In the Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, two primary Persons appear: God Almighty, or The God ( = the Absolute Being) and His Son, Jesus Christ the Lamb. Never, in Revelation, are Three Persons in One God revealed. Never in Revelation is the designation "Holy Spirit" used. Given the importance of the Book of Revelation to Christian theology it is very interesting the Trinity is not clearly revealed in this book which does so much unveiling.
The two most prominent Persons in Revelation are made clear in the first verse: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ which The God gave him." Here we have Jesus and The God (ho theos). Not once is Jesus called "God." Not once is anyone told to worship Jesus or the Lamb. A strong distinction is made between The God and the Lamb.
It is a fair question to ask a Trinitarian what one would mean by The God (ho theos) in Revelation? When the designation "The God" is met does this mean the Godhead with the Three Persons in union? Can one understand The God means The Trinity? Or, when The God occurs in the same breath with Jesus, or the Lamb, does The God take on a different meaning, now reduced by one-third to Two, the Father and the Holy Spirit? If so reduced by one-third, would not this prove The God there does not mean the Trinity of Three Persons in One God?
What follows are about one hundred occurrences of the designation "The God" (ho theos) and the related context with a brief commentary on each one.
01 Revelation 1.1 -- A revelation by Jesus Christ, which The God gave him
God gives Jesus something he did not possess before, a revelation.
02 Revelation 1:2 -- the word The God gave and to the witness Jesus Christ gave
Two different persons. Is The God here the Godhead of Three?
03 Revelation 1:6 -- priests to The God of [Jesus Christ]
Jesus Christ has a God, his Father, The God. No where are these "priests" of Jesus.
04 Revelation 1:8 -- "I am the Al'pha and the O·me'ga," says LORD The God, "the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty."
The God is identified with YHWH of Ex 3.14 in the Jewish Greek Septuagint. The God is the Almighty. This later designation is never used of Jesus, or the Lamb. Nor is the phrase "the One who is" ever applied to Jesus in Revelation.
05 Revelation 1:9 -- for speaking about The God and bearing witness to Jesus.
Jesus is not The God and are clearly differentiated.
06 Revelation 2:7 -- To him that conquers I (Jesus) will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of The God.
The heavenly paradise is Gods though Jesus grants the victorious Saint to eat.
07 Revelation 2:18 -- the Son of The God
Does The God mean The Godhead of all three Persons? Then the Son is the result of the Triune Godhead. Clearly, the Son is not The God.
08 Revelation 3:1 -- These are the things that [the Son] says who has the seven spirits of The God
Though a Trinitarian would wish this a triune formula of the Son, The God, and the Spirit, actually there would be nine in all.
09 Revelation 3:2 -- before my The God
For the first time Jesus declares he has a God. He is to do this a total of five times. The God is the God of Jesus, the Lamb.
10 Revelation 3:12 -- "'The one that conquers-I will make him a pillar in the temple of my (The) God (of me), and he will by no means go out [from it] anymore, and I will write upon him the name of my (The) God (of me) and the name of the city of my (The) God (of me), the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my (The) God (of me), and that new name of mine.
Four times Jesus, the Son of God, declares The God is his God. This raises the question do the Three Persons of the Godhead view one another as their own God? Does this not make for three Gods? Never in the Bible is the Spirit or the Son declared to be Gods of The God, the Father.
11 Revelation 3:14 -- the beginning of the creation by The God
Jesus is a creation, a creature brought into existence by The God as the King James Version declares at Col 1.15, "the firstborn of every creature." Trinitarians wish desperately to make this "the Origin (Originator) of the creation." If this be so, then was The God not the origin of creation as Jesus claims he was? If Three Persons were the Origin why is this not so stated? Why does the Son take the credit without mentioning the other Two?
12 Revelation 4:5 -- and [there are] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, and these mean the seven spirits of The God.
These seven spirits are "lamps" which do not convey any idea of absoluteness. Some wish these seven to be a symbol for the Holy Spirit and yet the "seven spirits" occurs only four times (1.4; 3.1; 4.5; 5.6) and is never connected to the Holy Spirit which is completely missing in Revelation. The "seven spirits" may be those seven to the seven congregations; or, the seven Messianic attributes in Isaiah 11.1-4 LXX.
13 Revelation 4:8 -- And they have no rest day and night as they say: "Holy, holy, holy is LORD (YHWH) The God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming."
The God is the Almighty who draws His name from Ex 3.14 LXX. This One is clearly different from the Lamb.
14 Revelation 4:11 -- "You are worthy, LORD (YHWH), even our (The) God (of us), to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created."
Only The God is credited with creation. The God created "all things" which would include His own Son.
15 Revelation 5:6 -- seven eyes, which [eyes] mean the seven spirits of The God that have been sent forth into the whole earth.
The seven spirits are explained to be the "seven eyes" and not the Holy Spirit.
16 Revelation 5:9 -- because (the Lamb) you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for The God
It is not The God who is "slaughtered" for God "cannot die." (Hab 1.12)
17 Revelation 5:10 -- (Jesus) made them to be a kingdom and priests to our The God
No where are the Saints ever priests to Jesus, but always to his Father.
18 Revelation 6:9 -- the souls of those slaughtered because of the word of The God
The "word" is that of The God.
19 Revelation 7:2-3 -- having a seal of [the] living The God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying: "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our (The) God (of us) in their foreheads."
The seal is that of The God.
20 Revelation 7:10 -- "Salvation [we owe] to our (The) God (of us), who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb."
Salvation is credited to The God and the Lamb, the Holy Spirit omitted. It is not the Lamb who sits on the throne.
21 Revelation 7:11-12 -- they fell upon their faces before the throne and worshipped The God, saying: "Amen! The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength [be] to our The God forever and ever. Amen."
It is The God who is worshipped. Never is Jesus, the Lamb worshipped in the Revelation. The God is God of the celestial beings.
22 Revelation 7:15 -- they are before the throne of The God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple
It is The Gods throne. The God is worshipped in His temple. This temple is never that of Jesus or the Lamb.
23 Revelation 7:17 -- And The God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.
The God is here Yahweh of Isaiah 25.8.
24 Revelation 8:2 -- I saw the seven angels that stand before The God
These angels stand before The God, not God and the Lamb. The Holy Spirit is not included.
25 Revelation 8:4 -- And the smoke of the incense ascended from the hand of the angel with the prayers of the Saints before The God.
Prayers ascend to The God. The Lamb and the Holy Spirit are omitted.
26 Revelation 9:4 -- those men who do not have the seal of The God on their foreheads
Again, the seal is that of The God.
27 Revelation 9:13 -- the golden altar that is before The God
The altar is before The God, not the Lamb. The Spirit is omitted.
28 Revelation 10:7 -- the sacred secret of The God
It is the mystery of The God. This is harmony with 1.1 where the revelation is given to Jesus. The Son does not know the secret, or the revelation, of his own.
29 Revelation 11:1 -- the temple [sanctuary] of The God
The Temple is always that of The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
30 Revelation 11:11 -- spirit of life from The God entered into them
Only from The God comes the spirit of life. Not the Lamb.
31 Revelation 11:13 -- and gave glory to The God of heaven.
The glory goes to The God and not God and the Lamb. The Spirit is absent.
32 Revelation 11:16-17 -- And the twenty-four elders who were seated before The God upon their thrones fell upon their faces and worshipped The God, saying: "We thank you, LORD (YHWH)The God, the Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king.
Worship is always directed to The God and never includes the Lamb.
33 Revelation 11:19 -- the temple [sanctuary] of The God
It is the temple of The God and not also the Lamb. The Spirit is omitted.
34 Revelation 12:5-6 -- And her child was caught away to The God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by The God, that they should feed her there.
The child is not God for he is raptured to The God. Again it is the throne of The God.
