IS MICHAEL JESUS CHRIST?


Unless we understand that Jesus took certain titles or names for the roles He played, especially in the plan of salvation, certain titles such as archangel which mean a chief angel or the commander of the army of angels, will indeed seem derogatory of Jesus and we will miss the whole point. Concerning God’s warning in Isaiah 28:9-10 which says “Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine?” and the childlike humility of being “weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts” (v. 9) and the patient studious caution of placing “precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, and there a little” (v. 10), few topics warrant this solemn instruction from God as the topic of the pre-incarnate personality of Jesus Christ. The question “Is Michael Jesus Christ?” that has caused several divisions amongst God’s end-time people is a question we can find satisfying answers to from the Bible. This short write up is written to shed more light on this topic.

One of the truest ways of knowing who someone is or who a figure is in the Bible is to simply know the roles they played or their job description. When we think of a boy that took care of his father’s sheep and went after a lion which took a lamb out of the flock, we immediately think of David, and whether this man is somewhere else referred to as “The Psalmist”, we know it is still David based on the evidence of the role he played. When we think of a man who stretched out his hand over the red sea and drowned Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen, we think of Moses, and whether this man is somewhere else referred to as “God’s servant”, we know it is still Moses based on the evidence of the role he played. When we think of a man that fiercely persecuted the disciples of Jesus Christ and later became a foremost apostle himself, we think of Paul, and whether this man is somewhere else called “Saul”, we know it is still Paul. Whether Satan is called “The devil” or “The Serpent”, or “Lucifer”, we know is still the same person based on the evidence of the role he played in Scripture. Now, considering the topic of this write-up, let us look at some evidence and examples from the Bible.

Let’s begin here. Take a look at Joshua 5:13-15

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant? 15 And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

The man that appears to Joshua here says he is the captain of the Lord’s hosts. Do you know this is what the name Michael signifies? But this is a title that correctly applies to Jesus Christ only. In the same account, quite similar to Moses’ experience at the burning bush (see Exodus 3), notice that Joshua was said to have worshipped this man and called him my Lord in godly reverence. One thing is clear; angels do not accept worship of this sort or of any sort.

We have two accounts in Revelation 19:10 and Revelation 22:8-9.

Revelation 19:10 King James Version (KJV)

10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Revelation 22:8-9 King James Version (KJV)

8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

The response of the angel here is pretty much clear in that angels are chiefly servants or messengers. They like us are created to worship God; not to receive worship (Revelation 4:11). The inevitable implication of this is that the man that appeared to Joshua couldn’t be a created being; he is whom he says he is; the captain of God’s hosts and he is whom Joshua calls him; the Lord. Now take a look at Matthew 16:27 and see a job description of a captain of the Lord’s hosts. Here is Jesus.

Matthew 16:27 King James Version (KJV)

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

This is talking about the return of Jesus Christ. Also see:

John 5:28, 29 King James Version (KJV)

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Now compare this:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 King James Version (KJV)

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

If you have more time, you may also compare this with 2 Thess. 1: 7-9. This job description of a Captain of the Lord’s hosts, which entails the second coming and the resurrection, amongst many others in the Scriptures is certainly those of Jesus Christ. Yet, the man in the form of an angel that appears to Joshua with a sword drawn in His hands, says he is the Captain of the Lord’s hosts. Who else could He be but the pre-incarnate Christ, the Son of God, appearing in the form of an angel? We know that another job description of Jesus Christ is that He is the high priest and minister of the sanctuary in heaven after the shadow of the sanctuary service in the old dispensation.

