All Things Were Made by Him

“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made … He was in the world, and the world was made by him” (Jhn 1:3,10); “God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph 3:9); “For by him were all things created” (Col 1:16); “by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb 1:1-2). The apostles of the Lord revealed that God the Father created all things by the agency of His Son. If someone, for example, sold their house by employing the service of a real estate agent, although the agent actually did the work, the homeowner still says that they sold their house.

Judaism which rejects Jesus Christ as the Son of God claims that only one person was present at the creation. Trinitarians, however, claim there were three. The plural personal pronouns in the creation account certainly indicate at least a second person but not necessarily more, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26). That there were exactly two persons—the Father and the Son—is attested by John, “the Word was with God … in the beginning with God” (Jhn 1:1,2), “That which was from the beginning … the Word of life … which was with the Father” (1Jo 1:1,2).

We’ve been taught that all the times “God said” in the creation account, He was speaking everything into existence. But if God the Father spoke it all into existence, then how was it created by His Son? The Scriptures tell us that it was the work of His hands: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained … “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands” (Psa 8:3,6); “The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land” (Psa 95:5); “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm” (Jer 27:5); “concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens” (Isa 45:11-12); “the heavens are the work of thy hands” (Psa 102:25); “the heavens are the works of thine hands” (Heb 1:10); “didst set him over the works of thy hands” (Heb 2:7). We’re even told this in the creation account, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground … And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field” (Gen 2:7,19).

Of the nine times we’re told “God Said” (Gen 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24,26,29), one time it’s clearly the Father speaking to the Son, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Here, He wasn’t speaking anything into existence but telling His Son what to create—creating by the agency of His Son. This one occurrence indicates the case with all the others. Therefore, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light,” it wasn’t God speaking light into existence but the Father telling His Son “Let there be light,” then His Son creating the light. He was commanding His Son: “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psa 33:9); “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created” (Psa 148:5); “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness” (2Co 4:6). The creation is the work of the Son of God’s hands.

Also, throughout the six days of creation and on the seventh day of rest, only the term Elohim for “God” is used. But beginning in chapter two, Yehova Elohim is used for “the LORD God.” Since it was the Father telling His Son to make both male and female, “And God [Elohim] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness … male and female created he them” (1:26,27), and the Son made them, “And the LORD God [Yehova Elohim] formed man of the dust of the ground” (2:7), “And the rib, which the LORD God [Yehova Elohim] had taken from the man, made he a woman” (2:22), we can deduct that Elohim is the Father and Yehova Elohim is the Son. And as the Father spoke to His Son using plural pronouns, “And God [Elohiym] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (1:26), the Son also spoke similarly, “And the LORD God [Yehova Elohim] said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Gen 3:22).

Yehova Elohim revoked man’s access to the tree of life, “And the LORD God [Yehova Elohim] said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” (Gen 3:22), and it is He that restores it, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life” (Rev 2:7).

We must “hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith” (Rev 2:7,11,17,29, 3:6,13,22). “And the LORD God [Yehova Elohim] called unto Adam … I heard thy voice” (Gen 3:9,10), “that ye may know what is the hope of his calling” (Eph 1:18), “Wherefore as the Holy Ghost [Breath] saith, To day if ye will hear his voice” (Heb 3:7).

The Sabbath was Made for Man

Many times Jesus Christ Himself “broke” the Sabbath day: “Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other” (Mat 12:12-13); “And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day” (Luk 13:14); “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go” (Luk 14:2-4); “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day” (Jhn 5:16); “This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day” (Jhn 9:16).

Christ also directed others to break the Sabbath day as well: “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.” (Mat 12:1-2); “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.” (Jhn 5:8-9).

Christ also pointed out times when His enemies broke the Sabbath day: “Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?” (Luk 13:15); “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?” (Luk 14:5); “and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man” (Jhn 7:22). They broke the Sabbath to help animals, while He broke the Sabbath to help people. They broke the Sabbath to cut flesh, while He broke the Sabbath to heal flesh.

Of course Christ never sinned. That He broke the Sabbath day to uphold a greater moral good indicates that Sabbath keeping isn’t moral in nature. When questioned about it once, He appealed to David and his men eating the showbread, “How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?” (Mat 12:4). That He put the Sabbath day on the same level as priestly duties which weren’t moral in nature, indicates that Sabbath keeping isn’t either. Furthermore, He also argued “and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man” (Jhn 7:22). The priests circumcised male babies on the eighth day from birth even if it fell on the Sabbath day. If circumcision was deemed superior to the Sabbath day, and circumcision isn’t required of Christians, why then would Sabbath keeping?

The concept of the Sabbath day is quite simple but we complicate it. Christ said “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mar 2:27). God imposed labor upon man, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Gen 3:19), and could very well have required daily work without any rest. It was His mercy to give His people a day of rest which began when manna came down from heaven, “Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none … So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exo 16:26,30). It wasn’t a duty, “not man for the Sabbath,” but a mercy.

The Sabbath day was given, not for rulers to be sure and give themselves a day of rest but “that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou” (Deu 5:14). When the Law was given, God’s people were told to “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exo 20:8). And 40 years later it was explained, “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt” (Deu 5:15). They hadn’t been given a day of rest when they were servants in Egypt. Reminding themselves what it had been like as servants themselves would prompt them to be merciful to their own households. And Moses stated that as its purpose, “therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day” (Deu 5:15). Commanding everyone to rest for a day ensured everyone got a day of rest.

The Decalogue, including the Fourth Commandment “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exo 20:8), was the law of the Old Covenant, and God’s people are now under the New—the Lord’s commandments. When Paul wrote “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike” (Rom 14:5), it was toward the Lord, “He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it” (Rom 14:6). Christ commanding “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Mat 7:1), concerned these very issues, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?” (v. 4), “But why dost thou judge thy brother?” (v. 10), “Let us not therefore judge one another any more” (v. 13). It’s because the Lord didn’t command the Sabbath day that He did command us to not judge. We’re all striving to be faithful to our Lord, “for whatsoever is not of faith [faithfulness] is sin” (v. 23).

The Truth is in the Scriptures

Paul penned his last words to Timothy, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2Ti 3:15). Of course, Timothy only had the Old Testament growing up but Paul’s words apply to it all, including the Scriptures still being written. His point is that it’s the Scriptures that give us the wisdom we need to be saved. It’s not preachers, ministries, churches, denominations, creeds, theology books, “Christian” books, podcasts, or websites—it’s the Scriptures.

The entire world is evil because it’s deceived and ruled by the devil: “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (Jhn 16:11); “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Act 26:18); “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (2Co 4:4); “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world” (Gal 1:4); “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2); “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (Jas 4:4); “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1Jo 5:19); “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Rev 12:9).

If we’re looking to the world for answers, we’re going to get wrong answers because the whole world is deceived. In this utterly “dark” world there’s only one beacon of “light.” There’s only one source for the truth about God, ourselves, salvation, and all essential matters of life—the Scriptures. But we must have the correct understanding of the Scriptures or we still won’t have the truth. For example: if you wrote a letter to someone but they misunderstood the message you intended to convey, then they don’t have your message. God’s message to us is in the Scriptures but we must understand the message He intended to convey. And it all begins with the teaching of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son into this evil world so we would no longer be deceived but know the truth: “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jhn 1:17); “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jhn 8:32); “And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” (Jhn 8:46); “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6); “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (Jhn 18:37); “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:21).

Jesus Christ endorsed the Old Testament Scriptures by quoting from them many times and by His statements about them: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Mat 5:18); “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luk 16:17); “all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luk 24:44).

Jesus Christ commissioned the New Testament Scriptures by giving His apostles the understanding of the Old and also giving new revelation: “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luk 24:45); “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ” (2Co 3:14); “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery” (Eph 3:3); “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding” (1Jo 5:20); “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Rev 1:1).

Paul had written to Timothy earlier, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine [didaskalia 1319]; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1Ti 4:16). And “the doctrine” of which he was speaking is the good doctrine of Jesus Christ as contrasted with doctrines of devils, “giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines [didaskalia 1319] of devils” (v. 1), “thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine [didaskalia 1319]” (v. 6). If we’ll heed the teaching of Jesus Christ, we’ll be saved and we’ll save those that will listen. But if people won’t listen, then they can’t be helped.

What’s great about the information age is that the truth can be spread far and wide very quickly. However, the huge downfall is that there’s much more junk out there than the truth. When searching the internet, we’ll hardly find the truth because what little there is has been buried beneath a massive garbage pile. We have to study the Scriptures ourselves. If any of us think we can be saved apart from understanding the Scriptures, then we think we know better than God Himself. God is the Author of the Scriptures and sent His Son for us to understand His message to be saved, “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.”

The Letter to the Elect Lady

“The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth” (2Jo 1:1). What was so special about this lady that one of the 66 books of the Scriptures was penned just to her? What was it about her that the apostle John himself and everyone else that knew the truth loved her so much? And why is she called the elect or chosen lady? It’s because her husband is the one that had been chosen by God to help Christ carry His cross: “And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross” (Mat 27:32), “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross” (Mar 15:21), “And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus” (Luk 23:26).

That she was “elect” has nothing to do with the false doctrine of Calvinism. It’s simply that she assumed the honor of that title from her deceased husband chosen to carry Christ’s cross. And that distinguished recognition also extended to the rest of the family. Simon of Cyrene was “the father of Alexander and Rufus” (Mar 15:21), of whom Paul wrote, “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord” (Rom 16:13). And not only his sons but even his extended family bore that honor, “The children of thy elect sister” (2Jo 1:13).

