Salvation – Is It by Grace Only?


This study is very important because it could spell out one’s eternal destiny: go to heaven or go to hell.  

“Saved by grace only” disregards humble obedience to many instructions and the exercise of human free will. 


Grace (Xaris) – “. . 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 offences, 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, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues” (Thayer’s Lexicon, p.666)


Two Interpretations of “Saved by Grace” found in Ephesians 1:1-12 and 2:1-10.

First View:  The very strict Calvinistic view is that man is totally depraved, without any ability to desire to do good or total inability to decide to be spiritual and love God.  Before creation, God had already decreed that He will create humankind, some to be elected and some to be reprobated (damned), with His permission to allow mankind’s fall when tempted by Satan at the Garden of Eden.  When a person is saved, it is ALL God’s action, ALL God’s work.  NO human participation; absolutely nothing!  So the term “only” takes the meaning of exclusive and absolute. See hand out on Lapsarianism.

Second View:  Because God made the first step, because God is love, God is merciful, and God is sovereign over all of creation, His will to provide propitiation through Christ who is God who became human to help mankind, God’s work  in SALVATION could be assigned 99% while 1%  is assigned to human participation which consist of knowing God, loving God, obeying God, all summed up or condensed in the phrase, “in Jesus Christ” because a person obeys the New Testament of Jesus Christ.   Our concern now is to explore and identify what are the requirements found in the phrase “in Jesus Christ” because our Lord Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, 23-24; & John 15;14). Luke 6:46 records Christ say this: “Why call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things I say?” The phrase “Saved by Grace” is used emphatically, meaning: the greater part is emphasized but it does not exclude the very small participation of the human free will in obeying other instructions.  


Three tenses of salvation:

  1. Past:   Sins are forgiven when we undergo the steps to salvation: Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, be baptized.
  2. Present:  When a disciple sins, he needs to repent, pray for forgiveness, blood washes sins (1Jn 1:9; Acts 8:22).
  3. Future:  Possibility of apostasy; Christ confirms final salvation at end of time. See Titus 11-14;  1 Peter 1:9.


  1. Ezekiel 18:23, “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”
  2. Ezek. 18:32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the LORD God. “Therefore turn and live!”
  3. Ezek. 33:11, “Say to them: ‘As I live, ’says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?”


God is love, God is merciful, God is gracious.  Yet the rebellious angels were judged immediately.  Please see Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; John 8:44; Luke 10:18; 2 Peter 2:4-6; Jude 6. 


  • Adam & Eve were given free will – Genesis 2:16-17, “And the Lord commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
  • Cain & Abel – Cain did not do what was instructed him while Abel did what he was commanded to do.
  • Noah – He did what was commanded and he was saved from the deluge. 
  • Abram / Abraham – He believed God’s promises and directives eventually settled in Canaan.
  • Lot –  He chose to dwell in the flat land near the tribes that were worldly in Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • Ruth – Being a Moabitess, did she exercise her free will and chose to stick to her mother-in-law?  
  • Covenant with Israel – Exodus 19:5-8, “… Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do.’ So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.”
  • 500,000 Israelites 20 years old and above who went out of Egypt.
  • All those who died in the wilderness, including Moses, exercised free will, did they? 

        (b)  Joshua – (1:7) “Only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do according to all the law which  Moses My servant commands you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” 

(24:15), “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”


Hebrews 2:16:  “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.” 


Determine which salvation period/tense you refer about because there are three stages of salvation. 

1.  Salvation from past sins. 

2.  Salvation from sins after a disciple starts his Christian life. 

3.  Salvation in the future, the final confirmation – 1 Peter 1:9. 

*Take the following in a spectrum or picture.  Don’t isolate one from the others. 

Brief Quotations from the New King James Version.  

(1) Saved by God – Titus 1:3, 4; Titus 2:10 “God our Savior” “God our Savior”

(2) Saved by Jesus Christ – Matt. 1:21; John 3:17; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 7:25. Do you eliminate Love because of grace? No.

“call His name Jesus, . . He will save His people from their sins.” “. . the world through Him might be saved.”

(3)  Saved by mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit – Titus 3:5*(4)  Saved by   

grace – Ephesians 2:5; 2 Tim. 1:9; Acts 15:11; Titus 3:4-5, etc. Do you eliminate God?

(5)  Justified by the blood of Christ – Romans 5:9, 10. “justified by His blood, we shall be saved. . .”

(6)  Saved by the gospel if we hold fast to it – 1 Cor. 15:2. Do you disregard the gospel because of grace? No.

(7)  Saved by faith – Eph. 2:8; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; 18:42; John 3:16, 18; Heb. 10:39

(8)  Saved by the life of Christ – Romans 5:10. “. . we shall be saved by His life.”

(9)  Saved by hope – Romans 8:24 (KJV).  Does grace disregard hope?  No.

(10)  Saved by calling on the Lord – Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; 9:14. 

(11)  Saved by the implanted word – James 1:21; Acts 1114. Shall we disregard the Word because of grace? No.

(12)  Saved by the teachings of Christ and the apostles – 1 Tim. 4:16. Does grace disregard apostles’ teachings? No.

(13)  Saved through hearing the words of Christ and believing in the Father – John 5:24

(14)  He who believes and is baptized shall be saved – Mark 16:16. Does grace disregard baptism?  No.

(15)  Repent and be baptized and receive remission of sins – Psalm 32:5; Acts 2:38.  Does grace disregard baptism? No.

(16)  Be born again and see the kingdom of heaven – John 3:3. Does grace disregard the New Birth?  No.

(17)  Be born of water and the Spirit to see the kingdom of God – John 3:5

(18)  Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins – Acts 22:16; Gal. 3:27

(19)  Confess with mouth Jesus Christ and believe God raised Jesus there is salvation – Roma 10:9, 10

(20)  Abiding in the teachings and living righteously and godly until the appearing of Christ – John 6:27;    

John 8:31; 12:48-50; Romans 8:1; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:2; 2 John 8, 9; 1 John 2:15; Titus 2:11-14; 

James 1:27; Rev. 2:10. Does grace righteous and godly living?  No. 

(21)  Saved by preaching the gospel – 1 Cor. 1:21, “. . foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”   Does grace disregard gospel preaching?  No.

(22)  Saved by repentance – 1 Cor. 7:10; Luke 13:3.  Do we disregard repentance?  No. 

(23)  Saved by baptism – 1 Peter 3:21, “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.” Does grace eliminate baptism in water?  No.

(24)  The Holy Spirit – John 16:8; Titus 3:5-6.  Does grace disregard the work of the Holy Spirit?  No. 

(25)  Salvation in His name – Acts 4:12.  Does graces disregard the name of Christ?  No. 

(26)  Love – Galatians 5:6.  Do we eliminate Love and mention only grace?  No. 

NOTE:  Good hermeneutics tells us that one item does not exclude any other item mentioned in the Bible that is related to salvation.  Some items could be emphasized above others in some contexts, but not to the exclusion of any other items.  We should take all these items together. Just like what we do in the Chart – Steps to Salvation (Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized, Live a Holy & Obedient Life). Not all the steps are found in one verse.


1.  When the First Adam committed sin, was his sin automatically imputed on every human individual 

     with culpability or punishment without any individual human participation? __ Yes;  __ No.

2.  When the Second Adam gave himself as offering and atonement for sin on the cross, was His 

     righteousness automatically imputed on every human individual (past and future generations) with 

     justification, sanctification and glorification without any human personal participation? __ Yes; __ No. 


(1)  Lucifer – He was perfect until sin was found in him, (See Ezek. 28:14,15; Isa. 14:12; Lk. 10:18))

(2)  Angels who became demons – Did they fall from innocence into wickedness? Yes. 

(3)  Adam and Eve – Were they not innocent until they disobeyed the prohibition?  Yes. They did. 

(4)  Enoch “walked with God” and begot and begot sons and daughters (Gen. 5:19-24). 

(5)  God made a covenant w/ the nation of Israel (Exo. 19:5-6), “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

        Yahweh gave Moses and 70 Elders the Holy Spirit (Num.11:16-30), and yet out of the more than

         1 Million adults, 20 years old and above who left Egypt, only 2 people, Caleb and Joshua entered 

         the land of Canaan because of unbelief and died in the wilderness (See Heb. 2:7-19).    

(6)  King Saul, chosen by the Lord to rule Israel, did he not become disobedient and fall away?

(7)  King David, did he not commit sin, but he was repentant and so forgiven?

(8)  King Solomon, was he not called “beloved” but he became idolatrous and fell away? 1 Kgs 11:1-11.

(9)  The people of Israel (Read Isaiah chap. 1), did not this nation sin and fall away so it was taken into 

        captivity?  Only a small remnant left? Yes, it did. Read also Ezek. 20:33-44).  

(10) Was not Israel as a chosen nation, as a branch, cut off according to Romans 11:1-24?  Notice the 

         terms: “cast away”-15, “broken off”-v.17, 19, 20, “fell”-22; it means it used to be a branch attached 

         to the trunk.  The verbs in the past tense tell us that falling away was real and actual.  

(11)  John 14:1-11, Unfruitful branches could be cut off.

(12)  Matt. 10:22; Mk. 13:13; Rev. 2:10, He who endures to the end shall be saved. 

(13)  1 John 4:20, a disciple who is a liar and doesn’t repent will not be in heaven; Rev. 21:8.

(14)  Col. 4:14; 2 Tim 4:10 – Demas with Paul then forsook Paul and went to the world.  

(15)  Galatians 5:4 & Romans 9:30-33, “you have fallen from grace.”

(16)  1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2Tim. 2:17 – Hymaeneus strayed from the truth, overthrow the faith.

(17)  2Peter 2:22, “A dog returns to his own vomit,”and a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

(18)  Hebrews 6:4-8, “it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, have tasted heavenly gift, have  

            become partakers of the Holy Spirit, if they fall away to renew them again to repentance”

(19)  Heb. 10:26, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer 

           remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment…”

(20)  Hebrews 12:25-26, “”See that you do not refuse Him who speaks…” Choice or free will is involved. 

(21)  2Peter 2:22, “A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the 

           mire.” Dogs and pigs do these acts of returning to the dirt, so people also do.

(22)  John 8-9, “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may 

          receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not 

          have God…” This section teaches personal choice and free will in the disciple.

(23)  1 John 4:12-13; Rom 5:5; Eph. 4:30; James 4:5,  God’s love perfected in the disciple, the Holy Spirit is 

           given, but the Spirit could be grieved and quenched and gets out.

(24)  Seven Churches in Revelation given warning which suggests possibility of falling away:  

      a.  Ephesus – “you have left your first love x x x you have fallen; repent and do the first work…”

  b.  Smyrna – “He who overcomes…”suggests freewill and determination to be faithful to God.

  c.  Pergamos – “Repent, or else I will come to you. . . to him who overcomes. . .”

  d.  Thyatira –  “Hold fast what you have till I come. . . he who overcomes and keeps My works. . .”

e.  Sardis  –  “You are alive but you are dead. . . repent . . he who overcomes. . .”

f.  Philadelphia – “. . . test those who dwell on earth. . .  hold fast what you have. . .”


(1)   “in Christ” 1:3 (8)  “we who trusted in Christ” 1:12

(2)   “He chose us in Him (Christ)” 1:4, (9)  “after you heard the word of truth” 1:13

(3)   “adoption as sons by Jesus Christ” 1:5 (10)   “in whom also, having believed” 1:13

(4)   “accepted in the Beloved” 1:6 (11)  “your faith in the Lord Jesus”1:15

(5)   “In Him we have redemption thro His blood” 1:7 (12)  “in the knowledge of Him” 1:17

(6)   “in whom also we have obtained an inheritance” 1:11 (13)  “He worked in Christ” 1:20

(7)  “we who trusted in Christ” 1:12

(1)   “made us alive together with Christ” 2:5 (7)  “He Himself is our peace” 2:14

(2)   “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” 2:6 (8)  “having abolished in His flesh” 2:15

(3)   “His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” 2:7 (9)  “He preached peace to you” 2:17

(4)   “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” 2:10 (10) “through Him” 2:18

(5)  “good works. . . we should walk in them” 2:10 (11)  “in whom. . . in the Lord” 2:21

(6)  “now in Christ Jesus. . . by the blood of Christ” 2:13 (12)  “in whom you also are being built. .” 2:22

Conclusion:  To be saved by grace through faith, one has to be in Christ, and how does one be in Christ? There is hearing the word of truth, knowledge of Him, faith in Jesus. Add Matt. 28:18-19, there is preaching and discipling and being baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16; Gal. 3:27-28; Acts 10:47: Acts 16:31-33; Acts 22:16 there is baptism.  To be baptized for the forgiveness of sin is a humble, obedient act of a disciple that dramatizes an inner impulse which is the conversion of the inner man, the born again, adopted child of God. #  –  E.Tanicala   (Oct. 17-18, 2016)  

Who Are the Other Sheep of Christ in John 10:16? (59)

Answer:  The Gentiles are the other sheep of Christ. “Gentiles” are the non-Jews.  In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was the chosen people to be educated to bring out the Messiah.  And when the Messiah comes, the whole world would be included to be rescued from sin.  That includes all people outside the little nation of Israel in the coverage of Christ’s blood. So in the Great Commission, the disciples were commanded to go into all the world to preach the GOSPEL.

