Express Image of His Person - Image of the Invisible God: A Study of Hebrews 1:2-3

“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (KJV Heb. 1:2-3).

This passage of Scripture has routinely become the subject of contention in apologetics and in witnessing to peoples of the trinitarian belief. Trinitarian theology, here, would say that the terms used here should tell us that Jesus Christ existed before His Incarnation as an eternal second person "with God" (See John 1:1 "with God" and pros for a treatment of this phrase) and that the Son was, as A.T. Robertson suggests, "...the Intermediate Agent in the work of creation "[1a].

The author of Hebrews is under debate and there are valid arguments on either side. Some have suggested that Luke, Barnabas, Clement of Rome and Paul as possible authors. For the sake of this paper I will leave this discussion for another day and simple use phrases such as, "the writer of Hebrews" or "the Hebrews writer" to refer to the author of this important work.

The Greek word for ‘express image’ here is charakter (khar-ak-tare); our English word, character, is derived from this word. However, charakter is found “only once in the NT. . . . This means that the NT use is entirely different from our modern concept of character which develops itself by a will that seeks to conform to principles.”[1] The BAGD says here that, “Christ is . . . an exact representation. . . . ”[2] Therefore, Christ as the "express image" of His person, the person of God, is another way of saying that Jesus represents God exactly. He is what God chose for man to see Him as.

Notice that the Hebrews writer says it was ‘by’ His Son that He made the worlds. This phrase usually encapsulates most of the controversy in this passage. The preposition ‘by’ in the Greek is dia (dee-ah), the first "by" being en; Dr. Spiros Zodhiates places dia in the genitive form. The genitive usually indicates the relationship between nouns and pronouns. Zodhiates defines dia, here, as “through which the effect proceeds, meaning through, by, by means of.”[4] The BAGD and Bullinger[5] also define dia as “by means of” and Friberg defines it as “spatial through, by way of.”[6]

Modern translations replace the second "by" with "through". Therefore, instead of reading "by whom also he made the worlds" we can read "through whom also he made the worlds". Some translations rendering dia as "through" here are ASV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, HCSB, NET, NRSV.

This account in Hebrews 1:2 is reminiscent of Colossians 1:16, which says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” In both passages the preposition dia is employed as the KJV ‘by.’ However, as mentioned earlier, ‘by’ in the first phrase (‘For by him were all things created’) of Colossians 1:16 is en (in). The BAGD prefaces all remarks on this preposition, en, by saying, “The uses of this preposition are so many-sided, and often so easily confused, that a strictly systematic treatment is impossible.”[7] Even though they recognize the complex nuances of narrowing context and meanings by the use of this Greek preposition, they continue to narrow the meaning as a ‘means’ as well.

Zodhiates, speaking of dia in the genitive sense, concedes this much concerning dia (dee-ah): “In this construction diá may also refer to the author or first cause, when the author does anything through himself instead of another, e.g., of God (Ro 11:36, ‘of [or out of] Him and through Him and unto Him all things’ [a.t.]; 1 Cor 1:9, ‘God, through whom you were called’ [a.t.]; Heb 2:10). Also of Christ (Jn 1:3 ‘All things were made by him’; Col 1:16, ‘all things through Him and unto Him have been created.’ ”[8]

This, of course, is congruent with David Bernard’s clear logic on Colossians and dia, when he says, “Because this word can mean ‘through,’ many people claim that Christ was the intermediate agent of creation or another divine person called the Father. The preposition does not require this interpretation, however. For example, Romans 11:36 and Hebrews 2:10 use the same word to describe creation by God, the Father.” Bernard clarifies further by offering this analogy, “ . . . the One who later became the Son created the world. For example, when we say, ‘President Lincoln was born in Kentucky,’ we do not mean he was president at the time of his birth. Rather, the one who later became president was born there.”[9]

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:" Colossians 1:15-16 KJV

James Moffat commenting on this passage says that Christ “not merely reflects God but in some real sense represents Him; the invisible God becomes manifest in Christ.” He translates the 1:16 passage as “He is the likeness of the unseen God . . . ”[10] The ‘image of the invisible’ (vs. 15) is Jesus Christ. ‘Image’ is translated from the Greek word—eikōn [ay-kone]. The BAGD offers two possible definitions: “image, likeness—lit. of the emperor’s head on a coin” and “form, appearance . . . a human figure.”[11] Friberg’s decription is “embodiment or living manifestation of God.”[12] Trinitarians assert that God is the trinity, or that He is comprised of the trinity. Therefore, if Jesus is the “embodiment living manifestation of God” then the three persons of the trinity are in Christ. In this sense, the trinity is indeed unnecessary to theology proper and is without biblical merit.

Man was made in the image of God. When God created Adam, He created him in the likeness in which the Christ child would later come; it was the visible apparatus that God chose before the foundations of the world. The form in which Christ the Son of God would come predicated how God created Adam, the first human existence. Adam was also made in the image of God in an inward or spiritual sense, thereby causing us to express attributes that God possesses such as love, wisdom, intellect, and will.

Such nuances are confirmed by Paul when he writes, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come” (KJV Rom. 5:14). The HCSB says, “He is a prototype of the Coming One” (Rom. 5:14). When one feels mercy or love, they are employing divine characteristics of the very nature of which God consists. These attributes are given by God to man.

The church in Colosse experienced assaults by the Gnostics, who denied Christ’s humanity and supported Him as a demiurge and not really the good god of their radical dualistic view of good and evil. Paul expressly refuted this by asserting that there is only one God and that Christ is a ‘mirror image’ of the true One God and not, in any way, inferior. He was, in fact, refuting any plurality as well because God’s reflection was One person and not three or more. The God of eternity allowed humanity to see Him through the image of Christ the anointed One. One cannot find the person of God revealed by the Father or by the Holy Spirit. ‘Father’ is meant to refer to a paternal relationship, and ‘Holy Spirit’ refers to the active Spirit of God at work today, Jesus is the visible express "image of His person".

Speaking of Johns Gospel, Marianne Meye Thompson makes this noteworthy statement: “While John asserts that Jesus speaks the words of God and does the work of God, the Gospel pushes further in claiming that Jesus so fully embodies the Word of God that to see him is to see the manifestation of God’s glory; to see the son is to ‘see’ the Father.” She goes on to say, “It is clear that the disciples of Jesus do not see God as he does, for whereas the Son sees the Father directly, others see the Father in and through the Son.”[3] This is a very important understanding. Jesus is God. God, in time, became a man. He added to His current existence as deity the nature of humanity. He became the God-man. Therefore, God who would become a a man created "all things".

Colossians could thus very easily be read as, "For in him were all things created". Jesus created the universe, but not as the Son, or that he even did it as Jesus. It means, as Bernard points out, that the one who later became the Son created the universe. Prior to the incarnation He existed throughout eternity as Yahweh himself. But because he was not the Son, yet, or even Jesus at that time does not mean that we cannot say, now in time, that the Son or Jesus created the worlds.

