Zeitgeist Refuted Documentary

Excerpt from Top Documentary Films:
Even secular scholars have rejected the idea of Christianity borrowing from the ancient mysteries. The well-respected Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard writes in Theories of Primitive Religion that The evidence for this theory… is negligible.
The first real parallel of a dying and rising god does not appear until A.D. 150, more than a hundred years after the origin of Christianity. So if there was any influence of one on the other, it was the influence of the historical event of the New Testament (resurrection) on mythology, not the reverse. The only known account of a god surviving death that predates Christianity is the Egyptian cult god Osiris.
 In this myth, Osiris is cut into fourteen pieces, scattered around Egypt, then reassembled and brought back to life by the goddess Isis. However, Osiris does not actually come back to physical life but becomes a member of a shadowy underworld… This is far different than Jesus’ resurrection account where he was the gloriously risen Prince of life who was seen by others on earth before his ascension into heaven. –Dr. Norman Geisler.

Click Here to Watch Documentary

Gary Habermas and Tim Callahan debate Jesus and Mythology


The Apostle Paul and Thanksgiving

Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul and Thanksgiving? Yes! I do not mean to suggest that the Apostle John ate turkey or even celebrated any such holiday. I am sure however that as a Jew giving thanks to God was a staple in his spiritual diet. This cannot be doubted since nearly every Pauline epistle begins with words of thanksgiving and praise to God. Paul's own words testify to his thankful heart.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul states "In every thing give thanks..." (KJV) Or "Give thanks in everything..."(HCSB). In 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 it is recorded that Paul was imprisoned, flogged, exposed to death, received 39 lashes, beaten with rods three times, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, spent a day and night in the open sea, constantly on the move, in danger from rivers, bandits his own countrymen, gentiles, in the city, in the country, at sea and in danger from false brothers. He labored and toiled, went without sleep, knew hunger and thirst, felt the cold and was naked yet he still says that God is to be "praised forever"! (2 Corinthians 11:31 NIV).  

Obviously for Paul and for believers then thanksgiving is not dependent on personal circumstance. Christ should put a thankful heart in any Sitz im Leben. In 1 Thessalonians 1:2 he tells them "We give thanks to God always for you all" (KJV). Or "We always thank God for all of you" (HCSB) For Paul thanksgiving was daily flowing from his life out of his love for Christ and the saints in the Church of Christ (no pun intended). As suggested earlier Paul frequently uses the Greek word for thanksgiving. 

The Greek verb for thanksgiving used often by Paul is from eucharisteo (eucharistoumen). This word is from eu (well) and charis (grace, thanks). For Paul to simply contemplate the charis (grace) of God compelled him to give eucharistia or thanksgiving. Eucharistia is a rarely used word in pre-Christian Greek literature. The Gospels do not contain this word but similar ones appear in Matthew 26:16 and Mark 14:22 or Luke 22:17 and John 6:11, 23. Long after the writings of Paul's epistles John uses the noun form twice in his apocalyptic literature (e.g. Revelations 7:12). 

For Paul thanksgiving wasn't only something he does. In 2 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul state that not only are we to "always thank God" but that "We are bound to thank God" (KJV) or "We ought always to give thanks to God" (NASB). It is our duty to thank God for all he has done. In fact, Paul presses this concept further in 2 Thessalonians 2:13:
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: KJV
Believers give thanks to God because God chose us from the beginning for salvation and sanctification. Indeed for Paul our "life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3 ESV). As believers we will naturally have an outflow of thanks to God for His salvation. In The Restoration of Christianity Michael Servetus rightly suggested that for God nothing awaits existence.

Remember in 1 Thessalonians 1:2 he tells them "We give thanks to God always for you all" (KJV) Paul says "for you all" or "all of you" (HCSB). Here Paul leaves no one out. Every believer is consequently a part of the Body of Christ and is vital to every other member or part of that Body. Our thankfulness to God for "all" means that we must also be prayerful of them "all". Being thankful and praying for fellow believers is a cure for many problems that can arise in Christian assemblies.

