What Are the Areas Where the Father and the Son Are One in the Context of John 10:30? Please explain. (58)

ANSWER: “I and My Father are one” – Not Limited to Shepherding

Introduction:  What Is One?  This question should be explained in detail.  

We often submit John 10:30, “I and My Father are one,” as an evidence of Christ’s deity or His being God.  That both are God and therefore they are one. And the explanation ends there. That incomplete argument is not effective.  My recommendation is:  There should be a deeper and wider explanation on the term “one”.  The INC-1914 counters that Christ’s oneness with the Father is limited to shepherding which they base on 10:24-29.  We should overcome that claim. 

 Following are other bases of unity of the Father and the Son. Quotes are from the NKJV: 

  1. The Father Is in Me and I in Him –  Attributes and emotion and plans and works intersect and intertwine. 
  • John 10:38,  “. . . though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know Me, believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”
  • John 14:11, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works. . .” 
  • John 17:10, “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”

2. Christ Is Life and Has Life – The Father and Christ are the source of biological and spiritual life. 

  • John 1:4, “In Him was life.” 
  • John 5:24,  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
  • John 17:3,  “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
  • 1 John 5:11,  “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

3. Mine is Yours and Yours Is Mine – Their knowledge intersect and intertwine

  • John 7:29,  “But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
  • John 10:15,  “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father.”
  • John 16:15,  “All things that the Father has are Mine, Therefore I said, He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
  • John 17:10,  “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”
  • Matt. 11:27,  “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. . .”

4. His Teaching is from the Father

  • John 8:28,  “. . . I do nothing of Myself, but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.”

5. Father & Some Have Same Work 

John 5:17, 19-20  “. . . My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. x x x the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do, for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. . . and shows all things that He Himself does, and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.”

John 9:4,  “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”

6. All Authority Given to Christ but it Does not Mean the Father has no Authority

  • John 5:27, “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” 
  • John 17:2,  “as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.”

7.  Christ Is the Image of God  which Shows Identicality of Attributes 

  • Heb. 1:3,  “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person. . . .” 
  • Col. 1:15,  “He is the image of the invisible God. . .”  

8. All Judgment Given to Christ

  • John 5:22,  “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment in the Son.”
  • Acts 17:31,  “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

9. Bonded by Love – God is love. 

  • John 5:20, “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does. . .”
  • John 17:24, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

See John 1:1-3; John 17:5; Col. 1:15-16; Heb. 1:2, 10 to prove Christ’s existence before the earth was created. 

10.  The Father Was in Christ Reconciling the World to Himself

  • John 3:14-17,   “. . . even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son unto the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:19,  “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
  • Romans 5:5, 8,  “Now hope does not disappoint,, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us x x x but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

11.  Shepherding Is only One of the Many Items the Father the Son are One in – John 10:22-29. 

NOTE:  It is generally accepted that there is the oneness, the harmony, the unity and cohesion of the husband&wife situation. This oneness is not in their physical bodies because their solid bodies are not blended into one mass. Their oneness is more in the psycho-mental realm.  Verses we submit on this oneness are Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:16; Matt. 19:6; Mark 10:6-9;   1Cor. 6:16; Ephesians 5:31. 

Overall conclusion:  Shepherding is only the eleventh basis of oneness listed in this study, so don’t limit it to shepherding. (Enumerate the other ten taken from the Book of John with support from other books.)  Today, those who refuse to recognize the unity and oneness of the Father and Christ that leads to the conclusion that Christ is God, are like the Jews who took up stones and accused Christ of blasphemy (10:31-33).  Let us tell the disbelievers on the Deity of Christ to please don’t be like the Jews who were hardened doubters who wanted to stone Christ.  

Is Lord Jesus Christ God? 56

#56 – If our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed God, why did he say that angels nor the Son, but only the Father knew when the second coming of the Son would be as declared in Matt. 24:36?  This is the text from : 

  1. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (King James Version)
  2. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (NKJV)
  3. “But that day and hour none one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”(Mark 13:32, NKJV) 

There is an asterisk (*) after the word heaven in some versions, a signal for a reader to look at the footnote. In the footnote, it says that NU adds “nor the Son”.  The footnote reads like this:  “NU – the eclectic Greek text in the twenty-sixth edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and in the third edition of the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (U).” 


      Because Christ himself states that the Son does not know when he was coming the second time, some Bible students conclude that Christ is not God because God should know all things. And since he did not know the date of his second coming, the conclusion is that he is NOT God.  This kind of conclusion is wrong so we submit our explanation below.

     The problem here is that when the claim is made that Christ is God, other people bring out the truth that Christ is man. As if Christ cannot be God and at the same time exist in the form of Man. That Christ is God who became man is clear in John 1:1-14. Christ is God who became flesh. Therefore, the safer conclusion is that Christ was God who became flesh from year 1 A.D. to 33 A.D.. 

     In 1 Cor. 10:1-2, Christ became Rock during the 40 year wilderness exodus of about 2 million Israelites. 

It is also possible that the Yahweh God who appeared with 2 angels in Genesis 18:1-5 was Christ. That appearance with Abraham is described as “man”.  John 8:56-58 tells us that before Abraham was born, Christ already existed. 

     A cherub, an angelic spiritual being, who rebelled against Yahweh became a snake of flesh and bones and appeared to Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden.  Read Genesis 3; Isaiah 14: 12-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-17. 

If the spirit being Satan did become flesh and bones snake so that he could deceive Adam and Eve (this we readily accept), we should believe that Christ, the second person in the Godhead, can become flesh and blood so that He could rescue the descendants of Adam and Eve. 

     To overcome the seeming problem of Matt. 24:36, take the following steps:

1.    Know that Christ, the second person in the Godhead, existed before the year 1 A.D. He was with the Father before the world was created – John 17:1-5. He was loved by the Father before the foundation of the world according to John 17:24.

2.     Know that Christ existed as a spiritual being higher than angels and is the Creator of all that are invisible and visible persons like angels and the material universe according to Colossians 1:15-16; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:10.

3.    Know that Christ existed before Abraham was born – John 8:56-58.

4.    Know that Christ is possibly the Yahweh who appeared as man to Abraham in Genesis 18.

5.    Know that Christ became the Rock that supplied water in the wilderness exodus – 1Cor. 10:1-2.

6.    Know that Christ has been very active from eternity says Micah 5:2 which is suggested by the verbal “goings forth” that means plural activities.

7.   Know that this spirit being, who is called the Word in John 1:1-3, descended from heaven and indwelt a human body according to Hebrews 10:5; John 1:14 and Colossians 2:9.

8.   Know that there were times he spoke as God or Deity like John 17:5 where He says, he was with God before the world was created.

9.   Know that there were times he spoke as Man like John 8:40. 

10.   Therefore, we should accept that Christ is true God and true Man.  

11.   Granting that Jesus Christ indeed said “the Son” does not know the date of the Second Coming, surely he was referring to His humanity because humanity is limited.  Besides, the context of 24:36 is talking about being alert, being watchful.  After teaching watchfulness, up to the end, to be consistent he had to refrain from revealing when that moment of the end would be.  Kasi makulit ang mga alagad. Sinabi na ngang be watchful pinipilit pa rin na sabihin na kung kailan. 

12.  Know that when Christ spoke as Deity, the disciples recognized that He was God who knows all things like in John 21:17 – “Lord, You know all things.”  

Matt. 9:4 – “But Jesus knowing their thoughts . . .”

Matt.12:25 – “But Jesus knew their thoughts. . .”

Luke 6:8 – “But He know their thoughts. . .” 

Luke 11:17- “But He knowing their thoughts . . .; 

John 7:29 – “But I know Him for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” Christ knows the God the Father.

John 18:4 – “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward . . .”

John 19:28 – “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst.’” 

Conclusion:  In the context of Matthew 24, clearly Christ employed His humanity in saying that the Son of Man did not know the day and hour. It was a method of evasion to be consistent with His preaching that disciples must be watchful up to the end. This verse should not be used to deny Christ’s deity.  Isang supalpal sa kakulitan ng mga alagad ang pagsagot Niya sa Mateo 24:36. Ganyan na naman sa Acts 1:6-7, Christ told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem and be ready for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Makulit na naman ang mga alagad by asking, “Lord, will you now restore the Kingdom to Israel?” Sinabi, “And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’” –   ET

The Unity of Being God. 55

#55 – A certain denomination in the Philippines teaches that the unity of the Father and Christ in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” is only found in the action of shepherding, not in their unity of being God. How do we counter this claim? 

Answer:  We will submit many passages that the unity or oneness of the Father with Christ is not limited to shepherding. We start with how the word “one” is used in various ways.

1. There is the use of the word “one” to mean a counting number to indicate one individual, separate person, or one individual, separate, exclusive item. Not two, not three or more persons or items.


Gen. 2:21, one (Heb. echad) of his ribs;    

Exo. 30:10, one (echad) time in a year.

Gen. 10:25 one (echad) of two sons;         

Eccles. 4:8, one (echad) . . and . . . not a second.

2. There is also the use of the word “one” to mean the unity, the harmony, the co-mingling of emotion, purpose, attributes, the direction in life of closely knit, closely related two or more individuals or closely related two or more separate but closely related persons or acts because there is unicity and harmony.


Gen. 2:24, ( Heb. echad), “they shall be one flesh”- speaking of husband Adam and wife Eve. This oneness, unicity, harmony is repeated in Mal. 2:15 – husband & wife; 

Mtt. 19:4, 5 – they become one;

Eph. 5:31.  

3. There is a third usage of the word “one” which is called the collective noun or mass noun.


Gen. 11:6 – the people is one (Heb. echad);   

Gen. 32:8 – one (echad) company; 

Judges 20:8 – the people arose as one (echad) man;  

John 10:16 – one (Greek-heis) fold.   

4. A fourth usage of the word “one” or “only” is that which is unique or special. Also called Inclusive one.


Gen. 22:2, 12, 16 – Isaac your only (yachid) son;    

Zech. 14:4 – one (echad) LORD. . . his name is one. 

