A Correct Christology
Divinity Abiding - "Shechinah" - in Jesus
You will find Jesus is very clear on His true nature -- a man fully indwelled by the Father and His Logos who is thereby Divine (i.e., indwelled by the Presence). (John 1:1,14, "Logos made flesh"; 14:24, "Logos you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me" ; 14:10, "Father in me...dwells in me") Cf. 12:48 "the logos I have spoken will judge him in the last day."
The full presence of God in Hebrew is called Shechinah. Its root comes from the word "to dwell," and came to mean Divinity abiding or Divine Presence. Thus, the "Divine presence" was in the Temple, and called the Shechinah. (See "Shechinah," Wikipedia.) Divinity is used here to mean "qualities of individuals who are considered to have some special access or relationship to the divine." ("Divinity," Wikipedia.)
Adam Clarke in his famous Commentary explains this in relation to Ex. 25:22:
"[I]n the sanctuary, the shechinah or Divine glory dwelt, because there were the ark, the tables, and the cherubim."
This derived from Exodus 40:35 which said: "Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, for the cloud rested [shakhan] upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle."
John One Confirms This When Translated Correctly
In John 1:14, Apostle John says: “The word (logos) became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the Glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father." (John 1:14, NIV.)
Incidentally, this verse was tampered with in translation by the KJV. It reads in the KJV not as the "one and only" but instead as "the only begotten." This deliberately makes us think Jesus is the Word and Jesus as the Word came from the Father. But this is a false translation. The word MONOGENES in Greek means "one and only," not "only begotten." If it were otherwise, then the Word -- God -- was a "begotten" being which is impossible. God is eternal. Instead, John, when translated correctly, says the "one and only" God as the Word came from the Father to indwell Jesus. In Jesus, we thereby beheld the glory of God (i.e., the Word, the "one and only") residing in Jesus. (For more on the history of this mistranslation of MONOGENES in this verse, see our webpage discussion.)
John 1:14 correctly translated is then easily seen as restated by Jesus Himself in John 14:24: "The WORD (logos, singular) you hear is (singular) not my own but of the Father who sent me." (John 14:24, Wycliff.)
Contrast the NIV version of John 14:24 which obscures one's ability to find the connection to John 1:14. The NIV does so by changing "Word" (logos) in 14:24 into "words" and then modifying the verb tenses to a plural (when they are singular) to fit the false plural of word. This way the NIV does not let you readily identify the LOGOS of 14:24 (an indwelling Word from the Father) with LOGOS in John 1:14 (equally simply an indwelling Word from the Father).
You can verify the singular noun LOGOS in 14:24 and the singular verb tenses in 14:24 using Interlinear Scripture Analyzer available free online or by going to the "Greek" tab at http://bible.cc/john/14-24.htm. The versions with the correct singular for LOGOS in 14:24b are: KJV, AKJV, ASV, ESV, NASB and YLT. A wrong plural exists in the ISV and NIV.
John Uses Greek Word Linked To Hebrew for Divinity Abiding
Hence, the LOGOS, or WORD (God) "dwelt among us" and "we beheld the Glory of the One and Only" God dwelling in Jesus. But the LOGOS does not belong to Jesus (John 14:24), but to the FATHER.Why ? Because it is an indwelling presence distinct from the humanity of Jesus.
When John says in 1:14 “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” the Greek word for dwelt (to tabernacle) in Greek is skeinei . It derives from the Hebrew mishkhan where shachan as a root means “to dwell." And the root of that word is the same as shekinah -- the divinity abiding at the Temple of Jerusalem.
Hence, "dwelt" as John used it meant that God's presence was dwelling in Jesus as God did in the Jerusalem Temple. “The word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (John 1:14) means God dwelt in Jesus (not that Jesus lost any identity as a human being or was God Himself). God thereby took upon Himself human flesh and lived/dwelled on planet earth inside of Jesus.
Both apostolic gospels reiterate Jesus's body was the "temple" of God. See John 2:19 (Jesus answered them: "Tear down this Temple, and I will rebuild it in three days"; Matt 26:61 "I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days"). Each verse implies Jesus' body was the Temple where God dwelled, just as Jesus expressly said so in John 14:24. And as Apostle John wrote in John 1:14.
Do you see how just a very slight mistranslation can throw you off?
Methodist Adam Clarke Concurs
Thus, the full presence of the Father/His Logos in Jesus was a similar type of Shechinah presence as at the Temple. The famous commentator Adam Clarke agrees, and explains that Jesus's human heart likewise could be a place "for the Divine Majesty to dwell in, and that it be the holy of holies." Adam Clarke, Commentary, Ex. 25:22. If so, it would be proper to call Jesus Divine.
