Controversial Godhead Passages Examined
This study on the Deity would not be complete without a harmonizng of seemingly contradictory Scriptures. When a Bible doctrine is Scripturally established, then we must learn how to harmonize those Scriptures which seem to contradict the general Bible teaching on that subject. We will now look at some of the Scriptures which our oneness and trinity brethren use to support their concept of the Deity.
ISAIAH 9:6-7…”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. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforeth even forever. The zeal of Yahuwah of hosts will perform this.”
In the great millennial day (7th 1,000 year period) that is to come . . . when Messiah sits upon the throne of David in heaven and rules the world . . . He will then be called: “Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, and The Prince of Peace." These are titles to which He “shall be” referred to. Notice, He “shall be” called “The mighty God” . . . not the Almighty Elohim. He “shall be” called the “everlasting Father." He is not now the everlasting Father. When we consider the context and setting of this Scripture, it helps us to understand these titles by which our Saviour will be known in that coming day of millennial glory.
MICAH 5:2…”But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.”
This Scripture tells us that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but it also tells us of His pre-incarnate existence. Some have used this Scripture to prove that Yahushua is an eternal being, but actually it says just the opposite. The word translated “goings forth” in the King James Bible actually means “origin” in the original Hebrew. Several new translations use the word “origin” instead of “goings forth." The Revised Standard Bible says: “Whose origin is of old, from ancient days." The New World Bible says: “Whose origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite." The New International Bible reads: “Whose origins are from old, from ancient times." It also has a marginal note which reads “from days of eternity."
Messiah of Israel would be born in Bethlehem, but His real origin was back in eternity before time began. Thus, this Scripture states that Messiah had a beginning or starting point in terms of His existence. He was the first creation (begotten) of Elohim (Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14) brought into existence before the foundation of the world or “ever the earth was” (Proverbs 8:23). Yahushua was not co-eternal with the Father, but His pre-incarnate existence beginning or origin dates back into the days of eternity prior to the beginning of time.
MATTHEW 1:23 …”Behold a virgin shall be with child. And shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, Elohim with us.” This is quoted from Isaiah 7:14.
Emmanuel is another title given to our Master Yahushua Messiah. It means “Elohim with us”. Yahushua was Yahuwah’s official representative. Elohim was with us in the person of His Son in a representative way . . . not personally. Yahushua was not Yahuwah robed in the flesh as our oneness brethren believe and teach . . . but, He was Elohim’s official ambassador or representative to this world just as we are to be His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).
JOHN 8:58…”Verily, verily, I say unto, Before Abraham was, I am.”
Yahushua was not claiming to be the “I AM” of Exodus 3:13-14. The I AM in Exodus 3 is descriptive of Yahuwah . . . it means The Eternal Self-existent One. The Angel of Yahuwah speaking out of the bush to Moses was Yahushua, but He was speaking as Yahuwah’s official representative and was explaining the meaning of Yahuwah’s name to Moses. Here in John 8:58, Yahushua was merely asserting His pre-existence before Abraham. It could be translated . . . Before Abraham existed, I already was existing. Moffat’s Translation says, “Truly, truly, I tell you, said Yahushua, “I have existed before Abraham was born." Thus the real thought behind Yahushua's statement here is that He as Elohim’s “Firstborn” Son had existed long before Abraham was born. See Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14. Yahushua is simply asserting His pre-existence . . . not claiming to be Yahuwah (The eternal self-existent One). Yahushua was begotten. He had a beginning, and He exists by the power of His Father as do we.
JOHN 10:30…”I and My Father are one.”
This is one of the favorite Scriptures used by those of the oneness view to prove that Yahushua and the Father are the same person. Yahushua did not mean that He and the Father were one in person . . . but ONE IN UNITY. There is perfect harmony and unity between the Father and His Son. Yahushua and the Father are one just like Christians are to be one. Yahushua in John 17 prayed for His disciples “that they may be one, EVEN AS WE ARE ONE” (John 17:20-22). We cannot all become one person . . . but we can become one in unity . . . striving together in one mind and one accord for the faith of the Gospel. See Acts 2:1; Philippians 1:27; Romans 15:6. In 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, it states: “Now he [Paul] that planteth and he [Apollos] that watereth are one." Paul and Apollos were two individuals, but they were one in purpose, motives, goals, spirit, etc. So likewise, Yahushua and the Father are TWO entities but they are one in purpose, motive, and actions . . . ONE IN UNITY.