Exodus 19:5, 6, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine.  And you shll be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation..  These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” 

Psalm 147:19, “He declares His word to Jacob, His statures and His judgments to Israel.  He has not dealt with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them.” 

John 10:16, “I have other sheep that are not this fold; I must also ring them in, and they will hear my voice.  There will be one flock, and one shepherd.” 

At the early stage of Christ’s ministry, after He has called the twelve apostles and had trained them for a period of time, He sent them out in what is called the “Limited Commission” to the nation of Israel.  This is recorded in Matthew 10: 1-42.  

But later in His ministry our Lord revealed that there are other people who are included which He calls His other sheep.  He Himself started in a limited way to touch these outsiders in the northwestern boundaries of two tribes: Zebulun and Neftali which are the areas of Lebanon and Sidon. See Matthew 4:13-17. This inclusion of the Gentiles was prophesied by Isaiah 9:2.  Note that Isaiah 9:6 mentions the Messiah. 

After Christ resurrected from the tomb, He met his disciples and gave them the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16.  The whole world is the field of harvest.  Much later just before He ascended back to heaven, Christ told the disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria and to the uttermost part of the world.  

By his birth, Greek education and young days, Saul (who became Apostle Paul), was born in Tarsus of Syria.  He was providentially converted by Christ while he was chasing Christians who ran away from Jerusalem.  Along the highway going to Damascus, he was knocked down with an intense light and was changed from persecutor into a disciple. 

The Law which was given to the Jews at Mount Sinai that pronounced the Jews as a special people was taken out of the way at the cross. See Ephesians 2:11-22.  Christ mediated a New Covenant confirmed by His death (Hebrews 9:16-22).  Apostle Paul was especially assigned to the Gentiles.  See Acts 9:15; Romans 1:16; Romans 9:1-5 and Gal. 2:9. 

Romans 11 mentions the end of the special place of Israel as a chosen nation and ushering in of the Gentiles.

Does the Hebrew word Elohim, translated “God” in the English language prove there are three persons in the Godhead? 57

Answer:  No, it does not necessarily point to a plurality of persons. 

Exodus 32:1-8.  Please read the passage in your own Bible.  

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” 

Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons, and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 

So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 

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.” 

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 

So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward, they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 

They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. 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.’  (NIV) 

NOTE:  The words “gods” in the above verses are Elohim in the Hebrew text.  The words are pluralized to capture the imagined respect the idolaters have for their idol.  In this case, the idol is one image of a calf and yet it is pluralized.  That means that the meaning is “plural of majesty” not a plurality of persons.

Please read also Genesis 1:1-31 and Genesis 2:1-25

(Know that in English: God =Greek: Theos, Theoi=Hebrew: Elohim)

We show part of the Greek text of Exodus 32:1-8 to prove what we are discussing: 

“houtoi einai hoi Theoi (Elohim in Hebrew) sou, Israel” Exo. 32:4;   “houtoi einai hoi Theoi (Elohim) sou, Israel” –v.8.  Quoted from Biblos, 1850). The single golden calf was dedicated to Yahweh, vs 5.  It reads Elohim in the Hebrew text.   

NOTE: In Greek, there is only one way of writing the Theta whether rendered capital or small letter in English.  Also in Hebrew, there is only one way of writing the first Hebrew letter Aleph whether rendered capital or small letter in English.  2 Cor. 4:4 reads Theou (refers to Satan) has the same letter Theta as in v. 2 which is Theos (refers to the true God).   Philippians 3:19 has Theos (refers to the belly). 

“Israel, estos son tus dioses (Elohim)” v. 4;    “Israel, estos son tus dioses (Elohim) ” v. 8”   (Sagradas Escrituras)

“Ang mga ito ang maging iyong mga dios (Elohim), Oh Israel” v. 4;   “mga dios” v. 8. (Old Tagalog, 1905)

“These are your gods (Elohim), Israel”v.4;    “These are your gods, Israel” v. 8. (World Messianic Bible) 

“These are your gods (Elohim), O Israel” v.4;   same reading in v. 8   (Catholic Public Domain Version) 

“These are thy gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4; same reading in v. 8.   (Douay-Rheims, 1582/1609) 

“These be thy gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4;  same reading in v. 8.  (King James Version, 1611) 

“These are thy gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4;  same reading in v. 8.  (American Standard Version, 1901)

“These are you gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4;  same reading in v. 8. (Revised Standard Version)

“These are your gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4; same reading  in v. 8 (New International Version) 

“These are your gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4; same reading in v. 8  (English Standard Version) 

“This is your god (Elohim in Hebrew), O Israel” v. 4;   same reading  in v. 8 (New King James Version) 

“This is your god (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4; same reading in v. 8 (New American Standard Bible) 

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, the term Elohim is always translated God in English in the singular and the verb is also in the singular number, but Elohim in Exodus 32:1-8, the term Elohim is translated in the plural in English when it refers to the one, singular golden calf.  Why? The one singular golden calf is not plural in person.  

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, all the pronouns are singular (15 times referring to Elohim, Yahweh Elohim) while there are only three (3 times referring to Elohim) plural pronouns in v. 26.

  • Question:  When singular pronouns have Elohim as an antecedent, how many persons are there?
  • Question:  When plural pronouns have Elohim as the antecedent, how many persons are there?
  • Question:  When Yahweh says He makes Moses Elohim to Pharoah (Exo. 7:1), did Moses become 3 persons?
  • Question:  When the one golden calf is called Elohim in Exodus 32:1-8, were there 3 persons?
  • Question:  Psalm 45:6 & Heb. 1:8 the Elohim refers to Jesus Christ, did Christ become 3 persons?
  • Question:  Psalm 45:7 & Heb. 1:9 the Elohim refers to the Father, did the Father become 3 persons? 
  • Question:  Psalm 82:1, 8 refer to Judges as Elohim, (John 10:34 cites Psalm 82:6 referring to human Judges), did the individual Judges (Elohim) become 3 persons?
    • Question: Judges 8:33, “Ball-berrith their Elohim” for the Canaanites, is Baal 3 persons? ;
    • Judges 11:24, “Chemosh thy Elohim” for the Moabites, is Chemosh 3 persons? ;
    • Judges 16:23, 24, “Dagon their Elohim” for the Philistines, is Dagon 3 persons? ;
    • 1Kings 11:33, “Milcom the Elohim” for the Ammonites, is Milcom 3 persons? ; 
    • 2 Kings 1:2, 16 “Baal-zebub the Elohim of Ekron” for the Philistines, is Baal-zebub 3 persons? ;
    • 2Kings 19:37, “Nisroch his Elohim” for the Assyrians, is Nisroch 3 persons? ;
    • Judges 2:13, Astarte or Ashtaroth, Ashtoreths of the Canaanites, is Astarte 3 persons? ;
    • Judges 3:7, Asherah  (Asherim, plural form) of the Canaanites, is Asherim 3 persons? ;
    • Isaiah 42:17 reads, “say to the molten images, You are our Elohim” are molten images 3 persons?

Conclusion:  So if the tribal deities are Elohim but they don’t possess multiplicity of persons, Elohim, therefore, is not necessarily plural in person?  Right?  But addressed in the plural to show respect. Right?

Thirty-Six Reasons For Rejecting Muhammad – Reasons 4-6 (43)

by Anthony Okoro (Series 2)

He declares: “I left Islam because I studied Muhammad’s life; I accepted the Gospel because I studied Jesus’ life”.   [lifted from FB   (www.facebook com/DoctrineApologetics), March 11, 2020]

(NOTE:  We serialize these36 reasons so that we could make a sound judgment on which teaching is superior: Islam or Christianity.  Mr. Okoro seems to come from an African country and has a good knowledge of and exposure to Islam.)

Reasons of and comparisons made by Okoro:

4.  MOhammad was the taker of life; Christ was the giver of life (John 27-28).

5.  MOhammad and his fellow warriors murdered thousands; Christ murdered none but saved many (cf. John 12:48).

6.   MOhammad’s method was COMPULSION; Christ’s aim was voluntary CONVERSION (Acts 3:19).”

ET’s comment:  This writer submits a quotation from the Qur’an which he has in his possession:

“Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad . . . . .), and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel subdued.” Qur’an, Surah 9:29

Here is the explanation of Jizyah – “a tax levied upon the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians), who are under the protection of a Muslim government.”  (From Qur’an footnote, page 248, on Surah 9:29).

Thirty-Six Reasons For Rejecting Muhammad – Reasons 1-3 (42)

Anthony Okoro (Series 1)

He declares: “I left Islam because I studied Muhammad’s life; I accepted the Gospel because I studied Jesus’ life” 

[lifted from FB (www.facebookcom/DoctrineApologetics), March 11, 2020]

(NOTE:  We serialize these 36 reasons so that we could make a sound judgment on which teaching is superior: Islam or Christianity.  Mr. Okoro repeats the upper case MO, MO, MO in his reasons. We don’t know why. He seems to come from an African country and has good knowledge of and exposure to Islam. We add some Qur’an passages to support some of Mr. Okoro’s reasons.)

Reasons of and comparisons made by Okoro:

  1. MOhammad was the prophet of war; Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7).
  2. MOhammad’s disciples killed for the faith; Christ’s disciples were killed for their faith (Acts 1:22; 2 Timothy . 4:7)
  3. MOhammad promoted persecution against the “infidels”; Christ forgave and converted the chief persecutor (1Tim.1:13-15).”

This writer submits to you quotations from the Qur’an which he has in his possession.  Feel the emotion that the Qur’an wants to promote among people.

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya of each other.  And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya, then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimin (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust).

(Surah 5:31 of the Qur’an)

“Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” 

(Surah 9:29 of the Qur’an)

Note:  “Jizyah: a tax levied upon the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians), who are under the protection of a Muslim government.” This is in the footnote of the Qur’an, p. 248,  which this writer has.

(More reasons to follow.)

Mary the Mother of Jesus in Muhammad’s Time (41)

In the fifth century of our era, the veneration of Mary became an important issue especially among the Latin or western churches which were under the supervision of the Bishop of Rome.  On the other hand, this topic was not popular in the Eastern Church or Greek Orthodox congregations that were influenced by the Bishop of Constantinople.

One favorite title of Mary the mother of Jesus Christ was “Mother of God.”  Nestorius, who became a bishop of Constantinople in the fourth century argued that Mary of Nazareth could not be called “Mother of God” because motherhood means origination and conception of life.  Christ as God, could have not been originated and conceived by a human being.  On the other hand, the bishop of Rome believed that the Deity of Christ lodged into the humanity of Jesus upon conception in the womb of Mary, hence the deity passed through the womb of Mary, and therefore she could be called “the mother of God.” Subsequently, the Roman Catholic Church made another canon law declaring that Mary, mother of Jesus, was bodily lifted up into the heavens and has been pronounced as Mediatrix and also Mother of Perpetual Help.

Muhammad was born in the year 570 A.D., so this hot issue of motherhood of God was a common topic among Christians when Muhammad passed through cities and towns of Arabia, Palestine, and Syria.  In the Qur’an, there are many verses where Mary is mentioned.  It is said that Mary’s name is mentioned about 25 times.  Her virtue is also highly recognized as being the mother of a prophet who is Jesus or Isa.

One mistake spoken of about Mary in the Qur’an is that she is the daughter of Imran, and the sister of Harun (Aaron). Some believe that the original writer of that section of the Qur’an thought that Maryam is the Merriam of Exodus. And that this Imran is identified as the father of Aaron.  It is observed by some that the composer of the Qur’an thought that the Miriam in Exodus is the Mary in the Gospel.  We shall investigate his issue.

The story of the births of John the Baptist and that of Jesus Christ is found in Surah XIX with the title “Surat Maryam (Mary) XIX”.

The mention of Mary in the Qur’an is believed to have been included to attract Christian devotees of Mary in the fifth and sixth centuries when Islam was starting to expand in the Christian countries like Palestine, Egypt, Ethiopia, North Africa, Asia Minor, and Persia.   That since Islam honors Mary, and that the Qur’an was claimed to be a revelation of Allah, and Muhammad is a prophet of Allah, switching to the new religion in the 7th and 8th centuries was made easier.

When you read the Qur’an, remember this information we have shared with you. –

(NOTE:  We continue to provide you with more topics about Islam.)

