity, “born in spirit” by resurrection as immortal Son of God, receive the Holy Spirit from the Father to be given to humanity for the creation of spirit-composed God-kingdom. Thus providing an example of the path to salvation, Jesus the “beginner(pioneer,author) and finisher(perfecter) of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). And all of this plan was based on supreme faith of Jesus in and unswerving love of the Father. The Son and the Father are “one” and so shall we be “one” with them .


References:

1. Controversy of Christmas. Retrieved 12/19/2016 from http://thecripplegate.com/the-controversy-of-christmas/

2. The Gospel of John. Retrieved 1/8/17 from http://www.mycrandall.ca/courses/ntintro/john.htm

Researched started:12/17/16

Original post: 1/12/17

In Search of an Ideal Government 

Throughout history, this search is on-going.  From the narrative in Genesis, Adam & Eve did not subject themselves to a theocratic government, disobeyed God and were subsequently driven out of the “government in the garden of Eden”. Nimrod (the rebel), in a way, wanted to substitute his autocratic reach to the heavens (Gen. 11:1-9) through the Tower of Babel to make a “name for themselves”. Saul, David, Solomon, etc. also had a government that appeared to be aligned with God’s government. Yet, even these biblical patriarchs, supposed to be chosen by God, had a fleeting loyalty to him and “their kingdoms” succumbed. And throughout history, men of high esteem had leadership and moral compass yet were not durable nor lasting.

The Egyptian and Assyrian empires did not last. From the successive Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires, the common denominator they all shared are disintegration and short life span. The 15th through the 20th century saw the demise of Spain, France, Germany and England as a world power. In WW II, Germany attempted to dominate Europe and even Russia. While in the Asian continent, Japan tried to sell a propaganda of Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. All of these nations over-extended themselves and failed. Coming out of the ashes of WW II, the League of Nations did not see the “light of day” and was quickly replaced with the United Nations. Will the latter succeed? In Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC/Common Market) was originally established as an economic integration by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, became European Community(EC) in 1993 by Maastricht Treaty, and eventually transformed into more than economic alliance, the European Union (EC) by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. Even this EC will not last as England chose to exit (Brexit), and others may follow. As an aftermath of 911, Al Qaeda was introduced to the world stage and swiftly dislodged from hegemony in Afghanistan with their Taliban alliance. With the vacuûm left in the Middle East, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant (ISIS/ISIL), came into being and is a threat to global peace, security and refugee dislocation, especially in Europe. Will these human geopolitical race for dominance succeed or end much like the Tower of Babel and the “image of Nebuchadnezzar” that will “break in pieces” as prophesied in Daniel 2?

Now remains the U.S.A. as an undisputed world power with the $US as “reserve currency”, money held to pay international debts, since 1944 Bretton Woods agreement setting exchange rate of 1oz. of gold to US$35. Yet, in spite of this currency advantage over other countries, fiscal and monetary policies to address mandatory and discretionary demands took the US to an unprecedented $18T debt and social programs like Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, food stamps, Obamacare to an unsustainable trajectory. Is the U.S.A over-extending itself, like others historically, to suffer through this vicious cycle towards oblivion? With additional socio-political unrest, racial division, illegal immigration within an atmosphere of terrorism and wars in multiple fronts, it becomes questionable whether the best form of government, a Constitutional Republic, will also be “transitory”.

These successive events should make one wonder. Did God really plan for us to have the best form of “human government” (aka “human kingdom”) as the ultimate in governance? Are there indications that point otherwise? Are humans, in their present composition,”the pinnacle of creation” or just “an image or likeness of him”, perfect yet temporary? What role are humans destined to play in “world government”? It may take a suspension of disbelief, for one to reconsider traditional teaching of biblical verses written millennia ago.

Consider that governance started off in the Genesis account, as a “theocracy” and not a democracy, not even a Constitutional Republic. One may argue that a supreme and powerful human leader, answerable to no one, maybe the answer. Yet, history belies that even a benevolent king, or a charismatic dictator could be the answer. There is still something missing in a human leader. Undoubtedly, God is the best leader. But, why did it not work with Adam & Eve? After all, didn’t God have the power for theocracy to work by force at the garden of Eden? Puzzling indeed !

But is it really an enigma wrapped in mystery? It is clear that God did not use force for compliance and man’s “free will” prevailed at the garden of Eden. But why did Adam’s disobedience occurred ? Could that have been prevented or was that a “given” and expected by the Creator? Could the reason be that man himself, his nature, when and how he was originally and purposely created, was perfect yet temporary? After all, the omnipotent and omniscient God knows the limits of his creation.

Going back to the narrative in Genesis about the creation of man, may help answer this question. Gen. 2:7 states that he was formed from the “dust of the ground”, meaning that his composition was “material”, not spiritual. Continuing the verse, Adam was not alive when created from dust, but became alive only when the “breath of life” was breathed into him by God. Therefore a “living person” is now composed of “dust + breath of life” to become a “living soul”. The “dust” is the material part of man but what about the “breath of life”? Is this like the “air” we breathe? Remember, that without this “breath of life” the dust-body has no life, i.e., dead. In James 2:26, “the body apart from the spirit is dead”, suggesting that this “breath of life” is the “spirit of man”, therefore “spiritual” and given by a spiritual God. Unlike the dust/body “made by hand so”, this spirit of man was “breathe” into his nostrils and came directly from God. This “breath of life” is not the material gasses that we breathe like oxygen,nitrogen, etc. Rather, it is a God-given “component” of man that “initiates life”, the spiritual component that “energizes” all human functions, like breathing, heart pumping, thinking, moving, feeling, etc. It is a “spirit-energy” much like the mechanical, electrical or nuclear energy that provides power for things to function. A living man or a “living soul” is thereby made up of “material and spirit components”, the body which is material and the spirit(breath of life) which is spiritual. Zech 12:1 attests that God formed this spirit in man. This spirit in man imprints the memory of everything one experienced through the 5 senses(1 Corinthians 2:11). It can be parallel to the “operating system” in a computer, without which all components are defunctionalized.

Death of man happens when this “breath of life”, this spirit of man, leaves the body. The two can be divided (Heb. 4:12); “the soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Also, Eccl. 12:7 explains that when man dies, “Then the dust (our body) will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit ( breath of life) will return to God who gave it.” Having thus stated, and that while man was created “perfectly” like God’s image (Gen. 1:27), it was nevertheless created only from “matter” (dust) and therefore “weak”. Notice what Jesus said, ” truly, the spirit (of man) is willing but the flesh is weak…” (Matt. 26:40-43). Not only is man “weak” (the body), but also only “a temporary dwelling”. Remember that the “tabernacle” in the Old Testament is a “temporary dwelling” of God. Read through Exodus chapters 35-40 about the tabernacle of God. See also the temple during Solomon’s time (1 Kings 8:11-12), the Temple rebuilt under Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:12; 6:15, 16). By Jesus’ time, the Temple had become a den of thieves. In A. D. 70, the Roman General Titus destroyed Herod’s Temple.