JOHN 14:9…”He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”
Again, this is another favorite oneness Scripture. They use this verse to prove that Yahushua was the Father Himself. This is not what Yahushua was implying when He made this statement. He was simply saying that He perfectly represented the nature and character of Elohim. Yahushua was “the express image of His [Yahuwah’s] person” (Hebrews 1:3). Yahushua so perfectly represented His Father that the disciples were seeing the mind, will, attitudes, and feelings of Elohim perfectly duplicated in His life. To look upon Yahushua was to see the Father . . . in a representative way.
JOHN 20:28…”And Thomas answered and said unto Him, my Lord and my God.”
Thomas when he saw the nail prints in Yahushua's hands exclaimed “my Lord and my God." Thomas was not proclaiming Yahushua to be Yahuwah or the Almighty Elohim. He was acknowledging Yahushua as a mighty one . . . a divine being . . . but not Yahuwah Himself. Yahushua truly is a God or mighty one because of His exalted position as the Son of Elohim (John 1:1-3). Remember though that Yahushua has an Elohim (God) over Him that He acknowledged as His Elohim and His Father (John 20:17). He was greater than Yahushua, and Yahushua had to ascend back to heaven to be with His Elohim and Father. This shows TWO separate entities both called God in the KJV . . . but one is greater than the other.
Thomas was not wrong in calling Jesus a God for even the Heavenly Father acknowledges His Son to be a God (Hebrews 1:8-9) BECAUSE OF THE POWER AND AUTHORITY THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO HIM. But Yahushua being called God does not mean that He is the Supreme Being (Yahuwah) or in any way equal to Him. Always remember there are many gods (mighty ones) both in heaven and earth, but there is only ONE Almighty Elohim which is the Father (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).
2 CORINTHIANS 5:19…”To wit, that Elohim was in Messiah, reconciling the world unto Himself.”
Elohim was in Messiah by His Spirit which dwelt in Him enabling Him to perform the mighty miracles which He did during His earthly ministry. Yahushua said: “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works [or miracles]” (John 14:10). Yahushua was a man (Son of man) filled, anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:38) He performed miracles like no one had ever seen because He had access to the Spirit without measure. “For Elohim giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him” (John 3:34).
It was the Spirit that also enabled Him to live without sin and finally offer Himself to Elohim as the spotless Lamb (Hebrews 9:14). Everything Yahushua did and accomplished was done by the power of the Spirit of Elohim that dwelt within Him. The question begs to be asked. Cannot we live without sinning if the Spirit of Elohim dwells in us? See Jude 24.
Elohim was in Messiah by the power of His Holy Spirit, but that did not make Yahushua Elohim. Messiah dwells in us by the power of Elohim's Spirit (Colossians 1:27), but that does not make us Yahushua or Elohim. These are things that should be seriously considered when we use Scriptures like 2 Corinthians 5:19 to prove that Messiah was Elohim simply because the Bible says Elohim dwelt in Him.
PHILIPPIANS 2:6…”Who, being in the form of Elohim, thought it not robbery to be equal with Elohim.”
Our Trinitarian brethren often use this verse to prove that Yahushua was/is co-equal with the Father. The apostle Paul is here teaching a lesson on humility and uses Messiah as the supreme example of humility. Though Messiah in His pre-human condition was a divine Being and shared the glory of His Father, yet He never sought to be equal with Elohim. The word “robbery” used here in the King James Version is a very poor translation of the Greek word Paul used here. It was probably used here because of the Trinitarian bias of the translators. We must remember translators as well as those who write Hebrew and Greek lexicons all have their religious biases.