35 Revelation 12:10 -- the kingdom of our The God and the authority of his Christ
Two distinct persons: The God and his Christ. (Ps 2.1) Does The God mean the triune Godhead? Then his Christ would make four.
36 Revelation 12:10 -- who accuses them day and night before our The God!
The accusations from the Devil are directed at The God, not including the Lamb. (Job 2.1)
37 Revelation 12:17 -- who observe the commandments of The God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.
Jesus is not The God. If The God be the Triune Godhead, then there are four.
38 Revelation 13:6 -- And it opened its mouth in blasphemies against The God, to blaspheme his name and his residence, even those residing in heaven.
The blasphemy is directed to The God. We note the Lamb and the Spirit are absent.
39 Revelation 14:4 -- firstfruits to The God and to the Lamb
The Lamb is not The God. If The God be the Triune Godhead, then there are four. Note the absence of the Spirit.
40 Revelation 14:7 -- Fear The God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters."
Again worship is directed to The God, and not to the Lamb. The God is identified as the creator.
41 Revelation 14:10 -- he will also drink of the wine of the anger of The God
Most often it is "the anger of The God."
42 Revelation 14:12 -- those who observe the commandments of The God and the faith of Jesus.
Jesus is not The God. If The God is the Triune Godhead, then there are four.
43 Revelation 14:19 -- the great winepress of the anger of The God
Again it is the anger of God, excluding the Lamb and the Spirit.
44 Revelation 15:1 -- because by means of them the anger of The God is brought to a finish.
As before, it is the anger of The God.
45 Revelation 15:2-3 -- having harps of The God. And they are singing the song of Moses the slave of The God and the song of the Lamb
The harps are Gods and the song the Lambs. The lamb is not The God.
46 Revelation 15:3-4 -- "Great and wonderful are your works, LORD (YHWH) The God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, LORD (YHWH), and glorify your name, because you alone
are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship before you, because your righteous decrees have been made manifest."
Only The God is absolutely loyal. The nations worship The God and not the Lamb.
47 Revelation 15:7 -- bowls that were full of the anger of The God
Again it is the anger of The God. The Lamb and the Spirit are excluded.
48 Revelation 15:8 -- because of the glory of The God and because of his power
The glory goes to The God because of His power. The Lamb and the Spirit are excluded.
49 Revelation 16:1 -- the seven bowls of the anger of The God into the earth
The bowls of anger are those of The God. The Lamb and the Spirit are excluded.
50 Revelation 16:7 -- "Yes, LORD (YHWH) The God, the Almighty, true and righteous are your judicial decisions."
The God is the Almighty. Truth and righteousness are credited to The God.
51 Revelation 16:9 -- they blasphemed the name of The God, who has the authority over these plagues
The blasphemy is directed at The God. The plagues are under the authority of The God, not the Lamb or the Spirit.
52 Revelation 16:11 -- they blasphemed The God of heaven
The Lamb and the Spirit are excluded.
53 Revelation 16:14 -- the war of the great day of The God the Almighty
The war is that of The God, the Almighty. The lamb and the Spirit are excluded.
54 Revelation 16:19 -- Babylon the Great was remembered in the sight of The God
It is The God who remembers Babylon, not the Lamb or the Spirit.
55 Revelation 16:21 -- the men blasphemed The God
Again the blasphemy is directed at The God, not the Lamb or the Spirit.
56 Revelation 17:17 -- For The God put [it] into their hearts to carry out his thought, even to carry out [their] one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of The God will have been accomplished.
It is The Gods "one thought" and it is the words of The God which are accomplished. The Lamb and the Spirit are omitted.
57 Revelation 18:5 -- The God has called her acts of injustice to mind
It is The God who remembers Babylons injustice, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
58 Revelation 18:8 -- because LORD (YHWH) The God, who judged her, is strong
The judgment comes from The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
59 Revelation 18:20 -- because The God has judicially exacted punishment for you from her
Again it is The God who punishes Babylon, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
60 Revelation 19:1 -- The salvation and the glory and the power belong to our The God
Here salvation, glory, and power are those of The God, not the Lamb, or he Spirit.
61 Revelation 19:4 -- And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped The God seated upon the throne
The members of the Throne room worship The God, not the lamb, or the Spirit.
62 Revelation 19:5 -- Be praising our The God, all YOU his slaves
This praise is directed to The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
63 Revelation 19:6 -- "Hallelujah, because LORD (YHWH) our The God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.
Always The God is God of the heavens, never the Lamb, or the Spirit. Here in this moment it is The God who begins to rule, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
64 Revelation 19:9 -- These are the true sayings of The God.
These sayings are attributed to The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
65 Revelation 19:10 -- Worship The God
In Revelation all "worship" is directed to The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
66 Revelation 19:13 -- and the name is called (the Lamb) is The Word of The God
The Lamb is the Logos of The God just as John 1.1 would have it.
67 Revelation 19:15 -- (The Lamb) treads too the winepress of the anger of the wrath of The God the Almighty.
The winepress is that of The God. The Lamb treads it, without the Spirit.
68 Revelation 19:17 -- be gathered together to the great evening meal of The God
The evening meal is that of The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
69 Revelation 20:4 -- the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about The God
Jesus and The God are differentiated, they are not the same.
70 Revelation 20:6 -- they will be priests of The God and of the Christ
The God and the Christ are different. Note the Spirit is missing.
71 Revelation 21:2 -- New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from The God
The New Jerusalem descends from The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
72 Revelation 21:3 -- The tent of The God is with mankind
It is the tent of The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
73 Revelation 21:3 -- The God himself will be with them
It is The God who will be with the inhabitants of the City. The lamb and the Spirit are omitted.
74 Revelation 21:7 -- Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his (The) God (of him) and he will be my son.
Anyone (ANYONE) who conquers, including the Lamb, will have the same God and be called "son."
75 Revelation 21:10-11 -- he showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from The God and having the glory of The God
The City descends from The God with The Gods glory, not that of the Lamb, or the Spirit.
76 Revelation 21:22-23 -- And I did not see a temple in it, for LORD (YHWH) The God the Almighty is its temple, also the Lamb [is]. And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of The God lighted it up, and its lamp was the Lamb.
Note this "temple" is that of first, The God, and then after the Lamb. Note the Spirit is absent. Note the Lamb is but a lamb whereas the glory of The God illuminates the City.
77 Revelation 22:1 -- a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of The God and of the Lamb
The Spirit is omitted as the source of the river of life.
78 Revelation 22:3 -- the throne of The God and of the Lamb will be in [the city]
The Spirit is excluded here.
79 Revelation 22:5 -- LORD (YHWH) The God will shed light upon them, and they will rule as kings
It is the Light of The God which illuminates the inhabitants of the City. Not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
80 Revelation 22:6 -- LORD (YHWH) The God of the (spirits) inspired expressions of the prophets sent his angel forth to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place.
Note the angel represents also The God.
81 Revelation 22:9 -- Worship The God.
Again worship is directed to The God, not the Lamb, or the Spirit.
82 Revelation 22:18 -- If anyone makes an addition to these things, The God will add to him the plagues
Note it is The God who will punish pervertors of the Revelation, not the Lamb, nor the Spirit.
83 Revelation 22:19 -- The God will take his portion away from the trees of life
It is The God who prohibits partaking of the trees of life, not the Lamb, nor the Spirit.
SUMMARY: 1) The God is identified as the Almighty, the Creator, the Father, the Alpha and Omega, and The One Who Is, always the object of worship; 2) Jesus is identified as the Lamb, the Son of Man, the Logos of The God, the Son, the firstborn of the dead, the beginning of Gods creation. The Son is never worshipped, and in most of the contexts of The God is omitted. 3) the Holy Spirit is completely absent. There is no Triune "formula" in Revelation. The number "three" occurs less than a dozen times and is never linked in some mystical manner with The God or some combination of God, the Son, and the spirit. Revelation is a Unitarian book.
