In my last video on the Trinity, I was showing how many of the proof texts Trinitarians use are not proof texts at all, because they are ambiguous. For a proof text to constitute real proof, it has to mean only one thing. For example, if Jesus were to say, “I am God Almighty,” then we would have a clear, unambiguous statement. That would be a real proof text supporting the trinity doctrine, but there is no text like that. Rather, we have Jesus own words where he says,
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:1-3 New King James Version)
Here we have a clear indication that Jesus is calling the Father the only true God. He doesn’t refer to himself as the only true God, neither here nor elsewhere. How do trinitarians attempt to get around the absence of clear, unambiguous Scriptures supporting their teaching? In the absence of such texts supporting the Trinity doctrine, they rely on deductive reasoning often based on Scriptures which can have more than one possible meaning. These texts they choose to interpret in a way that supports their teaching while discounting any meaning that contradicts their belief. In the last video, I suggested that John 10:30 was just such an ambiguous verse. That is where Jesus says: “I and the Father are one.”
What does Jesus mean by saying he is one with the Father? Does he mean he is God Almighty as trinitarians claim, or is he speaking figuratively, like being of one mind or having one purpose. You see, you can’t answer that question without going elsewhere in Scripture to resolve the ambiguity.
However, at that time, of presenting my last video part 6, I didn’t see the profound and far-reaching salvation truth conveyed by that simple phrase: “I and the Father are one.” I didn’t see that if you accept the trinity, then you actually end up undermining the message of the good news of salvation that Jesus is conveying to us with that simple phrase: “I and the Father are one.”
What Jesus is introducing with those words is to become a central theme of Christianity, iterated by him and then by the Bible writers to follow. Trinitarians try to make the trinity the focus of Christianity, but it’s not. They even claim that you cannot call yourself a Christian unless you accept the Trinity. If that were the case, then the Trinity doctrine would be plainly stated in Scripture, but it’s not. Acceptance of the Trinity doctrine depends on a willingness to accept some pretty convoluted human interpretations which results in twisting the meaning of the scriptures. What is clearly and unambiguously expressed in the Christian Scriptures is the oneness of Jesus and of his disciples with each other and with their heavenly Father, who is God. John expresses this:
“…all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:21)
The Bible writers focus on the need for a Christian to become one with God. What does it mean for the world at large? What does it mean for God’s principal enemy, Satan the Devil? It is good news for you and me, and for the world at large, but very bad news for Satan.
You see, I’ve been wrestling with what trinitarian thought truly represents for the Children of God. There are those who would have us believe that this whole debate about the nature of God—Trinity, not a Trinity—isn’t really that critical. They will view these videos as academic in nature, but not really valuable in the development of a Christian life. Such ones would have you believe that in a congregation you can have trinitarians and non-trinitarians mingling shoulder to shoulder and “it’s all good!” It doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that we love one another.
I don’t find any words of our Lord Jesus to support that idea, however. Instead, we see Jesus taking a very black and white approach to being one of his true disciples. He says, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” (Matthew 12:30 NKJV)
You’re either for me or you’re against me! There is no neutral ground! When it comes to Christianity, it appears there is no neutral land, no Switzerland. Oh, and just claiming to be with Jesus won’t cut it either, because the Lord also says in Matthew,
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits….Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:15, 16, 21-23 NKJV)
But the question is: How far are we supposed to take this black and white approach, this good versus evil view? Do the extreme words of John apply here?
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, refusing to confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be fully rewarded. Anyone who runs ahead without remaining in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever remains in His teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you but does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home or even greet him. Whoever greets such a person shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John 7-11 NKJV)
That’s pretty strong stuff, isn’t it! Scholars say that John was addressing the Gnostic movement that was infiltrating the Christian Congregation. Do trinitarians with their teaching of Jesus as a god-man, dying as a man, and then existing simultaneously as a god to resurrect himself, qualify as a modern-day version of the Gnosticism that John is condemning in these verses?