John was there at the crucifixion and had personally witnessed Simon carrying Christ’s cross. He saw this woman’s husband compelled to perform the lowly and demeaning task of helping, what appeared to be just another ordinary convicted criminal, carry his cross to his execution. And as Christ gave John the responsibility of caring for His own mother, John also assumed somewhat of an oversight of Simon’s widow as well, writing to her and visiting her, “Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full” (2Jo 1:12). She was such an endeared lady that all of the apostles considered her like a mother, “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine” (Rom 16:13).

John’s overriding concern for this lady and her family was for them to be living by the truth, “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father” (2Jo 1:4). Even while the apostles were still alive, there were “many deceivers” teaching a different Christ, “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2Jo 1:7). Antichrists at that time were teaching that Christ hadn’t come in the flesh yet her own husband had been drenched with Christ’s blood from His flesh!

Simon of Cyrene was from North Africa. He was dark-skinned and likely discriminated against. But the preaching of the cross includes the fact that God chose a dark-skinned Gentile to help Christ carry His cross, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are” (1Co 1:27-28). Though the soldiers likely spotted this man in the crowd and chose him because of his skin color to perform what nobody else wanted to do, it was actually God who chose him to perform this most honorable deed that could ever be done.

The preaching of the cross includes several narratives considered unwise by the “wise” of the world: our Savior was from the despised city of Nazareth; He was a poor, homeless, and convicted criminal; a dark-skinned man helped Him carry His cross; women were the first eye-witnesses of His resurrection. All of these things were in God’s plan so “That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1Co 1:29). To be saved by the Savior, one must humbly embrace and glory in these things.

Also, in this short letter to this dear lady, John wrote one of the most powerful and profound statements in all of Scripture, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2Jo 1:9). The doctrine of Christ is that the Father is God and Jesus is His Son, “God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father” (2Jo 1:3). Whether or not we belong to God the Father depends upon where we are with the teachings of His Son Jesus Christ. We can’t knowingly be in disagreement with the Son and still be right with the Father. To abide in what He taught is to be unashamed before people of what He taught. It’s to be in agreement, obedience, and submission to Him and His teaching, “He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”

The Correct View of God and the Son of God

Introduction

Jesus Christ declared, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3). Only those with the true view of God and His Son Jesus Christ have eternal life, while all with false views don’t. John said, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2Jo 1:9). We must submit to what Christ taught and abide in it, or we don’t have God.

I was a Trinitarian for over 25 years until finally coming to the knowledge and confession of the truth about God taught by His Son Jesus Christ. And I pondered many times whether or not I truly belonged to Him all those years I confessed the false view of Trinitarianism. But based on what His Son taught, I finally (albeit, reluctantly) had to conclude that I didn’t have the hope of eternal life at that time. If I had died a Trinitarian, I would have perished.

The true view of God and His Son Jesus Christ is what the Son Himself taught and what His apostles sent by Him taught. The Son was sent by the Father from heaven with His words, and the apostles were sent by the Son with his words. What the Son taught is the truth, and anyone teaching something different is wrong. He knows God because He is His Son and was with Him, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (Jhn 1:1-2).

There’s a tremendous amount of deception and confusion in the world about God and His Son. This is mainly because of false teaching and ignorance of what Jesus Christ truly taught. And the very words of Christ Himself are used by ministers to teach something different than what He taught. This is accomplished through many tactics but one of the primaries is by taking certain statements figuratively that were meant to be taken literally, or taking literally what was meant to be taken figuratively.

God authored the Scriptures in such a way that harmony permeating throughout only comes when correctly understanding the message He intended to convey. Most of the time He communicated using literal speech but sometimes with figurative language. The key to correct understanding is taking His words the way He meant for them to be taken. Once we’re understanding His message correctly, we’ll have consistency across all of Scripture and logical soundness. If things defy sound logic and simply don’t make good sense, there’s a problem.

When it comes to theology—the subject of God Himself—the biggest culprit in arriving at false views of Him is a false definition and understanding of the Greek word theos for “God,” and the root word of the English “theology.” If we’re not even beginning with the correct understanding of the word for God, we’re highly unlikely to get it right in our understanding of God Himself. The acronym GIGO in computer lingo stands for “garbage in, garbage out.” And that principle is basic universal logic—if what we’re starting with is wrong, then what we’ll end with will also be wrong.

The false Trinitarian view of God is imposed and perpetuated in part by a wrong understanding of theos. And non-Trinitarians, unfortunately, usually don’t fare much better. Although correctly affirming Trinitarianism as false, most non-Trinitarian groups have a false view of God as well. And Trinitarians love to capitalize on this by claiming that Trinitarianism must be right because of all the other bizarre views of God out there. After all, if you reject Trinitarianism, where else will you go?

Bizarre beliefs

Many organized religious groups that identify as “Christian” have bizarre beliefs about God—beliefs that clash with what the Son of God taught about His Father God and Himself. The largest groups are Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Oneness, Trinitarian, and Unitarian. Jehovah’s Witness: there is one God; Jesus Christ was created as the archangel Michael; Christ’s resurrection was spiritual and not physical; the Holy Spirit is an active force. Mormon: God is a Godhead of three beings; God is a perfected man; there are many gods; humans can become like God. Oneness: God is one Person and assumes three different modes or titles of the Father in heaven, the Son on earth, and the Holy Spirit in the church. Trinitarian: there is one God in the three persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; the Son of God has always existed and was covered with flesh in His incarnation. Unitarian (a wide range of beliefs): God is a person; God is not a person but a force; God is either Father or Mother; there isn’t a God; God is whatever you want to believe; the Son of God didn’t pre-exist His humanity.

God sent His Son into this world so that we would know Him in truth: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (Jhn 1:18); “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (Jhn 4:23); “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3). The only way to know God in truth is to know Him in the truth His Son taught, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6). He is the only way to God, the only truth about God, and the only hope of eternal life.

God revealed Himself to His people

God began revealing Himself through Moses and consummated that knowledge fully through sending His only begotten Son from heaven to declare Him and represent Him. The correct view of God, therefore, is the view His Son taught. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (Jhn 1:18). No man but the Son of God has seen God because He was with God, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (Jhn 1:1-2). Since no man but the Son of God has been with God and seen God, then no man but the Son of God knows what they’re talking about when it comes to talking about God. The Son of God is right and anyone teaching something different is wrong. Anyone transgressing what Christ taught, doesn’t have God, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2Jo 1:9).

Speaking to a Samaritan woman, Jesus informed her “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews” (Jhn 4:22). The Samaritan people were the closest of any to the Jewish people both in ancestry and geographic settlement yet still had a wrong view of God, “Ye worship ye know not what.” If those having more advantage of knowing God than any other people but still didn’t, then nobody else knows God either. Only the Jewish people worshipped the true God, “we know what we worship.” Therefore, only they had the hope of salvation, “for salvation is of the Jews.”

We’re deceived if we count Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness, Trinitarians, and Unitarians, with their aberrant views of God, as knowing God. If according to the Son of God Himself, even the Samaritans didn’t know God and therefore didn’t have any hope of salvation, then none of these modern religious groups of people do either. We can only know God through the truth His Son taught. Jesus affirmed the God of Israel revealed through Moses, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mar 12:29-30).

There is no salvation apart from being joined to the God of the Jewish people through His Son Jesus Christ. Paul taught the Gentiles at Ephesus: “That we [Jews] should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye [Gentiles] also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed [trusted]” (Eph 1:12-13); “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:11-12).

The saving gospel message that Jesus Christ Himself preached went to the Jews first, then Gentiles were allowed to partake with them: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth [trusts]; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16); “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou [Gentiles], being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them [Jews]” (Rom 11:17); “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people” (Rom 15:10); “For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things” (Rom 15:27). All people, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, can only know God by agreeing with and submitting to the truth His Son Jesus Christ taught about Him.

The Greek theos isn’t a type of being

The Greek theos for “God” or “god” is simply a sovereign or ultimate and highest authority. It’s a role, position, or title of a person in authority, not a kind or type of being. The Father is God, not because of what He is as a being, but because of His status as the highest authority over all, including over His Son Jesus Christ. That theos is a role or position of authority is evident by the Son of God Himself using this word for men and also for His Father within the same statement.

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods [theos 2316]? If he called them gods [theos 2316], unto whom the word of God [theos 2316] came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God [theos 2316]? (John 10:34-36)

God, Himself called these men “gods.” Since theos is a role, position, title, or status, then these men were simply human beings standing in a position of authority in which they could be called “gods” within a limited context of rule and authority. In fact, after declaring “Ye are gods” (Psa 82:6), God then affirmed their humanity, “But ye shall die like men” (Psa 82:7). They were not some kind of divine beings, but merely human beings that would die just like all humans.

Paul also used theos for angels in heaven and for men on earth in the same statement with God Himself, “For though there be that are called gods [theos 2316], whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods [theos 2316] many, and lords [kyrios 2962] many,) But to us there is but one God [theos 2316], the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord [kyrios 2962] Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1Co 8:5-6). The word theos isn’t the person himself, whether God, angels, or men, but the position of the person. Furthermore, that theos is simply a position of authority is also evident by Paul using it in this statement alongside the Greek kyrios for “lord” or “ruler” which most definitely is a position of authority, “there be gods [theos 2316] many, and lords [kyrios 2962] many.” And Jesus quoted from Moses using both kyrios and theos, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord [kyrios 2962] our God [theos 2316] is one Lord [kyrios 2962]” (Mar 12:29). Since both “god” and “lord” are positions of authority, then the Father is God and the Son is Lord, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

Finally, theos can’t be a type of being because then the statement “I am the God [theos 2316] of Abraham, and the God [theos 2316] of Isaac, and the God [theos 2316] of Jacob” (Mat 22:32) is utter nonsense. It would mean that God Himself belongs to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as their possession! But since it’s saying that He is Abraham’s God, and Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God, then it’s simply that He is their Ruler. The God of Abraham is the Ruler of Abraham.