REVELATION: ALMIGHTY GOD AND THE LAMB
Several Biblical prophets have seen visions of the Presence of God. Here we look with interest at the beloved John. The apostle is invited to heaven for a view of the Throne-room of the Almighty. Was John a Trinitarian? Did what he see and thereafter wrote down point to a Trinitarian theology? Let us follow the ancient Saint as he describes his epiphany as they are recorded in Revelation chapters 4 and 5.
Revelation 4:2-3 --- "After these things I immediately came under inspiration: and, look! a Throne was in its position in heaven, and there is One seated upon the Throne. 3 And the One seated is, in appearance, like a jasper stone and a precious red-colored stone, and round about the throne [there is] a rainbow like an emerald in appearance."
We note a Throne. Only One sits on this Throne. Not Two. Not Three. This One is likened to two kinds of Holy Light. Who is this One? Later verses describe this One on the Throne.
Revelation 4:8 -- "And they have no rest day and night as they say: "Holy, holy, holy is LORD, The God, the Almighty, the One who was and THE ONE BEING and the One who is coming."
The One on the Throne is Lord, The God (ho theos), The Almighty, the Alpha and Omega. This identity is further described as Ho On, or The One Who Is (The Being). The language echoes Exodus 3.14 in the Jewish Greek Septuagint where the Tetragram (Yahweh) is translated by the Greek ho On, which means, The One Being. The apocalyptic Name of The God combines the past, the present and the future.
We note the emphasis on the number One and no indication three are combined in some "plurality within God" as in a Triune Godhead. Jesus is not mentioned, and the Holy Spirit is absent.
There are other celestial beings in the vision of the Throne room including twenty-four presbyters who sit upon their own thrones.
Revelation 4:9-11 -- And whenever the living creatures offer glory and honor and thanksgiving to the One seated upon the throne, the One that lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before the One seated upon the throne and worship the One that lives forever and ever, and they cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "You are worthy, LORD, even The God of us, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created."
The celestial beings "worship" the Creator. In the Revelation The God Almighty is worshipped. Never the Spirit.
Now, a second Person is introduced around which much of this vision centers.
Revelation 5:1-5 -- "And I saw in the right hand of the One seated upon the throne a scroll written within and on the reverse side, sealed tight with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice: "Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals?" But neither in heaven nor upon earth nor underneath the earth was there a single one able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I gave way to a great deal of weeping because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. But one of the elders says to me: "Stop weeping. Look! The Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered so as to open the scroll and its seven seals."
We suspect right away that Jesus Christ is the one person in all creation who can open this mystic scroll to reads its contents. This person is presented in an unusual manner.
Revelation 5:6-7 -- "And I saw standing in the middle of[within the space between -- TCNT; between -- NAS] the Throne and of the four living creatures and in the middle of the elders a Lamb as though it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which [eyes] mean the seven spirits of The God that have been sent forth into the whole earth. And (the Lamb) went and at once took [it] out of the right hand of the One seated on the throne."
The Lamb stands in the middle of the Throne-room, surrounded by the twenty-four celestial presbyters and the Four Creatures, no doubt facing the One on the Throne. Clearly, the Lamb is not the same as the One on the Throne, for the Lamb approaches God Almighty and receives the apocalyptic scroll from His right hand. If the One on the Throne is The God, or the Almighty, is the Triune Godhead composed of Three equal Persons, then it is incontrovertible there are a total of four persons involved and the Lamb is not one of the Three.
The Lamb is described as "slaughtered" which infers death. Therefore the Lamb could not be Yahweh, or The God, for the prophet speaks: "You (Yahweh) cannot die." (Hab 1.12 JPS, NWT, NJB, NCE) He is called the "King of Eternity" and if He were to die, this could not be so. In no way is any indication given that the Lamb is somehow theistically linked with The God on the Throne as if they some how mystically shared the same substance.
Revelation 5:8-10 -- "And when (the Lamb) took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense, and the [incense] means the prayers of the Saints. And they sing a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for The God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our (The) God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth."
Note the celestial beings do not "worship" the Lamb as they do The God in 4.10. Here they kneel as ancients did to royalty. The celestial beings do not praise the Lamb as the Creator, or the Almighty, but as the lamb slaughtered.
Next the celestial beings praise the worthy Lamb. Note they do not worship him as they did The God in 4.10.
Revelation 5:11-14 -- "And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "The Lamb that was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing." And every creature that is in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and all the things in them, I heard saying: "To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever." 14 And the four living creatures went saying: "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshipped."
First, we note only two persons are praised here and the Holy Spirit is absent. We note the celestial presbyters "worship." Is this directed at both The God and the Lamb? Judging from elsewhere where only The God is worshipped, including the command of the Angel of the Apocalypse, "Worship only The God!" No where in the Revelation is the Lamb worshipped in a context where he stands alone with The God also present.
On the other hand the word "worship" in both Hebrew and Greek have degrees depending to whom the word is being applied, whether God, Jesus, kings, and husbands. A consideration of a concordance on the English word "worship" or the Hebrew and Greek words in lexicons, this will become evident. Judging from Psalm 2.1, 6, 7, 12 when the Son becomes Messiah and King, Yahweh commands earths kings and judges to "worship" His Son: "The rulers gather themselves together, against Yahweh, and against His Christ. ... But I have installed my King on Mount Zion. ... You are my Son, today I have begotten you. ... Kiss the Son [AAT: do homage; HAR: bow to the ground] lest he be angry."
Thus, the vision of the beloved apostle is very Unitarian in character, with only one recognized as The God, the Lamb in every way subordinate and subjected, and the Holy Spirit completely missing.
REGARDING "WORSHIP" IN THE BIBLE
A couple of Trinitarians have argued on this forum that "worship" (PROSKUNEO) is limited to God and Jesus in the Bible. For example, one wrote: "The Hebrew word here used is that of worship throughout the book of Daniel (cf. Dan 3:12, 14, 17, 18, 28; 6.16, 20; 7.27), hence no creature, no matter how highly exalted can ever be worshipped. (cf. Rev 22:8-9)." In the LXX these are all related to proskynousi, proskyneite.
Demonstrating that this statement is a contradiction of known scholarship is The Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 2, pages 875-877 -- "The basic meaning of proskyneo, in the opinion of most scholars, is to kiss. ... In addition to the external act of prostrating oneself in worship, proskyneo can denote the corresponding inward attitude of reverence and humility. ... In the overwhelming majority of cases in the LXX proskyneo translates the Heb. sahah in the hithpael, meaning to bow down, and is used both of bowing down before men and of worship: ... 1 Sam 25:23 ... Ps 45.12 ... "
1 Samuel 25.23 reads in the (Catholic) New Jerusalem Bible: "As soon as Abigail saw David, she quickly dismounted from the donkey and, falling on her face in front of David, prostrated herself on the ground. She fell at his feet." In Hebrew the phrase "prostrated herself" is SHaCHaH and means according to Strongs (#7812) "prostrate ... do obeisance." The Amplified version renders this "did obeisance." The New Catholic Edition renders the word, "adored upon the ground." The Greek word used in the Jewish Septuagint is PROSEKUNSEN.
In the context of a bride toward her husband, Psalm 45.11 reads in the King James Version: "So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy lord; and worship thou him." The word "worship" here is again the Hebrew SHaCHaH and the Greek PROSKUNESOUSIN. The Catholic New Jerusalem Bible renders the phrase: "he is your lord, bow down before him." The New Catholic Edition reads: "for he is your lord, and you must worship him" --- with a footnote, "Worship him: pay him homage and be submissive to him."
The important point to observe is that "worship" -- in English, Hebrew, or Greek -- is a word which has degrees depending on the object of worship. This is also true of the word "god" -- in Hebrew or Greek -- for it also has degrees from The Absolute Being to human judges.