The message in all of these is God showing that these tabernacle and Temples are “temporary dwelling” of God. But notice that these temples are merely “types” of us and we are the actual temples that God planned to dwell in. Read Acts 17:24,”God who made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of Heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” Also, Acts 7:48, “the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands”. Both preceding quotes show where God will dwell, i.e., in the “spirit of man”, that component of man “not made by hands” but came directly from God through breathing into that “dust-body”.  It was prophesied that God, through the Holy Spirit will dwell in us, the “temple not made by hands; and specifically in the “holy of holies” (Lev. 16:2), in the “spirit of man“. Read Matthew 3:11, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit …”  and “…you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38); [See also Acts 5:32; James 4:5; Rom. 5:5; Eph. 5:18.]

Essentially, man needs another component that was already planned by God from the beginning to imbue in us to assist the “weak flesh”, to be “strong” to overcome evil. “What is man that God is mindful of him?”, so asked David in Psalm 8:4-6 and repeated by Paul in Hebrews 2:6. God, as a Potter, has desired to work on his “clay” again as in Jeremiah 18:4, with the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, God desired to dwell in us, the temple not made by human hands, through his Spirit. This Spirit will again “energize and empower” our “weak flesh” by working with and guiding the “spirit of man” (breath of life) which was already given before. This is another vital component, a newoperating system” that is given by grace and as a gift that can empower us to overcome evil. The first “operating system” that initiated life to Adam, the spirit of man/breath of life, needs this add-on new O.S. for update. 

The Holy Spirit “updating” by teaching that one must believe (Hebrew 11:6), repent (Acts 2:38), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16). Also, the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us, will “seal, sanctify, guide, teach, and give us power” to have the “mind of Christ”(Rom 12:2; Phil 2:5-11; 2 Tim 1:7) and be “conformed in the likeness of his Son Jesus”(Rom 8:29). Yes, we shall be likehis Son”(I Jn 3:2-3), different from each other and unique, yet “one” with Jesus(I Cor 12:12 ; Rom 12:4), as we will be “one” with the Father.

God has a timetable and a purpose for man. And that purpose is for the “Spirit of God” to dwell in us, the temple (I Cor.3:16). The spirit of man with the Spirit of God. In fact, Jesus died and resurrected, for us to receive this Holy Spirit of God. See John 16:17, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Also, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). This “spirit baptism” first occurred in the river Jordan on Jesus and subsequently, on the Day of Pentecost, to the apostle. It is happening ever since, to the “church of God“.

In summary, all human governments will fail as they have never been the plan of Almighty God who knows what is best. In taking the Genesis creation of man into consideration, God has initially created an “image and likeness of Lord God (YHVH ELOHIM”). This “image” or flesh-body however was temporary, just a “temple or template” and therefore “weak”. As presently composed, man can not govern “self”, much less govern others with consistency of goodness. The “missing link” is for the Holy Spirit to in-dwell and proven after first in-dwelling in Jesus at the river Jordan. Eventually, God planned for mankind not to stay as “an image” only and not to stay “weak”. Instead, we will be “empowered” like him in our current state. Eventually, in the future, to receive a spirit-body, “put on immortality”, “one with him” as the “future world” will not be subjected again to angels but to us (Heb 2:5). As in I Cor. 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God” (the Father). Also, Eph 2:22 “…builded together for an habitation of God(Father) through the Spirit.” After creating the universe, plant and animal kingdoms, however with man, God is not creating a “human kingdom”, but a “God-kingdom” , all with immortal bodies, with Jesus as the Head and us with him as one. At the end of time, the Father will be over all and in all.

This world government will be a “theocracy”, a God-Kingdom. The theocracy in the garden of Eden did not work because of man’s deficient and temporary  composition. Humans will have a role but only after having been transformed by the Holy Spirit working with the “spirit of man”, and be “one” with Christ, in an “immortal” state (not physical), at resurrection., with immortal bodies as that of God. He that has “eyes to see and ears to hear”, may he be blessed to recover from blindness and deafness.

Original Post: 7.26.2015

Revised and posted: 12.27.2016

Son of God …What Does it Mean?

Son of God …What Does it Mean?


The blockbuster movie “Son of God” which was supported and encouraged for viewing by mega churches (1) had its world premiere on February 28, 2014. As a miniseries in History channel, it was touted by many to be phenomenal but even more awe-inspiring this time as a movie. Directed by Christopher Spencer and starring Diogo Morgado, “Son of God” is being marketed as a major motion picture event that “brings the story of Jesus’ life to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational, complete with exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score” (2). The interview of producers Mark Burnett and wife Roma Downey in Hannity/Fox on 2/21/14 (3) was no less riveting. The film tells the story of Jesus’ birth, his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. The focus was about the fact that Jesus is unequivocally the “Son of God”.

However, the presentation did not delve further into the “truth or reason” behind this fact. And, this is a common inadequacy one finds in sermons/homilies that stop at merely identifying Jesus/Y’SHUAH/Ha-Mashiach (4) as the “Son of God”. As vital as that fact is, it does not equate with the far-reaching blessing from the “truth or reason” behind that fact. Hopefully, as we all acknowledge him as such, we will not be distracted from the underlying ultimate message and thus be haunted by the admonition in Matt.7:21-23:

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Because of time constraints intrinsic to the creation of any movie, it was understandable that a number of crucial and essential truth was left out. What was missing though in this movie was the provision for the reason why he had to become”Son of God”? What is the underlying message behind that fact? What is it to us and to our future, for this human being, the “Son of Man” to become the “Son of God”? What for is that descriptive title in relation to the future of the human race? Moreover, after the proclamation of Jesus as the “Son of God”, when did that title actually become a reality? Pre-incarnate, incarnate or post-incarnate? These are questions that are so important as they form a narrative to know why you and I are here in this world… the very reason for our existence, albeit our destiny. 

As already indicated in the miniseries, movie, gospels, prophecies, apostolic letters, revelation, secular writings (5), etc, Jesus in fact existed and walked on this earth and was proclaimed to be the “Son of God”. All Christian churches are well-equipped to prove that fact. But the purpose of this commentary is to explore and expound the proposition that there is more to this titular fact than meets the eye. And, although alluded to in the Bible and its significance not fully appreciated by mainstream Christianity, the truth behind this title is even more outstanding, faith-enhancing and grace-encompassing.

At the outset, as we continue to grow in understanding, let us consider the following:

A. Prophesied


His identity was already prophesied long before He came to this world. This WORD-Creator/El Shaddai/YHVH (John 1:1-3, 14, Colossians1:16-17/Ex 6:3) took off his spirit-composition and glorious body to become flesh-and-blood. However, as a human being, he is identified as the Messiah(Isaiah 9:6-7), the Son of man(Matt 8:20), born of a virgin(Isa.7:14), a Nazarene(Matt 2:23), priest after the order of Melchizedek(Heb. 5:6,10), Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, Immanuel(Matt.1:23), Passover-lamb(I Cor.5:7), etc.(6, 7). These are descriptive declarations when he was “flesh-and-blood”, i.e., as a human being. And this human incarnation of YHVH was for this purpose, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”(Hebrew 2:17). On the side, it is not inconceivable for the descriptions “priest after the order of Melchizedek, Prince of Peace and Everlasting Father maybe timed after his resurrection.

