The Rock was Christ

3 For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! 4 The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he; Deut. 32:4 NRSV
47 The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation, 2 Samuel 22:47 NRSV
Notice in the Scriptures above that the "Rock" has a "work" that is "perfect" and "ways" that are "just." God/Yahweh here is the Rock and He is a living personal and acting creator. 2 Samuel even says Yahweh "lives!" Deuteronomy goes on to even describe Yahweh as a "he"; "faithful"; "without deceit"; "just" and "upright". God is not a "what" but a "who" that speaks as a "he".

Daniel L. Segraves notes that "we are to read the Old Testament as did the writers of the New Testament: the events found in the Hebrew Scriptures anticipate and represent greater realities that will be brought to light in the messianic age, with the coming of Jesus Christ."(1) It is indeed the coming of Jesus, and not a Trinity, that the Old Testament foretells. In Jewish homes the song "The Rock From Which We Have Eaten" is sung around Shabbat. Messianic Jewish scholar David Stern suggests “One of the best known zmirot (songs) sung in Jewish homes on Shabbat is “Tzur Mishelo Achalnu” (“The Rock From Which We Have Eaten”). Since it may date back to as early as the second century, and because so many of its ideas parallel those of these verses, I quote two stanzas:”
The Rock, from whom we have eaten—
Bless him, my faithful friends! 
We have eaten our fill without exhausting the supply, 
Which accords with the Word of Adonai.
He nourishes his world, our Shepherd, our Father;
We have eaten his bread and drunk his wine …. 
With nourishment and sustenance he has sated our souls …. 
May the Merciful One be blessed and exalted! (2)
In this song Jews have no problem calling the "Rock" a "He" who is a "Shepherd" and a "Father". Emil Schurer in his voluminous work on the Jewish People says that the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh “occupy...so prominent position in the Jewish liturgy”. Shurer suggests that the Shema (Jewish confession of faith, consisting of Deut. 6:4-9, 11:13-21, Num. 15:37-31) is cited, preceeded by prayers, so that they would be in “constant remembrance of Him.” The Shemoneh Esreh is the “chief prayer, which every Israelite, even women, slaves and children, had to repeat three times a day...it is so much the chief prayer of the Israelite, that it is also called merely ‘the prayer.’”(3) Here are parts of the prayer I would like to consider closer. Notice how they echo that of Stern's Jewish song.
We praise Thee, for Thou art the Lord our God and the God of our fathers for ever and ever; the Rock of our life, the Shield of our salvation, Thou art for ever and ever...Cause us to turn, O our Father, to Thy law, and draw us near, O our King, to Thy service, and restore us in perfect repentance to Thy presence. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who delightest in repentance. 6. Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, our King, for we have transgressed; ready to pardon and forgive Thou art.
Let’s examine more Scripture about the Rock that was with the Israelites. Notice these passages:
Isaiah 44:8, Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” ESV
 I Samuel 2:2, There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. ESV
 II Samuel 22:2-3, He said: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent men you save me. ESV
 II Samuel 22:32, For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? ESV
 II Samuel 23:3, The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, ESV
 Psalm 18:2, The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ESV
 Psalms 62:1-2, For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. ESV
In the previous passages we can make some important conclusions. 1) no God or Rock besides "me" 2) no other God or Rock is known 3) this Rock is God or Yahweh of the Old Testament 4) God is our rock, refuge, shield, holy, stronghold, and savior. 5) The God of Israel, the Rock of Israel, even speaks. 6) God is a who and is described as a "him" and a "He". The Hebrew word הוּא appears which typically is a referent of whom or what is spoken about. In this case the whom is "He" and is referring to Yahweh. The New Bible Dictionary makes an important concession in light of popular trinitarian apologetics,
"Without the titanic disclosure of the Christ event, no one would have taken the OT to affirm anything but the exclusive, i.e. unipersonal monotheism that is the hallmark of Judaism and Islam."(4)
This well known fact is overlooked and still ignored by Trinitarians. The Old Testament is unipersonal and that is why Judaism is unipersonal. The "Christ event" however did not introduce another person no more than it revealed another, even lesser, Yahweh. God comes. He is Jesus.

The prophet Isaiah saw a vision of Jesus sitting on heaven’s throne (Isaiah 6:1ff.), with such a robe that its train filled the temple. Clearly no other person is on the right nor the left of God, and His throne. The seraphim present identifies what Isaiah saw as Yahweh. Isaiah later points out that it would be His birth of a virgin (7:14) from David’s lineage that would qualify Him to sit on David’s throne, fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Nathan. But this descendant of David would also be the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father Himself.

The Rock was Christ : Jesus is Yahweh

Paul, speaking of the Israelites in the days of Moses, said, “They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (I Corinthians 10:4). The Rock is a type of Christ but also identifies Jesus as Yahweh. Jews and Trintarians will stumble here. Jesus, the everlasting Father, is also the Son, who is also the Mighty God (See Isa. 9:6). The only God the Father in the either Covenants is Jesus, the Son. Jesus then is the True God (1 John 5:20). Fundamentally, the One who existed prior to the Incarnation is the same One who existed after the Incarnation but in a different form.

It was not the human Son of God, the seed of the woman, that was with the Israelites on that day. Yet, the one eternal personal Spirit of God preexisted the Incarnation. In his book Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity Richard Bauckham notes:
The implication for Jewish monotheism and Christology is remarkable: the exclusive devotion that YHWH's jealously requires of his people is required of Christians by Jesus Christ. Effectively he assumes the unique identity of YHWH. This is coherent with the suggestion that Paul already has the Song of Moses in mind in 10:4 ('the rock was Christ'), alluding to the description of YHWH as Israel's Rock that is characteristic of the Song (Dent. 32:4, 15, 18, 31; note the close association with the theme of Israel's idolatry in v. 18).(5)
James D.G. Dunn, in his book New Testament Theology notes:
...in the Gospels it is typically Jesus who heals or saves, or through whom God saves. And it is noticeable that, in the Pastorals in particular, the title of Savior is used of God as much as of Christ.(6)
Not a verse of Scripture even hints of any other Rock or significant Savior other than Yahweh. (See also Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 30-31; Psalm 28:1; 42:9; 61:2; 71:3; 94:22; 95:1, Isaiah 51:1.) With Jesus now understood to be included in the identity of Yahweh does not introduce another Rock, Savior or Yahweh. If so, the closest possible explanation would be polytheism and not Trinitarianism (i.e. more than one divine person can be called Rock, Savior, Yahweh).

Yahweh is a who that speaks as a he. Such self utterances and reflections by others on Yahweh as a he or him certainly reflect the indivisible nature of God's being as well as His inexhaustible person (esp. in contrast to worship of Baal(s)). For Israel Yahweh is an eternal undivided self. Notice these passages. Well before Christ was ever born the Old Testament prophet Isaiah states:

Isaiah 8:13-14, “But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 He will become a sanctuary, a stone one strikes against; for both houses of Israel he will become a rock one stumbles over—a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

In the Acts of the Apostles Luke records Peter’s affirmation in the clearest way possible: 

Acts 4:10-11, “let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead(7). 11 This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’” NRSV

The Apostle Paul, in Romans 9:32-33, also says “They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” NRSV

In even clearer terms Paul states: 1 Corinthians 3:11, For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. NRSV


1) Segraves, Daniel L. (2008). Reading Between the Lines (Kindle Locations 2920-2933). Word Aflame Press. Kindle Edition.

2) Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : A companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed.) (1 Co 10:3). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.

3) Schürer, E. (1890). Vol. 4: A history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ, second division, Vol. II. (86, 87). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

4) Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (1209). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

5) Richard Bauckham. Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity (Kindle Locations 1362-1366). Kindle Edition.

6) James D. G. Dunn (2009). New Testament Theology (Library of Biblical Theology) (Kindle Locations 1533-1537). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.

7) Who raised Jesus from the dead? 2 Cor. 5:19—God was in Christ, reconciling the world…..; John 2:19—Jesus, Destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up; Gal. 1:1—Father raised Christ from the dead and Rom. 8:11—Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead. God raised Christ from the dead.



Recently Millard Erickson noted, "Monotheism means exclusive worship of and obedience to the one true God." (Making Sense of the Trinity: Three Crucial Questions) Monotheism is the worship of the one True God. The Israelites were not evolving polytheists but held strict devotion to the One True God. For Christians the One True God entered into His own creation. Jesus is Immanuel--God with us.

This does not mean Israel was without those who fell away or turned to other gods. Deuteronomy 6:4 makes this plain as it was intended to exclude polytheism and henotheism. From the text we can gather that there is one God and one way to worship Him. In singleness of heart, will and with all one's person. Our undivided commitment to God matches the number of God as well. Ten verses later Yahweh commands them not to go after “gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you.” (6:14, ESV) These other "gods" were clearly fictional gods and not worthy of their worship and commitment. 