"WORSHIP" IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION
The Greek word often translated "worship" -- proskuneo -- occurs 24 times in the Book of Revelation.
WORSHIP OF DISCIPLES --
Revelation 3:9 -- "Look! I will give those from the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews, and yet they are not but are lying-look! I will make them come and worship [proskunesousin] before your feet and make them know I have loved you." What is the object of "worship" here? The disciples of the Nazarene.
WORSHIP THE GOD --
In the Book of Revelation "worship" -- proskunesousin -- is almost exclusively limited to The God (ho theos) with one clear exception and one possible exception. Not once is the Lamb worshipped exclusively.
Revelation 4:10 -- "The twenty-four elders fall down before the One seated upon the throne and worship [proskunesousin] the One that lives forever." The object of worship here is God Almighty who is the One on the throne.
Revelation 5:14 -- "And the four living creatures went saying: "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshipped [prosekunesan]." Who is the object of worship here? It could be The God and the Lamb; or, could be only The God himself. Judging from what follows, only The God is worshipped in the absolute sense in Revelation.
Revelation 7:11 -- "And all the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell upon their faces before the throne and worshipped [PROSEKUNESAN] The God."
Revelation 11:1 -- "And a reed like a rod was given me as he said: "Get up and measure the temple [sanctuary] of The God and the altar and those worshipping [PROSKUNOUNTAS] in it."
Revelation 11:16 -- "And the twenty-four elders who were seated before The God upon their thrones fell upon their faces and worshipped [PROSEKUNESAN] The God."
Revelation 14:7 -- "Fear The God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship [PROSKUNESATE] the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters."
Revelation 15:4 -- "Who will not really fear you, LORD (YHWH), and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship [PROSKUNESOUSIN] before you, because your righteous decrees have been made manifest."
Revelation 19:4 -- "And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped [PROSEKUNESAN] The God seated upon the throne."
Revelation 19:10 -- "At that I fell down before his feet to worship [PROSKUNESAI] him. But he tells me: "Be careful! Do not do that! All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who have the work of witnessing to Jesus. Worship [PROSKUNESAI]The God."
Revelation 22:8-9 -- "Well, I John was the one hearing and seeing these things. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship [PROSKUNESAI] before the feet of the angel that had been showing me these things. But he tells me: "Be careful! Do not do that! All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who are prophets and of those who are observing the words of this scroll. Worship [PROSKUNESON]The God."
WORSHIP OF DRAGON, BEAST, IMAGE, DEVILS
Rev 9.20; 13.4, 8, 12, 15; 14.9, 11; 16.2; 19.20; 20.4
SUMMARY: Of the 20 occurrences of the word for "worship" half deal with false worship. One deals with doing obeisance before the feet of the disciples on the part of apostate Jews. The remainder deal with worship of The God. Based on all the texts which deal with the worship of The God only, Rev 5.14 is probably limited to The God, and not including the Lamb. No where else in Revelation is the Lamb the object of worship. The Holy Spirit is absent from Revelation and therefore never the object of worship.
ZECHARIAH 12:10 -- "ME" OR "HIM"
Zechariah 12.10 (Zc 12.10 / Zc 12:10) compare to John 19:37 (Jn 19.37)
New Jerusalem Bible --- "I shall pour out a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me. They will mourn for the one whom they have pierced." (Ftn: We preserve the Masoretic Text reading by making a clear break after "to me." Theodotion understood "to the one whom they have pierced," and this reading is followed by John. [19.37])
The Jewish Publication Society, Tanakh --- " ... and they shall lament to Me about those who are slain." This later citation demonstrates that even a Jewish translation of the MT allows for another possibility.
The Masoretic text:
|for him||and they shall morn||they have pierced||whom||on me||and they shall look|
It seems there is a "Me" and a "him" in the traditional Hebrew text though this is translated in a variety of ways. It is possible this "him" is the David (like God, an angel of Yahweh) or the Messiah type of 12.7-10. Though the David-type is actually the one pierced (as John 19.37 has it) the action against "David" was also against Yahweh, the "Me."
This reads as the usual Oriental device for the one representing, being spoken as the one represented. (See Young's Hints & helps for Translation)
CHRIST THE ROCK
AS THE "ANGEL OF YAHWEH"
"For they used to drink from the spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was the Christ. Nevertheless, on most of them The God did not express his approval, for they were laid low in the wilderness." (1 Cor 10.4, 5)
The Logos, who became Christ, the Anointed of Yahweh, was the Angel of Yahweh who followed the Israelites in their wilderness journey. When Yahweh speaks it is really the Angel of Yahweh.
Exodus 14:19 -- "Then the Angel of the [true] God who was going ahead of the camp of Israel departed and went to their rear, and the pillar of cloud departed from their van and stood in the rear of them. ... "Look! My Angel will go ahead of you." (Ex 32.34) Exodus 23:20-23 -- "Here I am sending an angel ahead of you to keep you on the road and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. Watch yourself because of [the Angel] and obey [the Angels] voice. Do not behave rebelliously against [the Angel], for [the Angel] will not pardon your transgression; because my name is within [the Angel]. However, if you strictly obey [the Angels] voice and really do all that I shall speak, then I shall certainly be hostile to your enemies and harass those who harass you. For my Angel will go ahead of you."
Yahweh makes it clear He sends His Angel -- with Yahwehs indwelling name -- and this Angel is to lead, follow, and protect. The Israelites are to listen to the Angelic Voice for the Angel speaks for Yahweh. So close is this representation, it is the Angels pardon Israel needs. The Angel speaking for Yahweh is the same relationship of the Logos -- the Spokesman -- to The God. (Jn 1.1; Heb 1.1, 2) All the words spoken to the Israelites during this wilderness trek are from the Angel of Yahweh.
Sometimes it is not exactly clear who is speaking, but given the above, whenever Yahweh speaks it is through His Angel. This can be noted in the experience of Moses beholding the glory of Yahweh. The account is in Exodus 33.18-20; 34.5-9 --- "At this [Moses] said: "Cause me to see, please, your glory." But [Yahwehs Angel] said: "I myself shall cause all my goodness to pass before your face, and I will declare the name of Yahweh before you." ... And [Yahwehs Angel added: "You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live."
And [Yahwehs Angel] said further: "Here is a place with me, and you must station yourself upon the rock. And it has to occur that while my glory is passing by I must place you in a hole in the rock, and I must put my palm over you as a screen until I have passed by. After that I must take my palm away, and you will indeed see my back. But my face may not be seen." ... And [Yahwehs Angel] proceeded to come down in the cloud and station himself with [Moses] there and declare the name of Yahweh. And [Yahwehs Angel] went passing by before [Moses] face and declaring: Yahweh, Yahweh, A GOD merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin, but by no means will He give exemption from punishment, bringing punishment for the error of fathers upon sons and upon grandsons, upon the third generation and upon the fourth generation. Moses at once hurried to bow low to the earth and prostrate himself. Then he said: If, now, I have found favor in your eyes, O Yahweh, let Yahweh, please, go along in the midst of us."
We had added the word Angel because of what God Himself said previously to Moses that He would speak by His Angel. We note the Angel speaks, not in the first person, but third person by the phrase "a God" and "He" rather than "I am" or "I." It should be noted the phrase "a God" infers there are other gods. Thus, when Yahweh speaks or is represented in the Books of Moses it is real the Angel of Yahweh who speaks for God, just as the Son speaks for The God now to Christians. For Hebrews 1.1 declares, "In many places and in many ways The God spoke of old to our forefathers by means of the prophets, now in these Last Days spoke to us by a Son."
IS GOD "ONE" OR "THREE"?