It’s because kyrios and theos are simply positions of authority that Thomas could correctly call the Son of God “My Lord [kyrios 2962] and my God [theos 2316]” (Jhn 20:28), while the Son of God calls His Father the same, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God [theos 2316], and your God [theos 2316]” (Jhn 20:17). It’s within this hierarchy of authority that the Father is the Son’s God and our God, while the Son is our Lord and our God. The very first of the Ten Commandments was to have no other gods before God Himself, “I am the LORD [yehova 3068] thy God [elohim 430], which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods [elohim 430] before me” (Exo 20:2-3). Yet shortly after, God told His people “Thou shalt not revile the gods [elohim 430], nor curse the ruler of thy people” (Exo 22:28). Men that rule over His people in positions of authority, even God calls “gods” so long as they’re in submission to His authority. Having gods under God isn’t violating the commandment of having gods before God. We can call the Lord Jesus Christ “my God” because He is ruling over God’s people under the one true God.

Misunderstanding theos as a kind or type of being is the underlying flaw contributing to many of the false views of God and His Son Jesus Christ. In Trinitarianism, since the Son of God is God Himself, and God is understood as a type of being, then logically there had to be a hypostatic union of the God-type of being and the human-type of being in the incarnation. The Son had to continue existing as the God-type of being when becoming the human-type of being or else He would have ceased to be God!

Furthermore, this flawed concept of theos is the main factor for non-Trinitarians rejecting the pre-existence of the Son of God. Because non-Trinitarians correctly believe that the Son of God is not God, they wrongly deduct that He was simply a mere human being like the rest of us. Because if theos is the God-type of being as they assume, and the Son of God is not God, then the Son of God was never the God-type of being and therefore has only been the human-type of being. But their reasoning is wrong because their understanding of theos is wrong. It’s all just GIGO.

God is a divine type of being

Jesus Christ’s statement “God is a Spirit” (Jhn 4:24) is used almost without exception to teach that God is a spirit-type of being. But “God is a Spirit [Breath]” (Jhn 4:24), or “God is spirit [breath]” (NET, NIV), isn’t literal but figurative. Jesus was simply using a figure of speech called a metaphor in which a term is applied to suggest a correspondence. An example is “God is love” (1Jo 4:8,16). Of course, God isn’t love literally, but because He completely embodies everything about love, John equated Him metaphorically with it. That “God is spirit [breath]” is that since God is entirely and exclusively the source of our breath and our life, His Son could say that He is breath. The breath of eternal life from God comes through knowing and worshipping Him as the true God, “God is a Spirit [Breath]: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit [breath] and in truth” (Jhn 4:24), “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3).

The faulty assumption that God is a spirit-type of being leads to wrong conclusions and false doctrines. Trinitarians use this assumption to bolster their false view of the Holy Spirit as a person. They argue that since God is a spirit and He is a person, and the Holy Spirit is a spirit, then the Holy Spirit must be a person. And they further apply this same flawed conclusion to human beings as well. Since God is a spirit being, and humans were made after the image of God, then humans must also be spirit beings. Therefore, when humans die, the true spirit being inside the body continues living either in heaven or in hell. This, of course, has great implications for the incarnation of the Son Himself. Since God is a spirit being, and the Son of God is a spirit being, and humans are spirit beings, then the Son of God simply covered Himself with flesh when becoming a human being. It’s the result of taking Christ’s statement “God is a Spirit [Breath]” (Jhn 4:24) literally, instead of figuratively as intended.

The fact is, we’re not told what kind or type of being God is. The best we can do is call Him a divine being. What we know for certain about God is what His Son told us about Him. We’re wise to not speculate and teach beyond what His Son taught and revealed to us.

The Word was God

The opening statement of John’s Gospel “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (Jhn 1:1-2), is the main proof-text used by Trinitarians to claim that Jesus Himself is God. But twice John said He was “with God.” How can He be with Him and also be Him? Since John later wrote, “the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father” (1Jo 1:1-2), then “with God” corresponds to “with the Father.” Thus, the Father is God and the Word was with Him.

The context of “the Word was God” includes several figures of speech or metaphors. The Son of God isn’t literally “the Word” (v. 1) or “the Light” (v. 7). These are figures of speech. John employed similar metaphors even for God Himself, “God is light” (1Jo 1:5), “God is love” (1Jo 4:8, 16). Of course God isn’t literally light or love but because God shows the characteristics of light and love to such a degree that metaphorical equality with them is warranted. And just as “the light was the life” (v. 4) is a metaphor, so is “the Word was God.” The Word Himself later attested “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (14:9). He represented God to such perfection that John could say He “was God” in metaphorical equivalence. We’re told in other places: “Christ, who is the image of God” (2Co 4:4); “Who is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15); “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb 1:3). When people saw the Son of God, they were seeing God the Father figuratively. Therefore, “the Word was God.”

Furthermore, in Greek, a definite article is used in both statements “the Word was with [the] God … The same was in the beginning with [the] God,” but not in the statement “the Word was God.” More specifically, John didn’t say “the Word was [the] God.” Although virtually all English Bible versions omit the definite articles, the Jubilee Bible 2000 includes them, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with the God.” (JUB). John’s use of the definite article twice for God Himself but not with “the Word was God,” reinforces the correct understanding that “the Word was God” isn’t literal but figurative.

Is it literal or figurative?

Assumptions are concepts, ideas, or notions we take for granted or count as being true even though they haven’t been proven, therefore might not be true. But assumptions are necessary because sometimes the only way we can come to the truth is to start with an underlying assumption as a theory, then build upon it more assumptions taken to their logical conclusions. If the conclusions reached are illogical or nonsense, then it’s likely that the underlying assumptions aren’t true. However, when assumptions are taken to their logical conclusion are logical, reasonable, and harmonize all of Scripture, it’s a very good indicator of the truth.

Truth is always logical and reasonable. And since the doctrine of the Trinity is illogical, it’s not true. Just a few of its illogical claims: the one God consists of three persons; Jesus is both “God the Son” and the Son of God; Jesus is both a 100% divine being and a 100% human being at the same time; Jesus was eternally begotten; although God can’t be tempted, Jesus is God and was tempted in all points; although God can’t die, Jesus is God and did die.

So long as our assumptions simply remain theories that we employ to help guide us away from error and into truth, they’re very helpful and necessary. However, when we become more loyal to our underlying assumptions than to the Lord Himself, we’ll begin forcing Scripture to comply with our assumptions. Taken even further, if we’re disagreeing with the plain teaching of the Son of God Himself, we’re in grave danger.

The problem with false underlying assumptions is that loyalty to them forces us to take literally things that were meant to be taken figuratively and to take figuratively things that were meant to be taken literally. But how can we know for certain when something should be taken literally or figuratively? The immediate context usually indicates it but ultimately the overall context of Scripture as a whole is the guiding beacon. God authored the Scriptures in such a way that sound reasoning and logic harmonized across all of Scripture indicates we’ve arrived at the truth.

Because Trinitarianism begins with the false underlying assumption that the one God exists in three co-equal persons, it eagerly takes the figurative statement “the Word was God” (Jhn 1:1) literally, but must also take its surrounding statements “the Word was with [the] God … The same was in the beginning with [the] God” (Jhn 1:2), figuratively. He couldn’t literally be with the one true God when He Himself is the one true God!

Their same underlying flawed view of God fuels their claim that “but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (Jhn 5:18) means co-equality with God in every single regard. At the same time, they must scamper for damage control by the very next thing Christ said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (Jhn 5:19). Had He said there were only some things He couldn’t do, the idea of co-equality would have fallen flat. But He said “nothing”!

Non-Trinitarians, on the other hand, are certainly noble in rejecting the Trinitarian view of God as false. However, most all of them fall into the ditch on the other side by adopting another view of God and His Son that’s just as false. This is evident by them also forcing Scripture to comply with their false assumptions—taking literal what’s figurative and figurative what’s literal.

Since non-Trinitarians reject the view that the Son is God Himself, and since they wrongly understand theos as a type of being, many of them wrongly deny the pre-existence of the Son. If He is not God, then they conclude He must be a mere man only. And to stay loyal to that false assumption, they’re forced to take figuratively a plethora of literal statements, particularly the Son being with the Father in the beginning and coming down from heaven: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God” (Jhn 1:1); “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven” (Jhn 3:13); “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world” (Jhn 3:17); “He that cometh from above is above all” (Jhn 3:31); “my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven,” “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven,” “For I came down from heaven,” “I am the living bread which came down from heaven” (Jhn 6:32,33,38,51); “I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (Jhn 8:42); “he was come from God, and went to God” (Jhn 13:3); “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world” (Jhn 16:28); “I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me” (Jhn 17:8); “the second man is the Lord from heaven” (1Co 15:47); “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1Ti 1:15); “God sent his only begotten Son into the world” (1Jo 4:9).

Equal or co-equal?

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form [morphe 3444] of God [theos 2316], thought it not robbery to be equal [isos 2470] with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form [morphe 3444] of a servant [doulos 1401], and was made in the likeness [homoioma 3667] of men” (Phl 2:5-7). In this passage, Paul was teaching the Philippians to have the same mindset that Christ had. Now, he certainly wasn’t telling literally them to become incarnated from divine beings to human beings! The Greek theos isn’t a type of being and neither is doulos. Paul was emphasizing the fact that the Son of God “morphed” from His position as Ruler to the position of Servant. It’s the same principle he taught the Corinthians, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2Co 8:9). He emptied Himself of everything He had with God—position, ability, and wealth—to become and human being and save us.