These are the questions I’ve been wrestling with for some time now, and then things became much clearer as I got deeper into this discussion on John 10:30.
It all started when a trinitarian took exception to my reasoning – that John 10:30 is ambiguous. This man was a former Jehovah’s Witness turned trinitarian. I’ll call him “David.” David accused me of doing the very thing I was accusing trinitarians of doing: Not considering the context of a verse. Now, to be fair, David was right. I wasn’t considering the immediate context. I based my reasoning on other passages found elsewhere in John’s gospel, such as this one:
“I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one.” (John 17:11 BSB)
David accused me of eisegesis because I hadn’t considered the immediate context which he claims proves that Jesus was revealing himself as God Almighty.
It is good to get challenged in this way because it forces us to go deep to put our beliefs to the test. When we do that, we often get rewarded with truths we might have otherwise missed. That is the case here. This is going to take a little time to develop, but I assure you it will really be worth the time you invest to hear me out.
As I said, David accused me of not looking at the immediate context which he claims makes it abundantly evident that Jesus was referring to himself as God Almighty. David pointed out verse 33 which reads: “‘We are not stoning You for any good work,’ said the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.’”
Most Bibles translate verse 33 this way. “You…declare Yourself to be God.” Notice that “You,” “Yourself,” and “God” are all capitalized. Since ancient Greek didn’t have lower and uppercase letters, capitalization is an introduction by the translator. The translator is letting his doctrinal bias show because he would only capitalize those three words if he believed the Jews were referring to Yahweh, God Almighty. The translator is making a determination based on his understanding of Scripture, but is that justified by the original Greek grammar?
Bear in mind that every Bible you care to use nowadays is actually not a Bible, but a Bible translation. Many are called versions. We have the New International VERSION, the English Standard VERSION, the New King James VERSION, the American Standard VERSION. Even those that are called a bible, like the New American Standard BIBLE or the Berean Study BIBLE, are still versions or translations. They have to be versions because they have to vary the text from other Bible translations otherwise they would be violating copyright laws.
So it is natural that some doctrinal bias is going to creep into the text because every translation is an expression of a vested interest in something. Still, as we look down the many, many bible versions available to us on biblehub.com, we see that they all have translated the last part of John 10:33 fairly consistently, as the Berean Study Bible renders it: “You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.”
You might say, well with that many Bible translations all in agreement, that must be an accurate translation. You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But then you would be overlooking one important fact. About 600 years ago, William Tyndale produced the first English translation of the Bible made from the original Greek manuscripts. The King James version came into being about 500 years ago, some 80 years after Tyndale’s translation. Since then, there have been many Bible translations produced, but virtually all of them, and certainly those which are most popular today, have been translated and published by men who all came to the job already indoctrinated with the Trinity doctrine. In other words, they brought their own beliefs to the task of translating the word of God.
Now here’s the problem. In ancient Greek, there is no indefinite article. There is no “a” in Greek. So when the translators of the English Standard Version rendered verse 33, they had to insert the indefinite article:
The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” (John 10:33 ESV)
What the Jews actually said in Greek would be “It is not for good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being man, make yourself God.”
The translators had to insert the indefinite article to conform to English grammar and so “good work” became “a good work,” and “being man,” became “being a man.” So why didn’t “make yourself God,” become “make yourself a God.”
I’m not going to bore you with Greek grammar now, because there is another way to prove that the translators gave into bias in rendering this passage as “make yourself God” rather than “make yourself a god.” In fact, there are two ways to prove this. The first is to consider the research of respected scholars—trinitarian scholars, I might add.
Young’s Concise Critical Bible Commentary, p. 62, by the respected trinitarian, Dr. Robert Young, confirms this: “makest thyself a god.”
Another trinitarian scholar, C. H. Dodd gives, “making himself a god.” – The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, p. 205, Cambridge University Press, 1995 reprint.