No one would know better whether He is one or three than God Himself. Let us assume the Nature of God is three: three persons in One. We may rightly assume God is capable of communicating this idea to His worshippers if He so chose. Let us assume He wishes to convey this Trinitarian or triune idea to people. How could he go about it? He could be plain, simple, and direct for it is not difficult to say: "I am three" or "I am three in One: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit."
On the other hand God may choose to reveal Himself progressively to His chosen people throughout the Old Testament so that by the end of 39 inspired books the Jews would have an intelligent comprehension of the truth that "God is Three."
The first phrase of the Bible is: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." In Hebrew the word God is elohim which literally means "gods." Now, this could be the first hint to a plurality in Gods Nature. However, it would infer "gods" without indicating the number. That the Jews did not understand this to be so is the way they translated the Hebrew to Greek in the Third Century BC. They did not use theoi which means "gods." Rather they used ho theos which means The God in the masculine singular.
In the Bibles second verse something else is first mentioned: "And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." This word "spirit" is from the Hebrew ruach which means either breath or wind. In Greek this phrase is kai pneuma theou or "the breath of The God." A pneuma or ruach is an invisible force which exerts a pressure like wind. Pneuma or ruach is not a person but is a force. Some translators actually use "wind" instead of the Old English word spirit."
In a later verse (26) Elohim (or ho theos), The God, speaks to someone else: "And The God said: Let us make man according to our image." Is The God talking to Himself as if He were plural? The Jews did not understand that to be so. They thought these others were angels. (Job 38.4-7) There is no way of knowing, reading from verse 1, who this "us" might include. It is only after thousands of years of retrospection that Trinitarians construct a Trinity out of "God" of verse 1, "spirit" of verse 2, and the "Son" (or, the Spirit and the Son) of verse 26. Of course, there remains only one of these identified as "God" in verses 1 and 26. Nothing in these verses proves the spirit is a person or that the Son is meant in verse 26. These are later ideas imposed on the Genesis text.
What conclusions can we draw from just Genesis chapter one? There is the Creator, The God (ho theos vss 1, 26). There is the wind or breath of The God moving across the waters. And, there are others implied by "us" and "our" in verse 26. Does it seem fair to conclude that God is not communicating some mysterious three in His nature? If that had been so the Jews would have grasped the meaning right away.
How might God have inspired the verses if He wanted to communicate the plurality of His nature in three persons? It would not have been difficult, with an infinite vocabulary at hand, to have said: "In the beginning the Three Natures of God created ... and the Third Person was moving over the waters. ... And, the plural nature of God said to Himself: Let us .... " This would not have been difficult.
On the other hand, if the truth is "God is One," then Genesis 1.1 would mean there was one God, The God. The godly breath or divine wind of The God moved over the waters. Then, in verse 26, The God (ho theos) spoke to an unknown number of others who shared in His making of man. No matter how many are involved in the words "us" and "our" there is only one God, The God, giving the command to some unidentified other(s).
THE NAME OF GOD -- "ONE" OR "THREE"?
In Genesis 2.4 the Name of God is introduced for the first time. What does this Name mean? Does it convey the idea of a plurality of three or does it infer only One. There is some disagreement on this. However, when the Jews of the Third Century translated the Hebrew YHWH to Greek they gave the meaning ho On which means according to most scholars: "The One Who Is." Does the meaning of the Name convey plurality or oneness? It seems fair to state that ho On conveys only the idea of One?
Had God wanted to reveal his plural nature in three it would not have been difficult to state in some manner something like ho trias -- The Three. Or, ho theos trias -- The God Three, or The Three-God.
IS GOD "ONE" OR "THREE" IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?
The Jews never comprehended any threeness in God as the Greek Philosophers or the Egyptian priesthood did. The idea of a triune god, or three gods in one, was right there in the religious cultures of the ancient world. It would not have been a difficult thing to convey this same idea if that is what God wanted to do. Why convey the idea of One when it was in fact Three given all the religions that surrounded Israel who already had trinities?
It is fair to state that nothing in the OT conveys the idea of a Trinity otherwise the Jews would have been the first to comprehend the notion. It is only by looking backward through Trinitarian filters that triune-obsessed Christian scholars begin to conjure up Trinitarian images in Genesis chapters one and eighteen; or, Isaiah 6.3.
Illustrating this forced interpretation -- looking for three when there is only One -- is the Trinitarian twist to Deu 6.4 where the Shema declares the LORD to be One. Because the Hebrew echadh may mean one or first of others, it is argued that this verse becomes the "most explicit declaration of the Trinity in the whole Bible"! Even if one were to accept the quaint Trinitarian notion that the Hebrew word for "one" in some way conveys "one of more" it is only by retrospective Trinitarian filters this can mean three rather than an unknown number.
IS GOD "ONE" OR "THREE" IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?
When we come to the New Testament we could ask this same question: How would God go about revealing He was a plural of Three and not just one person alone? This is not difficult to write: "Our God is three." Nothing even remotely like this occurs.
Jesus the Nazarene has plenty of opportunity to use the number three in some connection with God. Note John 8.16-18: "The father who sent me is with me. Also, in your own Law it is written: The witness of two persons is true. (Deu 19.15) I am one that bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness abut me." Can anyone deny that abundant opportunity is present here to use the "three" of Deu 19.15 in revealing the three-fold nature of God. Jesus would have had no difficulty in saying: "As your law states: The witness of three persons is true. I am one who bears witness of myself, and the Father bears witness of me, and the Holy Spirit also bears witness." Jesus could have actually used the same phrases in the fake text, 1 John 5.7 had he been a Trinitarian.
Paul is not ignorant of the number three for he uses it at 2 Co 12.2 (tritou), 14 (triton); 13.1 (triton, trion), the later in the context of quoting Deu 19.15 and a plurality of persons. Paul also quotes Deu 19.15 but he adds "three" showing Jesus could have done the same.
It seems strange indeed that if Jesus were part of a Trinitarian deity -- he would surely know this -- and miss his opportunity in John 8.17, 18. It is probably fair to state that a real Trinitarian would not have included only two in this case but would have conjured up a 1 John 5.7.
Jesus has another opportunity when he quotes the Shema of Deu 6.4 in Mark 12.29: "Jesus answered, The first is "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is one."" Understanding what Jesus meant, the Jewish scribe says: "You are right, Teacher, you have truly said that he is one, and besides him there is no other." To which Jesus says the man is "not far from the Kingdom of God." (Mk 12.29-34 RSV) Jesus could have easily given the Trinitarian explanation of the Hebrew echadh or the Greek heis as indicating three persons. Rather, the Nazarene praises the scribe for his conclusion: "(God) is One, and besides Him there is no other." Something which could not be said if God were Three.
This opportunity to involve three in a formula occurs also at Matthew 11.27: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." (RSV) Why would the Son omit the Third Person of the Holy Trinity? For surely -- if the Trinity be true -- the Spirit would know the Father and the Son also. It would have been easy to say: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and the Holy Spirit knows both the Son and the Father as He is known by them."
Paul also makes it plain that "God is One" ignoring any opportunity to explain the Mystery of the Trinity. Twice in the contexts of others -- with the opportunity to form some triune plurality -- Paul stress "God is One." First in Galatians 3.20: "Now there is no mediator where only one person is concerned, but The God is only one [ho de theos heis estin]." Paul does this again at 1 Timothy 2.5: "For there is one God [heis gar theos]; there is also one mediator between God and humankind." Just as there is only "one mediator" and not some plural mediator, there is only one God.
In the very context of the plurality of "gods" Paul speaks of only one God: "There is no God except one. ... Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." (1 Cor 8.4, 6 RSV) Something pops right off the page: the missing Holy Spirit. With full opportunity and a mastery of language, Paul misses the chance to declare: "To us God is three: the Father, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit." It is a simple sentence. Why would God Himself miss this opportunity to inspire Paul to declare a triune Godhead?
