SUPPLEMENT 5

The belief that Michael the Archangel was the same as the Word, or the celestial Son of God is not a modern notion. It dates from earliest times in the universal church. The contemporary of Paul, rabbi Philo of Judea, ‘identified the Logos with the archangel Michael.’ (Formation of Christian Dogma, Professor Martin Werner, page 133)

"The counterpart o this is afforded by an identification of Christ with the archangel Michael, an identification which is made in the Shepherd of Hermas. ... According to the early Christian writing Of The Threefold Fruits, Christ, as one of the seven archangels of God, was created ‘from fire’ and exalted to the status of ‘Son.’" (Formation of Christian Dogma, Professor Martin Werner, page 135)

"In the 19th century the Berlin Old Testament student, who was also editor of a church newspaper and an ecclesiastical politician, Ernest Wilhelm Hengstenberg, in his many-volumed work on the Christology of the Old Testament, concentrated upon the Early Christian identification of Christ with the angelic figures of the Old Testament, particularly the archangel Michael." (Formation of Christian Dogma, Professor Martin Werner, page 137)

INTRODUCTION:

The Nazarene Community of Christian Saints view all those who confess our Lord Jesus as members of one Christian family. Some of our brethren are Trinitarian, some are unitarian (or, henotheistic), some are not sure what to believe. It is not our intention to judge or condemn another view from that of the Nazarene Saints.

For nearly two thousand years godly and saintly men and women have debated the subject of Trinitarianism and Unitarianism without coming to any harmony. Throughout history Trinitarians and Unitarians have treated one another abominably and in the process denied their Lord. We Nazarene Saints do not wish to participate in such judgmental attacks against religions or persons. On the other hand we wish to present our best defense (apology) for our own belief. We agree completely with Irasmus of the Sixteenth Century: "If we want truth, every man ought to be free to say what he thinks without fear."

We Nazarene Saints believe those who are not sure what to believe ought to review both sides on the Internet or in hard copy publishing and then make their own decision of faith. In the end, what will matter? Note how historian Will Durant in his monumental work The Story of Civilization (Volume VI, page 486) recounts the view of one cleric during the Reformation: "For hundreds of years ... men had debated ... the Trinity, and other difficult matters; no agreement had been reached; probably none would ever be reached. But none is necessary. .... Such disputes do not make men better; all that we need is to carry the spirit of Christ into our daily lives, to feed the poor, help the sick, and love even our enemies. ... Can we imagine Chris ordering (a heretic) to be burned alive ... ?"

With these godly thoughts in mind we Nazarene Saints present De Trinitatis Erroribus and related supplements as a means to assist sincere Christians to review the evidence and following prayer and meditation develop their own vision of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. With Paul, we pray in your behalf: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of The God and the sharing of the holy spirit be with all of you." Amen.

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Philo Judaeus (c50 AD), Questions and Answers: "Why as if speaking of another God does He say, ‘In the image of God I made man,’ and not in the image of Himself? ... For nothing mortal could be made in the likeness of the Most High God and Father of the universe, but in the likeness of the second God, who is the Word of the former. ... since the God who is prior to the Word is superior to every rational nature. .... [On Agriculture] All these things then God the Shepherd and King guides according to justice, having set over them as a law His own right Reason (Word) and First-born Son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred flock, as a lieutenant of a great king." (Eusebius, Gospel Preparation, Vol 1, page 349)

Philo Judaeus (c50 AD), On the Confusion of Tongues, c. xx -- "The likeness of His first-begotten Word, who is the eldest of the Angels, and as an Archangel has many names." (Eusebius, Gospel Preparation, Vol 2, page 575)

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REGARDING YHWH (The Absolute Being) and His Paida ---

In Acts 3.13 Peter alludes to Exodus 3.14 --- "The God [ho theos = YHWH, The Absolute Being] has glorified His Boy [Grk paida]."