The aforementioned Hebrews and the Colossians passages are concerned with the Incarnation and the Creation; consequently, the Incarnation did not pre-exist the conception in Mary’s womb. Thus, God—the one who would later be called Jesus—created all things, not that Jesus as God became man or as a second person created all things. God by nature is Spirit (John 4:24). Therefore, man can neither see nor touch the Spirit of God, for a spirit is intangible. Jesus said, “a spirit hath not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). Yet, God chose, through the Incarnation, to give us the expression of Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ. If we were to approach the pre-existence with dogma or later ecclesiastical developments of the Godhead, then we would by necessity incorporate our assumptions into the texts. In other words, we would interpret the scripture through the filter of dogma or ecclesiastical development.


[1a] Robertson, A. (1997). Word Pictures in the New Testament. Vol.V c1932, Vol.VI c1933 by Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. (Heb 1:2). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
[1] Ges, J. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Ed. Colin Brown. Zondervan Ref. Software. © 1989-1999 The Zondervan Corp.
[2]Arndt, William, F. Wilbur Gingrich, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature : A Translation and Adaption of the Fourth Revised and Augmented Edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-Deutsches Worterbuch Zu Den Schrift En Des Neuen Testaments Und Der Ubrigen Urchristlichen Literatur. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, c1979.
[3] Thompson, Marianne Meye – The God of the Gospel of John – Erdmann’s Pub. Copyright © 2001 pg. 104
[4] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1994, 2002 AMG International, Inc.
[5] Bullinger, E.W. A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, published in 1999 by Kregel Publications
[6]Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller. Vol. 4, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament library. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000.
[7]Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1996, c1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : A translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (Pg. 258). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
[8] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament Copyright © 2002 AMG International, Inc.
[9] Bernard, David, The of Colossians and Philemon, WAP pg. 46, 47
[10] Moffatt, James. The Moffatt New Testament Commentary, Harper & Brothers, New York and London,19-20.

[11]Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1996, c1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : A translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (Pg. 222). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
[12] Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller. Vol. 4, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament library. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000.


John 1:1: “With God” and Pros

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1 KJV)

This paper will assume the reader has some familiarity with the polemic nature of John 1:1.

The opening passage, above, in The Apostle John's inimitable Gospel is one of much controversy. There are more than a couple views concerning this passage; however, we will discuss those among Oneness and trinitarian theologians.

Trinitarian believers assert that this passage perfectly portrays the idea of a person to person descripton of the Father and the Son in eternity, pre-existent to the Incarnation. This theory comes from their interpretation of "the Word was with God". A.T. Robertson in his Word Pictures of the New Testament suggests that the "with God" as meaning "Logos was in perfect fellowship with God. Προς [Pros] with the accusative presents a plane of equality and intimacy, face to face with each other." Therefore, trinitarians assume, here, that the Father and the Son are in a "face to face" or person to person relationship. As we shall see, this view is unnecessary and indeed dangerous.

Oneness believers would say that the "Word" (Grk. Logos) is the unexpressed thought, plan, reason, or mind of God. In the beginning, the Word was with God, not as a distinct person but as God himself—pertaining to God as much as a man’s word pertains to him. This Word would become a man (John 1:14), in time, and His name would be Jesus--"the express image of His person" (Hebrews 1:3).

The English term "Word" is the Greek word Logos. Logos is used well over 300 times in the New Testament and is variously translated: “cause” (Matt. 5:32); “communication” (Matt.) 5:37; “sayings” (Matt.) 7:24; “the word” (Matt. 8:8); “with his word” (Matt. 8:16); “his talk” (Matt. 22:15); “manner of communication” (Luke 24:17); “intent” (Acts 10:29); “the work” (Rom. 9:28); “utterance” (1 Cor. 1:5); “preaching” (1 Cor. 1:18); and “reason” (1 Pet. 3:15).[1a] In John 1, the Word is God’s self-revelation or self-disclosure.

The Apostle John uses the preposition ‘with,’ or in the Greek pros, in the second clause of his Prologue. The Greek preposition pros is regularly translated as ‘to’ in our English translations, but in the Prologue we see it in an unusual rendering. F.F. Bruce affirms this by saying, “True, in literary Greek this is not a common sense of pros. . . . ”[1b] Pros enjoys “726 occurrences; [the] AV translates [pros] as ‘unto’ 340 times, ‘to’ 203 times, ‘with’ 43 times, ‘for’ 25 times, ‘against’ 24 times, ‘among’ 20 times, ‘at’ 11 times, ‘not’ translated six times,”[2] and translated miscellaneously 54 times.

The case of the preposition is the root of much of the controversy. Moulton and Milligan show that pros is “almost entirely confined in the NT to the accusative (679 times).”[3] The Greek prepositions are identified with three different cases: genitive, dative, and accusative. In John 1:1 pros is used with the accusative, which usually indicates direction—like towards—or is translated as ‘to.’ “The accusative case generally focuses the verbal action's goal, direction, or extent, thereby limiting the action to or by the Accusative substantive.”[4] Daniel Wallace, in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics suggests that it is "primarily used to limit the action of a verb as to extent, direction, or goal." Therefore, pros is used to show the direction of action towards the noun, ‘God.’

Barclay M. Newman, in his lexicon, includes “pertaining to, [and] with reference to”[5] as possible definitions of pros. The BAGD says this of pros: “by, at, near πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone . . . ”[6] Notice the last part ‘(in company) with someone.’ The Word was in the company of God, or associated with God in existence as the unexpressed thought. This thought was His great plan to redeem lost humanity, which He foreknew. The Word ‘with God’ would later become expressed through His divine purpose and plan to humanity in redemption. The Word ‘became flesh’ and tabernacled among men—redeeming and reconciling them.

The UBS Translators Handbook says, “The meaning of the preposition with (Greek pros) has occasioned some difficulty, but most commentators and translators apparently favor the meaning ‘to be with’ or ‘to be in the company of.’ . . . This relationship must be expressed in some languages as ‘God and the Word were together.’ In other languages, however, an indication of purely spatial relation seems to be sufficient, and therefore one may say ‘the Word was there where God was’ or ‘ . . . in company with God.’ ”[7]

Hebrews 5:1 says, “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins” (KJV). In the phrase, ‘pertaining to God,’ ‘to’ is the Greek preposition pros in the accusative case, the same as in John 1:1. Notice that it is used to denote ‘things pertaining to’ not something apart from God.