Hebrews 8:1-2 King James Version (KJV)

1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

(Also see Revelation 1:12-20 for more evidence of Christ’s ministration in the heavenly sanctuary). Yet, in Revelation 8, we see an angel in verse 3 and 4, performing Christ’s role and we can know this is the heavenly sanctuary because it happened right before the throne of God (Vs. 4), which we know from the old dispensation is in the most holy place of the sanctuary (Isaiah 37:16; Psalm 99:1; Exodus 25:19-22). Concerning the sanctuary in heaven, we know no created being could perform this priestly role to which man’s redemption is intricately connected (for this is what the sanctuary services were all about), thus this ‘angel’ in Revelation 8:3-4 was definitely Christ and the word ‘angel’ here would suffice as a minister or servant, which describes Christ’s ministry and service in the heavenly sanctuary. No angel can perform priestly services unto to God on behalf of the human race; only Jesus Christ. These are some of the many evidences in the Scripture that for certain purposes, such as seen in the experiences of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Daniel, and John the Revelator, that the Son of God appears in the form of an ‘Angel of the Lord’, for if He truly appears in His pre-incarnate glory without taking this form, these feeble men, He would have destroyed by the brightness of His glory. And the roles afore-described, are the roles of Christ; never the role of the Holy Spirit or the role of some created being as some have deemed Michael to be. (You may also compare Jude 9 and Zechariah 3:1, 2 to see that Michael, though God, has always been subject to His Father, even before He became the incarnate Jesus Christ). Concerning Daniel 10:13, which pose some challenge to some, we know that there are ranks of angels in heaven based on their roles; the ones closest to the God’s throne, being the highest in rank. These high ranked angels are ‘princes’, and Lucifer, who was also a covering Cherub before his fall, was actually a ‘prince’ too, even been compared to a wicked earthly king, the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. And he still retains his princely title even after his fall, being referred to as the prince of the kingdoms of Persia for his role in hardening the hearts of the kings of Persia (Cyrus and his Consuls) against God’s purposes through Daniel. So though Michael was referred to as one of the chief princes in this passage, He is ultimately not of the same status as the highest angels/princes of heaven, but He is the Christ, the prince of princes, the great prince (see Daniel 12) whose job description in Daniel 12:1-3, which entails the second coming, the resurrection of the dead and a resulting executive judgement (compare Daniel 12:1-3 & John 5:27-29) is essentially, as seen all over the rest of Scriptures, that of Jesus Christ.

These clearly show us that Michael (which also means Prince; compare Daniel 12:1 with Revelation 1:5), a crucial figure in the Old Testament, who appeared to many of God’s servants in the form of an “Angel of the Lord”, is indeed Jesus Christ.

Friend, what are your thoughts? Kindly leave a comment below.

This article first appeared in http://sofidimaye.org/is-michael-jesus-christ-2/

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WRITTEN BY S. O. FIDIMAYE

BEYOND THE TRINITY MYSTERY: WHY YOU CAN TRUST THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY


While it is easy for many to come to terms with the teachings of the Bible, some find it confounding the idea of a triune God. Many believe God is one and there is no other, and thus, they find it hard to accept the idea of a God in three Persons. Moreover, the term ‘Trinity’ does not even appear in the Bible and many have traced the origin of the Trinity doctrine to paganism, an argument which is justified in that the idea of triune gods were prevalent in pagan religions. Yet, even though it is true that the Bible does not use the term “Trinity” anywhere, it is equally true that the Bible does expound it, as we shall see.

The term “Trinity” is not alone in the category of unused terms in the Bible; the Bible also does not mention terms such as rapture, monotheism, and millennium, but it does teach them clearly. So to disregard the doctrine of the Trinity on the evidence of the non-usage of the term will inevitably amount to a total disregard of the weight of Scripture which when considered as a whole, speaks of God as one, yet three Persons. And while it is true that the doctrine of the Trinity share similarities with the pagan teachings of triune gods, so much so that many believe it was from there the Christian Trinity doctrine originated, it is equally true that the doctrine of the Trinity as found in the Bible is self-sufficient. The Trinity doctrine of the Scripture is that of a God that manifested Himself in three Persons, and although the three Persons of the Trinity are God, based on biblical proof, the Bible yet speaks of God as one, in a similar sense to how it spoke of a man and woman as one; a union, and not in any other sense than a union (Genesis 2:24; John 17:10, 11).