Trinitarians seek to posit that God here is only described as one in being not person. God is somehow so other than those created in His image (Gen.1:26-27) that He can somehow be one being and yet three persons. As proof they suggest that God's being is unlimited and unlike our own. While this is true in many ways it does not necessarily follow that God is more than one person. If God's being is unlimited and unlike ours to such a degree then certainly the same can be said of the person of God Himself. Especially in light of the fact that God or Yahweh is explicitly personal and clearly interacts as one to one existentially. Walther Eichrodt, from Basel University, notices that Yahweh's oneness is not only in reference to His being but also in His person.
"Linguistically, it is certainly possible to support the rendering "Yahweh our God is one single Yahweh"; that is to say, he is not a God who can be split up into various divinities or powers, like the Baals of Tyre, of Hazor and or Schechem, etc., but one who unites himself as a single person everything which Israel thought of as appertaining to God." (Theology of The Old Testament)
The Shema is not confusing. Yes, it has yielded much debate but some basic things can be said. God is echad or one. Echad is the Hebrew word for the number one. Every Hebrew boy or girl learns this at a very early age to distinguish one person or thing from another person or thing. In Deuteronomy 6:4 echad is no doubt used as it is in other places. 

Echad signifies one place (Gen. 1:9), anyone soul or person (Lev. 4:27), or one justice (Num. 5:16). Here we have that there is only one Yahweh. He is one. There is no reason why echad cannot be referencing the person of God in Deuteronomy 6:4. Hebrew children regularly used echad to distinguish one person or thing from another. Unless the Trinitarian is willing to say that God is impersonal or a thing then the reference can include person. In the case of God He is most definitely personal.

The Biblical data clearly indicates that Yahweh or God exists as one personal Spirit being (Ps. 139:7-12; Isa. 31:3; John 4:24) who is invisible (Deut. 4:11-15; Job 9:11; 1 Tim. 6:15-16) omnipotent (Gen. 17:1; 18:14; Ps. 135:5-6), omniscient (Gen. 6:5; 1 Kings 8:39; Job 37:16), self-existent (Ex. 3:14; Isa. 43:10, 44:6; Jer. 10:10) who is personal enough to think and know (1 Sam. 2:3; 1 Chron. 28:9; Job 28:20-24), to create plans and act upon them (Isa. 14:26-27, Isa. 46:10; Isa. 55:11) make judgements (Prov. 5:21; Jer. 20:12) feels emotion (Gen. 6:6; Deut. 32:35-43; Job 19:11)) and respond to others (Ex. 3:7, 6:5; Job 34:28; Ps. 81:19).

Such things are true statements of what should be both the Jewish and Christian creed. This is not to deny that there are certain irreconcilable differences (between Judaism and Christianity) but it is to affirm, for the sake of this discussion, that Yahweh is one. This unchanging creed should help us govern our understanding of the majesty and might of the undivided True and Living God. There is no reason to suppose that the Shema includes a reference to the being of God but not His person. In light of the Incarnation this understanding does not change but further affirms that God is truly one and that one God has been manifest in the flesh. Jesus is that God manifest in flesh.

Roger Perkins and James White Debate Audio

Congratulations to Bro. Perkins on an excellent job in giving an answer and defense to Trinitarian apologist Dr. James White. Listen below to hear an excellent debate on "Did the Son, as a self conscious divine Person distinct from the Father and Holy Spirit, exist prior to His Incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth?"

Right click a link below and choose the "...save as..." option to save audio and as an mp3 to your hard-drive. You can also open a link in your browser to listen online.

Opening Statements:

First Rebuttals:

Second Rebuttals:

First Cross-Examination:

Second Cross-Examination:

Audience Questions:

Closing Statements:

Thanks to Pastor Craig Ireland and Hope Christian Church for making this audio available. Click here to listen from Hope Christian Church, Brisbane, Australia.


The Pre-existence of Christ In Scripture, Patristics and Creed by James White

In a previous post Roger Perkins cited an online article by Dr. James White about the pre-existence of Jesus. Here is the link and a portion of that material. 

Click here to read article from AOMIN.org http://vintage.aomin.org/The_Pre_Existence_of_Christ.html
The Pre-existence of Christ
In Scripture, Patristics and Creed

by James White


Our modern world is decidedly confused. On the one hand, the rationalistic, humanistic viewpoint dominates within our public education system. We are now taught to question the validity of anything that can be called "supernatural." The very idea that someone might believe in miracles, revelation, etc., is opened up to direct ridicule. At the same time, in a direct reaction against this kind of dry humanism, many people are fleeing for refuge into every kind of spiritistic group imaginable. "Channeling" (a fancy way of saying a spirit medium) is very popular, and the Eastern ideas of reincarnation and mysticism are drawing converts from every walk of life.

In the midst of all of this confusion we find the Bible, continuing to proclaim the timeless message of Jesus Christ. Yet even the Lord Jesus has come in for modern "updating" in many men's writings. After a century of "searching for the historical Jesus" men (hopefully) have discovered that outside of the inspired writings of the apostles in the New Testament, we will not find much information on who Jesus was. Indeed, unless we see that it is illogical and irrational to reject the Scriptures for what they claim to be(1) we will never have much to say to our world.

Today it is normal for "Christian" theologians to de-emphasize the doctrinal aspects of the Person of Jesus Christ. Since rationalism and naturalism are the modes of the day, it is unpopular to deal with the clear Biblical teaching of the deity of the Lord Jesus and his pre-existence. The person who looks to the Bible, however, has little choice in the matter - the doctrine is clearly stated both in the Gospels as well as the epistles, and indeed it is implicit in most of the New Testament.

One cannot easily disassociate the doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ from that of his deity, as they are part and parcel of the same teaching. An in-depth discussion of the deity of Christ is outside of the realm of this paper, and it will be assumed that an understanding of the main elements of this doctrine are shared with the reader.(2)

This discussion will be limited to the focal passages found in the New Testament that deal with the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus. For our purposes these are as follows: John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-17, and Philippians 2:5-7. Each of these passages have much in common, as we shall see in our examination of them, both in an exegetical understanding, as well as in patristic interpretation.

It will be relevant to a discussion of the early Church's views to discuss the order of writing of the books which contain our primary data on the pre-existence of Christ. Generally, the Pauline epistles are dated anywhere from the late 40's to the late 60's of the first century. The majority of scholarship sees Paul's writings preceding John's by quite some time, and there is general agreement concerning the order of Paul's letters and their place in history.(3) The question of the exact date of John's gospel, however, is not so easily resolved. Merril C. Tenney(4) notes that modern estimates range from 45 to beyond 100 A.D. Part of the problem can be found in the fact that during what might be called the "hypercritical" period of the last century, it became quite popular to deny the Johanine authorship of the Gospel of John, and, due to its high Christology (which the rationalists assumed had to be a mythological invention of the early Church) place it at least into the second century. Modern textual finds (such as the famous P75) have demolished any ideas of a second-century date for John, and today the dates normally fall between A.D. 85 and 95.(5) What is very important to notice about the fact of the early (i.e., non-second century dating) is that the Christology of John is, therefore, no different than that of the early Church as the book was written during the same time period! Indeed, there is no way for there to have been sufficient time for such "myths" to have evolved, and, it is not logical to think that John would have written about certain events that could be proven false by living witnesses! With these facts in mind, we can move on to the actual exegesis of these passages.

Exegesis of Principal Passages

The Prologue of John (1:1-18) is unique in Biblical literature. It is clear that the main point of John is not the person of God. His emphasis is the identity of the Word. The Logos is the central figure of the work, and the teaching of the passage is that the Logos is intricately involved with the creation of the universe. The pre-existence of the Logos is clearly stated and assumed throughout the prologue.

Much has been said concerning the origin of the term logos. Philo(6) used the term, yet the logos of Philo is simply an impersonal manifestation of the Wisdom of God. John's usage of the term may indeed borrow from Philo (especially if John wrote the Gospel while in Ephesus, as the Greeks would be able to understand the term), but he goes far beyond anything Philo dreamed of. Rather than a pantheistic, impersonal divine emanation, the Logos of John is a personal, eternal being who is not simply a part of creation, but is rather the Creator himself.

The first verse itself must be examined to be understood. Transliterated into Greek the verse reads: En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, kai theos en ho logos. The verse breaks down into three clauses, each being vital to the whole. The first thing to notice is the fact that the imperfect form of eimi is used throughout the prologue in reference to the Logos. This tense, attached to the phrase "en arche" is timeless - i.e., as far back as one wishes to push the "beginning" the Word is already in existence. This is seen, for example, in the translation of the New English Bible which renders it, "When all things began, the Word already was." Today's English Version puts it, "Before the world was created, the Word already existed...." Hence, the first phrase clearly presents the eternality of the Word and hence his pre-existence.
The second phrase presents the inter-personal relationship of the Logos and God. The Greek phrase pros, translated "with," refers to the existence of communication and fellowship between the Logos and theos.(7)The word was used to describe being "face to face" with another. Now, unless John had added the final phrase ("and the Word was God") there would have been a problem here, as the first phrase clearly presents the Logos as eternal, while the second demonstrates his distinct personality. This would create polytheism without the final phrase's emendation. At the same time, this second clause ends any chance of Sabellianism's success.