That He was “equal with God” isn’t co-equal as taught in Trinitarianism. The Son has an equivalence or correspondence with the Father in certain regards. But co-equal, on the other hand, is a joint ranking and absolute equality in every regard. It’s because the sense of co-equality has been so thoroughly drilled into the minds of Trinitarians that it’s difficult for them to read certain statements in Scripture any other way. But it’s simply an equivalence, correspondence, or likeness with God. We can be certain of this because of the parallel statement in this passage, “in the likeness of men.” This can’t mean that He became co-equal with men so that they were all one Man in multitudes of persons! His correspondence with God and then with men are simply corollaries when taken to extremes result in nonsense.

The Son of God was on an equivalent plane or “footing” with God, but abased Himself to that of humans—even the lowest of humans to die in public shame as a convicted criminal, “even the death of the cross” (Phl 2:8). And this is the mindset we’re to have. We’re to become servants, losing everything and abasing ourselves even to shame and humiliation for the name of our Lord and the sake of others coming to know Him.

That “equal [isos 2470] with God” isn’t co-equal in Trinitarianism is also shown by how the Jews understood what Jesus claimed of Himself, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal [isos 2470] with God” (Jhn 5:18). That “God was his Father” put Him in an entirely different category than all other men—having equivalence with God as His Son. That He wasn’t claiming to be God Himself is evident by His next statement, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (Jhn 5:19). His dependence upon His Father is certainly not co-equality.

A similar event happened later. “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God … Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (Jhn 10:33,36). His claim was “I am the Son of God,” not that He is God Himself. And when the Jews said “thou, being a man, makest thyself God,” it was a retort to His claim “I and my Father are one” (Jhn 10:30). It’s that God was His Father and they were in total unity and agreement. No man had ever made such a claim, not even Moses.

The statement “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Phl 2:6), is a mistranslation in the King James Version. It’s more accurately “something to be grasped” (NET) or “something to cling to” (NLT). In other words, He didn’t put up any resistance to His Father’s plan of salvation by clinging to His place with Him. His submission to His Father sending Him is just another reason why “equal with God” isn’t co-equal. Besides, if there are three co-equal persons, why is there nothing in Scripture about the Spirit also sending the Son? And why send the Son? Why didn’t the Son send the Spirit, or the Spirit send the Father? It’s ridiculous to even have to address such absurdities.

Trinitarians coined the term “God the Son” which is found nowhere in Scripture. Jesus always called Himself the Son: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (Jhn 3:16); “The Son can do nothing of himself” (Jhn 5:19); “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (Jhn 9:35); “I said, I am the Son of God?” (Jhn 10:36); “that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (Jhn 11:4); “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (Jhn 17:1). It’s dangerous to disagree with what the Son said about Himself. We can be deceived and ignorant about the truth, and God will forgive us when we come to the correct knowledge and repent. But to know the truth and fight against it is very serious.

The Son of God before His incarnation

Several times Jesus was called and even called Himself, “the only begotten [monogenes 3439] of the Father” (Jhn 1:14), “the only begotten [monogenes 3439] Son” (1:18), “his only begotten [monogenes 3439] Son” (3:16), “the only begotten [monogenes 3439] Son of God” (3:18), “his only begotten [monogenes 3439] Son” (1Jo 4:19). This begetting is His beginning as a living, conscious person. But since Jesus is God in Trinitarianism and God has no beginning, monogenes poses a major problem in that view of God. It was dealt with in two main ways: (1) denying His literal begetting for the nonsensical concept that He is somehow eternally begotten; (2) removing the concept of begetting altogether by rendering monogenes in many modern Bible versions as “one and only Son,” “only, special son,” or “uniquely existing Son.”

The Greek monogenes means “only begotten” or “only born” as it is used in three other places for a literal begetting of a son or a daughter: “Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only [monogenes 3439] son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her” (Luk 7:12); “For he had one only [monogenes 3439] daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him” (Luk 8:42); “And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child [monogenes 3439]” (Luk 9:38).

And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. (Genesis 15:2-4)

God promised Abraham that his heir would be his son that would “come forth out of thine own bowels.” And the fulfillment of that promise came not through him begetting Ishmael of Hagar but Isaac of Sarah as God later promised, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed” (17:19), “Sarah thy wife shall have a son” (18:10), “Sarah shall have a son” (18:14). Isaac was Abraham’s only begotten son of Sarah. He was the fulfillment of “he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels” of whom the writer of Hebrews used monogenes, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [monogenes 3439] son” (Heb 11:17). Isaac was figurative of Christ in his begetting and his sacrifice, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen 22:8).

Furthermore, Jesus claimed of Himself, “I proceeded forth and came from God” (Jhn 8:42), “I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world” (Jhn 16:27-28). That He “proceeded forth” and “came out from God” are His own words of His begetting and His beginning. And He was begotten of the same kind or type of divine being as God—exactly like God in every regard.

Since the Son of God was begotten of God as the same kind of divine being, He was equal with God in power and might to create the entire universe out of nothing, ex nihilo: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (Jhn 1:3); “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph 3:9); “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Col 1:16); “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb 1:2); “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11).

Although the Son of God was begotten of God as the same kind or type of divine being as His Father, He was not, is not, and never will be co-equal with God in authority. The Trinitarian view of God conflates “equal” and “co-equal,” that the Son not only is equal with God in kind or type of divine being, but also is co-equal with God in authority, position, rank, and title. However, in father and son relationships among human beings, a son is like his father in kind but not equal in authority. Thus, the image of the Father and the Son, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26). As a human son is in every way equal with his father in humanity, the Son of God was in every way equal with His Father in divinity. The creation itself teaches us about God and His only begotten Son in how all life produces “after his kind.”

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind … And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind … the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind (Gen 1:11-12,21,24-25)

This is what Paul meant in Romans, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:19-20). No man has seen God because He is invisible, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten [monogenes 3439] Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (Jhn 1:18). God sent His only begotten Son into this world to teach us about Him. And because the Son “is in the bosom of the Father,” embraced by God the Father and seated at His right hand, then everything He taught about God and Himself is true. Otherwise, if anything He had taught wasn’t true, God wouldn’t have raised Him and seated Him next to Him.

Paul began Romans, “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom 1:3-4). Christ’s resurrection from the dead was God’s declaration to the world that He indeed is His only begotten Son, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psa 2:7), “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead” (Act 13:33-34). Because Christ taught that He is the only begotten Son of God, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten [monogenes 3439] Son … he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten [monogenes 3439] Son of God” (Jhn 3:16,18), His resurrection was God’s affirmation of what He declared.

The day the Son was literally raised from the dead was the day He was figuratively begotten, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead,” “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” He had been begotten literally before the universe existed, and now was “born again” from death to life.

The Son of God’s resurrection from the dead was a figurative birth, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [prototokos 4416] of every creature [ktisis 2937] … the firstborn [prototokos 4416] from the dead” (Col 1:15,18), “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten [prototokos 4416] of the dead” (Rev 1:5). Although Jewish Himself, His resurrection is the prototype of every creature everywhere. That He is “the firstborn [prototokos 4416] of every creature [ktisis 2937]” speaks of every ethnic people group created equal, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature [ktisis 2937]” (Mar 16:15), “the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature [ktisis 2937] which is under heaven” (Col 1:23). The gospel was to the Jew first and then to all the earth, “among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk 24:47), “in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Act 1:8).

When we start with the correct underlying assumption that theos is simply a position of authority, then the Son truly was begotten of God as the same type of being yet never has been in the position of God Himself. As the same type of being, the Son possessed all the divine power to create the entire universe ex nihilo.

The Son of God’s incarnation

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jhn 1:14). Trinitarians claim that “the Word was made flesh” means that He “took on” flesh, assumed flesh, or added flesh to what He already was. As if clothing Himself with flesh like a suit. Some even phrase it as “the flesh covered Word,” that He was simply cloaked with flesh.

The Trinitarian view, however, must make that claim to maintain consistency. Because if the Son is co-equal with God, that He is God in every way—has always existed, never changes, cannot die—then His incarnation presents a major problem. How can the God-type of being become a human-type of being, yet still be God? He can’t. Therefore, the completely illogical doctrine of the hypostatic union of dual natures was concocted. Although He became a 100% human being, He remained the 100% God being. Thus, He is two mutually exclusive beings yet still one person! This preposterous entity was “sold” to the world by calling it two natures instead. What exactly is nature? It’s nothing but a nebulous concept that makes this bitter pill easier to swallow.

But “made flesh” is literally what it says. Christ became a flesh and blood human being. He transitioned or metamorphosed to a different kind or type of being than He was before. He went from a 100% divine being to a 100% human being. Saying that He only “took on” flesh is essentially denying that He truly was “made flesh” because He wouldn’t have been “made” anything but simply added to what He continued to be.

In Roman Catholicism, transubstantiation is the bread and wine literally changing into the flesh and blood of Christ. Catholicism denies that the Son Himself transubstantiated to flesh and blood, yet claims the elements representing His flesh and blood do! It’s a completely different incarnation than taught in Scripture. And Protestant Trinitarianism isn’t much better. The Reformation about 500 years ago took the same false view of God and the Son of God, then built upon this “sand” (Mat 7:26-27) a whole new false system and “gospel” message. The entire battle between Catholicism and Protestantism is simply a ruse by our enemy to keep us from the true view of God and the Son of God. It’s the same end but by different means.

Non-Trinitarian churches, groups, and organizations that identify as “Christian,” correctly reject Trinitarianism and many times have excellent arguments against that false view. But unfortunately, virtually all of them also get it wrong in their view of God and the Son of God as well. In regards to the Son’s incarnation, these groups typically reject His pre-existence and teach that He was begotten of God at His virgin conception. Some even deny His virgin conception altogether which is essentially putting Him in the category of a created being just like us. And Trinitarians are all too eager to decry non-Trinitarians for these follies.