Adam Clarke (1760-1832), a British Methodist, in his famous Commentary wrote of John 1:14 -- the "Word dwelt among us" -- that this 'dwelling' refers to Jesus' "human nature...being as the temple in which...deity condescended to dwell," and "the Word is probably an allusion to the divine Shechinah in the Jewish Temple." (Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible (1825) Vol. 5 at 486.) Thus, Clarke says the Gospel dispensation was foreshadowed by types under the OT where the Temple Schechinah was God's way to prepare us to understand "this manifestation of God in the flesh" of Jesus. (Id.)
As we saw in the quotes above, Jesus precisely claimed the same indwelling presence as was true for the Temple. Thus, the Temple Shechinah was a fore-type of the Divinity in Christ on Earth. "The Shechinah is a Jewish term for God's presence on Earth...." ("The Shechinah...and Messiah.") See also Merriam-Webster (Shechinah, "The presence of God in the world as conceived by Jewish theology.")
Hence, the Shechinah presence was the Father/ Father's Word or Logos which inhabited Jesus, making Jesus DIVINE -- having the full Shechinah-presence in Himself.
Then because of this interconnection between the man Jesus and the Shechinah-presence, it meant that wherever Jesus's presence would be, God's Shechinah presence on Earth would be. Jesus said: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:20).
Jesus was blatantly restating a familiar Rabinnic lesson that where two or more gathered in the name of God, the Shechinah-presence would be there. ("The Shechinah...and Messiah.") Hence, clearly Jesus in Matt. 18:20 was claiming Divinity traveled with Himself by virtue of the Shechinah-presence principle to which He blatantly alluded. The Rabinnic lesson on the Shechinah-presence and God's name was "the context in which Jesus' words were meant to be understood." ("The Shechinah...and Messiah.")(For more on those Rabinnic lessons, see "Shechinah," Wikipedia.)
As Fisher said in his informative article The Shechinah...and Messiah (2008):
Jesus' remark that he could be present whenever and wherever people come together in his name is remarkable in itself. However, given the Jewish background of Jesus and his earliest hearers, and the likely Jewish audience of the Gospel of Matthew, it becomes a more pointed reference. In saying that he is the presence who is with believers when they come together, Jesus is identifying himself as the Presence of God, the Shechinah so often mentioned in the Torah and discussed by the Rabbis. This is the implication when he says, "Whenever two or three come together ... there am I with them."
It is, however, more accurate to say Jesus implied that wherever He was present, God was present because Jesus claimed the Father/His Logos fully dwelled in Himself.
This Christology perfectly makes sense of Jesus's various descriptions of His interpersonal relationship to the Father:
"The Father is greater than I." (John 14:28.)
"I can do nothing by myself." (John 5:19.)
"The Father and I are one." (John 10:30.)
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3.)
Compare this to the opening of Revelation: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show unto his servants...." Rev. 1:1.
Hence, it is proper to say Jesus was DIVINE. Whenever we call on Jesus's name to be with us, Jesus is present which brings the Shechinah-presence of God to us, as the Father/His Logos indwells Jesus. This signifies that Jesus is so clearly interconnected with God that Jesus -- a true Divine Man - continues to miraculously and daily operate as one with the Father, and thereby abides with us as our shepherd and pastor.
Jesus As The Son of Man - Meaning A True Human Being
Yet, as Daniel's prophecy requires, this Divine Jesus upon Ascension remains a true man in heaven, and thus can fulfill the prophecy of Daniel that God will eternally give this Divine Jesus -- the Son of Man (understood as a 'future human') indwelled by the Word/Father --- all the kingdoms of the earth to rule and reign forever. Daniel 7: 13, 14.
Specifically, the Prophet Daniel speaks of a "son of man" -- which meaning represents a 'future human' -- who will be given all the kingdoms of the Earth by the "Ancient of Days":
13 In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man [Heb. kibar anash], coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13-14 NIV)
God gives His authority to the Son of Man forever to rule over "all peoples, nations and men." The Ancient of Days even implicitly permits "worship" at the feet of this Son of Man by humanity as its king (not as God), according to Daniel. (Dan. 7:14.)
Worship of King is Equally Valid as Worship To God
Incidentally, "worship" in the Original Testament is used properly to refer to what we call homage as one gives a human king, even though the same word is used to reflect worship of God. We read in1 Chron. 29:20: "And David said to all the congregation, now bless Yahweh your God. And all the congregation blessed Yahweh, the God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped Yahweh and the king." (KJV, 'worshipped; YLT, 'obeisance;YLT, Jehovah = Yahweh). Yet obviously, you can only worship the king as king, and not as God.