The final phrase, kai theos en ho logos, presents a syntactical arrangement in which the term theos is emphasized. At the same time, the sentence is copulative, and the presence of the article with logossimply sets it out as the subject of the sentence. Much has been said concerning the lack of the article with theos(8) but -that discussion is beyond the scope of this paper. Basically, the construction 1) avoids modalism (i.e., the Word is not said to be completely co-extensive with theos) and 2) teaches that the Word has the same nature as God (a point that Paul will reiterate in Philippians).

Verse 3 links the eternality of the Word with creatorship. "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John here is intent on separating the Logos from the realm of the created - he started in the very first phrase by asserting his timeless existence and continues here by attributing to the Logos all of creation, an item that will reappear in Colossians. The only possible way to interpret these verses is to see the Logos as an eternal being who created all things.

The prologue continues by identifying the Logos with the person of Jesus Christ in 1:14. It is interesting to note that John very carefully differentiates between the Word in his absolute nature and all other things. When the eternal Word is in view, John uses en. When created things are being discussed (such as John in 1:6), the aorist egeneto is found. However, when we come to the time event of 1:14 (i.e., the incarnation), John switches from the timeless en to the aorist egeneto - the Word became flesh at a point in time in history.

Finally, in 1:18(9), John seals the case by calling Jesus the "only-begotten God," or, more accurately, the "unique God"(10) who reveals the Father, who "exegetes"(11) God to man.

These verses with which John begins his gospel are meant, in my opinion, to form an "interpretive window" through which the reader is meant to look at the words that follow. One must constantly keep the Logos in the back of the mind when interpreting the words and actions of Jesus.(12) Much of what Christ says must be understood in this light to even make much sense! His unique relationship with the Father is intelligible only in the light of his eternal preexistence with him.



1) 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21.

2) This writer sees the following passages as directly ascribing to Jesus Christ the term God: Isaiah 9:6 (Hebrew: Elohim), John 1:1 (Greek: theos), 1:18, 20:28, Acts 20:28 (depending on text), Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:1 and (possibly) I John 5:20. Interestingly, in reference to Titus 2:13 (and 2 Peter 1:1 - both similar syntactical constructions) Chrysostom ("Homily lV on Philippians in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers volume 13) pg.207 clearly understood the implications of the syntax of Titus 2:13, and bases part of his polemic against the Arians on the application of theos to Christ. See also A. T. Robertson, The Minister and His Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977), pgs. 61-68.

3) F. F. Bruce Paul Apostle of the Heart Set Free (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1977) p. 475 places the epistles of Paul in the following order: Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans, Philippians, Colossians,

Ephesians, Philemon, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus with Galatians at 48 A.D., Colossians and Philippians in 60-62 A.D., and Paul's death in approximately 65 A.D. This is almost identical to A. T. Robertson's (" Paul the Apostle" in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1956) vol. 3:2265 - 2266) order of writing, with the exception of Galatians, which Robertson places just before Romans. See also Ralph Martin, "Colossians and Philemon" in The New Century Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1983) pg. 30 on the dating of Colossians.

4) Merril C. Tenney, "John" in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981) vol. 9, pp.9-10.

5) Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1985) vol.1:721-724 gives a good argument for Johanine authorship, and dates it before 100 A.D. A.T.Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1932) vol.5:1 dates John at A.D. 90. James lverach, "John the Apostle" in The lnternational Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1956) vol. 3:1721-1722 also dates John at the end of the first century.

6) G.L. Prestige, God in Patristic Thought, (London: SPCK, 1952), pp. 124,141. Ralph Martin, "Colossians and Philemon" in The New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1973) pg. 58.

7) A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research(Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934) pp. 625f. See discussion in A. T. Robertson, The Divinity of Christ in the Gospel of John (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1976) pp. 34-46.

8) See F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1983) p. 31, or Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1971) pg. 77 for a discussion of some of the issues involved in the translation of this phrase. Most noteably, the New World Translation of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society mistranslates the phrase as "the Word was a god."

9) On the text of 3 John 1:18 and the superiority of the reading theos over huios, see Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the New Testament (New York: United Bible Societies, 1975) p.198, A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 5:17. For citation of manuscripts, see the UBS text, 3rd ed. corrected, p. 322.

10) For the true meaning of monogenes see J. H. Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1935) pp. 416-417.

11) Greek: exegesato, to lead out, bring forth, make known, explain.

12) For an interesting discussion of the relationship of the Prologue to the rest of John, see John A. T. Robinson, Twelve More New Testament Studies (London: SCM Press, 1984) pp. 65-76.

13) Philip B. Harner, The I Am Sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John, (Fortress Press, 1970).

14) Ralph Martin, "Colossians and Philemon" pp. 55 -57; F. F. Bruce, Paul Apostle of the Heart Set Freepp.418ff. For further information on the passage as well as exegesis, see John Calvin, Calvin's Commentaries vol. 21:151-152.

15) See Wilhelm Michaelis, "Prototokos" in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1982) vol. 6:872ff.

16) See M. Tsevat, "Bekhor" in Theological Dictionary of the old Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1975) vol.2:121ff. On prototokos see entry in Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature edited by Gingrich and Danker, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979) p. 726.

17) J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959) pp. 150-151. See also pp. 151-153 on the extent of ta panta.

18) For other views and discussion on Colossians 1:15-17 in a theological setting, see Donald Guthrie,New Testament Theology (Inter-Varsity Press: USA, 1981) pp.344-352; George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1974) pp. 419-421.

19) Donald Guthrie, New Testament Theology pp. 342- 352; George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament pp. 419-421; Henry Alford, New Testament for English Readers (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983) pp. 1262-1264; Kenneth Wuest, "Philippians" in Word Studies in the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1981) pp. 62-65;J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistles to the Philipians (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1953) p. 137.

20) See discussion under patristic interpretation.

21) Ibid.

22) Both the Authorized Version and the New International Version see that the term kenosis is always used metaphorically by Paul hence, the translation "to make of no repute" or to "make himself nothing." It is never used by Paul of a literal "emptying."

23) J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (New York: Longman Inc., 1981) pp. 87, 91..cw 9.

24) Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, ed., The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1981) vol. 1:546.

25) For the text of the Nicene Creed, see J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (New York: Longman Inc., 1981), pp.215-216 and Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985) vol. 1:27-28.

26) Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 1:30.

27) John Chrysostom, "Homilies on St. John" in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Philip Schaff, ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1980) vol. 14:8.

28) Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:12.

29) Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 14:18. His entire exegesis found in pages 10-19 is excellent.

30) Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 13:271.

31) Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 13:207-208.

32) Athanasius, "Four Discourses Against the Arians" in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (series II) ed. by Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1980) vol. 5:409.

33) Athanasius, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 4:329.

34) Athanasius, "Statement of Faith" in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5:85.

35) Athanasius, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5:375. See also 5:382.

36) Augustine, "Homilies on the Gospel of John" in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series I, edited by Philip Schaff, vol. 7:7-13. Augustine also connected the idea of pre-existence with the absolute usage ofego eimi at John 8:21-25 in vol. 7:218-219.

37) Augustine, "Enchiridion," in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3:249.

38) See also Augustine, "On Faith and Creed" in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3.322-323, 329.

39) Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 3:619-620.


An Open Response From Roger Perkins to James White Part II

RP: On the October 25th edition of James White’s webcast (The Dividing Line) Mr. White continued in his typical condescending and pompous demeanor of my first rebuttal.  I have dictated his remarks below to the best of ability in red, with my counter-responses immediately following.  I copied his words in hurriedly so every single small term [i.e., vowels, articles, etc.] may not be word-for-word, but in 98% of the cases they are exact.  I refer readers to the show for corroboration of the info. below. 

JW:  Mr. Perkins chose to be offended at my remarks on the DL of his previous debates, instead of listening, learning and growing.

RP:  Again, you posture yourself as the teacher, and we all the “learners”.  As I said before, it’s quite hard to “learn” from someone who infers that God did not fully “reveal” His true identity to His OT Covenant people.  Not to even mention the “Three-Separate-Centers of Consciousness within each Divine Individual” position you hold to!?  Or, your comment in your article John 1:1, Meaning and Translation, Section II,  that states “The Logos is not all of God”.  Interesting indeed!  Let me guess, I’m taking the terms you chose to employ out of context again…right?

JW: In the Oneness camp, if someone says you’re factually wrong, it’s automatically an “Ad Hominem” attack.

RP:  As I said to you before, I’ve received numerous emails from all over the country, both Trinitarian and Oneness, who expressed their disdain for your undue polemics.  This includes terms such as “Ridiculous,” “Plain Silly,” “Absurd,” and, now add to the mix, “Lying”!  “Ridiculous” indeed!  If you can dish it out sir, then don’t cry when I return the favor…I can do both.

JW: Perkins arrived on Monday of the week and did nothing all week, and apparently required a lot of looking after, which I typically try to avoid.

Well, the people at Hope Christian Church confirm it was their joy and pleasure to host me and do not feel as though I was a trouble for them. I have been reading your material and studying your stuff for approximately 5 months intently and was fully ready to debate you the moment I stepped off the plane. But, this is all relevant to Theology….HOW???