Finally, some will immediately want to jump to Ephesians 4.4-6 and what will be declared to be a triune formula. Read it clearly and fairly: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all." (RSV) Only "one" is declared to be God in these verses. Rather than being a triune formula it encompasses seven "ones." It is the "one God" only who is "above all" -- which would include the Christian "body" and the "one Spirit" and the "one Lord."
Had Paul been a Trinitarian and had a Trinitarian God inspired him would he have written Ephesians 4.4-6 in this manner? For he omits the spirit and Jesus from his declaration of "one God" and includes only the Father who is "above all" including the spirit and Jesus.
SUMMARY. The above is presented as a statement of the Biblical truth that "God is One" and not three. It is presented to demonstrate that if "God is Three" the Bible seems to go in another direction. It is assumed God can communicate the simple truth that He is Three and if this is His intent he falls far short of it in the many declarations that "God is One." We ask, then, why the number "Three"?
WHY THE NUMBER "THREE"?
The doctrine of the Trinity teaches there are Three Persons (or, Hypostases) in One God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Any thoughtful person might ask: Why "Three"? Why not two, or four, or seven? Or, three-hundred million persons in one Divine Community like a celestial bee-hive? Why ... three?
Numbers held great religious power in the ancient world. Three has always been particularly mystical, particularly when squared (nine). Numbers appear often in the Bible. For example, here are the occurrences of the various numerals ---
These results are interesting when we consider them from the standpoint of what must be the most sacred (from a Trinitarian standpoint) -- three. One is clearly a premier number in the Bible. Two is second, and three is (?) third. The highly sacred number, the square of three, nine is the least used number in the Bible. The luckiest number in the Asian world, eight (the number who survived the Flood), is also rare.
When we examine the number three and look for its occurrence in some relationship to God -- who is supposed to be Triune in nature -- we find no such occurrence. This seems unusual beyond belief when many pagan religions reveal their trinities in the form of one body with six arms; or, a three-side, or three-faced god. It is not difficult to do or say. For example, the phrase "God is One" occurs several times, but a phrase just as easy to write and say, "God is Three," is completely missing. Why should this be when we might rightfully expect the number "three" to receive premier emphasis in a Bible inspired by a Triune Godhead?
The Oxford Companion to the Bible, page 561, comments on this: "Three is widely regarded as a divine number. Many religions have triads of gods. Biblical faith has no room for a triad, and the number three is rarely connected with God. ... Neither is the doctrine of the Trinity expressed there in so many words."
Harpers Bible Dictionary, page 497, admits: "Three ... was already sacred to early Babylonian religions, honoring a triad (Anu, Bel, Ea) ... as Egyptians honored Isis, Osiris, and Horus."
When we look at that book of the Bible where numbers figure prominently, Revelation, some interesting observations are made.
Again we are surprised by the appearances of "three" for it is only tied with the 6th position in number of occurrences. Surprising, the number "nine" -- the most sacred Babylonian number -- is missing completely! As in the rest of the Bible, the number three is never used in some relationship with Gods nature in the Book of Revelation.
This seems strange for a Book inspired by a Triune Godhead --- to minimize or even ignore three in some combination, particularly squared, as it is in pagan religions. Might there be a reason?
We find the lack of emphasis on the number three -- or nine -- to be evidence against the concept of a Triune Godhead. Why would the Bible do such a thing? Why would this number "three" be so sacred in extra-biblical religions and yet devoid of emphasis in the Bible?
First, we note Aristotles own use of the number "three" in relation to God: "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." (Aristotle, On the Heavens, Book I, 1) There can be no question, based on this one statement by the great Greek philosopher alone, the number three was a number of high magnitude religiously speaking. Again, we ask, Why?
What could be the reason for this selection of the number Three? We wish to suggest a possibility.
Once, there was only One, the Absolute Being. All that existed was only God and God only was all that existed. At some moment -- do not ask, When? for your string with measured knots did not yet exist -- the One Absolute Being thought [ > Mind, Reason, Intellectual Process; the Divine Mind as the Pressure of Consciousness exerting a Force projected by Divine Will -- the holy spirit, or Mind of God] to create a second being, a Son -- a monogenetic. (Jn 1.18) In the most glorious transcendent moment of all creation -- exceeding the Big Bang by mathematical anomalies -- the Absolute Being begat His Son. Now there were Two -- Father and Son. This one who was Second was to become the only being directly created (monogenetic) by The Absolute Being and therefore First and Last in this matter. (Re 1.17) How long they were together "alone" is an unsolvable philosophical matter. Surely, there was unimaginable intellectual intercourse between the Two as the Second Being, the only-begotten Son, learned from the Divine Mind. (Jn 17.6; Pro 8.22-30)
The purpose of this was to prepare the Son for the creation which was to follow. For the only-begotten Son, called "only-begotten god" by the apostle John (Jn 1.18 > monogenetic god), was to become the Instrument -- Agency, Channel, Conduit -- for all the rest of creation. (Heb 1.2, 3; Jn 1.3; Col 1.15-18; Prov 8.22-30) The Son was soon to become the Logos -- the Word, the Spokesman or Mouthpiece -- by means of whom The Absolute Being would make, or bring into existence, all other creatures. (Jn 1.2, 3) The Father would speak to the Son -- "Let there be" -- and it would become.
First created, the celestialum of other spirit creatures, such as angels, who would become part of one heavenly family of millions of spirit-like persons. (Col 1.16; Job 38.4-6) Then, the material creation -- perhaps in a dramatic Big Bang -- which began an evolving process by which the simplest of nuclear particles became the Universe -- the PANTA -- that is today. This included the process revealed in Genesis chapter one when The God speaks to another and commands, "Let there be ... "; and, then, later instructs this Second -- His Son, the Logos: "Let us make man in our image." (Gen 1.26; Pro 8.30 master workman, craftsman, confidant)
This Son as a "confidant" -- or, Master-Worker -- is spoken of as (female) Wisdom [Grk = sophia; compare Col 2.3; 1 Cor 1.24] in Proverbs 8.22-30: "[Yahweh] created me at the beginning of His course as the first of His works of old. In the distant past I was fashioned, at the beginning. ... I was brought forth. ... I was there when He set the heavens into place. ... When [Yahweh] fixed the foundations of the earth, I was with Him as a confidant [or, Master-worker]."
How might the number "three" have come into the picture? When one reflects on it, there are three life-forms: 1) the Absolute Being; 2) the Only-begotten God as the first and last of the Fathers direct creation (the Monogenetic); and, 3) the rest of creation, both celestial and terrestrial. Among the later category there was one who later became known as Satan (Resister) or Devil (Slanderer). (Isa 14.12-14; Ez 28.13-17) It is not difficult to imagine the rebellion that followed resulted because Satan wanted to represent the third life form -- general creation. It is easy to imagine Satans line of argument -- the Absolute Being represents his own kind; the Son as only-begotten (monogenetic), the only one directly related to the Father, represents his own kind -- but, who will represent Everything else, the PANTA, the All Things of creation, other than the Son?
This idea -- a third as representative of the PANTA, the general creation -- arouses the number Three -- the third place or number Satan craved. Thus, the number Three is the Satanic number -- including its square, nine -- as it is worshipped by the ancient Greeks and modern pagan religions. [The pentagram, an ancient symbol for power is a circle with three triangles overlaid in it.] This explains why the number Three is given no importance or emphasis in the Bible as a whole and never linked in any manner to God the Father or His Son, Jesus Christ. It explains why the Babylonish "nine" is omitted completely from the Book of Revelation.
We wish to apply an analogy here to illustrate the matter: Adam, like God, has another being created from his own substance, Eve -- the first and last woman so made; then, Adam and his second, Eve (like the female Wisdom), begat Cain, the first of their union, but the third of their kind, who then became the manslayer. (Jn 8.44;1 Jn 3.12, 15) In like manner, the Absolute Being brought into existence a Seocnd Being -- perhaps from His own substance -- and then in union the Creator used the Son as His agent to create others, perhaps a first of these, a third of many millions to follow. This may have been the angelic being who was to turn himself into a satan or diabolos and tried to install himself as a third.