B. DECLARED Son of God



This Messiah, the”flesh-and-blood” Passover-lamb/Christ was also declared/identified as the “Son of God”.
Ps.2:7,12 “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him”. Notice the word “begotten” (derived from “yalad”), i.e. not yet born, still in the womb being developed. Also, that the Father-Son relationship is yet future.
Matthew 3:16-17 “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”



Matthew 16:15-17 “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”



Luke 1:35 – “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”



Hebrews1:5 “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”



While these preceding verses identified and declared the Man-Jesus/Messiah/Christ /Passover-Lamb as “Son of God”, they did not give us a definitive inkling as to when the realization of this “Sonship” occurred. If anything, it connotes a future (shall) timetable. Was that title achieved at that time when he was “flesh-blood” or was it yet in the future? Notice that the identification and official acknowledgment of Jesus at river Jordan as Son of God by the Father was technically as “begotten“, i.e.,  not born yet (yalad) as in Heb. 1:5.

C. Born again to see the kingdom of God?

From a human being, one has to be  “born again” to see the kingdom of God. This is a must according to Jesus. YHVH Elohim himself has to incarnate to man-Jesus before becoming Son of God to fulfill what was required. Does the Bible support these requirements?
The story of Nicodemus in John 3:1-12 gives proof. In the narrative, Nicodemus was asking how could man be born again. Notice verses 3-6 ” Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Here, it is obvious that Jesus was referring to 2 births, viz., first human birth to flesh as in “born of water”(from the uterus) and subsequently a second birth as in”born of the Spirit”. There had to be 2 births, otherwise John 3:3 states, no one (including Jesus) will not see the kingdom of God; no salvation without those requirements. He differentiated the 2 births in v-6, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The mechanics therefore of YHVH’s incarnation is, from his previous immortal composition, he has to become flesh through the human process of inception, growth and development in-utero of a mother, be delivered from the womb to become an actual live mortal person. This human process is different from any known human existence. Jesus “came from above”, heavenly; unlike other humans that came from the ground, “earthy”. 

After human inception, birth (born of water), growth and development, then, and only then can a person, including man-Jesus, be “born of the spirit” through a process of “adoption-Sonship “, starting with “spirit-baptism”. And Jesus went through the process as “first of the firstfruits” for his “church-body” that will individually also has to go through the same. As YHVH-Creator, he created all. When he became Son of God at resurrection, from mortal man-Jesus to immortal, then he received from the Father, the spirit-power to create “his body-church”, “spirit-composed” children of God, a “God-kingdom”. 

As a potter, with the spirit-power given to him by the Father, the prophecy in Jeremiah 18:1-4 (RSV) is being fulfilled:

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.”

He died and resurrected to receive this power as in:
John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 
This is the “power (needed) to become sons of God”, as in: John 1:12-13,12 

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

D. Son of God, when?

 The title “Son of God” came to fruition only after resurrection. At which time, he transcended from “begotten” to “firstborn”, the first of the “first-fruits” (wave sheaf Lev. 23:10-13) with spirit-body, spirit-composed, albeit with the power to manifest as human (8). This did not happen after his death and through 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb as a corpse. It achieved reality only after he was transformed from “flesh-blood” to a living “spirit-composed being”,
capable of showing as “flesh-and-blood”. Consider the following verses:

Romans 1:4″And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”N.B. Again declared “by resurrection”..

Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn (prototokus”) from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” N.B. “Firstborn from the dead”

Colossians 1:15 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creation.”

Revelation1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”. Note: we have to be “begotten” as man-flesh before being “son” with spirit-composed body. As Jesus said to Nicodemus(John 3), 2 births are required to see the kingdom of God: “born of water”( born as flesh), before “born in spirit” (with spirit-composed body). 

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”

Hebrews 1:6 “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”

Acts 26:23 “That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. ”

I Cor 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”

Rom 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

Rom 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”

Hebrews12:23 “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,”


SUMMARY

The reason for the spirit-composed El/Shaddai/YHVH to change into Jesus/Y’SHUAH ( partaker of flesh and blood, lower than angels, Heb 2:7) is for him to fulfill:

A. The 2-births requirements to see the kingdom of God and 

B. The promise and undertaking of a Passover-Lamb/Messiah to suffer the penalty of mankind’s sins which is eternal death”(Hebrew 2:17). 

As all mankind’s sin was imputed to the sin of the “first” Adam(Rom.5:7-21), so was mankind’s penalty of death imputed to the death of the “last” Adam/Christ (1Cor 15:45), by grace as promised on faith of Jesus/YHVH Elohim and not by “works”( even of Jesus) so no one “can boast” ( Eph. 2:9 ). At resurrection, being spirit-composed, Jesus/Y’SHUAH then fulfilled the reality of being the “Son of God”, no longer “begotten”. 
Rather, he became the “firstborn” of a new creation-kind, created or made higher (Heb. 1:4) than angelic beings. Moreover, as he is the firstborn (the first of the firstfruits, the “wave-sheaf offering” Lev. 23:10-14), he will then get others (Rom 8:19) to become the “sons/children of God” also by resurrection or “twinkling of an eye” ( I Cor. 15:52 ) at his return to earth to commence the Millenium. A newcreation”(Gal.6:15; 2 Cor. 5:17) above angelic beings ( Ps. 8:4; Heb.2:5-18) is being composed, through this mechanism of “Sonship”. Jesus, the first-born “Son of God”, the first of the firstfruits (I Cor. 15:20) and afterwards “bringing many sons to glory”(Heb.2:10), the other firstfruits of the “spring-harvest” at the start of the Millenium in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4,5; I Thes. 4:16,17), then the “latter-fruits” in the latter-harvest at the second resurrection. Based on this and “on this rock” ( the rock-solid meaning of “Son of God” Matt. 16:16-18), I will build my church (body), all spirit-composed. Through this rock-solid process of “sonship”, a new creation of spirit-beings will be realized, albeit a God-kingdom. 

This is the essence of the commission to proclaim the gospel (Matt.24:14) of the coming”kingdom of God”. The overall plan is to create a kingdom composed of spirit beings higher than angelic spirit-beings, the “God-kingdom”. While (9,10,11) there is a “plant-kingdom” and an “animal-kingdom”, there is nohuman-kingdom” created by God. In fact, all the ” human-kingdoms” from Adam who on his own “works” wanted to be like God (Gen 3:1-24), Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9), Israel-kingdom divorced by YHVH (Isa 50.1;Hosea 2:2; Jer.3.8), successive heathen kingdoms represented by Nebuchadnezzar’s dream(Daniel 2:1-48) have no longevity. As a “stone” will destroy the last human kingdom represented by 10-toes of iron and clay, only the kingdom created by God, spirit-composed “sons/daughters of God” (Kingdom of God) will be everlasting.