JW:  Perkins did not engage the actual subject

RP:  I spent 3 hrs. debating your subjects.  I simply did not provide the responses you wanted me to give, thus the ol’ familiar Trinitarian charge, “You’re not answering my questions”.  Hmmm, kinda’ like you did when I asked about the natural ramifications of the anthropomorphical language applied to God as possessing one mouth, pair of hands, feet, face, etc.  To which you replied, “God having a mouth does not infer He is one person anymore than when the Bible says He has feathers He’s a chicken!”  Good for laughs, but also a professional dodge which ignores the point of the question now doesn’t it [I.E., Ignoring the Question!].  Or, when asked why singular personal pronouns in the NT equals one single person, but 9,000 singular personal pronouns applied to God in the OT, the person-hood criteria shifts to being-hood.  You said, “The difference is there’s no personal dialogue in the OT (which is quite strange for co-eternal persons now isn‘t it?).”  I should have responded by asking if there has to be dialogue for a single-person-pronoun to indicate personhood?  But, alas, hindsight is indeed 20/20 vision!

JW: Every time I look up Perkins’ scholarly references, they are in error.

RP:  Hmm, did you take the time to look up the various prepositional usages in BAGD for the baptismal accounts in Acts…which expressly reference an oral invocation of the Name [eis (acc. case) to onama, epi (dat. case), en]?  BTW, it’s quite strange that the lone witness of Mt. 28:19 necessitates the baptismal “formulae,” while the multiple attestations in Acts and the epistles simply denote Christian ‘authority’??  And you’re teaching me about proper “hermeneutics”??  

Did you take the time to look up Louw-Nida’s semantic domain or Thayer’s on para in the dat. case as including “in the judgement of, in the opinion of, or metap., in the mind, Jn. 17:5 [this last reference is Thayer].”  Or, how about Zodhiates with dia in the gen. case in Col. 1:16...was that also in “error,” esp. since Zodhiates & Thayer explicitly reference the verses under consideration, and Louw-Nida says para in the dat. Case “includes” the mng. “in the opinion of, in the judgement of”.  I referenced everyone of these in the debate, to which you offered no response.  BTW, before you call the term “includes” a “weasel word” [as you have charged me before], I’ll simply remind you that you yourself used this word in partially quoting BAGD’s def. of monogenes in the back of your book [pg. 203 or 208 if I’m not mistaken?].  But, this is the typical scholastically hypocrisy I’ve come to expect after studying you for intently for several months now. 

JW: Perkins is a sad example of not focusing on the arguments

RP:  Hmm, seems the unbiased moderator, as well as several in the crowd did not feel that way.  Once again, you set yourself up to be the final authority as to what qualifies as “effective argumentation” and what does not.  Sorry Mr. White, we are not at your mercy in these [or any other] areas.

JW: If Perkins really wanted to refute me, all he had to do was offer meaningful exegesis.

RP:  Let’s see, I touched on Para in the dat. case, dia in the gen. case, plural vs. singular verbs in regard to the subjects they modify, referenced Louw-Nida, BAGD, Thayer, Friberg, Robertson, Moulton, etc.  No, I did not get to offer an in-depth analysis of the Carmen Christie, though I had two pages on it alone.  But, this was due to the format THAT WE DISCUSSED PRIOR TO THE DEBATE AND YOU AGREED TO!  I was asked to delineate my position in detail to the audience, then begin our rebuttals in the very short time we had left…which I spent handling your charges in your own rebuttal.  And, even then I fit in Jn. 17:1-5.  So, if it makes you look better, keep singing away, but it’s quite odd the unbiased moderator and several others [Trinitarians] did not feel this way.

JW:  Perkins can’t pronounce Greek words, knows nothing about Greek grammar, and can’t even read the Greek alphabet

RP:  Ahhh yes…here we go.  This is the very reason the moderator had to issue you a warning in the debate, and gave me a few choice words after the debate for you.  Understand, he is a judiciary debate judge well trained on critiquing debates, and I was quite shocked when he told me he thought I won the debate and presented the clearer case.  Again, I never make such claims, but allow others to be the judge.

Now, you are very, very wrong about my knowledge of the Greek language and I have written entire symposium papers about how to read lexicons.  So, here, let me help you out a bit:  The lexicographers give the literal definitions of said terms, then from there begin to place the passages in the category that they best feel reflect their understanding of how the word is used is used various contexts.  It is at this point that carefulness must be exercised lest one mistakes their commentary as grammatical fact.  Thus, the context is the determining factor.  And, I wrote this & many other similar points long before I ever heard you say a thing about it! 

Regarding my reading the Greek language, you are quite in error here also.  Certainly I have a ways to go, but am in the learning process and can indeed read some Greek, but, again, it’s quite an on-going process.  Ironically, the participles are what I seem to pick up quite readily.  Also, there are entire passages that I can translate & read now, but again it’s quite a learning experience.  

However, you do reveal your motives here:  If you thought I could not read Greek, then what was your reasoning in asking me IN GREEK what the verbs in Phil. 2 meant?  If you thought I didn’t know how to pronounce the words…why did you insist on pronouncing, quoting, and reading from the Greek text.  As I was told later, this was to try and loft yourself as the superior, and I as the inferior…which “isn’t an effective form of argumentation.”  But, sure fools the crowd [some of them at least] doesn’t it Mr. White?

JW: I quoted Moulton & Milligan exactly in the English language

RP:  Now who’s “lying” sir?  I challenge any one reading this response to simply reference your article “The Pre-Existence of Christ” from your web-site and look down to about the 5th paragraph on the second page.  You expressly state in quotation marks, “unique God” (10), which is a reference to Moulton & Milligan, pp. 416-417.  When one consults the reference YOU provided in quotes, the words in quotes appear absolutely nowhere in your footnoted source!  Explain it away all you want, it’s right there for the honest in heart.  I have written many symposium papers and the editors would hand me my head if I did this.  This is NOT proper academic authorship…no matter how you try to rationalize it away.  At least have the decency sir to acknowledge you should have written it better and withdraw the quotation and reference source.  I have already included the genre of the quote as it appears in my first rebuttal for readers to view for themselves, especially their specific comments regarding Jn. 1:18 [the very verse you were referencing]...which states the entire opposite of what your paper infers.  I won’t even take the time to rehash your partial quote from BAGD, or your ‘deception by omission’ tactic you used in your “evidence” for Monogenes Theos selected from UBS-4.  Yes, “Abuse” indeed!

JW:  Can any rational thinking person think I wasn’t saying Moulton & Milligan was identifying as “Unique God”

RP:  Then don’t include it in quotes with a footnote reference right beside it citing your source with page numbers!  What does this tell anyone in first year college?  I know it’s a novel idea for you, but how about simply acknowledging your poor reference and move on? 

JW: Perkins has a horrific lack of scholarship

RP:  Said the man who told the world last Fri. night that God exists as “Three-Divine-Individuals, each with their own Separate Center of Consciousness”!?  No one knew a thing about such as existence for 4,000 years and 70% [or the remaining 30%] of the Bible…..and I’M THE ONE WITH HORRIFIC SCHOLARSHIP??  If your peculiar idea of a three-minded God constitutes “scholarship,” I think I’ll stay as far away from your brand of “scholarship” as I can, as well as teach others to do the same!

JW:  Only Roger Perkins has the ability to misread any scholarly source that’s presented to him

RP:  Contrare’ Monfrare’.  I actually presented Friberg to you in regard to ‘aykone,’ with their reference to Col. 1:15...& you just ignored it altogether.  As well as you did my references to Louw-Nida, Thayer, etc. concerning Para in the dat. case.  But, as usual, you simply plod along in your typical ad-hom style, all the while denying the same….a natural out-growth of your “Reformed Theology” [i.e., “Elect”].

JW:  He was lying in our debate

RP:  Ho-Hum and Big Yawn!  If I inadvertently misquoted BAGD, that’s not a “lie” [I suppose my reference to Friberg was also a “lie”?].  Perhaps we should do a home Bible study on the definition of Lying [so typical for reformed theologians BTW]. Concerning Moulton, it was your quotations and resource reference right next to it…not mine.  

JW:  Perkins key argument in ‘trying to get around Col. 1:16’ was his argument from BAGD, which made no sense.

RP:  Actually, I have conceded that I misspoke regarding the passage in the sense that the Son created as to His pre-eminence.  As I’ve already said, as soon as I said this I knew it did not at all come out right, nor did the statement accurately reflect my thoughts.  But, there was no time to correct it during a fast-paced cross-ex.  However, the overriding point remains valid and I have already enunciated this in my last open rebuttal to you.  The Son is contextually presented to us in Vss. 14-15 as the one who redeemed us to the forgiveness of our sins, and the visible image of the invisible God.  The word ‘aykone’ is where we get the English word ‘Icon’ & invariably defines as a tangible, visible representation [see Amplified, & Dr. W. E. Vine].  Clearly this is not the pre-existent world,  but the Human Messiah [God in Flesh] who “redeemed” us.  This is who the pronouns in Vss. 16-18 grammatically point back to, as evidenced by the conjunction hotee introducing a dependent causal clause in Vs. 16, further elaborating on Vs. 14-15.