That “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jhn 1:14), is that the Son of God was begotten of His Father as the same kind of divine being, then transitioned to a different kind of being—a flesh and blood human being exactly like us in every regard. And because He was conceived of a virgin mother, He had no biological human father but God is His Father through His breath coming upon Mary, “for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost [Breath]” (Mat 1:20), “The Holy Ghost [Breath] shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luk 1:35). God is His Father in His divinity, and God is His Father in His humanity.

But what about Paul’s statement, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God [theos 2316] was manifest [phanaroo 5319] in the flesh, justified in the Spirit [Breath], seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed [trusted] on in the world, received up into glory” (1Ti 3:16)? Of course, Trinitarians love to use it as a proof-text that Jesus is God Himself in the flesh. But there are two big errors in this reasoning: (1) that theos is God as a type of being; (2) that phanaroo is depicting the incarnation itself. The Greek verb phanaroo means “to make visible or known what was unknown.” But the Son of God’s incarnation was a literal transition of one type of being to another type of being. Therefore, phanaroo here isn’t speaking of the actual incarnation but the purpose for the incarnation. God the Father made Himself known by sending His Son into this world through the incarnation into flesh.

John used phanaroo twice when communicating the same message, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested [phanaroo 5319], and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested [phanaroo 5319] unto us;)” (1Jo 1:1-2). The Son of God is “the Word” figuratively because everything He said is what His Father sent Him to say: “I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him” (Jhn 8:26); “the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself” (Jhn 14:10); “all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (Jhn 15:15); “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me” (Jhn 17:8). Therefore, that “God was manifest in the flesh,” is that God’s Son becoming a human being made God the Father known to us: “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (Jhn 14:9); “Christ, who is the image of God” (2Co 4:4); “Who is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15); “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb 1:3).

The Son of God after His incarnation

Because the Son of God transitioned completely to a human type of being, He no longer is the divine type of being He was before. As 100% human, He is now 0% divine. This means He is now powerless in Himself to do anything beyond what is humanly possible. All of the divine power He once possessed that created this entire universe and all life, He forever relinquished and will never regain. He willingly relegated Himself to the weaknesses and limitations of humanity for our sakes—for our salvation.

The Trinitarian view, on the other hand, is that Jesus is God, has always been God, and always will be God. And even when He became human, He still possessed all of His powers as God. Thus, the miracles, signs, and wonders He performed supposedly prove He is God. However, the prophets and apostles also performed miracles, signs, and wonders, and nobody would dare say that they were God. Regarding the prophets Elijah and Elisha specifically, we’re told that that the Breath of God was upon them, “And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit [breath] be upon me” (2Ki 2:9). And the same is said of the apostles, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost [Breath] is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Act 1:8).

Nothing is recorded in the Gospels of Jesus ever performing a miracle until after God’s Holy Breath came upon Him at His baptism. John even stated that His miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding was His first, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee” (Jhn 2:11). No longer the 100% divine being He once was, but now a 100% human being like us, He performed miraculous works by the Breath of God: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit [Breath] of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Mat 12:28); “The Spirit [Breath] of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luk 4:18); “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost [Breath] and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Act 10:38).

Jesus Himself stated that His works were not His own but His Father’s: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (Jhn 5:19); “I can of mine own self do nothing” (Jhn 5:30); “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not” (Jhn 10:37); “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (Jhn 14:10). And those who witnessed His miracles testified that it was because God was with Him: “no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (Jhn 3:2); “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know” (Act 2:22); “healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Act 10:38).

Jesus Christ was the Prophet that Moses foretold would come, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren” (Deu 18:15, 18). He healed an impotent man, “And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked” (Jhn 5:9), then claimed to be the one of whom Moses wrote, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (Jhn 5:46). And the people also acknowledged Him as that Prophet: “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Mat 21:11); “That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people” (Luk 7:16); “Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world” (Jhn 6:14); “When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? … Of a truth this is the Prophet” (Jhn 7:31,40).

It’s also taught in Trinitarianism that the times Jesus knew people’s thoughts prove He is God: “Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” (Mar 2:8); “And Jesus knowing their thoughts” (Mar 9:4); “But he knew their thoughts” (Luk 6:8); “And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart” (Luk 9:47); “But he, knowing their thoughts” (Luk 11:17). But knowing certain people’s thoughts at times doesn’t correlate to Him knowing all people’s thoughts all the time. The Father simply allowed Him to know people’s thoughts at certain times by His breath in Him.

And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” (Luk 8:45-46). If He knew everything all the time, why didn’t He know who touched Him at this time? Was He just pretending to not know? Mark’s account states “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” (Mar 5:30). God doesn’t need to turn around and ask for information!

Then of course Trinitarian teachers have no explanation whatsoever for Jesus not even knowing the day of His return, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mar 13:32). If He didn’t know this, then He no longer possessed the divine powers He once had. But if He truly did know this, then He wasn’t speaking truly. That this was known by the Father but not by Him attests that only the Father possessed divine powers at this point.

Natural versus spiritual

Non-Trinitarians correctly reject the Holy Spirit [Breath] as a conscious living person. And some also rightly correlate the Lord Jesus Christ with the Spirit [Breath]: “Now if any man have not the Spirit [Breath] of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom 8:9); “the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us … It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26, 34); “Now the Lord is that Spirit [Breath]: and where the Spirit [Breath] of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2Co 3:17); “God hath sent forth the Spirit [Breath] of his Son into your hearts” (Gal 4:6); “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit [Breath] in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Eph 3:17).

However, many non-Trinitarians recognizing this parallel between the Son of God and the Spirit [Breath] of God, wrongly take this correspondence literally—that Jesus actually is the Holy Spirit. They fall into a similar error as Trinitarians. Trinitarians take Christ’s teaching in John 14-16 about the Holy Spirit [Breath] to be a literal person other than Himself, while many non-Trinitarians take it to be literally Christ Himself. But He said of His own words that He was simply speaking figuratively, “Though I have been speaking figuratively” (Jhn 16:25 NIV).

Jesus was speaking of His coming advocacy at the Father’s right hand, “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (Jhn 16:10), but figuratively of Himself as the Holy Spirit [Breath]: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate [parakletos] to help you and be with you forever … But the Advocate [parakletos], the Holy Spirit [breath], whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (Jhn 14:16, 26 NIV); “When the Advocate [parakletos] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit [breath] of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (Jhn 15:26 NIV); “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [parakletos] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (Jhn 16:7 NIV). That He was speaking of Himself as our Advocate before the Father, Paul and John both would later write, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit [Breath] unto the Father” (Eph 2:18), “And if any man sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1Jo 2:1).

Because many non-Trinitarians consider Jesus to be the Holy Spirit literally, they regard His resurrected body to be some type of transformed “spiritual” body that is non-physical or non-material. And their main proof-text is Paul’s statement “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1Co 15:44). But this “natural body” and “spiritual body” contrast isn’t a difference in substance or materiality but generation or origin.

Paul likened the burial of a body and its subsequent resurrection to that of a seed sown in the ground that is generated to new life, “that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die” (v. 36). He then repeatedly applied this analogy to “a natural body” that is “sown” and “a spiritual body” that is “raised,” “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (vs. 42-44). None of these contrasts between corruption and incorruption, dishonor and glory, weakness and power, have anything to do with substance or materiality. They’re all abstract concepts. And Paul continued by drawing parallels between Adam and the Lord Jesus Christ:

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1Corinthians 15:45-49)

Again, contrasting “a natural body” and “a spiritual body,” he said that Adam was “that which is natural,” and the Lord “that which is spiritual.” And this was regarding their generation or origination, “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” Adam’s life began on this earth, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). But the Lord was begotten of God and was sent down from heaven by God, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven” (Jhn 3:13), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (Jhn 3:16).

Paul had already drawn a parallel between the two earlier, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (v. 22). We all die because of Adam’s sin, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12). But Christ died because He laid down His life for us, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (Jhn 10:17-18). Since Christ alone has been raised to eternal life, only those “in Christ shall all be made alive.”

That “The first man is of the earth,” Paul abbreviated simply as the word “earthy.” And that “the second man is the Lord from heaven,” he abbreviated as “heavenly.” He then proceeded to teach, “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” The point is that natural versus spiritual, and earthy versus heavenly, aren’t about materiality versus immateriality, but about the origin and generation of Adam versus the Son of God.

The same non-Trinitarians believing that Jesus now has some kind of “spiritual” body claim that the “flesh and blood” body He had before, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same” (Heb 2:14), is now a “flesh and bone” body, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luk 24:39). But “flesh and bone” doesn’t imply His body no longer has any blood. Jesus was simply emphasizing the indisputable physicality of Himself. By allowing His disciples to handle His hands and arms, they could feel His skin and the hardness of the bones beneath His skin. And John later wrote, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1Jo 1:1). Sure, they probably could have taken His pulse and other vital signs but His circulatory system wasn’t in question—His physicality was.

Furthermore, if it’s somehow possible for a physical body to live and function with no blood, it wouldn’t need to breathe or eat yet Jesus breathed and ate: “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [Breath]” (Jhn 20:22); “And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luk 24:42-43); “Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead” (Act 10:41).

Another argument made is that Jesus’ resurrected body can walk through walls: “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst” (Jhn 20:19); “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst” (Jhn 20:26). Although “the doors were shut” and He “stood in the midst” doesn’t necessarily correspond with Him walking through the walls to get in. Most likely He simply opened the door and walked into the room. It doesn’t even say the doors were locked but even if they were, it would be no problem for God to instantly unlock the doors for His Son. Even an angel easily loosed Peter from his chains, “Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.” (Act 12:6-7). Furthermore, God could have miraculously transported Jesus into that room similarly as He did once with Philip, “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit [Breath] of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more” (Act 8:39). The point is that this event has nothing to do with the materiality or physicality of Jesus’ resurrected body being any different than it was before.

