Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Singular Name in Isaiah 9:6

For a Child hath been born to us, A Son hath been given to us, And the princely power is on his shoulder, And He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God [Hebrew transliteration: EL GIBBOR], Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. -- Isaiah 9:6, Young's Literal Translation.

As given in Young's translation, it shows that the titles are anarthrous, without the definite article "the" before each title. Of course, the capitalization of these "titles" are also added be the translators.

What does the trinitarian need to assume concerning Isaiah 9:6? First, it appears that he would assume that "name" (singular) really means "names" (plural) or titles (plural). Then he has to assume that EL GIBBOR is a singular name/title applied to Jesus. Then he has to assume that EL GIBBOR, as applied to Jesus, means that Jesus is Yahweh.

It is Yahweh, however, who is giving the son to Israel, and it is also Yahweh who is giving this "name" to the son, as can be seen in Isaiah 9:7, "The zeal of Yahweh of Hosts will perform this."

If EL GIBBOR should be understood as being a title of Jesus in this verse, the context should let us know that the expression "el gibbor" would not signify Yahweh. Therefore, we should determine the meaning el gibbor as it would apply to the one given by Yahweh, and not automatically assume that it means that Jesus is Yahweh. In keeping with the context, then it should be understood as the term is used in Ezekiel 32:21, where the same expression in the plural is used. I do not know of any translation that renders the expression in Ezekiel 32:21 as "Mighty Gods", but it is usually rendered similar to the King James Version, which renders it as "The strong among the mighty." Thus, in Isaiah 9:6, if this expression as "mighty god" is assumed to be a title for the Messiah, the anointed of Yahweh, who is therefore not Yahweh, then it should also be understood as in Ezekiel 32:21, "a strong one among the mighty."

Likewise, if the title "everlasting father," is to be understood as being applied to the Messiah, it should be understood in light of what Messiah became after his resurrection, the "last Adam," who "became the life-giving spirit," who, in effect, is takes Adam's place as the life-giver to the world. Unlike Adam, who disobeyed and became father only to a dying race (1 Corinthians 15:21,22), Jesus becomes father forever, thus "everlasting father."

However, the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 depicts a singular name by which the son who is given shall be called. The name given is given by Yahweh. The name, being singular, does not depict a series of names or titles as is given by most translations of this verse. That singular name is usually transliterated as Pelejoezelgibborabiaadarshalom. Often such a "name" given to a human or a thing is describing attributes of God/Yahweh, and the application of such a name to a human or thing does not designate the human or thing as being God/Yahweh. Thus, for instance, when Jacob called a certain altar by the name, El-Elohe-Israel, which could be read as a series of titles: God, The God, Israel, we realize that this is not what Jacob meant by this. Rather, we understand that he was not saying that the altar was "God," or that the altar was "the God," nor that the altar was Israel, but rather that the name of the altar was meant to say something about Jacob's (Israel's) God. Thus, this name is usually given a meaning something like: "God is the God of Israel," or probably more likely, the first EL should be understood with the general meaning of might, strength, power, etc., thus: "Powerful is the God of Israel." Likewise in Isaiah 9:6, since it is directly stated in the singular as a name, not plural, as "names", we believe it more correctly to be understood as describing Yahweh, not the Messiah who comes in the name of Yahweh. Some editions of the JPS give this name the following meaning: "Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace." From this perspective, this singular name that is given to Messiah would be describing the God and Father of Messiah, not the Messiah himself.

Nevertheless, as shown above, even if Isaiah 9:6 should be viewed as a series of titles describing the Messiah himself, it still does not mean that Jesus is Yahweh who sent Jesus. There is definitely nothing in the verse about three persons in one God or any kind of concept as expressed in the trinity dogma, except that one add that dogma to, and read that dogma into, what is stated in Isaiah 9:6.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

