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Discovering the Deity of Jesus

By Rob Vanya
Copyright Pentecostal Publishing House. Used by permission.

Chapter 1: He was an enigma

    Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. (John 10:24)
    Then said they unto Him, Who art thou? (John 8:25)
    We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence He is? (John 9:29)
    Then said the Jews unto Him...whom makest thou thyself? (John 8:53)
    Jesus answered and said unto them...ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. (John 8:14)
    And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but He deceiveth the people.
    Howbeit we know this man whence He is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence He is.
    Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
    Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
    So there was a division among the people because of Him. (John 7:12, 27, 41-43)
    And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He saith, I came down from heaven? (John 6:42)
    And it came to pass, as He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him: and He asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
    They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
    He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (Luke 9:18-20)
    And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? (Luke 9:9)
    When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;
And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. (John 19:8, 9)
    Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet has thou not known me, Philip? (John 14:9)


    Jesus Christ baffled the people of His day. The scriptures listed above plainly show that most of those associated with Him during His earthly ministry were confused about His identity.
    The supposed religious leaders of that period, the Pharisees, asked Him "who are you?" Pilate and Herod, political leaders, asked the same question.
    Even some of His closest companions were unsure about His identity. That's why the Lord incredulously asked, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?"
    Philip had been closely associated with the Lord for about three years when Jesus directed this question to him.
    Philip had seen the Lord perform all sorts of astounding miracles. Philip had himself cast out demons, healed the sick and perhaps even raised the dead in the name of Jesus. (Mat. 10:7, 8)
    Yet Jesus Himself plainly said Philip was completely in the dark concerning His true identity.
    Those associated with Jesus during His earthly ministry had good reason to be baffled. He was often ambiguous. He was unpredictable, unusual, unorthodox, mysterious and just downright strange.
    They marvelled at him -- and no wonder. No one ever knew where He would appear next or what sort of astounding miracle He would perform.
    Yet, He never sought fame, fortune nor recognition. In fact, He often strictly commanded people He had healed to keep their miracle a secret.
    To say the least, He was an enigma.
    No one could figure Him out. All sorts of rumors circulated about Him.
    Some called Him a good man.  Others called Him a deceiver and a blasphemer.
    Some said He was the long-awaited Messiah, yet even those who believed He was the Messiah probably did not understand what that meant.
    There are three primary reasons the people of His day did not recognize the identity of Jesus Christ:

  1. 1. He hid His true identity. He was intentionally vague and ambiguous.He camouflaged His true identity in parables, which literally means riddles, dark sayings and hidden speeches. Hiding His true identity was an effective way of testing a person's sincerity.
  2. 2. Because of past sins and rebellion, the Hebrew race was cursed with spiritual blindness. This is revealed by the Lord's words, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." (Mat. 4:16) Their spiritual blindness is further revealed by His words in Matthew 13:13-15: "Therefore speak I unto them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross (which means grown calloused), and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed." It was as though a veil had been placed over their eyes and they did not recognize Him because of their spiritual ignorance in much the same way a person with color blindness lacks the ability to perceive certain colors.
  3. 3. They judged according to the flesh. They had only a physical, superficial concept of Jesus. They thought He was merely a man -- a carpenter's son from the insignificant town of Nazareth. That's why they murmured at Him when He said "I am the bread which came down from heaven." In confusion they asked, "Is not this Jesus, the son Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that He saith, I came down from heaven?" Jesus tried to show them that their physical, superficial concept of Him was wrong. He said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement." He said that the reason they could not tell from whence He came was because they judged "after the flesh." It is a mistake, then, to limit the Lord Jesus to mere humanity. As the old saying goes, there is more to Him than meets the eye.
    Unfortunately, the confusion about the identity of the Lord Jesus has continued through the years.
    All sorts of misleading , unsubstantiated and even blatantly false and unscriptural statements have been made and printed about His identity.
    Many people today fail to recognize Him for the same three reasons that so many people failed to recognize Him during His earthly ministry: 1. The hidden nature of His identity, 2. Spiritual blindness and 3. Judging according to the flesh only.
    Because the Lord's identity is not obvious in scripture but must be painstakingly unravelled through prayer and study; because man is spiritually dense by nature; and because man has the natural tendency to judge strictly after the flesh, people have maintained erroneous concepts about the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ for centuries.
    One common misleading and erroneous concept concerning His identity has been the doctrine commonly called "the Trinity."
    According to this doctrine, God has eternally existed in three "separate and distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost."
According to Trinity doctrine, God the Father (the first person) sent His Son Jesus (the second person) down from heaven to die for the sins of the world.
    In the next section we will take a closer look at "Trinity" doctrine (which is something that apparently many who embrace this doctrine never bother to do) to determine whether or not it is scripturally valid.
 
 

Chapter 2: "You need to pray about this."