The Greek word “harpagmos” used here means “to grasp after or snatch or seize something you look upon as a highly prized possession." Joseph Thayer in his Greek lexicon says it means “the act of seizing, robbery . . . a thing seized or to be seized, booty . . . to deem anything a prize . . . a thing to be seized upon." (page 74) W. E. Bullinger says in his Greek lexicon that it means “an object of rapine, something to be eagerly seized upon." (page 650)
A better translation of Philippians 2:6 might be … ”Who, although He existed in the form of Elohim, did not regard equality with Elohim a thing to be grasped” (Amplified Version) The Emphatic Diaglott renders it: “Who, though being in Elohim’s form, yet did not meditate a usurpation to be like Elohim." The New World Translation says: “Who, although He was existing in Elohim’s form gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that He should be equal to Elohim." Although Yahushua existed as a mighty Being in the heavenly world, He never sought to seize or grasp equality with Elohim as did Lucifier. See Isaiah 14:12-14; 1 Timothy 3:6. Yahushua never sought to usurp the place of Elohim. The thought never even entered into His mind. He always recognized and honored Yahuwah as His Superior. See John 14:28.
Instead of grasping for equality with Elohim, Yahushua made Himself of “no reputation [Greek-emptied Himself], and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8). What an example of humility we have in our Master Yahushua Messiah! This is the lesson that the apostle Paul is trying to get across in this passage.
The Trinitarian biased interpretation of Philippians 2:6 says that Yahushua did not consider it robbery to claim equality with Elohim because He was equal with Elohim. This is the interpretation set forth in the King James Version, but it is a false interpretation set forth in the King James Version. It will not stand up under a careful examination of the meaning of the original Greek word “harpagmos” as well as the Biblical context in which the word is used.
COLOSSIANS 2:9...”For in Him [Yahushua] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."
This verse is sometimes used to prove that Yahushua while He walked on earth was the Almighty Elohim robed in the flesh . . . all of Elohim dwelt in Him. Actually the context of this passage is talking about Yahushua IN HIS RESURRECTION GLORY . . .not during His earthly sojourn. In Colossians 1:18, Paul speaks of Messiah as “the firstborn from the dead," and goes on to say “it pleased the Father that in Him [the resurrected Messiah] should all fullness [of Deity] dwell” (Colossians 1:19). Messiah did not possess the fullness or completeness of Deity until He was resurrected from the dead. It was then that the Father bestowed immortality upon Him . . . and He is now a deathless, immortal being just like the Father. “For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself” (John 5:26). This occurred at His resurrection. “Knowing that Messiah being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him” (Romans 6:9). “I am He that liveth, and was dead [not immortal]; and behold I am alive for evermore [now immortal], Amen; and have the keys of hell [the grave] and of death” (Revelation 1:18). This was when all the fullness of Deity was bestowed upon Yahushua. Goodspeed’s Translation says: “It is in Him, that all the fullness of Elohim’s nature lives embodied."
In Colossians 2:10, we are told that Messiah has been made “head of all principality and power." This occurred only after He was resurrected and seated at Elohim’s right hand. See Ephesians 1:20-21; 1 Peter 3:22. So again, we see that Colossians 2:9 according to its context is describing Messiah in resurrection glory.
When Yahushua was originally “begotten” as the pre-incarnate Son of Elohim, He had a nature that was above the angels, yet He was beneath Yahuwah in that He did not possess immortality. It was not until He had fully carried out the Father’s great redemptive plan that He was resurrected and given immortality. If Yahushua had possessed immortality before His death, burial and resurrection, He could not have “poured out His soul unto death” (Isaiah 53:12). Yahushua in the book of Revelation told John “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). He now has immortality and is a deathless or immortal Being. Yahushua since His resurrection possesses the fullness of Deity or immortality! This is what Paul was stating in Colossians 2:9.
The term “Godhead” used here in Colossians 2:9 would be better translated by the word “Deity” or “divinity." When we use the term “Godhead” today we are referring to how many divine beings there are. But in the New Testament Scriptures the word was not used in this way . . . it simply meant “Deity” or “divinity” and usually referred to the Deity of the eternal Elohim Himself. The word “Godhead” is only used three times in the Greek Scriptures. The word “Godhead” in Acts 17:29 and Romans 1:20 refers to the Deity of Yahuwah Himself . . . the one eternal self-existent Elohim. Here in Colossians 2:9, it refers to the GLORY OF THE RESURRECTED MESSIAH Who now possesses immortality . . . the fullness of Deity.
1 TIMOTHY 3:16…”And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: Elohim was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Yahushua was Elohim’s manifestation in the flesh . . . just like my son is my manifestation in the flesh . . . yet we are TWO separate entities. The nature and character of Elohim was fully revealed in Yahushua. See John 14:9. But this does not mean that Yahushua was the incarnation of Yahuwah.