This present world is under subjection (11) to angels (Gal 3:19, Heb. 2:2). But, the “world to come” will not be under angelic-spirits but under the “kingdom-of-God”, spirit-composed “Sons/children of God”, all higher in category than angels. This is why  YHVH ELOHIM has to incarnate to man-Jesus and to be “born again” into spirit-composed “Son of God” with power to create sons and daughters of God , all spirit-composed. As it is written in Hebrews 2:5-17 “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (by angels). For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”




This is the deeper and final essence of the title “Son of God”, with Jesus/Y’SHUAH the firstborn/wavesheaf firstfruit by resurrection, taking on this new category, higher than angels. Subsequently, othersons/daughters” will follow through this mechanism of “rock-solid Sonship”, as Jesus/Y’SHUAH builds his “body/church”. What an awesome gift and blessing from the Father by grace and not “by works” of anyone, a destiny that we are looking forward to!

Will there be a sequel in the offing that embodies this truth and message behind the title “Son of God”? Let us hope so.


References:

1. Megachurch Pastors Lead ‘Son of God’ Campaign to ‘Take Over’ Multiplex Theaters Nationwide: http://www.christianpost.com/news/megachurch-pastors-lead-son-of-god-campaign-to-take-over-multiplex-theaters-nationwide-114732/
2. Producers: “Son of God ” will appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike:http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/02/28/son-god-movie-jesus-bible-american-audiences-religious/
3. Hannity/Fox on 2/21/14: https://74.217.254.62/tivo-tco/program/show.do?collectionId=tivo:cl…
4. Hebrew names of God. http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Yeshua/yeshua.html
5.Early Secular writings regarding Christ:http://www.nelsonprice.com/early-secular-writings-regarding-christ/
6. Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled:

http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm
7.Ten prophecies about Jesus birth:https://theresurgence.com/2012/12/24/10-prophecies-about-jesus-birth
8. How many times did Jesus appear after ….resurrection:http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/resurrectionofchrist.html

N.B. While the Son of God is higher than the angelic-spirits, the latter can also manifest as humans as in Gen. 19:1-5
9. Destiny of Man: https://fact-s.net/2011/05/21/the-destiny-of-man/
10.Deification of Man: https://fact-s.net/2011/05/26/deification-of-man-2/
11. Passion of Christ: https://fact-s.net/2011/05/21/the-passion-of-christ/
12. The law was given by angels: http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess003a.htm

Original post: 6.18.2014

Revised & Reposted:1.15.2017

Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy

Teaching graduating medical students at a University Anatomy Dissection Lab who chose their path towards a specialty in Surgery or its subspecialty, provides me with a depth of perspective, complexity and marvel of the structures of human anatomy that I never had before. It was in this environment that it came to mind the Pharisees’ confrontation with Jesus in Luke 17:20-21:“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
 

Question and Answer?

Notice the question about the time “when the kingdom of God should come“. Yet, the circuitous answer given was about when in the future and he was directly defining what and where it is. That, it does “not come with observation, not here or there“, meaning, we cannot see it, being invisible. In other words and strictly speaking, Jesus was referring to the intangible and where it is. Also, in answering the question as to when, Jesus pointed us towards the beginning and origin of the kingdom of God, it is “within you“. Interesting, it is.

Commonly, we understood the kingdom of God as a place or government of God in heaven or way into the future here on earth. While this teaching from childhood has truth in it, what is being introduced here for the first time by Jesus is awesome and seminal. This goes conceptually to the deepest root of what and where it is. Meaning, that the basic element or attribute of the God-kingdom, much like the brick-and-mortar in building a house, is already in us to start with. Really?

Pharisees and “us”, what we share in common?

How could the “kingdom of God” be “within you“, i.e., in the Pharisees, when they were actually against Jesus? Hardly, can they have this, so we can all wrongly assume. Yet, Jesus was clear as daylight that it is in them. Arguably, this answer to them can only be taken in a general sense, i.e., as it relates to humans, including all of us.
Since what we share with the Pharisees is this flesh-body anatomy that is visible and external, not internal and not “within“, what is that invisible aspect that is also common to all humans? Jesus was specifically stating a matter of fact: that the “kingdom of God is within” us, referring to where it is in our common human anatomy, our human body. He was in fact referring to where the “kingdom of God” is, i.e., in our human composition.

Within you, what?

What then is “within you“, in our human anatomy, that is related to the “kingdom of God”? What is “within” the Pharisees that is also “within” every human anatomy? If one analyzes the composition of man at creation it was composed of “dust“, matter, from earth. All ingredients necessary for life are composed of matter, whether gross, microscopic, enzymatic, immunological, electron transfer, etc. But, the matter-composed body was not yet “living“(no life), until God “breathe into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen. 2:7), aka, the spirit of man. This was the spirit-component that “quickened” or “energized” all physical elements of the human body to be alive. It initiated all life processes, i.e., metabolic, humoral, cerebrovascular-spinal, cardiovascular, endocrine, and other life systems. It is this “spirit of man” given to human to “quicken” him to life. Unlike the matter-composition from earth, and therefore “earthy“, this “breath of life” is from heaven, and therefore heavenly, from spirit-God and therefore spirit-composed. Man at creation in the garden of Eden was earthy, matter-composed and did not have life until the “spirit of man” was given by breathing through his nostrils the “breath of life”. Then and only then did man become a “nephesh” or “living soul/person”, a live creature. This “spirit” in humans could only be the thing referred to as “within you” since this is the “only part” of man that came directly from God, heavenly not earthy. Hence, the “kingdom of God is “within you”.

From Potential to Kinetic Energy

Notice, that this “spirit of man” started the life of the person. It is a life-giving energy that can be infused into humans. By analogy, the home will be pitch-dark without an electric energy and no mechanical device can function without mechanical energy. Nor will there be any manifestation coming from fossil-fuel, wind or solar power. Notice that all these powers from our material body are “potential energies” that are hidden and intrinsic but can be activated/”quickened” or harnessed to become “kinetic energies“. One has to flip an electric switch to have light from an energy source and turn on an ignition to activate electrical-mechanical energy to start a car. No gizmo like cell phone or iPad, even when fully charged, will function without being turned on. Our Creator was very precise in describing that all components of our material body have “potential energy” sans life when it was created from “dust“. It took God to “breath into” Adam at his creation, this life-activating energy, a spirit-power, before life begins. 

Human Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomically, man is a sensory-motor system. Learning comes through our sensory system, viz., by seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. Action is through motor system via central or peripheral nervous system. All our experiences are captured by the material components of our brain through complex neuronal connectivity of cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, medulla, etc. Decision-making as to what to do, draws from what was learned and manifests into action, voluntary or involuntary, through our motor system.We are a composite of our unique growth and development. Where we draw from our past experiences has to be from where the memory is stored. Storage has to be in some kind of “cloud” that is separate from the brain. Could memory be embedded in the “spirit of man“?

Where is Memory Stored?