    To begin our investigation into the doctrine called the Trinity, allow me to relate some true incidents from my own life.
    In the summer of 1976, during a non-denominational home Bible study, I was filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues as described in Acts 2:4.
    Because of this wonderful experience, the Lord Jesus became very real and precious to me.
    The baptism of the Holy Ghost also produced within me a strong hunger for the word of God. The Bible literally became a "new book" to me. For the first time in my life I began to actually understand the Bible, because I had the Spirit of God within explaining it to me.
    My wife and I began attending a non-denominational "fellowship" (they avoided the term "church"). We were both very involved in outreach work and were growing spiritually and we developed close relationships with the people of the "fellowship."
    Neither one of us had very much biblical training while growing up, so we had not been religiously brainwashed with any particular denominational teachings. In other words, we had no preconceived ideas about basic Bible doctrines.
    Consequently, I would not just blindly accept every minister's teachings like an innocent, unsuspecting child.
    I was almost 30 years old and had already learned through painful experience that not all people are trustworthy or credible.
Also, as a professional journalist I had been thoroughly trained to "be objective." The cardinal sin of journalism is "misinformation." Thus, I was accustomed to in-depth research and investigation and considering all angles before forming any conclusions.
    So, when I first heard the pastor of our small "fellowship" teaching about different persons in the Godhead, I did not just swallow it "hook, line and sinker," as the old saying goes.
    One day the pastor was teaching from John chapter 10. He quoted verse 30 verbatim where Jesus says "I and my father are one."
    "Now this does not mean that Jesus and the Father are just one singular being," the pastor said. "This really means that the two persons of the triune Godhead are one in purpose -- in much the same way a husband and wife are one in purpose in regards to taking care of their family, for example."
    The instant the pastor made this statement I felt a faint uneasiness deep inside me. Something about it just did not sound right.
    I now know why I had that uneasy feeling and why the pastor's interpretation of John 10:30 sounded so "fishy." The Holy Ghost in me was grieved. He is the Spirit of Truth and He was telling me "That is a misleading statement. You need to pray about this and do some personal investigation."
    So, I began to take a closer look at the doctrine of the Trinity. From journalistic training I knew it was unwise to rely solely on one person's viewpoints and so I began to gather information from various sources.
    I asked the pastor if he could explain the Trinity to me. I was in no way belligerent or contentious. I was sincere and he could tell. Yet, he seemed reluctant to discuss the subject. In fact, he did not really offer any explanation at all, but instead loaned me a small booklet entitled The Godhead Made Plain.
    I studied the booklet carefully, but found that it was basically a summary of what the pastor had occasionally taught from the pulpit, and so it really    didn't help much.
    After a couple of weeks I continued to question him on the subject, but he still balked and hedged.
    "Didn't you read that book I loaned you?" he asked.
    "Yes sir," I answered. "I studied it carefully and looked up every scripture, but it sure leaves a lot of questions unanswered. It seems to me the author believes there are three Gods -- is that what you believe?"
    "I really don't know how to answer you," he said. "I thought the book gives a good explanation of the Trinity. I agree with the author's views. I cannot offer any better explanation."
    Since the pastor was unwilling (or perhaps unable) to elaborate on the subject, I began to pray that God would lead me as I began to discuss the subject of the Godhead with others.
    A short time later, I was visiting a friend who I had grown to respect for his scriptural knowledge and brought up the subject. Again, I couldn't help but notice that he seemed reluctant to talk about it.
    "You know, I have only been filled with the Spirit for a short while," I said to my friend. "No one has ever really explained the Trinity to me and I have really been confused by some statements about the Trinity I've heard."
    "Well, I don't know if I really understand it myself," he replied. "But, what are you confused about?"
    I decided I would get right to the point.
    "If I were to go to heaven today, would I see one person in the Godhead, two persons, or three persons?" I asked.
    He was silent for a good while and his troubled expression suggested to me that he wasn't sure how to answer.
    "I think you would see two," he answered. "God the Father and God the Son."
    "But, what about the Holy Ghost?" I asked.
Again, he was silent for quite some time. He picked up a nearby phone and began dialing.
    "I'm calling a minister friend of mine," he said. "Maybe he can help us."
My friend gave a brief account of our conversation to the minister and asked him if he had an answer to my question about how many persons we would see in heaven -- one, two or three.
    My friend covered the mouthpiece of the phone with one hand and said to me, "He says we will see three in one."
    "What does he mean by that?" I asked.
    "He says you could perhaps better understand it if you could picture three buckets -- two buckets fitting perfectly inside of the third bucket."
    "Oh, OK," I said.
    The minister told my friend he was busy and couldn't talk long. He recommended that we contact another minister, a Brother R.
    Brother R told my friend that we would see three separate persons in heaven: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.
 

Chapter 3: "All three of them cannot be right."

    Driving home after the visit with my friend the Lord began speaking to me with that still, small voice deep inside.
    "Now you know why I told you that you need to pray about this doctrine and do some personal investigation," He said. "You just heard three different men give you three entirely different opinions about the Trinity.
    "One said you would see two in heaven," the Lord said. "One said you would see three and one said you would see three in one, whatever that means. All three of them cannot be right."
    When I arrived home I went to my room and knelt down by the bed.
"God," I began praying in humility and simplicity, "I am asking you to show me the truth concerning this matter. These three men I just talked to definitely had discrepancies in their beliefs. I cannot afford to be deceived.    All three of them cannot be right. There is either one, two or three persons in the Godhead. Now I humbly ask you to show me the truth."
    During the next few weeks I fasted often and spent as much time as I could in private intercession and Bible study.
    One day while waiting in line at a grocery store, my attention was drawn to a certain book entitled Heaven and Hell  by Emanuel Swedenborg. I learned from the preface that Swedenborg was a controversial but highly respected Swedish theologian of the eighteenth century.
    I began to read the first chapter and was astounded. Swedenborg said that the primary prerequisite for entrance into heaven is knowing who the God of heaven is. He said that Jesus Christ alone was recognized as the sole God of heaven. He said that anyone believing in three separate persons in the Godhead would not be allowed into heaven. I bought the book, went home and began to study it. I found that some of Swedenborg's teachings were hard to understand and some of his teachings were even strange.
    But, something important came across loud and clear in Swedenborg's teaching: He sincerely loved God and he sincerely believed the doctrine of the Trinity was an erroneous doctrine based on carnal and faulty interpretation of scripture.
    Most of the rather large book was devoted to showing from the Bible how Jesus Christ alone is God the Father veiled in humanity.
    I discussed some of what I was reading in Swedenborg's book and the questions I had about the Trinity with another member of our "fellowship."
To my surprise he said he felt that Swedenborg was right. He said he did not believe there are three separate persons in the Godhead. I later learned this man grew up attending a church that openly opposed the doctrine of the Trinity and preached that Jesus Christ alone was God.
    He gave me a book entitled Buy the Truth and Sell it Not  by O.F. Fauss. I studied the book carefully and prayerfully, being particularly careful to look up every scripture and study it in context -- putting it in its proper setting and reading the scriptures before and after the ones used by the author.
    I found Fauss' book better documented and much more scripturally sound than The Godhead Made Plain.  Fauss showed how most of the scriptures commonly used to support the doctrine of the Trinity are lifted out of context and given interpretations that the writers of the Bible never intended.
    I also noticed that Fauss' book devoted much attention to water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. As I studied and prayed about this subject, the Lord began talking to me again in that still, small voice.
    He told me that if I would follow exactly the instructions given in Acts 2:38 and get baptized exclusively in the name of Jesus Christ, then He would begin to show me the truth concerning the Godhead.
 

Chapter 4: A closer look at the "Great Commission"