Most contemporary and non-contemporary translations preserve this translation, such as the NKJV and the NASB. The NIV renders it ‘matters related to God.’ Yet trinitarian scholars insist that we interpret ‘with God’ to mean something that it does not say. The trinitarian apologist Benjamin Warfield says it like this: “From all eternity the Word has been with God as a fellow: He who in the very beginning already ‘was,’ ‘was’ also in communion with God.”[8]

Warfield goes on to say, “Though He was thus in some sense a second along with God, He was nevertheless not a separate being from God: ‘And the Word was’ –still the eternal ‘was’ –‘God.’ In some sense distinguishable from God, He was in an equally true sense identical with God.” This kind of language only seems to compound the alleged mystery of the trinity and appears to defy the concept of monotheism. Later trinitarians will infer, as Robertson puts it, ” the accusative presents a plane of equality and intimacy, face to face with each other.”[9]

Such an idea of ‘face to face’ immediately causes the common man to imagine a multiplicity of divine beings but is, in fact, a wresting of the texts. However, trinitarians will assert that the common man must be taught this mystery through various streams of evidence like presuppositions in trinitarian church history and by trinitarian grammarians such as A.T. Robertson or Kenneth Wuest. An idea of God as ‘face to face’ ‘with’ the Word really indicates separateness, which defies the orthodox creeds, which affirm distinction.

The BAGD references a ‘speaking face to face’ under e. of the accusative sense—Roman Numeral III. In that section BAGD does not cite John 1:1 as a possible usage for the accusative in that understanding. With the accusative the ANLEX never mentions pros in such a rendering, simply: “(1) literally, to show motion toward a person or thing to, toward . . . ” [10]

Dr. Raymond Crownover, professor at UGST, speaking of pros, says, “Although it [pros] may be related to ‘prosopon’ (face), ‘face to face’ is usually ‘prosopon kata prosopon’ or possibly ‘prosopon pros prosopon,’ or ‘stoma pros stoma’ not just ‘pros.’ The only reason I can see of trying to make it mean ‘in a face to face relationship’ is to use this verse to defend a Trinitarian position (bordering on tritheism).”[11]

Lexicographers, Johannes Louw and Eugene Nida certainly harmonize with Crownover. They list “prosopon pros prosopon” and “stoma pros stoma” as “face to face” translations using pros.[12] Louw and Nida further demonstrate that when pros is translated as “with” it is used to show “a marker of association, often with the implication of interrelationships—‘with, before;’ ‘we have peace with God;’ Ro 5.1; ‘the Word was with God’ Jn 1.1;” [13]

In my opinion ‘association’ does no violence to Oneness theology. The object with which one associates can be corporeal or incorporeal, e.g., a connection in the mind between ideas, sensations, or memories, etc., or it can be an interrelation between persons. The number of ideas, sensations, or persons is infinite. Robertson and others would have to perform a substantial quantum leap to somehow demonstrate pros, in the Prologue, as an actual and veritable corporeal ‘face to face’ conclusion in its association to God the Father. In the ‘Word’ that ‘was with God’ it is very possibly viewed as being in association with God the Father as the unexpressed thought or idea for future humanity.

John later writes, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us) . . . ” (KJV 1 John 1:1-2).

In verse two ‘with’ in the last phrase is pros in the accusative case. Juxtaposing pros in the accusative case from John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1-2 William Arnold says, “pros can mean ‘in a face to face relationship,’ but this would only hold true in our passage if it is first demonstrated that the word is another person than theos (God). If, however, the word does not refer to a person in this phrase then it would still mean ‘with’ but not ‘in a face to face relationship.’ That it does not refer to a person can be seen in the parallel account by the same author in 1 John. In a very similar statement, John says ‘What was from the beginning . . . concerning the Word of Life . . . which was with (pros) the Father and was manifested to us’ (1 John1:1, 2). God’s life was with him, but not ‘in a face to face relationship’ with him. God’s life is not a separate person from himself and neither is his word.” Dr. David K. Bernard, president of UGST, on page 39 of his work, The Oneness View of Jesus Christ, makes a very similar conclusion.

Arnold quotes from the NASB, which renders the 1 John text as the following: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life — 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:1-2).

The TEV renders a fresh translation: “We write to you about the Word of life, which has existed from the very beginning. We have heard it, and we have seen it with our eyes; yes, we have seen it, and our hands have touched it. 2 When this life became visible, we saw it; so we speak of it and tell you about the eternal life which was with the Father and was made known to us” (1 John 1:1-2). Notice the sentence order by the TEV, the latter portion of verse one is now at the top. The AMP does the same.

The UBS Translators Handbook explains such a rendering in its prefatory remarks on 1 John 1:1-2 by saying, “If the word of life (v. 1 c) is interpreted along the same lines as in the Prologue of the Gospel of John, as advocated below, a serious difficulty will arise where categories for an event or a concept such as 'word' are incompatible with those for something animate or personal. . . . The transition of the inanimate to the personal has, therefore, to be made explicit at the very beginning.”[14]

The suggestion is that ‘life’ in verse one should refer to an incorporeal quality and the subsequent text that implies a corporeal being. “We have heard it, and we have seen it with our eyes; yes, we have seen it, and our hands have touched it” should come after, for it relates to animate qualities. The UBS uses the term inanimate; however, I would say incorporeal is better, for inanimate[15] by definition is the antithesis to life.

This is an effort to show that the ‘life’ in verse one is incorporeal, whereas the ‘life’ that is implied by “We have heard it, and we have seen it with our eyes; yes, we have seen it, and our hands have touched it” is corporeal, or the Word become Incarnate. That is why the TEV continues by saying, “When this life became visible.”

The UBS comments on life: “Life [the] (Greek zoe, occurring also in 1 Jn 1:2; 2:25; 3:14 f; 5:11 ff, 16, 20) refers to vitality, the (not essentially personal) principle and force of life, animating man's motion and action, his intellect and emotions. The Greek term is distinguished from the more personal psuchee (3:16; 1:2), that is, ‘(breath of) life,’ ‘soul,’ ‘principle of life,’ referring to natural life, then to the seat and center of man's inner life with its many and varied aspects, its desires, feelings and emotions; and from bios (1 Jn 2:16 f), that is, life on earth in its functions and duration, then also basic essentials of life, ‘livelihood,’ ‘property.’ . . . In the Johannine writings zoe is often used in a pregnant sense, namely, real life, life seen as something which man does not possess by nature, but which God gives to those who believe in Christ. For John it is not an abstraction but a reality, as real as Christ himself, with whom it is equated (Jn 11:25; 14:6; cp. also Paul's ‘Christ who is our life’ in Col 3:4). A fuller expression of the same concept is ‘eternal life,’ [in] v. 2. . . . Semantically speaking, however, this difference of construction is not very important in the context, because the eternal life is only a more expressive repetition of ‘the life,’ and both are virtually interchangeable in the Johannine writings.”[16]

The UBS subsequently defines ‘life’ as “what causes people to live eternally.” Remember, the preposition ‘with’ here in the ‘life’ ‘with the Father’ ‘which was from the beginning’ is pros in the accusative, the same sense that John 1:1 shares. As mentioned earlier Bernard comments on this passage, “In I John 1, the apostle John used the same themes of the eternal Word and the begotten Son, identifying ‘the Word’ as the eternal life of the Father. That life was always with the Father, but not as a distinct person any more than a man’s life is a different person from him. And that life was manifested to us in the Son.”[17]

J.B. Phillip’s translation renders 1 John 1:1 as “We are writing to you about something which has always existed yet which we ourselves actually saw and heard: something which we had an opportunity to observe closely and even to hold in our hands, and yet, as we know now, was something of the very Word of life himself!”