Son of Man Coming on Clouds Prophesied With Shekinah Glory Present
Continuing with our main point, Jesus prophesies that He Himself will fulfill this "Son of Man" prophecy in Daniel. Jesus in Matthew 24:30 calls Himself the "Son of Man" and invokes the words of Daniel to apply to Himself in a future coming back to Earth:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
This reference to "clouds of heaven" and "glory" is another reference to the Shechinah presence in Jesus -- this time in the "Son of Man" prophecy. Just as a cloud at the temple held the Shechinah presence, clouds will do so when Jesus returns. As Jonathan Edwards (1703-1728), a famous American preacher of Reformed persuasion, in his commentary on Daniel 7:13-14 explains:
Here both Christ's humanity and divinity are signified: his humanity, in that it is said, "One like the Son of man;" and his divinity, in that he came with the "clouds of heaven." Appearing with bright clouds, or with the Shechinah, is a token of divinity, for this is often in Scripture called the glory of the Lord, and sometimes the cloud of glory. (Works of Jonathan Edwards (Ball: 1839) at 769.)
And notice that by Jesus claiming to be the Son of Man in Matt. 24:30, Jesus refutes any notion of docetism, contrary to what Paul taught. Jesus did not merely appear as a man but was somehow not truly a man. Jesus was indeed a man of true human flesh, and thus could fulfill the "Son of Man" prophecy in Daniel 7:13-14. As a true human, Jesus truly suffered and was truly tempted at the Cross not to go through with it. This made His death, and the blood poured out thereby, have the ability to serve as the blood from an innocent lamb so as to pay for our sins.
In sum, Jesus clearly claimed to be a "man" (the Son of Man to be precise) but also was Divine -- fully indwelled by the Father and His Logos. "The Logos became flesh." (John 1:14.) To a human soul so utterly filled by the Father and His Logos, we too with Thomas would correctly exclaim: "My Lord and My God" upon seing the resurrected Jesus. (John 20:28.) When Peter spoke the words of Satan, Jesus said "Get behind me Satan." (Matt 16:23.) In the same way, when we see Jesus the Man constantly speaking the Father's Logos -- the Word/God -- we likewise can exclaim of Jesus "My God." It is a reference to what is dwelling in Jesus and speaking through Him.
Also, because Jesus embodies literally the Logos, we are taught we can call him, that is, use the name, Word of God for Jesus. See Revelation 19:13. A name in Judaism does not reflect actual being, but a name only. Thus, that is not justification to say Jesus IS the Logos, when we know John defines the Logos by itself Is God in John chapter one. Hence Word of God in Revelation as a name of Jesus distinguishes Jesus from the Logos as a being by itself. John in Revelation does not say Jesus is the Logos, but instead says He has the NAME / is called Word (Logos) of God. This was the role of the Deut 18:18-19 special prophet known as The Prophet. Thus, we can never say Jesus is the logos, but we can call him the Logos of God -- a very big difference .
Cannot Be God Who Only Appears To Be A Man
Our salvation and Jesus's fulfillment of the Son of Man prophecy depends on Jesus being a man indwelled fully by God rather than being God who only appears to be a man / appears to have human flesh.
Apostle John says the latter notion that Jesus was not of true human flesh is the message of the Anti-Christ (i.e., Satan). To repeat, Apostle John said: "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in human flesh [Greek, sarx, human flesh], have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist." (2 John 1:7.)
The struggle in 207 A.D. by the early church was against Marcion who insisted Jesus was God, and thus Jesus, Marcion argued, could not become a true man and only appeared to be human. Marcion reasoned that God cannot be tainted by any connection to inherently sinful human flesh. Thus, Marcion reasoned that Jesus, because He was God, just appeared to be a man. Tertullian, a major church leader, battled vigorously against this, insisting that "Christ really became a man." (Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ at this link.)
Marcion went further. He claimed Jesus, being God, could not have suffered in the flesh because His flesh was thereby a mere phantom. Tertullian responded with alarm: "Have you, then, cut away all sufferings from Christ, on the ground that, as a mere phantom, He was incapable of experiencing them?" (Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ, ch. 5.) Tertullian mocked Marcion by saying:
O thou most infamous of men, who acquittest of all guilt the murderers of God! For nothing did Christ suffer from them, if He really suffered nothing at all. Id., Ch. 5.
Tertullian said the fact of Jesus's truly being a man is why Jesus is called the Son of Man. It conveyed the fact that Jesus was a true man: "Else why is Christ man and the Son of man, if he has nothing of man, and nothing from man?" (Tertullian, id, at Ch. 5.)
God Prophesied He Would Come Hidden Inside A Man To Rule Us As King Through A Man
In Isaiah 45: 14-16, God prophesies of a human who will be king over many nations, and people will recognize that God is in this human king, and God hid himself in this manner:
and they will bow down to you.
They will make supplication to you:
‘Surely God is in you; and there is no one else.
There is no other god.
15 Most certainly you are a God who hidden yourself,
God of Israel, the Savior.’”
16 They will be disappointed,
yes, confounded, all of them.
Those who are makers of idols will go into confusion together. (WEB)
Now in light of Jesus' coming, and Jesus' said "the father dwells in me" in John 14:10, this prophecy, and Jesus' explanation, are a perfect fit.