    During the next few days the impression to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ grew stronger and stronger. I had already been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost according to Matthew 28:19, so part of me could not understand why I should need to be rebaptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
    As I prayed, waited on God and continued to study the Bible, I began to see that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are not even names but are rather titles describing different aspects of God -- different ways in which He manifests Himself.
    I had never really looked too closely at Matthew 28:19, but now I noticed that the word "name" in the passage was singular, not plural.
    I also noticed that the tone  of the command Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 28:19 was general and not specific. He told them to make disciples of all nations, but did not give specific instructions about how to go about making disciples. He gave them no particular starting time or place for their mission.
    I began to see that Jesus never meant for Matthew 28:19 to be construed as the  Great Commission as many Christian denominations so dogmatically proclaimed. Rather, it became clear to me that Matthew 28:19 was to be compared with Mark, Luke and John's records of the Lord's last instructions to His disciples just prior to His ascension.
    So, I reexamined the Lord's last words as recorded by Mark, Luke and John. I noticed that Mark mentioned baptism as a mandatory part of the conversion experience, but he made no reference whatever to any name or formula to be used in baptism. Rather, Mark emphasized certain supernatural "signs" that were to "accompany" a newly converted Christian (the King James translation has it "follow," but the original Greek word is "accompany").
    I noticed that Luke, in his account of the Lord's last instructions, made no mention of water baptism or supernatural signs, but rather stressed how the apostles were to preach repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. Also, Luke was the only one that recorded a starting place for the apostles' evangelistic mission -- Jerusalem. Luke was the only one to record the Lord's specific instructions to "tarry in Jerusalem  until ye be endued (or clothed, or baptized) with power from on high."
    I noticed that John had nothing to say about a starting location, water baptism or accompanying signs, but rather emphasized the awesome responsibility and authority that Jesus entrusted to the apostles as the soon-to-be heralds of the sole plan of salvation for the world. In essence, the Lord transferred His divine authority as the One with the  words of eternal life (John 6:68) to a handful of rather fearful and cautious men.
    John 20:21 describes that transferal of authority and John 20:22 describes Him breathing the Holy Ghost on  them.
    (It is important to note that at that point He merely placed the Holy Ghost on  them, not in  them. This was a preparatory endowment of divine power to give them strength and courage so they could stay faithful to Him until they were completely filled with the Holy Ghost a short time later in the upper room at Pentecost. Jesus gave them this preliminary endowment because their faith was at a very low ebb. Remember, the disciples were afraid that the Jewish religious leaders would kill them as they had just done to Jesus. Read John 20:19).
    John 20:23 describes Jesus commissioning the apostles with the awesome authority of remitting and retaining sins. This, of course, did not mean that the apostles were invested with power to forgive or condemn anyone as God Almighty, but rather that they were soon to be entrusted with the sole salvation message that would make forgiveness of sins available to the world.
    Also, in John's account of Jesus' last moments (in the flesh) with the disciples, the Lord established Simon Peter's position of leadership among the disciples as the shepherd, or overseer of the flock of Jesus Christ (John 21:15-17). John was the only gospel writer to focus so much attention on Simon Peter's highly important role as leader of the embryonic church.
    Thus, my study of all four of the gospel writers' accounts of the Lord's last instructions to His apostles led to one inescapable conclusion: Matthew 28:19 was not to be considered the  Great Commission, but rather a part  of the Great Commission. Matthew 28:19 was to be interpreted in conjunction with  Mark, Luke and John's account of the Lord's last instructions.
    In short, I concluded that the Great Commission (if one chooses to call it that -- it is not a Biblical term) should properly consist of these passages of scripture: Mat. 28:19 & 20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:47-49 and John 20:21-23; 21:15-17.
    For the first time in my life the Lord began to reveal to me the harmony and continuity of the New Testament. Then, the Lord began to open my understanding to the book of Acts and it became clear that all the Great Commission scriptures pointed toward the book of Acts -- the only book that actually contains accounts of people hearing and obeying the apostles' gospel message.
    In Luke 24 He told them that the preaching of the gospel would begin at Jerusalem and would be "among all nations," but only after they had been endued with power from on high.
    The book of Acts opens with the disciples assembled in Jerusalem. Acts 2:4 says they were filled with the Holy Ghost (that's what the Lord meant when He said "endued with power from on high").
    When they were filled with the Holy Ghost, they spoke with other tongues as Mark predicted they would (Mk. 16:17). There soon gathered a crowd from "every nation under heaven," thus literally fulfilling the words of Luke 24:47 "among all nations."
    The stage was then set for the preaching of the gospel. All that was needed was someone to preach. And who do you suppose should step on the stage to open the door of salvation to that international crowd? None other than Simon Peter -- the very man who had only recently denied the Lord Jesus in public!
    The Lord showed me it was no mere coincident or happenstance that Simon Peter was opening the door of salvation to the world. In Matthew 16:18 & 19 and John 21:15-17 the Lord intimated that Simon Peter was to be the key figure and spokesman during the starting of the church.
    Luke is the only one to make any mention of the specific message that the disciples would preach. He said they would preach repentance and remission of sins in Jesus' name (Lk. 24:47).
    This was literally fulfilled as Simon Peter delivered his Spirit-anointed message (Acts 2:14-40). He plainly showed how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Most of the listeners were convicted by His bold preaching. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37)
    The Lord showed me something extremely significant about this particular verse of scripture. He showed me this was the first occasion after His ascension in which sinners asked the apostles what it would take to be converted.
    It is plainly obvious from context that those listening to Simon's message realized they were guilty of murdering the long-awaited Messiah and that they wanted to be forgiven of their sins and experience the same supernatural salvation that so obviously had transformed the newly converted Christian believers.
    For the first time in my life I could see that those people were asking for instructions to be saved.
    Then the Lord opened my eyes to Simon Peter's answer in Acts 2:38. Up until that time I had always just skimmed over the verse and had not really noticed anything noteworthy about it. But then as I looked more closely at the verse I began to see that all the various commands of the whole  "Great Commission" pointed to and culminated in Acts 2:38.
    In simplest terms, I saw clearly that Simon Peter -- the apostle hand-picked by Jesus to open the door of salvation -- was telling a group of unsaved sinners what they must do to be saved! These were his instructions:

    "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

    The Lord reminded me that Luke's account of the "Great Commission" emphasized repentance, remission of sins and the name of Jesus Christ (Lk. 24:47). Matthew and Mark stressed water baptism. Mark also mentioned speaking in tongues, the initial sign of receiving the Holy Ghost (compare Mark 16:17 and Acts 2:4).
    I also noticed in Acts 2:47 that the words "church" and "saved" were used for the first time after the Lord's ascension. I concluded that it could only mean that people were saved and became a part of the church by obeying Simon Peter's instructions in Acts 2:38.
    Then, as I continued to study the book of Acts I noticed how the apostles consistently preached repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and receiving the Holy Ghost. I could not deny it, because it was plainly recorded: Acts 8:5-17; 9:17 & 18; 10:34-48 and 19:1-7.
I also remembered the Lord's admonition to Nicodemus in John 3:5: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
    It became clearly evident that baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and the infilling of the Holy Ghost had to be the new birth of water and the Spirit that Jesus spoke of in John 3:5.
    I needed no further convincing. Since I had already received the Holy Ghost with the scriptural sign of speaking in tongues, all that remained for me to do to obey Acts 2:38 was to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
    And so it was that on June 17, 1977 -- ten months after I received the Holy Ghost -- my wife and I went to a United Pentecostal Church in Lufkin, Texas and asked the pastor to baptize us in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    The Lord began immediately to keep His promise. He had promised that if I would follow exactly the instructions given in Acts 2:38 and get baptized exclusively in the name of Jesus Christ, then He would begin to show me the truth concerning the Godhead.
 