Matt. 19:17 & Mk. 10:18 – none good but one (Gk, heis). . . God.  There are good and faithful servants, too.   

The unity and harmony of Christ and the Father is not limited to the act of shepherding the flock or disciples

In the context of John chapter 10.  Notice John 10:25 where Christ says, “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.” The term “works” is plural. So it does not limit to the one act of shepherding.  The oneness of the Father and the Son is in all other works especially in those miraculous acts of healing and teaching. See also v. 37, 38 and John 17:7-8.   

In John 17, the Father glorifies the Son, and in return, the Son glorifies the Father. The basis of eternal life is the belief in the Father and the Son (v. 3).  Very revealing is  John 17:10, “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them”  This means that the attributes of the Father are the attributes of the Son.  # – ET

Should we put Jesus on the same level as the Father? 54

#54 – How do we consider the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ when He was on earth was worshipped as recorded in several passages in the New Testament?  It is granted that only the true God is worthy of worship. Since Jesus Christ accepted worship, is it not a settled fact that He should be put on the same level as the Father?  

Answer:  Yes on the basis of worthiness and acceptance of worship, Christ should be considered as true God with the same attributes as God the Father. We will substantiate our stand. 

Consider the following arguments. Quotations are from the NKJV: 

1. Only the true God should be worshiped. 

Deut. 6:13, “You shall fear the LORD YOUR God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.”

Deut. 10:20, “You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 

Matt. 4:10, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

2. Christ should be honored as much as the Father is honored.

John 5:23, “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father, He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”  Worship is the highest honor a human being can give to God. If the Father is worthy of worship, and worship is an honor to the Father, then Christ should be honored as God in our worship.  

3.  The Wisemen were moved by God to go pay homage to the baby Jesus.  By inference, we can conclude that they were inspired in their knowledge that this newborn baby is the Son of God worthy of worship.  

Matt. 2:2, 11, 12, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. x x x  11. And when they have come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. x x x 12  Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” 

4. A Leper worshipped Christ. 

Matt. 8:2-3,  “And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing, be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

5. A ruler worshiped Christ.

Matt. 9:18, “While He spoke these things to them, behold a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.”

6. The apostles worshiped Christ.

Matt. 14:33, “Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.”

7. A woman worshiped Christ. 

Matt. 15:25, “Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’”

8. The disciples worshiped Christ. 

Mtt. 28:9, “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold Jesus met them, saying ‘Rejoice!’ And they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.”

9.  The apostles worshiped Christ after His resurrection. 

Luke 24:52, “And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”

10. Angels worship Christ.

Hebrews 1:6, “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’”

     We have amply shown proofs that Christ, while on earth, was actually worshiped by human beings coming from various stations in life. God Himself declared that angels should worship Christ. Christ was worthy of worship even by angels because in the human body of Christ dwelt Deity. Notice the declaration of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” # – ET

Can God and the angels become material or physical? (50)

Question #50 –  Can God become material or physical?  Can angels become material or physical?  

Answer:  Definitely, a big YES. They did become or they did manifest in material or physical form. Hence the claim that Christ being God and that He became flesh is not an impossibility. We are going to present concrete events found in the Bible.  Observe very closely the following passages:

1. Genesis 18:1-2, 13, “And Jehovah appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood over against him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth. X x x v.13, And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old?  Is anything too hard for Jehovah?  At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son.” (American Standard Version)   Note that Jehovah appeared in the form of MAN.  The other two are angels which we will see later.  This is so very clear that those who say that God cannot become man, should be ashamed of their ignorance of the Bible. As you continue reading this chapter 18, you find that the other two are angels who proceeded to Sodom and Gomorrah while Jehovah stayed with Abraham in the vicinity of Mamre. 

Jehovah is the true God in the Bible. When he appeared to Moses in Exodus 3, we read the declaration of Jehovah Himself in the following passage:

2. Exodus 3:14-15, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (ASV) 

During this encounter with Moses, the writer calls the true God as Angel of Jehovah. The One who talked with Moses is God, He is also called Angel of Jehovah. Most Bible scholars believe that this is Christ in the Old Testament. 

3.  Exodus 17:1-7 & Numbers 20:9-13 tell us about the Rock that followed Israel during the wilderness wandering that supplied water to about three million people. This is not an ordinary rock.  Let the following passage testify.

4.  1 Cor. 10:1-4, “For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and id all eat the same spiritual food; and did all drink of a spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ.” (ASV)

It is very clear that Christ became rock or took the form of a Rock in olden times. Rock is material.  We should believe what John the Apostle declares in John 1:14 that the Word became flesh and dwelt among mankind. 

5. Micah 5:2, “But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”  This passage tells us that Christ has been active, had activities in the Old Testament times. That idea is based on the phrase, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Note the plurality of the participle “goings forth” which tells of activities in the past. From everlasting. Only the true God can claim existence and activities from eternity. 

Conclusion:  We have proved our promise to show you that the true God and even angels could take up the form of matter or physical existence.  If one grants the possibility of Satan becoming a material, physical Snake or Dragon, why can’t we accept that the true God who is most powerful can take the form of an angel or a human being?  Let us be consistent and reasonable.

A look at the “Elohim-Echad-Yachid” Argument (31)

Question #31 – Is the “Elohim-Echad-Yachid Argument” in proving the our stand on the Trinity and the Deity of Christ correct and strong? 

Answer:  It is not strong.  There are loopholes in the argument. This argument being the first one presented by many of our apologists in the churches of Christ appears to be the strongest proof as felt by some preachers.  The argument could easily be demolished in a public debate. That is why I am much alarmed by the insistence of some preachers who continue using it. It is not a well-researched argument. So let’s show more details.


1.   Elohim Is a Generic Term  

The word Elohim is the generic term for the English word “God, god, goddess”. It may refer to the true Deity of the Bible. It may refer to the deities and idols worshipped by pagan tribes. In Greek it is Theos. And Apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 8:5, “For although there may be so-called gods (Theoi) in heaven or on earth – as indeed there are many ‘gods’ (Theoi) and many ‘lords’.”  The first letter Theta in the Greek is the same whether it refers to the true God or to the pagan Deities. In Hebrew, it is the same first letter Aleph. In English translations, it is generally agreed by translators that when Elohim or Theos refers to the true Deity, it is a capital letter, but if it refers to another Deity, it is small letter. So the size of the letter does not give a conclusive verdict.  

Also it should be remembered that the word Elohim could refer to the following:

  1. The true Deity of the Jews and Christians,
  2. Angels,
  3. pagan gods,
  4. pagan goddesses,
  5. judges,
  6. somebody, something great,
  7. somebody, something that is very great.

(Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible, Hebrew Index, p. 15). 

2.  Several Ideas about the Plural Form of the Word Elohim

a.   Its plural form may point to a plural of majesty or plural of respect. Note this authority who says:  “Eloah, god. This Hebrew name for ‘God’ corresponds to the Aramaic elah and the Ugaritic il (or if denoting a goddess, ili) x x x  Certain scholars regard the word as being a singular version of the common plural form Elohim, a plural of majesty.” (Hebrew Expository Dictionary, William White, Jr., p. 97). Native Ilocano or native Tagalog speakers use plural pronouns when conversing or addressing a high ranking government official although that person is much younger than the speaker.  We use plural pronouns when talking with much older people.  

b.  Some see the plural form Elohim as the plurality of attributes.  Whereas the Greeks assign Gods and Goddesses for every single attribute, all these superior characteristics are present in the Elohim of the Hebrews and Christians.  For example among the Greeks there is one God of the Sea, another one God for the underworld, still another God of Order, God of Wine, God of Healing, God Messenger, God of Fire, etc.. One Goddess of Beauty, another Goddess of Wisdom, and so on. 

c.  Others see the plural form of a word as referring to the multiplicity or superiority of an attribute of a person.  For example, a person is named Ephraim which ends in “IM”. The person is only one, single individual but the attribute is higher than the ordinary. Ephraim means “doubly fruitful.” Our brother Ephraim is one person, not three persons.  Another brother is Adoraim which name ends in “IM”. The word means “double honor.” He is a single person, not three persons. Some descendants of Abraham & Keturah in Genesis 25:1-4 are named Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim all ending in “IM.” Asshurim means “mighty ones.” Leummin means “peoples”.  Letushim means “sharpened” which refers to the greatness of the character of sharpness. 

d.   Still, others point to the angels that surround God in His glorious heavenly abode because God is the God of Hosts and angels are messengers who implement the wishes of God to explain who were addressed by the one speaking. And angels are also called Elohim according to authorities of the Hebrew language.  Please the Hebrew Index at the back part of the Strong’s Concordance and also the Hebrew Index at the back part of Young’s Analytical Concordance.

What is in man that is created in the image of God?  Is not the image of man created after God similar to the image possessed by angels which are: free will, conscience, sense of beauty, sense of justice, ability to develop a sense of truth?  Job 38:4-7 makes us understand that the sons of God who shouted at the sudden appearance of the cosmos are the sons of God who are angels. See Job 1:6. 

Conclusion:  The “im” ending, although it generally points to plurality, it does not always mean a plurality of persons. It could also mean a plurality of respect, a plurality of attributes, or greatness of a characteristic of one, singular person.  

Sample interrogation:  (a) The name Ephraim is plural form, does brother Ephraim possess a plurality of persons? __ Yes, __No. (b)  Each three son of Keturah in Genesis 25:1-4 has plural form ending in IM, does each one possess a plurality of persons? __Yes, __No.  