As we have noted Paul connects thanksgiving with prayer. Not only do we thank God for others but also for ourselves. In order to give thanks for others or ourselves we first be mindful of them and ourselves in prayer. We must pray on purpose with purpose. When we go to prayer we do so mindful of not only ourselves but also others. Notice the start contrast that Paul paints between the believers and the unbelievers:

Romans 1:21, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." KJV
Romans 1:21, For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. HSCB

Throughout the New Testament the thankful heart of the Apostle Paul is abundantly and clearly seen. We have only examined a few here. In this previous text however the necessity of a thankful heart is in full bloom. Here Paul attributes the darkness of the heathen to a lack of praise and thanksgiving to God. It is a sign of the darkened heart that does not praise or thank God or acknowledge its Creator. Thanksgiving is not just a holiday but it is a way of life for the believer.

Thanksgiving and Religious Liberty

In the late 1500's the French began making attempts to colonize and settle the northern coast of Florida.(1) It is around this time that a great Huguenot leader named Admiral Coligny would aspire to establish a colony for which his persecuted brethren could seek refuge. The Admiral would send Jean Ribaut who in 1562 discovered St. John's River in Florida. Ribaut also named the country of Carolina after Charles IX, a boy-king. The colonist that Ribaut brought would soon give up and return to England or France. A couple years late Rene de Laudonniere established the St. Johns River Settlement in Florida (June 30, 1564). Laudonniere led a group of French Huguenots to colonize and build Fort Caroline near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. It is recorded that Rene de Laudonniere wrote:
    We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us.
In  August of 1565 Phillip II of Spain, who likely views the French as a threat to their trade route, would send Pedro Melendez de Aviles who announced his purpose to "gibbet and behead all the Protestants in these regions." Melendez would establish St. Augustine which is now one of the oldest towns in the USA. Melendez with bloodthirsty precision would also wipe out the French settlement and Huguenots. Both the French and the Spanish unnecessarily lost many human lives. In 1567 Dominic de Gourgues, a Gascon soldier, would come to avenge the Huguenots. He would capture all the Spanish settlements left by Melendez except St. Augustine.(2) 

The first amendment to the Bill of Rights clearly states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.(3)
Those who once came to this land long ago did not do so in order to erode religious expression. They did not come to the shores of this county in order to seek further deviation from the Creator. Many did so, as did the French Huguenots, in order to worship and thank God freely and without fear of persecution. America was a refuge for those who sought freedom of religious expression.

The generation of Americans today and tomorrow must always hold such things to be true. America is a place where spiritual men came to have spiritual expression. Today and every Thanksgiving Day is a special celebration of such realities that came full circle on American soil. The reality that all mankind, who individually possess' inalienable rights, can flourish and participate in religious expression must always remain. Good men and women must pray and be diligent in order that such freedom can be maintained. Today let us give thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has given and created all things. 

Ephesians 5:20, "And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." NLT
James 1:17, "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." NLT

One way the Holy Spirit is evidenced (see Gal. 5:20-22) in our lives is a reversal of any pattern of ingratitude. God wants to make us people who exhibit thankfulness in proportion to the gifts and blessings we’ve received. Let all the earth behold the the creation and its Creator. And give thanks.


1) Many facts and details here taken from: Thwaites, R. G. (2005; 2005). Epochs of American History: The Colonies (34). Pleasant Places Press.

2)  Cincotta, Howard. An Outline of American history. 1998. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. (original edition by Frances Whitney. Revised and updated by R. Hofstadter, W. Gray, D. Steven, K.W. Olsen, N. Glick and A. Winkler)

3) The Constitution of the United States of America. 1998 (elecronic ed.). Oak Harbor WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.


The Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ V

Manna from Heaven

John 6:38:

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. ESV
Heaven and The Throne of God:

Heaven is where angels abide and where believers will one day dwell. It is also the abode of the Almighty God. In Jewish thinking Heaven is where God dwells (Deut. 4:36, 39; cf. Luke 11:2, Acts 7:49). To the Hebrew writers Heaven holds the throne of God and was where prayers are answered. Jewish people have long looked to heaven in prayer. Jesus would actually appear strange to His Jewish contemporaries if He did not recognize or even participate in such facts. Additionally Richard Bauckham suggests:
“God's servants may be said, by his permission, to rule some things, as earthly rulers do, but only God rules over all things from a throne exalted above all things.”(1)
Angels and other heavenly beings do not sit on God’s throne. They serve at his side. Christ is no sidekick in God’s program rather He is the True God (1 John 5:20) visible to the mortal eye. God’s throne is a position reserved for God only and yet the New Testament writers do not hesitate to place Jesus in this exalted place. This motif is all throughout the book of Revelations or John's apocalyptic writing. However, we see the transcendence of Jesus over all things as God in that it is He who sits upon the one throne of heaven. In Revelation 5:5-7 and 7:17 the Lamb is on the center of the throne. In Revelations 1:7-8, 4:2 and 22:4-4 the One on the throne is Jesus (Revelation 4:2, 8; 1:7-8, 11, 17-18; 22:3-4). No angel or created being occupies the cosmic throne of Heaven but the True God.

"came down from heaven"

In John 6 Jesus miraculously feeds five thousand people and walks on water. He then begins to tell them that He is the bread of life (6:35) and that He “came down from heaven” to do the will of the Father. These statements reveal the mission and divine origin of Jesus in the physical realm. As we shall see, they do not prove that Jesus is a separate person from God who is an additional divine person who sits on the throne of Heaven either. As we have seen there is only one throne. One Lord. One God. Such imagery is expressly unipersonal since only one person typically sits on a throne at a time. Throughout Scripture God is even described metaphorically as unipersonal as well (Psalm 27:8, face; Genesis 6:8, eyes; 2 Samuel 22:7, ears; 2 Samuel 22:9, nostrils; Psalms 29:3, voice; Ezekiel 28:6, heart; Isaiah 52:10, arm; Acts 7:55-56, right hand; Luke 11:20, finger). Even metaphorical imagery can tell us something about the Oneness of God.

The use of the bread as a metaphor can refer to His identity. He said that his flesh or the bread came down from heaven (6:51, 58). Jesus no more means that His flesh literally came down from Heaven than He means that they should literally eat His flesh. Jesus said the He is the “living bread that came down from heaven” (cf. 6:38, 51). Here Jesus speaks also of the “manna” that had come down to feed the Israelites. The manna did not pre-exist in heaven but miraculously appeared by God Himself. The source of the manna was God and not any earthly cause. The human flesh of Jesus did not literally descend. This is not literally true since as we have clearly seen that Jesus descended from David and Abraham (See Matthew 1; Luke 3; Romans 1:3; John 7:42; Acts 2:30).

Perhaps in some sense Jesus is letting those around Him know that God is the author and source of His birth or Incarnation which in Biblical terms can clearly be understood as miraculous. G. R. Beasley-Murray concludes that in John 6:38 “Herein lies the reason for his “descent,” i.e. for his Incarnation”(2) Such a verse seems to imply Incarnational language. It can be inferred that John would be aware of Jesus being born of a virgin and called Immanuel (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; cf. Isaiah 8:8, meaning God with us). Although those who knew Jesus knew Him to be genuinely human Jesus seems to be teaching them that the source from which He came is not earthly. Jesus would not have the biological contribution of a male parent in a virginal conception. Instead half of Jesus’ chromosomes had to have come from God miraculously. Jesus came through the womb of a woman as do all human beings but John also informs us that the life of Jesus is the life of the Father (John 5:26).

Michael Servetus noted in 1553 that here “the trifles of our trinitarians were not known to anyone at that time.”(3) This is important because Jesus’ language does not suggest He pre-existed as a second divine Son person with the Father nor more than it meant His flesh pre-existed in a divine state. Instead Jesus speaks enigmatically of his mission and His identity. Jesus is not the Incarnation of one person of a Trinity but the Incarnation of all the identity, character, and personality of the one God (Colossians 2:9). As to His eternal deity, there can be no subordination of Jesus to anyone else, whether in essence or position. Instead, Jesus makes the Father visible to the mortal eyes of men (John 12:45; 14:9-10).