 

Chapter 5: A simple but profound insight

    I arrived home from work one day a short time after being baptized in Jesus' name and the Lord gave me a simple but profound revelation.
    My dog greeted me and sat in my lap. My young daughter said, "Hi Daddy," and gave me a hug. My wife also greeted me and said dinner would be ready soon.
    It occurred to me that in the same instant I was master to my dog, father to my daughter and husband to my wife -- only one person, yet manifesting three distinctly different roles simultaneously.
    The next morning as I dressed for work, I thought, "I'm putting on a uniform and I'm on my way to my job as a route salesman for a bread company. Yet when I wear this uniform and those that I work with call me 'bread man' I am still my wife's husband and I'm still my daughter's father and I'm still my dog's master."
    In a flash I got it. God the Father, who is an invisible, eternal, holy, all-knowing, limitless Spirit "put on a uniform," so to speak, by veiling Himself in humanity and coming into this world in the man Christ Jesus.
    Scriptures came to mind immediately...scriptures that plainly revealed the Lord Jesus operating as God the Father -- the invisible, all-knowing Spirit -- and the limited man, Christ Jesus simultaneously.
    A familiar passage that came to mind was the story in John chapter four of Jesus meeting the woman of Samaria by the well:
 
   Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
   Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
   There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
   (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
   Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
   Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
   The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
   Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
   Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
   But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

 

 
 
 

    It was a limited human being -- no different from any other human being -- that became "wearied with his journey."
It was a perspiring man who became thirsty and said to that sinful woman, "Give me to drink."
    But it was certainly not a limited human being who claimed He could give the woman everlasting life.
    It was God the Father who offered eternal life to the woman.
    It was God the Father -- the all-knowing, omnipresent Spirit -- that knew all about her lecherous, adulterous relationships with different men.
    Although He had never even seen the woman with His physical, human eyes, He had watched her all of her life with the eyes of His omniscient Spirit. And He stood face to face, looking deep into her heart, ready to forgive her sins -- something that God alone can do.
    I thought of another familiar scripture passage in John 11 that describes the Lord calling Lazarus back to life again:
 

   Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
   When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
   And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
   Jesus wept.
   Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
   And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
   Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
   Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
   Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
   Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
   And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

 

 
 
 

    Again, it was a limited, ordinary man groaning in his spirit and crying during the sad, depressing aftermath of a beloved friend's death.
But it was God the Father who called Lazarus back to life again.
    It was an ordinary man who went up into the mountain alone to pray (Mat. 14:23). But it was God the Father who walked on the sea to rescue His troubled disciples.
    It was an angry young man who "made a scourge of small cords" and drove out the money-changers from the temple (John 2:15). But it was God the Father speaking a short time later when He said, "Destroy this temple, (referring to His human body ) and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19).
    So I began to get a glimpse of an amazing truth that is hidden in wraps in the Bible: Jesus Christ is at once God Almighty and a man. He was and is completely unique. He is two separate beings united as one.
    Perhaps that is why the angel said to Mary, "...therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). It was as though the angel was at a loss for words. He couldn't call Jesus a man and he couldn't call Him an angel and he couldn't call Him God, so the only thing the angel could think of to call Him was "that holy thing."
    He is unlike any other creature. He transcends human understanding. He is, as Paul says, "God manifest in the flesh" (1Tim. 3:16).
    When Paul refers to Jesus as God manifest in the flesh, he doesn't mean "God the Son" manifest in the flesh, he means God the Father. Paul knew of only one God. From his childhood he was taught "The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4). His monotheistic Hebrew schooling constantly emphasized that one God created all things "by Himself alone" (Isa. 44:24) and "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me" (Isa. 45:5).
    And Paul himself says "to us there is but one God, the Father" in 1Cor. 8:6. So, when he says God was manifest in the flesh, he obviously means God the Father was manifest in the flesh.
    And Paul also says in 1Tim. 3:16: "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." Who could he possibly be talking about but Jesus Christ? He alone was preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world and received up into glory.
    It is no wonder then that the Lord Jesus says, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30). He was trying to tell the people of his day that He was two separate beings united as one. He was saying, "I am a human being as well as God Almighty."
    They, of course, misunderstood Him and took up stones to kill Him. They just could not see how a man could claim to be God. They said, "For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."
    And indeed, it is beyond human ability to understand how Jesus Christ can be a human being as well as the Supreme Being. The human mind cannot grasp how God the Father -- the omnipresent, omnipotent Spirit -- could extend Himself into this sin-cursed world as a common, limited man and yet continue to operate as unlimited God Almighty.
    But there is so much about the Lord Jesus that transcends human comprehension.
    How could a human being just vanish and pass through the midst of a crowd (Luke 4:30)?
    How could He see Nathanael "under the fig tree" many miles away (John 1:48)?
    How could He just materialize out of thin air in the middle of a locked-up room (John 20:26)?
    How could He turn water into wine in an instant? How could He instantly multiply five loaves of bread and two small fish an feed more than 5,000 people?
    How could the Lord Jesus, during His earthly ministry, state that He came down from heaven and that He was also in heaven? (Read John 3:13).
    And in the current church dispensation, how can a believer in Mexico have the Lord Jesus living in his spirit while a believer in China can have the same Lord Jesus living in his spirit while the same Lord Jesus is in heaven? How can Jesus be many places at one time and still be a man?
    Thousands of such unanswerable questions could be asked about the Lord Jesus.
    But I, for one, have decided not to try to figure out that which cannot be figured out. I've decided to just accept the truth that He alone is God Almighty as well as a human being.
    I do not understand how that can be. I just rest secure in the fact that it is.
 
 

Chapter 6: Behold Your God

    Thus far I have given a condensed account of how the Lord has shown me that the biblical titles "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" are not references to three separate persons but are, rather, three distinctly different ways in which the one God manifests Himself.
    As Father, He is that incomprehensible, eternal Spirit who fills heaven and earth, who created and sustains all things and who alone can impart eternal life to sinful human beings.
    As Son, He is that invisible Father God miraculously and mysteriously extending Himself into this sin-cursed world through the veil of flesh so He could take upon Himself our sinful nature and destroy that sinful nature through His death on the cross.
    And the Holy Ghost is that same God-Man supernaturally taking up residence within a human being.
    Thus He instructs His apostles in Matthew 28:19 to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. In other words, He was saying to baptize in the name of the God who became a man and who can live inside of people.
    Who alone can fit that description? Who alone is the God who became a man and who lives inside His disciples? It can be none other than the Lord Jesus. And that is why His apostles always baptized exclusively in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They understood that the name (singular) of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is Jesus Christ.
    Now let's look at similar studies I have undertaken along these lines.
Let's begin by comparing three scripture passages from Isaiah, John and Revelation:
 
   The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
   Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
   And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
   The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! (Isaiah 40:3-5 and 9)
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
   And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
   And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3,4)

 

 
 
 

    I would like to point out something compatible about these three passages of scripture. Notice the phrases "Behold your God," "Behold the Lamb of God" and "They shall see his face."
    In Isaiah 40:3-5 the prophet was foretelling of a future event. He said that sometime in the future there would be a voice crying in the wilderness, saying "Behold your (Israel's) God."
    Matthew 3:3 shows clearly that Isaiah was prophesying about the future ministry of John the baptist: "For this is he (John the baptist) that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness..."
    It is noteworthy that there is no biblical record of John the Baptist ever saying to anyone "Behold your God." John only said, "Behold the Lamb of God" as he endeavored to direct men's attention to Jesus of Nazereth.
    So, it should be plain to anyone with an honest heart that whenever John the baptist said "Behold the Lamb of God" (referring to Jesus), it was equivalent to saying "Behold your God" as Isaiah had prophesied in Isa. 40:3.
The simple conclusion is that when someone beholds Jesus Christ, he beholds not only the Lamb of God, but also God Himself.
    Or, it could be said that beholding Jesus is beholding God the Father limiting and shrouding Himself in a human form.
    A familiar passage that corroborates this truth is John 14:7-9:
 

    If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth, ye know him, and have seen him.
    Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
    Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

 

 
 
 

    Now, before having this conversation with Philip, Jesus had plainly indicated that God was His father. So, when Jesus said "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" He was literally saying "If you want to see God, then look at me -- the only way a person can actually behold God in a physical body is to look at me."
    Philip's mistake was in misunderstanding Jesus when He spoke of His Father. Philip mistakenly assumed -- as many others have -- that when Jesus spoke of His Father He had to be referring to someone other than Himself.
    But, Jesus often spoke of Himself as though He was another person. Does that prove He is two persons? Obviously not.
    For example, consider again John 4:9, 10:
 

    Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
    Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

 

 
 
 

    Notice carefully in Jesus' reply to the Samaritan woman that He talks about Himself as though He was another person.
    He was the only person present with the woman and the only one that said, "Give me to drink." Yet, He uses the third person singular pronouns of "him" and "he" in reference to Himself instead of the first person singular pronouns of "me" and "I."
    Also consider Exodus 19:24:
 

    And the Lord said unto him (Moses) Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them.