Trinitarians Newman and Nida admit that “purely on the basis of the Greek text, therefore, it is possible to translate [John 10:33] ‘a god,’ as NEB does, rather than to translate God, as TEV and several other translations do. One might argue on the basis of both the Greek and the context, that the Jews were accusing Jesus of claiming to be `a god’ rather than ‘God.’ “- p. 344, United Bible Societies, 1980.
The highly respected (and highly trinitarian) W. E. Vine indicates the proper rendering here:
“The word [theos] is used of Divinely appointed judges in Israel, as representing God in His authority, John 10:34″ – p. 491, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. So, in the NEB it reads: ” ‘We are not going to stone you for any good deed, but for your blasphemy. You, a mere man, claim to be a god.’”
So even renowned trinitarian scholars agree that it is possible in keeping with Greek grammar to translate this as “a god” rather than “God.” Further, the United Bible Societies quote stated, “One might argue on the basis of both the Greek and the context, that the Jews were accusing Jesus of claiming to be ‘a god’ rather than ‘God.’”
That’s right. The immediate context disproves David’s claim. How so?
Because the argument Jesus uses to counter the false accusation of blasphemy only works with the rendering “You, a mere man, claim to be a god”? Let’s read:
“Jesus replied, “Is it not written in your Law: ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— then what about the One whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world? How then can you accuse Me of blasphemy for stating that I am the Son of God?” (John 10:34-36)
Jesus doesn’t confirm that he is God Almighty. It would certainly be blasphemous for any man to claim to be Almighty God unless there were something explicitly expressed in Scripture to give him that right. Does Jesus claim to be God Almighty? No, he only admits to being the Son of God. And his defense? He is likely quoting from Psalm 82 which reads:
1God presides in the divine assembly;
He renders judgment among the gods:
2“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?
3Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
uphold the rights of the afflicted and oppressed.
4Rescue the weak and needy;
save them from the hand of the wicked.
5They do not know or understand;
they wander in the darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6I have said, ‘You are gods;
you are all sons of the Most High.’
7But like mortals you will die,
and like rulers you will fall.”
8Arise, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are Your inheritance.
Jesus’ reference to Psalm 82 makes no sense if he is defending himself against the charge of making himself out to be God Almighty, Yahweh. The men who here are called gods and sons of the Most High are not called God Almighty, but only minor gods.
Yahweh can make anyone he wishes into a god. For example, at Exodus 7:1, we read: “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” (King James Version)
A man who can turn the Nile river into blood, who can bring down fire and hail from heaven, who can call up a plague of locusts and who can split the Red Sea is certainly showing the power of a god.
The gods referred to in Psalm 82 were men—rulers—who sat in judgment over others in Israel. Their judgment was unjust. They showed partiality to the wicked. They didn’t defend the weak, the fatherless children, the afflicted and oppressed. Yet, Yahweh says in verse 6: “You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.”
Now remember what the wicked Jews were accusing Jesus of. According to our Trinitarian correspondent, David, they’re accusing Jesus of blasphemy for calling himself God Almighty.
Think about that for a moment. If Jesus, who cannot lie and who is trying to win people over with sound scriptural reasoning, were really God Almighty, would this reference make any sense? Would it even amount to an honest and forthright representation of his true status, if indeed he were God Almighty?
“Hey folks. Sure, I’m God Almighty, and that’s okay because God referred to humans as gods, didn’t he? Human god, God Almighty… We’re all good here.”
So really, the only unambiguous statement that Jesus makes is that he is God’s son, which explains why he uses Psalm 82:6 in his defense, because if the wicked rulers were called gods and sons of the most high, how much more so could Jesus rightly lay claim to the designation Son of God? After all, those men performed no powerful works, did they? Did they heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf? Did they raise the dead back to life? Jesus, though a man, did all this and more. So if God Almighty could refer to those rulers of Israel as both gods and sons of the Most High, though they did no powerful works, by what right could the Jews accuse Jesus of blasphemy for claiming to be God’s Son?