When we study the Bible as a whole, and understand the plan of salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ, which has been highlighted in previous posts under the ‘Exclusive Features’ category, the doctrine of the Trinity becomes very meaningful. A perfect scenario is the fact that the Father had to resurrect the Son and the Son had to send the Holy Spirit as His representative on earth, after His resurrection. During the closing stages of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jesus promised His disciples that when He gets back to heaven, He would send them “the Helper” who, interestingly, will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement (John 16:7–11). This is a revealing statement, considering that this is exactly how God speaks of Himself in Jeremiah 9:24, that He is the Lord, “exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.” The manner in which Jesus Christ describes the work of the Holy Spirit in comparison to God’s mission on earth as seen in Jeremiah 9:24, is striking. It reemphasizes the whole concept of the plan of salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ: God the Father exercising lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness on the earth; God the Son coming down to the

earth to manifest lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness; and God the Holy Spirit taking the work from there till the end of the world while also convicting the world of sin, because they do not believe in the redemptive sacrifice of the Son. This is basically the purpose of the Trinity, and it is quite unfortunate that the same ones for which God manifested Himself in three Persons, are the same ones who think it is a foolish concept of God.

Arianism, subordinationism, monotheism, as taught by other faiths, and other doctrines of God save the Trinity, as thought by the Bible, will totally undermine the plan of salvation, or suggest the lack thereof, no matter how shrewd and rational they may be.

The precise purpose for which Satan introduced his own version of the Trinitarian government into the pagan religions of old is left to be unraveled, but we know that Satan has always wanted to be like the Most High God (see Isaiah 14). Could it be that Satan wanted to create his own government on earth as seen in heaven from whence he came? Having failed in his rebellion against God in heaven, and being a covering cherub, which meant he was in close proximity to God’s government more than the other angels, could it be that he intends to achieve his purpose on earth by establishing a similar government to God’s, where he makes the people worship the mystery rather than the Most High God? By captivating the minds of men with a three in one god system as seen in the worship of the sun god amongst pagan religions of old, he is inevitably able to accomplish his purpose of making people idolize the mystery while bastardizing God’s true government. And as always, just as in the case of the Messiah, a solemn truth that the devil tried to topple over by introducing his own versions into the pagan religions of old before the Messiah arrived, there is a craftiness and deception to making God’s government look like an ambiguous three in one, rather than a God who manifested Himself in three Persons, who are one for unity’s sake. Like any counterfeit, the devil’s version of the trinity as found in pagan religions of old is a scathing insult to God’s government, and believers, rather than allow the devil to topple them over, ought to be aware of the subtleness of their adversary. Moreover, the Bible alludes that adherents of these religions will be judged because they had some revelation of the true God, saying, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:19–22).

Christianity is not a mystery religion for the presence of mysteries. Christianity becomes a mystery religion when the mystery is worshipped rather than God, or when God is worshipped for the sake of the mystery rather than for the sake of love, as found in the worship of the sun god; the reality to which believers today must awake, and know that this is exactly what the devil has done to Christianity, to the extent of the corruption of the Scripture, where the devil, using his agents, has strived to make bare what needed not to be, and thus, has set up an idol to captivate the minds of God’s children with the mystery of the Trinity, rather than with the God of the Trinity. In rather extreme cases, he has made many to disbelieve in God, on the grounds that the Trinity is a doctrine that cannot be explained. Yet, where God came from is a mystery and so is how He made the universe and all that is in it within six literal days. That Jesus Christ is both the lamb and the High Priest that was portrayed in the Old Testament sanctuary services is a mystery, and even so, a priest according to the order of Melchizedek; a non-Levite king of Salem, whose genealogy is not recorded in the Scripture, hence, having no father and mother nor beginning or end of days, since his genealogy is not known (see Hebrews 7).

So, when we study the Bible as a whole, and understand the plan of salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity becomes very meaningful. Download the PDF document of this article sofidimaye.org-BEYOND THE TRINITY MYSTERY WHY YOU CAN TRUST THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY. Friend, what are your thoughts? Kindly leave a comment below.