 

 
 
 

    Here again we have God speaking of Himself as though He was another person. The Lord says that the Lord may break forth upon the people.
    Two other examples of the Lord speaking of Himself as though He was another person are found in Matthew 16:27, 28 and in Luke 24:44-47:
 

    For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
    Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
    And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
    Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.
    And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
    And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

 

 
 
 

    So, a close examination of these scriptures shows that just because Jesus spoke of His Father as though He was another person, it does not indicate that the Father and Son are necessarily references to two separate persons. During His earthly ministry Jesus often spoke of Himself as though He was another person, and yet He is obviously not two persons.
    This simple revelation also explains why Jesus sometimes spoke of the Holy Ghost as though He was a separate person other than Himself.  Actually, the Holy Ghost is not a separate person -- it is Jesus expressing Himself in another form. The man Christ Jesus is not a separate person from God the Father -- it is the eternal, omnipresent invisible Creator veiling Himself in flesh.
    The scriptures plainly reveal that Jesus Christ is God the Father and the Son of God and the Holy Ghost.
    That statement may seem radical to professing Christians accustomed to hearing that God the Father, the Son of God and the Holy Ghost are three distinctly separate persons in the Trinity. But instead of clinging blindly to denominational creeds, open the Bible and -- as Isaiah said -- behold your God (not Gods).
    Consider, for example, Revelation 22:3, 4:
 

    And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

 

 
 
 

    Some folks may erroneously believe that just because John (the writer of Revelation) talks about God and the Lamb that it is proof that God (the Father) and the Lamb (the Son) are two separate persons. This is simply not the case. The titles "God" and "the Lamb" are merely John's way of describing two distinctly different aspects of the one Lord God.
    This is why John speaks of only one throne with only one being seated on the one throne (read Rev. 4:2 compared to Rev. 3:21 and Rev. 22:1).
    This is also why John says his servants shall serve him in reference to God and the Lamb. John never uses the third person plural pronoun "them" in reference to God and the Lamb. He consistently uses the third person singular pronoun "him" when talking about God and the Lamb. That's because John understood that Jesus is both God and the Lamb -- the Father and the Son.
Now when John and other Bible writers present Jesus as God the Father they are certainly not referring to the human being who was born of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem. That man from Galilee was not the father of anyone.
    Jesus Christ is God the Father spiritually speaking, not physically. He becomes a person's spiritual Father whenever that person repents of his sins, is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and is filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). At that time Jesus gives birth to a person's otherwise dead spirit. That life-changing experience is the new birth of water and the Spirit that Jesus describes in John 3:5.
    But we must bear in mind that Jesus does not bring about spiritual regeneration as a man. He performs the wonderful new birth as God the Father based on what He accomplished as a man at the cross of Calvary. This is what He means when He says in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." What He is simply saying is that the only way to come into a spiritual union with God is through His own humanity.
    Likewise, when Bible writers present Jesus as the Son of God they are obviously not referring to that eternal, omnipotent Spirit that fills heaven and earth (as per Jeremiah 23:24). Throughout the Bible the Son (or the Lamb) consistently refers exclusively to the human being that was supernaturally conceived in the virgin Mary.
    What Trinitarian ministers present as truth is so often misleading because of what they leave out. Many will devote much attention to Christ's human aspect as the Son of God but will try to evade or explain away the scriptures that deal with His divine aspect as the Heavenly Father. It's not so much what they teach that will deceive someone, it's what they fail to teach.
    For example, Trinitarian ministers have no problem accepting Jesus Christ as the One that Isaiah said would be the Prince of Peace, the child to be born and the son to be given in Isaiah 9:6. But they have big problems explaining how the same Isaiah 9:6 that presents Jesus as the Prince of Peace and the son to be given also declares that He is the Mighty God and the everlasting Father.
 
 

Chapter 7: A big cat with a bushy mane?

    Portions of chapters four and five of Revelation are often cited by Trinitarian ministers as indisputable proof that the Father and Son are two distinctly "separate persons."
    The particular verses in these chapters usually referred to are 4:2, 3, 10, 11 and 5:6 and 7:
 
    And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
    And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
    The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
    Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
    And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
    And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

 

 
 
 

    Before trying to properly understand these scriptures, one should first study carefully the entire fourth and fifth chapters of Revelation. The reader will search in vain to find the word "Trinity" in either chapter. The reader will search in vain to find the terms "first person," "second person" or "third person" of the Godhead.
    The titles Father, Son or Holy Ghost are never mentioned in chapters 4 or 5 of Revelation.
    Trinitarian ministers teach -- and many casual readers mistakenly assume -- that the "one who sat on the throne" described in 4:2 is God the Father (the first person of the Trinity) and that the "Lamb" of 5:6 is God the Son (the second person of the Trinity).
    Thus it is taught very dogmatically that Revelation 5:7 proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Father and Son are separate persons, because it states in plain and simple language that Jesus, God the Son, came and took the book (of judgment) out of the right hand of God the Father, who was seated on the throne.
    But the truth is that Revelation 5:7 does not state that Jesus, God the Son, came and took the book out of the right hand of God the Father. The word "Jesus" is not found in chapters 4 or 5 of Revelation. Nor is the title "Father" found in either chapter.
    What is found are TWO SYMBOLIC EXPRESSIONS of God.
    In 4:2 we notice the symbolic expression "one who sat on the throne." In 5:5 and 5:6 we notice "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" and a "Lamb, having seven horns and seven eyes."
    It is obvious from beginning to end that Revelation is a book of symbolism with much of the true meaning hidden in wraps, veiled in puzzling figurative language. In other words, there is a deeper, hidden meaning to the strange visions John experienced (in his spirit) during his stay on Patmos.
For instance, consider Rev. 1:16 and 20:
 

    And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
    The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

 

 
 
 