3.  Elohim Is the Antecedent of Pronouns 

a. It is argued that the presence of the plural pronouns “us, our, our” in Genesis 1:26 proves the presence of a plurality of persons in the antecedent noun Elohim. 

b. If the number (plural or singular number) of the pronoun is the argument, then let us follow that line of argument:  There are eight (8) singular pronouns in Genesis 1 (NKJV) whose noun antecedent is Elohim, does it follow then that Elohim could be singular in person because there are more singular pronouns in the same chapter of Genesis where you base your argument? __Yes, __No.  

c.  We may add Isaiah 43 for analysis.  Yahweh Elohim (LORD God) is the speaker who is addressing the people of Israel. I could count no less than 54 singular pronouns in the chapter.  Is Elohim then in this chapter one person because all the pronouns are singular? If not, why not if we follow the premise that the number of the pronoun is the number of a sperson in the antecedent noun? 

d.  Exodus 7:1,  Moses was made Elohim by Yahweh in the presence of the Egyptian Pharaoh.  

e.  Exodus 32:1-8, One, single golden calf is called Elohi

  1. “These are your gods (Elohim), O Israel” – v. 4. No idea of the plurality of persons or items in it.
  2. “These are you gods (Elohim), O Israel” – v. 8  No idea of the plurality of persons or items in it. 

f.   Pagan Gods, Idols are called Elohim

  1. Caananite deity – Judges 8:33, “…Baal-berrith their Elohim.”  No idea of the plurality of persons.
  2. Moabites’ deity – Judges 11:24, “…Chemosh thy Elohim.”  No idea of the plurality of persons.
  3. Philistines’ deity – Judges 16:23, 24 – “…Dagon their Elohim … our Elohim … praised their Elohim.” 
  4. Ammonites’ deity – 1Kings 11:33, “… Milcom the Elohim” 
  5. 1 Samuel 5:7, the idol of a prophet is called Elohim. No idea of the plurality of persons. 
  6. Philistines’ deity – 2Kings 1:2, 16, “…inquire of Baalzebub the Elohim of Ekron”
  7. Assyrian deity – 2Kings 19:37, “…house of Nisroch his Elohim”
  8. Canaanite goddess of fertility & war is called Elohim. Ashtaroth-KJV; Ashtoreths-NKJV.
  9. Another Canaanite goddess is Asherah, is pluralized as Asherahs in Judges or Asherim in  Judges 3:7. 
  10. Isaiah 42:17 reads, “…say to the molten images, ‘You are our Elohim…” 

Conclusion:  Considering the above analyses, to generalize that the number of persons in the word Elohim is governed by the number of the pronouns in the chapter is a weak argument because there are more singular pronouns than plural pronouns pointing to the noun Elohim.  Also, it is wrong to generalize that the word Elohim always contains a plurality of persons because there are many persons or items other than the true God that is called “Elohim” and yet these persons or items are singular. Plural form of the people’s respective deities, therefore, point to the honor, respect, worship, veneration paid to those deities. Not referring to the plurality of those deities.   

     Sample Interrogation:  You affirm that the word Elohim always has a composite or plurality of persons:

  • (Q1) “When Moses was made by Yahweh as Elohim to Pharoah, did he become a plural in person?  Do you know that in the Hebrew text there is no “as or like”? __Yes, __No  
  • (Q2) ´There was one golden calf idol and it was called “Elohim” by the Hebrews in Exodus 32, did they mean there was a plurality of persons in that one, single idol calf? __Yes, __No.
  • (Q3) “The pagan idol Dagon is called Elohim in Judges 16:23-24, do you have any document to show that the people believe there was a plurality of persons in that one idol? __ Yes, __No.
  • (Q4)  “Do you now agree that the word Elohim does not always refer to a plurality of persons or items in things or persons pointed to as Elohim? __Yes, __No. 

4. Does Echad/Chad Always Refer to Plural Items/Persons?

It is argued that the word “Echad/Chad” is unity, harmonic, composite “one”, meaning there is a plurality of items or persons within the word.  Is the argument correct? My answer is NO. See Young’s Analytical Concordance, pp. 716-718 (one, once=echad, one=chad), and p. 719 (only=echad).  Analyze the following: 

Echad Verses with Singular Items/Persons Included          Echad Verses with Collective Noun Found
a. Gen. 1:9, “one place”a.  Gen. 2:24, “one flesh”
b. Gen. 2:21, “one of his ribs” b. Gen. 11:6, “people (is) one. . . all one”
c. Gen. 3:22, “man is become as one of us”c. Gen. 34:16, “become one”
d. Gen. 4:19, “one (was) Adahd. Gen. 34:22, “be one people”
e. Gen. 10:25, “name of one”e. Gen. 41:5, 22, “one stalk”
f. Gen. 11:1, “one languagef. Gen. 41:25, “dreams of Pharoah are one”
g. Gen. 19:9, “this one came to sojourn”g. Exodus 24:3, “people answered with one voice”
h. Gen. 42: 11, 13, “one man”h. Num. 31:28, “one soul of five hundred”
i. Exo. 1:15, “name of one”i. Judges 20:1, “gathered together as one man”
j. Exo. 9:6, “cattle of Israel . . . not one. ..”j. Judges 20:8, “people arose as one man”
k. Exo. 11:1, “bring one plague”k. Judges 20:11, “knit together as one man
l. Exo. 18:3, “name of one was Gershom”l. 1Sam. 11:7, “people came out w/ one consent”
m. Exo. 25:19, “one cherub”m. 1Chron. 12:38, “were of one heart”
n. Exo. 25:32, 33, “one side . . . one branch”n. 1Chron. 13:11, “they were in one reckoning”
o. Exo. 29:1, “one young bullock”o. 2Chron. 5:13, “singers (were) as one”
p. Exo. 29:15, “one ram”p. 2Chron. 18:12, “to the king with one assent”
q. Lev. 5:4, 5, “guilty In one of these”q. 2Chron. 30:12, “to give them one heart”
r. Lev. 8:26, “one cake”r. Ezra 3:1, “gathered together as one man”
s. Lev. 14:10, “one ewe lamb”s. Neh. 8:1, “gathered together as one man
t. Lev. 23:9, “sacrifice one kid”t. Jer. 32:39, “give them one heart, one way”
u. Num. 1:44, “each one”u. Ezek. 11:19, “give them one heart”
v. Num. 6:14, “one he lamb . . . one ewe lamb”v. Ezek. 37:17, “join them . . . into one stick”
w.Num. 6:19, “one unleavened cake”w. Ezek. 37:22, “make them one nation in the land”
x. Num. 7:14, “one spoon”x. Mal. 2:10, “Have we not all one father?. . . one”
y. Num. 11:26, “name of one . . . Eldad”y. Mal. 2:15, “he make one? . . . wherefore one”
z. Eccles. 4:8, “There is one . . . and . . not a second”There are a few more collective nouns with Echad.

Aside from those cited above verses, you can find more than a thousand more verses where the word Echad is used that modify one item or one person.  Whereas, Echad, modifying a collective noun or composite noun is used in only about 30 verses. 

Conclusion:  We have submitted our document. If you have a contrary view, please show me your document. Do not immediately believe just because a certain writer or preacher has said that “echad” is plural one or composite one. Therefore, to generalize that all Echad verses contain plural items or persons is patently wrong.   

Sample interrogation: 

  • Q1. “You claim that Echad in the Hebrew Bible is always a composite or a collective noun which means that there are 2 or more items in, is that correct? __Yes, –No. 
  • Q2. In Genesis 2:21, is it not true that God took one rib of Adam to create Eve and the Hebrew word there is Echad? __Yes, __No.
  • Q3. In Eccles. 4:8, it talks about one person, not two persons who toil endlessly, and the term on a person is Echad, is that one person, singular person? __Yes, __No. 
  • Q4. Do you now agree that the Hebrew word Echad also refers to single, singular items or persons? __Yes, __No. 

5.   Is It True that Yachid Is Absolute One, Singular One?

It is argued that the Hebrew word Yachid is absolute one, meaning not more than one, not two (2) or more. Can this be proven?  No, this word does not always mean absolute one or exclusive one. It primarily means beloved one or unique one.  

List of verses where “Yachid” that maybe translated “Singly, lonely, only” are found in Young’s Concordance, p. 719: 

a.  Genesis 22:2, “your only (yachid) son Isaac”.  But Ishmael is also called son of Abraham.

b.  Genesis 22:12,  “not withheld your son, your only (yachid) son, from Me.”  But Ishmael is also Abraham’s son.

c.  Genesis 22:16, “thine only (yachid) son, Isaac, whom thou lovest”

d.  Prov. 4:3, “. . . Tender and the only one (yachid) in the sight of my mother.”

e.  Amos 8:10e, “I will make it like mourning for an only (yachid) son.”

f.  Zech. 12:10, “as one mourneth for his only (yachid) son”

g.  Jer. 6:26, “make thee mourning, (as for) an only (yachid) son”

Conclusion:  We have submitted our document.  If you have a contrary view, please show me your document. Do not immediately believe just because a certain writer or preacher has said that “yachid” is absolute one and you generalize that all yachid verses contain absolute, single, singular item or person. 

Sample interrogation:  You affirm that the word “Yachid” is an absolute one, not two:

  • Q1. In Genesis 22:2, 12, 16, Isaac is called the only (yachid) son of Abraham, do you mean that Isaac is the absolute one son and there was no other son of Abraham? __ Yes, __No. 
  • Q2. Do you know that Ishmael is the first son of Abraham born some 13 years earlier than Isaac? __Yes, __No.
  • Q3. Do you now agree that the word Yachid does not always mean absolute one, does not always mean a singular one but it can mean a beloved one or unique one? __Yes, __No.

The Conduit of Blessings through Abraham (29)

Question #29 – Does the conduit of blessings pass through Abraham ➜ to Ishmael ➜ to Muhammad? OR is it through Abraham ➜ Isaac ➜ Jacob ➜ Jesus Christ? 

Answer –  It is through Isaac ➜ Jacob  ➜ Jesus Christ! Not through Muhammad.

Explanation:  The Torah (5 books written by Moses = Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy)  is accepted by Muslims as a book from God. The Gospel account is also accepted by Muslims. 

Please observe the following passages that prove our stand. 

Genesis 16:1-16 – Sarai knew well she was past the age of childbearing and thought that God’s promise to Abraham to have an heir is not through her.  It might be through their Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, she thougth. Semitic culture at that time says that the offspring of a handmaid could be counted as the child of the first wife. So Sarai suggested that Abraham sleep with Hagar so that he would have an heir.  This Abraham did and Hagar became pregnant and bore him a son they named Ishmael. Hagar started to sneer at Sarai for being childless.  