 

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Aristotle, On the Heavens, Book I, 1 -- "For, as the Pythagoreans say, the world and all that is in it is determined by the number three, since beginning and middle and end give the number of an 'all', and the number they give is the triad [Greek trias; English = "trinity"]. And so, having taken these three from nature as (so to speak) laws of it, we make further use of the number three in the worship of the Gods."

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THE NAZARENE SAINTS

HENOTHEISTIC PROPOSITION

HENOTHEISTIC PROPOSITION IN FIVE PARTS:

There are two gods in John 1.1-3, 18 --

1) "In the beginning [of Material Creation = Ge 1.1; Pr 8.22-33; Col 1.15-18] the Word [Mouthpiece = Ge 1.26; Ex 4.15, 16; Heb 1.2] existed,

2) and the Word [Mouthpiece] existed facing toward The Invisible [Absolute Being] God [Pr 8.22-30; Jn 17.5],

3) and the Word was [the only-begotten God]. This same [only-begotten God] existed in the beginning facing toward The Invisible [Absolute Being] God.

4) Everything came into existence by the agency of [the only-begotten God]

and apart from [the only-begotten God] nothing came into existence.

5) No one has ever seen [the Absolute] God.

The only-begotten God -- the one who is in the most favored position of the Father -- explained [The Absolute God]."

DEFINITION OF "THE GOD"

(ο Θεος -- τον Θεον)

The (Absolute) God named הוהי (YHWH = the Being) or ο Ων (Ho On = The One Who Is).

By "The God" we mean: The Absolute Being who ---

a) derives no life from another source -- Unbegotten

b) derives no knowledge from another source -- Omniscience

c) derives no power from another source -- Omnipotent

d) derives no goodness or virtue from another source -- Perfect Good

e) derives no dependence on another source --

DEFINITION OF "THE ONLY-BEGOTTEN GOD"

The Word or Son --

a) derives his life from the Unbegotten One, the Absolute Being

(Pr 8.22; Jn 5.26; Col 1.15; Heb 2.11; Re 3.14)

b) derives his knowledge from the Omniscience One

(Jn 7.17; Mt 24.32; Re 1.1)

c) derives his power from the Omnipotent One

(Jn 5.22; 14.28; Mt 28.18)

d) derives his goodness or virtue from the Perfect and Absolute Good

(Mk 10.17; Lk 18.19)

e) is dependent on and subject to the Father

(Jn 5.19, 30; 1 Co 11.3)

Summary: there are two gods in John 1.1-3, 18; one who is Absolute Being and one who is second god. [Jn 20.17, 28; Heb 1.8, 9]

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FROM THE NAZARENE HENOTHEIST ---

It is a given that The Absolute Being existed before everything else.

The Absolute Being Thought as an attribute of His Divine Mind.

The Thought was not without Purpose or Reason.

This Thought as an attribute of Divine Mind exerted an intellectual Pressure to realize the Original Purpose or Primal Reason.

This Intellectual Pressure from the Divine Mind is called Pneuma (Spirit, Wind, Breath) -- projected Thought Energy. Since Pneuma originates from the Most Holy it is called "holy Pneuma" as an attribute of The Absolute Being’s Divine Mind. This Pneuma is not another Person but the Intellectual Energy of the Divine Mind flowing as a force of Intellectual Energy to accomplish the Divine Will or Reason.

The First Creative, or Original Primal Thought of The Absolute Being’s Divine Mind was to create or beget an only-begotten Son as the first-born of all creation to follow. This new Being was to be the Only-One genetically related to the Father.

The Second Thought originating from the Divine Mind exercised Pressure as holy Pneuma through the instrumentality or agency of the Son (the Word, a second God) in order to create everything else, whether celestial or terrestrial.

Thereafter, all Creative Thought as the Pneumatic Pressure (force of holy spirit) of the Divine Mind, was channeled through the Son as the Logos, the second God.