Written by S. O. Fidimaye

The article first appeared on:

http://sofidimaye.org/beyond-the-trinity-mystery-why-you-can-trust-the-doctrine-of-the-trinity/

*The content of this post is based on my new book, “The Believer’s Dilemma: Questions that beg for answers” which is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N044LKV and Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/671686 and other major online retail stores.

 

 

THE POWER AND MYSTERY OF LOVE


Agur son of Jakeh spoke these words:

“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the WAY OF A MAN WITH A YOUNG WOMAN.” Proverbs 30:18-19 (NIV)

You will never understand how these four works. Perhaps you might end up understanding the first 3, but verily I say unto you, the fourth will stand out as a mystery.

Rumi, a poet, once wrote these powerful words:

“However much I might try to expound or explain LOVE, when I come to love itself, I am ashamed of my explanations . . . LOVE alone can explain the mystery of love and lovers.”

Martin Luther once said:

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend”

How does a man fall in love with a woman he has never seen before, a woman he didn’t grow up with, a woman that had not imparted anything to his life prior to that point he fell in love with her? This is surely a MYSTERY OF LOVE.

No wonder, Ellen Kay, a Swedish writer, once wrote:

“Love, as life, will fortunately remain an eternal mystery which no science will be able to penetrate and which reason cannot rule.”

MATCHLESS LOVE OF GOD

No greater love has been revealed to humanity than that which was revealed at Calvary. Apostle John, overwhelmed by the surpassing understanding of this love, exclaimed:

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” 1 John 3:1

Mrs White, under inspiration, wrote:

“But “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Oh, what love, what matchless love! Christ, the Son of God, dying for guilty man!”- Selected Messages, book 3, p.193.4

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

God will always remain God. All glory to His holy name.

No mater how mysterious the love of a man to a woman is or vice versa, it can never be compared with the infinite, matchless, unselfish and powerful love of Christ to this undeserving sinful world. THIS IS LOVE ETERNAL!

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. . . But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6, 8.

Isn’t this LOVE?

 

 

 

 

The Trinity VS Anti-Trinity: The Debate continues.


In recent times among the Seventh-day Adventist brethren, there have been a fast growing anti-trinitarian movements which are proposing to the flock of God that “the Holy Spirit is a force or energy of holy influence from the Father and the Son.” What is even more scaring is that, both camps (i.e, the Trinitarians and anti-Trinitarians) base their study and argument on the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White making those who are not conversant with the scriptures and Sister White writings to feel uncomfortable and discouraged.

This present study is not an extensive one, but it is written for those who are willing to further their study and search for truth amidst the prevailing confusion in our beloved Church.

The original author of this article is Elder (Dr.) Dennis Priebe. The whole article and many more studied can be gotten from his website.

THE TRINITY

The contemporary anti-Trinity movement teaches that there is no third Person of the Godhead. They believe that the Holy Spirit is a force or energy of holy influence from the Father and the Son. One representative of this movement says, “The Bible teaches that there are only two who are worthy of worship.”

A corollary of this teaching is that Jesus is literally the Son of the Father, having a beginning in time when the Father brought Him into existence. One has stated, “The Father and Son are both divine but not absolutely equal.” They believe that only in this way could Christ die, since the Father is immortal and cannot die. In support of this teaching, they point to some Adventist pioneers who clearly taught this, from the 1840’s to the 1890’s.

As with all errors, there is a truth at the foundation of this teaching. After the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. the papal party took the title of Trinitarians. They said that the Godhead consists of three personalities and one essence or substance, using very philosophical and metaphysical terms.

Following is a sample of Catholic instruction for confirmation. “The Son proceeds from the Father by an act of the intellect and this is termed ‘Eternal Generation,’ by which we mean not only that there never was a time when the Father existed without generating the Son, but also that the act of Generation is a continuous act.” The manual teaches that there could be no separation between the Father and the Son on earth, since this would interrupt the act of generation. Thus the Son would not exist, which would mean that the Father would not exist. Since they are of one essence, neither the Father nor the Son could exist separately from the other. (Alfred Mortimer, Catholic Faith and Practice) Is there any wonder that the pioneers rejected this doctrine of the Trinity? J. N. Andrews said, “This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Review and Herald, March 6, 1855)

Part A–Three Persons

If we want to defend the truth that there are three persons with the family name of God, it might be better to use the Biblical name Godhead, as Ellen White consistently did.