Genesis 17:15-17 – God tells Abraham that Sarai will change name into Sarah. And God promises to give Sarah a son. God’s promise for Sarah is this: “And I will bless her and also give you a son by her, then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations, kings of peoples shall be from her.”(v. 16)

Genesis 17:18-21 – “And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before you!’ God said, ‘No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you, behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.”  NOTE: Abraham thought that Ishmael would be his heir, but Yahweh said NO. Not Ishmael. God promises that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, will give birth to a son and will be called Isaac. That name means “laughter” because Sarah will be about 90 years old, while Abraham will be 100 years old when the child arrives. When the promise was made, Sarah was about 88 years old. Isaac’s birth happens in Genesis 21.

Genesis 18:1-15.     In chapter 18, Yahweh with 2 angels appeared as human beings (men or males, v. 1-3) to visit Abraham and Sarah.  Yahweh who is God asks where Sarah is and Abraham says she’s inside the tent. God says that Sarah will have a son the following year which statement she heard and she laughed knowing that she’s past the age of childbearing being 89 years old.   

Indeed, Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. At the time of weaning the young boy Isaac, Abraham prepared a feast. Sarah saw Ishmael scoffing or perhaps making fun at the much younger boy. Isaac was younger by about 14 years.  Sarah did not like the sight of her son being annoyed by Hagar’s son, so she told Abraham to send away Hagar and Ishmael saying that Ishmael would never share any inheritance from the wealth of the family. Abraham objected but God told him to follow Sarah’s desire. 

Genesis 21:10-14, “Therefore she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.’ And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son. But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”  NOTE: Ishmael is also called “seed” of Abraham. Singular in number. Genesis 17:19 is clear that the blessing is through Isaac not Ishmael. Fulfillment of this is confirmed by Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:14-16. Same confirmation is given by Apostle Peter in Acts 3:16-26. And Christ’s genealogy is traced via Isaac says Galatians 4? 26-31. Not through Ishmael!

Regarding Jacob, the son of Isaac, we have God’s promise in the Torah (Genesis 35) which is accepted as inspired scripture by Islam.

Genesis 35:9-13, “God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob, no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name, So he called his name Israel. And God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty, be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you. Then God went up from him in the place where he had spoken with him.”

Galatians 4:21-31. Please read section of Paul’s Epistle. Apostle Paul and his generation understood that not Ishmael and the Arabians did God’s blessing flow through.  God’s blessings through the Mosaic Covenant ceased at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. God’s blessings is now through Jesus Christ, son of Abraham, the final seed of Isaac and Jacob.  The recipient is not physical Israel of Canaan, but the new Israel of God, the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:16).

Conclusion:   Gospel is called Injil by Muslim kababayans and the Gospel story is another book the Qurán recognizes coming from God. The genealogy of Jesus and Mary is traced in Matthew 1 and Luke 3.  God’s promises and blessings are through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus of Nazareth who is the Messiah. Our Lord directly identified himself as the expected prophet and Messiah in John 4:25-26, “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ), ‘When He comes He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’”  (NKJV)

When we strike a conversation with a Muslim friend, I suggest that you remember these verses and this line of reasoning. Maraming salamat.

The validity of The Plural Persons in Elohim (30)

Question #30 –  Some Bible teachers insist that the term ELOHIM is plural because of the “im” ending is plural, therefore, they conclude that when God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image” there are three persons speaking or involved in there.  Is this argument on the plural persons in the term Elohim consistent and valid? 

Answer:  No, it is not consistent and valid. The “im ending” in Hebrew may suggest plurality in some words, but it does not mean it always points to a plurality of persons.  Just as the “letter S” or ES” may be a sign of plurality in the English language, but not every word ending in S is plural. Example: NEWS, Reyes, Fuentes, Dolores, Tavares, Santos, delos Santos.  There are single items, single persons who have plural form names. Let us study the case of the term used by Yahweh God in Exodus 7:1 and the One Golden Calf recorded in Exodus 32:1, 4, 8.

Exodus 7:1:  “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have mad you like God to Pharoah, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. . .” (Exo. 7:1, NIV)   

“And Jehovah said unto Moses, See, I have made thee as God to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” (Exodus 7:1, ASV) 

My comment:  The Hebrew form of Elohim in Exodus 7:1 is the same Hebrew form in Genesis 1:1.  Yahweh God addressed Moses in Exodus 7. Yahweh makes Moses an Elohim to Pharaoh. Did Yahweh make three persons out of Moses in the presence of Pharaoh?  No, not three persons. That term “Elohim” has the idea of power and authority and superiority and respect that the sovereign ruler of Egypt will give to Moses. Moses will show Pharaoh powerful events culminating in the death of all firstborns in every household both human and animals. Also the dividing of the Red Sea and the millions of Israelites crossing of the Red Sea on dry land. Finally the drowning of Pharaoh’s army in the depth of the Sea!    

Exodus 32:1, 4, 8:  “. . . Come make us gods . . . they gathered abound Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. . . He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods,’ O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” x x x ‘Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.’ x x x  They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” (32:1,4,8, NIV)

“. . . Up, make us gods, . . .  gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us. . . And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf: and they said, These are thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. x x x ‘Tomorrow shall be a feast to Jehovah x x x they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed unto it, and said, These are thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (32:1, 4, 8, ASV) 

“. . . kame eis hemas Theous (v.1) . . . kame eis hemas Theous. . .  Houtoi einai hoi Theoi sou x x x x (v.4) x x x x Houtoi einai hoi Theoi sou, Israel. . .”  (v.8) (Biblos)

My comment:  In the Biblos (Greek) translation of the Hebrew text of Exodus 32 as shown above, Elohim is translated in English in the plural although the number of the item is singular, sole, one image, one golden or metal calf. The plural forms (Theous & Theoi) in the Greek suggest the idea of respect, majesty in the minds of the worshipper.  Not the plurality of persons in the one, single item, metal calf image. Make a research on the name “Adoraim” which means “double honor.” His person is not double, but the honor of the one person. Also, search the meaning of the name “Ephraim” which means “doubly fruitful.” His fruitfulness is double, not the number of his person. We have a brother named Ephraim.  The ending of his name is plural. Is brother Ephraim composed of at least two persons? I hope that these illustrations are sufficient proof of my stand.

Suggestion:  Let us not submit the “Elohim-Echad-Yachid” theory as our main argument in presenting our stand on the Trinity or Triune Godhead.   To begin with, I suggest that in the creation, the Three Persons (God the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit) were present and are described as Creators.  At the time of Prophet Isaiah, there was already a strong intimation of a Trinity in the context of Isaiah 48:1-22. See the Trinity in vs. 16, “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord Jehovah hath sent me, and his Spirit.”  Carefully analyze who the speaker is in the context of the chapter, the “me” who is sent, then his shift to the third person referring to the “Lord Jehovah” as the sender and also the Spirit as another sender/or sent. 

In another lesson, I shall show that the argument that “Echad” as always plural as a collective noun is also not true.  In still another lesson, I shall show that the argument that “Yachid” as always “absolute one” is also not true. Maraming salamat.

How does Apostle John prove the deity of Christ in his gospel account in relation to the Last Judgment? 26

Question #26 –  How does Apostle John prove the deity of Christ in his gospel account in relation to the Last Judgment? 

Answer:  We resume the study on the deity of Christ Jesus based on the Gospel account of Apostle John.  The Last Judgment is the most awaited event in our history when all nations and all peoples shall gather before the Great Judge at the end of the world. That Great Judge will be Jesus Christ who is both Man and God. 

Important passages: “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him x x x and  he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:22-23, 27ESV)

Please also read this:  “since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.” (John 3:17)

It is important to determine what kind of belief we hold about Christ because He is the JUDGE before whom we shall account for our deeds at the Great Day of Judgment.  Let us consider three major periods of existence for Christ: (a) Before Christ became flesh, (b) During His days in the flesh and dwelt among men on earth, and (c) After He resurrected and went back to heaven where He came from and now seated at the right hand of God. How do we consider the nature of Christ in these three periods? 

     1.  Before He became flesh in 1 A.D. –  John 1:1,2.

            Christ was with God and was God. Notice the preposition “with” (pros in Greek, kasama sa Tagalog). He had existence in His spirit nature. Likas na kalagayan Niya ang pagka-Dios sa anyong espiritu noong pasimula bago pa nalalang ang mundo. This existence before the world was created is confirmed in 17:5. He was loved by Father God before the foundation of the world (John 17:24). 

     2.  From birth in the flesh up to the crucifixion. 

             His humanity started with the work of the Holy Spirit forming a fetus in the womb of Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:20). That human body was prepared by God (Heb. 10:5). Joseph, the husband, did not know Mary until she gave birth to Jesus (Matt. 1:25). In that human body dwelt the fullness of the Godhead says Colossians 2:9, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”  While in the flesh in our world, Hebrews 1:6 reads, “And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, Let all God’s angels worship him.” Kaya, habang nasa mundo, Christ was worthy of worship. And only God is worthy of worship. That means Christ was God while on earth. He was both perfect man and perfect God. Did Christ lose his pagka-Dios when he became human?  Hindi. Kagaya rin ni Diablo, when he became a snake and deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Devil did not stop being Diablo. While on earth, Christ also pronounced the forgiveness of sins. And only God can forgive sins. 

     3.  From resurrection, his ascension and now seated on his throne in heaven.

          Eight days after Christ resurrected from the tomb, during his appearance to the 11 apostles recorded in John 20:26-29, Christ was both God and human.  Upon seeing Christ, Apostle Thomas exclaimed: “My Lord and my God” (v. 28). He was man because Christ offered the audience to touch him, even to put fingers on the wounds on his side and on his hands (v. 27).  Christ keep on appearing to his disciples, the 120 according to Acts 1, and the 500 as read in 1 Cor. 15:6. In his appearance in Luke 24:52, the apostles worshipped him. That means Christ is God because he accepted worship. 