Thus, originally, or in the beginning of material creation, there were two Gods: the only-begotten God as the instrument of creation facing toward The Absolute Being, the Unbegotten God.

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The Son is not of the same substance as the Father but only the imprint of The God’s own substance as the harder or stronger marks the softer and weaker.

"The God speaks to us in a Son whom He placed heir of All Things --- who exists as a Reflection of The Glory and the imprint of The God’s substance." (He 1.3)

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Why I do not believe in a Trinitarian God. I believe God wants to communicate with humankind. I believe He has done this through the Bible. I believe the Bible was written for the average man, so, as Tynedale declares, "the plow boy will know more of Scripture than the clergy." Jesus the Nazarene teaches the same: "Because You have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes." (Mt 11.25) The Bible was written to be understood by average people from numerous cultures throughout scores of centuries.

For all of these peoples it is easy to understand that God is One, not some plural mystery. A Father who produced or created a Son who is after Him, less than Him, and derives his goodness and knowledge from Him.

The whole concept of a Trinitarian abstraction in which there are three persons who are each God and yet not three Gods but one in some mystical manner is incomprehensible save only to an elitist and educated hierarchy -- and even the best of these admit the Trinity is a mystery. This elitist hierarchy uses their special revelation as a means of controlling their flocks who must come to them to know sacred mysteries. It was the same with Egyptian, Greek and Roman priesthoods who were the sole possessors of "knowledge" and who must, therefore, be supported by the masses as their only channel to God. The Trinitarian doctrine is for a select few -- the clergy (or, those arrogant few who suppose themselves scholars). The Unitarian doctrine is for the masses -- without need of clergy.

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JOHN 1.18 --- The Only-begotten God

Regarding John 1.18 (Nestle-Aland) --- θεον ουδεις εωρακεν πωποτε μονογενης θεος ο ων εις τον κολπον του πατρος εκεινος εξηγησατο

--- are there two gods here?

1) The God no one has ever seen (1 Jn 4.12)

2) The only-begotten god who explains (exegete) the Father

The later was seen and felt. (1 Jn 1.1)

Just as in Jn 1.1, there are two gods in these verses.

A comparison of versions’ rendering of monogenes in 1.18 and 3.16 ---

NAS: the only begotten God

NRS: God the only Son

AMP: the only begotten God

NIV: God the One and Only

PME: the divine and only Son

NJB: the only Son (1.18 [ftn God the only Son]

UBS: (lit) an only one, God

MON: God, only begotten (1.18) ---

MOF: the divine One, the only Son (.18) ---

Suppose we accept the proposition these words -- "only begotten god" -- do not have full mss support. Does John 1.1, 14 contain "an only begotten god"? The two verses read: " ... and the Word was God ... a glory belonging to an only begotten Son." If the "only begotten Son" be the same "God" in Jn 1.1c do we not have "an only begotten God"?

That there are two Gods is shown by Hebrews 1.8, 9 --- "But unto the Son, he saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. ... Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee.’" (KJV; Compare Ps 45.6, 7)

John 1.1 contains the truth of two Gods: "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with (the) God, and the Word was God."

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Deut 10.17 -- "Yahweh your God is God of gods and Lord of lords." (NJV)

Is it fair to conclude that one of these "gods" of which Yahweh is God is the Messiah? Is it fair to conclude that one of these "lords" of which Yahweh is Lord is Messiah?

Ps 45.6, 7 -- "That is why God, your God, has anointed you."

Ps 110.1 - ‘The LORD said to my Lord."

Eph 1.17 -- "May the God of our Lord .... " (Re 3.12)

1 Cor 8.4-6 -- "There is no [Absolute] God except One. For even if there are those called gods either in heaven [the Word, Jn 1.1, 18] or on earth -- just as there are many gods and many lords -- yet to us there is One [Absolute] God, the Father, from Whom are All Things. .... And one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are All Things." (UBSInt)

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Plotinus (205-270 AD), The Six Enneads ---

"8. This is the explanation of Plato’s Triplicity, in the passage where he names as the Primals the Beings, gathered about the [1] King of All, and establishes a [2] Secondary containing the Secondaries, and a [3] Third containing the Tertiaries.