A verse sometimes used as a proof-text that Jesus no longer has a material body is “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2Co 5:16). But this has nothing to do with His physicality. It’s about once knowing Him as a circumcised Jewish man sent only to Israel: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat 10:5-6); “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat 15:24); “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (Jhn 1:11); “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (Rom 15:8-9). We don’t know Him that way anymore but now know Him as Lord of all people: “The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)” (Act 10:36); “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (Rom 10:12); “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28); “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Col 3:11).

The Holy Breath of God

The first mention of the Hebrew ruwach in Scripture, “And the Spirit [ruwach 7307] of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2), it’s “of God” as His possession. It wasn’t another person that was flying over the water like superman! It was the breath of God as He was blowing from His mouth across the surface of the waters. The second occurrence of ruwach, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool [ruwach 7307] of the day” (Gen 3:8), it’s the wind blowing. Other Bible versions render it, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing” (NLT), “at the time of the evening breeze” (CSB), “at the breezy time of the day” (NET), “at the breeze of the day” (YLT). It’s simply air, breath, or wind depending on the context. And its third appearance, “And the LORD said, My spirit [ruwach 7307] shall not always strive with man” (Gen 6:3). The first time it was “the Breath of God” and now it’s “My Breath.” It’s not a person at all—it’s God’s Breath.

The Greek equivalent of ruwach is pneuma. It’s where our English “pneumonia,” “pneumology,” and “pneumatics” are derived—all involving air or breath. Furthermore, its verb form pneo means “to blow” as Jesus Himself used it, “The wind [pneuma 4151] bloweth [pneo 4154]” (Jhn 3:8). Finally, Jesus even illustrated that it is breath by literally breathing on His disciples, “he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [pneuma 4151]” (Jhn 20:22).

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter quoted from Joel concerning the event that was being witnessed, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out [ekcheo 1632] of my Spirit [Breath] upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out [ekcheo 1632] in those days of my Spirit [Breath]; and they shall prophesy” (Act 2:17-18). He concluded, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth [ekcheo 1632] this, which ye now see and hear” (Act 2:33). The Greek ekcheo means “to pour out” or “shed forth.” Other versions have it more correctly here as “poured out” (DBY, NET, NIV, NKJV). Joel’s prophecy wasn’t that God would “pour out” His Breath but “pour out of” His Breath. God was calling His Son seated at His right hand, “My Breath.” To “pour out of my Breath” is to “pour out of” His Son. His Son as “My Breath,” of course, is only figurative.

Paul also wrote that it was God that did the pouring out through Jesus Christ, “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost [Breath]; Which he shed [ekcheo 1632] on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit 3:4-6), “he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (NIV). That God “poured out … through Jesus Christ” indicates that Jesus Christ is the Breath.

After having been seated at the Father’s right hand, the Son called Himself “the Breath” seven times, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches” (Rev 2:7,11,17,29, 3:6,13,22). He spoke this concluding statement for each message to the seven churches from His position of power at God’s right hand. That “what the Breath saith” is figurative because it was what the Son of God saith, “These things saith the Son of God” (Rev 2:18). It’s because the Father gave His Son the seat of highest authority over all creation that what the Son of God says is what God Himself says. God accepts whatever His Son decides about every created being.

The Son of God at His Father’s right hand

Many times Jesus called Himself “the son of man [anthropos 444],” (Mat 8:20, 9:6, 11:19, 12:8,32,40, 13:37,41, 16:13, 17:9,12,22, 18:11, 20:18,28, 26:2,24,45; Mar 2:10,28, 8:31,38, 9:12,31, 10:33,45, 14:21,41; Luk 5:24, 6:5,22, 7:34, 9:22,26,44,56,58, 11:30, 12:8,10,40, 18:31, 19:10, 22:22,48, 24:7; Jhn 1:51, 3:14, 5:27, 6:27,53,62, 8:28, 12:23,34, 13:31). The Greek anthropos is “a human being,” either a male or female human depending on its intended usage. That Jesus is “the son of man [anthropos 444],” is that He is the Son of the human being Mary. But not only was Jesus Christ “the son of man” while on earth before His death, but He is still the same “the son of man” in heaven right now and will return as “the son of man” (Mat 16:27,28, 19:28, 24:27,30,37,39,44, 25:13,31, 26:64; Mar 8:38, 13:26, 14:62; Luk 9:26, 17:30, 18:8, 21:27, 22:69; Jhn 3:13; Act 7:56; Rev 1:13, 14:14).

Trinitarians call Christ the God-Man, but this isn’t what Paul called Him, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man [anthropos 444] Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5). There is no God-Man mediating at God’s right hand but a human being, “the man Christ Jesus.” Many years after His resurrection and seating at God’s right hand, John saw the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of man, “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man [anthropos 444], clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle” (Rev 1:13).

The Son of God relinquished His divinity and all power He once had, but the Father gave Him all authority over heaven and earth: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father” (Mat 11:27); “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat 28:18); “All things are delivered to me of my Father” (Luk 10:22); “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (Jhn 3:35); “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands” (Jhn 13:3); “As thou hast given him power over all flesh” (Jhn 17:2); “For he hath put all things under his feet” (1Co 15:27); “And hath put all things under his feet” (Eph 1:22); “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb 2:8); “angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22).

Because all things were given to the Son, full agency and proxy over God’s breath was given to the Son. Therefore, it’s the Son’s prerogative for God’s Breath to dwell in our hearts. This is the reason the presence of God’s Breath in our hearts is equated with Jesus Christ Himself: “Now if any man have not the Spirit [breath] of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you” (Rom 8:9-10); “the Spirit [breath] itself maketh intercession for us … It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26, 34); “Now the Lord is that Spirit [breath]: and where the Spirit [breath] of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2Co 3:17); “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20); “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit [breath] of his Son into your hearts” (Gal 4:6); “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit [breath] in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Eph 3:17); “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).

An advocate intercedes and pleads on behalf of another. Jesus Christ is our Advocate, Interceder, or Mediator at the right hand of the Father: “Sit thou at my right hand” (Psa 110:1); “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luk 22:69); “being by the right hand of God exalted” (Act 2:33); “the Spirit [breath] itself maketh intercession for us … who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26, 34); “set him at his own right hand” (Eph 1:20); “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5); “Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col 3:1); “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3); “he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1); “he is the mediator of a better covenant” (Heb 8:6); “he is the mediator of the new testament” (Heb 9:15); “sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb 10:12); “is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2); “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (Heb 12:24); “is on the right hand of God” (1Pe 3:22); “am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21); “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:3).

The Son was given full agency and proxy over the Breath of the Father so that the Father will breathe life into whoever the Son confesses before Him: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 10:32); “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6); “I will confess his name before my Father” (Rev 3:5). He makes the final judgment about who will be raised to eternal life and who will be condemned. His agency over the Father’s breath is likened to Him having “the keys of hell [the grave] and of death” (Rev 1:18). Therefore, His salutation at the end of the messages to the seven churches, “hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches,” was as if to say, “Hear what I’m telling you to do because I’m the one that makes the final decision whether or not the Father will raise you from the grave to eternal life by His breath!”

Conclusion

We must have the right view of God and the Son of God to have eternal life, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3). And these are the words of the Son of God Himself! We can’t worship a false god and still be saved. The apostle John was referring to these very words from Christ, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1Jo 5:20). John was reiterating Christ’s words, that the true God revealed by Him is eternal life.

Trinitarianism denies that the Father is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ because it purports co-equality. Denying that the Father is the God of the Son, however, is denying the one true God and forfeiting eternal life. But once we’ve come to the true view of God and His Son Jesus Christ, we can’t affirm as saved, and as our brethren in the Lord, those with aberrant views of God. To blur the lines of distinction between God’s people and any others is to abdicate ourselves from belonging to God’s people. It’s like someone claiming that Jesus is their Savior while affirming there are other ways to be saved besides Jesus.

Trinitarians have a false view of God and His Son Jesus Christ right along with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness, and Unitarians. How is Trinitarianism any better than the others? Why would they be saved with false views while the others are not? Would someone claim that Trinitarianism isn’t quite as false as the others?

Jesus said, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (Jhn 4:23-24). The Father is seeking those who worship Him in truth, and sent His Son to teach us the truth about Him. Therefore, if we’re not worshipping Him in truth, either His Son failed or we’ve failed. Do we suppose God will accept what’s close enough as good enough? Why subject His Son to needless suffering anyway? In other words, why send His Son to suffer for the truth He taught only to later accept less than the truth His Son taught? If Trinitarianism saves, then why died the Son of God for teaching the truth?

The Second Great Commandment

Introduction

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:29-31)

The Son of God stated in these two passages that the second great commandment is loving our neighbor as ourselves, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Now, some have tried to argue that since He was speaking to a lawyer and to a scribe, “Then one of them, which was a lawyer” (Mat 22:35), “And one of the scribes came” (Mar 12:28), that He wasn’t commanding this to His own servants and followers. However, both passages in Matthew and Mark also record His responses to the Pharisees and Sadducees that certainly do apply to His own.

The Pharisees tried to trick Him with a question about paying taxes: “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk … Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mat 22:15,21); “And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words … Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mar 12:13,17). Simply because Christ spoke this to the Pharisees, we don’t use that as an excuse for not paying our taxes. Plus, Paul even commanded paying our taxes and loving our neighbor in the same passage, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour … Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:6,9).

Likewise, the Sadducees told Christ a conundrum they hoped would cause Him to deny bodily resurrection from the dead: “The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection … But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mat 22:23,31-32); “Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection … And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living” (Mar 12:18,26-27). And because He was responding to the Sadducees, we don’t use that to deny the resurrection.