      In heaven, Christ is seated on his throne as King and Lord. That is the sermon of Peter in Acts 2:    That is the testimony of Apostle Paul in Philippians 2: 9-11. That is the declaration of Peter in 1 Peter 3.22. Also seen by Stephen in Acts 7:57. 

     Paul in Titus 2:13 declares that Christ is God in heaven and in that exalted position and nature as Deity, he will come down to judge the nations: “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”  Christ Jesus is God. He has the same essence or nature as the Father. At the same time, Christ is man with a heavenly or glorified body now as read in Phil. 3:21, “who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” When Christ comes to judge, he is also called human in Acts 17:31; Acts 10:42; John 5:27. 

        Do you want to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ with the belief that he is Man only?  Or it is most virtuous, most respectful to stand there with humility that the Judge is God and Man with glorified body? 

        This ends our series on the Book of John regarding the proof of the Deity of Christ.  If you have any critical comments, please forward them to editor.wordministry@gmail.com. Maraming salamat.

How does Apostle John prove the deity of Christ in his gospel account? Part 3 (24)

Question #24 – How does Apostle John prove the deity of Christ in his gospel account?  

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

Answer: This is a sequel to Question #23.  We shall not give long explanations following the passages submitted.  We are sure that you know how to expand and adjust your explanations when you study with your friend or relative on this subject matter. 

John 1:18; 3:32; John 6:46; 7:29; 8:32; 8:38 – Christ has seen the Father.  It is Christ’s deity that is referred to as having seen the spirit nature and glorious form of the Father in heaven.  Not his humanity. Man’s ordinary nature and ability cannot see the glorious nature and form of God in heaven. God is spirit and God in his heavenly abode is intensely glorious which the physical naked eye cannot peer into.  Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians says that what he heard when he was transported out of his body into Paradise are things “which man may not utter.” They are extra ordinarily out of this world!!!

John 3:32; 8:26-27; 15:15; John 8:40; 15:15;   Christ has heard the Father. This act of hearing the instructions and commandments for mankind was done before Christ became flesh.  So this period spoken of refers to an existence before Christ became flesh in 1 A.D..

John 8:57-58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”  The verb tense referring to Abraham is past tense “was.” Calculation has that Abraham was born about the year 2135 before Christ became flesh in 1 A.D.. The expression “I Am” which is in the present tense, refers to a timeless existence since it has reference or comparison with the time of Abraham.  It means that Christ in His spirit nature has been in existence before the birth of Abraham. To me, Christ is the Yahweh God who visited Abraham in Genesis 18. Two angels appearing as man appeared with Christ. So this event in Genesis 18 agrees with John 8:57-58 that Abraham has already seen Christ. “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day, He saw it and was glad.” Note the past tense of the verbs used: rejoiced, saw.  Events that had happened! Christ became the Rock that followed the more than one million in the wilderness supplying water for a period of 40 years. Christ could have been that Angel of Yahweh who appeared as Man that could be held concretely and wrestled with. Read Genesis 32:24-32.

John 9:38; Matt. 2:2; Matt. 4:10; Mk. 5:2:6; Lk. 24:52; Heb. 1:6 –   Christ was worshipped and only the true God should be worshipped. If Christ did not have Deity nature, and if He were human only, it would be blasphemous to allow Himself to be worshipped while he was in this world. 

John 5:19; 10:30; 10:38; 14:9-11; 17:11; 17:22 – Christ is one with the Father.  When we cite 10:30, some friends point to Christ’s joint job of shepherding the spiritual flock as basis of their oneness.  Other Bible students use this verse to mean that Christ is one and the same person as the Father. It does not mean “one and the same person.” The unity with the Father is not limited to shepherding. It also includes doing the same work in verses 37-38, plus his authority from the Father doing the same work. Add further the same glory which Christ had before He became flesh which was resumed when He went back to heaven.   

John 16:15; 17:10 – What is possessed by the Father is possessed by the Son and vice versa. This possession is not limited to material possessions.  It should extend to worship. And worship is the highest honor we could give the true God. So John 5:23 confirms that the possession of honor, respect and worship are possessed by the Father and the Son. The excellent attributes assigned to the Father are also assigned to the Son in their Deity.  So the church fathers in Church History, in their struggle in defining the Deity of Christ, finally came to the conclusion through this summative statement: “What the Father is the Son is, what the Son is the Holy Spirit is, what the Holy Spirit is the Father is.” The three are co-creators, co-inhabitants of heaven, co-saviors of mankind, co-possessors of the same essence of Deity, co-glory in heaven. 

We break here.  The following lesson will depart for a while from the Book of John, but will resume in a future lesson. Maraming salamat.

Apostle Paul Proves Deity of Christ. Part 1 (22)

Question #22 – How does the Apostle John prove the deity of Christ in his gospel account in relation to the position of some Bible students who say that Christ is man only?       

Answer – There are several ways how the Apostle John proves the deity of Christ.  We go into the text of the Gospel of John and notice several passages. In the very first lines of John’s account, directly he states that the Word who is Christ is God.  But in the verses we submit below, he employs different ways like events before the creation in Genesis 1:1. He also employs Christ’s personal presence and actions before He became flesh. This is the first of a series. 

Suggestion:  When you study the deity of Christ based on the Gospel of John, state your proposition like this:  “Resolved that Christ is God before He became flesh.” Because in John 1:14 we read that the Word (referring to Christ) became flesh.  Stating the proposition like this will avoid the strategy of the opposing side by beclouding the issue. Their position is that Man is not God, and vice versa, God is not man.  However, you can insist that God can become man if He wants to. Angels can become man when situations warrant by their being servants of God and coming down to earth to deliver a message to humankind.  Satan can become a snake or dragon when he wants to. Satan can become an angel of light if he wants to. Christ became a Rock that supplied water for 40 years during the Exodus from Egypt to Canaan says Apostle Paul in 1Cor. 10:1- 4. High probability that Yahweh in Genesis 18 who appeared to Abraham and Sarah in the form of a male person is very strong.  That could be the period referred to in John 8:56-58. It is best to study privately or one on one and let your friend himself read the passages. 

Observe the attributes and actions assigned to Christ if these were acts of mere human being in the flesh after Christ became flesh in 1 A.D..

Read John 1:1-2, 10 – This refers to a moment or a duration before the time of Genesis 1:1. Christ is the Word.  He is called Word because normally, communication is by word of mouth and later on through the written word. A word or a group of words encapsulates an idea, an information, a message. Christ, even before becoming flesh in the year 1 Anno Domini (A.D.) of the Christian Era, had been communicating ideas and information to mankind. This Word who is Christ has been with (in the company of God the Father) God. Note the preposition “with” which means in the company of, beside, or in the presence of another.  Beware of the Tagalog term “sumasa” because it could be illustrated as “inside” or “within.” Stick to the Greek preposition “pros” and its English translation “with” which means kasama. The preposition in the Greek is not “EN” which could be in the locative case (location). Then Apostle John directly states that the Word (Christ) is God (Theos). The form of the word Theos has the first letter as Theta. This Greek letter Theta is written one way. The word Theos who is the companion of the Word, who is the Father, is written Theos, and when Theos refers to the Word, the Greek text is Theos also.  So both Theos should be written in capital letter G in the English translation. Christ, the Word, was in the beginning before creation of the cosmos and He was there during the creation of the cosmos. He was the creator. That was before He became flesh. Christ’s name in the beginning was Word. And Christ’s name in Revelation, now that He is seated on His throne in heaven, is Word. Please read Rev. 19:13.

Christ was the creator of the material world. Is Christ who was born in 1 A.D. the creator spoken of in John 1:1-3?  Certainly not his humanity. Was Christ who was born in 1 A.D. with God in the beginning before the world was created?  Again, the answer is No. It is like asking, “Was Satan a dragon before entering the Garden of Eden?”  

John 1:14 – The Word (Christ) became flesh.  This point in time refers to the year 1 A.D. when the spirit person of the Word (Christ) descended from above, from heaven.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, a body, a fetus was formed in the womb of the Virgin Mary. And the spirit person of the Christ (Word) lodged into that flesh body. This agrees with Hebrews 10:5, where it says, “a body You have prepared for Me.”  The fusion of spirit person and flesh person is one of its kind that is why 1 Tim. 3:16 says it is a “mystery.” We don’t have any illustration or demonstration in the material world how this is possible. So let’s receive it by faith.

John 1:15 and John 1:30 – “He was before me,” says John the Baptist. The phrase “before me” refers to time, not referring to location or being in front of John.  In point of time, Christ the Word existed before the time John the Baptist was born. What existed before John was born was the spirit person of the Word. We should insist that if Christ is flesh person, man only, then Christ the Word, would mean He existed as human in heaven before He became flesh.  And that is not the meaning of this passage we are studying. Did Christ in the flesh predate the birth of John the Baptist? No, because John was born about 6 months before Christ was born as a baby in 1 A.D.. 

John 1:18 – No one has seen God . . . only the Son has seen God because the Son has been with the Father in a close fellowship or close relationship from eternity.  “Bosom” does not suggest physical form or material existence. This expression is an idiom. It means fellowship or a close relationship. What cannot be seen by the naked eyes of man is the glorious nature of God.  The appearance of Christ in the transfiguration in Matthew 17 witnessed by Peter, James, and John was a limited glory. The appearance of Christ to Saul who became Apostle Paul in Acts 9 was more glorious than the transfiguration appearance because Saul was knocked down to the ground and he became physically exhausted.  A higher degree of God’s glory is illustrated in Exodus 12:12-18. Moses stayed on Mount Sinai 40 days and 40 nights. When he came down, the physical face of Moses had absorbed God’s glory so that Moses’ face glowed with intense light which made the naked eyes of the people painful in looking directly at the face of Moses.  Perhaps the intensity of that light that glowed from the face of Moses was like that of metal welding fire that is painful to the naked eyes. Moses had to put a cover on his face. See 2 Cor. 3:7. If I would illustrate it through electric bulb wattage, the transfiguration wattage would be 500 watts, the appearance to Saul was 1000 watts.  Moses’ face was 5000 watts. Maybe the wattage of God’s natural glory in heaven could be the strength of a hydrogen bomb. Which is why the Bible says no one in our material, physical nature’s eye could see God’s glory and live. Man has to graduate into the highest spiritual level in order to possess a quality that is enabled to see the extremely glorious glow of Deity in heaven.  This explains the need to put on the celestial body discussed in 1 Cor. 15 before we ascend to the heavens to surround the glorious throne.  