"He teaches also, that there is an author of the Cause, that is of the Intellectual-Principle, which to him is the Creator who made the Soul, as he tell us, in the famous mixing bowl. This author of the causing principle, of the divine mind, is to him [1] the Good, that which transcends [2] the Intellectual-Principle and transcends [3] Being: often too he uses the term ‘The Idea’ to indicate Being and the Divine Mind. Thus Plato knows the order of generation --- from [1] the Good, the Intellectual-Principle; from the [2] Intellectual-Principle, [3] the Soul [ = Being]. These teachings are, therefore, no novelties, no inventions of today [circa 205-270 AD], but long since stated, if not stressed; our doctrine here is the explanation of an earlier and can show the antiquity of these opinions on the testimony of Plato himself." (Page 212)

There are ancients who argued Plato derived his philosophy from Moses and the Hebrews. (See Justin Martyr and Eusebius) They cite Genesis 1.1, 2, 26, 27 as textual support for the source of Plato’s "triplicity," (Aristotle’s "triad") (or, Trinity). Plato does not derived Three Persons from this. Rather, he understands: 1) Perfect and Absolute God as the "One" who precedes all others; b) the Mind, Thought, Reason, or Intellectual-Principle emanating from the Good; and, c) created being or universal Soul (Life).

Moses the Hebrew writes in Genesis 1.1, 2, 26, 27 and his words were later translated into Greek by the third century Jews: "In the beginning The God created ... and the Pneuma [Projected Mind] of The God was in motion. ... And The God said: ‘Let us make Man according to our image. ... And The God made Man according to the Image [the Son] of the God."

Now the Jew Philo of Alexandria argues the Son is the second in the word "us" and thus also the "God" of verse 27b, "the image of God" even as Paul has it -- "the image of The Invisible God." (Col 1.15) Thus, Justin and Origen, and others, "mention Christ becomes tantamount to ‘another God,’ (Justin) or, rather, the God ‘in the second place,’ ‘the second rank’ after the Creator-God (Justin), the ‘second God’ (Origen), the ‘second God after the Father.’ (Hippolytus)" (Werner, Formation of Christian Dogma)

If this be true as two centuries of theologians argued, then Plato, familiar with Moses from his studies in Alexandria, would have seen Genesis 1.1, 2, 26, 27 in this manner: "In the beginning the Good [Perfect Absolute God] created ... and the Intellectual-Principle [Divine Mind] was in motion. ... and the Soul (or, Being) Image of God ... " For a plagiarist, writing in another language to another peoples hides well his imitation of the original and in the process creates his own error.

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Aristotle --- "And God’s essential actuality is life most good and everlasting. We say then that God is a living being, eternal, most good." (Metaphysics, chapter 8)

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Isaiah chs 40-46 -- "I am God and there is no other."

Isaiah 40:18-20 --- What is the context? Is the context limited or unlimited? Is Yahweh comparing himself to craved images or man-made idols?
"And to whom can you people liken God, and what likeness can you put alongside him? The craftsman has cast a mere molten image, and with gold the metalworker overlays it, and silver chains he is forging. A certain tree as a contribution, a tree that is not rotten, he chooses. A skillful craftsman he searches out for himself, to prepare a carved image that may not be made to totter."

Isaiah 42:17 --- What is the context?
"They must be turned back, they will be very much ashamed, those who are putting trust in the carved image, those who are saying to a molten image: "You are our gods."

Isaiah 43:10-11 ---
Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. I-I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior."