JW: Over and over, Perkins does not know how to read a Lexicon

RP:  Funny, even if this were the case [which it’s not at all], you have told us that Lexicons only reflect that particular lexicons understanding….which is PRECISELY the point I have made in my teachings about lexicons [symposium papers, etc.].  And, I wonder if this holds true for your beloved A.T. Robertson, Benjamin Warfield commentary, and the 75 sources you reference in your book??

JW: Perkins has never spent one day taking Greek, and yet he refuses correction…which is a mark of Cultism

RP:  Elder David Adams was a Greek professor for 3 yrs. at a Bible college in Parkersburg, WV.  He graduated Greek 5 with a 97% and can transliterate the ancient language. WVU has approached him about teaching Greek in their accredited university.  He has written an entire translation/commentary on the Revelation.  He is an esteemed Elder of mine and he has spent much time with me in the language.  I also have Mounce, Wallace, Dana & Mantey, BAGD, Thayer, Vine’s, Moulton, Robertson, Diesmann, etc….which are the same sources YOU refer to sir.  Yes, I still have much to learn, as do you with the infinitives, but learning I am!  So, your first point above it entirely moot and off-base.

Secondly, if the doctrines of “Reformed Theology” are not “Cultic,” I don’t know what is!  By your own definition, if one refuses correction, they are “Cultic”….said the man who argues for a God who exists as “Three-Divine-Individuals, each with their own Separate Center of Consciousness”!?  Not one Jewish writer from Gen.-Rev. arrives at such a conclusion and, indeed, would likely rebuke one who taught such.  “Cultic” indeed!

JW:  Perkins’ accusation that I misrepresented Moulton is a lie and we need to move on to someone who can read a Lexicon.  It’s simply reprehensible.

RP:  In the first place, I read the Lexicons quite well, though I may have inadvertently looked over the sub-category in BAGD.  Regardless, even the listing you mention, “Christ,” is both definitional and biblically a reference to the Messiah who walked the Earth & redeemed mankind, as opposed to a “2nd of 3 separate divine individuals, each with their own independent center of consciousness”.  Thus, the BAGD reference still stands, as well as Friberg, Vine’s, and the Amplified Bible’s translation [and I have several more references].

Concerning “moving on” to someone else, as long as you continue to offer your critiques on the DL, I’ll be here to offer a surrejoinder.  Obviously, I will not continue forever, as I am beginning a church-plant and am shifting my focus to this arena, though I will certainly always continue my studies. 

As I said to you earlier, you had a perfect example to clearly enunciate your position to our agnostic moderator who is a professional debate judge and came out of interest.  Now, due to your obvious attempts to play the crowd with citations to Australian movie lines, and clear arrogant behavior, if he comes to anyone, it will be us.  To God the Glory!

I await your next DL critique, at which time I will respond accordingly.

Roger Perkins


A Response to "A Tale of Two Debates" by Roger Perkins

For those following the White and Perkins debate please read. Below are James White's statements from his blog with the replies of Roger Perkins following.
A Tale of Two Debates
10/22/2011 - James White
You could not have a stronger contrast between the mindset and behavior of my two debate opponents this week, and, in particular, in their response to how I bent over backwards to try to make these debates as fair, even-handed, and useful as possible. I refer to my taking a tremendous amount of time on the Dividing Line going over their own presentations in recent debates so as to make sure that they would know exactly where I was coming from and exactly what I would be saying. Abdullah Kunde clearly listened, learned, incorporated my comments, accepted correction where necessary, and the result was a very excellent debate that while direct and forthright was likewise respectful and cordial, the very best kind. The issues were clearly presented and debated as a result of Abdullah Kunde's willingness to listen and learn without feigning offense at my refutation of some of his previous statements.
Alas, Roger Perkins chose the exact opposite path. Rather than listening, pondering, considering, learning, and growing, he chose to be deeply offended at what I did in responding to his own statements on the Dividing Line. All through the debate he kept referring to what I had said in the most negative fashion. He was clearly personally offended and chose to interpret my review in the most negative light. The result was to be expected: just as in the debates we reviewed, Mr. Perkins showed himself unwilling, or unable, to "hear" what was being said to him. You could tell he was sitting there, waiting for me to finish my question, just so he could launch into a prepared response, even if that response was not even relevant to the question I was asking. He came with sound clips, for example, from the Dividing Line, as I had predicted. However, he put them together so as to try to forge a contradiction or inconsistency on my part. But to do so he had to obviously violate the context of my statements. He took one statement where, in commenting on 1 John 2:23, I said that you cannot "separate" the Father and the Son. Obviously, to any semi-honest or reasonable person, my meaning was clear. I was saying you cannot have the Son without the Father, and you cannot have the Father without the Son. John's point is that confession of the Father demands confession of the Son, and vice versa, in light of the Father's testimony to the Son (a concept found in John 5, 8, etc. as well). Then he took that specific comment that had a specific context about what was being said in 1 John 2:23, and tried to create a contradiction with other statement I made regarding the distinction that is provided by the actions and attributes of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Hence, I had said that we can distinguish the Father from the Son, and he took this to be a contradiction to what I had said about 1 John 2:23. Does Mr. Perkins really lack the ability to grasp that basic level of human communication and language, or is he just being obtuse in defense of his tradition? I do not know.
It is immediately clear you view yourself as the one holding the superior posture, and others in the position of needing to ‘learn’ [ a natural outgrowth of “Reformed Theology“].  This, of course, coming from someone who unashamedly told the world you have no problem acknowledging you worship a God who exists as “three-divine-individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness.”  All right there for the world to see if you don’t edit it.  None of God’s covenant people knew a thing about such an existence, nor ever once acknowledge such….and I’m to “listen” and “learn” from you?  No thank you sir.   

Secondly, I have received emails from all over the country about your behavior and I have started to post an open letter to you several times, but saved it for the debate.

The sound-bites were your chosen words, not mine.  As an Apologist, you of all people should know to chose your words more carefully.  If you do not mean them, do not say them.  I wanted the folks to hear you refer to the “divine persons” as “separate individuals”…..which I assume was just me taking your words “out of context” also…right?  Not hardly.    
One mistake I made in hindsight was to not press him to answer a question I had raised in my opening statement. I even ended my second portion of cross-examination almost three minutes early, mainly out of disgust at trying to reason with someone who clearly had no intention of engaging in rational thought. I should have taken that time to press him on the mediatorial role of Jesus today, since he did not make a single comment on the question, and I do not think he has ever considered the question at all. I likewise misspoke once and referred to Mr. Perkins "mistranslating" Rev. 21:22, when I should have said "misinterpreting" or "misreading." My point remained valid, however, as he had attempted to draw a parallel between this text and John 10:30 when there is no valid syntactical relationship whatsoever.
I as well made some mistakes in hindsight.  I “misspoke” in regards to Col. 1:16 & the Son creating by His “Pre-eminence.”  As soon as I said it, I knew it did not at all reflect my thoughts & did not sound coherent, but there would be no opportunity to correct it in a cross-ex.  My point was & is, that if it can be shown that Vs’s 14-15 are conclusively referring to the Historical Messiah, then all of the pronouns in Vss. 16-18 are contextually identifying the same as opposed to switching back to the pre-existent world in mid-stream of the Hymn.  The preceding passages refer to the Son who redeemed us to the forgiveness of our sins.  How and when did this happen Mr. White?  In Eternity, or at Calvary?  This is the same one who is in view in vs. 16, based upon the conjunction hotee introducing the dependent causal clause.    

The point in Rev. 21:22 is that both passages have, as the subject of the verb, the Father and the Son.  You adamantly claim that the plural verb in Jn. 10:30 demands plural persons [even though those on the very spot did not reach this conclusion, even after hearing the plural!?], then shift the verb usage identifying the same subject in Rev. 21:22.

Also, when you asked me how I would translate the term Jn. 17:5, I should have responded by telling you that I feel no need to retranslate the term, as you apparently do [& did with Phil. 2 w/ clear insertions unfound in the Greek Text].  But, alas, hindsight is indeed 20/20!