Is the humanity of Christ that was born of Mary in 1 A.D. the one that saw God and was at the bosom of the Father before the Word became flesh?  No, not His humanity. It is the Deity of Christ that was in close fellowship with the Father in heaven. 

We stop here and we will continue this thread in the next series.

Were the People of God Commanded to Pray for the Dead? (21)

Question # 21 –  Is there any example or command for people of God to pray for the dead so that sins unrepented of and unforgiven while these people were alive could be forgiven because of the prayers and good deeds of the living relatives?

Answer –  From the 39 books from Genesis to Malachi, there is no command, no inference, no example of living people of God who offered prayers and assigned good deeds, donated a large sum of money to atone for the sins of relatives who are consigned in the uncomfortable section of Hades. None whatsoever.

     It was the belief among the Jews that Malachi closes the inspired books. Malachi was the last prophet who received revelation from God about 430 B.C.. Then came the silent years of about 370 years until God resumed giving His message by means of dreams and visions in the year 1 A.D., first, through the temple priest Zechariah, father of John the Baptist (Matt. 1 & Luke 1), and also through Joseph and Mary by the angel Gabriel. 

     The practice of praying for the dead appears to have started about the time of the Maccabees.  The Greeks in Syria were in control of Palestine from the time of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. until 168 B.C.. The Jewish people were being forced to observe Greek religion and culture. A Helenizing team went to a town west of Jerusalem where a priestly family settled and this team wanted to indoctrinate the Jews.  Mattathias, head of the family and his sons (Judas, Jonathan, John) killed the Greek representative. Subsequently, Judas Maccabeus led the Jews in expelling the Seleucids of Syria from Jewish territory. 

     During this Jewish revolution headed by the Judas and Jonathan, thousands of Jews died in battles.  The following apocryphal book records the first practice of praying for the dead:

2 Maccabees 12:39-45,  “On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchers of their fathers.  Then under the tunic of every one of the dead, they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out.  And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.  But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” (Revised Standard Version, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha)

The seven Roman Catholic Church apocryphal books are added to the Old Testament. These are dated after the book of Malachi and before the book of Matthew. Jerome, who was appointed by Pope Damasus, translated the 39 Hebrew books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, considered the seven apocryphal books as “books of the church” and did NOT consider them canonical.  It was only in the year 1546 C.E. in a church council that the Roman Catholic Church made the apocryphal books as “deuterocanonical books” or second canon. Evidently this late canonization was a reaction to the violent European Reformation which started in Germany by the Dominican priest, Martin Luther, on October 31, 1517, when he nailed at the cathedral door his 95 theses. Martin Luther strongly opposed the practice of selling indulgences. That is calling the people to drop money into a collection box paraded around town assuring them that the people’s relatives who are still in Purgatory would jump out from there and transfer into Paradise when enough money or good deeds are done which are dedicated to that dead relative. 

New Testament Teaching

     The general belief of evangelicals about sin and death is based on Hebrews 9:27-28 which reads, “And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” 

      In the Christian era, an individual must have a personal faith in Christ and personally repent of his sins and be baptized for the forgiveness of trespasses.  If there is no personal faith and personal repentance and obedience during a lifetime and a person dies, he would be judged and his soul is taken into the uncomfortable section of Hades.  That is the picture given in Luke 16:19-31. There is no possibility of transferring into the comfortable section of Paradise even with prayers, candles, good deeds offered on the sinner’s behalf. That is the teaching of Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-40; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 22:16.

Mary is of the Lineage of King David? (19)

Question #19:  How do we prove that the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus in the flesh, truly descended from the lineage of King David so that the prophecy that the Messiah would belong to the dynasty of King David in 2 Samuel 7:11-17

Answer: The Virgin Mary is the mother of the Word who became flesh according to John 1:14. We have to prove that Christ’s actual lineage in the flesh through Mary is correct, thus establishing the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was fully man. He was fully human that in Him dwelt the fullness of Deity. As fully man and fully God, the Lord Jesus Christ is the ONLY MEDIATOR between God and man.

     Going back in history, we find Shealtiel and Zerubbabel as common ascendants of Joseph and Mary in the Gospel According to Matthew 1:12 and in Luke 3:23-27. Then from this common forefather it branched until two descendants meet again to bring out the promised Messiah: 

ZERUBBABEL (Matthew 1:1-17) ZERUBBABEL (Luke 3:23-38)
1. Abiud 1. Rhesa
2. Eliakim 2. Joannas
3. Azor 3. Judah
4. Zadok4. Joseph  
5. Achim 5. Semei
6. Eliud 6. Mattathiah
7. Eleazar 7. Maath
8. Nathan or Mathan 8. Naggai
9. Jacob 9. Gali
10. Joseph (husband of Mary) 10. Nahum
11. Amos
12. Mattathiah
13. Joseph
14. Nanna
15. Melchi
16. Heli
17. Joseph 

        Luke 3:23 reads, “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli.”  The genealogy given by Luke is more likely the lineage of Mary which is suggested by the parenthetical phrase “(as was supposed)” in this quoted verse.  While Matthew chapter 1:1-17 is the genealogy of Joseph. In those years, the husband was frequently the one named instead of the wife. Very clearly, Joseph and Mary belong to the tribe of Judah and both descended from King David byconsanguinity as well as affinity. 

        King David had a son name Nathan (2 Sam. 5:14) and this is the branch descends unto Mary.  While another son of King David was Solomon which is the branch that descends to Joseph. These two branches comes together in Shealtiel and his wife who brought forth ZERUBBABEL.  This Zerubbabel had two sons namely: ABIUD and RHESA. The Abiud branch produced Joseph, while the Rhesa branch produced Mary. The material throne of David did not last forever. And there was no king on David’s throne who reigned in Jerusalem after this city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. After Babilonia, the succeeding colonizer over the land area of Israel was the Medo-Persian Empire after which came the Macedonian-Greek Empire then came the Roman Empire. The King Herod of Matt. 2:1 was an Idumean (NT name of Edom) who was married into the priestly Hasmonean dynasty or the Maccabean family that drove away from Israeli territory the Syrian colonizers starting with the revolt headed by the priest Matathias in 168 B.C..

        Indeed, Mary descended from King David, and so Jesus descended from King David (Matt. 1:1), thus fulfilling the prophecy that there should be a king that sits on David’s throne forever.  This genealogy should help us tackle the issue about the Kingdom in relation to the doctrine of premillennialism.

Demons believe in Jesus as the Holy One of God (18)

Question #18:   Do demons / evil spirits believe in God and believe in Jesus Christ as the Holy One of God? 

Answer:  YES, they do, but there is no faith in them; there is no trust and obedience in their relationship with God and in Christ. 

Explanation – First, we submit to you Bible passages copying (from ESV) only part of verses that express how these spirits consider God and Christ:

  • James 2:19, “You believe (pisteuousi) that God is one, you do well, even demons believe and they shudder.”
  • Ephesians 2:2, “. . . following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
  • Ephesians 6:12,  “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
  • Ephesians 6:16, “. . . take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of  the evil one. . .”
  • 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”
  • Matthew 8:29, 31, Two demon-possessed men of Gadara shouted to Jesus, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time? x x x If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.”
  • Matthew 13:19, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.”
  • Mark 1:24, An unclean spirit cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God.”
  • Mark 1:34, “And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him.”
  • Mark 5:7, An unclean spirit cried with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 
  • John 8:44, Christ said, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth because there is no truth in him.”
  • Luke 4:33, 34, An unclean spirit: “Ha! What have you to do with us Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”

         The word “believe” in James 2:19 means mental knowledge but without trust, no surrender and no humble obedience to the authority of the Triune Godhead.  

Below are some passages that tell us the true shade of believing and faith that leads to salvation:

Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like.” And Jesus tells the parable of the Wise Builder who built upon the rock foundation.

John 14:15, 23, “If you love me you keep my commandments x x x If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

1 John 2:3-5, “And by this, we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this, we may  know that we are in him.”

       In the discussion about the verb BELIEVE and FAITH, we should define what kind of BELIEF or FAITH we talk about. Is it BELIEF that recognizes God’s sovereignty or BELIEF with mere knowledge or information about God Almighty without surrendering to God’s authority? Like the demons in James 2:19.  They believe but they do not love and obey God. There is FAITH that is small like Peter’s faith which brought him down in the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Christ told Peter, “O you of little faith.” That small faith might be incomplete like those who discard baptism from the Great Commission. They know the Great Commission.  They know that being baptized is a command but they say the command needs not to be obeyed. That small faith might be there, but like Peter, they sink into the Lake of Fire.  

      People saying “Faith alone saves” are walking on dangerous ground.  Those who disregard many instructions found in the Bible have little faith. They fail in several things like the following: Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, baptism for the forgiveness of sin in the initial Christian journey, belief in the deity of Christ, belief in the Triune Godhead, belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the disciple, the NT church is the same as the Kingdom of God on earth, vocal music in church worship, congregational autonomy with Christ as the head of the universal church, no national church hierarchy, women’s silence in the corporate worship of the church, continuity of the church established by Christ, male-only eldership, and many more doctrines. 

        Some Bible students declare that salvation is all God’s work and nothing is done by one who has been elected to eternal life.  Then that person adds, “we are saved by grace only plus faith only.” So we ask: “Are grace and faith the saviors or the saviors are God the Father and Christ the son?” They surrender their first position by saying that we should also add God and Christ in accomplishing salvation.  So they hasten to say: “Saved by grace only + faith only + Christ only.” Why limited to three items only? Yet the scripture cites many more. 