Monogenetos = “Unique” “One of a Kind”, “Beloved” (40)

Arranged by Eusebio Tanicala, PhD

Question:   Why is Christ called the “only begotten Son” in John 1:14; 18; John 3:16; Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; Heb. 11:17-18 in the older English versions of the Bible? What is the meaning of ‘begotten’? Did the early Christian century church apologists fall short of their explanations?

Answer:  It looks like that the so-called “Church Fathers” or early Christian writers failed to explain the New Testament verses where the phrase “begotten Son” as well as the phrase “only son” that is found as in Psalm 2:7; John 1:14, 18; John 3:16; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 11:17-18; 1 John 4:9.

Early Century Creeds View about Christ

1.  The Nicene Creed of 325, revised at the Constantinople Council in 381 A.D. has this phrase: “the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds x x x x x begotten not made being of one substance with the Father. . .”

2.  The Chalcedonian Creed of 451 A.D. says: “. . . begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead. . .”

3.  The Athanasian Creed of the 4th-5th Century, item #22: “The Son is of the Father alone; not made, not created, but begotten.”

Early English Versions

Here are the phrases found in some older English versions/translations of the Bible made before the year 1950 A.D. We insert the Greek word after the term “only begotten”:

  1. Wycliffe Bible (1395 A.D.)
    1. Psalm 2:7 – “The Lord seide to me, thou art my sone, Y haue gendrid (Grk, egenesa) thee to dai.”
    2. John 1:14 – “as the glorie of the ‘oon bigetun (Grk, monogenous) sone of the fadir x
    3. John 1:18 – “. . no but the ‘oone begetun (monogenes) sone, that is in the bosom of the fadir. . ”
  2. Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible (1582/1609 A.D.)
    1. Psalm 2:7 – “I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten (egennesa) thee.”
    2. John 1:14 – “. . . the glory as it were of the only begotten (monogenous) of the Father. . .”
    3. John 1:18 – x x x v. 18, the only begotten (monogenes) Son who is in the bosom of the father. . .”
  3. King James Version (1611 A.D.)
    1. Psalm 2:7 – “. . . I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten (egennesa) you.”
    2. John 1:14 – “. . . (. . . the glory as of the only begotten (monogenous) of the Father,). . .”
    3. John 1:18 – “. . . the only begotten (monogenes) Son, which is in the bosom of the Father. . . ”

The Meaning of Begotten

The term “begotten” (genes in Greek) in its literal meaning is to biologically produce a child by a father, and the mother is said to bear a child.  Perhaps this gave Arius of Egypt in the latter part of the 3rd century and early part of the 4th century the idea that God the Father produced or created the Son.  Or that the Son was an emanation from the Father.  So Arius insisted that the Son had a beginning, a creation, and similar but not the same in essence as the Father. Arius was opposed by Athanasius who insisted that Christ was begotten but NOT with the idea of bringing into existence Christ, the Son. The majority of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., believed that Christ came forth from the Father. Many older theologians viewed this coming forth as the “eternal generation of the Son from the Father.” But this phraseology would still create some problems as to the eternity (aseity) of the Son.

Also, the Greek term “mono” has the first common meaning “one, single, sole.” So the compound word “monogenes” (mono+genes) has been interpreted as “one begotten” or “only begotten” if taken literally. This created a big controversy about the nature of Christ. Even Muslims who consider Jesus Christ as a prophet are scandalized by the phrase “begotten of the Father” because that would make God having carnal relation with somebody to bring into existence Christ Jesus.

Was he created or brought into being or not?  To prove his point, Arius cited Proverbs 8:24-25, “When there were no depths I was brought forth when there were no fountains abounding with water; before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth.”

The weakness of Arius’ stand was that he interpreted the terms in the phrase literally, taking the material and biological meaning as the basis of interpreting the scriptures. He did not consider the figurative shade of the terms.  So let us analyze some background scriptures. Please read 2 Samuel 7:4-17 which was a message from Yahweh God to King David through the Prophet Nathan. Related to our topic, verse 14 says, “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.”

Yahweh is the speaker here and Yahweh would become the “Father” of King David’s begotten son who will be his successor.  Yahweh’s fatherhood to King Solomon is NOT to produce a child and bring him into existence.  The fatherhood of Yahweh and the sonhood of King Solomon refer to the close relationship of the two parties.  Yahweh would act as if He were the loving, concerned biological father who considers a natural son giving him provisions, protection, assistance, etc.  As a biological father, King David did that to his son Solomon by anointing him as his successor and giving him all his gold and silver collections so that he could build a Temple dedicated to Yahweh (1Kings 5:1-18; 2Chron. 2:3-12). On the other hand, Yahweh granted special favor to King Solomon. Please read 1Kings 3:5-15; 1Kings 8:1-66. In the early years of King Solomon’s reign, Yahweh became the “Father” and Solomon became the “son.” God made Himself closely related to the King on the condition that God’s commandments were obeyed.  There is the “begetting”.  It is figurative. It is spiritual. It is not producing a child, not bringing into existence. It is a unique, beloved, close relationship.

The Meaning of “ONLY”

How about the term “mono” or “only”?  The literal and first impression in our mind is number: one item or one person. Not two or more in the number of items.  A limiting adjective.

Again, this term should not be taken literally in its first meaning. Not the singularity of item or person. For example in Genesis 22:2, 12, 16, Isaac is said to be the “only son” of Abraham.  The reading is in verse 2: ton huion sou ton monogene; verse 12, ton huion sou ton monogene; in verse 16,  ton huion sou, ton monogene sou.

Genesis 22 points to Isaac as the only son of Abraham is repeated in Hebrews 11:17-18, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac, your seed shall be called.” The phrase “his only begotten son” in English, and in Greek it is “ton monogene autou”  Isaac was Abraham’s only son because Isaac was unique in that he was conceived when Sarah was 89 years old and gave birth at age 90 and Abraham was 100 years old.

Isaac was beloved because he was chosen as the heir of Abraham and Sarah’s wealth.  And Isaac was chosen as Abraham’s seed through which the promised seed would be traced. Not through Ishmael who was driven away with his mother Hagar.  Ishmael’s seed are the Muslims, the Arabs who are opposed to Christianity today.

But we should be aware that Ishmael is the first son of Abraham through Hagar. Genesis 16:15, “So Hagar bore Abram a son: and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.” Genesis 21:9, “And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing.”  Genesis 21:13, “Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman because he is your seed.”

The term “only son” in English in Genesis 22:2, 12, 16 is monogene in Greek text. The term “only” in the Hebrew text of Genesis 12:2, 12, 16 is “YACHID”.  This is proof that “Yachid” is not “absolute one” (meaning: strictly one, single item, or one person, not two or more) as some preachers are insisting.  Isaac is said to be the YACHID son of Abraham.  It is the uniqueness, close relationship, belovedness that is meant. Not the number of items or number of people that are referred to. Not “absolute one.” So please stop this argument about “Yachid as absolute one.” It has no authoritative basis.

Please wake up, brethren.  Do not promote an argument that is not supported by sound scholarship and authoritative documentation. If you have a contrary view, please document your research and send me a copy.

Some Bible Versions after the Year 1950

Some Bible Versions/Translations made after the year 1950, because of modern research on the use of the phrase “only begotten son” (monogenes), wordings have changed.  Here is NIV’s rendition of Psalm 2:7, “I will proclaim the LORD’S decree, He said to me You are my son; today I have become your father.”  The wording is no longer “I have begotten you.”  Observe the following versions made after 1950 on John 1:14 and 18:

  1. New International Version (NIV, year 1973) – John 1:14, “. . . the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father. . . ”, x x x ; v. 18, “. . . but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father. . . “
  2. English Standard Version (ESV, year 2001) – John 1:14, “. . . glory as of the only Son from the Father. . .”, x x x; v. 18, “. . . the only God, who is at the Father’s side.”
  3. Word English Bible (WEB) – John 1:14, “. . . such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father. . .”, x x x ; v. 18, “. . . The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father. . .”
  4. New Living Translation (NLT, year 1996) – v. 14, “. . . Glory of the only Son of the Father. . .” x x x; v. 18, “. . . But his only Son, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. . .”
  5. World Messianic Bible – John 1:14, “. . . such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father. . .”, x x x ; v. 18, “. . . The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father. . .”
  6. Hugo McCord’s Translation (year 1989) – John 1:14, “. . . the splendor as of a unique one from the Father. . .”, x x x; v. 18, “. . . The unique Son, who is in the Father’s bosom. . .”
  7. New Century Version (NCV, year 1988) – John 1:14, “. . . the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father. . .”, x x x; v. 18, “. . . But God the only Son is very close to the Father. . .”
  8. Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia (1996) – John 1:14, “. . . Nakitami ti dayagna, ti dayag nga inawatna kas kakaisuna nga Anak ti Ama.” x x x ; v. 18, “. . . Ti laeng Bugbugtong nga Anak, a kadua ti Ama. . .”

Christianity’s Doctrinal Issues in Muhammad’s Time (39)

11.  Modalism –  Is the idea that God is one person and He reveals Himself in three different modes: as Father some of the time, as Son in different times, and as Holy Spirit in other times.  It is also called “Unitarianism” or “Oneness.”

10.  Subordinationism –  This teaches that the Second Person (the Son, Christ Jesus) and the Third Person (Holy Spirit) are subordinated to the Father, the First Person. The 2nd and 3rd persons are lower in nature and rank.  The two persons are not of the same essence, not the same in substance.  Only similar substance or similar in essence.

12.  Tritheism –  The belief that the three persons are truly God and that there are three Gods: the Father as first person, the Son who is Christ as a second person, and the Holy Spirit as a third person.  Strict monotheists would call the belief of Trinitarians “tritheism”, three different Gods.  This is how Muslims and the preachers of the INC-Manalo group understand the Church of Christ position when we insist that Christ is God or Christ is a deity.  Of course, we explain the use of the word monogenetos and the use of the word “one” or  “only” as unity or harmonic one. This is fully explained in the following article.

13.  Trinitarian – The belief that there is One Being who is the one true God and in that One true God, there are three distinct persons each is completely God and that the three persons are equal in essence and attributes.

14.  Islam’s View –  Islam teaches that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, a prophet, and will be the Judge on the last day but he is not the Son of God.  Muhammad, in the mind of Muslims, is a greater prophet who is higher in rank than Jesus the Christ. Muslims insist that God has no son and that Allah has no wife. Muslim’s idea of the word “begotten” is physical and biological.  In Islam, Christ is God’s Word.  In the past, Allah said “Be” and the Word was created.

In the Old Testament, the idea of a Trinity in the Godhead was not a clear doctrine among the Hebrews. Yahweh to the Jews was one, singular, solitary spiritual being, the Eternal, Almighty creator God. This is called “strictly one person monotheism.” This doctrine could have been absorbed by Muhammed when he encountered the different views during his caravan days from Mecca to Syria.

The Christian Claim (34)

Question #34 –  Muslims claim that the Prophet promised by Yahweh in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 is Muhammad. In like manner, Christians claim that the fulfillment is with Jesus Christ.  Which has the better and true claim?

Answer:  The following is our presentation of the Christian claim. Analyze the text of Deuteronomy 18:15-18

“Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; x x x x I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”

(Deuteronomy 18:15-18, ASV)

Please note the following facts: 

  1. Moses was addressing Israel as a nation who descended from Isaac not Ishmael.
  2. From the midst of the brethren that descended from Isaac and Jacob, the 12 tribes of Israel will Jehovah anoint this promised Prophet. 
  3. That Prophet shall be like Moises who personally received words from Jehovah.
  4. That Prophet shall deliver to the people of Israel Jehovah’s commandments.

The question is:  Is Jesus Christ, a Jew, the fulfillment or is it Muhammad the Arab? 

