Thursday, October 7, 2010
In the combox of our previous thread (Salvation before the birth of Jesus), Ken Temple and GV19 have been carrying on an extended dialogue that is covering numerous issues pertaining to certain distinctions between Christianity (as represented from the Reformed Baptist perspective) and Islam (as represented from the Sunni position). Lvka and myself have also made a few contributions in the combox, some of which Ken has directly responded to apart from his ongoing discussion with GV19. Due to the fact that there are now over 70 comments, I thought it best to create a new thread to address some of the Biblical issues that have been raised by Ken.
I am quite pleased that Ken has raised some very important Biblical issues pertaining to theology proper (i.e. the doctrine of God) and Christology, for I love the Bible, and have been deeply studying the content within its pages for over 40 years now. The above picture represents 4 of my personal Bibles that I have pretty much 'worn out' through extensive use, and in this opening post, will draw heavily upon the 'fruit' that came via their use.
I shall begin by addressing the following that Ken posted back on October 1, 2010 (4:34 AM):
Declare ye, and bring it forth; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath showed this from ancient time? who hath declared it of old? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no God else besides me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:21, 22 - ASV)
The Father is Jehovah;
the Son is Jehovah;
The Holy Spirit is Jehovah;
3 persons within the One God is not ascribing partners to God, because that would be "two or three gods", which is not what Christians believe.
The details of the revelation of this are not explicitly said in the Isaiah 45 passage, but when Christ came in the flesh ( John 1:1-5; 14-18) - He revealed, manifested, exegeted God. John 1:18
Ken asserts that 3 separate persons are the Jehovah, "the One God", of the Old Testament. In a previous thread (LINK) I demonstrated that the Hebrew and Greek terms used for "God" had a much broader use than today. However, the phrase "the one God", is reserved for the Father alone. The use of God's personal name Jehovah/Yahweh (יְהוָ֨ה), is much more restrictive; apart from a half dozen uses of representation (i.e. where the referent represents Jehovah, but clearly is not the one Jehovah), Jehovah refers to "the One God", the Father—more simply put, Jehovah is the personal name of one person. The overall theology of the OT flows from the Shema:
Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah (Deut. 6:4 - ASV)
To state the obvious, the person Jehovah, is one person, not three.
When we turn to the NT, the same clarity is taught; note the following:
Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD"...
And the scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher, You have truly stated that HE IS ONE; AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM..." (Mark 12:29, 32 - NASB)
"And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." (John 17:3 - NASB)
"The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered up, and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him." (Acts 3:13- NASB)
...yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him...(1 Cor. 8:6 - NASB)
... one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:6- NASB)
Particularly revealing is the quotation of Psalm 110:1 in the NT (5 times, more than any other OT verse):
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:32-36 – KJV: also Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Heb. 1:13)
When one references the Hebrew text, a clear distinction between the two "Lords" is made, for the first LORD is the person Jehovah/Yahweh (יְהוָ֨ה) while the second is the generic "lord" (לַֽאדֹנִ֗י):
Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalm 110:1 - ASV)
It sure seems to me that the NT is quite clear on WHO the “one God”, “the only true God”, the Jehovah/Yahweh of the OT, “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” is—the Father. So I ask: why is it the case that so many Christians attempt to identify Jesus (and the Spirit) as the “one God”, “the only true God”, the Jehovah/Yahweh of the OT, “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”? IMO, the answer is not as complex as one might think, and ultimately boils down to a failure to recognize that the terms “God” and “Lord”, and the name Jehovah/Yahweh, are used in a representational sense when applied to persons (and in some cases, places) other than the the “one God”, “the only true God”, the Jehovah/Yahweh of the OT, “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”.
For instance, Jerusalem is called Jehovah:
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby she shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness. (Jer. 33:16 - ASV)
The promised Messiah, the “Branch” is called Jehovah:
In his [the “Branch”] the days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness. (Jer. 23:6 - ASV)
And the angel of Jehovah is called Jehovah:
And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary. And Jehovah said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (Zech. 3:1, 2 – ASV)
Now, I know of no one who believes that Jerusalem is actually the Jehovah, “the one God”; with this in mind, read the following from the pen of the prophet Zechariah, and try to discern the very important interpretive principle presented:
Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah. In that day shall Jehovah defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of Jehovah before them. (Zech. 12:7, 8 – ASV)
So much more to cover, but it will have to wait for another post (probably posts).
Grace and peace,