While Jesus walked on earth as God Himself Incarnate, the Spirit of God continued to be omnipresent. As God manifest in the flesh Jesus can say “I came down from heaven”. His flesh came down from heaven in the sense that it was of a supernatural, divine origin. Yet as God in the flesh He can say “I came down from heaven” in reference to His eternal, uncreated deity. Servetus also notes:
“the Word of God has descended from heaven and is now on earth in the flesh of Christ...Whatever is beyond the flesh and blood is both from and in heaven. Not only was Christ from heaven, but he even brought heaven itself to us...”(4)
"him who sent me"

In 6:38 we also read “...the will of him who sent me...” Trinitarians will suggest that by the use of “him” and “me” here we have two divine persons--God and Jesus. Here they do not imagine human persons but entities existing in some spatial relationship with independent minds and processes. How does one omnipresent person or mind keep from bumping into the other omnipresent person or mind? Such a thing certainly begs many questions. The Unitarian will go one more step past the Trinitarian here and suggest that the use of the pronouns indicate that Jesus is not God but rather completely separate and other. Oneness believers recognize the “him” as a referent to God and the “me” as indicating the Son, God manifest in flesh, but recognized as the He who was beaten, bruised and crucified. In essence, God is aware of Himself existing as both human and divine. As mentioned prior the physical and mental limitations of the Incarnation have a profound impact. Both Trinitarians and Oneness leave this verse believing that Jesus is God.

Jesus, like any human being, is able to communicate with God from His human consciousness, while the divine nature was also manifest in His human consciousness. God was able to communicate with Him on this same basis. Luke 2:52 from the NASB notes: “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Even though Jesus was the very wisdom of God (I Corinthians 1:24) He was able to increase in wisdom, because He was also human. 

God is a person or personal spirit being and Jesus is a person. This however does not necessarily mean God and Jesus are two separate or different persons. God is unlimited in His person and being. Jesus is God manifest in the flesh and therefore is God’s divine Person and Word Incarnate (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is the One who is fully human and fully divine(5) and there is nothing logically contradictory with Him being so. The Word nor Wisdom of God are separable from God but are indeed His Word and Mind. Jesus is the expressed image of the Father’s being (Hebrews 1:3).

6:38 clearly presents a grammatical distinction between two personal pronouns. It may be just as accurate to say “the will of God who sent me” also. That a personal pronoun has to always mean only a theological or philosophical definition of the word person is erroneous. A pronoun could just as easily include the idea of being here since all persons have being. This is why the Unitarian or Socinian will say that Jesus is only a human being completely other than the being of God. If the use of personal pronouns prove a person then here we have two personal beings distinct from each other and not simply metaphysical persons united in God’s being. If they are divine persons then the question is begged still. What kind of divine persons do not know certain things? Are subject and sent? How does it make sense to say that God is sent? Is this what Jesus meant when He said that He was also sent? What exactly do you mean by person?

The grammar shows two distinct personal pronouns. A grammatical personal distinction. Of course, this does not amount to two persons in the sense that is popularly thought of today. Somehow the Trinitarian will walk away with the idea of two persons who are merely distinct but not separate. Two person who are not distinct in being but yet somehow share that same being. The only way they can arrive at such a conclusion is to read theology a priori into the grammar. If the theology is correct this should be no problem but as I have suggested it only begs the question.

Third Person Pronouns:

If we were to use the presence of third person pronouns as a method to determine the number of persons in a sentence or that they mean someone else other than the one speaking then there is a problem. If that is true then Jesus must not be the Son of God. Consider John 3:16 which we dealt with in a previous post:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ESV
The pronouns "he"; "his" and "him" are all third person pronouns. If some count personal pronouns or third person language as a way to determine how many divine persons we are dealing with in such references then Jesus is not the Son. One cannot count personal pronouns only to arrive at divine persons. If third person language means another person then that would also mean Jesus is not the Christ (Luke 24:46,47) nor is He the Son of Man (Luke 9:58; Mark 13:27).