What the KJV renders “That which” is a neuter gender pronoun, which seems to be against the personal or animate sense. Trinitarians maintain their doctrinal safety by such comments as Vincent’s: “The successive clauses, that which was from the beginning, etc., express, not the Eternal Word Himself, but something relating to or predicated concerning peri [English of] (NT:4012) Him.”[18]

Bruce says that the “neuter gender of ‘that which was from the beginning’ points to the gospel rather than to the personal Christ. . . . ”[19] Leon Morris concurs with this statement as well.[20] Bruce offers his own translation that is worthy of mention: “Our theme is that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we beheld and our hands handled. Our theme, in short, concerns the word of Life – that Life which was made manifest. Yes, we have seen and we bear witness; we make known to you the Eternal Life which was with the Father and made manifest to us. . . . ”[21]

Therefore, a basic premise can be made: the preposition ‘with,’ or pros in the accusative case, does not refer to persons or animate qualities in John 1:1. 1 John demonstrates, the ‘life’ ‘which was from the beginning’ as a metaphysical existence. It is by presupposition and theological dogma that ‘with’ God in the Prologue can refer to a ‘face to face’ relationship between the Word and God the Father. It should be remembered that the popular trinitarian definition of ‘Word,’ or logos as the second person, is in part derived from the presupposition that ‘with’ speaks of an interrelation between two persons.

Trinitarian apologist and author of the new book, A Definitive Look at Oneness Theology: Defending the Tri-Unity of God, (University Press, 2005), Edward L. Dalcour, in a recent dialogue said, “The preposition pros (‘with’) has various meanings depending on the context. When applied to persons, however, pros regularly denotes intimate fellowship and always their distinction.”[22] Notice the presupposition that pros in the Prologue refers to persons. Subsequent interpretations are skewed by this presupposition. The trinitarian epistemology sets them up for eisegesis. As was demonstrated, pros, translated as ‘with,’ does not have to refer to persons or animate qualities.

It would be easier to see the ‘Word’ in pre-existence as incorporeal[23] rather than an animate person ‘toward’ or ‘face to face’ with God the Father. The latter interpretation would bring an impasse for monotheistic theology and would invariably consequent separate persons, rather than the orthodox distinct persons. Pros interpreted and parroted as ‘face to face’ then, is burgeon of theological presupposition and not literal meaning.

As Oneness believers we should not feel pressed to make ‘with’ mean something other than what it really is. The suggestion is not of one person sitting beside another, but of God’s Word pertaining to Him or being related to Him. Jesus did not just come to tell us what God is like—He showed us. He is the revelation of God.

Jeffrey Brickle, professor or Hebrew at UGST, in a private correspondence, says that the usage of pros “does not in any manner infer a triadic or triune conception of the Godhead, an approach which would have been entirely foreign to John’s Hebraic thinking and constitutes an anachronistic reading of the text.”[24] If ‘with God’ really means ‘face to face’ then why do major translations avoid such a rendering? My surmise is that it is to avoid the appearance of tritheism to the general public, who, without a foundational presupposition of trinitarian elitism, would see it just as such.


[1a] Young, Robert, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible—Hendrickson Publishers
[1b] Bruce, F.F. The Gospel & Epistles of John – Eerdmans Publishing © 1983 Reprinted 2004 pg. 30
[2]Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996.
[3] Moulton, J.H. Milligan G. Vocabulary of the Greek Testament. Hendrickson Publishers © 1930 First printing Hendrickson Publishers edition, Oct. 1997 pg. 544
[4] Wheeler's Greek Syntax Notes, Copyright © 1985-2002 by Rev. Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D. All rights reserved
[5]Newman, Barclay Moon. Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies, 1993.
[6]Arndt, William, F. Wilbur Gingrich, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature : A Translation and Adaption of the Fourth Revised and Augmented Edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-Deutsches Worterbuch Zu Den Schrift En Des Neuen Testaments Und Der Ubrigen Urchristlichen Literatur. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
[7] The UBS Translators Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies
[8] Warfield, Benjamin A. The Person and Work of Christ, (Philadelphia: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1950), p. 53
[9] Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft & Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright (c) 1985 by Broadman Press
[10]Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller. Vol. 4, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament library. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000.
[11] Crownover, Raymond L. Private Email – 2/8/2005 – 7:29 p.m.
[12] Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible societies, 1996, c1989
[13]Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible societies, 1996, c1989.
[14] The UBS Translators Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies
[15] Inanimate refers to something that is not endowed with life
[16] The UBS Translator Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies
[17] Bernard, David K. The Oneness View of Jesus Christ WAP pg. 39
[18] Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft
[19] F. F. Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1983, reprint 2004) pg. 35
[20] Morris, Leon. New Bible Commentary, 21st Century Edition. Consul. Ed. Carson, D.A. France, R.T. Motyer, J.A. Wenham, G.J. © University and Colleges Christian Fellowship, Leicester, England 1994 – IVP – pg. 1399
[21] F. F. Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1983, reprint 2004) pg. 34
[22] Dalcour, Edward L. M. Apol. Private Email 2/13/2005 8:56 p.m.
[23] Incorporeal here and hereafter will refer to, not consisting of matter or without material body or substance
[24] Private Email on Sun, 28 Mar 2004 21:40:57 -0800 (PST)


Women In Ministry: A Synopsis Of The Biblical View

In our developing religious culture, few issues have surpassed the controversy than that of a woman’s role in the church. Often, discussions concerning this issue end up being ad hominous brawls. Some, from a variety of theological interpretations, believe that Scripture denies any teaching or position of authority, held by a female, to be exercised over a male; this view is called complementarianism. Others believe, from the biblical text, that a position of liberty and equality regarding women is apropos in church leadership; this is called the egalitarian view. This paper will clearly take the view of the latter—egalitarianism with some modifications.

It is not the purpose of this paper to explore all the nuances of both views, nor exhaustively plumb the depths of each passage that could be brought into discussion in dialectic discourse. Due to space limitations, we shall explore one or two texts for biblical justification of the complementarian view. Typically, 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is the proof text employed for this view. The Apostle Paul states:

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12 KJV)

First, many complementarians expect something of history that is almost impossible. In Paul’s day only Jewish males were required to study and learn the Torah. There was no such mandate placed upon Jewish females however. So, as it relates to 1 Timothy 2, we can see Paul modifying the Old Testament Law to, indeed, grant liberties to women because Paul did not want Christian women to be ignorant of the Scriptures and encouraged them to learn, e.g. 1 Timothy. 2:11. Paul says that while they learned it was to be done “in silence” and with “full submission” (HCSB) or “subjection” (KJV). Essentially, women are admonished, by Paul, to respect and learn from those God had placed in leadership positions of church polity. Therefore, we should understand, historically, women’s roles were and are very underdeveloped. The woman’s right to vote enjoys only a few years of existence in the USA. Consequently, it is difficult to look for evidence of women, in any form of leadership, in a culture where women were nothing but slaves and tools for reproduction. Paul, seemingly, was changing this historical feature.