The word "savior" occurs over six dozen times in the Bible. Indeed the word "saviours" occurs twice. (Ne 9.27; Ob 21) The Absolute Being (YHWH) is called "savior." (2 Sa 22.3; Ps 7.10; 17.7; 106.21; Is 45.15, 21; Lk 1.47; 1 Tm 1.1; 2.3; 4.10) "Savior" is used of the Son of God. (Lk 2.11; Ac 5.31; 13.23; Ph 3.20; 2 Tm 1.10) In Paul’s epistle to Titus the word "savior" is used of both the Father and the Son. Several times "savior" is used of men. (Jg 3.9, 15; 1 Sa 23.5; 2 Ki 13.5; Is 19.20) Note "savior" is never used of the holy spirit.

There are designations applied in a wide range of meanings -- from the absolute to the general -- god, lord, king, savior, judge, prince, overseer, leader, first, last, husband, head, etc. On the other hand, there are designations used of Jesus and others, but never The Absolute Being --- servant, slave, man, anointed, angel, etc.

"The First and the Last"

Isaiah 44:6-8 ---
Jehovah of armies, 'I am the first and I am the last
[LXX = εγω πρωτος και εγω μετα ταυτα = ego protos kai ego meta tauta], and besides me there is no God. 7 And who is there like me? And you are my witnesses. Does there exist a God [ Heb., ŽEloh'ah. ; theos] besides me? No, there is no Rock. I have recognized none.'"

NOTE: Some Trinitarians use the phrase "I am the first and the last" in parallel with the word of the "Son of Man" at Re 1.17 though these read differently: εγω ειμι ο πρωτος και ο εσχατος (or, ego ho protos kai ego ho eschatos; see also Re 2.8)

Isaiah 41:4 --
"I, Jehovah, the First One; and with the last ones I am the same."

Isaiah 48:12-13 ---
"I am the same One. I am the first. Moreover, I am the last. Moreover, my own hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my own right hand extended out the heavens. I am calling to them, that they may keep standing together."

What does Yahweh mean when He says "I am the first"? The "first" of what? The "first" God of Israel. And, who was the "last" God of Israel? "The same One." In Isaiah 41.4 Yahweh shows there are other "last ones." Which raises the question -- are there things in which God is not "first" and "last"? The answer is obvious. One also thinks why would God even make a statement, "I am the First"? The very idea is ludicrous. Unless Yahweh has something very limited in mind. The "first" God of Israel, as well as the Last God Israel had -- Yahweh was the same One.

It has been shown above that the Jewish Greek phrase "I am the First and I am the Last" is different than the one used of the Son of Man in Revelation. There are ways in which the human being, the Son of Man, was first and last while such could not be applied to God. For example, it is impossible for God to die and thus be resurrected. The prophet declares: "O my God, my Holy One, you do not die." (Hab 1.12) Yet, such was the case with regard to the Nazarene. Jesus became the "first" to be resurrected by God Himself and also "the last" to be so resurrected as God gives this future authority to His Son. In Revelation 2.8 the matter of being "First" and "Last" is in the context of death and resurrection, not eternal being as Trinitarians would have it.

Isaiah 44:15-17 --- What is the context?
He has made it into a carved image
[LXX theous = "gods"], and he prostrates himself to it. ... He actually makes into a god [LXX = theon] itself, into his carved image. He prostrates himself to it and bows down and prays to it and says: "Deliver me, for you are my god [LXX = theos]."

Isaiah 45:14, 20-22 ---

"To you they will pray, [saying,] 'Indeed God is in union with you, and there is no one else; there is no [other] God.' ... Those carrying the wood of their carved image have not come to any knowledge, neither have those praying to a god [LXX = theous = gods] that cannot save. Make your report and your presentation. Yes, let them consult together in unity. Who has caused this to be heard from a long time ago? [Who] has reported it from that very time? Is it not I, Jehovah, besides whom there is no other God; a righteous God and a Savior, there being none excepting me? Turn to me and be saved, all you [at the] ends of the earth; for I am God [ εγω ειμι ο θεος ], and there is no one else."