  1. The text says that the Prophet will come from the midst of Israel, a brother of the Hebrews. not from the Arabians.  Muhammad did not come from the midst of Israel. Israel was a nation that descended from Isaac and Jacob, while the Ishmaelites settled in Havilah (Gen. 25:17-18) descended from the Ishmael.  Ishmaelite merchants bought Joseph from his brothers and sold him to Potiphar (Gen. 39:1); became known as Arabians (2Chron. 2:17:11). From this genealogy, it is clear that this Prophet should be an Israelite or a Jew.  Ishmaelites or Arabians are very distant blood brothers of the Israelites. But note that Deut. 18-15-8 says that the Prophet comes from the midst of the Israelite brethren. 
  2. The pronoun “thee” refers to the nation of Israel who was then encamped at the eastern side of the Jordan River.  So the recipient of the promise is the nation of Israel. Not the Arabians.
  3. “Among their brethren” refers to the family of Israel. Not Ishmaelites or Arabians. 
  4. “a Prophet like me” (v. 15), “said to me” (v. 17), “like you”, is Moses talking to a Hebrew audience in v. 18?  Yes.  The coming Prophet will be like Moses, a full brother of the Israelites, a mediator of a covenant as Moses was the mediator between Yahweh and the nation of Israel.  Muhammad is not an Israelite who mediated Israel as one party and Yahweh as second party. Muhammad’s God is named Allah not Yahweh.
  5. The speaker in v. 18 is Yahweh.  Yahweh is the one who puts His words in the mouth of that Prophet who was coming.  The one who put the recitation in the mouth of Muhammad was the Angel Gabriel and/or Allah.  The one who gave the doctrines or instructions to Jesus Christ was the Father, the Yahweh we read in the Bible.  Christ repeatedly mentioned in the Gospel of John that what he heard from the Father was the thing he taught the disciples. Christ declared that his teachings are not His own but were given by the Father.  
  6. Jesus Christ Himself frankly declared that He is that Prophet and the Messiah expected to come by the Samaritans.  The Samarians accepted the Torah as their scripture. “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.” (John 4:26)
  7. Muslims accept much the Gospel According to John. And Apostle John tells us that Moses wrote about Jesus Christ. Analyze the following passages:
  • John 1:45-46, “And Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. . .” Read till the end of the chapter.
  • Luke 5:46-47, “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father, there is one who accuses you – Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
  • John 3:13-14, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  Read verses 15- 20 and the text tells of judgment which is the punishment Deut. 18:15-18 talks about. 
  • John 1:29-51 has the testimony of John the Baptist who is honored by Muslim friends.  John testifies that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the expected Messiah, the Prophet of God. 

Conclusion:  It is very clear that Deuteronomy 18:15-18 refers to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Not referring to Muhammad.  I suggest that you remember this presentation when you share your faith with Muslim friends about Jesus Christ the Messiah. # – ET

Who are the prophets mentioned in the Qurán? And what is Islam’s idea of Monotheism or One God?  (35)

Answer (1):  A copy of the Qurán which I have on my bookshelf makes a list of prophets which is on page 861, Appendix I:  

S.No. Arabic           English      
Adam            Adam            
Alyasa        Elisha         
Ayyub       Job 
Davud David 
Dhul-Kift Dhul-Kift 
Harun Aaron 
Hud Hud 
Ibrahim Abraham 
Idris Enoc 
10 Iliyas Elias 
11 ‘Isa Jesus 
12 Ishaq Isaac 
13 Isma’il Ishmaelv 
14 Lut Lot 
15 Muhammad Muhammad or Ahmad 
16 Musa Moses 
17 Nuh Noah 
18 Salih Salih 
19 Shu’aib Shuaib 
20 Sulaiman Solomon 
21 Ya’qub Jacob 
22 Yahya John 
23 Yunus Jonah 
24 Yusuf Joseph 
25 Zakariyya Zacahriah 

Answer #2:  Here is copied verbatim from page 894, Appendix II, so that we can understand better the view of Islam on Monotheism: (Note: Arabic characters cannot be duplicated so we put parenthesis and say “Arabic letters here”.  Quote:  


Tauhid (Islamic Monotheism)  is to believe in:

  1. Allah, 
  2. His Angels, 
  3. His Messengers, 
  4. His revealed Books, 
  5. Day of Resurrection, 
  6. and  Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainment i.e. whatever Allah ordained must come to pass), and to act on the

Five Principles of Islam, i.e., 

  1. To testify that La illaha illallah wa anna Muhammad-ur Rasul Allah  (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, 
  2. To offer the (five compulsory congregational) prayers (Iqamat as-Salat), 
  3. To pay zakat, 
  4. To perform Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah), 
  5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan. 

To believe in Allah means declaring Allah to be the only God in the heavens and the earth and all that exists.  It has three aspects: 

  1. The Oneness of the Lordship of Allah; Tauhid-ar-Rububiyyah:  To believe that there is only one Lord for all the universe,  Who is its Creator, Organizer, Planner, Sustainer, and the Giver of security, etc., and that is Allah. 
  1. The Oneness of the Worship of Allah; Tauhid-al-Uluhiyyah:  To believe that none has the right to be worshipped (e.i. praying, invoking, asking for help from the unseen, swearing, offering sacrifice, giving charity, fasting, pilgrimage) but Allah. 
  1. The Oneness of the Names and the Qualities of Allah: Tauhid-al-Asma’was-Sifar:  To believe that: 
  • We must not name or qualify Allah except with what He or His Messenger (Arabic letters) has named or qualified Him. 
  • None can be named or qualified with the Names or Qualifications of Allah; e.g. Al-Karim; 
  • We must believe in all the qualities of Allah which Allah has stated in His Book (the Qurán) or mentioned through His Messenger (Muhammad  a r a b i c letters) without changing their meaning or ignoring them completely or twisting the meanings or likening them (giving resemblance) to any of the created things e.g. Allah is present over His Throne as mentioned in the Qurán (V.20:5):  

“The Most Gracious (Allah) rose over (Istawa) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty),” over the seventh heaven; and He comes down over the first (nearest) heaven to us on the day of ‘Arafah (Hajj, i.e. the 9th of Dhul-Hijja)  and also during the last third part of the night is mentioned by the Prophet (a r a b i c  h e r e)  but He is with us by His knowledge, not by His Person-Self (bi-Dhatihi).  

  •  Qurán (V.20:5)
  • It is not as some people think that Allah is present everywhere – – here, there, and even inside the breasts of men. 

         Also, Allah says: 

         “There is nothing like Him and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer” (V.42:11) 

    This holy verse proves the quality of hearing and the quality of sight for Allah without likening them (or giving resemblance) to any of the created things) and likewise, He ( Arabic ) also says: 

         “To one whom I have created with Both My Hands” (V.38.75) 

          and He also says: 

         “The Hand of Allah is over their hands.” (V.48.10) 

    This confirms two Hands for Allah, but there is no similarity for them.  This is the belief of all true believers and was the belief of all the Prophets of Allah from Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), and Ísa (Jesus) till the last of the Prophets, Muhammad (Arabic here). 

    These three aspects of Tauhid are included in the meaning of La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah).   

    It is also essential to follow Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad (Arabic characters here) Wujub al-Ittiba and it is a part of Tauhid-al-Uluhiyyah. 

    This is included in the meaning, “I testify that Muhammad (Arabic letters here) is Allah’s  

    Messenger,” and this means, “None has the right to be followed after Allah’s Book (the Qurán), but Allah’s Messenger (Arabic letters here). 

         Allah says:  

         “And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad  Arabic letters here) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).” (V.59.7) 

         Allah says: 

         “Say (O Muhammad Arabic letters here to mankind), ‘If you (really) love Allah then follow me [i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the (Qurán and the Sunnah (legal ways of the Prophet Arabic letters here], Allah will love you and forgive you of yours sins.’” (V.3:31).   

    Note:  The above long quotation is Islam’s view of monotheism.  In Christian Trinitarianism, there are three Persons in One God.  Modalistic Trinitarianism, on the other hand, says there is only one person, but there are three modes of God’s manifestation which are: as Father at one time, as Son in another time, as Holy Spirit in other times. 

    Christianity’s Doctrinal Issues in Muhammad’s Time (38)

    NOTE:  This is a continuation of the previous topic.

    Students of Church history know that one strong influence in western Europe in the last decade of the sixth century and the first decade of the seventh century (A.D. 590 – 604 A.D.) was Pope Gregory, bishop of Rome.  At this time, Muhammad having been born in A.D. 570 was already conducting caravan trade trips from Mecca to Damascus. During this period Christianity was very strong in the East, but the Eastern Empire whose center was in Constantinople was becoming weaker militarily speaking. The rivalry between Rome and Constantinople as influencers of congregations continued on. There were doctrinal teachings that caused strong feelings between Rome and Constantinople like the belief that Mary is the “mother of God”, use of images in chapels and cathedrals, intercessions of saints, what sacraments are there.

    Patriarch John the Faster of Constantinople declared himself as Shepherd of the Universal Church in the year 604 A.D. which was vehemently opposed by the Roman Bishop.  In the year 606 A.D., the new Roman Pope, Boniface III declared himself the head of the Universal Church.

    7.  Apollinarianism – This is the idea taught by Apollinarius, bishop of Laodicea, a contemporary and friend of Athanasius.  Apollinarius believed that the Word became flesh (John 1:14), but Jesus was not completely human.  To him, it was illogical that Jesus Christ was completely God and completely human in a unity of one person.  Yes, Jesus became flesh, but he didn’t possess the ordinary human mind, soul, reason that animate humanity, he claimed.  That which animated Jesus’ humanity is the Divine Logos, he said.

    8.  Nestorianism – This is the idea or argument which was taught by Nestorius who became bishop of Constantinople in 428 A.D.  He objected to the popular idiom “theotokos” which literally meant “God-bearer” or “Mother of Him who is God” in reference to the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus.  He said that God could not be born.

    9.  Islam’s View –  Jesus of Nazareth is a natural-born son of human parents (Joseph and Mary).  He is the Messiah, a prophet, and will be the Judge on the last day but he is not the Son of God.  Muhammad, to Muslims, is a greater prophet than Jesus the Christ.

    Maryam’s (Mary, mother of Jesus) story about Angel Gabriel announcing her conceiving and giving birth to Jesus is found in the Qur’an, Surah 19, verses 16-35. A portion of this narrative says, “v. 17. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her our Ruh (angel Gabriel) and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects. v. 18. She said: ‘Verily! I seek refuge with the Most beneficent (Allah) from you, if you do fear Allah.’ v. 19. (The angel) said: ‘I am only a messenger from your Lord, (to announce to you the gift of a righteous son.’ . . . v.22. So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place (i.e. Bethlehem valley about 4-6 miles from Jerusalem).”

    There is no mention of Joseph in the Qur’an story, but there is Angel Gabriel.  It reads in verse 35: “It befits not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son (this refers to the slander of Christians against Allah, by saying that Jesus is the son of Allah), Glorified (and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him).  When He decrees a thing, He only says to it, ‘Be!’—and it is.”  This passage says that Jesus should not be called the son of Allah (God).  However, the story in Surah 19, it suggests that Jesus was born of Virgin Mary because Mary confessed that no man had touched her.

    However, the record of the Gospel of Luke says the following, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David x x x x And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1: 31 and 35).

    The Qur’an rejects the idea that Jesus Christ be called the Son of God.  On the other hand, the Christian scripture says, Jesus Christ is the Son of the Highest, the Son of God.

    10. Eutychianism – This is the idea or explanation which was taught by a group in the Eastern side of the Roman Empire in the early centuries of Christianity. Eutyches was not the originator but later he became the symbol of the idea which rejected that Jesus Christ had two natures. Eutyches believed that Jesus Christ was completely human and completely God, but the fusion of the two formed a third nature which was not fully identified or explained what that is. In short, he said, there was a third nature in the personality of Christ.  #  (More to follow.)

    Is “Elohim” always Plural? (32)

    Question #32 —  Is the presence of plural pronouns “Us, Our, Our” in Genesis 1:26 a strong proof that the term ELOHIM is always plural a composing three persons in the Godhead?

    Answer:  To me, the presence of the three plural pronouns in Genesis chapter One is a weak argument in proving the presence of three persons in the Godhead because there are more singular pronouns in the same chapter referring to the same antecedent which is Elohim.


    The word “God” in Genesis chapter one is ELOHIM in the Hebrew Bible. It is employed 30 times in this chapter one. There you have 30 times Elohim as the antecedent of Three (3) plural

    pronouns.  On the other hand, singular pronouns: “I” used 2 times, “His” used 1 time, “He” used 3 times, a total of 6 singular pronouns. 

    If one argues that 3 plural pronouns proves the presence of a plurality of persons involved in the term Elohim, what does 6 singular pronouns prove about the number of persons in the same antecedent noun Elohim?  It means that the term Elohim is not always plural in person.  It means that Elohim is also singular in person. 

    In Genesis chapter 2, Elohim (used 2 times), and LORD God (used 10 times) is the antecedent of the pronouns “His” (3 times), “He” (8 times), and “I” (1 time).  Because only singular pronouns are used in chapter 2, should that not prove that Elohim has one person in that context?  Should it not?  If not, why not?  So Elohim does not always involve plurality of persons in the name.

    In connection with Isaiah 52:12, some Bible teachers think that there are two persons of the Godhead involved:  one person of the Godhead in front (LORD or Yahweh) of the returning Jews  and a second person (God or Elohim) at the rear of the caravan. Note that Elohim is one person at the rear.  So Elohim at the rear is one person not plurality of persons yet He is called Elohim. 

    I believe in the triune Godhead, but using Genesis 1:26 is weak.  