But Then Roman Catholic Church Leaders in 300s Say Jesus Only Appeared To Be A Man
However, beginning in the 300s, leading Roman Catholic Church (RCC) voices lost hold on this original orthodox view expressed by Apostle John and Tertullian. The RCC got confused by Paul and apparently by Marcion. The Roman Catholic Church now thought Jesus only appeared to be a man. These leading commentators denied Jesus had a human nature and thus denied Jesus could actually suffer pain.
First, St. Hilary of Poitiers (300-368) in On The Trinity said "No more in the passion did the flesh of Christ feel pain than if you were to wound fire or water with a sword." (Hilary, De Trinitate Bk. 9: 56 and Bk. 10:23. See this link.)
Second, Jerome from the 400s commented on Matthew 26 that it was ridiculous to think Jesus "was afraid of death" or "spoke in terror about the passion" (Jerome, In Matthaeum Bk. IV ch. 26:39.)
Finally, Aquinas in the 1200s persisted with this notion that Jesus's flesh was not truly human: "It would seem that there was no true sensible pain in Christ." (Summa Theologia (2007) Vol. IV at 2102.) Aquinas argued from Hillary and the Virgin Birth that Jesus's flesh was "under no necessity of suffering pain." Id.
Jerome, Hillary and Aquinas were infected by the message of what John said came from the Anti-Christ (i.e., Satan). These otherwise brilliant scholars did not agree Jesus came in "human flesh." They thought His body only appeared to have human flesh, but was somehow a spiritually divine flesh that was impervious to pain or fear.
So anyone can see that we trip ourselves up when we rely upon voices other than that of Jesus to interpret Jesus's true nature. This especially applies to the words from Paul -- a most confused and baffling voice.
Henceforth, I recommend we as Christians dispense with any depiction of Jesus's nature by using descriptions that are not from Jesus Himself. We need to focus only on words actually used by Jesus. Messianic passages from the OT are also important, but who better than Jesus to know what is His relationship to Divinity? This also means we need to eliminate any non-biblical terms to formulate our Christology. These human traditions only tend to skew our thinking.
Tolerance of Differences of Opinion on Christ's Divinity
What if someone will not accept my interpretation that Jesus is Divine by the indwelling full presence of the Father and His Logos of which Jesus expressly spoke? I cannot say that this means they are lost. The only two things we must believe about Jesus's nature are that He was "Messiah and the Son of God." This is what Peter confessed, and what Jesus then said was the confession upon which Jesus would build His church/community. (Matt. 16:18.) John's Gospel ends with a similar message -- John saying the Gospel's entire purpose was so we knew Jesus was the "Messiah and the Son of God." (John 20:31.) Nothing more and nothing less.
For the same reason, if another Christian believes I do not affirm Jesus's Divinity as they would express it, I trust they would see tolerance in this area is appropriate for the very same reasons I tolerate those who do not see things precisely as I do.
The Only Dangerous Christological Views
The only confession about Christ's nature necessary from any Christian is that Jesus is Messiah and Son of God.
Beyond that, we are safe as long as we do not claim
(a) Jesus only appeared to come in human flesh but it was not truly human flesh (as Paul erroneously teaches in Phil. 2:6- 2:7) -- which Apostle John says is the message of Satan / Anti-Christ -- 2 John 1:7;
(b) that someone other than God was supposedly creator (as Paul teaches in Col. 1:15-1:16) in contravention of Isaiah 44:24, but it is OK to say the Logos manifested / dwelling in Jesus was the Creator;
(c) that Jesus supposedly was not fully indwelled by the Father/the Logos, but allegedly emptied Himself of those aspects which otherwise would give Him divinity while on Earth (as Paul erroneously teaches in Philippians 2:7) in contravention of John 1:1, 14; and John 14:10;
(d) that Jesus's kingdom over all humanity is supposedly not eternal but instead Jesus will turn it over to God at that point forever (as Paul erroneously teaches in 1 Cor.15:24; 1 Cor. 15:28) -- in contravention of Daniel 7:13-14 (Son of Man will receive an "everlasting kingdom");
(e) that Jesus in His death supposedly symbolized the death of the God of Sinai -- the husband of Israel -- and thus imply that Jesus in His resurrected state represented a different God -- a God whom we can wed without the Law which was dissolved supposedly by the death of the alleged first God, as Paul erroneously teaches or implies in Rom. 7:1-6. For discussion, see Paul Says God of Sinai is Dead.
Monotheism With "Son of Man" View of Jesus Was Maintained Until 381 AD in Early Church
The early church ca. 180- 200 insisted it was still adamantly monotheistic, and Jesus was the Son of Man (a title denoting only humanity), and the Father was distinct, and the latter was the one and only God. Irenaeus in 180 AD wrote Against Heresies, and insisted heretics
"do not retain a steadfast faith in one God, the Father Almighty, and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Against Heresies, 1.3.6 in the Roman Catholic New Advent translation.)