Matthew 28:19 tells us to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” “Name” is singular here, and all three that follow are on the same level, with one name. The definite article is used for all three beings. The Three are God and yet they are one God.

In John 14:16 Jesus promises to send “another Comforter.” The word “another” means of the same kind as Christ, with equal rank.

In 2 Corinthians 13:14, we read of “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost.” These are three gifts from three individual beings.

1 Peter 1:2 tells of “the foreknowledge of God the Father,…sanctification of the Spirit,…and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Here we find three functions of three individual beings.

The Spirit of Prophecy has many references to the three beings. “Three great powers of heaven.” (8T 254) “There are three living persons of the heavenly trio.” (Ev 615) “The eternal heavenly dignitaries–God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit.” (Ev 616) “The three highest powers in heaven–the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” (Ev 617)

Part B–Holy Spirit

There are indications in Scripture that the Holy Spirit possesses personality traits that only a individual Being could have.

In Ephesians 4:30 He can be grieved. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 He divides “to every man severally as he will.” In Acts 16:6,7 He forbids Paul to preach in Asia and Bithynia. In Acts 15:28 “it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us” to hand down a vital decision. Notice that the Holy Spirit has a personality similar to the personality of the apostles. In Acts 5:3,4 Ananias lied “to the Holy Ghost,” which is lying “unto God.”

“The Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds.” “The Holy Spirit is a person.” “The Holy Spirit has a personality.” (Ev 616-617)

However, we must exercise caution here. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to reveal the Father and the Son, not Himself, so we know very little about Him from inspiration.

Brethren should not feel that it is a virtue to stand apart because they do not see all minor points in exactly the same light. If on fundamental truths they are at an agreement, they should not differ and dispute about matters of little real importance. To dwell on perplexing questions that, after all, are of no vital importance, has a direct tendency to call the mind away from truths which are vital to the saving of the soul. Brethren should be very modest in urging these side issues which often they do not themselves understand, points that they do not know to be truth and that it is not essential to their salvation to know….Where these differences exist among us, those who stand outside will say, “It will be time enough for us to believe as you do when you can agree among yourselves as to what constitutes truth. “The ungodly take advantage of the divisions and controversies among Christians…

Some are ever seeking to be original, to bring out something new and startling, and they do not realize as they should the importance of preserving the unity of the faith in the bonds of love….We are to pray for divine enlightenment, but at the same time we should be careful how we receive everything termed new light. We must beware lest, under cover of searching for new truth, Satan shall divert out minds from Christ and the special truths for this time. I have been shown that it is the device of the enemy to lead minds to dwell upon some obscure or unimportant point, something that is not fully revealed or is not essential to our salvation. This is made the absorbing theme, the “present truth,” when all their investigations and suppositions only serve to make matters more obscure than before, and to confuse the minds of some who ought to be seeking for oneness through sanctification of the truth….

[What is one of these side issues, not essential to salvation?] The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery not clearly revealed, and you will never be able to explain it to others because the Lord has not revealed it to you. You may gather together scriptures and put your construction upon them, but the application is not correct….It is not essential for you to know and be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is….There are many mysteries which I do not seek to understand or to explain; they are too high for me, and too high for you. On some of these points, silence is golden…

Your mind is restless, and…you would make the mistake that many others have made, of thinking that you have new light, when it is only a new phase of error….You make take certain views of Scripture and, searching the Bible in the light of your ideas, may gather together a large number of texts and claim that they mean this and that, and call for anyone to prove to you that your views are incorrect….Here is your danger, of diverting minds from the real issues for this time….Now, my brother, it is truth that we want and must have, but do not introduce error as new truth. (14MR 175-180)

I believe that this counsel applies to all the “new light” issues that we are considering in this paper.