When a person dies, the matter-composed body in “hades” or grave, with all of its material components, decays or rots. A dead person no longer thinks, as in, his “thoughts perished” (Ps. 146:4). Whereas, the “spirit of man” goes back to the Creator (Eccl. 12:7; Job 33:18,30). The dead body “knows nothing” (Eccl. 9:5;James 2:26) and stays on earth, not heaven (Acts 2:29, 34). No one ascended to heaven except the Son of man(John 3:13). As regards the “spirit of man”, nowhere does it say it is dead; only that it “goes back” to the Creator. This spirit has been in the person through his/her lifetime and for what? Also, for those who are blessed to participate in the “first resurrection“, e.g., Paul, Peter, the apostles, how do they keep their unique identity? How do they know who they actually are when resurrected to life? It has to be from memory. And, there is only one logical place for memory to be stored. Not in a dead body but in the “spirit of man“. By analogy, much like a “thumb drive” where everything from the computer can be stored, the computer itself like our body can be destroyed. and the thumb drive like the “spirit of man” with stored memories can be expressed or “downloaded” into a new computer or body. The same mechanism may happen when the “spirit of man“, with stored memory, gets into a new and immortal body at resurrection. Moreover, much like a “memory chip“, this “spirit of man” imprints all that were learned throughout our life, even in-utero, and keeps our unique identity.

All-knowing God

God knows precisely what, where and when to start the building-block of the God-kingdom. He already created celestial and terrestrial, a plant-kingdom, animal kingdom; all of them matter-composed. Only angels are spirit-composed, not matter-composed; invisible, although they have the capability of being visible (Gen. 18:1-3; Heb. 1:7,14). But, when it came to man, the goal was not to create a human kingdom. Instead, notice Genesis 1:26-27,

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image..”

Nothing in the creation of anything, whether planets, plants nor animals, is in the image or likeness of Him, unlike that of man. Man has been created in the “image and likeness” of the Creator YHVH(Gen. 1:27). But, eventually, this “image” will become a “new creation” different from others. Man started as an “image“. But, from an “image“, the final future of man is to be in the “God-kingdom“, not plant, animal nor human kingdom. We did not evolve from an “animal kingdom“. We will be different, even from spirit-composed angels, a third of which (Heb. 12:22), went with Lucifer (Rev. 9:1; Isa. 14:12) and against their Creator. In fact, humans will even be higher than angels; see Ps. 8:4-6; Heb. 2:5-18 and be like the “Son/Firstborn” within the hierarchy of the “God-kingdom“. We were created “in the image of” YHVH/Creator/Logos who incarnated to man-Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). By being human himself, he is showing the path towards how humans, from an “image“, can be in the “God-Kingdom” as “sons/daughters“; like, but not the same as, YHVH/Creator God. The key attribute or element of a God-kingdom is already “within us”, that “spirit of man”, which serves as a template, a starting point, for this “new creation“(2Cor. 5:17).

Temporary Abode

Before taking up how this “template/spirit of man” becomes the “kingdom of God”, let us consider first the historical “transient abode” of YHVH. 

From the beginning when YHVH/God wanted to show himself to Israel, it was through a “transient abode“. It was a tent (I Chr. 15:,16:1; 2 Sam.7:2), then tabernacle (Ex. 25:8-9) and subsequently in a temple (Deut. 12:2-27) in Jerusalem. See also, Heb. 11:9-10. But, notice Acts 17:24:(NIV) 
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.”

Similarly, the nation of Israel was to stay in a temporary dwelling (Jer. 35:7). All of these to signify that our current physical body is temporary abode for the “spirit of man” and that the latter will have in the future an immortal body. Notice 2 Cor 5:1-4 

“Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are (made) in heaven and will last forever. While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked. These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don’t do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die.”

2 Peter 1:13-14 “I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling”
Clearly, the preceding intimated that tents, tabernacles and Jerusalem temples are only temporary abodes for God. Long term, he will dwell, not in the body which is earthy but in the “spirit of man” which is heavenly. Not even in the “flesh-composed body” that he created with his own hands. The location for him to get into our body is specifically in the “spirit of man”, the anti-type of the precursor/type signified by the “holy of holies”, the most sacred of 3 divisions of the Temple (I Chron. 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chron. 3:1; 6:27; 6-7; I Kings 5,8, 7:48; Heb. 9:3; etc). This, to fulfill the promise in Jer. 31:32-34, 2 Cor 3:3, that through his Spirit, he will dwell in the “spirit of man”, the element that is not earthy, but heavenly. He will take abode in the “breath of life”, in the “spirit of man” not made even by his own hands, but directly came from him and delivered through human’s nostril. 

 
As the preceding has noted, God’s abode was transient and He does not “live” in temples or buildings built by humans, not even in anything made “by hands“. The matter-composed body of Adam was “made by God’s hands using earthy elements”. In contrast, the “spirit of man” came from God and was expressed through Adam’s nostrils. But, as planned, God wanted to immerse in the “spirit of man” through “spirit-baptism. Spirit of God interacts and binds with the spirit of man, which was not made by hands from earth but came from God and breathed into us. This appears to be “how” the creation of God-kingdom is to start…by baptism with the Holy Spirit, the bonding of God’s spirit and the spirit of man. Specificity is the hallmark of bonding in the science of Chemistry. 

Baptism with the Holy Spirit, Who, When, How and Why?

As to who will baptize, was identified by the Father through John the Baptist, in John 1:25-34. None other than the Lamb of God, Jesus. Because of the “faith of Jesus” (Rom. 3:21-22; Gal. 2:16,20; Phil. 3:9) in the plan of the Father as promised to him before the foundation of the world, He became the first human immersed with the Holy Spirit after he came out of water baptism (Matt. 3:16). This spirit-power helped him overcome Satan’s temptation (Luke 4:3-13). Miracles were performed by man-Jesus since spirit-baptism because of this spirit-power in him. Prior to this and as an adult human, he did not perform any of the miracles although with perfect understanding of the Torah and Tanach. While Jesus as a human still had his own “will“, he did not follow himself but followed the “will of the Father”(Luke 22:42). Likewise, the apostles did not have spirit-power until Pentecost when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit of power (Luke 24:49;Acts 1:4-5). In fact prior to Jesus’ death, as they were “weak“(Matt.26:41; Mk. 14:38), they abandoned him. This Pentecost spirit-baptism became possible for Jesus to do because after resurrection he went to the Father to get the “Comforter” as promised to him (John 14:16,26;16:7). Subsequently, the Holy Spirit has come to humans to reside in the “spirit of man“. 

Why Start in the “Spirit of Man”?