In Constitution of the Apostles ca. 200 AD, we read:
Daniel describeth [Jesus] as Son of Man coming to the Father, and receiving all judgment and honor from him, and as the stone cut out of the' mountain without hands, and becoming a great mountain, and filling the whole earth, dashing to pieces the many governments of the smaller countries, and the polytheism of the gods ; but preaching the one God.... (Irah Chase, The work claiming to be the Constitution of the Apostles at 128.)
Tertullian, the first doctrinal expounder of a "trinity" ca. 205 AD had a similar view that Jesus was the Son indwelled by God, but was distinctly not God by Himself / apart from the indwelling of the Father. Tertullian's distinct categories are clear:
[There is one rule of faith only, and it admits of no alteration] "that which teaches us to believe in one God almighty, the Maker of the World, and His Son Jesus Christ." (John Henry Newman, Tracts for the times (Rivington: 1839) Volume 4 at 109 (a modern trinitarian is quoting this to support his view of multiple persons in a Godhead, but that is opposite of what Tertullian is actually saying).
Tertullian clearly says there is God and then there is His Son. They are not the same although they might operate together. (Tertullian elsewhere describes this as an indwelling.)
Heretical Trinity of Valentinus That Tertullian Battled Provides Context
No doubt this is why Tertullian condemned as heresy within the church the teaching of a "trinity of man" -- derived, he said, from Plato. (Plato's trinity had 2 inferior deities known as Aeons to a father deity.) Tertullian wrote in Prescriptions against Heretics 7:3:
"Indeed heresies are themselves instigated by philosophy. From this source came the Aeons, and I know not what infinite forms, and the trinity of man in the system of Valentinus, who was of Plato's school."
"Valentinus professed to have derived his ideas from Theodas or Theudas, a disciple of St. Paul." Catholic Encyclopedia. See "Valentinus, Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic," cogwriter.
Valentinus taught Jesus was an Aeon, and did not truly come in human flesh. He only appeared to have human flesh. Id. Valentinus is among those who said Jesus "appeared in mere seeming" and "did appear as a man, when He was not a man...." (Irenaeus, Adversus Haeres Book V, Chapter 1, Verse 2.)
According to the words of Irenaeus ca. 180 AD, Valentinus "developed a triune version of the Godhead similar to what Plato had developed earlier." In this, the Bythus (Father) "determined to send forth from himself the beginning of all things, and deposited this production (which he had resolved to bring forth) in his contemporary Sige [i.e., a female deity], even as seed is deposited in the womb. She then, having received this seed, and becoming pregnant, gave birth to Nous, who was both similar and equal to him who had produced him, and was alone capable of comprehending his father's greatness....This Nous they call also Monogenes i.e., "one and only of its kind"...." Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book 1, Chapter 1, Verses 1-3.)
A bishop named Marcellus of Ancyra wrote around the middle of the fourth century about Valentinus' trinity doctrine that turned Father, Son and Holy Spirit into a pagan trinity, adopted, as Ireneaus warned in 180 AD, from Plato -- the idea of 2 inferior deities serving a father deity:
"Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God...These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him 'On the Three Natures'. For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato." (Source: Logan A. "Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), 'On the Holy Church': Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9," Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p. 95 ).
Tertullian's Correct Formulation of Trinity Doctrine Circa 205 AD
Tertullian envisioned a trinity of the Father and His Eternal Word manifested in His Son who was not eternal (and hence not God by Himself apart from the indwelling of the Father). That simple. Jesus of the flesh was a man at all times indwelled by the Word. The Roman Catholic Church admits this but then tries to obscure Tertullian was saying 2 substances -- one divine and one human -- were indwelled in Jesus. It does not identify the 'two substances,' so that a believer in a post 381AD version of the trinity might think Tertullian shares that distinctly different and heretical doctrine of 381 AD. Listen to how the Roman Catholic Church's explains Tertullian's quite accurate view:
He says that from all eternity there was reason (ratio) in God, and in reason the Word (Sermo), not distinct from God, but in vulva cordis. For the purpose of creation the Word received a perfect birth as Son. There was a time when there was no Son and no sin, when God was neither Father nor Judge. In his Christology Tertullian has had no Greek influence, and is purely Roman. Like most Latin Fathers he speaks not of two Natures but of two Substances in one Person, united without confusion, and distinct in their operations (Chapman J. Transcribed by Lucy Tobin. Tertullian. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).
As you can see, this is worded to make the reader presuppose that Tertullian shared the views of the 381 AD trinity about 2 substances integrated in one God-head, but clearly Tertullian did not. If the Son is not eternal, but the Word is, as Tertullian teaches, and the Word filled Jesus, then you have a correct trinity. They were not both eternally God, combined as substance from eternity. Tertullian did not share the belief in the post-381 AD Trinity of the RCC (now part of Protestantism) which held the Word was Jesus before His birth, and Jesus was eternal and God always, and the Holy Spirit is the third person of a trinity. All those 381 AD changes conformed to Plato's trinity just as Valentinus taught, and were polytheistic and idolatrous while Tertullian's trinity was Biblical and sound.