Part C–Jesus’ Pre-existence

What is the evidence that Jesus did not have a beginning at some point in time or before time?

In John 1:1-4 we find that Jesus was not only “with God,” He “was God.” He was not a God, but He was the Creator of everything. The life-principle was in Him, and He did not receive life from anyone.

In John 8:58 Jesus claimed the name “I am” as His own. Exodus 3:14 tells us that God’s chosen name is “I am.” “The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed as His own….He had announced Himself to be the self-existent one,…whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” (DA 469-470)

“All through the pages of sacred history, where the dealings of God with His chosen people are recorded, there are burning traces of the great I AM….All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ….Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.” (GAG 43) Whatever we read about Yahweh in the Old Testament we are reading about Christ. In Isaiah 40:28 Yahweh is “the everlasting God,” “the Creator of the ends of the earth.”

“In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.” (DA 530) “Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God….He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God….He is the eternal, self-existent Son.” (Ev 615) “From all eternity Christ was united with the Father.” (5BC 1115) “Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity.” (RH April 5, 1906)

PP 63-64 tells us that only one equal with God could make the atonement; that only the Creator could redeem man. If Christ had received life from the Father at some point in eternity; if His life was borrowed or derived from the Father; if He was dependent on the Father for His existence; if the Father appointed Him to the Godhead, then Christ was not self-existent; He was not God in the highest sense; He is not eternal; and He could not make atonement for the fallen race and redeem mankind.

The phrase “only-begotten” is a faulty translation. Hebrews 11:17 tells us that Isaac was Abraham’s “only begotten son.” Clearly this means uniquely begotten, one-of-a-kind, unique. Acts 13:33 tells us that Christ was “begotten” from the dead.

It is of passing interest that Mary of Agreda, a visionary Catholic nun in the 1600’s, said that the Word was conceived by eternal generation from the Father. In other words, Christ was born before time existed. (The Venerable Mary of Agreda) Perhaps the belief that Christ had a beginning and was given life from the Father is really a Catholic position.

Part D–Nature and Function

Here is a suggestion for keeping this issue in balance and resolving some apparent contradictions. The nature of the Godhead is not a central theme in Scripture. Where it is discussed it reveals three equal beings, all existing from eternity, one in purpose and mind in ways impossible for created beings.

The central issue in Scripture is the function of the Godhead. This is always described in descending rank from the Father to the Son to the Spirit. This is the way the Godhead wants all created beings to approach them. The Father is the ultimate authority; the Son is the visible representative to created beings; the Spirit is the invisible presence with all created beings.

The Father even had to explain to angels the difference between Christ and Lucifer, since both had similar functions. If this could be misunderstood in heaven, it is easy to see why we have problems understanding the Godhead.

Christ always directs attention to the Father. He takes a secondary role. The Spirit always directs attention to the Father and the Son. He is almost invisible most of the time.

The members of the Godhead are equal in nature and attributes, but are unequal in function and rank as they relate to created beings.

Part E–Adventist History

The Godhead has chosen to reveal itself gradually to the human race. This was apparently not one of the crucial issues for the redemption of mankind.

In the Old Testament Yahweh was the personal name for God. The name was interchangeable for the Father and the Son. The Spirit was unknown. There were indications of plurality in the Godhead, but the emphasis was on one God–Yahweh.

In the New Testament Christ was revealed as the Word of God, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit was revealed as the Comforter, the Advocate. The emphasis was on three Beings in one Godhead, descending in rank and function from the Father to the Son to the Spirit.

Early Adventists were concerned with the sanctuary and the 2300 days, the Bible over tradition, the seventh-day Sabbath, and there was not much study or revelation about the Trinity.

The Trinity in the early 1800’s was a mixture of Bible, medieval philosophy, and early church councils. The Christian Connection, a Protestant organization, concluded that the Trinity was Catholic and unscriptural. Joseph Bates and James White were associated with the Christian Connection. Because the Trinity doctrine apparently made the Father and the Son identical, it was rejected by our pioneers.