    John obviously did not see seven physical, literal stars in the physical right hand of the Lord Jesus.
    The celestial body we know as our sun has a mass 332,000 times larger than the earth and is considered to be one of the smaller stars in the universe.
    If Jesus was actually holding seven of these enormous stars in His hand, then John could not have literally seen them with his physical eyes, because John was close enough to Jesus to give a detailed description of the Lord's garments, hair, eyes and feet (see verses 13 and 14).
    One can readily see how senseless and foolish it is to try to understand the allegorical passages of Revelation through literal interpretation.
    Surely the serious student of the Bible does not believe that the Lord Jesus has a literal, physical sword continually falling out of His mouth as John depicts Him in Rev. 1:16. The phrase "he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went (or 'going forth' as the Greek says) a sharp two-edged sword" is obviously symbolic, not literal.
    Much of the Bible is confusing and hard to understand to many people simply because they do not discern what parts of the scriptures are figurative and what parts are literal.
    Some read the words, "and he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne" in Rev. 5:7 and they apply a literal interpretation to a scripture that is plainly meant to be interpreted figuratively.
    If we interpret Rev. 5:7 literally, then we must remain consistent and interpret verses five and six literally also.
    That would mean that Jesus Christ is not really a man, because verse five says He is a lion. But no, we really cannot say He is a big cat with a bushy mane, because the next phrase says He is a root.
    But no, we really cannot say He is a lion or a root, because verse six says He is a seven-eyed, seven-horned, dead lamb.
See what idiocy and nonsense can be made of scripture when it is not properly interpreted.
    Is the Lord Jesus a literal root? Of course not. Is He a literal lion? Of course not. Is he a literal dead lamb with seven horns and seven eyes? Of course not. These are obviously all figurative expressions and are not meant to be interpreted literally.
    The expression "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" in Rev. 5:5 is a counterpart to Genesis 49:9 and 10 which is the account of Jacob gathering all his sons to tell them of future events. Jacob foretold great blessings for one of his son's offspring. Jacob said:
 

    Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
    The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

 

 
 
 

    By using the expression "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" in Rev. 5:5 John was merely showing that Jesus, from a strictly human standpoint, fulfilled Jacob's prophesy of Gen. 49:9 and 10. Hebrews 7:14 states, "It is evident that our Lord (Jesus) sprang out of Judah."
    A lion in the Bible represents authority, strength, fearlessness and majesty. The "sceptre" of Gen. 49:10 also represents authority.
Jesus Christ is not a literal four-footed beast that roars loudly and has a shaggy mane. But He does have authority and strength and He is fearless and majestic.
    So it should be obvious that the expression "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" symbolizes the authority that the man Christ Jesus inherited because He came from the tribe of Judah and is not meant to be interpreted literally.
    In like manner, the expression "a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes" of verse 6 is not meant to be interpreted literally.
    The word "lamb" represents the innocence and purity of Jesus, the One in whom there is no sin (I John 3:5). The expression "as it had been slain" represents His voluntary sacrifice at Calvary as a substitute (scapegoat) for the sins of mankind.
    The number seven in the Bible generally represents completion, or perfection.
    The word "horn" generally represents strength, or power. "Eyes" represents knowledge and wisdom and "sent forth into all the earth" represents omnipresence -- the ability to be all places at once.
    So, when properly interpreted Revelation 5:6 is not saying that Jesus Christ is a dead lamb that has seven horns and seven eyes. Rather, it is a beautiful symbolic description of the dual nature of our Lord Jesus, who is at once God and man -- Father and Son.
    He is that high and lofty God that inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15) who has seven horns (which simply means He has all power) and seven eyes (which simply means He has all knowledge and all wisdom) and is sent forth into all the earth (which simply means He is able to be at all places at once, from a strictly spiritual standpoint). He became a lamb (which simply means He assumed a human form in order to shroud His immeasurable glory) and was slain (which simply means that, as a man, He experienced physical death).
    And, just as Revelation 5:5 and 6 are obviously not meant to be interpreted literally, neither is verse seven, which states "he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne."
    Jesus is identified in the Bible as both the Lamb and as the One seated on the throne who created all things (compare John 1:29 with Col. 1:16).
    Jesus is the One who "came and took the book," although that was not a literal transaction no more than it was a literal slain lamb that "took the book." Jesus is also God seated on the throne. If anyone doubts the validity of these statements, then let's look to the scriptures for proof:
 

    And I saw a great white throne, and HIM (not them) that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them (Rev. 20:11).

 

 
 
 

    When we compare this passage with chapter 6:16 and 17 we see that Jesus is the One whose face the earth and heaven flee from.
    So, when correctly interpreted, Rev. 5:7 is not an account of God the Son (which is not even a scriptural term) coming to take a literal book out of the hand of the so-called first person of the Godhead.
    Rather, it is a figurative, symbolic picture of God, who is a holy, eternal, invisible Spirit, earning the right to judge fallen man in and through His own Human tabernacle, the man Christ Jesus.
    That is what Jesus meant when He said, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22). The Father in scripture always refers strictly to the invisible God that was housed inside the man Christ Jesus (even while He remained omnipresent). The Son always refers exclusively to the human being who served as the physical tabernacle for that Holy Spirit.
    Simply stated, since God the Father -- who is sinless, pure, holy -- condescended and became a man, subjecting Himself to the temptations, trials and troubles of this temporal, sin-cursed world, then He has every right to judge man.
    He has that right because He was, as an ordinary man, "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). We can offer no excuse when we stand before Him on judgment day. We cannot say, "Your judgment wouldn't be fair. You just don't know what it's like to live in the real world like I did." He lived in the real world and He lived above sin and He offers anyone who will obey Acts 2:38 the gift of the Holy Ghost so that he, or she can also live above sin.

    I feel compelled to recap some important points before continuing.
When John states in Rev. 5:7, "And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne," he does not mean that Person number two of the Trinity came and took a literal book out of the literal right hand of Person number one of the Trinity.
    John is simply describing through figurative picture language the truth that God Almighty will judge mankind in and through the man Christ Jesus. This truth is clearly supported by many scriptures, particularly Acts 17:31 and Romans 2:16:
 

   Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
   In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

 

 
 

Chapter 8: A closer look at the "right hand of God"