Typically pronouns can be shown by their context to indicate one or more persons or things. This is especially true of two nouns who are human beings (Peter and John). This language works well in human to human discourse. However, if one understand Jesus to be God then the nouns "God" and "Jesus" are not completely congruent with a typical person to person relationship and is therefore unique. The context and what we know about the nouns “God” and “Jesus” help us determine the reading of the text. Jesus makes it plain that there is something very unique about His relationship to God and therefore it probably alludes typical expression. 

In His Incarnate existence God came to be conscious as man. To know and act as man. He came to experience and live according to all the limitations and realities to which all human beings are subject. God experienced life in a human way, not merely in His human nature, but through His human mode of existence, because Christ's humanity was God's humanity by virtue of the Incarnation. It is completely appropriate then for Jesus to act and be thought of according to His humanity in distinction from His uncreated and eternal deity.

In the following posts we will examine more what it means for Jesus to be fully human and fully God. 


1) Richard Bauckham. Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity (Kindle Locations 332-333). Kindle Edition.

2) Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). Vol. 36: Word Biblical Commentary : John. Word Biblical Commentary (92). Dallas: Word, Inc.

3) Servetus, Michael. (1553) Restoration of Christianity : An English Translation of Chistianismi Restitutio. (pg. 24-25) The Edwin Mellen Press

4) ibid. pg. 25

5) I recommend this article by Oneness scholar Jason Dulle, M.A. on The Dual Nature of Christ.


The Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ IV

In previous posts we have been looking at the Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ. In the previous post we examined John 3:16-17 as well as other pertinent passages. Before we get into another text we should note a few more things that can said to be true about the humanity of Jesus Christ. It is just as heretical to deny the humanity of Christ as it is to deny His deity. These two propositions must be held to be true by believers (see John 20:28).

The humanity of Christ however is real and authentic. The Scriptures indicate this to us for our benefit and learning about Jesus Christ. They are not to diminish the person of Jesus Christ in any sense. Rather it emphasizes His superlative character and example that are preserved for us until this day. The humanity of Christ does not seem to teach us anything about the nature of God. Instead, it seems to teach us that of all the things that can be said to be true of the Messiah one of them is that He will be and is an authentic human.

Physical Limitations:

If the humanity of Jesus is as genuine as we would expect it to be he would have physical limitations. In Luke 2:7-11 we see that Jesus is born. He has come through the womb of a woman as is any man that has ever lived. Luke recorded that Mary “gave birth to her first born son” and that “born this day...a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” (2:7,11 ESV) In Matthew 4:1 we see that Jesus is tempted. In John 4:6 and Mark 4:38 Jesus gets tired. In Matthew 4:2 He hungers.

Mental Limitations:

If the humanity of Jesus is as genuine as we would expect He would also experience mental or psychological limitations. Such limitations have a profound impact upon the Incarnation as God who is aware of Himself in a completely human nature and body. In Luke 2:52 Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature” (ESV). This indicates that Jesus gained knowledge and grew in intellectual acumen. In Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 the angels and the Son do not know the “day or hour” of the Son’s return. The KJV and the NKJV omit any reference to the Son in these verses. There is a variant in both places but the conclusion is inescapable upon either reading. In addition, New Testament scholar Philip W. Comfort notes:
“The same omission of “nor the Son” occurs...but in very few manuscripts. The documentary support in favor of its inclusion is impressive in both gospels...it is far more likely that the words here were omitted...because scribes found it difficult to conceive of Jesus not knowing something his father knew--specifically, the time of the second coming.”(1)
Jesus Christ experienced genuine human physical and mental limitations. He tired, hungered and wept (John 11:35). In His human consciousness He grew intellectually and at times did not know certain things. As genuinely human Jesus also was subject, submitted, learned obedience and was made perfect.

Jesus Christ is the living Logos or Word of the Father, who became flesh in Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1, 14). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary (cf. Matt. 1:23, Luke 1:35). Yet Hebrews 1:3 says that “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”(NIV 2011) Christ was fully divine and fully human, deity and humanity united indivisibly in one person.