God was apparently satisfied to leave things this way until the 1890’s, the time when the final generation was to be formed.

Ellen White was in Australia, when W.W. Prescott visited there. He developed a new style of evangelism based on righteousness by faith and the character of God (the 1888 message). He spent time working with Ellen White, and he began to question the pioneeer’s teaching on the deity of Christ and the Godhead. A.G.Daniells supported his new direction. At the same time Ellen White was putting Desire of Ages together, in which she differed sharply with the pioneers on the preexistence of Christ.

M.L. Andreasen had just become an Adventist four years earlier. He said later that some leaders doubted that Ellen White had really written “original, unborrowed, underived.” In 1902 he made a special trip to California to investigate this for himself, and he found these statements in her own handwriting. Because of her influence and the new studies on the Godhead, Adventist theology on the Godhead took a different direction from some of the pioneers.

Why did this happen so late in Adventist history? Apparently God had an order of priority for introducing truth to the new church. He introduced publishing work in the 1840’s, church organization in the 1850’s, health reform in the 1860’s, and righteousness by faith in the 1880’s. God paced the introduction of new truth to preserve the unity of the church. Knowing the character of God was a higher priority than knowing the nature of God.

Now some are advocating a return to the pioneer’s anti-Trinity position. The most dangerous aspect of this is the question raised by its chief advocate. Did Ellen White really write all that has been published under her name? Whenever we find something in her writings which contradicts our beliefs we find some acceptable reason to set her aside. This is the heart of higher criticism. It makes her writings of none effect, since our beliefs take priority over inspiration. This is the essence of the churches of Babylon. One person commented, “Ellen G. White was inspired by God in almost all her writings, but either she or someone messed with her writings.” In this case everyone is free to pick and choose whatever agrees his or her opinions.

Perhaps even conservative Adventists will have to decide between the authority of God and the authority of men.

Dennis Priebe is a Seventh-day Adventist minister, with 50 years experience as a pastor, a teacher, and seminar speaker. Eleven years were spent as a college professor at Pacific Union College, and 30 years as a seminar speaker for Amazing Facts. He has been married for 50 years to Kay, and they have one son, Matthew. Over 900 seminars have been held in churches and schools around the U.S. He has written several books and booklets, with many audio and video tapes on these topics. His one desire is to prepare people for what he believes to be the very soon return of Jesus to this world.

IS CHRIST GOD?


IS CHRIST GOD?

In many places in the Bible Christ is called God. The Psalmist says:

The mighty God, even the Lord [Jehovah], hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness; for God is judge Himself.” Ps. 50:1-6.  

That this passage has reference to Christ may be known

  1. By the fact. . that all judgment is committed to the Son, and
  2. By the fact that it is at the second coming of Christ that He sends His angels to gather together His elect from the four winds. Matt. 24:31.

“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence.” No. For when the Lord Himself descends from heaven, it will be “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” 1 Thess. 4:16. This shout will be the voice of the Son of God, which will be heard by all that are in their graves and which will cause them to come forth. John 5:28, 29. With the living righteous they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, ever more to be with Him, and this will constitute “our gathering together unto Him.” 2 Thess. 2:1. Compare Ps. 50:5; Matt. 24:31, and 1 Thess. 4:16.

“A fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him” for when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, it will be “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thess. 1:8.

So we know that Ps. 50:1-6 is a vivid description of the second coming of Christ for the salvation of His people. When He comes it will be as “the mighty God.” Compare Habakkuk 3.

This is one of His rightful titles. Long before Christ’s first advent, the prophet Isaiah spoke these words of comfort to Israel:

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isa. 9:6.

These are not simply the words of Isaiah; they are the words of the Spirit of God. God has, in direct address to the Son, called Him by the same title. In Ps. 45:6 we read these words:

“Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter.”

The casual reader might take this to be simply the Psalmist’s ascription of praise to God, but when we turn to the New Testament, we find that it is much more. We find that God the Father is the speaker and that He is addressing the Son, calling Him God. See Heb. 1:1-9 below.