Isaiah 46:5-9 ---
"To whom will you people liken me or make [me] equal or compare me that we may resemble each other? There are those who are lavishing out the gold from the purse, and with the scale beam they weigh out the silver. They hire a metalworker, and he makes it into a god
[LXX = "idols"]. They prostrate themselves, yes, they bow down. hey carry it upon the shoulder, they bear it and deposit it in its place that it may stand still. From its standing place it does not move away. One even cries out to it, but it does not answer; out of one's distress it does not save one. Remember this, that you people may muster up courage. Lay it to heart, you transgressors. Remember the first things of a long time ago, that I am the Divine One [LXX = εγω ειμι ο θεος ] and there is no other God, nor anyone like me."

NOTE: Why could Jesus have not said: " εγω ειμι ο θεος " [ego eimi ho theos] as Yahweh does at Isaiah 45.22; 46.9 (LXX)? It is not difficult to say and Jesus uses all the individual words in his vocabulary, but never in this combination.

Does Yahweh, the Absolute Being (God), believe in a limited and qualified sense there are other "gods" besides Himself?

Certainly the LORD believes there are other "lords"? (Ps 110.1) Certainly, as the Nazarene teaches, the LORD believes there are others whom He Himself calls "gods." (Jn 10.30-33; Ps 82.1, 6)

If there are absolutely no other gods or lords, then it is a falsehood that Yahweh is "God of gods and Lord of lords"! (De 10.17) If these be only "false gods" then the text reads, "God of false gods and Lord of false lords." This might be illustrated better with the word "lord." Abigail calls both her husband and David "lord" and David calls God "lord." So, there are three or four "lords" in this account. Which are the false lords? Is there only one true Lord here and the rest are "false" including David?

Paul believes there are other gods, both celestial and terrestrial, though in the absolute sense there is but "one God." (1 Co 8.4-6)

Many languages have limited/unlimited or qualified/unqualified senses to certain expressions. For example, in Spanish one my speak of "everyone" as "todos mundo" -- the whole world -- when only a certain number of people are included.

The context in Isaiah chapters 40-46 is dealing in dealing with human idols or gods. It is in this context, among all these idols, there is "no other god."

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Isaiah 9:6 -- Both Messiah and Yahweh -- Two gods in Isaiah 9.6, 7
"For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, [1] Mighty God [ רובג לא ; Or, "Mighty Divine One." Heb., ŽEl Gib·bohr' (not ŽEl Shad·dai' as in Ge 17:1, where see ftn); Sy, "Mighty God of times indefinite"; Lat., De'us for'tis.] ... The very zeal of [2] Jehovah of armies will do this."

There are two gods in these verses: the Messiah as "Mighty God" and "Jehovah" who accomplishes the Messianic promise.

Isaiah 10:20-21 ---
"They will certainly support themselves upon Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in trueness. A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God."
[ רובג לא־לא; "The Mighty God." Heb., ŽEl Gib·bohr'.]

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THE ONE -- Ho On

The Jewish Greek Bible describes the Hebrew Name of God, Yahweh, as meaning ho O’n. This is "a personal noun with the word O’n a verb present active participle, masculine, nominative, in the singular." (The Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint, B. A. Taylor) This absolutely rules out any idea plural idea of "a plurality within God" as some would argue from Elohim (Ge 1.1) or echadh (De 6.4).

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PERSONIFICATIONS & anthropomorphisms.

Does patience work and is it a she? James 1:4, "But let patience have HER perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

Can you "lie" against the truth? James 3:14, "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth."

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"I am God"

Why could Jesus have not said: " εγω ειμι ο θεος " [ego eimi ho theos] as Yahweh does at Isaiah 45.22; 46.9 (LXX)? It is not difficult to say and Jesus uses all the individual words in his vocabulary, but never in this combination.

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