However, the Fathers purpose triumphs over the Satanic Third. For Jesus rose on the third day, thus indicating a shattering of Satanic influence over mankind. Irrespective of the reason behind the religious significance to the number "three" the grand truth of the Bible remains -- "God is One."
"CHRIST -- THE WISDOM OF THE GOD"
Proverbs 8:22 (Pr 8.22)
Paul taught, "Christ ... the Wisdom of God," and, "hidden in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom [Grk = sophias]." (1 Cor 1.24; 2.7; Col 2.3) It is hard to believe Paul could write this under inspiration and not echo Proverbs 8.22 where it is said of Wisdom: "The LORD [Yahweh] created me [Wisdom] created me at the beginning of His course." (Jewish Publication Society, Tanakh)
Is it fair to state this proves "Wisdom" was the first thing created? It also seems fair to conclude there can be only two meanings: a) God did not possess wisdom so created it as the first of His acts; or, b) Wisdom here personifies the Logos (the Word) as the Jewish philosopher -- and later apostolic fathers -- saw the Wisdom of Proverbs 8.22. We believe the first is ludicrous and thus the second is the most viable.
First, let us compare both the Hebrew and Greek in Proverbs 8.22.
Hebrew text -- YAHWEH CREATED ME IN THE BEGINNING OF HIS WAYS
|of His ways||in the beginning||created me||Yahweh|
Strongs #3068 = YHWH
Strongs # 7069 = produced; created = Gen 14.19
Strongs #7225 = Gen 1.1
Greek (LXX) text -- THE LORD CREATED ME THE BEGINNING OF HIS WAYS
|The LORD||created/made||me||in beginning||of ways||His|
In Proverbs 8.12 the word for Wisdom is sophia (feminine) and this is the same word Paul used in the texts above, all feminine.
Interestingly, some of these same words are used in describing that "Anointed Cherub who was in Eden." Note Ezekiel 28.13-15, "Thou wast in the delight of the paradise of The God. ... from the day thou was created [εκτισθης = ektisthes] thou wast with the cherub. ... Thou wast faultless in thy days that thou was created [εκτισθης = ektisthes] until iniquity was found in thee." (LXX Bagsters) The same word, created, used in Proverbs 8.22 is used (ektisthes) of the Devil.
Another word related to this in Proverbs and Ezekiel is that found at Colossians 1.15 where Christ is called, "the firstborn of all creation [κτισεως = ktiseos]." And, again the beloved John uses the word at Revelation 3.14, "the beginning of the creation [κτισεως = ktiseos] of The God." These later texts are in complete agreement with Proverbs 8.22, that "Christ ... the Wisdom of God" was created as the very first or beginning of Gods works.
THE FIRST(BORN) OF EVERY CREATURE
Colossians 1.15 (Col 1.15 / Col 1:15) reads in the King James Version: "The firstborn of every creature."
The actual Greek phrase is ---
πρωτοτοκος [firstborn] πασης [of all] κτισεως [creation]
Three popular interlinears all give this same literal reading. (KIT, UBS, IB) and most of the contemporary translations follow suit.. How this phrase is translated fall into two categories: a) those who follow the literal rendering; and, b) those who trinitize the phrase. Consider some of these: WMS: His firstborn Son who existed before any created thing; TCNT: First-born and Head of all creation; NEB: his is the primacy over all created things; LB: (Christ) existed before God made anything at all. We do not believe it unfair to state that these are paraphrases and interpretations rather than strict translations. Consider the NEB -- "his is the primacy over all created things"" -- would this not be obvious if the subject were the Creator?
These Trinitarian-biased versions take the Greek prototokos to mean "preeminent of all creation" or the Creator himself. In the Hebrew environment of the Bible the firstborn was, of course, senior, preeminent and entitled to a double portion of the inheritance. Among animals, the firstborn of that kind, was to be an offering for sin. This does not change that the child was born first of a family which was to follow, thus the senior brother of all the other offspring of the same type.
The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, page 734, "firstborn ... Gen 25:25 (LXX) ... Mt 1.25 ... Lk 2.7 ... (Gen 48.18) ... = all the first-born ... (Ex 22.28; Num 18.15 ... Heb 11.28 (cf. Ex 11.5) ... 2. fig.---a. of Christ, as the first-born of a new humanity which is to be glorified. ... Ro 8.29 .. (prototokos) is also to be found in some instance where it is uncertain whether the force of the element -tokos is still felt at all. .... Col 1.15 .... "
Thayers Greek-English Lexicon, page 555, " ... the first-born whether of man or of beast, Heb xi.28. ... b. trop. Christ is called prototokos parses ktiseos ... who came into being through God prior to the entire universe of created things."
In reviewing the commentaries one notices the bias of either Unitarian or Trinitarian (compare Thayers with Vines) on the meaning of prototokos at Col 1.15 just as one sees the disagreement with the same word between Catholics and Protestants in Lk 2.7. (See The Dictionary of New Testament Theology re "firstborn")
Pauls line of thought may be drawn from Prov 8.22-30 -- for later the Son is "the treasures (not the source) of all wisdom (sophia) -- where arche may also bear the same meaning as protos (first = beginning) --- "The Lord (YHWH) created me the beginning [archen] of His ways, the first [heis] of his works." Colossians 1.15, 16 echoes this completely: the Son is "the firstborn of every creature" and all the rest of creation results through [di, dia] this instrument, even as Prov 8.30 continues, "The I was beside Him, as a master workman." (AMP, NWT, NAS, NIV)
One wonders if Paul could possibly mean also the Father was "the firstborn of all creation"? Or, the holy spirit? Or, is this limited to Christ? Is it almost blasphemous to state, "God is the first of all creation" --- for is not such obvious? Why would Paul have to write, "God is the image of the invisible God; God is firstborn of all creation because by means of God all things were created ... "?
Professor Martin Werner (Bern, Germany) writes in The Formation of Christian Dogma, page 138-9, 155 -- "It meant definitively that the Logos-Christ had been created by God as had all other creatures. Origen shows no embarrassment about the form of expression used in the Proverbs [8.22ff] passage about the creation of Sophia; (Origen) names the Son of God the oldest of all created beings ... The same thing could be said in connection with Col [1.15], namely, that the Logos-Christ and all other creatures, at least the angels, were begotten of God. [ftn Thus Justin Apol. i, 13, 21; Dial. 100, I, 128, 3; 61, 3] ... [Eusebius] The Logos-Christ was the oldest of these beings, God had set him at the head of the whole creation as the supreme director. In that the Logos-Christ belongs to these divine [angelic] powers, which stand subordinate to God the Father, the Scriptures ... ascribe to him divinity. In his function as the supreme director of creation he was, as any other angelic-being, fundamentally an organ of the divine activity." (Eusebius, dem. evang. iv, I-2: organon technikon)
"THE ONLY BEGOTTEN GOD"
(Jn 1:18 / Jn 1.18)
How does your analysis of "theos" without the definite article effect your translation of "God" in this verse? Should it read: "No man has ever, at any time, seen a god; the only son in the Father's bosom, explains Him."
The following is from Encountering New Testament Manuscripts, pages 125-6
The verse reads exactly from the the two Greek manuscripts ---
Papyrus Bodmer II (P 66)
θεον ουδεις εωρακεν πωποτε μ[ο]νογενης θεος ο ων εις τον κολπον [τ]ου πατρος εκεινος εξηγησατο
No man has seen God at any time;
only-begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father,
he has explained Him.