Ironically, however, “women played a decisive role in the ministry of Christ and have continued to influence Christianity throughout history.”[1] Acts 18:26 actually demonstrates Aquilla and Priscilla teaching Apollos, yet Luke, the author, (probably the physician of Paul) gives no rebuke. Luke records, “He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:26 ESV)

Apollos was not a meager man destitute of biblical knowledge, in fact, Apollos, in verse 24 is called an “eloquent man” (KJV) and one “mighty in the scriptures” (KJV). Being such a learned man would seemingly necessitate a learned teacher or at least a leader among the believers.

Some have argued that this teaching of the scriptures, to Apollos, occurred outside of a public worship service or at home (Goodspeed, Moffatt, NIV, HCSB), yet the issue is not so much location, as it is whether or not females can exercise a leadership role over a male. Others (NKJV, NASB, NET, ESV), however, suggest that they “took him aside” or “took him to themselves” (Godbey) neither of which necessarily means they actually left the synagogue entirely. In this setting, the role of “bible study teacher” is certainly one of leadership and the human role in revealing scriptural truths.

An interesting note is that Priscilla was an important enough figure to be mentioned by name and was mentioned first, before her husband. The KJV has Aquilla mentioned first, a Majority Text tradition, yet this is not the case in all manuscripts especially the older ones. As seen above, the ESV corrects this with Priscilla being mentioned first. Bruce Metzger speaks of certain manuscripts wherein the scribes may have purposely rearranged the names to either exclude Priscilla or place Aquilla first. Metzger concludes that, “The unusual order, the wife before the husband, must be accepted as original, for there was always a tendency among scribes to change the unusual to the usual. In the case of Priscilla and Aquila, however, it was customary in the early church to refer to her before her husband (cf. Ro 16.3; 2 Tm 4.19).[2] Therefore, Acts 18:26 should remain as a potent text that reveals women in ministry.

Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2:12 do not mean that women should never teach. Paul uses the seemingly unyielding "I suffer not" a woman to teach, yet our knowledge of historical female role development should inform us as to the proper meaning of these words. The way some interpret this Pauline passage has scripture contradicting itself for women are, in fact, encouraged to teach in certain contexts (Titus 2:3). Timothy is to let a woman learn (be discipled) in peace (Greek êsuchia, “silence, restfulness”), without her being disturbed. The sense is not “in silence,” as in most translations, implying she should keep her mouth shut, but “at rest”; compare Acts 22:2 and 2 Thessalonians 3:12, where the word is translated, “settle down” (CJB). On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 does teach against disturbing chatter by females at congregational meetings. As we can tell Paul is making allowance, although careful ones, for the development of women’s role in the church. Paul is telling us that women are able to learn equally with men, this in itself is revolutionary concept in Paul’s day. [3]

Paul also uses the terms "usurp" and the phrase "have authority” (NAB). The BAGD defines “usurp” to mean, “domineer over someone.”[4] Friberg says, “strictly, of one who acts on his own authority; hence have control over, domineer, lord it over.”[5] Essentially, this refers to taking power that has NOT been given.

“To have authority translates a Greek verb that means "to control," "to dominate," "to control in a domineering manner." It is suggested that the Greek word for have authority can mean "interrupt," in which case what verse 12 is saying is that the women should remain completely quiet during the meetings and should not interrupt the men teachers in any way.”[6] “’To control in a domineering manner' is often expressed idiomatically, for example, 'to shout orders at,' 'to act like a chief toward,' or 'to bark at.'”[7] Thus this type of teaching is contextualized to refer to those who try to take carte blanche and run the show. I think we've all seen those around.The Greek word for “quietness” 1 Timothy 2:11 and “silent” in verse 12, does not mean complete silence or no talking. It is used elsewhere (Acts 22:2; 2 Thes. 3:12) to mean “settled down, undisturbed, not unruly.” A different word (sigaō Strong’s Greek # 4623) means “to keep quiet” (Luke 18:39; 1 Corinthians 14:34 HCSB).

The IVP Bible Background Commentary makes a very apropos statement, "Given women’s lack of training in the Scriptures, the heresy spreading in the Ephesian churches through ignorant teachers (1:4–7), and the false teachers’ exploitation of these women’s lack of knowledge to spread their errors (5:13; 2 Tim 3:6), Paul’s prohibition here makes good sense. His short-range solution is that these women should not teach; his long-range solution is “let them learn” (2:11). The situation might be different after the women had been instructed (2:11; cf. Rom 16:1–4, 7; Phil 4:2–3).”

Galatians 3:28 is viewed by many as the “Magna Carta for women in the church,” through its abolishment of the distinction between male and female in Christ.[8] While this proclamation neither institutes nor advocates a new unisex era, it supports the New Testament principle that God is no ‘respecter of persons.’[9] This verse actually serves as a restatement of Joel’s prophecy, fulfilled at Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all flesh, ignoring gender, age, and class distinctions.[10] Certainly this passage must be considered when establishing guidelines for female participation in ministry. Also, one cannot ignore Paul’s own continual references to females serving in leadership capacities throughout his writings. The mention of women as leaders of the early church is especially prominent in Romans 16, which refers to numerous women whom Paul considered fellow workers in spreading the gospel, as well as naming Phoebe as a deacon (diakonos), and Junia as an apostle. Furthermore, it is noted that there is no instance in Romans 16 in which a man is mentioned by name for a church office that does not also include a female serving in the same capacity.[11]

The core issue related to the interpretive application of this passage deals with its universal or limited application. Given the volatility and debate over women in ministry their positions can and are limited today. I do feel that the office of the pastor is off-limits on the basis that information is shared, to a pastor, which would be highly offensive to the female. Also, Paul says “usurp authority” or that a female is not to take authority not given. This position requires someone to be in authority over the female and that her authority must be given or allowed her contextually. Teaching, is definitely condoned in the New Testament (Acts 18:26, Titus 2:3) as a female office. Thus this office should certainly be allowed, with discretion, of course, according to the pastors position on “women in ministry.”

The bible contains several passages which provide lucid guidelines for those who desire to be involved in church polity, none of which place gender limitations on ministry involvement. Questions of authority and offices are far more complex today than they were in the first century A.D., due to the detailed structure of modern churches, as opposed to the bottom-up, charismatic organization of the early church. The most basic answer to this dilemma must acknowledge that all believers are called to exercise their roles as priests, both male and female.