1 JOHN 5:7 and MATTHEW 28:19…"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
We are looking at these two verses together for a reason. These two verses would seemingly teach the Trinitarian doctrine of the three distinct individuals in the Deity. On 1 John 5:7, The Scofield Reference Bible says: “It is generally agreed that this verse has no manuscript authority and has been inserted." It was not a genuine part of the original inspired Scriptures. It was not in the original manuscripts written by the inspired apostles of the early church.
As far as 1 John 5:7 goes: When Erasmus published his version of the Greek New Testament, he left out the additions to 1 John 5:7 from his first two editions (1516, 1519), arguing that he could not find those words in any Greek manuscript. Pressure by some (Catholics) to include this addition to the Greek text, Erasmus proposed that if they could show him a single Greek manuscript in which the addition was found, he would include it in his next edition. Sure enough, they came up with a Greek manuscript in which the addition was found. A manuscript scholars believe was dated from the sixteenth century AD, translated from Latin to the Greek and added to the Greek text. Erasmus subsequently included it in his 1522 edition of the Greek New Testament.
Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no manuscript before the 10th century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Lateran, held in AD 1215.
Almost all modern versions and translations correctly omit the words of this verse or put them in italics indicating they are not in the oldest, most reliable manuscripts.
As far as Matthew 28:19, we have the ones who tampered with this verse on record. Eusebius cites Matthew 28:19 eighteen times in his work, always in the same form "Go ye and make disciples of all nations in My Name [Yahushua], teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you." Article in Beauties of the Truth, January 1991 edition.
"The baptismal formula (in Matthew 28:19) was changed from the name of Yahushua Messiah to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century." The Catholic Encyclopedia, II, page 263.
Catholic Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger made this confession about the origin of the chief Trinity text of Matthew 28:19. "The basic form of our (Matthew 28:19 Trinitarian) profession of faith took shape during the course of the second and third centuries in connection with the ceremony of baptism. So far as its place of origin is concerned, the text (Matthew 28:19) came from the city of Rome." Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is the pope that retired recently.
From Acts 2:38 we see that the early Church was baptizing people in just the name of Yahushua Messiah. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahushua Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Master Yahushua" (Acts 19:5). It appears that the early apostles were following the words that Eusebius quotes above as being in the original context. Also see Acts 8:16 and Acts 10:48.
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Messiah have put on the Messiah" (Galatians 3:27).
No one to my knowledge has ever been given the right to change or add or delete one word of Scripture except they do so under the most solemn warning found in Revelation 22:18-19.
REVELATION 1:8…”I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith Yahuwah, which is and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
This verse does NOT apply to Yahushua. There can only be only ONE Almighty Elohim . . . and that is, as we have seen to be Yahuwah. The terms Alpha and Omega (first and last letters in the Greek alphabet) are applied to both Yahuwah and Yahushua (Jesus) . . . but in a different way and with a different meaning. See Isaiah 44:6 (Yahuwah); Revelation 22:12-13 (Yahushua). They are both UNIQUE BEINGS . . . in a class all by themselves . . . ONE OF A KIND. Yahuwah is the uncreated being. Yahushua is the only being begotten or created directly by Yahuwah Himself. So Revelation 1:8 (as well as verse 4) describes the Father . . . the eternal self-existent Elohim (Supreme Being) who is the I AM of Exodus 3:14. Notice the threefold description of Yahuwah. “Which was” means He has existed throughout all past ages. “Which is” means He exists at the present. “Which is to come” means He will exist throughout all the eternal ages to come … the Eternal Self-Existent One.
It is Yahuwah in Revelation 1:7 Who speaks and says: “Even so, Amen” to the promise to Messiah's glorious return mentioned there. Yahuwah puts His personal amen to this promise. That is, Yahuwah is guaranteeing the fulfillment of the promise of Messiah’s return. Then as the overall teaching of the Scriptures, we believe Revelation 1:8 refers to Yahuwah our Heavenly Father . . . not the Master Yahushua Messiah. In Revelation 1:8, we have a description of Yahuwah the Almighty Elohim, the One Who spoke in verse 7 and said “Amen." So carefully considering the context, as well.
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