    I urge my fellow students of the Bible not to insist that the term Elohim is always plural in persons.  Let us be consistent.  The plurality could refer to the plural of majesty or plural of respect to Deity. Some suggest that the plural form is suggestive of the plurality of excellent and superior attributes.  Among the Greeks, one Deity is often assigned one superior attribute. Or it could refer to angels as the ones addressed or included in the plural pronouns in Genesis 1. Angels are also called Elohim.  Please see the Hebrew Index of your Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible OR  Strong’s Concordance of the Bible.  Both concordances declare that angels are also called Elohim. 

    We shall come out with lessons in the near future on how to present the view on the Trinity – ET        

    Christianity’s Doctrinal Issues in Muhammad’s Time (37)

    These lessons numbers 4 to 6 is a continuation of the previous article regarding doctrines affecting the Muslims’  belief on strict monotheism which run counter to the Church’s belief in the Trinity.

    4.  Docetism – from the Greek verb dokeo which means “to seem or to appear.” Some first and second century Christians who were influenced by Greek thought believed that Jesus was real and fully God, but he only seemed to be human.  His humanity, it was said, was an illusion.  They could not accept that God who is spirit could partake of material existence.  Believers of this idea were called Docetists.

    However, those people would not be consistent if they consider Genesis 3 where we find the record of Satan, a spirit being, a created cherub (Ezekiel 28:12-19), who became or appeared in the form of a material snake and curled itself in the tree at the Garden of Eden.  This spirit being that became material tempted Eve and made her pick the forbidden fruit. That made humanity fall into sin and made this world cursed.

    5.  Arianism – Is derived from the chief promoter of this idea who is Arius, a Christian teacher in Alexandria, Egypt in the first half of the 4th century.  This belief says that the only absolute, self-existing, eternal, uncreated being is God and that refers to the Father.  The Father could not share his being, his essence, his nature to any other person.  Christ was the highest of God’s creation, according to Arius. He was created, had a beginning and is not of the same essence as the Father but of similar essence as the Father, hence inferior to the Father.  There are attributes of the Father that are assigned to Christ.  Arius argued that Christ “bears these titles only because he participates in the word and wisdom of the Father.” (See Erickson, Christian Theology, page 696).

    Emperor Constantine the Great convened a general council which was attended by about 318 church bishops that met in the year 325 A.D. in the town of Nicaea in the northern part of what is now the country of Turkey.  This council was co-chaired by Bishop Hosius of Spain. There were only three other bishops that voted against the doctrine that Christ is Divine and has the same essence as the Father.

    6.  Apollinarianism –  Is the idea taught by Apollinarius, bishop of Laodicea, a contemporary and friend of Athanasius.  Apollinarius believed that the Word became flesh (John 1:14), but Jesus was not completely human.  To him, it was illogical that Jesus Christ was completely God and completely human in a unity of one person.  Yes, Jesus became flesh, but he didn’t possess the ordinary human mind, soul, reason that animate humanity, he claimed.  That which animated Jesus’ humanity is the Divine Logos, he said.

    Other general councils and the main issues taken up are the: (a) Council of Constantinople in Asia Minor (now Turkey) in the year 381 A.D. which tackled the person and divinity of the Holy Spirit,  (b) Council of Ephesus, still in Asia Minor in the year 431 A.D. which discussed the Fall of Man with a conclusion that with the Fall of Adam and Eve, man that is born of woman is totally depraved, and (c) Council of Chalcedon in the year 451 A.D. which discussed the co-mingling of humanity and divinity in the one person of Christ.

    These doctrines continued as topics of interest among Christians in the coming centuries. #

    (More to follow.)

    Where in the Bible can we read the word Biblia? 53

    Question #53 –  Mayroong mga nagtatanong ng ganito: “Saan natin mababasa sa Biblia ang katagang Biblia, liban sa cover sapagkat yung cover ay gawa ng printer, hindi kinasihan ng Diyos yun?”  (Some folks in our country, the Philippines, ask in the dialect:  “Where in the Bible can we read the word Biblia, except the cover because the cover is not inspired?”) 

    Answer: In several major Philippine languages, we use the term Biblia for the English term Bible. Biblia is an influence from the Greek text, translated also Biblia in the Latin and Spanish. From Spanish, Philippine languages absorbed the term Biblia. 

         In the Greek language, Biblos (book in English) is the nominative case, singular form; Bibliou in the genitive case, and Biblion in the accusative case.  “Biblia” in the Greek text is in the plural form. There are two verses in the Greek text where we find the word “Biblia” which are 2 Timothy 4:13 translated in English “books” in some versions, while others render it as “parchments.”  “Biblia” (books in English) is also found in Revelation 20:12. 

         Muslims refer to Christians as “people of the books.” This phraseology may refer to the idea that there are several books written independently of each other by separate authors in a period of about 2000 years. Secondly, it may refer to the volume of the collected books which is why at the cover of the scripture collection, the name is “Biblia” (plural: 39 books in the OT and 27 books in the NT).  On the other hand, Muslims consider their Qurán as one book miraculously sent down from heaven as one unit, recited by Muhammad while he was embraced by the angel Gabriel inside a cave, a book which is unchangeable, and eternal. 

          In a future date, we shall tackle these claims about the Qurán. These claims about the Qurán are doubtful given the fact that ancient existing copies of the Qurán are not the same and these ancient Quranic manuscripts are dated about two hundred years after Muhammad died. By comparison, the Gospel records were written by disciples/apostles of Christ before they died like Matthew, Mark, and John. The Epistles of James and Jude were written by the half-brothers of our Lord Jesus. 

         We have provided you the “ammunition” to counter the claim that humans invented the Bible. The word Biblia is literally found in the inspired text. #

    Christianity’s Doctrinal Issues in Muhammad’s Time (37)

    These lessons (4 to 6 ) are a continuation of the previous article regarding doctrines affecting the Muslims’  belief in strict monotheism which runs counter to the Church’s belief in the Trinity.

    4.  Docetism – from the Greek verb dokeo which means “to seem or to appear.” Some first and second-century Christians who were influenced by Greek thought believed that Jesus was real and fully God, but he only seemed to be human.  His humanity, it was said, was an illusion.  They could not accept that God who is spirit could partake of material existence.  Believers of this idea were called Docetists.

    However, those people would not be consistent if they consider Genesis 3 where we find the record of Satan, a spirit being, a created cherub (Ezekiel 28:12-19), who became or appeared in the form of a material snake and curled itself in the tree at the Garden of Eden.  This spirit being that became material tempted Eve and made her pick the forbidden fruit. That made humanity fall into sin and made this world cursed.

    5.  Arianism – This is derived from the chief promoter of this idea who is Arius, a Christian teacher in Alexandria, Egypt in the first half of the 4th century.  This belief says that the only absolute, self-existing, eternal, uncreated being is God and that refers to the Father.  The Father could not share his being, his essence, his nature to any other person.  Christ was the highest of God’s creation, according to Arius. He was created, had a beginning, and is not of the same essence as the Father but of similar essence as the Father, hence inferior to the Father.  There are attributes of the Father that are assigned to Christ.  Arius argued that Christ “bears these titles only because he participates in the word and wisdom of the Father.” (See Erickson, Christian Theology, page 696).

    Emperor Constantine the Great convened a general council which was attended by about 318 church bishops that met in the year 325 A.D. in the town of Nicaea in the northern part of what is now the country of Turkey.  This council was co-chaired by Bishop Hosius of Spain. There were only three other bishops that voted against the doctrine that Christ is Divine and has the same essence as the Father.

    6.  Apollinarianism – This is the idea taught by Apollinarius, bishop of Laodicea, a contemporary and friend of Athanasius.  Apollinarius believed that the Word became flesh (John 1:14), but Jesus was not completely human.  To him, it was illogical that Jesus Christ was completely God and completely human in a unity of one person.  Yes, Jesus became flesh, but he didn’t possess the ordinary human mind, soul, reason that animate humanity, he claimed.  That which animated Jesus’ humanity is the Divine Logos, he said.

    Other general councils and the main issues taken up are the: (a) Council of Constantinople in Asia Minor (now Turkey) in the year 381 A.D. which tackled the person and divinity of the Holy Spirit,  (b) Council of Ephesus, still in Asia Minor in the year 431 A.D. which discussed the Fall of Man with a conclusion that with the Fall of Adam and Eve, man that is born of woman is totally depraved, and (c) Council of Chalcedon in the year 451 A.D. which discussed the co-mingling of humanity and divinity in the one person of Christ.

    These doctrines continued as topics of interest among Christians in the coming centuries. #

    (More to follow.)

    Why does the Qurán not recognize the name Yahweh or Yahuah? 52

    #52 –  Islam recognizes the inspiration of the Torah, the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) a document from God, why is it that the Qurán does not recognize the name Yahweh or Yahuah but uses Allah? 

    Answer:  Yes, this is one of the weaknesses of Islam. Below are some quotations from the Qurán.  

    Qurán 3:3-4, “He sent down to you the Book with the truth, confirming what comes before it, and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel (v. 4), Aforetime, as a guidance to mankind. And He sent down the criterion [of judgement between right and wrong, (this Qurán)]. Truly, those who disbelieve in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, for them there is a severe torment, and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Able of Retribution.”

    Qurán 5:46, “In their footsteps we sent Jesus son of Mary, fulfilling the Torah that preceded him; and we gave him the Gospel, wherein is guidance and light, and confirming the Torah that preceded him and guidance and counsel for the righteous.”

    Qurán 10:94, “If you are in doubt what We reveal to you, ask those who read the Scriptures before you. The truth has come to you from your Lord, so do not be of those who doubt.” 

    (Explanation by ET:   The writer/s tells a Muslim that if he doubts the narrative of the Qurán, he could confer with those who read the Torah (the five books of Moses, including the Gospel records (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). 

    The issues we must bring out are: (1) Why is it that the Qurán refuses to recognize and glorify the name Yahweh (YHWH), or its Arabic translation?  And yet this is the name revealed to Moses, and Moses is one prophet that Islam honors. See Exo. 3:15; 6:3; 9:16. 33:19.

    “Allah” is not God’s name. “Allah” is the Arabic term for God. “Allah” is the general Arabic term for God just as Elohim or El in Hebrew are general terms that point to the true God or false Gods.  Theos is the Greek term for God.  Just as Latin says “Deus” or “Dei”.  That term “Dei” is the root of the English word “Deity.” Just as Dios in Ilocano and in Tagalog (1905 Tagalog Version) or Diyos in modern Tagalog refers to the idea of God. These Philippine dialects were derived or introduced by Spanish colonizers that occupied the archipelago for over 400 years.  If one says, “There is no God but Allah,” he is actually saying, “There is no God but God.”

    However, Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6, “Even though there are those that people call gods, either in heaven, or on the earth, as there are many gods and many lords, yet to us there is one God the Father. . .” The lower case god (Theos in the Greek text) is written the same way as God (Theos in the Greek text) the Father is written.” 

    In the Pentateuch or Torah which Muslims accept as part of inspired scriptures, we read the name of the true God which the Qurán refuses to specify. Exodus 6:3 reads, “And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but with regard to my name Jehovah I did not make myself known to them.” New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.  The American Standard Version of 1901 also uses the name Jehovah which other versions use Yahweh. # 

    Christianity’s Doctrinal Issues in Muhammad’s Time (36)

    The Deity of Christ was a big doctrinal issue from the first century and continues as a problem among some Bible-believing religious groups today.  Knowledge about this will help us understand why Islam wrestles with the issue of the Deity of Christ because Islam’s belief is “strict monotheism.” Strict monotheism means that the phrase “one God” points to one being or one, single, solitary item. Or one idea, one identity.

    Muhammad was born A.D. 570 and he died in A.D. 632.  Some believe that he died of poisoning.

    Islam accepts the Five Books of Moses as Holy Scriptures given by God.  Islam claims that their Allah is the same identity or same being as Yahweh of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.  But a more serious meditation on the characteristics of Allah in the Qur’an does not agree with the attributes Christians understand about Yahweh in the Pentateuch. On the surface, the Qur’an also mentions that the Gospel records (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) are inspired scriptures. However, Muslims make a blanket accusation without hard evidence that both bodies of scriptures have been corrupted and therefore not binding to them.

    Below, we submit a few issues that record differing ideas about the Deity of Christ in early Christian centuries that affected the views registered in the Qur’an regarding strict monotheism:

    1.  The Pharisees & Sadducees’ View –  Found in John 5:18 & 10:33.  They accused Jesus of blasphemy when he made them understand that God is His Father, making himself equal with God.

    2.  Antichrist – During the later days of Apostle John, some who became members of the church denied that Jesus was really human.  This belief made Apostle John strongly react and called them “antichrist”  in 2 John 7.  This party will be called “docetists” in later years.

    3.  Ebionism – From the Hebrew word which means “poor.”  A great majority of the early converts were poor, so early Christians were called “ebionites” but the term was assigned later to a group of disciples who believed that Jesus was normally born to Joseph and Mary.  This group believed that Jesus possessed unusual wisdom and righteousness and upon his baptism became the Messiah when the Holy Spirit descended and dwelt on him with God’s power, but all these left him just before his death.