Remember that humans learn from in-utero and throughout his/her lifetime. How the person responds, what the beliefs are, mental processes, judgment, etc., come through years of learning and getting experience. What is learned is innately human understanding and thoughts. Education makes one a composite of who he/she is, good or bad. Like in the Broadway musical South Pacific the message behind the song “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” supports what comes to the mind at an early age. Similarly, Proverbs 22:6 advances early education:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it

But even in our very ultimate best, “our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, not human thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).Without this re-education of the spirit of man by the Holy Spirit, all that we are doing are “works of the flesh”(Gal. 5:19-21).The Father wanted humans to be “one” with him (John 17:21) as Jesus is one with him (John 10:30). And for him to do that, God’s Spirit has to be in the specific place in humans, in the “spirit of man”, where learned memories are stored and to be re-educated. As the human “spirit is willing and the flesh is weak“(Matt.26:41; Mk. 14:38), God’s Spirit has to dwell in and empower/quicken it. Human spirit can then choose to follow his own will or God’s direction and wisdom. Jesus showed us what decision to make, “not my will but yours” (Luke 22:44), not human-will but God’s. We have to follow his way to develop his wisdom, not ours. And all of these occur through the Holy Spirit in us. Also, the Holy Spirit fulfills its other functions, viz., as a seal of ownership or identity (2 Cor. 1:22;Rom. 8:9,14;Eph. 1:13-14), leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4;Jn. 16:8), to truth (John. 16:13), bear fruits(Gal.5:22-23), resurrection(Rom.8:11), etc. These are works of the Holy Spirit, with us following its will, not ours, in much the same way man-Jesus followed. 

The man-Jesus, with the “spirit of man” baptized with the Holy Spirit coming out of river Jordan and followed the “will of the Father“(Luke 22:42), was then declared or became the Son of God through resurrection (Rom. 1:4) by being the “firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:15,18) of many brethren. Yes, “born again” means “born from the dead“, Jesus, being the the”first of the firstborn” or “first of the firstfruits“(Eze.44:30; I Cor. 15:20-23; James 1:18), the “wave-sheaf offering” (Lev. 23:10-14). This is the same path for us, the “image“, to become ” like him“. After becoming “one” with the Father and the Son, through following the Holy Spirit and developing wisdom through this mechanism, eventually we will have an immortal body like them as in:

2 Corinthians 5:1″For we know that if the earthly tent (mortal-body) which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house (immortal-body)not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

1 Corinthians 15:23 “But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”

SUMMARY:

Salvation is a process for humans to be in the God-kingdom, a position much higher than plant or animal kingdom or angelic species, starting with man-Jesus (Ps.8:4;Heb.2:6). And no one can achieve this goal until “born of water (by natural birth) and of Spirit” by resurrection(John 3:3-7), i.e., to be born as human first as a “begotten son of God”, then born as “son of God”. Much like being born as a human being, it takes time for growth/development and maturity in the uterus of a woman as it is in becoming a “begotten son of God” through nurturing in the church(Woman) with guidance of the Holy Spirit. And becoming “son of God” equates with being spirit-bodied and saved from eternal, irreversible, or “second death” which was a consequence of Adam’s sin. “Thou shall surely die” in Gen. 2:17, gives a hint to this particular death and as in Romans 5:12-21, Adam’s sin and punishment were imputed to all. As bad as our own sins are, the key determinant was the sin of one person Adam, not our personal sin, so that also through one man, Jesus, all mankind’s sins can be covered by death with his blood as a Passover Lamb. Being flesh-bodied and not because of sin, humans will die the “first death” as “it is appointed for man to die and after this the judgment (Heb.9:27). Our flesh-composed body is matter and earthy and can therefore deteriorate, unlike the “spirit of man or breath of life” that came from God, and is heavenly. At death, our dead body will be in “hades“(grave) to rot and only the “spirit of man, the “ruach“, not earthy but heavenly, will go back to the Father (Eccl. 12:7). Proof that man’s “first death” is not because of sin, is the death of sinless man-Jesus, “tempted but who knew not sin”(Heb.4:15). The death of YHVH/CREATOR became possible by incarnating into man-Jesus. Being flesh-composed, Jesus/YHVH died the “first death” and not because of his own sin. But this death, as promised by the Father, was to pay for the “second and eternal death” of mankind due to Adam’s sin. Jesus’ death was propitiation for sin that reconciled mankind to the Father. Also as promised by the Father, Jesus, having died, was resurrected for the purpose of proof of resurrection for eternal life and receiving the promised Holy Spirit to then be given to humans at time appointed. 

The statement in Luke 17:21 that “the kingdom of God is within” us, refers to the ethereal “spirit of man” within our terrestrial physical body. This is the template or temple, not made by hands, where the promised/planned God-abode through the Holy Spirit, will dwell in for our sanctification. As the human “spirit is willing and the flesh is weak”(Matt.26:41; Mk. 14:38), God’s Spirit has to dwell in and empower/quicken it.  This power has to be given to become “sons.daughters of God (John 1:12). The spirit of man has to be re-educated on the ways of God. By being obedient to His guidance and by having faith and trust in God, we will then fulfill what is required for salvation, i.e., following the Law, not by our own power or personal goodness, but with the power that comes with the Holy Spirit given to us by faith of Jesus and therefore by grace. Our personal human-flesh goodness, like that of Job, is as “filthy rags” (Isa.64:6)..This fulfills the promise that the Holy Spirit will be the mechanism to “put the Law in their minds and write it in the tables of our fleshly heart” and no longer on “tables of stones” as were given at the time of Moses suggesting that the time was not yet (Jer.31:33; 2 Cor. 3:3).This was affirmed by Jesus and the apostles (Rev. 12:7; Matt. 7:21-23; 19:16-24; 22:36-40; Heb. 10:26-31; Gal. 5:19-21). And that, to bear “fruits” of Holy Spirit(Gal. 5:22-23), have experiential knowledge of God (John 17:3) and be “one” with the Father and Son. Without ” bearing fruits” we will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matt. 7:19). 
 
At resurrection with an immortal body that will replace this “earthly tent” and thereby becoming sons/daughters of God, we will then be members of the God-kingdom (not human kingdom) as the Father has planned from the “foundation of the worlds“. This is the mechanism of salvation and for building the “God-kingdom”, with Jesus as the builder or carpenter, the “pioneer and perfecter” (Heb. 12:2) and his faith in the Father as the foundation. All these “good news” are a gift by grace and an expression of love of the Father, not because of our own works but by the works of the Holy Spirit of power in us, so “no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9; I Cor. 1:29). The Holy Spirit is the power-tool given by the grace of God through the faith of Jesus. As exemplified by Jesus, we should also have faith, i.e., from “faith to faith” (Rom. 1:17).

Original post:12.16.2016

TRINITY DOCTRINE: DECONSTRUCTED?

TRINITY DOCTRINE: DECONSTRUCTED?
As a foundational teaching, the Trinity doctrine has been woven into mainstream Christianity since the Council of Nicea convened by Emperor Constantine in 325 C.E. in Bithynia(1). Because of disputes among church leaders, the first ecumenical council of Nicea was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.(2). Its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the nature of the Son of God and his relationship to God the Father (3). It describes the belief in Christian theology that the “one” God of the universe is comprised of  “three” persons: the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit (4). The early church father Tertullian (c. 155-230), who wrote in Latin, is believed to have first used the term trinity to describe the God of the Bible (5).