You see how easy it is to make sense of Scripture if you don’t come into the discussion with a doctrinal agenda like supporting the Catholic Church’s false teaching that God is a Trinity?
And this brings us back to the point I was trying to make at the start of this video. Is this whole Trinity/non-Trinity discussion just another academic debate with no real significance? Can’t we just agree to disagree and all get along? No, we can’t.
The consensus among trinitarians is that the doctrine is central to Christianity. In fact, if you don’t accept the Trinity, you can’t really call yourself a Christian. What then? Are you an antichrist for refusing to acknowledge the Trinity doctrine?
Not everyone can agree with that. There are many Christians with a New Age mentality who believe that as long as we love one another, it doesn’t really matter what we believe. But how does that measure up to Jesus’ words that if you’re not with him you’re against him? He was pretty adamant that to be with him means you are worshipping in spirit and truth. And then, you have John’s harsh treatment of anyone who does not remain in the teaching of the Christ as we saw in 2 John 7-11.
The key to understanding why the Trinity is so destructive to your salvation starts with Jesus words at John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”
Now consider how central that thought is to Christian salvation and how belief in a Trinity undermines the message behind those simple words: “I and the Father are one.”
Let us start with this: your salvation is dependent on your becoming adopted as a child of God.
Speaking of Jesus, John writes: “But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God.” (John 1:12, 13 CSB)
Notice that belief in Jesus’ name doesn’t grant us the right to become Children of Jesus, but rather, Children of God. Now if Jesus is God Almighty as trinitarians claim, then we are children of Jesus. Jesus becomes our father. That would make him not only God the Son, but God the Father, to use trinitarian terminology. If our salvation depends upon our becoming children of God as this verse states, and Jesus is God, then we become children of Jesus. We must also become children of the Holy Spirit since the Holy Spirit is also God. We are beginning to see how belief in the Trinity messes with this key element of our salvation.
In the Bible the father and God are interchangeable terms. In fact, the term “God the Father” occurs repeatedly in the Christian Scriptures. I counted 27 instances of it in a search I did on Biblehub.com. Do you know how many times “God the Son” appears? Not once. Not a single occurrence. As for the number of times “God the Holy Spirit” occurs, come on…you’re joking right?
It is good and clear that God is the Father. And to be saved, we must become children of God. Now if God is the Father, then Jesus is the son of God, something he himself readily admits as we’ve seen in our analysis of John chapter 10. If you and I are adopted children of God, and Jesus is God’s Son, that would make him, what? Our brother, right?
And so it is. Hebrews tells us:
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting for God, for whom and through whom all things exist, to make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Hebrews 2:9-11 BSB)
It is ridiculous and unbelievably presumptuous to contend that I could call myself God’s brother, or you for that matter. It is also ludicrous to contend that Jesus could be Almighty God while at the same time being lower than the angels. How do trinitarians try to get around these seemingly insurmountable problems? I’ve had them argue that because he’s God he can do anything he wants. In other words, the Trinity is true, therefore God will do anything I need him to do, even if it defies God-given logic, just to make this cockamamy theory work.
Are you beginning to see how the Trinity undermines your salvation? Your salvation depends on becoming one of God’s children, and having Jesus as your brother. It depends on a family relationship. Going back to John 10:30, Jesus, the Son of God is one with God the Father. So if we are also sons and daughters of God, it follows that we should also become one with the Father. That too is part of our salvation. This is precisely what Jesus teaches us in the 17th chapter of John.
I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one…I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation. Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them. (John 17:11, 20-26 CSB)
You see how simple this is? There is nothing expressed here by our Lord that we cannot grasp easily. We all get the concept of a father/child relationship. Jesus is using terminology and scenarios that any human can understand. God the Father loves his son, Jesus. Jesus loves his Father back. Jesus loves his brothers and we love Jesus. We love each other. We love the Father and the Father loves us. We become one with each other, with Jesus, and with our Father. One united family. Each person in the family is distinct and recognizable and the relationship we have with each one is something we can comprehend.