and the priesthood of Jesus

    In this chapter let's take a closer look at some other familiar scriptures that are commonly taken out of context and incorrectly interpreted to support the doctrine of the Trinity -- the belief in three Gods. I use the phrase "the belief in three Gods" intentionally because anyone who believes there are three separate persons in the Godhead believes in three Gods. Belief in the Trinity and belief in three Gods are synonymous.
    Scriptures often misinterpreted to make it appear that the Father and Son are references to two persons are the scriptures that describe Jesus being "at the right hand of God."
    A good example of the use of this expression is Colossians 3:1: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."
    If the expression "the right hand of God" is to be interpreted literally and means that God is sitting on one throne and Jesus is sitting on the right hand side of God, then the Bible plainly contradicts itself.
    God plainly states in Isaiah 45:21, 22; 40:25 and 44:24 that He is a solitary Being and that He exists by Himself, alone, with none other beside Him.
God would not contradict Himself by stating (in Isaiah) that there is none beside Him and then stating (in the New Testament) that there is another person in the Godhead sitting to the right of Him.
    A closer look shows the expression "the right hand of God" should be interpreted figuratively and not literally.
    The authors of the Old Testament frequently used the expression "right hand." It was used consistently as an obvious figure of speech to symbolize strength, power, authority, control or dominion -- depending on the context in which the expression was used.
    In Ecclesiastes 10:2, for example, the expression "right hand" is obviously used in a figurative sense to represent control.
In the passage Solomon states, "A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left."
    Such a statement makes no sense at all unless interpreted figuratively. A person obviously cannot take his physical heart (the organ that pumps blood) out of the left hand side of his body and put it on the right hand side of his body.
    Solomon is merely using figurative language to say that God desires a person to control his spirit. Most persons have better dexterity, more control with the right hand; thus the expression "right hand" clearly conveys the concept of control. Solomon uses the word heart -- not to signify the literal blood-pump -- but to represent a person's spirit, or his innermost being.
    In Exodus 15 the expression "right hand" figuratively symbolizes strength and power. In verse six Moses and the children of Israel sing: "Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy." In verse 12 they sang: "Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them."
    It should be obvious "right hand" is used figuratively in this song. They did not see a literal hand smashing people and splitting open the earth. God's people were merely praising Him for the wonderful display of strength and power He had just performed by dividing the Red Sea and drowning the Egyptians.
    In Psalms 89 the expression "right hand" symbolizes dominion. In verse 25 God says of David, "I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers." In other portions of the Bible the words "sea" and "rivers" represent Gentile nations. So, Psalms 89:25 apparently is a prophetic vision of the time when Christ (who is prefigured by David in the Psalms) would expand His dominion throughout the Gentile nations of the world.
    Thus, by carefully comparing scripture with scripture we can better appreciate the true meaning of the expression "right hand of God" as it applies to the Lord Jesus.
    It does not refer to a literal, geographical location. Acts 20:28 and 1 Tim. 3:16 clearly state that Jesus Christ alone is God and that He assumed humanity fo redeem fallen man.
    He had to let the world know that He in no way diminished His sovereignty when He lowered Himself to a Human manifestation.
    Whenever it is stated in scripture that Jesus sits at the "right hand of God" it is, in effect, our all-powerful God announcing His new "headquarters." It is His way of telling the world, "From now on I am going to display all My limitless strength, control, dominion and sovereignty through My human manifestation."
    So, it should be plain that "the right hand of God" is simply a figurative way of describing God's omnipotence (or complete sovereignty) operating in and through His glorified human tabernacle -- the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul so aptly states, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself (not themselves)" (2Cor. 5:19).
    Anyone wanting to do a more in-depth study of the figurative use of "hand" and "right hand" in the Bible to symbolize power, dominion and authority may find the following scriptures helpful: Ex. 6:1; 9:3, 15 and 16; Deut. 3:24; 7:8; 8:17 and 33:2; Judges 4:24; 1 Kings 18:46; Psalms 89:13 and 109:31; Ezek. 3:14; 16:46; Habakkuk 3:4; Isa. 40:10; 59:16 and 63:5 and 12.

    Other scriptures commonly misinterpreted to support the idea of three "persons" in the Godhead are the scriptures concerning the priesthood of the man Christ Jesus.
    His priesthood is examined and described in the book of Hebrews more so than in other New Testament books, so let's consider two key passages from Hebrews:
 

   And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
   But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
   Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
   For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
   Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself (Heb. 7:23-27).
   For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24).

 

 
 
 

    On the surface it appears that these scriptures are describing two separate beings -- God and Jesus Christ, the priest who ever liveth to make intercession for us and who "appears in the presence of God for us."
But these scriptures do not teach that the Lord Jesus is someone separate and apart from God Almighty.
    We must interpret these scriptures in light of what the author has already revealed. In chapter 1:2, 8 and 10 the author clearly portrays Jesus Christ as God. In 2:14-18 he clearly shows Jesus is also a man. So the newly converted Jews, the people the author was obviously addressing in the book of Hebrews, understood that their God -- the one true God of the universe -- had veiled Himself in humanity in the Son of God.
    Since God had uniquely and supernaturally veiled Himself in the flesh, then the Levitical priesthood was obviously unnecessary. And why? Simply because God Himself was now in the unique position to operate as our high priest through His own glorified humanity.
    Paul illustrates this truth simply and clearly in 2 Cor. 5:19: "To wit, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself (singular, not plural), not imputing their trespasses unto them." Simply stated, the entire function of any priesthood is to reconcile sinful man to a holy God. And Paul says God was inside of Christ (not beside Him), reconciling mankind unto Himself.
    If it can be said that God was dwelling within Christ (see John 14:10) reconciling the world unto Himself, then it can also be said that God is presently yet dwelling within Christ (not beside Him as some mistakenly claim) and that this same God the Father is presently making intercession for His people by means of His own Human Tabernacle (or you could say "Son").
    Simply stated: Since God the Father became a man (John 1:14), then His own humanity now operates as our high priest, advocate, mediator and intercessor. First Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God (not three), and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"(not the so-called second person of the Trinity).
    Since God Himself, veiled in the flesh, has become our high priest, we have no need for an obsolete, imperfect Levitical priesthood, which "can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect" (Hebrews 10:1).
 
 

Chapter 9: Both me and my Father

    In conclusion, let's examine a passage from John 15 that, on the surface, seems to indicate that Jesus and God the Father are separate "persons," but, when properly interpreted, reveal that Jesus is both God Almighty as well as a human being:
 
   If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
   He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
   If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
   But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause (John 15:22-25).

 

 
 
 