While this doctrine is “radioactive” to bring up, Pres. FDR in his first inaugural address has a wise rejoinder, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”(6). Indeed, in an atmosphere of freedom, fear should not paralyze anyone as we search for the truth. How this theology came about is a subject worthy of review for all students of history. Knowing what happened at the time it was established gives us an inclination of the controversy that gave rise to this doctrine. Can those questions that were contentious and overwhelming at that time among church leaders be resolved with what we know today? What was the basic underlying concept and difference among them that was the crux of their contention?

This doctrine was formulated in the 4th century during the Christological debates between Arius and Athanasius. At the core of the controversy was the nature of the Father and Son and their relationship. The terms “homoousios, homoiousios and heterousious” (same substance/cosubstantial vs. similar and different substance) developed and came to be used to explain varying interpretations. All of these positions and the almost innumerable variations on them which developed in the 4th century AD were strongly and tenaciously opposed by Athanasius and other pro-Nicenes who insisted on the doctrine of the homoousian (or as it is called in modern terms consubstantiality), eventually prevailing in the struggle to define the dogma of the Orthodox Church for the next two millennia when its use was confirmed by the First Council of Constantinople in 381 or 383. Origen Adamantius (184/185 – 253/254), along with the prominent “Origenists” Didymus the Blind and Evagrius Ponticus, were declared anathema in 553 CE by the Second Council of Constantinople (7). Origen seems to have been the first ecclesiastical writer to use the word  “homoousios ” in a nontrinitarian context, but it is evident in his writings that he considered the Son’s divinity lesser than the Father’s, since he even calls the Son “a creature“(8). The controversy continued through centuries that followed, even to this day.

From the preceding prolegomenon, let us explore excerpts from historical vignettes. On the subject of Arianism, the Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica wrote (9):

Arius’ basic premise was the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent and immutable; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot be God. The controversy seemed to have been brought to an end by the Council of Nicaea (AD 325), which condemned Arius and his teaching and issued a creed to safeguard orthodox Christian belief. This creed states that the Son is homoousion to Patri (“of one substance with the Father”), thus declaring him to be all that the Father is: he is completely divine. In fact, however, this was only the beginning of a long-protracted dispute. From 325 to 337, when the emperor Constantine died, the Arian leaders, exiled after the Council of Nicaea, tried by intrigue to return to their churches and sees and to banish their enemies. They were partly successful. From 337 to 350, Constans, sympathetic to the orthodox Christians, was emperor in the West, and Constantius II, sympathetic to the Arians, was emperor in the East. At a church council held at Antioch (341), an affirmation of faith that omitted the homoousion clause was issued. Another church council was held at Sardica (modern Sofia) in 342, but little was achieved by either council. In 350 Constantius became sole ruler of the empire, and under his leadership the Nicene party (orthodox Christians) was largely crushed. The extreme Arians then declared that the Son was “unlike” (anomoios) the Father. These anomoeans succeeded in having their views endorsed at Sirmium in 357, but their extremism stimulated the moderates, who asserted that the Son was “of similar substance” (homoiousios) with the Father. Constantius at first supported these homoiousians but soon transferred his support to the homoeans, led by Acacius, who affirmed that the Son was “like” (homoios) the Father. Their views were approved in 360 at Constantinople, where all previous creeds were rejected, the term ousia (“substance,” or “stuff”) was repudiated, and a statement of faith was issued stating that the Son was “like the Father who begot him.” After Constantius’ death (361), the orthodox Christian majority in the West consolidated its position. The persecution of orthodox Christians conducted by the (Arian) emperor Valens (364–378) in the East and the success of the teaching of Basil the Great of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus led the homoiousian majority in the East to realize its fundamental agreement with the Nicene party. When the emperors Gratian (367–383) and Theodosius I (379–395) took up the defense of orthodoxy, Arianism collapsed. The Emperor Theodosius had published an edict, prior to the Council of Constantinople, declaring that the Nicene Creed was the legitimate doctrine and that those opposed to it were heretics (10). In 381 the second ecumenical council met at Constantinople. Arianism was proscribed, and a statement of faith, the Nicene Creed, was approved.”

Coalescing of Powers

Notice that this changing adoption of religious concepts was influenced to a large degree by secular powers at a particular time, e.g., Emperors Constantine, Constans of the West, Constantius II of the East, Valens, Gratian and Theodosius. Civil and religious authorities were together, akin to  “cronyism” and “symbiosis“, to impose religious beliefs using secular power. On those who committed heresy, “heretics did not work outside the Christian community – they counted themselves as faithful Christians attempting to explain the gospel in terms their contemporaries might understand”.

Without taking either side, one sees that the trunk-of-the-tree controversy of Trinity Doctrine emanates from two postulates, viz.,

1. Reconciling with “monotheism” the concept that the Father is God, Jesus Christ is God and the Spirit is God.

The doctrine of the Trinity was formally developed in the early church in reaction to “errant teaching” on the nature of God as found in Arianism. Arianism attempted to protect monotheism (the belief in one God) by denying the full deity of Jesus, a belief most Christians hold at this time. Arianism taught that Jesus was divine, but that he was a lesser deity than the Father. To affirm the Church’s stance on the nature of God, the Trinity was formally stated in the Nicene Creed(325 A.D.) and the later Athanasian Creed. As a result of these early ecumenical creeds, any departure from the Christian doctrine of the Trinity was considered heresy. These creeds affirm the early Christian conviction that Jesus was God. Arianism caused the church to dogmatically affirm what was already believed and inherent to the earliest of Christian theology (12).

Essential to the Trinity Doctrine is that there is one and only one God. It is essential because it was the conviction of monotheism (Shema doctrine)- that there is one God – that fact drove the early Christians to formulate the doctrine of the Trinity from Scripture. More importantly, monotheism is the teaching found in the Bible.(Trinity is not in the Bible) Scripture is clear that there is only one God: “There is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:21-22; see also 44:6-8; Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4-5; 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Kings 8:60).

Fundamental to the Judaism of the OT (and of today) is the Shema. It is found in Deuteronomy 6 and part of it says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one,” (Deut 6:4). The understanding of monotheism is at the heart of this passage, and it was at the core of the early Christians’ understanding of the nature of God.The three persons of the Godhead share the same spirit-essence. With this understanding, the doctrine of the Trinity continues to assert monotheism, an essential and easily found belief within the Scripture. Ontologically, each of the three members of the Trinity possess the same essential nature. Again, along with a monotheistic understanding, there is one and only one being, that is, God. The doctrine of the Trinity must remain grounded in God’s Word. Roger Olson sums it up when he says, “While it is true that no passage of Scripture spells out the doctrine of the Trinity, it is also true that the whole of Scripture’s witness to who God is and who Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit make no sense at all without the model of the Trinity and that all alternative concepts end up doing violence to some essential aspect of revelation, Christian experience and possibly even reason itself,”(13).