    (NOTE:  A second series on this issue on the Deity of Christ will follow. – ET)

    Does Islam believe in the Pentateuch and the Gospels? 51

    #51 – Does Islam believe in the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers Deuteronomy), and in the Gospel Record (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)? 

    Answer:  Yes, they believe, based on readings we glean from the Qur’an itself.  Observe closely the following quotes and judge for yourselves. But the Qur’an states that Jews breached their covenant with Allah. The same accusation is leveled against Christians –  that is failure to explain much of the scriptures. Perhaps the Arabs did not understand the preaching of the Christians in the 6th and 7th centuries of the Christian Era. During the 4th to the 6th centuries, there were many theological issues that troubled the Christians like the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the Filioque, the use of images inside the cathedrals, the worship of Mary, among others. 

    Remember these dates: 570 A.D. or Christian Era – birth of Muhammad; about the year 620 A.D., beginning of revelations received by Muhammad (as claimed), 632 A.D. – death of Muhammad. 

    Please read the following portions lifted from the Qur’an and after each section, I point out the issue: 

    *Surat-Al-Baqarah (The Cow) II, verse “4. And who believe in that (the Qur’an and the Sunnah) which has been sent down (revealed) to you (Muhammad arabic letters here) and in that which was sent down before you [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), etc.] and they believe with certainty in the Hereafter (Resurrection, recompense of their good and bad deeds, Paradise and Hell). 

    [The Issue: Islam recognizes the 5 books of Moses as part of its belief foundation. The other books of the Old Testament are rejected by Muslims. Also recognized are the 4 gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but if something in these 4 books goes against Islam belief, that section would be considered as a corruption of the original manuscript. Acts to Revelation are not recognized as sent down by God. – ET]

    *Surat-Al-Baqarah (The Cow) II, verse “285. The Messenger (Muhammad  arabic letters here) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say), ‘We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers’—and they say, ‘We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).” 

    [The Issue:  Islam enumerates 25 prophets, including Jesus Christ of Nazareth, with Muhammad as the last and the greatest of them all.  Muhammad is considered greater than Christ Jesus. But note that Christ Jesus claims to have come from heaven, from the Father and He became flesh, John 1:15. Christ did many miracles, he died but He resurrected, appeared in a span of 40 days to His disciples, to several women, to the 500 brethren in 1 Cor. 15, they ascended back to heaven. By contrast, Muhammad did not do any miracles. He died and he remains dust in his grave. Christ will judge all men, including Muhammad. Notice the Arabic word ‘Baqarah’ which means cow. In our local dialect, cow is baka. There are many Filipino dialect words that are similar to Arabic words. – ET]

    *Surat Al ‘Imran (The Family of Imran) III, verse “3. It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur’an) to you (Muhammad arabic letters here) with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Ingeel (Gospel), 4.  Aforetime, as a guidance to mankind. And He sent down the criterion [of judgment between right and wrong (this Qur’an)]. Truly, those who disbelieve in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, for them there is a severe torment; and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Able of Retribution.”

    [The Issue: This section of the Qur’an testifies that the Torah and the Gospel account are from God, and yet there are many disagreements. The Qur’an points to Ishmael as the heir of Abrahamic blessings, whereas, Isaac is the one pointed to by the Torah. Isaac is the one pointed by the Gospel account as among the fore-parents of Jesus Christ. See Matthew 1 and Luke 3. The above Qur’an claim, therefore, is not true. Meaning, the genealogy, given by Matthew and Luke, does not testify that Ishmael is Abraham’s heir of the promises given in the Book of Genesis.  – ET

    *Surat Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread With Food) V, verse “12. Indeed, Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel (Jews), and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And Allah said: ‘I am with you if you perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat and believe in My Messengers; honour and assist them, and lend a good loan to Allah, verily, I will expiate your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise). But if any of you after this, disbelieved, he has indeed gone astray from the Straight Path.  

    13. So because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They change the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them.  And you will not cease to discover deceit in them, except a few of them. But forgive them and overlook (their misdeeds). Verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (good-doers – See V.2:12).

    14. And from those who call themselves Christians, We took their covenant, but they have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them.  So We planted amongst them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection (when they discard Allah’s Book, disobeyed Allah’s Messengers and His Orders and transgressed beyond bounds in Allah’s disobedience); and Allah will inform them of what they used to do. 

    15. O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)!  Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad Arabic letters here) explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture and pass over (i.e. leaving out without explaining) much.  Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light (Prophet Muhammad  Arabic letters here) and a plain Book (this Qur’an).”

    [The Issue:  In the four above verses we read the name Allah, the God worshipped by Muslims. The term “Allah” can be read in the Old Testament of our Bible. You can find that in item #464, of the Hebrew to English Index-Lexicon & Expository Dictionary. It means “oak”, possibly the oak tree which is known for its strength.    The following is a quote from the Expository Dictionary, page 87:  “elah, ‘god.’ This Aramaic word is the equivalent of the Hebrew éloah’. It is a general term for ‘God’ in the Aramaic  Passages of the Old Testament, and it is a cognate form of the word ‘allah,’ the designation of deity used by the Arabs.”  Please notice that the Qur’an recognizes the Pentateuch and yet the Qurán avoids using the name Yahweh as the revealed name of the Hebrew true God.  In a future article, we shall expand the political and cultural reasons why this deviation of name from Yahweh to Allah. But this deviation reveals the inconsistency of the Qurán from its claim of being sent from heaven.  In like manner, verses 14 and 15 accuse the Christians of abandoning the good part of the Message or the Gospel. In modern terminology, it is the corruption of the Gospel. Of course, we the Christians deny that we have corrupted the teachings of the Gospel taught by Christ.]

    *Surat Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread With Food) V, verse “46. And in their footsteps, We sent ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), confirming the Taurat (Torah) that had come before him, and We gave him the Ingeel (Gospel), in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Taurat (Torah) that had come before it, a guidance and an admonition for Al-Muttaqun (the pious – See V.2.2).”

    [The Issue:  The above quote from the Qur’an recognizes the historicity of Mary and Jesus. Jesus confirmed the prophecies of the Pentateuch. Likewise, the Gospel is confirmed as guidance and light and confirmation of the Pentateuch. This recognition of the Pentateuch and the Gospel by the Qur’an is very revealing which we shall expand in the future.- ET]

    *Surat Yunus (Jonah) X, verse 94, “So, if you (O Muhammad  arabic letters here) are in doubt concerning that which We have revealed to you, [i.e. that your name is written in the Taurat (Torah) and the Ingeel (Gospel), then ask those who are reading the Book [the Taurat (Torah) and the Ingeel (Gospel)] before you. Verily, the truth has come to you from your Lord. So be not of those who doubt (it).”

    [The Issue:  The immediate passage above reveals that the Pentateuch and the Gospel account are true and should not be doubted.  We Christians should carefully watch out for some specific claims of Islam and check up with the Pentateuch and the Gospel and evaluate the claims of some Muslims.  For example, the instruction that the heir to God’s promises to Abraham was Isaac and NOT to Ishmael.  And the claims of Jesus Christ about his coming from above, and that he has existed before Abraham was born and his presence with God before the creation of the world. – ET ]

    Can spirit beings become material or physical for certain purposes? (49)

    #49 –  Can spirit beings become material or physical for certain purposes?  This question arises because of the premise submitted by Muslims and members of  the INC-1914 which states that “God is not man, and man is not God.”  What is your reaction to this?

    Answer:  First notice the difference between the statements:  “God is not man” and “God cannot become man.  Or “a spirit is not material or physical” and “spirit cannot  become material or physical.”  


    Let us submit the case of Satan the Chief Demon. Please analyze very closely two passages:

    Isaiah 14:12-16, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, on the farthest sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yes you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.””

    Ezekiel 28: Satan, the chief demon is by creation a spirit being, a cherub. Genesis 3:1 says that God made the serpent, that is the spirit cherub who became rebellious and subsequently the Satan or Adversary. When he decided to oppose God, that nature of being an opposer has become permanent in him as gleaned from John 8:44.  He was not physical or material.  By his original nature, he is spirit.  His original and created nature is NOT material or physical.  But he can become material or physical when he took the form of a SNAKE.  When he took the form of a snake, he possessed physical or material form, real flesh and bones.  Is flesh and bones the nature and essence of Satan? NO. But he became flesh-and-bones snake.  Yes, indeed.

    Was Satan a spirit being? Yes.  Was he able to become flesh and bones snake? Yes. Is a spirit being flesh and bones?  By nature, a spirit is NOT flesh and bones, but a spirit being can become flesh and bones.

    In the case of Satan, did a spirit being, one from the angelic hosts, become flesh and bones?  Yes. Did he lose his nature as spirit-being when he took the material form of snake at the Garden of Eden? ?  No.  When Satan was in the form of flesh and bones, did he stop being Satan?  No. Did he lose his natural creation nature of spirit? No. Is Satan a spirit being today?  Yes.  Can Satan become a good looking, innocent looking and likable angel and masquerade as angel of light? Yes. Please see 2Cor. 11:14.

    Do you now agree that a spirit being can become material or physical?

    __ Yes;  __ No.

    Did God appear to human beings in the Old Testament? Part 1 (47)

    #47 Did the true God, Yahweh, appear to any human being in the Old Testament period from the time of the Book of Genesis to the Book of Malachi?

    Answer:  It depends on the meaning we attach to the word “appear” and the context of a passage submitted. There were appearances.  Let us note several passages quoted from New King James Version. These appearances could be at various stages or various levels of glory. When a passage says, “no one can see God” it should refer to God’s blinding full glory which could only be enjoyed when the saved shall have put on the resurrection body like that of Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:21), the heavenly or celestial body described by Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:35-50.  


    Please note that the word LORD is the tetragrammaton YHWH in the Hebrew text, and that name belongs only to the true God.  This name YHWH can be proven that the Father wears it, the Son wears it and the Holy Spirit wears it. 

    Exodus 3:2, “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. . .”

    Please read down to verse 22 and you feel that God Himself personally talks with Moses. Most likely, by logical induction, that should be Christ before His incarnation. Because Christ, the second person in the Triune Godhead is the Sent One, the Sugo.  See Micah 5:2 which says that this person has been active from eternity. It says, “whose going forth has been from of old.” 

    Deut. 5:24, “And you said: ‘Surely the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.” Read down to verse 33, and you feel that it is a personal God who talked with the congregation of Israel.

    Judges 6:22-23, “Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD. So Gideon said, ‘Alas, O Lord GOD!  For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.’ The LORD said to him, Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”  Please read down to verse 27.  Yahweh Himself was the one talking with Gideon but He was called Angel of Yahweh. You also feel from this section that there is the Trinity. There is the Angel of Jehovah and the Holy Spirit in 6:34. 

    Judges 13:18 & 22, 23, “And the Angel of the LORD said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?  x x x x And Manoah said to his wife, ‘We shall surely die because we have seen God!  Then his wife said to him, ‘If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time.”  Note also the presence of the Holy Spirit in verse 25.  There is the Trinity:  the LORD, and the ANGEL OF THE LORD, and the HOLY SPIRIT. Clearly this is the Trinity: Father, Christ, Holy Spirit in reduced glory in the presence of human eyes. 

    1 Kings 8:10-11, “And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.”

    1 Kings 19:11-12, “Then He said, ‘God out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD  was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice.”

    2 Chronicles 7:12, “Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him; ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.”

    It appears that the Hebrews were conditioned to honor the true God and to fear him because He is a fearful God.  But God Jehovah has appeared to several people.  God, if He wants to, would appear to the naked eye not in His full royal glory.  In His heavenly throne, in His full glory, it seems that man has not yet experienced that view. Only Christ has been in that experience of witnessing God’s full glory in heaven before His incarnation says John 1:18. And also now that Christ has his glorified, celestial human body says Philippians 3:21.

    Did God appear to any humans in the Old Testament? Part 2 (48)

    #48 Did the true God, Yahweh, appear to any human beings in the Old Testament period from the time of the Book of Genesis to the Book of Malachi? (A sequel of the immediately preceding question.)

    Answer:  Let us note several passages and define some terms:


    Isaiah 6:1-5, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one cried to another, and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD  of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.’”

    Isaiah 46:3, “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb: even to your old age, I am He.”

    Isaiah 63:1, “Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Borzrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?”

    Zechariah 2:8, “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.’”

    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.

    Why the difference in KJV and NIV? A passage comparison (28)

    Question #28 –  Why is it that in the King James Version of the Bible, Matthew 18:11 and Luke  9:56 have more words compared to lesser words in the New International Version? 