The devil hates this family relationship. He was thrown out of God’s family. In Eden, Yahweh spoke of another family, a human family that would extend from the first woman and would end up destroying Satan the devil.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head…” (Genesis 3:15 NIV)
The children of God are the seed of that woman. Satan has been trying to eliminate that seed, that offspring of the woman, since the beginning. Anything he can do to keep us from forming a proper father/child bond with God, becoming adopted children of God, he will do because once the ingathering of the children of God is complete, Satan’s days are numbered. Getting the children of God to believe a false doctrine concerning the nature of God, one which completely confuses the father/child relationship is one of the more successful ways Satan has accomplished this.
Humans are created in the image of God. You and I can readily understand God being a single person. We can relate to the idea of a heavenly Father. But a God who has three distinct personalities, only one of which is that of a father? How do you wrap your mind around that? How do you relate to that?
You may have heard of schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. We consider that to be a form of mental illness. A trinitarian wants us to view God in that way, multiple personalities. Each one distinct and separate from the other two, yet each one the same being—each one God. When you say to a trinitarian, “But that doesn’t make any sense. It’s just not logical.” They answer, “We have to go with what God tells us about his nature. We cannot understand the nature of God, so we just have to accept it.”
Agreed. We have to accept what God tells us about his nature. But what he tells us is not that he is a triune God, but that he is the Almighty Father, who has begotten a Son who is not himself God Almighty. He tells us to listen to his Son and that through the Son we can approach God as our own personal Father. That is what He tells us clearly and repeatedly in Scripture. That much of the nature of God is within our ability to comprehend. We can understand the love of a father for his children. And once we understand that, we can grasp the meaning of Jesus’ prayer as it personally applies to each of us:
May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23 CSB)
Trinitarian thought is meant to obscure the relationship and paint God as a great mystery beyond our comprehension. It shortens the hand of God by implying that He is not really capable of making himself known to us. Really, the Almighty creator of all things cannot find the way to explain himself to little old me and little old you?
I think not!
I ask you: Who ultimately benefits from breaking the relationship with God the Father which is the reward given to the Children of God? Who benefits by blocking the development of the seed of the woman of Genesis 3:15 which finally crushes the serpent’s head? Who is the angel of light who employs his ministers of righteousness to dispense his lies?
Certainly when Jesus thanked his Father for hiding the truth from the wise and intellectual scholars and philosophers, he wasn’t condemning wisdom nor intelligence, but the pseudo-intellectuals who claim to have divined the secret mysteries of God’s nature and now wish to share these so-called revealed truths to us. They want us to rely not on what the Bible says, but on their interpretation.
“Trust us,” they say. “We have uncovered the esoteric knowledge hidden in Scripture.”
It’s just a modern form of Gnoticism.
Having come from an Organization where a group of men claimed to have the revealed knowledge of God and expected me to believe their interpretations, I can only say, “Sorry. Been there. Done that. Bought the T-Shirt.”
If you have to rely on the personal interpretation of some man to understand Scripture, then you have no defense against the ministers of righteousness that Satan has deployed in all religions. You and I, we have the Bible and Bible research tools in abundance. There is no reason for us ever to be misled again. Further, we have the holy spirit which will guide us into all the truth.
Truth is pure. Truth is simple. The concoction of confusion that is trinitarian doctrine and the thought fog of explanations trinitarians use to try to explain their “divine mystery” will not appeal to a heart led by the spirit and desirous of truth.
Yahweh is the source of all truth. His Son told Pilate:
“For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I may bear witness to the truth. Everyone being of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37 Berean Literal Bible)
If you want to be one with God, then you must be “of the truth.” The truth must be in us.
My next video on the Trinity will deal with the very controversial rendering of John 1:1. For now, thank you all for your support. You do not just help me, but the many men and women working hard behind the scenes to render the good news in multiple languages.