[note the article is here missing before monogenes theos]
Papyrus Bodmer XV - P 75
θεον ουδεις πωποτε εωρακεν ο μονογενης θεος ο ων εις τον κολπον του πατρος εκεινος εξηγησατο
No man has at any time seen God;
the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father,
he has explained Him.
[note in this mss the article is present before monogenes theos]
" ... the following word theos ("God") is without the article. For comparison, Jn 1.1 is to be recalled, where theos appears once with the article and once without it. ... the subtle difference between the use of the same noun, once with the article and once without." (End quote)
The exact Greek form of theon in John occurs only twice without the article. (1.18; 10.33) Generally, John always has the article before in the form ton theon in all other occurrences. (1.1, 2; 5.18; 8.41; 11.22; 13.3; 14.1; 17.3; 20.17; 21.19) Indeed, it is Johns normal habit to almost always have any form of theos (theo, theou, theon) with the article. Judging from Johns own habit one would suspect ton ought to precede theon in 1.18a; whereas monogenes theos is rightly preceded by ho by the very nature of the phrase "only-begotten god."
Thus, the verse might well read: "No one has ever seen The God. The only-begotten god -- the one in the bosom of the Father -- that one explained (Him)." Here the word exegesato (exegete) echoes the designation in 1.1, Logos, the Word as one who, in speaking for The God, explains the Father. So, there is One who explains another, The God, who is the Father.
"THE ANGEL OF GREAT COUNCIL"
Isaiah 9.6 ( Is 9.6 / Isa 9:6 ) Second Century BC Jewish Greek Septuagint --
"For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder: and his name is called the Angel of Great Council."
The Formation of Christian Dogma, Prof Martin Werner, pages 132
"We have learned from the Church Fathers Methodius (de resurr. i, 49, I f.) and Eusebius (dem. avang. iv, 10, 16 f.) that in the Early Church, as also in Rabbinical theology, the megale boule of the Septuagint translation of Isa ix, 6 was referred to in the sense of the great council, an interpretation which prevailed over all others. .... This means that the Greek translator of the Book of Isaiah was already identifying the (page 133) Messiah with the angel of Jahwe. who was known from the oldest Old Testament documents. Post-Apostolic Christianity also adopted in this form the late-Jewish conception of the Messiah as the highest leader of the angels of the supreme court of God in heaven. The assertion that Christ was the angel of great counsel of Isa. ix, 6 (LXX) is frequently met with in the Church writers of this period. .... (page 151-2) Of primary importance in this context was the traditional interpretation of the old testament instances of angelic appearances as manifestations of Christ, together with the identification of Christ with the angel of great counsel of Isa ix, 6 (LXX) From the older tradition came the proof, according to which Christ, as an angelic-being, was shown as belonging to the ... heavenly powers. ... this argument had already played an essential role in the Angel-Christology of Justin. (Dial. c. Tryph, 116, I)"
IS THE "LORD" OF HEB 1.9, 10 THE SON?
(Hebrews1:9, 10 / He 1.9, 10)
The Greek of the transition between verse 9 and 10 is ---
δια τουτο εχρισεν σε ο θεος ο θεος σου ελαιον αγαλλιασεως παρα τους μετοχους σου και συ ...
This is literally rendered: "on account of this The God, your God, anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions. And, you Lord, ... "
The Letter to the Hebrews has been proving the Son has "become better than the angels" and has no where argued that the Son is God or equal to God or some part of a Triune Godhead. With verse 7 three types are mentioned: angels, the Son, and the Lord. Those who have been following the writer would have no reason what so ever to assume this "Lord" of Psalm 102.25-27 was the Son himself. Rather, it would be obvious to any Jewish reader that this "Lord" is the Creator Yahweh. The previous quotation had proven that the Messiah (the anointed one) was exalted only over his "partners" (companions) and not God. Indeed, even if one accepts the rendering, "Your throne, O God, ... " then this ""god" has his own "God." This could never be said of The God (ho theos) for He has no god. A Jewish reader, reading this without explanatory preparation, would have no difficulty in understanding that with the break "and" in verse 10 the subject has moved to Yahweh as Psalm 102 has it.
Some Trinitarian translators have added phrases to "and" indicating the "Son" of verse 8 is, in fact, Yahweh of Psalm 102. The Greek does not allow for this and such a translation must be considered a Trinitarian paraphrase ignoring the context. If this were permitted then a Unitarian paraphrase, consistent with the context and the flow of the argument, that verse 10 could also be paraphrased: "and, (concerning the Father / Yahweh) ... "
REGARDING "THE FIRST AND THE LAST"
UNITARIAN: Regarding your question about Rev 1.17 and Isa 44.6 -- first I would note
the Greek of the two is different: Isa 44.6 = EGO PROTOS KAI EGO META TAUTO where was in
Rev 1.17 EGO EIMI HO PROTOS KAI HO ESCHATOS so the later could hardly be viewed as a
quotation or allusion.
TRINITARIAN: Are you saying that in order for it to be possible for Jesus to be saying that He is "the First and the Last" in the same way that Jehovah is He would have to have used the same words in Greek. I don't see how this could be true. Look in your Greek OT at Is. 48:12 and you will see that Jehovah is once again saying that He is "the First and the Last" but the Greek words are different. 48:12 reads, EGO EIMI PROTOS KAI EGO EIMI EIS TON AIONA. He is saying the same thing but using slightly different words.
UNITARIAN REBUTTAL: The LXX (Bagsters) renders these tow phrase differently for they
truly are: "I am (the) First and I endure (am) for ever." Even if we accept the
various phrases as the form of a title we do not agree that because two persons share the
same title that this argues they are the same. If this were so then your average husband
would be God for he is called "head." David would be God because he is called
"lord." Further, David would be God because he is also titled "king."
Perhaps the very argument of similar titles is evidence of the general weakness of the
Trinitarian argument as many scholars admit when it comes to Biblical testimony.
TRINITARIAN: Now, if what you're saying is true somehow, then in Rev. 22:12 Jehovah must be saying that He is "the First and the Last" in the same way that Jesus is, and is actually quoting Jesus because the Greek is exactly the same!
UNITARIAN REBUTTAL: We do not agree that Rev 22.12 is spoken by the Son. The break at
verse 16 is proof to us that a new speaker is now introduced. It should be remember that
in Rev the Angel of the Revelation is often speaking. Sometimes the angel speaks for the
Son and other times he speaks for The God. (Compare verse 10) The context of the two
verses is different: 22.12 is dealing with the absolute Beginning and the End; whereas,
1.17 is dealing with the resurrection of the Son. That the Alpha and the Omega is not the
Lamb is clearly shown in ch 5 where it is the Lamb who approaches the Alpha and Omega to
receive the apocalyptic book from His right hand.
UNITARIAN: Second, the contexts are different: Isa deals with the first and last God of the nation of Israel, not any of the gods or images mentioned in Isa chs 40-46. In Rev 1.17 the context deals with the resurrection of Jesus: the first and last to be raised directly by God.
TRINITARIAN: I don't think this context argument is true or logical at all. Certainly one could claim a title with the same meaning in different contexts. Can you think of any grammatical reasons why Jesus cannot be claiming to be "the First and the Last" in the same way that Jehovah is?
UNITARIAN REBUTTAL: We would not expect you to see the truth or logic of the argument for your filter is so strongly Trinitarian in its bias. You do agree with the "claim a title with the same meaning in different contexts" is not proof the persons are the same. We have shown how Eve is first in last in ways God cannot be. We have shown that though Adam be a husband like God (Isa 54.1, 5; Jer 3.14, 32) and the "head" of his wife, this does not make Adam God. (1 Cor 11.3)
Our Lord is called "apostle" but this does not mean Paul is Jesus. (Heb 3.1; Rom 1.1) Judge Ehud and others are called "savior" but this does not make them either God of Christ. (Jg 3., 15) This may be true of other titles: lord, god, judge, king, etc.
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