    Answer:  Our King James Bible (KJV) was launched in the year 1611 in London, England,  while the New International Version (NIV) was completed and copyrighted in 1973.  Two Bible translations separated by 362 long years. Try to read the original “Banaag at Sikat” of Ka Lope Santos written in the early 1900s and read a currently serialized novel in the Liwayway in this year of 2020.  You will feel the difference of two Philippine eras.     

    The New Oxford Annotated Bible of the Revised Standard Version edited by Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger informs us that the King James version was first launched in 1611 A.D., was revised in A.D. 1881-1885 with an American Committee reading preference brought out in 1901 popularly called the American Standard Version (ASV), revised in 1946-1952 with a second edition of the NT in A.D. 1971. This means that the 1611 KJV has been revised several times. Please don’t insist on the superiority of the 1611 KJV.  It has been revised several times in the following years as revealed above: 1611 > 1881-1885 > 1901> 1946-1952 > second edition of the NT in 1971.  

         Look at the comparison below: 

    • KJV of 1611 (Luke 9:56, KJV) reads, “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.”
    • RSV of 1952 (Luke 9:55-56, RSV) appears like this, “55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to  another village.”
    • NKJV of 1985 (Luke 9:56, NKJV) reads, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. And  they went to another village.”  

    (Please note the asterisk at the start of the verse in the NKJV which signals a footnote.  The footnote in your larger NKJV edition says, “NU omits, For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save  them.” The capital letter N means the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, while U means United Bible Societies Greek New Testament. These are updated works on earlier, older, better manuscripts.) 

    • NIV of 1985 (Luke 9:56, NIV) reads, “and they went to another village.”
    • NLT of 1996 (Luke 9:56, NLT) reads, “So they went on to another village.”      
    • McCord’s Translation © (1989) reads, “(Luke 9:56) reads, “and they went to another village.”
    • KJV of 1611 (Matt. 18:11) reads, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”
    • RSV of 1952 (Matt. 8:11), it is omitted. There is a footnote notice at the end of v.10 saying that other mss add it. 
    • NKJV of 1985 (Matt. 18:11) reads, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

         (Pls note the asterisk at the start of the verse.  The footnote in your larger NKJV edition says, “NU omits v. 11.” See above the meaning of NU. 

    • NIV of 1984 (Matt. 18:11) has it missing in the main text, but appears in the footnote saying, “ v. 10 Some manuscripts heaven 11 The Son of Men came to save what was lost.” 
    • NLT of 1996 (Matt. 18:11) has it missing in the main text, but at the end of v. 10 there is asterisk directing one to the footnote which reads, “Some manuscripts add verse 11, “And I, the Son of Man, have come to save that which was lost.”
    • McCord’s Translation © 1989 (Matt. 18:11) has verse 11 missing because it is believed to have been an insertion by a copyist at a much later date.

     There you have the explanation of why later Bible versions omit some words or a verse because these items are believed to have been introduced by later copyists. There are valid reasons for the omission.

    Who Founded the Roman Catholic Church (606 AD) and Greek Orthodox Church (1054 AD) 27

    Question #27 – Was the Bishop of Rome, Pope Boniface III, the founder of the Roman Catholic Church in the year 606 Anno Domini? Was Patriarch Cerularius the founder of the Greek Orthodox Church in the year 1054?

    Answer:  No! Bishop Boniface III is not the founder of the Roman Catholic Church 606 A.D.!!! Patriarch Cerularious is not the founder of the Greek Orthodox Church!!!  We submit two historians’ quotations to support our view. 

     Victor of Rome, Bishop in the City of Rome

        a) “By 190 Victor of Rome claimed to be ‘universal bishop’ but he was ignored by the other churches.  Cyprian (200-258) worked to give greater prestige to the bishop and after 250 the monarchal bishopric was almost universally established.” (The Eternal Kingdom, F. Mattox, p. 106)       

         My Comment:  This means that Bishop Victor of Rome had made the claim of universal headship of the church as early as the year 190 A.D. which means that Boniface III is not the first to make that claim of universal headship. – ET. 

         b) “The Western church under the leadership of Rome said that Peter and Paul taught them to observe Easter day always on the first day of the week. About the close of the second century, Victor, bishop of Rome, excommunicated the church of Asia because they would not agree with Western custom is always celebrating Easter on Sunday.  At this time it was generally believed that all bishops were of equal authority and Victor was considered out of place by such action. The churches of Asia would not change and Irenaeus got Victor to withdraw his rash declaration. Each continued its own practice until the first general council in 325 decided in favor of the Roman position.  This was another step in the exaltation of the Roman bishop.” (The Eternal Kingdom, F. W. Mattox, p. 117)     

         My Comment:  Roman bishop Victor presumed himself as ruler of the universal church issued the ex-communication against Asia Minor congregations but was prevailed upon by Irenaeus, an influential a so-called church father. — ET

    Patriarch John the Faster of Constantinople Declared Universal Patriarch

         a) “In 527 the Emperor Justinian gave the bishop of Constantinople the title of “Ecumenical Patriarch,” and the succeeding bishops tried to hold on to this title.  John the Faster, as late as 588, claimed he was world bishop and that this honor belonged only to Constantinople. The bishops of Rome denied all these assertions, and circumstances soon favored their positions.” (The Eternal Kingdom, F. W. Mattox, p. 134)     

         My Comment:  Year 527 A.D. the Patriarch of Constantinople was declared “Ecumenical Patriarch” of the church by his backer, the Emperor Justinian.  Ecumenical suggests the idea of universal or worldwide. Why is he not declared as the founder of the Greek Orthodox Church if making a declaration of leadership is the measure of headship? Why wait for the year 1054?– ET

    Leo I, Bishop of Rome Claimed Supremacy

         a) “Leo I, later called ‘the Great’ became bishop of Rome in 440 and served twenty years.  He stressed the theory of Roman supremacy on the basis of apostolic succession. He taught that the Lord held the Roman bishop responsible for the care of all the churches and that other bishops were assistants to the Roman bishop in administration, but could not share his authority.  To the bishop of Constantinople, he said:

    ‘Constantinople has its own glory and by the mercy of God has become the seat of the empire. But secular matters are based on one thing, and ecclesiastical matters on another. Nothing will stand which is not built on the Rock which the Lord laid in the foundation. . . Your city is royal but you cannot make it Apostolic.’

    “Leo thus became the first pope.  His claim did not stand unchallenged but remained steadfast nevertheless. Weaker men who succeeded him were not able to defend these claims successfully, and after a period of ascendency for the bishops of Constantinople, another strong personality became bishop of Rome. Gregory I, who was also given the title ‘The Great’ ruled from 590 to 604.  At the close of his reign, the theory of the primacy of Peter and the Roman bishop as his successor and universal head of the church was definitely established.” (The Eternal Kingdom, F. W. Mattox, pp. 134, 135)

          b) “Constantine called this first general council to meet in Nicaea in Asia Minor, June 19, 325. Its purpose was to settle the controversy over the nature of Christ x x x. The council also created the office of Metropolitan, or Patriarch, by exalting the bishops of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch.” (The Eternal Kingdom, F. W. Mattox, p. 138)  

         My Comment:  Please note that Leo I, bishop of Rome, was a powerful leader. F. Mattox calls him a believer in the supremacy of the Roman bishop and he is called by our historian as “the first pope.”  There is no strong historical reason by bishop Boniface III should be considered the first Roman Pope and founder of the Roman Catholic Church. Would you think that notable church historians would honor the claim that Boniface III is the first Roman Pope? – ET 

    Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D.

         a) “. . . Marsian, who became emperor upon the death of Theodosius in 450, called the council of Chalcedon. x x x This council said that ‘Peter has spoken through Leo’ and drew up its decision on the basis of this arguments.  The decree says that Christ is: ‘At once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable Soul and body; as of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood. . . begotten . . . of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ Son, Lord, Only begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without divisions, without separation. x x x  This council also decreed that the bishop of Constantinople was due all of the rights and powers bestowed upon the bishop of Rome. That as Rome ruled the West, Constantinople would rule the East.” (The Eternal Kingdom, F. Mattox, p. 141)

         b) “Leo I (440-461) was the first to set forth Papal claims on the basis of Scripture as proof.  Matthew 16:16-19 was used as proof that the church was built upon Peter. Luke 22:32 was used to prove that Peter was given responsibility for the other brethren as an overseer, and Leo said John 21:15-19 gave Peter the responsibility to feed the sheep, which meant clergy and feed the lambs, which meant the laity.” (The Eternal Kingdom, F. W. Mattox, p.160-161) 

         c) “Against the canon of the Council of Chalcedon, which declared the patriarch of Constantinople to be of equal dignity with the bishop of Rome, Pope Leo I vainly protested. Leo I, who died in 461, has been called the last of the ancient and the first of the medieval popes.” (The Church in History, B.K. Kuiper, page 84) 

         d) “In chapter six (sec. 9) we learned that the bishops in the large cities came to be called metropolitan bishops, and that the bishops of the five most important cities in the Empire acquired the title of patriarch.  Those five cities were Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, and Rome. The bishop in Rome gradually came to be recognized by all the other bishops in the West as their superior. By the year 461, the year in which Leo I died, the papacy had become fully established.” (The Church in History, B.K. Kuiper, page 127     

     My Comment:   Again, Roman bishop Leo I is called Pope by a noted church historian. Which means that Boniface III is not the first Roman Pope and founder of the Roman Catholic Church. — ET

    Gregory I (590-604)  

         a) “On the basis of his own successes he made peace with the Lombard king and enjoyed a greater position of honor in secular administration. One of his chief conflicts was with the patriarch of Constantinople, John the Faster, who had assumed the title “universal bishop.” Gregory was successful in causing a revocation of this title, but instead of adopting the same title for himself he said that he was a servant of the servants of God. (The Eternal Kingdom, pp. 181-182) 

         b) “The most important pope in the days when the new barbarian kingdoms were being built up on the ruins of the Empire in the West was Gregory the Great.  He was the first monk to become pope, and ruled from 590 to 604. He called himself ‘the servant of the servants of God’, a title used by popes down to the present day. x x x   He strongly upheld the claim of the bishops of Rome to power over the entire Church as successors of the apostle Peter.” (The Church in History, B. K. Kuiper, pp.100-101) 

         My Comment:   Bishop Gregory I is an immediate predecessor of Bishop Boniface III. It was in the year 604 A.D.     when Patriarch John the Faster of Constantinople declared himself as the Universal Patriarch of the Church which act was again rejected by the Roman bishops.  This act of the Greek Orthodox Church leader perhaps excited the succeeding Roman Bishop to insist on his primacy, so Boniface III made his own declaration in the year 606 A.D. that the Roman Pontiff is the overall head of the church.  This latest declaration would not qualify Boniface as the founder of the Roman Catholic Church in the year 606 A.D. because the Roman Catholic Church has been existing for many years prior to the year 606 A.D.. I hope that this explanation is clear. I suggest that my fellow preachers in our fellowship would stop posting or reposting a chart which says that Boniface III is the founder of the RCC in the year 606 A.D..

    Leo IX (1049-1054)

         a) “. . . Henry the Emperor exalted his cousin Bruno to the papal throne as Leo IX. x x x   Leo IX, a strong man in his own right, had a very able assistant in the person of Hildebrand, who became an advisor of popes and later pope himself (Gregory VII).  Leo IX, however, had a very serious problem on his hands. His army was defeated by the Normans in Italy in 1053, and Cerularius Patriarch of Constantinople, began to bring discredit upon the authority of the Roman pope.  He also influenced the Patriarch of Achrida of Bulgaria to write to the bishops of southern Italy and refer to all of the errors propagated by the Roman church. This instigated a very bitter struggle between Rome and Constantinople. Leo sent delegates to Constantinople in an attempt to bring about unity and restore his authority over certain churches and monasteries.  But rather than producing unity the conferences led to a permanent division of the Eastern and Western churches. This final break took place July 16, 1054, and shall be discussed in detail later. (The Eternal Kingdom, p. 183) (NOTE: It is the final break between the two camps, not their founding year because both existed in previous years.) 

         b)   “Leo IX, who was pope from 1049-1054, was a leading supporter of Cluny. x x x   But Leo’s term as pope, which began so gloriously, had also its troublous side. You will remember that, although the eastern and the western parts of the Church had for long time been drifting apart, they were up to this time still united. It was while Leo was pope that the two parts of the Church separated from each other.  Pope Leo IX of Rome became involved in trouble with Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople. In 1054 he sent representatives to Constantinople with a letter, which they laid at the high altar of the St. Sophia Church. In that letter Pope Leo IX excommunicated Cerularius. The patriarch in turn excommunicated the people.  That was the schism, or division, of the Church (mentioned in chapter 10), the division of the one Church into two – the Greek Eastern and the Latin Western Church.” (The Church in History, pp. 143-144)