    This passage, when put in proper context and properly interpreted, prove conclusively that there is no way that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ can be two separate physical beings, but are, rather, one in the selfsame being.
    In order to rightly understand this passage we must first identify who Jesus is talking about.
    He is bringing a serious indictment against a certain group of people. Let's find out who this group is.
    In verse 20 Jesus says they persecuted Him and they would, at sometime in the future, persecute His disciples. Verse 21 informs us that this persecution would come because of the name of Jesus.
    Verse 22 tells us that Jesus came and personally spoke to the group.
Verse 24 states that He did "works which none other man did" among this group and yet they hated Him.
    With these facts in mind, identifying this group is simple. What group of people persecuted Jesus and later, after His death, persecuted His disciples? What group of people beat the Lord's disciples and commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus?
    What group of people did Jesus spend much time speaking to and yet they still hated Him? What group of people witnessed many of Christ's mighty works and yet they still hated him -- even to the point of plotting to kill Him?
Obviously, the only answer to these questions is the Jewish religious leaders -- or to be more specific -- the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees.
    They were the only group that persecuted Jesus and later His disciples, heard Him speak, saw His miracles, and yet hated Him and plotted to have Him killed.
    Now, notice in particular the last phrase of John 15:24: "but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father." The Greek verb for "to see" in this phrase literally means "to gaze upon." So, Jesus is literally saying that the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees not only gazed upon and hated Him, they also gazed upon and hated the Father.
    Now, if the Father is a distinctly separate "person" from the Son, then when, pray tell, did the Jewish religious leaders gaze upon and hate the Father? Surely such an experience would have been recorded in one of the four Gospels. But there is no such recorded incident.
    And if the Father is a separate "person" from the Son and the scribes and Pharisees gazed upon the Father and hated Him, then they were unaware of it because in John 8:19 they asked Jesus, "Where is thy Father?" And this was immediately after Jesus had said, "I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me."
    So, the question needs to be answered: When did the Jewish religious leaders gaze upon and hate God the Father?
    They gazed upon Him and hated Him when He stood in front of the dead man's tomb and said with Heavenly authority, "Lazarus come forth."
They saw and hated Him when He said to the palsied man, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."
    They saw and hated Him when He said, "Ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life."
    They saw and hated Him when He said, "Destroy this temple (my human body) and in three days I will raise it up."
    In short, the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees saw and hated God the Father every time they saw and hated the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was, and is, God the Heavenly Father. But, because He was shrouding His glory behind the veil of humanity, the religious leaders could not recognize Him.
    Furthermore, they did not want to accept Him as God because He so sharply condemned their religious hypocrisy. They were so filled with pride and self-righteousness that they would rather brand Him as a liar and a blasphemer than admit their own sinfulness.
So, when Jesus made the statement "now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father," He obviously was not referring to two separate divine beings.
    His literal meaning was that He revealed Himself as a human being as well as God Almighty and they hated Him in both respects.
They hated Him as a man because He obeyed and fulfilled the Old Testament Law that they preached but never practiced. This highlighted their hypocrisy.
They hated Him as God because they expected God to pat them on the back and tell them what a good job they were doing as religious leaders. But, instead Jesus rebuked them constantly (and publicly) and said repeatedly that they had failed as religious leaders.
    For further confirmation that the Father and Son are not references to separate "persons" but are merely references to different aspects or manifestations of the one true God, let's once again look at Rev. 22:1, 3 and 4:
 

   And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
   And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
   And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

 

 
 
 

    Please notice carefully that the word "throne" is singular, not plural. Notice also that it says "his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads."
    Now, if God (the Father) and the Lamb (Jesus) are two distinctly separate divine persons, then this entire passage should be reworded thusly:

    "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the thrones of God and of the Lamb. And there shall be no more curse: but the thrones of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and their servants shall serve them: and they shall see their faces; and their names shall be in their foreheads."

    But the Bible does not read that way. It says there is only one throne. And there is only one God sitting on that one throne and that one God is also the Lamb. We know this is true because verse three states: "his servants shall serve him." It does not say "their servants shall serve them."
    Some folks, perhaps, may think the Bible should say "their servants should serve them" because that is the way their particular denomination teaches.
But we should be careful not to interpret the Bible according to personal notions or denominational creeds (which are sometimes tainted with carnal reasoning). We must rightly divide His Word, comparing scripture with scripture in the proper setting. We must not try to make the Bible line up with our beliefs, but rather make our beliefs line up with the Bible.
    Finally, let's look at 1 John 1: 3 and 5 "...and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. This then is the message which we have heard of him..."
    Now, why doesn't this passage read "this then is the message which we have heard of them" instead of "this then is the message which we have heard of him?"
    If the Father and Son are separate "persons," then it should say "them" instead of "him." But it plainly says "him" (singular) in reference to the Father and the Son.
    This is because John understood the dual nature of the Lord Jesus. He understood that Jesus is the Father because He created all things (compare Col. 1:16 with Isa. 44:24). John also understood that Jesus becomes the spiritual Heavenly Father to the reborn child of God when He brings to life the "hidden man of the heart" (1 Pet. 3:4).
    John also understood that not only is the Lord Jesus the Father (from the divine standpoint) He is, simultaneously, the Son of God (from the human standpoint).
    The Son always refers strictly to that human body that the invisible God incarnated and lived in and even died in so that He could, through death, destroy the devil (Heb. 2:14 and 1 John 3:8) and shed His holy blood for remission of sins (Acts 20:28 and Heb. 9:22).
    The Holy Ghost is this same Jesus Christ imparting Himself to mankind -- actually coming to live inside people in a spiritual union that was impossible as long as He walked the earth as a limited mortal man (see John 14:17 and 18 compared with 1 John 3:24 and 4:13).
 

Epilogue

    In Chapter One I said there are three primary reasons the people of Christ's day failed to recognize the identity of the Lord: 1. He hid His true identity; 2. Because of sin and rebellion, they were cursed with spiritual blindness; 3. They judged according to the flesh.
    I believe many people nowadays fail to recognize Him as God the Father veiled in humanity for the same reasons.
His identity is not obvious in scripture. Close to the end of His earthly ministry He told His disciples: "These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father" (John 16:25).
    The word "proverbs," as explained in the marginal reference of many Bibles, means "parables, hidden speeches, riddles."
He began to show His people plainly of the Father when He changed manifestations and came to live inside them as the Holy Ghost. Only after being regenerated could they begin to get some understanding of the mystery of God in Christ.
    It is a mystery.... a wonderful mystery. It can only be revealed by God, and He usually reveals it gradually to someone who is persistent and patient enough to seek God and wait on Him (for months, if necessary) -- someone with a hungry soul and an honest heart.
    As I said in Chapter Three, during the months I was searching for the truth concerning the Godhead I fasted often and spent as much time as I could in private intercession and Bible study.
    Most do not want to pay that price. It's easier to maintain a carnal, superficial understanding of scripture and go along with popular Trinitarian ideas. But popular thinking is almost always contrary to the truth of God.

    "I've heard you are a Christian," a co-worker said to me one day on the job.
    "Yes, I am," I replied.
    "What kind of church do you attend?" he asked.
    "Pentecostal."
    "Is it the kind of Pentecostal Church that does not believe in the Trinity?"
    "That's right," I answered. "Do you believe in the Trinity?"
    "Yes, I do."
    "Why?"
    "Well, it says in the Bible that Jesus prayed to God the Father. That means there were at least two persons."
    "Where was God when Jesus was praying?" I asked him.
    "Well, I suppose God was on His throne in heaven, wasn't He?"
    "If you will read your Bible more carefully you will notice that Jesus said in John 14:10 and other places that the Father was in Him. Jesus made that statement during His earthly ministry when He was walking the earth as a mortal man.
    "It appears you're making the same mistake so many people do," I told my friend. "If you say you believe in three persons in the Godhead, then it means you believe in three Gods, and the Bible says in many places that there is only one God. If I were you I would do some personal praying and studying about it."

    I had that conversation with a co-worker several years ago. I'm working for another company now and haven't seen him since then.
    I do not know if my friend ever did any personal investigation into the matter, but I doubt that he did. Like I said, it's much easier to drift along with popular opinion and claim to believe in the Trinity.
    My prayer is that this little book will inspire someone to "swim against the current" and dig into the Word with prayer and fasting and come to know Jesus Christ for who He really is. He is the Everlasting Father (as Isaiah says), the only wise God our saviour (as Paul says), the Almighty (as John says); as well as the meek and lowly Son of Man.
    John 1:10: "He was in the world, (there's the Son) and the world was made by Him, (there's the Father) and the world knew Him not (there's man -- too dense spiritually to recognize Him).
    "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then Shew us the Father?" (John 14:9).