In fact, Tertullian refuted his version of the trinity was claiming Jesus was God by proving Scripture speaks of Jesus as a distinct being from God:
The simple...are constantly throwing out against us that we are preachers of two gods and three gods...
Now, from this one passage of the epistle of the inspired apostle, we have been already able to show that the Father and the Son are two separate Persons, not only by the mention of their separate names as Father and the Son, but also by the fact that He who delivered up the kingdom, and He to whom it is delivered up -- and in like manner, He who subjected (all things), and He to whom they were subjected -- must necessarily be two different Beings. But since they will have the Two to be but One, so that the Father shall be deemed to be the same as the Son...For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation and portion of the whole, as He Himself acknowledges: "My Father is greater than I." In the Psalm His inferiority is described as being "a little lower than the angels." Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son (Tertullian. Against Praxeas, Chapters 3,4-5,9. Translated by Peter Holmes. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
Do not be confused because the RCC later invented the idea you can have three "persons" in one being / Godhead. Tertullian knew of no such semantical contradiction. In this quote, Tertullian believed two separate persons meant two separate beings, and the two can never be one being. Thus, Tertullian was refuting any notion that his version of a trinity implied two gods or three gods because he acknowedged Jesus was a distinct person and being from the Father who alone is God. Tertullian insisted that because he was saying Jesus is a distinct being and person from the Father in his scheme of a trinity, then Tertullian cannot be accused of saying more than one God exists. Jesus' status is solely as Son by derivation, which Tertullian says is clearly what Jesus means when He says "The Father is greater than I."
Valentinus' Pagan Vision Is Adopted 381 AD By Roman Church To Refute Monotheism
In the end, Valentinus' vision of a trinity that changed Jesus into a non-flesh human Aeon as God triumphed. For it was in 381 AD that the Trinity doctrine was reformulated completely unlike what Tertullian had said (i.e., that Jesus was a MAN indwelled by God's Word) into three distinct persons/beings in one 'godhead' just as Valentinus had taught.
When this version of the Trinity was adopted ca. 381 at the Council of Constantinople (at Emperor Theodosius's insistence (see Freeman, 381 AD), the main proponent, Gregory of Nyssa, explicitly said it was adopted to prove the heresy of monotheism.
Gregory explained this in the first chapter of his book The Great Catechism, and according to Schaff, teaches the "absurdity of Jewish monotheism." (A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (edited by Philip Schaff, Henry Wace)(1893) at 471.) Gregory in the text alludes to monotheism as "the beliefs of the Jews" and then castigates that view as an "absurdity." Id., at 476 col. 2. Schaff explains Gregory's text in a footnote snipes at monotheism again when Gregory says in effect "an argument against Dualism would only confirm the Jew in his stern monotheism." (Id., at 474 fn. 7.)
In chapter 3, Gregory acknowledged that "neither does the statement [of the Trinity] harmonize with the Jewish dogma" nor endorse multiple gods as it proposes a 'unity' instead. Yet, Gregory continues by saying that as a result of the Trinity doctrine as he formulated it, Jewish monotheism is ended: "the Jewish dogma is destroyed by the acceptance of the Word and by belief in the Spirit." He pointedly said "the number of the triad [i.e., three] [is] a remedy in the case of those who are in error as to the One." (Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, ch. 3.)
Why this change in 381 AD? Under Roman government influence, the Roman Catholic Church was explicitly endorsing that God is more than one being (who operates as a unity) so as to completely divorce Christianity from Judaism. This was partly to stop observance of Sabbath on Saturday and move it to Sunday, as well as move Passover to the month of the goddess Osiris/Eostre which is how we got the name "Easter" for the time we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. From Constantine forward, Rome's pagan rulers were sheep in wolves' clothing, trying to paganize the worship and beliefs of Christians to match their worship of and belief in pagan deities.
For more details, see Council of Nicea. On Constantine's true motives and intentions, see our link Constantine. On the change of Sabbath to Sunday, see our link on Sabbath. For the true origin of Easter, see our discussion on the "Easter Error" from an appendix to Jesus' Words Only.
Roman Catholic Church Admits Its Trinity Is Shrouded in Darkness Even If You Have Read The Bible
Now one can understand why Roman Catholicism tries to shroud the post-381 AD doctrine of the trinity in darkness and empty spiritualizing. For any attention paid to the facts exposes it for what it is: idolotary and polytheism from paganism given Christian garb, replacing an accurate trinity as Tertullian in 205 AD taught. Here is the 1912 RCC explanation of the trinity of the post-381 AD kind:
In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together....The Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term mystery in theology. It lays down that a mystery is a truth which we are not merely incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation, but which, even when revealed, remains “hidden by the veil of faith and enveloped, so to speak, by a kind of darkness” (Const., "De fide. cath.", iv). (Joyce G.H. The Blessed Trinity. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).