         My Comment:  Many congregations in the eastern side of the Roman Empire used Greek as their language.  It is believed that all the New Testament original manuscripts were written in Greek. Many ancient manuscripts were written in Greek.  Which is why the congregations that continued on into the second and third centuries that did not recognize the Bishop of Rome as their head were called “Greek Orthodox Church” because they used Greek scriptures and made very few changes in belief and practice compared to congregations that bowed to the leadership of the Roman bishop.  The congregations in the western side of Roman Empire eventually employed Latin as their language and the Roman bishop allowed many pagan religious practices and other innovations like infant baptism, December 25 as Christ’s birthday celebration, a distinction of clergy and laity, monastic vows, belief that the bread and wine blessed by a priest would turn into the actual body and blood of Christ, celebration of December 25 as the birthday of Christ, placing images on the altar and inside the church building, celebration of the crucifixion of Christ always on a Friday nearest the full moon about the end of March or early April as opposed to the Jewish computation of 14th of the month of Nisan which was followed by the eastern or Greek churches.  — ET

    Conclusion:  It is of general knowledge that Roman Bishop Boniface III declared himself as the “Universal Father of the Church” in 606 A.D..  Evidently this was a reaction against the Constantinople Patriarch John the Faster’s claim in 604 A.D. that he was the “Universal Patriarch of the Church.”  However, the quotations above prove that there have been several individuals who made similar declarations previous to the year 606 A.D.. It is therefore a very simplistic explanation and it lacks historical basis to say that the Roman Catholic Church was founded by Bishop Boniface III in 606 A.D..  Why not Bishop Victor in 190 A.D.? Or Bishop Leo I who was more active and stronger compared to Boniface III? Was there a Roman Catholic Church and popes in the year 605 A.D. or none? Also the year 1054 A.D. marked the filing of excommunication documents by the Roman Bishop versus Patriarch Cerularius on one hand and Patriarch Cerularius filing his own letter of excommunication against Roman Bishop Leo IX.  Why put 1054 as the founding year of the Greek Orthodox Church simply on the basis of excommunication exchange? 1054 A.D. as founding year of the Greek Catholic Church has no historical basis. Was there a Greek Orthodox Church in 1053 or none?  

            My appeal is for us to take the stand that both congregations in Rome and in Byzantium started in the first century.  Each slowly added traditions and beliefs foreign to the scriptures. The exact year of complete apostasy for both is unknown to man. Only God knows when the exact date was. Just like the Seven Churches in Revelation 2 & 3.  God gave the warning that if they don’t repent and restore their doctrinal purity, their candlestick would be taken away.       

            Documented critical observations are welcome.

    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 Maraming salamat.

    Deuteronomy 18 Talks about Jesus Christ. (25)

    Question #25 –  How do we prove that the promised Prophet similar to Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 is Jesus Christ and not Muhammad?  Muslims claim that Deuteronomy 18:15-18 is fulfilled in Muhammad, is that true? 

    The scripture:  DEUTERONOMY 18:15, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. . . x x x  18, I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren. . .” 

    Answer:  No, the passage does not apply to Muhammad, the Arabian.  It applies to Jesus Christ, an Israelite.

    Explanation: There are several steps to take in order to have a good view about the Christian claim:

    1.   Observe closely the grammar of the text.  Deut. 1:1 Moses speaks to the people of Israel. Same thing in Deut. 18:1, the people addressed are the Israelites. Not Ishmaelites or Arabs. The wording in verse 15 is “from your midst” and “from among their brethren”.  Deut. 1:1 reads, “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side of Jordan in the wilderness in the plain opposite Suph between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab.” The text does not talk to Arabians who claim they sprang from Ishmael, the son of the Egyptian handmaid Hagar.  Muhammad did not come from the midst & among the Israelite people.

    Ishmael and Hagar were sent away by Abraham through the insistence of Sarah. And Yahweh approved of it. So the Ishmaelites became another tribe, another nation. Ishmaelites were the traders who bought Joseph who in turn sold Joseph in Egypt finally ending as the house helper in the compound of an Egyptian army officer. Is Jesus Christ a full-blooded Israelite?  Yes. He was born of the Virgin Mary, whose genealogy is traced in Matthew 1 and Luke 3:23-38 – full blooded Israelite!!! Conclusion: Muhammad is not the Prophet spoken of as fulfillment.

    2.     Muslims also recognize the Torah as their book (5 books of Moses). Genesis 17:19 says, “Then God said, 

    ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.”  Evangelist Luke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, testifies that Jesus Christ, not Muhammad, fulfills this by submitting a genealogy ending with Jesus Christ in Luke 3:23 and is traced back to Abraham in 3:34, “the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham.”  Conclusion: Is Muhammad a descendant of Isaac? No, he is a descendant of Ishmael. 

    3.       Muslims recognize the Torah. Genesis 21:8-18 says that Hagar and Ishmael were sent away. God said,    

    “Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice, for in Isaac your seed shall be called.”  So the seed of Abraham, and the inheritance of the promises especially the coming of the Prophet is via Isaac and not thru Ishmael. Apostle Paul in Romans 9:4 testifies this way, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.”  Not thru the Ishmaelites via the Quraish tribe of Arabia from whence Muhammad sprang up. 

    4       The Samaritan nation also recognized the Torah as their book and the people knew that the Messiah  would come which idea comes from Deut. 18:15-18. So the woman of Samaria expressed the idea that since Jesus of Nazareth knew all her dark secrets He must be the Messiah. See John 4:19, 25.  And Christ says in John 4:26, “Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.” If Jesus is not the Prophet, he would be a liar.

    5.       King David is recognized by Islam as a prophet and he prophesied in Psalms 16:10, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”  Apostle Peter who was a personal witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ mentions this promise in Acts 2:27 as fulfilled in Jesus not fulfilled in Muhammad. Christ’s resurrection was witnessed by 11 original apostles, by 500 disciples mentioned in 1 Cor. 15; by the 120 disciples in Acts 1. Muhammad has not fulfilled this prophecy of King David.  Muhammad has returned to the dust in his grave up to this day. And David could not be wrong because he spoke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 23:1-4).

    6.       Jesus Christ is recognized as a prophet by Muslims. In John 5:46 Christ Himself said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.” Numbers 21:9 – about the brazen serpent lifted up in a pole to neutralize snake venom.  Christ said that his crucifixion on a tree is the fulfillment as in John 12:32-34. Muhammad was not lifted up on a tree as the fulfillment of this brazen serpent. So Christ must be that Prophet promised in Deut. 18:15-18. Further, Christ is a prophet or spokesman of God says Hebrews 1:1 2. 

    7.       The Father in heaven has testified that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ and should be the one heard or  listened to as regards our relationship with God. This testimony is found in Matt. 3:16 during the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River, and also in Matt. 17:5 during the transfiguration on Mt. Hermon together with Moses and Elijah which was witnessed by John, James and Peter.  This is confirmed in Heb. 1:2, that in these last days, God speaks through His Son, Jesus Christ. Not through Muhammad. 

    Conclusion:  Our presentation above amply proves the point that Deut. 18:15-18 points to Jesus Christ as fulfillment.  Attributes assigned to Muhammad do not tally with the text of Deut. 18:15-18 and the testimony of the Gospel accounts.

    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.

    Did Constantine the Great Establish the Roman Catholic Church? (12)

    Question #12 –  Is it true that Emperor Constantine the Great established the Roman Catholic Church in A.D. 311 or 313?  

    Answer – No!!!  Those imperial declarations of 311 A.D. and/or 313 A.D. as dates of establishment of the Roman Catholic Church are not based on historical facts!!! Check your church history books.        


            Let us make a brief background.  Emperor Galerius ruled as Emperor on the Eastern side of the Roman Empire from 306-311 Anno Domini (A.D.) based in Rome.  Constantius (Constantine the Great’s father) was the Roman leader in Spain, Britain, and France together with his wife Helena who was a Christian believer.  (Note: This Helena is the Mother Helena in our Philippine May Flower Festival Zagala parade.) In 306 A.D., Constantine (son of Constantius) was proclaimed Emperor on the Western side of the Roman Empire.   On the other hand, Galerius was recognized as Emperor from 306-311 in Rome, Italy. Galerius persecuted the Christians. Galerius became sick. A historian describes him this way: “His disease was dreadful and incurable. From his sickbed, which became his deathbed, he issued in the year 311 an edict which granted to the Christians permission to hold their assemblies again. He asked for their prayers on behalf of the emperor and the Empire.” (The Church in History, B.K.Kuiper, pp. 66-67)  What Emperor Galerius decreed is called the Edict of Toleration. No bishop in the cities of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Rome has declared himself higher than the other at this time.   The distinction between the Greek-speaking congregations and Latin speaking groups was insignificant. No division yet. So this Edict of Toleration issued in 311 A. D.  did not establish the Roman Catholic Church. The Church started in 33 A.D. in Jerusalem as told in Acts 2. Congregations were independent and then slowly the most influential Elder or Bishop in one congregation became “The Bishop”.  Much later the metropolitan bishoprics evolved in some sections. That is the “Bishop” in a big city was overall head in one province or one large land area where several congregations existed. Other practices foreign to the scriptures crept into some congregations.

         After the death of Galerius, another strongman named Maxentius became the leader over Italy and North Africa and he showed hostility against Constantine the Great even destroying the statues of Constantine in the City of Rome.  So Constantine the Great marched his army to Italy and Maxentius met him at the Melvian Bridge about 10 miles outside Rome in the north. Constantine worshipped Mithra, a Persian sun-god. On October 28, 312 A.D., the story goes, Constantine saw above the setting sun a cross with the Latin words “Hoc Signo Vinces” which means “In this Sign, Conquer.” It is said that Constantine ordered the change of the insignia in their banners from the eagle to the cross.  Although the army of Constantine was about half smaller than Maxentius’ army, Constantine was the victor. The following year, 313 A.D., with the influence of that appearance of the cross in the cloud prior to the day of battle, and perhaps the influence of his mother Helena who was a Christian, Constantine became sympathetic to Christianity. While in the City of Milan, Italy, Constantine issued a decree which declared Christianity to be free and equal with other religions that were declared legal in the whole empire.  This is called the Edict of Milan. It did not establish the Roman Catholic Church.  What the persecuted Christians were before 313 A.D. remained as they were except that there was no more official imperial persecution. There was no declaration of who is the higher bishop among the big cities in the Roman Empire. There was no change of doctrine compared to the year 310 A.D. And Constantine still remained a practicing pagan. Constantine was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ about the year 336 A.D. when he had already moved the Roman Empire capital from Rome to a city of Byzantium in the East which later was called Constantinopolis (Constantinople).  He was baptized by the Bishop of Constantinople who was named Eusebius sometime in 336 or 337 A.D. 

         Roman Catholicism slowly digressed from the truth revealed in the scriptures. These slow digressions are revealed in the writings of the so-called “Church Fathers.” New interpretations and practices like 

    1. From a plurality of elders in one congregation, eventually, one became the highest as “bishop” and the others were simply Elders. And then the most important “bishop”  in the big towns or cities became the Metropolitan Bishop ruling over a province. This development was a reaction to some new man-made ideas espoused by some enterprising teachers   To keep unity, leaders relied on the bishops. “The truth is found in the Bishops,” they said. 
    2. Adult believers were the ones immersed for the remission of sins. Some of the church leaders started to talk about inherited sin. So infants started to be baptized to remove the stain of that “inherited sin.”
    3. Monasticism started to be practiced and eventually, the priesthood sprang up so there became the separation of clergy and laity. 
    4. Through the influence of the pagans who celebrated special events, the churches started to celebrate Resurrection Day as a special holiday.  The Western section of the church through the influence of the Bishop of Rome favored Friday as the day of remembering Christ’s crucifixion and Sunday after Passover Day of the Jews as the annual date of resurrection which is called Easter Sunday. On the other hand, the Eastern churches celebrated the Crucifixion on the 14th Day of Nisan whether it is Monday or other days of the week. Resurrection Day is three days after the 14th of Nisan. This celebration became a big issue much later between the Latin speaking congregations and the Greek-speaking churches. 
    5. Another big item was the introduction of images called “icons” inside the cathedrals and chapels. The Western churches favored this practice, while the eastern did not.  This issue became known as the “Iconoclastic Controversy.”
    6. Other doctrinal issues came out like the controversy about the nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit and about the Virgin Mary which will contribute to the division between the Latin speaking churches in the west and the Greek-speaking churches in the east of the Roman Empire. Generally speaking there was a “Catholic Church, meaning a “universal church” centered on the belief about Jesus Christ. It was simply Catholic or Universal Church, neither Roman nor Greek.    

           The name “The Roman Catholic Apostolic Church” was not yet coined in the early centuries.  This name will be invented much later as the official name of the Latin speaking congregations that recognized the Bishop of Rome as their head.  The Greek-speaking churches in the East meanwhile maintained the authority of the Metropolitan Bishops of the Big Cities like Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, Athens, Caesarea who were popularly known as Patriarchs.