It was the man or flesh of Jesus that was subjected in Luke 2:51. Because of His consciousness as human He submitted Himself to God (I Peter 2:23) as any man does. It is the writer of Hebrews who tells us that according to his authentic humanity Jesus learned obedience (Hebrews 5:8) and was finally made perfect (Hebrews 5:9). Yet, this same Jesus was above all. (John 3:31) As man He prays but as God he answers prayer.

As human, Christ, the Son of God, partook of our poverty so that we could partake of his riches (2 Cor 8:9). By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of God here and now on earth (Matt 12:28). He died on the cross for our sins (Heb 9:14) and rose again for our salvation on the third day (Rom 1:4). He ascended on high in order to pour out the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33) and is coming again, in the clouds of heaven, to fulfill the work of the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:11). To the church at Colosse Paul wrote that Jesus is "the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him," (NIV 2011)

In the following post we will look closer at John 6:38.


1) Comfort Philip W. (2008) New Testament Text and Translation Commentary (73) Tyndale House Publishers, Inc


The Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ III

In previous posts I began discussing the Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ. Let's begin this post with John 3:16-17:
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. ESV
It appears obvious to this reader that in 3:16 John is telling us the giving of the Son, the work of Christ and Christ’s saving work originates in the will and act of God Himself. John uses “God” (ho theos) here but this does not limit the language of this act to a Trinitarian person but simply God Himself as the source and giver of life. Those who believe in the Son should not perish but have eternal life because of what God has done through the Son. The Psalmist well before the Incarnation prophetically wrote, “Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:” (40:7 ESV)

God "loved" and God "gave":

The LEB has “For in this way God loved the world...” It is God who “loved” the world and “gave” the “only Son”. This is done by His will and action. The verbs “loved” and “gave” here are in the aorist third person form (egapesen) of agapao. This means that John has in mind a specific action in the past; the giving of the Son. This is an action done temporally in the time-space continuum and not necessarily an atemporal state of existence. An eternal begetting is not implied anywhere in Scripture.

John may not have been thinking in modern terms of thought or even thinking of such terms as “Incarnation” but the giving of the Son can involve the Incarnation. In the sense of God or the Word in the flesh. Perhaps John has in mind the miraculous virginal conception of Jesus (c.f. Isa. 7:14 and Matt. 1:20-23) as well. Because here John does not seem to have in mind simply Abraham giving his only son that he also loved (Genesis 22) but a different and decisive act of God in Christ. John’s words cannot be limited to the Incarnation but here they may have in view also the death of Christ or His entire mission to the lost world of men.(1)

God Sends the Son:

Jesus was God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16) and had been sent from the womb of Mary on divine assignment and mission. John 3:17 uses the Greek word for “send”. This verb apostello (apesteilen) is in the aorist aspect also (e.g. “loved”; “gave”) and therefore implies past time. This is why in English John suggests “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (3:17 ESV) The text also concerns what God has done through the Son “in order” or so that the world might be saved through him. This refers to the Son as our mediator for sin and atonement through Him alone.

I find the use of the verb “send” should be understood within the temporal perspective that Jesus Christ experienced. It should at least be the starting point. The “sending” or “coming” is in terms of a commissioning and sending of the only begotten Son of God. A descent from a non-earthly location in the sense of an angel or emanation was probably not on the mind of John here.

"into the world" and "I have come":

The phrase “into the world” perhaps can be taken in the same sense as a father sending his son out "into the world" to make his own way. This happened at the outset of Jesus' ministry in Luke 4:18-21 where the same verb for “send” (as used in John 3:17) is also used in the perfect third person form as “sent”. In Luke Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me...He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (ESV) 

Obviously a temporal sending is in view and not a sending of Jesus, as a second divine person, from a non-earthly location. We can actually say of the historical Christ that He came “into the world” at His birth. Notice John 18:37 from the ESV

John 18:37 says, “Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” ESV

As a man he was “sent” and “given” by God for the mission of redemption. The use of “I was born” and “come into the world” do not necessarily refer to two separate events but one can serve as an explanation of the other. Notice this portion of F.F. Bruce's' rendering of John 18:37:
“...The purpose of my birth, the purpose of my coming into the world, is that I should bear witness to the truth.”(2)
Bruce notes that “Here it is the incarnate Logos who is speaking, the embodiment of eternal truth, now revealed on earth at a particular time and place.”(3) We must be careful that we do not press the language too much. Leon Morris notes that “Pre-existence and incarnation are the precondition for, but not the point of this way of speaking.”(4) Such a way of speaking may not have been immediately compelling to those around Christ that He was God in the flesh or an angelic being descended from heaven.