      We further ask:  “Does a person need to believe? Does he need to repent of his sins?” Quickly, they say that belief and repentance are needed.  So where is the meaning of the term “Only”? The safest interpretation of salvation, therefore, is to sum up all the persons and items that are mentioned in the Bible so that the fallacy of partial view will not be committed.

        Please continue to study with us. Thank you.

Women Are Saved from Judgment through Childbirth? (17)

Question #17 – Does 1 Timothy 2:15 teach that Christian women are saved from judgment through giving birth to children?

Answer:  Please observe the different translations:

*King James Version:  “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

*New King James Version:  “but she shall be saved through her childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.”

*Revised Standard Version – “Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.”

*English Standard Version – “Yet she will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”

*Hugo McCord’s New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel – “However, she will be saved through child-bearing if they continue in faith and love and dedication with good sense.”

*New International Version – “But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

*Mabuting Balita para sa Ating Panahon – “Nguni’t maliligtas and babae dahil sa pagsisilang ng sanggol, kung may kababaang-loob siyang mamumuhay sa pananampalataya, pag-ibig at kabanalan.”

*Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia – “Ngem maisalakanto ti babai babaen iti panaganakna, no la ket agtalinaed iti pammati ken ayat ken agbiag a manakem ken nasantoan.”

Questions that come out from this passage:

1.  Does giving birth to children have salvific merits that will result to eternal salvation of the soul?

2.  Are women being the off springs of Eve assured of safety from physical death in the process of giving birth to children due to the sin committed by Eve and the accompanying curse in Genesis 3:16, “To the woman He said: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

3. Does the passage teach that Eve and all women suffer heavier penalty because it was Eve and not Adam who was deceived by the Devil? 


     Women giving birth to children are not given salvation merits based on this passage.  I don’t think that the more children a woman brings into this world, the greater is her assurance of salvation. 

     In the context of  1 Tim. 2:1-15, male members of the assembly are the ones to lead in the corporate worship service.  Women should be silent. They were reminded of their limitations in the corporate assembly. Women are not allowed to rule over the male members. Not allowed to teach the male members while in the assembly meeting.  That’s why in the following chapter, male members are the ones chosen and ordained to become elders and deacons to feed the flock, to lead the family of God. 

     Women in this chapter are given special attention. There was the shortcoming of Eve: she was the one who was deceived by the Devil (v. 13) and fell into transgression. The singular pronoun “she” in v. 15 seems to refer to Eve who had the curse given in Genesis 3:16.  Eve survived the multiplied pain and sorrow of childbearing. In spite of the curse in Genesis 3:16, women in general (now there is a shift to the plural “they” in v. 15), have the assurance that the curse will not put all women under heavy burden with the prospect of physical death in the process of conceiving and delivering children into this world.  The curse pronounced in Genesis 3:16 should not create fear as long as the Christian women live in faith in Christ as the Savior, possess love, holiness and self-control. With faith, love, holiness and self-control, and modesty, women stand equally worthy, as the male members, in receiving the grace and loving kindness of God that would result to salvation.

What? The chapel is not the church? (15)

Question #15 –  Often, there are statements made that a chapel or building is not properly called “church” but it is claimed that the true church is always referred to people.  Is it true that the chapel or the meeting place could not be called “church”?     

Answer:  In the NT Greek text, EKKLESIA basically referred to people’s assembly, while in the old English word, the basic meaning of church is the HOUSE or the building where the assembly was held.  Ekklesia in the Greek language before the NT was written, referred to the assembly of citizens who were called out to talk about concerns of their community. This was their practice in their direct democracy.  It had a secular, political meaning. Acts 7:38, in Stephen’s speech, refers to the assembly or congregation of Israel during the wilderness Exodus as EKKLESIA. So the basic meaning of ekklesia was assembly, congregation, a gathering people.  Filipino languages were influenced by the Spaniards so we have Iglesia which refers to religious groups, fellowships, religion. But the term “church” in the old English language referred to the building.   

Explanation: We have a quotation from a church historian about our topic:  “The English word ‘church’ derives from the Greek adjective ‘the Lord’s’ (Kyriakos).  It apparently entered northern European languages from the Goths, who heard this Greek word applied to church buildings (‘the Lord’s [house]) and appropriated the word into their language.  Thus we have in Germany Kirche and in Scotland ‘Kirk.’ Hence, the use of the word ‘church’ for a building is proper in English, but this is not true for the Greek word it translates.” (The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today, Everett Ferguson, pp. 129-130)  This quotation tells us that the word ‘church”  referring to a building is proper in English. So please do not insist that the word “church” cannot refer to a building.

     Anyone who says that the building or chapel is not “church” is ignorant of the background of the word. In the year 1395 A.D., John Wycliffe rendered Matthew 16:18 this way: “And Y seie to thee, that thou art Petre, and on this stoon Y schall bilde my chirche, and the yatis of helle schulen not haue miyt ayens it.”

     Chirche is also found in John Wycliffe’s Matthew 18:17. Also Acts 7:38 reads, “This it is, that was in the chirche in wildirnesse. . .”  You observe that the word “chirche” was used in 1395 A.D..

     The basic meaning of kirche in the Germanic language of the Visigoths referred to the building where the people met. What they called the building transferred to the people assembling in there.  The Visigoths was part of several mainland European tribes that invaded the British Isles so their language was woven into the Scottish and British languages.  

     It is possible that one term can be used to refer to assembled people as well as the place of assembly. In Mark 3:1 we read, “Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.” Jesus entered the synagogue which refers to the building where the Jews assembled for their Sabbath Day worship.  While in Rev. 2:9, it reads, “. . . I also know the slander of those who call themselves Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Also in Rev. 3:9, the hypocritical Jews are also called the synagogue of Satan. Synagogue refers to the people who assemble together. So it is clear that the term synagogue is applicable to both buildings and the Jewish people who gathered together.  

     Jesus says in Matt. 26:26, “Take, eat; this is My body” referring to the bread. Is it literal?  It says the same thing in 1 Cor. 11:24, “Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me” referring to the bread. Is it literal?  Should we openly declare that Christ is wrong in saying that the bread is his body or we immediately slide into figurative speech on the application of synecdoche and metonymy?  Yes, we quickly say one term associated with another item is mentioned. The bread in the Lord’s Supper is a symbol of Christ’s physical body. Likewise, the house or building where Christians assemble for worship figuratively could be called ekklesia. 

     By the time the King James Version of 1611 was launched, “Kirche” of the year 1395 has evolved in its spelling becoming “Church.”  The letter K softened into ch. This spelling evolution is almost the same in the Ilocano language. Iloco word “Danum” (water) is pronounced and spelled in the Cordilleras as “Chanum.”  The heavy letter D softened into Ch. 

     Please do not insist that the word church cannot refer to the building if you know where and how the English term originated.  To my brethren, I advise you to get a copy of Hugo McCord’s “New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel.” In this work, brother McCord consistently translates the Greek word EKKLESIA as “called out people” or “congregation” or assembly.  Matt. 16:18 reads, “I will build my called out people.” Matthew 18:17 is “report it to the congregation.” Acts 7:38 is “This is he who was among the called-out people in the desert.” Acts 20:28 has “to shepherd the Lord’s called-out people.” In Romans 16:16, his rendering is “All of Christ’s congregations greet you.”

Should we stop at “Saved by Grace Alone” + “Saved by Faith Alone” + “Saved by Christ Alone”? (14)

Question #14.  This is a follow-up article to add more information about salvation.  Should we stop at “Saved by Grace Alone” + “Saved by Faith Alone” + “Saved by Christ Alone”?  In Question #13, we put PLUS to the other ten ITEMS. Do you agree that the cited scriptures to the ten items are acceptable?  We find these items in the Bible. We cannot make God a liar by clinging only to grace, faith, and Christ.

Answer:  We should agree that there are more than three persons or items involved in our salvation. Submitted items in Question #13 are biblical. In this series, we add some more with scripture passages: 

+11.  Saved by abiding in the teachings and living righteously and godly until the appearing of Christ. We find the scriptures in John 6:27; John 8:31; John 12:48-50; Romans 8:1; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:2; 2 John 8, 9; 1 John 2:3-4, 15; Titus 2:11-14; James 1:27; Rev. 2:10. 

+12.  Saved by preaching the gospel – 1 Cor. 1:21 “foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

+13.   Saved by repentance, Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38. 

+14.   Saved through water. . . 1 Peter 3:18-22, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.  There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” 

     Was the flood water important in separating Noah’s family from their evil society?  Yes. Did the water alone and by itself save them without God and the Ark? No. God and the Ark were involved.  Did the Ark alone save the family from death? Not the Ark alone, but God’s love is the primary item in their salvation. Was their building the boat considered alone earned merits that save them?  No. Salvation is from God. But if they did not obey the command to build the Ark, would they be saved from the flood? No. Did Noah earn his salvation from the flood? No, he did not earn his salvation.  It was still God’s providence that saved Noah, but Noah had to obey God’s instructions. In addition to building the ark, he had to build it according to specifications. Did Noah have the freedom to change the measurements of the ark and the specified materials used in the construction? No, he did not have the freedom.  The number of animals to bring into the ark was also specified. Did Noah have the freedom to lessen the number? No, he did not have the freedom. But obeying the exact measurement of the ark by itself did not save Noah. If Noah made the Ark longer or shorter, would God Almighty be pleased? No. Noah had to obey God’s specific instructions for God to be pleased. 

     Obedience to the conditions and instructions of Christ should not be considered as earning and meriting salvation.  We should watch out about our attitude. Rather, have faith and love for Jesus Christ who suffered and died for our sins.  Lovingly and humbly carry out the instructions given by our benefactor should be our attitude. In the Old Testament, we have this undying principle: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice. And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”(1 Samuel 15:22-23) 

Three Tenses of Salvation

     To this writer, a discussion of the three tenses of salvation should be made clear.  In a timeline, where do we place the moment of the forgiveness of sins in relation to the moment of faith and the moment of being born again or the moment of immersion in water?  