I love this quote! The version of the trinity doctrine designed in 381 AD to destroy monotheism is hidden, the RCC admits, in a "kind of darkness." That says it all!
Protestants Agree Too
While Tertullian's Trinity makes perfect sense -- there is God the Father who sends His Word to indwell His Son Jesus -- no one can make sense of the 381 AD Trinity -- that there is "God-the-Father," God-the-Son" and "God-the-Holy Spirit" -- each of distinct mind and spirit -- each a person, and still be "one." The impenatrable nature of this 381 AD trinity which we all have been taught since children is confessed by Protestants too:
...the Trinity...has proven impossible for Christians actually to understand the doctrine or to explain it in any comprehensive way (Brown HOJ, Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988) at128).
But remember it is more than this. Unlike Tertullian's trinity doctrine, the 381 AD doctrine expressly countenances worshipping a man as God instead of giving homage to Jesus as a king appointed over us by God and who is indwelled by God. Worshipping a Man as if He himself were God is idolatry in violation of the second commandment. And also saying three persons can share God-hood in a God-head is pure polytheism, and thus violates the first commandment.
Wikipedia records that most of Christendom came later to at least view the "Person of Christ" correctly (if no embellishment is added). The Wikipedia, in an article entitled "Person of Christ" explains the doctrine of hypostatic union.
The First Council of Ephesus in 431 debated a number of views regarding the Person of Christ. The council was called by Cyril of Alexandria at the request of Pope Celestine I who was unhappy with Nestorius, who had previously been a preacher in Antioch, and his view that regarded the Person of Christ as having a disjoint human nature from his divine nature. At the same gathering the council also debated the doctrines of Monophysitism (i.e. the Person of Christ has only one nature) versus Miaphysitism (i.e. the Person of Christ has two natures united as one). The council rejected Nestorianism (i.e. the Person of Christ having two disjoint natures) and adopted the Hypostatic union i.e. two co-existing natures in the Person of Christ. The language used in the 431 declaration was further refined at the 451 Council of Chalcedon.
The Council of Chalcedon endorsed the Hypostatic union, stating that the human and divine natures of the Person of Christ co-exist, yet each is distinct and complete. However, the Chalcedon creed was not accepted by all Christians. To date, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and Reformed adhere to the Chalcedonian creed, while many branches of Eastern Christianity such as Syrian Orthodoxy, Assyrian Church, Coptic Orthodoxy, Ethiopian Orthodoxy, and Armenian Apostolicism reject it
An article entitled "Are Christians Committing Idolatry and Violating the 2d Commandment in Worshipping Jesus" the author correctly defends that Christians can worship the God-Yawheh as God who was dwelling / tabernacling in Jesus, and this does not make us worship a human as God rather than as a king. The author writes:
The overall concept is that God dwelt among us and manifested His glory to us in the person and life of Jesus. The Son of God Jesus had a human body, but Christians do not worship His body in any way. His flesh was like the curtains of the Tabernacle or like the stone walls of the Temple. Israelites did not worship the cloth of the curtains, nor the stone and timber of the Temple--they worshipped the God who 'dwelt' inside those.
When GOD first appeared to Moses in the burning bush, the locale was made sacred by the temporary presence of God, but Moses would not have worshipped the leaves or branches of the bush!
So also Jesus is described as a 'temple' and as the 'tabernacle' and the 'dwelling' of God's presence and glory:
Study Notes: Passages That Distinguish Jesus From God
In Revelation 1:1 (KJV), we read:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
As Coffeehouse Apologetics says, "notice that Revelation 1:1 introduces the book of Revelation as something that God gave to Jesus to give to his servants."
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Rev.3:21.
Email with Trinitarian Opponents
John February 20, 2016
... You also need to take a harder look at the Old Testament in Isaiah chapters 41,and 43 for they teach that the Saviour is God,There is only one savior and in the New Testament it is stated that His name is JESUS..Jesus is God...He was worshipped(and never refuted worship given to Him) He forgave sins,He is Holy,He knew the thoughts of men,He controlled the weather at times...ONLY GOD HAS THESE ATTRIBUTES...I'll pray for you that you will see the truth of His word and stop spreading untruths leading many astray.....
John March 1, 2016
Thx for the reply.at this point in our debate I would like an answer to a simple question..Do you believe that Jesus is God? (Please look at the scripture references I sent you before) and please provide Biblical references to your answer.Thanks!
My Reply March 2, 2016
I believe whatever Jesus taught on the subject such as in his Prayer to the Father in John 17:3 King James Version (KJV):
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent
Jesus also said the Father "dwelled" in himself. In John 14:10, Jesus says the "Father in me...dwells in me."