2. Nature of the Father/Son and which one has self-existence.

Notice that Arius’ belief countered that of others, especially Athanasius, because of his concept at that time of what constitutes the word “God“. The Son cannot be God according to Arius, because there is only “one God“, Jesus is not self-existent and therefore created. On the other hand, Athanasius and other pro-Nicene who believe that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Spirit is God reconciled monotheism through a “new concept of Trinity

Key is knowing what is God?

But, can all of these Arius-Athanasius discrepancies be resolved by knowing exactly ” What is God?” What really constitutes the word “God“?. Do we really grok what the etymology of the original word translated to English? The answer may have been “lost in translation“. In the article “What is God?” (14), this controversy may finally be resolved by restoring the meaning of the original Hebraic words Elohim, YHVH, El Shaddai. In its summary:

1.Elohiym/Theos refers to a composite of powers, the sum of divine and powerful beings, the totality of all attributes of deity. It is a generic term that may apply to a particular being. When it does, the specific name of that Elohim is identified, e.g., YHVH ELOHIM.

2. Most of the time, Elohiym in the Old Testament refers to a specific YHVH Elohiym and Theos in the New Testament refers specifically to God the Father. At other times, it refers to those others in the generic Elohiym/Theos, i.e. Jesus, angels, humans, especially leaders with powers.

3. In general, Elohiym/Theos is collective and not a selective term; common and not a proper name; inclusive and not exclusive; generic not proprietary; composite and not specific.

4. The usage and/or context of the word explains the intended meaning, whether plural/singular or numerical plurality/multiplicity of power, rank or position/function.

5. The word God/Elohim, as originally written, includes different species, levels, class or rank. At the highest level is the Father, followed by Son(s) of God, then angelic rank, and the lowest is man. However, man will be transformed into “sons/children of God”, spirit-composed at resurrection and higher than angelic-class.

In “FATHER’S DAY_USA.2014“(15), the God of Old Testament was introduced to Abraham as El Shaddai, but to Moses he was YHVH ELOHIM. He was identified with specificity. This God in the Old Testament, the God “above all gods“, was the only one Israel was commanded to worship thus directing them away from polytheism of that era. The “Shema doctrine” was based on this. According to John, YHVH the Creator was also the “Word” who incarnated into the Messiah, the Christ. In contrast, in the New Testament, when the word God was used it almost invariably refers to the “Father” of Jesus and of us all. Truly, “God is one” (Shema) because it referred only and specifically to El Shaddai/YHVH/Word/Christ Jesus. He was “above all gods“known at that time; no one then knew about the “Father” we know today. Israel knew that the Creator and the One who Fathered them was YHVH. The Israelites did not have knowledge that YHVH/Jesus has a Father. But, when the “Father/Son” relationship was introduced in the river Jordan at Jesus’ baptism,(16) Jesus understood and deferred to the authority of a higher power, i.e., the Father. They are clearly separate and distinct from one another. Angels, kings and humans are classified as “gods“. In the New Testament, Jesus, while full of the “Spirit of the Father“, was completely human and flesh-composed for his purpose as a “sacrificial Lamb”. As a human being, he was also classified as “god“, yet he died because he was flesh-composed. After his resurrection, he took on a “new creation“, “Son of God“, spirit-composed, eternal, and with all the powers given by the Father (17). The Father, as He has created all “visible and invisible” through the Son (YHVH), is now creating a “kingdom of God”, composed of spirit-beings higher than the angelic-class (18). What is being created is “Sonship“, children of God. This “new creation” is not a plant- kingdom, not an animal-kingdom nor a human-kingdom. Rather, it is a “God-kingdom” with a specific kind much higher than angelic “species of god”. Our GOD the FATHER is expanding that kingdom into manyfirstfruits“and “latter-fruits“. 

 In contrast, the Trinity Doctrine limits that God-kingdom into three. Whereas, the truth is that many are in the process of developing into the “body of Christ“, this “new creation“, Jesus first, then others. This is the destiny of all mankind (19). The ” world to come” will not be “subject to angels” as our current world is, but to this “new kinds“(Heb. 2:5).

Retrospective analysis

Looking back with a “retroscope”, we can now understand how and why well-meaning church leaders of earlier centuries have variance in understanding. Arius et.al stumbled because of his assumption that Jesus, being subservient to the Father and that God is One (Shema doctrine), cannot be God also. Contrariwise, Athanasius et. al misapplied the facts that the Father is God, Jesus is God and extended divinity even to the Spirit, so that a new concept emerged, the Trinity Doctrine, a doctrine that is limiting instead of expansive. By observation, we can see that knowledge is progressive; God does not give out all truth at the same time. Truth has a timeline. Even Israel did not recognize the  incarnate Jesus was YHVH CREATOR ELOHIM. Peter did not realize that even Gentiles can be “grafted” to Israel and receive the same promise to Abraham.(Romans11:11-36, Acts 15:7-9), as well as their differences about circumcision. But, in time, they were united in understanding these aforementioned things. In much the same way, early in the Christian era, there were disputes on interpretation. But, now that we know, “What is God?, the Trinity Doctrine has been “deconstructed“. There is no need to “personify” the Spirit as it is active in all members of the God-Family. As Job said, before I “hear” you, now I “see” you (Job 42:5).

With these foregoing facts of history and biblical references, one can now explain how the Father is God, Jesus Christ is God and still reconcile with “oneness or Shema” doctrine without concocting a concept as “Trinity Doctrine“. The Shema refers to only one God of the Old Testament, specifically identified as YHVH, EL SHADDAI, CREATOR, WORD, JESUS CHRIST. Israel did not know and was not introduced in an official manner to the FATHER by Jesus until his ministry in New Testament times. This generation is blessed for receiving this understanding unlike our Christian predecessors.

May God bless all of us in search of the truth.

References:

1. Retrieved from:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bithynia</p&gt;

2. Kieckhefer, Richard (1989), “Papacy”, in Strayer, Joseph Reese, Dictionary of the Middle<

Ages 9, Charles Scribner’s Sons, ISBN 978-0-684-18278-

3. “Council of Nicaea”, p.39, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014

4. Retrieved from:http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/beliefs/trinity.htm

5. Ibid.

6. Retrieved from: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/

7. The New Catholic Encyclopedia (Detroit: Gale, 2003). ISBN 978-0-7876-4004-0

8. Pelikan, Jaroslav (1971), The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine 1,

The Chicago University Press, p. 191.

9. Retrieved from: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/34124/Arianism.

10. Friell, G., Williams, S., Theodosian Code 16:2, 1, Theodosius: The Empire at Bay, London,1994.

11.Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought, p. 121

12. Retrieved from: http://www.theopedia.com/Trinity.

13.The Mosaic of Christian Belief, p. 139.

14. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/06/29/what-is-god-2/

15. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/06/13/fathers-day_usa-3/

16. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/08/06/passion-of-christ/

17. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/03/25/son-of-god-2/

18. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/07/12/deification-of-man-3/

19. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2011/05/21/the-destiny-of-man/

Original post:8.8.2014

Reposted:12.20.2016