[1]Hammack, M., L. A Dictionary of Women in Church History. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1997, c1984.
[2]Metzger, B. M., & United Bible Societies. (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition; a companion volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) (Page 413). London; New York: United Bible Societies.
[3]Stern, D. H. Jewish New Testament Commentary : A Companion Volume to the Jewish New Testament. 1st ed. Clarksville, Md.: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1992. 1 Ti 2:11.
[4]Arndt, W., F. W. Gingrich, F. W. Danker, & W. Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature : A Translation and Adaption of the Fourth Revised and Augmented Edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-Deutsches Worterbuch Zu Den Schrift En Des Neuen Testaments Und Der Ubrigen Urchristlichen Literatur. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, c1979. Page 121.
[5]Friberg, T., B. Friberg, & N. F. Miller. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament library. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000. Page 81.
[6] UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies
[7] Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright © 1988 United Bible Societies, New York. Used by permission.)
[8]L. Belleville, Women Leaders and the Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2000), 15.
[9] See Acts 10:34.
[10]Mickelson, "An Egalitarian View: There is Neither Male nor Female in Christ," 180. See Acts 2:17-18.
[11] Peter Richardson, "From Apostles to Virgins: Romans 16 and the Roles of Women in the Early Church," delivered at the Evangelical Colloquium on Women and the Bible (October 9-11, 1984).


The Sixth Commandment: Thou Shall Not Kill

Someone once told me, "There are religious people (including Apostolics) who would have no problem serving their country but just don't want to be put in any position where they would have to directly harm others.” Many make such statements because of Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill." KJV However, most interpret this verse incorrectly and assert that that Christians should not defend themselves, enlist in military duty, or use this verse to promote anti-Capital Punishment sentiments. All of the above are not interpretations that are arrived at through scripture; rather they may be part of an emotional plea.

Although, the KJV is very explicit in its terminology, it leaves much out. In fact, the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says that the KJV is "too general." The Jewish Tanakh renders Exodus 20:13 as most modern English translations, "You shall not murder”. Consider these various English translations of Exodus 20:13:

Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder. NKJV
Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder. NASB
Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder. NRSV
Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder. ESV
Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder. NIV
Exodus 20:13 Do not commit murder. TEV

I could list more; however, the point is placed. The term murder and kill denote two different things in the minds of any individual. Kill, in my mind means to destroy the vital or active qualities of anything. Murder, however, should refer to unlawful and malicious premeditated killing. To murder is to kill, but to kill does not necessarily include murder.

David Guzik distinguishes murder as, “Murder is the taking of life without legal justification (execution after due process) or moral justification (killing in defense).”[1] For example, in self-defense one man shot and killed another, this is not murder. Whereas, a burglar invaded the home of the Jones’ and killed both parents, this would be premeditated or at least thoughtful, hateful murder.The original Hebrew texts only have two words in verse 13-- al jx*r+T! ((H3808 and H7523). The first Hebrew word, lo, is a simple adverb that means no or not. The second, ratsach, is a verb in the Qal sense which means premeditated murder. Dr. Spiros Zodihates says this is of ratsach, " A verb meaning to murder…It is used to indicate a premeditated murder (Deu_5:17; 1Ki_21:19; Jer_7:9" [2] The BDB says ratsach in the Qal sense refers to, “murder, slay, with premeditation;” [3] Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies tells us that ratsach means to slay in a violent unjust manner; to murder. Wilson says that it is never used or applicable in the sense of killing brute beasts.

Although wooden, the text literally could be "Thou Shalt Murder, Not." In the original Hebrew texts and our English versions the omission of the sentence object is missing. In terms of grammar that is known as an ellipsis, where there is words missing to complete the grammatical construction. There is no object in the sentence to show who or what is not to be murdered.

Paradoxically, this could help us in understanding, further, that God, here, had a definite idea in mind when He inspired Moses to write, i.e. do not murder. If God would have said, “You shall not murder women” then we would see the object as women only and conclude that it is apropos to kill anything else. However, it is left open, thus murder in anyway or to any person is emphatically prohibited by God.

America, is essentially an empire rather than a mere nation, it is a major political unit having territory of hegemonic extent over many peoples, using various dialects, under a single sovereign authority. Much like Alexander the Great and Rome before it, the overextension of national assets to claim and preserve territory will eventually affect the American empire in much the same way it did with Alexander the Great. This being so, it is quite possible, that killing to extend empire or commerce is indeed murder and not the morally justifiable killing of war in defense of country.

This article presupposes that the reader has certain moral compunctions towards such things as murder, including abortion. Abortion, “the second most common surgical procedure in the U.S., circumcision being the first,”[4] is not morally justifiable; rather it is the taking of life from another created being. Every nation should heed the Law of God in these matters.

As we have seen the concept of the Hebrew word for kill is very broad, yet in the Qal verbal sense it strictly points to premeditated murder and not self defense. The sixth commandment concerns our own and our neighbor’s life. The Hebrews understood it as meaning more. The comments of Jesus in Matthew 5:21-24 extend the Hebraic meaning to refer to something more than just literal blood shed:

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' (22) But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire. (23) So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, (24) leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:21-24 ESV)

Notice that Jesus shows that murder has spiritual nuances, and was designed to extend to the thoughts and feelings as well as the external act. Here, Jesus draws murder more close to home—our tongues and our spirits can murder people. As humans, we are not too quick, as Christians anyways, to grab a 357 Magnum and murder someone. However, we are quick to do so with our tongues, sometimes too quick. We have all been tempted to bruise or crush (root word meaning) someone spiritually that we did not like or has done us wrong. I wonder now, how many Christian murderers we have? I wonder how many have preaching licenses’? Better yet, how many occupy a church board position or a pew? One of the greatest human faux pas is that we expect mercy, recognition, blessing, and authority for ourselves, but at the same time we often refuse the same to others.

When Jesus spoke of the one in Matthew 5, who had something against his brother, He commanded that they put their gift of worship down and make it right with God, then worship. I wonder how the dereliction of that duty has caused so much confusion in churches and in public worship and song, because we are out of "spiritual alignment" with God.


[1] (Verse By Verse Commentary, Copyright © 1997-2002. The Enduring Word Commentary Series. By David Guzik
[2] Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : Old Testament (electronic ed.) (G5515). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[3]Whitaker, R., Brown, F., Driver, S. (. R., & Briggs, C. A. (. A. (1997, c1906). The Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament : From A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Francis Brown, S.R. Driver and Charles Briggs, based on the lexicon of Wilhelm Gesenius. Edited by Richard Whitaker (Princeton Theological Seminary). Text provided by Princeton Theological Seminary. (954.1). Oak Harbor WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[4]Feinberg, J. S., Feinberg, P. D., & Huxley, A. (1996, c1993). Ethics for a Brave new world. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.


Behold The Green Horse: An Islamic Connection?

