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:
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.
"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.
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:
Again, it was a limited, ordinary man groaning in
his spirit and crying during the sad, depressing aftermath of a beloved
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.
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:
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:
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:
Here again we have God speaking of Himself as though
He was another person. The Lord says that the Lord may break forth upon
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:
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
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:
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
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.
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:
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:
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:
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
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:
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:
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).
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:
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).
"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.
"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."
"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
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).