You are quite in error concerning the mediatorial role of Christ.  I have studied the issue quite well & a Trinitarian explanation is quite inadequate.  From your perspective, you would have the 2nd divine individual in heaven interceding to the 1st (presumably) divine individual.  Strange that the Revelation does not at all give us this picture, but rather has Jesus sitting on the Throne [Rev. 3:21; 22:3-4, etc.].  In fact, you apparently were not listening closely enough since I addressed this in my closing statement.  Paul expressly identifies the mediator:  “…and there is one mediator between God and men, the MAN, Christ Jesus.”  Nothing in the text about a “2nd divine person in the Trinity” now is there?  This is supplied by the Trinitarian world…not the actual text itself.     
One of the limitations of doing debate like this at the speed we were going was illustrated last evening, but it is also a learning opportunity as well. I found Mr. Perkins is not interested in learning, but others will be, so here we go.
At least three times, maybe four, Mr. Perkins insisted that the term εἰκών was defined by Bauer as "a man" or, I think he may have said as well, the form of a man (I have the recording from my LiveScribe pen, and may track down the specifics before the next DL). He used this as his sole defense in trying to avoid the obvious teaching of the text that the Son, as the Son, pre-existed and was, in fact, involved in creation itself. Now, there was no way for me to look up the reference during cross-ex. I suspected that, as we have documented many times, Perkins was engaging in lexical abuse, but I could not speak and open up BDAG and check the small print at the same time. So, during Perkins' closing statement, I checked the reference, and confirmed my suspicions. After the debate I approached Mr. Perkins and asked if he had the reference to Bauer handy. He said he did. He opened his notebook to Colossians 1:15.
He had one line, which said Bauer, "of a man…Col. 1:15." No page number, nothing else. So I showed him the actual entry in Bauer on my iPad (in Accordance), and explained that he was mistaken. He refused correction. Let me explain it to those who have a willingness to learn.
What you have omitted form your recount of our table-side chat is that I also showed you Friberg’s Analytical definition of Aykone, which expressly references Col. 1:15, even if I did inadvertently misquote Bauer [I’ll be showing you own “abuse” below].  Here’s what it says for those interested in “learning”:  “an EMBODIMENT, or living MANIFESTATION of God form, appearance (CO 1.15).“  See also Vine’s on this terms usage in Col. 1:15.  Clearly this refers to the human life of the Messiah, or else you have the 2nd divine individual in heaven “embodied,” with the other two invisible.  If the “divine individuals” in the Trinity are as separated that one can be distinguished from the others with a body, wherein lies practical Monotheism?   To this, you simply responded by correcting my pronunciation of the Lexicon & said you owned the grammar.  Not much of a response now is it?

I then asked you if you would accept Bauer’s on the preposition usage in the Baptismal accounts in Acts, to which you just responded with, “You don’t know how to read a Lexicon.”  Then, turn there & read it for yourself!  Point is you’re highly selective in what you accept from the Lexicons & what you reject in them….all due to your theological preferences.
Below is the relevant entry from BDAG, just as I showed it to Mr. Perkins. I have put what he quoted in bold so you can see how far removed the two portions are:
2. that which has the same form as someth. else (not a crafted object as in 1 above), living image, fig. ext. of 1 εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ (ἄνθρωπος πλάσμα καὶ εἰκὼν αὐτοῦ [God] Theoph. Ant. 1, 4 [p. 64, 17]; w. ὁμοίωσις Did., Gen. 56, 28) of a man (cp. Mitt-Wilck. I/2, 109, 11 [III BC] Philopator as εἰκὼν τοῦ Διός; Rosetta Stone=OGI 90, 3 [196 BC] Ptolemy V as εἰκὼν ζῶσα τοῦ Διός, cp. APF 1, 1901, 483, 11; Plut., Themist. 125 [27, 4]; Lucian, Pro Imag. 28 εἰκόνα θεοῦ τ. ἄνθρωπον εἶναι; Diog. L. 6, 51 τ. ἀγαθοὺς ἄνδρας θεῶν εἰκόνας εἶναι; Sextus 190; Herm. Wr. 1, 12 al.; Apuleius as image of God, Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 43; JHehn, Zum Terminus ‘Bild Gottes’: ESachau Festschr. 1915, 36–52) 1 Cor 11:7 (on the gradation here cp. Herm. Wr. 11, 15a); of Christ (Helios as εἰκών of deity: Pla., Rep. 509; Proclus, Hymni 1, 33f [Orphica p. 277 Abel]; Herm. Wr. 11, 15; Stob. I 293, 21=454, 1ff Sc.; Hierocles 1, 418: the rest of the gods are εἰκόνες of the primeval god.—The Logos: Philo, Conf. Ling. 97; 147. Wisdom: Wsd 7:26) 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15 (εἰ. τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ὁ μονογενής Did., Gen. 58, 3; cp. εἰκὼν γὰρ τοῦ . . . θεοῦ ὁ λόγος ἐστὶ αὐτοῦ Orig., C. Cels. 4, 85, 24.—EPreuschen, ZNW 18, 1918, 243).—εἰ. τοῦ χοϊκοῦ, τοῦ ἐπουρανίου image of the earthly, heavenly (human being) 1 Cor 15:49. (See SMcCasland, The Image of God Acc. to Paul: JBL 69, ’50, 85–100). The image corresponds to its original (cp. ὁμοίωμα 2ab; Doxopatres [XI AD]: Rhet. Gr. II 160, 1 εἰ. καὶ ὁμοίωμα διαφέρει; Mel., P. 36, 245 διὰ τῆς τυπικῆς εἰκόνος; 38, 262 τοῦ μέλλοντος ἐν αὐτῷ τὴν εἰκόνα βλέπεις and oft. in typological exegesis of the OT).
Now, Mr. Perkins does not read Greek. I do not believe he would even know the Greek alphabet, let alone could he make his way through the text. So portions of this kind of material are simply beyond his comprehension. But you do not have to actually be able to read koine to accurately use a Greek lexicon. The second portion of the entry for εἰκών gives a major semantic domain delimitation; the subcategories are marked various forms of punctuation.
Hence, the portion Perkins cited, "of a man," is in the first sub-category, and is followed by examples such as "Philopator as εἰκὼν τοῦ Διός." Another sub category is introduced with "of Christ," and this is in contrast to the preceding category "of a man." The reference to Colossians 1:15 is under the listing of "of Christ" (along with 2 Cor. 4:4) it is not under the listing of "of a man." Mr. Perkins is simply wrong, without question, to have read the entry as he did, yet, when I pointed out his error, he rejected my correction. So I told him to go ask a secular Greek scholar, since clearly he will not believe anything I say. Any scholar of the language will correct him on the matter. To insist, as he did in the debate, that "Bauer says this term refers to a man" and then to build his interpretation of the entire text upon that, is to demonstrate yet once again a clear example of "lexical abuse."
I am currently in the process of relocating to begin a church plant & will review this more closely after I get settled in.  What I can state immediately is that Bauer above references “Christ,” the term for the historical Messiah [God in flesh], both definitionally as well as biblically.  Jesus Himself affirmed that He was the human Messiah to the woman at the well.  “I, who am speaking to you am He”.  Peter declared to the Human he was speaking to “YOU are the Christ.”    
I was also disappointed that Mr. Perkins decided to accuse me of errors in citation of source, such as Moulton-Milligan, without giving a single example. In fact, at one point, when I challenged him on why he had not offered meaningful exegesis of the key texts (Phil. 2:5-11, John 17:5, John 1:1), his response was that he had pages of exegesis on those texts right there in his notes! Well, that's not much of an argument when you don't present it, is it? Evidently he just wanted us to trust him.
In your article “The Pre-existence of Christ,” you reference Moulton in dealing with Monogenes Theos as “more accurately, the unique God”.  Moulton says nothing about the “unique God” in his given defintion, yet you include it in quotes?  Here is the quote you referenced as it appears on pg. 417 of Moulton & Milligan, “…monogenes is used in the NT of only sons and daughters, and is so applied in a special sense to Christ in Jn. 1:18, where the emphasis is on the thought that, as the only Son of God, He has no equal…”.  

Before you charge me for the ellipsis, I’ll simply point out your usage of the same in your definition of monogenes in your book, The Forgotten Trinity, in which you only partially quote Bauer’s.  Here’s the portion you conveniently omitted:  “But some, (e.g., WBauer) prefer to regard monogenes as somewhat heightned in mng. In Jn…to only-begotten or begotten of the only one…”.  Readers can see BAGD, pg. 527 for the full quote.  

In your book The King James Only Controversy, you introduce evidence for the rendering Theos, as opposed to Heios in Jn. 1:18 from UBS-4.  Problem is, you totally omitted the support from UBS-4 to the contrary.  Here’s a small sampling of the support for ’Son’ in I:18 you left out from UBS-4:

Uncials: A (5th Century), Seven codices from the 8th & 9th century
Miniscules: Families 1, 13, 28, 157, 180, 205, etc.
Ancient Versions: Several old Latin Mss., Vulgate, the Curetonian version of the Old Syriac (3rd - 4th century), the Harclean and Palestinian Syriac, the Armenian & Ethiopic versions, etc., etc.
Church “Father’s”: Tertullian (200 a.d.), Hippolytus, Letter of Hymenaeus, Alexander, Theodore, Chrysotom, Jerome, etc.

Ironically, you appeal to many of the same “Father’s” on pg. 205 of The Forgotten Trinity in support of Rom. 9:5.  Thus, you appeal to these sources when they support you, then conveniently omit from your audiences consideration when they don’t.  “Abuse” indeed!

I had a response prepared for every argument you raised, but in countering your charges & attempting to make my own points, they got lost in the mix.  Basically, I planned to appeal to Colwell’s Rule in Jn. 1:1 & the various grammarians who say if Colwell’s Rule applies we have “Inadvertent Modalism [a misleading term in itself].”  I have numerous quotes from various grammarians arguing for the definitive application of Jn. 1:1c, in stark contrast to the supposed qualitative tag you argue for.  Yes, you both reach the same Trinitarian conclusions, but it’s for Theological preferences, not the actual grammar of the text.  