Flag of Saudia Arabia

  1. Revelation 6:8 KJV - And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
  2. Revelation 6:8 NET - So I looked and here came a pale green horse! The name of the one who rode it was Death, and Hades followed right behind. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill its population with the sword, famine, and disease, and by the wild animals of the earth.
  3. Revelation 6:8 Phillips - Again I looked, and there appeared a horse sickly green in colour. The name of its rider was death, and the grave followed close behind him. A quarter of the earth was put into their power, to kill with the sword, by famine, by violence, and through the wild beasts of the earth.
The prophet Zechariah describes four chariots coming out of mountains of "brass" (6:1), each chariot having different color horses (red, black, white, and "grisled and bay horses" 6:2-3). The angel present declares they are "the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord...." (6:4-5). Much later the four-horsemen of this portion of John's Revelation has stood for various things throughout eschatological history. In the futuristic tradition, the black horse is interpreted, by some, to be capitalism; the white horse has been interpreted to mean Catholicism; the red horse communism and the pale horse death, and so on.

If this paradigm is true or if there are certain events yet future regarding the fulfillment of this passage let's consider the word "pale". The Greek word for "pale" here is chloros which literally refers to, "the color of plants green, pale green, yellowish green...." (1) Most lexicons define chloros as meaning green in some sense. In fact, our English word chlorophyll is a derivative of the Greek chloro and chloros. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green in plant life.

Flag of Pakistan
"Green is the traditional color of Islam, Likewise because of its association with nature. Mohammed is reliably quoted in a hadith as saying that "water, greenery, and a beautiful face" were three universally good things.In the Quran, sura Al-Insan, followrs of Allah in Jannah wear fine green silk." (2)

It is also rumored that the color green was his favorite color and it is quite apparent that green was and is the color of the banners in the battlefield. Most Islamic countries have the color green as the most predominate color in their flags. Many Mosques are frequently decorated with green tiles. The Quran even describes paradise as filled with green. 
For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneath them rivers will flow; they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade: They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good the recompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on! (Yusuf Ali, 18:31)
This being the case "pale green" or even "green" horse may be a competent translation. Various translations render this portion of the text accordingly, The ALT: green horse, CEV: pale green, Phillips: horse sickly green in color, HCSB: pale green, LITV: pale green, NAB: pale green and the NET: pale green. The NLT, although using functional equivalence, has a unique translation that captures the multi-faceted meaning or "thought" here. It has "a horse whose color was pale green like a corpse". Some translations by individuals use the phrase "livid horse", e.g. Moffat, Godbey. L means "discolored by bruising". Even the 1534 Tyndale Bible translates it as "behold a green horse".

What could this mean? Many opinions are available to us. But green is also the universally identifiable color of Islam. Considering the rise and prevalence of Islam in our society, it is quite possible that the "pale-green horse", whose rider is death, is the horse to bring death to the "fourth of the earth" also mentioned in Revelation 6:8.

The Muslim community comprises about 1.5 billion followers on all five continents. That is about 1/4th of 6 billion people. Islam is also one of the fastest-growing religions in the world. If Islamic warriors were to converge and pass over the Euphrates river, their numbers could easily total the "two hundred million" prophesied of in Revelations 9:16. If there is any group with enough hatred and appetite to attack and destroy Israel, or any infidel people for that matter, it would be the Islamic people.


1) Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. (2000). Vol. 4: [i]Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament[/i]. Baker's Greek New Testament library (Page 409). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green; http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/colorselection/p/green.htm


War of Faiths: Islam vs. Christianity

In the seventh century an Arabian named Mohammed claimed to have special revelations from God. This birthed the Quran or Koran and the faith of Islam. Mohammed claimed that this faith was the final revelation of God in a succession of prophets that includes Jesus Christ. He enforced this new faith by the sword, and eventually conquered many of the lands that had been largely Christian.

Currently the Islamic faith is in view in our society. Hopefully we can make some small contribution here for truth. Here our hope is to exalt the supremacy of a personal, loving God who became a man to restore and redeem humanity.

Fallacy of Force:

One of Islam’s foundational problems is the fallacy of force. The Quran commands Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims and apostates (Surah 5:33; 9:5, 29). The Koran is riddled throughout its pages with commands and innuendos to do violence to non-believers and the un-faithful.

A classic example for Holy War theology, for Jew and Christian alike, begins in the book of Joshua. For the Muslim, who is often participant in this type war, may be found in Sura 2, Al-Baqara verses 190-193 or 214-217. The book of Joshua, however, is YHWH’s victory account. In fact, the Hebrew word (kherem) which refers to “utterly destroy” occurs frequently throughout the book (e.g. 6:17; 8:26).

The significant distinction between an Islamic jihad (holy war) and a Christian holy war is that the believer in Christ is mitigated and controlled by love and an awareness of spiritual forces. Being controlled by love however does not mean we are also exempt or inoculated from God’s justice. The Christian believer has a new covenant that introduces revelation about God and His love whereas the Quran has seemingly no ethical progression.

In the introduction to the J.M. Rodwell translation of The Koran it concedes by admitting that in literary terms the Koran is very young. It speaks of a “new phase of human thought” and a “fresh type of character” that the Koran has contributed to humanity. The introduction goes on to posit that the “Mohammedan world” has become one of the greatest forces “with which Europe and the East have to reckon to-day”.

The introduction seemingly pits the faith of Islam against Christianity and Eastern religions in war like tones. It’s as if Islam has taken up the sword and is ready to conquer all its opposition. Should we be surprised by this? Some indeed will be, but should not. It is thefoundational building blocks of Islamic faith.

Some Quran defender might say yes, the Koran has war verses or extremely violent texts, but they are few. This is of course—false. Of the 114 Surahs, 109 are identifiably war verses. One out of every 55 verses in the Koran is a war verse. Surah 2 and ayes 178 says, “Believers! Retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed!”

In many passages Muhammad declares war without bothering to mention self-defense as a prerequisite. War to decimate infidel populations by genocide is condoned. If Islam is a peaceful religion, then why did Mohammed engage in 47 battles? Why, in every campaign the Muslim armies have fought throughout history, have they slaughtered men, women, and children who did not bow their knees to the lordship of Islam?

The argument is made by some that the Christian Bible is also filled with violence, and this is true to an extent in the Old Testament in relationship to the emerging Israelites. Yet in the New Testament Jesus declares in Matthew 5:39 to turn the other cheek, and in Luke 6:27-28 Jesus says, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

The Christian believer has a new covenant that introduces revelation about God and His love whereas the Quran has seemingly no ethical progression.

Thus we have a new law given by Jesus in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

These texts reveal the new covenant of love, grace and peace that Jesus—God “manifest in flesh”—revealed to humanity. The Koran encourages its followers to wage war against the “infidel” but the Bible encourages us to “turn the other cheek” and “blessed are ye when ye are persecuted for my names sake”. As we will mention later the Quran bestows nothing more than Apostleship upon Muhammad. However, this pales in the Biblical comparison of Jesus where John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The Bible does cannot be called “young” among literary works; rather it is paramount to all works of literature. It excels among many history texts that are presently taught in universities in textual evidence. Recent discoveries in Qumran—The Dead Sea Scrolls—have contributed largely to the authenticity of scripture. The harmony and balance of over 5,000 manuscripts for the New Testament is astounding in stark contrast to the miniscule number of parchments found with Quranic texts.