Although that may be possible such things as coming into the world can be said of Jesus as well as “the prophet” (John 6:14); “the Christ” (John 7:27; 11:27) and every human being (John 16:21). Nicodemus recognized that Jesus was a teacher “come from God” (John 3:2) and even John the baptist is a man said to be “sent from God” as well as sent “before” Christ (see John 1:6; 3:28). In his voluminous work The Wars of the Jews Josephus uses similar language:
(400) “Thou, O Vespasian, thinkest no more than that thou hast taken Josephus himself captive; but I come to thee as a messenger of greater tidings; for had not I been sent by God to thee, I knew what was the laws of the Jews in this case,a and how it becomes generals to die.(5)
In Mark 9:11-13 we see John the Baptist as the "Elijah" who "has come". (See Mal. 3:1–2; 4:5–6) Here John the Baptist is clearly thought of as divinely commissioned, but that does not imply to the reader that he came from a non-earthly location.

For the Trinitarian the sending of the Son proves that the Father and Son are two separate person just as Jesus and the disciples are two persons. In this case the Father and the Son then are each existing prior to the Incarnation with their own mind and consciousness. If God is a Trinity of persons in this sense then there is no way to logically escape that the Trinity teaches tritheism (three gods). Jesus and the disciples share the fact that they as Christ had a divine commission and anointing.

The Genuine Humanity of Jesus Christ:

In the Incarnation God is distinctly aware of Himself as truly human and of course of Himself logically transcendent.The concept of sending refers to the Incarnation in the sense that it refers to the genuine humanity of Jesus Christ. A genuine human existence. Such a concept teaches us nothing about the divine nature of God. God, who existed outside of the time-space continuum, was also uniquely present in Jesus Christ. Although Jesus in His human nature can be spoken of as sent He can also be wherever two or three gather together in His name (Matthew 18:20). The fact that He made this statement while still on the earth shows that He did not give up His omnipresence in the Incarnation. Oneness Pentecostals affirm the genuine and complete humanity of Jesus. Yet this is not done to the exclusion of his supreme Deity. We must however allow all of Scripture to speak.

The Incarnation or the deity of the Messiah may ultimately be inexplicable. As noted in earlier posts Oneness Pentecostals hold the two truths of Christ as a genuine human and as God to be equally true. As a genuine man Jesus experienced limitations; was subject to time; prayed; endured, and was tempted. Christ’s humanity means that everything we humans can say of ourselves, we can also say of Jesus in his earthly life--except for sin. In every way that we relate to God, Jesus related to God, except that he did not need to repent or be born again. Thus, when Jesus prayed, when he submitted his will to the Father, and when he spoke about and to God, he simply acted in accordance with his authentic, genuine humanity. 


1) “The giving of the only Son clearly embraces both incarnation and vicarious death; it is the entire mission of the Son that is in view.” Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). Vol. 36: Word Biblical Commentary : John. Word Biblical Commentary (51). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

2) Bruce, F.F. (1983) The Gospel & Epistles of John. (353) W.B. Eerdmans Publishing.

3) ibid. 354

4) Morris, Leon. (1986) New Testament Theology. (241) Zondervan Publishing

5) Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1996). The works of Josephus : Complete and unabridged. (3.400) Peabody: Hendrickson.


The Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ II

In a previous post I began discussing the Authentic Humanity of Jesus Christ. In following posts I would like to look at other key texts of the New Testament that verify the genuineness of the humanity of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the oldest enemies to the early church was docetism and gnosticism. Gnosticism is a very slippery term and there are many types. It seems that early gnostic writings though were thinking of Jesus in very supernatural terms (see Infancy Gospel of Thomas). The Docetists thought spiritual was good and physical was evil. Therefore, Jesus could not have been a real man. It should not surprise us then to know that the Scriptures as a whole affirm the authentic humanity of Jesus Christ. Apparently the Apostle John felt similarly. Dr. David S. Norris notes:
Christian theology is held together by a man. Whoever, or whatever else He was, He was a man—not apparently, but actually.(1)
For the the Apostle John it is important that we understand Jesus was a true man. In fact, the spirit of Antichrist is the denial of the genuine humanity of Jesus and not a denial of His deity. We must be careful not to read too much into this because it does not necessarily follow that a denial of His deity is acceptable to John. Notice 1 John 4:1-3
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. ESV
The ESV in 4:2 renders homologeo (homologei) as “confesses” (present, active, indicative verb). Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ, in the “flesh” or sarx has come from God. The prepositional phrase “in the flesh” refers to Jesus the “Christ” or “anointed one”. The use of this term perhaps affirms the Messianic nature of Jesus as well which as Messianic Jewish scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum includes:
“...The Messiah was to be of the Seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the Tribe of Judah and the family of David. Indeed, He was to be the ideal Israelite...The genealogies show Him to be of the Seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the Tribe of Judah and from the family of David (Matt. 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-28). His lineage from Judah is emphasized in Hebrews 7:13-14 and Revelation 5:5. He was always recognized on sight to be a Jew and the Samaritan woman recognized Him to be that in John 4:9.”(2)
Fruchtenbaum rightly concludes that Israel’s longed for Messiah would be from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and essentially through the family of David. Since the Messiah would be the “ideal Israelite” it would naturally require him to be human at the very least. Even the woman at the well could tell that Jesus was a Jewish man (John 4:9).

 “Sent” and “come” from God?

To say that Jesus Christ in the flesh has come from God also creates a grammatical distinction between the direct object (Jesus Christ) and God. Jesus Christ, in the flesh, has come from God. For the Unitarian or Socinian Jesus is truncated from God by being “in the flesh”. For both the Trinitarian and the Oneness perspective Jesus is God but for one He is a different divine person also called God and for the other He is the True God manifest in flesh in a truly genuine human existence. God is aware of Himself in a truly human existence.

If Jesus is God how can He also be “from God”? This question is one that everyone must consider objectively. For the Trinitarian He is one of three divine persons (not beings) who considered and voluntarily chose prior to the Incarnation to come in the flesh. For the Unitarian “he” (Jesus) is another separate human being that cannot truly be considered “God” except in a representative sense.

My perspective as well as any other is not without presupposition or criticism. From my Oneness perspective Jesus has come from God in the sense as John appears to be writing about Him. As it is reflected in the use of the pronouns used of Christ. This includes a temporal perspective wherein John considers and sees Jesus, the Christ. From this perspective, Jesus then was a man who had come and was sent from God. His coming is representative but not representative alone. The truth of sending and coming for Christ perhaps clearly points to His authentic humanity. A point that the Bible manifestly seeks to make clear. There are many texts that speak about Jesus being “sent” by God, “coming” from God and “coming down from heaven” (See Matt. 10:40; John 4:34; John 5:24; John 6:38; John 8:42; John 16:28; John 17:18; Gal. 4:4; 1 John 4:14). In following posts we will consider John 3:16-17 and other sending passages.


1. Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. (1989) Israeology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. (846) Ariel Ministries.

2. David S. Norris (2009-09-30). I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal Theology (Kindle Locations 1138-1140). Word Aflame Press. Kindle Edition.


Calvin & Servetus

Video lecture by Carlos Xavier on Calvin, Servetus, and Heretics. An interesting dialog on Servetus is also reviewed near the end of the video. While I do not agree with everything the Abrahamic Movement teaches there are some things here worth sharing and knowing. Namely, laughter and joking over murder is very disturbing. This should be true in anyone's "book".

Adversus Trinitas

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