“For unto which of the angels said he [the Father] at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Heb 1:5-9

This name was not given to Christ in consequence of some great achievement, but it is His by right of inheritance. Speaking of the power and greatness of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews says that He is made so much better than the angels, because “He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb. 1:4. A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as “the only begotten Son of God,” has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has to some extent the features and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works, and so Christ is the “express image” of the Father’s person. Heb. 1:3. As the Son of the self-existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of Deity.

It is true that there are many sons of God, but Christ is the “only begotten Son of God,” and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth. The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated but that it is one which He has by right. He says that Moses was faithful in all the house of God, as a servant, “but Christ as a Son over His own house.” Heb. 3:6.

And he also states that Christ is the Builder of the house. Verse 3. It is He that builds the temple of the Lord and bears the glory. Zech. 6:12, 13.

Christ Himself taught in the most emphatic manner that He is God. When the young man came and asked, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus, before replying to the direct question, said, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God.” Mark 10:17, 18. What did Jesus mean by these words? Did He mean to disclaim the epithet as applied to Himself? Did He mean to intimate that He was not absolutely good? Was it a modest depreciation of Himself? By no means, for Christ was absolutely good. To the Jews, who were continually watching to detect in Him some failing of which they might accuse Him, He boldly said, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” John 8:46. In the whole Jewish nation not a man could be found who had ever seen Him do a thing or heard Him utter a word that had even the semblance of evil, and those who were determined to condemn Him could do it only by hiring false witnesses against Him. Peter says that He “did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” 1 Peter 2:22. Paul says that He “knew no sin.” 2 Cor. 5:21. The Psalmist says, “He is my Rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Ps. 92:15. And John says, “Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5.

Christ cannot deny Himself, therefore He could not say that He was not good. He is and was absolutely good, the perfection of goodness. And since there is none good but God, and Christ is good, it follows that Christ is God and that this is what He meant to teach the young man.

It was this that He taught the disciples. When Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” John 14:8, 9. This is as emphatic as when He said, “I and my Father are one.” John 10:30. So truly was Christ God, even when here among men, that when asked to exhibit the Father He could say, Behold Me. And this brings to mind the statement that when the Father brought the First-begotten into the world, He said, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Heb. 1:6. It was not simply when Christ was sharing the glory of the Father before the world was that He was entitled to homage, but when He came a Babe in Bethlehem, even then all the angels of God were commanded to adore Him.

The Jews did not misunderstand Christ’s teaching concerning Himself. When He declared that He was one with the Father, the Jews took up stones to stone Him, and when He asked them for which of His good works they sought to stone Him, they replied, “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” John 10:33. If He had been what they regarded Him, a mere man, His words would indeed have been blasphemy, but He was God.

The object of Christ in coming to earth was to reveal God to men so that they might come to Him. Thus the apostle Paul says that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19), and in John we read that the Word, which was God, was “made flesh.” John 1:1, 14. In the same connection it is stated, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (or made Him known). John 1:18.

Note the expression, “the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father.” He has His abode there, and He is there as a part of the Godhead, as surely when on earth as when in heaven. The use of the present tense implies continued existence. It presents the same idea that is contained in the statement of Jesus to the Jews (John 8:58), “Before Abraham was, I am.” And this again shows His identity with the One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, who declared His name to be “I AM THAT I AM.”

And, finally, we have the inspired words of the apostle Paul concerning Jesus Christ, that “it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” Col. 1:19. What this fullness is which dwells in Christ, we learn from the next chapter, where we are told that “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Col. 2:9. This is most absolute and unequivocal testimony to the fact that Christ possesses by nature all the attributes of Divinity.

 

This article was taken from the classic book on Righteousness by Faith called “Christ and His Righteousness” by Waggoner, Ellet Joseph (1855-1916) pages 10-16. Waggoner was a Physician, minister, teacher, editor, and writer. He wrote on the theme of righteousness by faith in relation to the law. If you need a copy of the whole book, request for a copy and i will send you a PDF version.

This article was slightly edited for suitable reading by the admin, Odunuga Oluseyi Emmanuel.