At the same time, Jesus said:
"The Father is greater than I." (John 14:28.) "I can do nothing by myself." (John 5:19.)
Hence, Jesus attributed His miracles to the Father, to the "only true God" as Jesus called him in John 17:3.
Thus, Jesus was DIVINE because the Father dwelled in Himself.
I detail the proofs at
http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/topicindex/189-correct-christology.html I deal with the "worship" proof you offer that the Bible shows you can worship the king -- using the same word to worship God. Yet, because the Father dwelled in Jesus, and if you knew that, and you worshipped the Father in Jesus that would be proper too.
You cited all of Isaiah 41. I suppose you mean the verse where "first and last" is a title God uses, and thus you link that to Jesus' use of the same title in Revelation, and this many offer as proof as Jesus is God the Son apart from the indwelling of the Father. However, that is not correct. http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/component/content/article/9-bible/689-alpha-a-omega-argument-for-trinitarianism.html
You also cited Isaiah 43, and I suppose you mean verse 3. God says he is Israel's Savior. God calls many people in the book of Judges "savior"... So many agents of God are called "Savior," but God the Father is the principal who these agents obey to become savior...meaning agent of salvation. So that title of our Lord as Savior does not mean Jesus is thus God the Son apart from the Father.
Blessings of Yah
It's interesting you call Jesus "divine" since the Bible clearly teaches there is only one God.A clear contradiction.Also your comments about the "Saviors" mentioned in Judges doesn't line up with the teachings of "Savior" in Isaiah.. They aren't God nor can they save the soul as God can..He is the ONLY savior and ONLY He can save one's soul..hence Jesus being the Savior because He is the perfect sinless and Holy Lamb of God..and fits all the requirements and fills all the qualifications of being Emmanuel.. Which being interpreted is GOD with us...
My Reply 3/6/2016
I explain how Jesus is Divine (a term that applied to a place where the Father dwelled, such as at the Temple). It does not mean the Temple is Deity. Thus there is no contradiction with the Shema - God is One to say the Temple is Divine nor that Jesus is Divine. I explained this in the article I gave you -- Correct Christology. http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/topicindex/189-correct-christology.html
As to the usage of Savior in Isaiah, see 45:14-6. I discuss this in my article that the people will bow down to the Messiah (homage to a king-like person) and supplicate (ask favor) from him and say "God is in you." And then it says of God that you have "hidden yourself, God of Israel, the Savior" in this man, alluding to the Messiah. Please read my article where I discuss this in detail.
Now in light of Jesus' coming, and Jesus' said "the father dwells in me" in John 14:10, this prophecy in Isaiah, and Jesus' explanation, are a perfect fit. The name Emmanuel likewise fits -- it means the same thing -- God dwells with us. This is exactly what Jesus explains in John 14:10.
As to Savior in Isaiah versus elsewhere, one must always look at all the usages of the same word elsewhere in the Holy Scripture. So if you are saying that God is Savior, and Jesus is savior, and you deduce this means Jesus necessarily is God, then by the same reasoning the many saviors listed in Judges have to be God. Hence, we know savior does not necessarily mean one is God. Usage throughout the Bible of the same term is important to test your position's validity. Thus, while it is true that the judges are not God, how are they and God both called saviors? Because the judges were agents of God, and thus they were called by God saviors. Of course, God the Father was the ultimate savior in all cases.
This necessarily must be true of Jesus as Jesus is not claiming to be God. Jesus says in a prayer to the Father: " And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3 ... http://biblehub.com/john/17-3.htm
In fact, Jesus -- completely in accord with John 17:3 (which says the "Father" is "the only true God") -- clearly disavows He is God in the identical language in Mark and Luke: "Why call me Good? No one is good but God alone." Mark 10:18 http://biblehub.com/mark/10-18.htm Luke 18:19 http://biblehub.com/luke/18-19.htm [Jesus was being humble about his perfect goodness compared to the infinite goodness of God.]
So Jesus is DIVINE, but not himself God. Rather, as Jesus said, the Father dwelled in Jesus, just like at the temple. Adam Clarke, a famous commentator, put forth this explanation, and many later realized everything fits when we take Jesus' words literally that "the father dwells in me." (John 14:10.)
Remember, if you put Jesus as equal to the Father whom Jesus clearly says "is the only true God" in John 17:3, you thus violate Jesus' words which said the opposite is true - "the Father is greater than I" in John 14:28. If you do so, such veneration of Jesus goes too far into idolatry - putting another as equal to God before the one Jesus says is "the only true God" -- the Father in John 17:3. See http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/topicindex/208-exaltation-that-turns-idolatrous.html
I thus urge you Brother to just follow what Jesus teaches you about his true nature such as "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28) and "I can do nothing by myself" (John 5:19)-- that does not put your soul in mortal danger of idolatry.