     There are Bible students who place the forgiveness of sins at the moment of belief in Christ or at the moment of faith.  Others put forgiveness of sins when the Holy Spirit starts to work on the life of an elected, predestined individual. Still, others place forgiveness of sins at the moment a disciple is immersed in water. This initial forgiveness of sins is called the Past Tense of Salvation.  The basis of salvation is on the merits and righteousness of Christ’s sacrifice.  But the righteousness of Christ is the Grace of God. It is potential and available to every individual.  However, there are prerequisites or conditions in order to appropriate the merits of this Grace and righteousness of Christ before it could be imputed on a disciple. Are the conditions and prerequisites commanded by Christ himself called works? Works of faith?  Works of obedience? Works of love? Are they required or not? Like repentance and baptism? Yes, they are required. Do these items earn salvation? No. But they are required by the gracious and merciful God. 

     The second stage of salvation is the duration after the initial forgiveness of sins and a disciple makes his journey as a Christian in the Kingdom of God. This period lasts up to the point of physical death. Sometimes the disciple stumbles and repents and prays for forgiveness of sins.  There could be several examples and dates of stumbling and repentance and reconciliation with our Savior Jesus Christ. This is called the Present Tense of Salvation. Repentance of sins and failures are needed before forgiveness. This process of repentance and praying for forgiveness is gleaned from Acts 8:24.  After physical death, there comes an initial judgment where a disciple has enjoyed the imputed righteousness of Christ. His soul is carried by angels unto the Hades, which is called the bosom of Abraham in Luke 16:19-31. Are there activities or works demanded by Christ during this period?  Are there good works demanded by Christ that will spell out victory or failure in salvation? Yes, there are according to Ephesians 2:10.

     The third stage of salvation is called the Future Tense of Salvation.  This points to the Last Judgment Day.  1 Peter 1:8-9, “whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, (even) the salvation of your souls.”  Because this writer believes there is the possibility of falling from grace, and the strong deceptive works of Satan, not all who start the Christian journey succeed in reaching the finish line. So a disciple has to focus on finishing the race and with the help of the Holy Spirit, he could successfully finish the race and receive the salvation of his soul. That is what we understand from 1 Peter 1:9 and Rev. 2:10. 

     So when we discuss baptism, we should determine if we relate it to the Past Tense of Salvation or the Present Tense of Salvation or to the  Future Tense of Salvation.

Salvation by… and its iterations (13)

Question #13 – I used to read or hear that “salvation is by grace only”, others say we are “saved by grace through faith only”, and still others declare  “saved by grace only + faith only”, and then later it has become “saved by grace only + saved by faith only + saved by Jesus only”. What is the truth?  Why is it growing in number of items?  

Answer:  People keep on adding the plus sign (+)  because when they read the Bible, there are more items and persons listed relative to our salvation.  So that we will not commit what we call in logic, the “Fallacy of Partial View” we should get as many items and persons that are listed in the Bible. Are we saved by “Grace Alone + Saved by Faith Alone + Saved by Christ Alone”? 

     Do not stop on the third item.  There are other persons and items we read from the Bible connected with our individual salvation.  What prohibits us to add more if we find them in the word of God, the Bible?  

+1.   Saved by God says Titus 1:3, 4; Titus 2:10, “God our Savior.”

+2.  “Justified by His blood, we shall be saved”, Roma 5:9, 10.

+3.  “Saved by the gospel if we hold fast to it”, 1 Cor. 15:2.

+4.  “We shall be saved by His life”, Roma 5:10.

+5.  “Saved by calling on the name of the Lord”, Joel 2:32; Acts 2:22; 9:14.

+6.  “Saved by the implanted word”, James 1:21; Acts 11:14.

+7.  “Saved by the teachings of Christ and the apostles”, 1 Tim. 4:16.

+8.  “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved”, Mark 16:16

+9.  “Repent and be baptized and receive the remission of sins”, Acts 2:38. 

+10.  “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made to salvation”, Romans 10:9, 10. 

     There are other items found in the Bible. We shall in the following series submit other items. Below, we give a description of the word GRACE.

     Grace (Xaris in Greek)   “. . . but the N.T. writers use Xaris pre-eminently of that kindness by which God bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offenses, and bids them accept of eternal salvation through Christ x x x is used of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increased them in Christian faith, knowledge, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, p. 666)

     God in His kindness and mercy provided the basis of salvation which is Christ becoming flesh who suffered and died for the sins of the whole world. Therefore, GRACE is wide and encompassing. In Christ, we have God’s love, Christ’s blood, Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s commands and instructions.  The remission of sins of the whole world is not automatically applied to every individual when Christ appeared. Grace is available but not automatically imputed on sinners. God bids individuals to know about God, and to know about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Knowledge of this death, burial and resurrection of Christ for mankind’s salvation should be known and appreciated by an individual. God bids us accept this arrangement of salvation by appropriating the merits of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Accept it by FAITH.  But biblical FAITH involves obedience says Luke 6:46-47, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like.” And Christ tells the story of the “Wise Builder Who Built upon the Rock Foundation.” The obedient disciple is expected to obey the instructions of the Savior. 

       Some Bible teachers and preachers define grace as free gift from God without any conditions and without any participation of individuals. That makes salvation attractive to many, but that is deception. It is not biblical.   This is our illustration: Recently, there was a FREE book offer on the internet. To receive the FREE book, one should submit his name and address. Is the submission of name and address considered earning the cost of the book?  No. But if one who is interested to have the free book does not submit his name, the free book will not arrive in his residence. So there is a condition to receive the free gift of a book. There are offers in bazaars and malls about FREE items like “BUY ONE AND TAKE ONE FREE” during a Sale Period.   Is the second item free or earned? It is still free but one should obey the condition of buying one item. Does a customer go to the bazaar or mall and argue with the manager that to consider the item to be FREE, that item should be delivered to his residence without any effort? If a company usually sells a car at three million pesos, but at the birthdate of the store franchise he advertises “Buy one and take one free” would you consider the second car free or earned?  The second car is free, but one should buy the first car. To the giver, it is considered free because the second car costs nothing to the buyer. Likewise, this is true with our salvation. God offers salvation as free. But there are conditions to be met by individuals like Mark 16:15-16: Preach the gospel which should be accepted by a listener, then believe by the listener, then is baptized and then expect salvation.

Is there blotting out of names from the Book of Life? (11)

Question #11 –  Is there blotting out of names from the Book of Life?  Some friends say that once a disciple’s name is enrolled in the Book of Life, his name would not be blotted out nor erased by God.  They want this view to support the theory of “once saved always saved.” Is this true? 

Answer:  Observe the verses that are submitted below.  It is clear that the names of the disobedient disciples could be blotted out or erased from the Book of Life. 

1.  The Hebrew people considered themselves special and holy people with a covenant with Yahweh God (Exodus 19:5-10).  During the time of prophet Hosea, several hundred years after Mt. Sinai, idolatrous Israel was rejected by Yahweh: “Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God” (Hosea 1:9).  There was a falling away.  The idolatry of the Israelites made Yahweh angry so He allowed Israel to be taken into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Thousands died in the land of captivity as a consequence of their disobedience.  Jeremiah 24:7 says, “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”  After 70 years of Babylonian captivity, a new generation was given a new heart that yearned for Yahweh and a part of Israel returned to Jerusalem when Cyrus, king of Persia, became the ruler (Ezra 1:1). 

2.  The Hebrew family kept a genealogy table identifying their tribe and family tree. This gives the idea to the Hebrew mind that there is a Book of Life kept by God where the names of genuine family members are kept. 

3.  There was a group of people who counted themselves as Israelites but they could not produce any genealogical table as evidence of their claim so they were not accepted as genuine Israelites. (See Ezra 2:59, 62; Psalm 87:6; Ezekiel 13:9). 

4.  Moses and the Hebrew people were taught by revelation that Yahweh God kept a list of obedient people in the Book of Life.  The humble and obedient ones are listed in this Book of Life, but the disobedient ones are blotted out or removed from the list is clear from Exodus 32: 32-33, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book” (v. 33).  Psalm 69:28 says, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” In the New Testament, we have Rev. 3:5, “. . . I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life. . .” Please read also Philippians 4:3; Luke 10:20 and Hebrews 12:23.

        When does the blotting out or erasing of names happen?  Most likely it is done when a person becomes seared in his conscience when repentance is no longer possible when the Lord’s longsuffering comes to an end during the lifetime of an unbelieving person.  When a person commits the sin unto death where the prayer of saints is no longer effective. It is not at the time of Judgment that the blotting out happens because at the Judgment Day it will be a time of opening the Book of Life says Revelation 20:12. 

5.  Hebrews 3:12-19, the life and journey of Israel in the wilderness, is an illustration of the Christian life. In Exodus 19:5-10, all Israel consented to enter into a covenant with God that made the Israelites a people of God. On many occasions, in the span of 40 years, part of Israel rebelled or murmured against Yahweh with unbelieving hearts. That was a departure or separation from God (Heb. 3:12).  Among Christians, there is an exhortation to hold fast to the end of one’s faith in Christ (v. 14). How many among those who came out of Egypt with ages 20 years and above who succeeded in setting foot on Canaan? Many fell in the wilderness because they sinned or rebelled (v.17). The group of Moses and 70 Elders plus Eldad and Medad, (a total of 73 leaders), even with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, failed to maintain strong belief and obedience to Yahweh (Num. 11:16-30). Only two people among the 73 (Caleb and Joshua) maintained a good record and were able to cross the Jordan River unto the Land of Promise. This is a proof of the possibility and actuality of falling from God’s grace. 

6.  1 John 5:16-17 says, “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”  The one committing a sin is a “brother.” God is long suffering waiting for a time for repentance.  But there is a cut-off date like in the time of Noah. For about 120 years, Noah constructed the Ark and at the same time preached to the people to repent. Then the rains came pouring down 40 days and 40 nights and drowned all except the 8 people in Noah’s family that entered the Ark.

        From the above presentation, it is clear that a disciple who is genuinely converted, if he is not careful could fall from grace and lose his being a child of God.  Let us watch and pray for inner strength.