In Phil. 2, the present participle huparcho is contingent upon the aorist indicative “consider,” which Wallace defines as “simple past-time.”  The participle necessarily derives it’s “time-ness” from the verb & Wallace is clear on this.  I then had many references to Trinitarian Grammarians who disagree w/ you on this text….including Robert Reymond.        
In any case, the contrast between the two debates is very instructional. In one, my opponent listened to my comments and incorporated them into his preparation and comments, resulting in a clear, cogent, meaningful, and cordial debate. In the other, as the saying goes, "not so much." 05:22:54 - Category: General Apologetics - Link to this article - 
Finally, you had the perfect opportunity to clearly present your side to our agnostic moderator, who is a judiciary debate judge.  He intentionally walked up to me after the debate to tell me he thought I presented the more clear case & won the debate.  Personally, I have never stated this in any debate as I leave it to the few unbiased audience members who are in search of truth.  He then outright said to me, “He was an arrogant….”.  As a Christian, I will not use the language he chose to use [for which he immediately apologized], but he was clearly aggravated with you.  This was evident in his calling you down on your repeated “I’m an authority on the Lockman Foundation” assertion.  Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with the text in question [Gal. 3:20].  Firstly, you did not work on the translation team of this particular passage (or the entire work to my knowledge); secondly, did the translators faithfully communicate the genre of the Greek text or not?  If not, you have a responsibility to correct them (which wouldn't surprise me at all).  My point stands & I was told so by a Trinitarian Pastor who was the audience that night.

In conclusion, I am well able to interact with you on a scholastical level, but will not bow down to your pompous condescension, as well noted by many, many others.   I am not a part of your glory-train & have studied you quite thoroughly & reject your presuppositions rife in your arguments.  If you begin your usual postings on YouTube, I’ll simply clip you stating to the world that you worship a God who exists as “Three-Divine-Individuals, each with their own center of consciousness.”  We shall see what happens!

Roger Perkins


The Californios by Louis L'Amour

The Californios (Bantam Books, 1974) is one of my favorite books by Louis L'Amour. His books are read and loved by millions. Here are some interesting (to say the least) quotes from its pages.

"All men age, as all men die. The thing is not to die too soon, Senora, and to live wisely. To live a long time is nothing, to live a long time wisely is something." (pg. 56, Juan the Old One)
"What is education but a conditioning of the mind to a society and a way of life? There are many kinds of education, and often education closes as many doors as it opens, for to believe implies disbelief. One accepts one kind of belief but closes the mind to all that is, or seems to be contradictory." (pg. 56, Juan the Old One)
"He turned in his saddle and spoke to Sean, who now rode behind while Montero had fallen back to the rear. "Do not forget the way. I am soon to die." (pg. 57, Juan the Old One)
"Often the offerings to gods are made even when the names of gods are forgotten. Habit is forever with us, I think, and the old beliefs may whither but they do not die." (pg. 150, Montero)


The Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ I

In the 16th Century Michael Servetus wrote, "I shall endeavor to restore to their memory who that true son was. Starting with the fact that the personal pronoun when taken in context shows that he was a human being who was wounded with blows and whipped, I will candidly accept the following three propositions as being true, in and of themselves: first, he is Jesus Christ; second, he is the son of God; third, he is God."(Restoration of Christianity : An English Translation of Chistianismi restitutio. pg 5) It seems that Servetus felt a need to remind those of his times of the authentic humanity of Jesus Christ. This should not be done however to the exclusion or obliteration of the Supreme Deity of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 3:15 records “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (ESV) Notice that the enmity is between the serpent and the woman. Next there will equally be enmity between the serpent’s offspring and the woman. Third, the offspring of the woman “shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This distinction may be subtle but the “he” actually bruises the serpents head rather than the “offspring” of the serpent. The Hebrew pronoun “he” is in the masculine in reference to the woman’s offspring. In other words the heel of a male descendant of Eve will have a heel bruised by the serpent and yet the serpent will have his had bruised by this descendant. This can only be Jesus (See 1 John 3:8). Notice as well the Hebrew writer which tells us that Jesus also partook of “flesh and blood” that through His death the one who has power over death will be destroyed.
‎‎ESV | Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, (Heb. 2:14)
There are are many direct statements from Scripture that indicate the authentic humanity of Jesus. Matthew begins his Gospel with:
‎‎NET | ‎This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew clearly sets forth to record or give an account of the “genealogy” of Jesus. The Greek word for “genealogy” used here is “geneseos” from “genesis” meaning birth. The Gospel writer here could be using an opening to his Gospel similar to Gen. 5:1 where Moses records the descendants of Adam. Matthew quite literally plans to tell us of the origin and history of Jesus, the one who proceeded from David and Abraham. Matthew continues 15 verses later:
‎‎ESV | ‎and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
Matthew records “Mary, of whom Jesus was born...”. The preposition “of” here is in the genitive of the Greek word “ek” which means from or out of. The very next word “whom” is actually a genitive singular, feminine, relative pronoun. In other words Mary is the one “of whom” Jesus was born out of. The combination of these two words indicate a genetic relationship between Mary and Jesus. The term ‘born” (Grk. egennethe (from gennao)) is a verb used which means be born of or give birth, to beget. This verb is also passive meaning it is Mary who actually and biologically bore Jesus, the Son of God.

Mary was no surrogate mother for a superman nor did a second divine person enter a human womb. Luke 2:21 clearly says that Jesus was “conceived in the womb.” (ESV) In fact, Luke records “Mary the mother of Jesus...” (Acts 1:14, ESV) See also John 2:1; 3, 5, 12; 19:25, 20). Galatians 4:4 is also very specific:

‎‎ESV | But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

Here Paul says that the Son is “born of woman”. The same preposition ek (from, out of) is also used. The Son is born out of a woman or gynaikos (gyne). The Son is also “born under the law...” This does not mean Jesus was made out of the law in the same way He was born of woman. The prepositions “of” (ek gen.) and “under” (hypo acc.) distinguish this so that Jesus’ relationship to Mary is that He was made from or out of her. This is a biological relationship whereas his relationship to the law is that of the law of Moses which was in effect when Jesus came.

In Did the First Christians Worship Jesus J.D.G. Dunn cites several inferences that should be noted about "Jesus' upbringing". He suggests we can infer that Jesus was "brought up by pious parents." He also notes the awareness of Jesus' parents to this piety in the naming of their children James/Jacob, Joses/Joseph, Judas/Judah, Simon/Simeon (Mark 6:3). Dunn also suggests that Jesus would have recited the Shema regularly; had a "practice of daily prayer"; was a "regular participant" in the "local synagogue"; the references to the "tassels" of Jesus garment (e.g. Matt. 9:20 and Luke 8.44) give the impression He was also a "pious Jew"; at the least took an annual "pilgrimage to Jerusalem" and would be familiar with the Temple and its "functionaries, priests...tithing...purity." (Dunn, pg. 94-96)

Hebrews 5:7 records the fact that Jesus prayed “in the days of his flesh” (NRSV) or “when he was in the flesh” (NAB). These prayers indicate to us the genuineness of His human nature. These prayers were not charades rather they were real prayers offered to God by an authentic human life.

Clearly, an examination of the life of Jesus though exhibits that of more than any mere man. Dallas Roark notes that “When we turn to the other New Testament data concerning the life of Jesus, we see that some actions are clearly those of a superhuman power, while others can be only attributed to a truly human power.” (The Christian Life) As noted earlier there are two equally true and valid propositions about Jesus. He is God or Yahweh (See Isa. 6 and John 12:41) and He is an authentic human life (1 Tim. 2:5). A man approved or attested of God (Acts 2:22, ESV). The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy records that God was manifest in the flesh. The NKJV follows in the tradition of the KJV and renders the verse:
NKJV | ‎1 Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
Other translations render “God was manifested in the flesh” variously. All however point back to the antecedent which in chapter three of 1 Timothy is God. Notice the following renderings:
NAB | ‎1 Ti 3:16 Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
‎‎NRSV | ‎1 Ti 3:16 Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
‎‎LEB | ‎1 Ti 3:16 And most certainly, great is the mystery of godliness: Who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among the Gentiles, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
‎‎ESV | ‎1 Ti 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
‎‎NASB95 | ‎1 Ti 3:16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
‎‎NET | ‎1 Ti 3:16 And we all agree, our religion contains amazing revelation: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
The NAB and LEB have “Who” while the NRSV, ESV, NASB and NET have “He”. The variant here is due to differences of manuscript readings. Phillip Comfort notes:
“Few textual problems generated so much stir and controversy in the nineteenth century as this one did. Many scholars entered the debate--and not without good reason, in asmuch as this verse is related to the doctrine of the incarnation. When the reading in the TR and the KJV was challenged some thought the doctrine of God becoming man was being undermined. Not so.” (New Testament Text and Translation Commentary)
It’s interesting to note that all the previous translations posted above do capitalize whichever pronouns they have chosen. This is because the prior antecedent to the pronoun “Who” or “He” is God Himself in the prior verse (See 1 Tim. 3:15, “household of God”; “living God” (ESV). The variant does not call into question the reality of the Incarnation. To say that “He” was manifest in the flesh is to mean that “He” was manifested in an authentic human existence. Jesus is God, manifest in flesh.