Furthermore, the second great commandment was also restated by both Paul and James, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8). They certainly didn’t misunderstand Christ. And this commandment also agrees with Christ’s own commandment of love, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12), “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luk 6:31).

Finally, if we’re not commanded to keep the second great commandment, then neither are we commanded to keep the first: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Mat 22:37-38); “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mar 12:29-30). If we’re not commanded to love our neighbor, then we’re not commanded to love God either.

The issue some have with understanding any of Moses’ commandments mandated upon us by Christ is that it supposedly would be placing us under the Law of Moses. But that logic doesn’t follow simply because morality has never changed. Christ defining and restating the same morality commanded by Moses doesn’t place us under the Old Covenant. The intrinsic morality commanded upon God’s people has always been the same whether under the Old Covenant or under the New.

Looking into a mirror

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:22-25)

When James told us to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only,” he was referring to the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock …And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Mat 7:24, 26). Jesus Himself taught In His Sermon on the Mount that if we’ve heard what He said but don’t do it, we’ll be destroyed like a house in a storm that was built upon sand. And everything He said in His Sermon, He summarized in the one commandment of love, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12).

James’ analogy of looking into a mirror addresses specifically this law of love as taught by Christ in the parable of the Good Samaritan. A priest and a Levite saw the wounded man but passed by without helping him, “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” (Luk 10:31-32). This is what James meant by “For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way.

Of course when we look into a mirror we see our own face, “beholding his natural face in a glass.” And likewise, when we see our neighbor in need we see ourselves! We know what we would want done to us if we were the one laying by the road wounded, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Therefore, this priest and Levite were seeing themselves when they saw this Samaritan, yet went their way, “For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way.

James coined the term “perfect law of liberty” for this law of love, “But whoso looketh into the perfect [teleios 5046] law of liberty.” It’s “perfect” in the sense of “thorough” or “comprehensive” because it treats everyone the same without showing any discrimination or favoritism, “For if ye love them which love you … And if ye salute your brethren only … Be ye therefore perfect [teleios 5046], even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect [teleios 5046]” (Mat 5:46,47,48). And it’s “liberty” because Christ set God’s people free from the bondages imposed by the law of Moses—primarily the avoidance of all other ethnic people groups, “Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” (Jhn 4:9).

Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan is an example of the second great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luk 10:27). It’s “perfect” love that is at “liberty” from the bondages under the law of Moses. And James again mentioned “the law of liberty” after having quoted the second great commandment, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well … So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” (Jas 2:8, 12).

Who is my neighbor?

The lawyer that questioned Jesus about the second great commandment was simply trying to justify himself for having not kept it, “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” (Luk 10:29). He hadn’t been treating everyone equally and was hoping Jesus would define that commandment in a narrower sense, therefore justifying his own discriminatory actions toward others. But Jesus forced him to define his neighbor by himself because the “neighbor” in His parable wasn’t the receiver but the giver, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” (Luk 10:36). If this Jewish lawyer had been the person wounded on the side of the road about to die unless someone happened to pass by and help, he wouldn’t care who it was that stopped—a fellow Jew, a Samaritan, or a barbarian. Our definition of neighbor tends to relax when we find ourselves on the recipient side.

The reciprocal relationship between the giver and receiver of mercy is like a mirror reflection, “a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself” (Jas 1:23-24). When we see our neighbor, we see ourselves. Therefore, when we don’t help our neighbor in need, why should we be helped when we’re in need? When we disqualify our neighbor, we disqualify ourselves.

Christ’s commandment, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men [anthropos 444] should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12), “And as ye would that men [anthropos 444] should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luk 6:31), isn’t the family and friends plan! The Greek anthropos is “mankind” or “humans” in general. Therefore, we should do all things to anthropos because we would want anthropos to do all things to us. In other words, if we don’t care who it is that helps us when we’re in dire need, we shouldn’t care who it is we help when they’re in dire need. It’s about anthropos or all people in general.

Our neighbor isn’t strictly our fellow brethren in the body of Christ. In His Sermon on the Mount, the problem Jesus addressed wasn’t that God’s people were loving everyone the same but needed to love their brethren only—it was that they were loving their brethren only! “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Mat 5:46-47).

Under the law of Moses, “neighbor” was defined primarily as God’s people, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Lev 19:18). However, within the same passage God’s people were commanded to love the stranger the same way, “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself” (Lev 19:33-34).

The Law also stated that God loves the stranger, “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger” (Deu 10:17-19). And Jesus commanded us to be complete in our love as God is complete in His love, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Mat 5:48). Since He loves the stranger, we’re to be perfect like Him and love the stranger also.

James said, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (Jas 1:27), and many times the Law listed the stranger right alongside the fatherless and widows: “the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger” (Deu 10:18); “the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow” (Deu 14:29); “the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow” (Deu 16:11); “the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow” (Deu 16:14); “the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment” (Deu 24:17); “the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow” (Deu 24:19); “the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow” (Deu 24:20); “the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow” (Deu 24:21); “the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow” (Deu 26:12); “the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow” (Deu 26:13); “the stranger, fatherless, and widow” (Deu 27:19); “the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow” (Jer 7:6); “the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow” (Jer 22:3); “the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger” (Zec 7:10).

Furthermore, our neighbor is also our enemies, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Mat 5:43-44), “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:20-21). David was the greatest example in the Old Testament of loving his enemies. He loved his father-in-law Saul who tried to kill him, and loved his son Absalom who tried to usurp his throne. Our enemies are anthropos just like ourselves.

Finally, our neighbor is anyone and everyone we happen come across each day by chance, “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way” (Luk 10:31). It’s the people we’re around at our job, when we’re shopping at a store, and when we’re away on vacation. It’s the people around us in traffic driving selfishly—speeding, tailgating, and cutting in front of us. And it’s those we encounter over the internet, whether we’re communicating with them or about them.

Obviously, there’s a hierarchy of importance in loving others. We must love God and the Son of God first, then our spouse, our family, our fellow brethren in the Lord, and finally everyone else. But the love we’re commanded to show toward our neighbor, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” isn’t to the same degree as we must show toward our own spouse, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies” (Eph 5:28). A husband must meet his wife’s needs as his own body but certainly not his neighbors in this same way. He’s not obligated to pay the medical bills of everyone in his neighborhood! This wasn’t how “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” was understood and practiced by God’s people under the Old Covenant and the same is true under the New Covenant.

Mercy rejoices against judgment

The second great commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Jas 2:8), is the “law of liberty,” and James said we will be judged by it, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (Jas 2:12-13). Christ’s concluding point in His parable of the Good Samaritan was showing mercy to our neighbor, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him.” (Luk 10:36-37). Loving our neighbor is helping others when they’re in desperate need and it’s in our power to help—i.e. when they’re at our mercy. But if we haven’t shown mercy, we won’t be shown mercy either.

On the day of judgment, we all will be at Christ’s mercy to either allow us into His Kingdom or to be banished to annihilation. Therefore, He gives us many opportunities in this life to show mercy to others so that we’ll be shown mercy on that day. If we haven’t been forgiving, we won’t be forgiven: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mat 6:14-15); “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mar 11:26). How we’ve treated others, likewise is how we’ll be treated by our Father.

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:32-35)

Fulfilling all the law

Christ stated toward the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Mat 5:17), then concluded toward the end, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12). What He commanded embodies and fulfills all the morality of Moses and the prophets. Furthermore, He stated the same about the first and second great commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40).

Paul and James also agreed about the one law of love fulfilling all laws, yet approached it from two different angles: “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:9); “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14); “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well … For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill.” (Jas 2:8,10-11).

Paul said keeping one law keeps all the laws, while James said breaking one of the laws breaks all the laws. It’s the same conclusion reached two different ways. Since all the laws are one, then one broken is the one broken. James wasn’t saying that righteousness under the Law of Moses meant keeping it perfectly without ever sinning. That line of teaching discourages righteous living altogether, “Well, we can’t do it anyway, so why even try?” Both Paul and James were simply reiterating what Christ said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Christ’s law

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19-20)

Christ preceded His commandments in His Sermon on the Mount with this statement about the righteous standard of living and teaching of the scribes and Pharisees. Their lives fell short of the righteousness God required in the Law of Moses and they taught the same to others. But Christ mandated that unless our righteousness meets the standard He was about to teach in His Sermon, we won’t be entering the kingdom of heaven—no exceptions.

The repeated pattern through the rest of chapter five is Christ quoting what the scribes and Pharisees had been saying and teaching to God’s people about the Law of Moses, contrasted by what He was now saying and teaching about it: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time … But I say unto you” (vs. 21-22); “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time … But I say unto you” (vs. 27-28); “It hath been said … But I say unto you” (vs. 31-32); “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time … But I say unto you” (vs. 33-34); “Ye have heard that it hath been said … But I say unto you” (vs. 38-39); “Ye have heard that it hath been said … But I say unto you” (vs. 43-44). He wasn’t contrasting His sayings with the morality of the Law but with the morality that the scribes and Pharisees were teaching about the Law. He upheld the moral standard of the Law in His Sermon and defined it succinctly as it pertains to the very thoughts and intents of the heart. He was defining the morality in the Law and commanding that morality by His sayings, “these least commandments” (Mat 5:19), “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them” (Mat 7:24), “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:26).

The Law of Moses didn’t create morality but codified it. For example: it didn’t become morally evil to kill once the sixth commandment was given from Mount Sinai—it has always been evil since the beginning, “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” (1Jo 3:12). When Christ quoted the sixth commandment “Thou shalt not kill” (Mat 5:21), He wasn’t placing us under the Law of Moses. He was defining, upholding, and enforcing the very moral righteousness of loving one another that had been true from the beginning. And that morality isn’t just the action but the very thoughts of the heart, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1Jo 3:15). Christ defining and endorsing the moral commandments from the Law of Moses upon God’s people as His own commandments makes them His own commandments. It’s not placing people under the Law of Moses but under His law.