The Bible teaches in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” The Bible attempts to unite all men. It sends out a clarion call to all humanity to join at one meeting place to begin a new life’s journey, that place is the Cross of Calvary.

Mohammedan References Absent:

No references to Mohammad as a prophet have been found in contemporary literature, rock inscriptions or coins. In addition, no manuscripts of the Quran exist before 150-200 years after Muhammad. This certainly allows opportunity for myths and legends to arise.

Another surprising element of Islam is that in the 39th surah Allah declares Muhammad is nothing more than an apostle. This is in stark contrast to what present day Muslims herald him as.

Allah: The god of Mohammed

Another virtue that transcends the god represented in the Quran, who seems impersonal, at the very least. Muslim defenders might reply with Sura 50, Qaf vs. 16 however this verse only suggest that God knows us very well. Consider these two Quranic translations:

“We created man: and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are closer to him than his neck-vein.” Sura 50, Qaf. vs. 16 (J.M. Rodwell)

“It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.” Sura 50, Qaf. vs. 16 (Yusif Ali)

It says nothing about Allah desiring to have a personal or loving relationship with creation. God knows every man since He knows all actual and even potential knowledge. It is what God has decreed or chosen to do with man that is significant in Christianity.

Even while knowing our human frailties and flaws the Christian God extends His love towards us. He desires a personal relationship with him. God’s entrance into time and space has indeed made history significant. By the Incarnation He has set into motion the means of reconciling and restoring fallen man to Himself by Jesus Christ and powered by the Holy Spirit.

J.N. Anderson


Rodwell, J.M. The Koran. Ivy Books. Published by Ballantine Books (Edition April 1993)

Ali, Yusif, The Quran http://www.harunyahya.com/Quran_translation/Quran_translation_index.php


Truth, Relevancy, and Pluralism:

Our world and specifically—America is a pluralistic society. Meaning we accept numerous religions. We have Judaism, the Church of Christ, Baptist (of all kinds), Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, New Age, Unitarians, Hare Krishna’s, Buddhist, Islam, Bahai Faith, Mormon’s, Unification Church, Christian Science, Scientology, etc. As a people, we are in the throws of deciding how to be tolerant and yet maintain absolute truths.

As a result of post-modernism, truth is publicized as relative. Meaning, truth is truth for you but is not necessarily truth to me. I have my truth and you have yours. Relativism is values and judgments differing according to circumstances, persons, cultures, etc. Relativism destroys truth.

I do not espouse intolerance, but The Truth. There can only be one truth. Our world is under the deception that, “Good Christians Should Accept Other Faiths!” or “Or Just Accept People As They Are!” Many quote the words of Paul, “Love Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7 ) They use this text to imply that Christians are taught to, essentially, compromise their beliefs for the beliefs of others. This is not what Paul had in mind here. “Love bears all things: the Greek verb is related to the word for a roof. It may mean, "supports or carries the universe," but more probably Paul means here that love bears or endures all kinds of ill treatment.”[1]

Webster’s defines tolerance as, “The endurance of the presence or actions of objectionable persons, or of the expression of offensive opinions; toleration.” Today, however, a NEW definition of tolerance is being touted. For example, Josh McDowell in his book The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict quotes Thomas A. Helmblock, exec. VP of Lambda Chi Alpha frat. He says this, “the definition of new…tolerance is that every individual’s beliefs, lifestyles, and perception of truth claims are equal…your beliefs and my beliefs are equal, and all truth is relative.”[2] Obviously, this definition is invalid and does violence to the original meaning of tolerance.

Philosophers maintain that truth is what is relevant to our reality or life and false if it is not. Truth then becomes subjective or merely personal. This is an attempt to make truth inclusive, which defies its obvious nature, which is in some way exclusive from non-truth. Truth must, as a consequence of its nature, exclude as false that which is NOT true. Norman Giesler, a noted Christian philosopher said, “What is true will be relevant, but not everything relevant is true. A pen is relevant to an atheist writer. And a gun is relevant to a murderer. But this does not make the former true or the latter good. A truth about life will be relevant to life. But not everything relevant to one’s life will be true.”[3]

Those who feel truth is relevant end up in a pool of uncertainty and basically asserting that truth is not knowable. Some have said, “We cannot know truth, it is unknowable.” That is a self-contradicting statement. One who says such things is making an absolute claim to “know”. You cannot say absolutely that truth cannot be known in a truth statement. To suggest we cannot know anything is to contradict oneself because one has just expressed a positive knowledge of something.

Some reply to Pentecostal certainty with, “How do you know you are not wrong?” This question is foolish because it assumes that truth is vague or even relative to you and puts the basis of truth on humanity and not the scriptures. The same can be asked of anyone who claims absolute truth. A reply to such a question could be, “How do you know that I am?” Hopefully, this will bring the focus back to the scriptures.

It is true that Austin is the capital of Texas; there is exclusively no other city that can hold that title. In fact, no other city in America or the World can lay legitimate claim to being the capital of Texas. Therefore, just because one city is the capital of Texas does not mean the people who hold to this truth are intolerant. It simply makes that person correct about the capital city of Texas. The same is true about Christianity. If the claims of the Christian faith are true—then Christians who believe and teach this are not intolerant. They are only correct.

Geisler wrote, “Surely, it is good to admit the possibility that one might be wrong and never good to maintain a position no matter what the evidence is against it. Also, one should never make a firm decision without examining all the evidence without prejudice. That is the half-truth that ropes us into this view, but a half-truth is a whole lie. Are we still to remain open-minded when all reason says that there can be only one conclusion? That is the same as the error of the closed mind. In fact, openness is the most closed-minded position of all because it eliminates any absolute view from consideration. What if the absolute view is true? Isn’t openness taken to be absolute? In the long run, openness cannot really be true unless it is open to some real absolutes that cannot be denied. Open-mindedness should not be confused with empty-mindedness. One should never remain open to a second alternative when only one can be true.”[4]

Paul urged the Ephesians to speak the "truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). Notice he maintains that truth should be presented yet done so in love. The Greek word for love in the text is agape, this type of love is rooted in concern and interest [5] for the other person and not selfish gain or selfish motives. Paul does not say that we will be understood all the time or that truth speakers will always be accepted. In fact, this is not the case many times. Yet, truth must be proclaimed. Truth is the opposite of non-truth. Our world is wasting in the pool of confusion and uncertainty because to humanity truth has become a situational and merely personal. Jesus said that we will know truth and that truth will set us free (John 8:32), free from darkness, free from uncertainty, free from depression, and free to know the truth of a loving Savior.

[1] The UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies
[2] Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict, “Introduction” pg. xxxix Thomas Nelson Publishers © 1999 by Josh D. McDowell
[3]Geisler, N. L. (1999). Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics. Baker reference library (Page 742). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.
[4]Geisler, Norman L., and Ronald M. Brooks. When Skeptics Ask. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1990.
[5] Newman, B. M. (1993). Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. (Page 2). Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)