Oneness Pentecostals firmly believe and teach that we must never compromise the deity or humanity of Christ. The Scriptures include statements that are suggestive of his human and divine nature (Romans 1:3; Jude 25). He is fully God and fully man. Neither of these propositions can be ignored and must be held in equal value and reverence. In fact, if we miss out on either the humanity or deity of Christ we have another Christ. Paul warned in his times that some would come who preach or proclaim a different Jesus and essentially a different Gospel (2 Cor. 11:4-5).


Superman Christology?

A few days ago I went to the website of the local church in Brisbane, Australia where Roger Perkins and James White will be have an upcoming debate. As any good pastor should it seems Pastor Ireland is preparing his flock. At around 13 minutes into his sermon and while speaking of the Incarnate Son Pastor Ireland says that until the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus never felt fear. (Click here to hear audio sermon) Ireland says the Incarnate Son “Never felt fear ever" until that time. He also says, fear was "foreign" to Jesus prior to the night of Christ's prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane. I encourage you to listen for yourself but the good pastor actually believes that Jesus, as a human, did not ever feel fear until the Garden.

Trinitarians such as Ireland paint Jesus as a superman figure who never knew fear until some point prior to being crucified. Besides riding on sheer speculation this may amount to a denial of the genuine humanity of Jesus. While Ireland likely believes in the genuine humanity of Jesus his Christology may need a tuneup. I have been wanting to write something different lately so thanks to the pastor for the nudge. In the next post I will be discussing the Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ.

We know that the temptations of Jesus were genuine (e.g. Matt. 4; Heb. 4:14-15). He probably experienced a full range of psychological function. Temptations also include some level of fear. In Matthew 4 did the temptation to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple include elements of fear? Most people we see today doing such things are called suicidal. There is no real reason why Jesus wouldn't have felt fear. Do we mean fear as in a failure to trust in God? I would say Jesus never felt any such thing. Instead, he likely felt a fear one has in difficult or uncomfortable situations (e.g. moral fear: skydiving, first date). Saying Jesus felt fear here is not the same as suggesting Jesus did not trust God. Anytime we are anticipating or doing particular things we feel fear and become scared. Sometimes the adrenaline will flow and the heart will race.

At this point, I am under the impression that a certain amount of fear is necessary to be human. At least one that wants to survive. I could be wrong but let's think about this. For example, if a friend were to put their hand on a hot stove or blissfully walk into heavy traffic we would not consider them as behaving as a normal human. Does this apply to Jesus? In Luke 2:52 it is said that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature. Possibly He would have been more susceptible, at least to certain types of fear, as a young person than as an older. At any rate, here's the nagging question. How can a man in his early 30’s live so long without ever once experiencing fear if he was truly human?


Angel of the LORD: Part Eight

The Offer of Manoah by Rembrandt

Judges 13: Angel of the LORD Announces the Birth of Samson
2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. ESV
This is an extensive and drawn out account of the angel of the LORD interacting with Manoah and his wife who is consequently left unnamed. As the painting by Rembrandt reveals there are many ideas about this passage and especially concerning angels. Judges 13 comprises about 25 verses in typical translations so I will not cite the entire portion here. I do recommend it be read through one or two times completely to get a grasp of the story. It is probably one of the most intriguing portions of the Old Testament. Victor P. Hamilton noted this about our text:
“Among all the places in Scripture where Yahweh’s angel appears to a visionary, Judg. 13:6 is the only one that suggests that the theophanic recipient perceived something significantly different than a normal human form...” (1)
In this chapter is recorded the miraculous birth of Samson. Manoah and his wife were soon to be the parents of a judge of Israel--Samson. The Angel of the LORD appears to them both. Manoah’s wife first sees him and describes him as a “man” of God (13:6). Such a reference is often used in prophetic contexts (See Josh. 14:6). This might be a result of her initially understanding him to be a human emissary or envoy from Yahweh. By the time she reaches Manoah to explain what had happened she concluded that there was something different about his appearance. She says, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name,” (Judges 13:6, ESV)

Although Manoah’s wife is never named she is probably the stronger and more interesting character in this narrative. Manoah rightly seems skeptical and prays for God to allow this “man of God” to return yet again (13:8). God grants his request and the “man of God” appears once more. This time only to confirm what Manoah’s wife had already said. Manoah offers to “prepare a young goat” for the “angel” which seems to turn into Manoah asking the “angel” for his name. Manoah creates a sacrifice for worship to the “Lord...the one who works wonders” (13:19, ESV) While the flames on the altar consume the “young goat” and “grain offering” the “angel of the Lord” went up into the flame and apparently disappears (13:20). After this Manoah and “his wife” fell on their faces to the ground. A few verses later Manoah realizes that the “visitor had been the LORD”s messenger” (13:21, NET) and his wife concludes “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” (13:22)

Initial readings of this Old Testament passage do not seem to produce a Trinitarian understanding. As noted in previous posts Yahweh is always referred to and understood as personal and one divine person. The Old Testament must then be thought of as ambiguous for Trinitarians. By this I mean there is no recognition or indication that Yahweh is or even could be more than one person.

Trinitarians will use the interplay of words here to suggest that Jesus is actually speaking to Manoah in some pre-human form. Elohim can be used for angels, judges and God. It is used in 13:22. If Elohim means the Trinity when God speaks to Moses or Manoah all three persons should be speaking at one time. Yoel Natan suggests that in the phrase ‘angel of the LORD” the term “angel” refers to the second divine person called Son and “LORD” refers to the first divine person called Father.(2) In other words, the title “angel of the LORD” is actually a reference to two divine persons.

Such an anachronism is absurd. Natan reads later Trinitarian ideas back into the Scripture. The idea of two divine person quickly vanishes when the “angel of the LORD” actually speaks as one person. If any of this is true then Manoah should have communicated with either all three divine persons or at the least two of them. The angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah and his wife. In Natan’s understanding this should be the Father and the Son. That amounts to two divine persons that are both conscious and aware. Manoah even tells his wife that they had seen Elohim (13:22).

The use of Elohim has likely nothing to do with a Trinity. If so, then the entire trio of divine persons or at least two of them could be seen as lesser deity. The NET translators make this interesting note here:
“Some take the Hebrew term אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) as the divine name (“God”) here, but this seems unlikely since v. 21 informs us that Manoah realized this was the LORD’s messenger, not God himself. Of course, he may be exaggerating for the sake of emphasis. Another option, the one followed in the translation, understands Manoah to be referring to a lesser deity. The term אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) is sometimes used of an individual deity other than the LORD (see BDB 43 s.v. 2.a). One cannot assume that Manoah was a theologically sophisticated monotheist.”(2)
The use of elohim here then may not even be in reference to Yahweh but an angel. Manoah's wife goes on to assure him that they will not die. She gives several reasons why that accord with Israelite laws of evidence. D.I. Block notes:
Theologically his statement was correct, for no one can see God and live, but logically he is incorrect. His wife coolly and rationally allays his fears with three observations. First, Yahweh has accepted the whole burnt offering, that is, the tribute/gift they have presented to him. The fire is the sign. Second, Yahweh has put on a visual display of all these things for them. “All these” would refer to everything they had witnessed including the twofold appearance of the messenger and the fire that consumed the offering and took the messenger to heaven. Third, Yahweh has communicated orally284 with them. “This” (lit., “like this”) refers to “the oracle concerning the boy,” inclusive of the promise of a son, the instructions for Manoah’s wife, and the declared mission of the son (vv. 3–5, 13–14)...With impeccable logic and according to the Israelite laws of evidence, Manoah’s wife presents incontestable proof that they will not die. God has spoken cultically, visually, and orally, declaring to them the future, which obviously depends upon their continued living.(4)
If a Trinity of divine persons was revealed it was not perceptible to Manoah nor his wife. What did they see? How did they speak of what they saw? The Scriptures are actually clear and unambiguous. Prior we saw that Manoah even asked for the name of the messenger but it was not given (13:17). The ways of God may have been a riddle here on purpose. It is interesting to note that Manoah understood only after the messenger left (13:21).

Instead of a Trinity Manoah and his wife possibly saw and talked with an angelic messenger or a single manifestation of God. The more interesting fact though seems to be that the angel of the LORD speaks to them using singular personal pronouns such as “I” (13:11) and “me” (13:16). Manoah’s wife even describes what she saw as “a man of God” and describes this character as a “him” (13:6). Obviously the angel nor God are perceived as being multiple persons. Such a notion was not impressed upon them by their experience with Yahweh.



1) Hamilton, Victor P. (2004) Handbook on the Historical Books (150). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

2) Natan, Yoel. (2003) The Jewish Trinity Sourcebook : Trinitarian Readings From The Old Testament. Copyright (c) 2003 by Yoel Natan. All Rights Reserved.

3) Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Biblical Studies Press.

4) Block, D. I. (2001). Vol. 6: Judges, Ruth (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (415–416). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Adversus Trinitas

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