He Existed in the Form of God - Philippians 2:5-11

Philippians 2:5
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 2:6
who, although He existed in the form [external appearance] of God ["God" referring to the God and Father of Jesus -- as in Philippians 1:2,3;8,11,14,28; 2:9,11,13,15,27; 3:3,9,14,15 -- in the spirit realm, being the firstborn creature (Colossians 1:15), Jesus, before he became Jesus, appeared to the angels as though he was his God, but he was not actually God], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped [as did the one spoken of in Isaiah 14:14],
Philippians 2:7
but emptied Himself, taking the form [external appearance] of a bond-servant [as though in bondage to sin and corruption; to the world he had the external appearance of being a sinner as the rest of mankind since he suffered as though he were a bond-servant to sin, although he was not actually in such a bondage], and being made in the likeness of men [likeness of sinful flesh; suffering for sin -- Romans 8:3].
Philippians 2:8
Being found in appearance as a man [appearing as though he was were a man under the condemnation through Adam], He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death [death being the wages of sin; however, Jesus was not a sinner, and did not merit death, but suffered for sin to the point of death, in order to take pay the price for sin that is upon mankind through Adam], even death on a cross [as though he were a criminal, although he was not actually a criminal].
Philippians 2:9
For this reason also, God [the True One who sent Jesus -- John 7:28; 17:3] highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name [as an office or title] which is above every name,
Philippians 2:10
so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW ["to God through Jesus Christ" -- 1 Peter 2:5; "that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ." -- 2 Peter 4:11], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Philippians 2:11
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord [having been made so by Yahweh, the only true God who sent Jesus -- Isaiah 61:1; John 17:3; Acts 2:36], to the glory of [Yahweh -- Isaiah 40:5] God the Father ["through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." -- Philippians 1:11].

What one does not see in these verses is any reference to Jesus as a the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that is, Yahweh who sent Jesus.

For more information, see:

Praise Yahweh! Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, For his lovingkindness endures forever. (Psalm 106:1, World English Bible translation) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:30, King James Version)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What is the Trinity?

If we ask a trinitarian "What is the trinity?", we might not receive the same answer from each individual who professes belief in the trinity. According to the CARM site, the trinity is defined as meaning "God is three persons;" "Each person is divine;" and "There is only one God." One of the WIKI articles favorable to the trinity doctrine claims:

The Trinity is a Christian doctrine, stating that God is one being who exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a mutual indwelling of three persons:[1] the Father, the Son (incarnate as Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Since the beginning of the third century[2] the doctrine of the Trinity has been stated as "that the one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit".[3] Trinitarianism, belief in the Trinity, is a mark of Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and all the mainstream traditions arising from the Protestant Reformation, such as Anglicanism, Lutheranism and Presbyterianism; and the Trinity has been described as "the central dogma of Christian theology".[3]
From this, however, the trinitarian has to give the terminology used unique meanings as applied to the trinitarian dogma.

It is claimed that although the word "trinity" does not appear in the Bible, that the concept of the trinity does appear there. And yet, in all of the array of scriptures that the trinitarian presents to allegedly support that concept, the concept of the trinity -- three persons in one God -- has to be added to and read into each and all the scriptures presented to allegedly support that concept. The concept of the trinity itself is no where presented in the Bible, without the scriptures being filtered by the tint of the trinitarian dogma being laid over the scriptures in order that the concept be given the appearance as being in the scriptures presented. This will become apparent as the scriptures are examined.

Some trinitarians may admit that the scriptures do not directly state that there are three persons in one God, but that by taking all of the scriptures together, one is justified in adding that concept to the scriptures. Some may claim that one has read the scriptures in the tint of the trinitarian dogma, or else the scriptures are contradictory. Again, in reality, the scriptures can be seen to be in perfect harmony without adding to the scriptures a story of three persons in one God.

Many, however, do not realize that in detail, there are varying opinions concerning the trinity amongst the leaders to who teach that doctrine. One of the most known differences is that some believe in the "functional subordination" of their "God the Son" to God the Father; others do not believe in that subordination. (This, Yahweh willing, will be dealt with later, as a separate topic.) Additionally, there is a dispute amongst trinitarians regarding practically every scripture that is presented to support that doctrine. Usually, however, those trinitarian scholars who may claim that a certain scripture cannot be used to support the dogma are ignored by the larger body of trinitarian scholars. For instance, some trinitarians see "trinity" in the Hebrew words ELOHIM and ECHAD, while others do not.

For more regarding the Biblical meaning of ELOHIM, see:
Elohim – Does This Word Indicate a Plurality of Persons in a Godhead?

For more regarding the Biblical meaning of ECHAD, see:
The Meaning of ECHAD

We might add that the vast spectrum of Christians of all denominations, when asked what they believe the trinity is, may give an answer something like: "belief in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." These do not usually think in the theological terms in defining "trinity" as "three persons in God," etc. Indeed, all Christians should believe in "the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit", whether they believe in the trinity dogma or not, and if "trinity" should be stated in such terms, without adding all of the other trinitarian philosophy, we too can say that we believe in such a trinity, that is, we believe in "the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."