His statements about the Law and the prophets, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Mat 5:17) “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12), formed the bookends of His own commandments in between. And He defined and commanded the morality of the Law as it pertains to the heart, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mat 5:8), “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mat 5:28), “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21).

Morality from the heart that Christ commanded in His Sermon is what the Law and the prophets had always taught. The Old Testament is replete with such statements: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5); “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him” (Lev 19:17); “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deu 6:5); “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deu 30:14); “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you” (1Sa 12:24); “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1Sa 16:7); “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2Ch 16:9); “If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door” (Job 31:9); “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart” (Psa 15:2); “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psa 51:10); “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness” (Psa 95:8); “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Pro 3:5); “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer 17:10); “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33); “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh” (Eze 11:19); “And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart” (Zec 7:10).

As Jesus quoted, defined, and commanded two of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill” (Mat 5:21), “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Mat 5:27), He quoted and commanded “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 22:39; Mar 12:31). He had also defined this commandment in His teaching, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12), “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luk 6:31). Paul and James likewise restated and commanded “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8).

We owe the debt of love

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. … Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought [opheilo 3784] to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:4-5,13-15)

We are to love each other after the example of love that He gave on this occasion. Washing dirty feet was a job consigned to the lowest servant of any house. And although Jesus is the greatest, He humbled Himself to do what was esteemed least.

Keep in mind that Jesus not only washed the feet of eleven but all twelve—including Judas Iscariot. The Lord Jesus Christ with all things under His feet, for a moment, stooped Himself under Judas’ feet. He loved His enemy with the same love as all the others. Though He had known from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, “For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” (Jhn 6:64), He hadn’t treated him any differently than the others. We know this because when He finally broke the news to them, they didn’t have a clue about whom He spoke, “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.” (Jhn 13:21-22). They didn’t all point to Judas and say, “It’s Judas! We knew there must be a reason you were treating him differently.”

This kind of love that humbles oneself to that of a lowly servant, even serving our enemies, isn’t just a suggestion or good advice. After having washed His disciples’ feet, He commanded this same example of love to the remaining eleven: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (Jhn 13:34); “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (Jhn 15:12). He had told them, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought [opheilo 3784] to wash one another’s feet” (Jhn 13:14).

The Greek opheilo carries the meaning of a debt that is owed out of duty: “But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed [opheilo 3784] him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest [opheilo 3784]” (Mat 18:28); “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed [opheilo 3784] five hundred pence, and the other fifty” (Luk 7:41); “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted [opheilo 3784] to us” (Luk 11:4); “So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou [opheilo 3784] unto my lord?” (Luk 16:5); “We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty [opheilo 3784] to do” (Luk 17:10).

The mindset of a servant isn’t to receive a profit or wages for his work, “We are unprofitable servants.” Servants recognize that everything they do is out of duty for what they owe their lord, “we have done that which was our duty to do.” We’re indebted to our Lord to do everything He commanded, and since He commanded us to love one another, we owe the debt of love out of duty to Him. This is what Paul taught:

Owe [opheilo 3784] no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Romans 13:8-9).

Being right before God by Christ’s law is fulfilling our duty of living righteously for that standing we’ve already been freely given by Christ’s merit before God. We’re to live righteously, not attempting to gain favor we don’t have, but fulfilling our duty for the favor we already have. An employee of a company, for example, is free and works to earn or merit income to pay his own debts. But a servant, however, is owned by his master and works out of duty for his debts that His master already paid.

Loving our enemies

The law of loving our neighbor includes our enemies because Christ commanded us to love all humans, not just our brethren, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men [anthropos 444] should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12). This final commandment given toward the end of His Sermon summarizes all that He just taught up to this point. The two commandments from the Law of Moses that He reiterated and reinforced, “Thou shalt not kill” (5:21), “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (5:27), certainly aren’t limited to how we treat God’s people only. In other words, it’s not that we shouldn’t kill and shouldn’t commit adultery among God’s people only but perfectly fine to commit these things with other people. And likewise, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour” (5:43), isn’t limited to how we treat our fellow brethren only. In fact, He even stated that explicitly, “And if ye salute your brethren only” (5:47).

The scribes and Pharisees hated their enemies and were teaching others the same, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Mat 5:43-44). Furthermore, when Christ quoted what they had been saying, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy,” the last part of the commandment “as thyself” is missing. The commandment given by Moses and restated by Christ, Paul, and James, always included it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Lev 19:18; Mat 22:39; Mar 12:31; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8). Apparently, the scribes and Pharisees didn’t want to look at themselves in the mirror when defining their neighbor, and therefore ignored the “as thyself” part. But Christ defined it as looking at ourselves first, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (7:12). This same teaching from Christ was also recorded by Luke:

And as ye would that men [anthropos 444] should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. (Luke 6:31-35)

Our enemies are also anthropos or human beings. If the tables were turned and we were someone’s enemy, despitefully mistreating them, yet found ourselves laying on the side of the road about to die unless someone showed us mercy, would we care that the person saving our life was our very enemy himself? We all have the same essential needs of air, water, food, clothing, and medical attention. To be unmerciful and deprive someone else of these necessities when it’s in our power, is to NOT love our neighbor and to forfeit any hope of salvation.

Paul also taught us to love our enemies, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head” (Rom 12:20). He later quoted the second great commandment, “Owe [opheilo 3784] no man any thing, but to love one another … Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law … But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 13:8,9-10,14). Loving our neighbor as ourselves is figuratively “putting on” our Lord Jesus Christ by following His example and doing as He did, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought [opheilo 3784] to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (Jhn 13:14-15).

How do we show love to God?

Jesus said repeatedly, “If ye love me, keep my commandments … He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me … If a man love me, he will keep my words … He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings” (Jhn 14:15,21,23,24). Likewise, we show God our love by keeping His Son’s commandments, “That we should believe [trust] on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1Jo 3:23), “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1Jo 5:3). We can say we love God and love Jesus, but if we have Christ’s commandments and we’re not keeping them, we really don’t.

There’s a direct correlation between our love for God and our love for one another, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1Jo 4:20). We can’t see God or have any tangible contact with Him. How then can we show Him our love? By acts of love to those we can see and affect in tangible ways. We show love to Him by showing love to one another. Saying we love God, “If a man say, I love God,” doesn’t necessarily mean we really do. It’s not our words but our actions that speak, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed [action] and in truth” (1Jo 3:18).

James taught about the tongue, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude [image] of God” (Jas 3:9). We’re all made after God’s image and all equally important. When we see others, we’re seeing the image of God in them as in ourselves like looking in a mirror. Therefore, our love toward God’s image reflects our love toward God Himself. Although we can’t show love to God directly because we can’t see or feel Him, we can show love to Him by loving those made after His image. James’ point was that our mindset toward people betrays our walk with God. If with the tongue “bless we God” and with the same tongue “curse we men” made after His image, then the truth is that we’re really not walking with God. Cursing people—complaining and grumbling about them—is a reflection of our heart toward God Himself.

Love counts no evil

Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh [logizomai 3049] no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth. (1Corinthians 13:4-7)

Of course in this passage from First Corinthians, Paul expounds in detail several specific ways in which love behaves toward others. But we’ll highlight just the one aspect of love that it “thinketh [logizomai 3049] no evil.” The Greek verb logizomai is the same word Paul and James both used when teaching about the righteousness that God counted, imputed, or reckoned to Abraham: “Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was counted [logizomai 3049] unto him for righteousness. (Rom 4:3); “Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was accounted [logizomai 3049] to him for righteousness” (Gal 3:6); “Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was imputed [logizomai 3049] unto him for righteousness” (Jas 2:23). Although Abraham wasn’t righteous before God, but because he submitted to His requirement of trusting Him, God counted him righteous and treated him as such.

Paul also used this same word several times for how we count or reckon ourselves, each other, and other things: “Therefore we conclude [logizomai 3049]” (Rom 3:28); “Likewise reckon [logizomai 3049] ye also yourselves” (Rom 6:11); “For I reckon [logizomai 3049] that the sufferings of this present time” (Rom 8:18); “but to him that esteemeth [logizomai 3049] any thing to be unclean” (Rom 14:14); “Let a man so account [logizomai 3049] of us” (1Co 4:1); “Let such an one think [logizomai 3049] this” (2Co 10:11); “lest any man should think [logizomai 3049] of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me” (2Co 12:6).

Most notably, Paul used logizomai in this popular verse, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think [logizomai 3049] on these things” (Phl 4:8). Now, this statement is typically quoted to teach positive thinking in general—simply thinking about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, etc. However, it’s actually about how we’re to count, reckon, or impute others. Love “thinketh [logizomai 3049] no evil,” because love “think [logizomai 3049] on these things.”

Earlier in his letter to the Philippians, he urged them, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus … took upon him the form of a servant” (Phl 2:3-5,7). We’re to have the same mindset of a servant that Christ had. Therefore, as a servant toward others, we’re to count, impute, or reckon toward them whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise.

Since love “thinketh [logizomai 3049] no evil,” we’re not to consider the evil others have done but to remind ourselves of the good things about them and treat them accordingly. Of course this concerns personal wrongs and has nothing to do with those who have committed serious evil and criminal acts. Criminals convicted in a court of law are counted guilty and given just punishment. This is about the love we’re to show toward the unloving. Love doesn’t treat others reciprocally—treating only the nice nicely. It treats everyone the same regardless of how it’s treated in return. Love isn’t always easy—if it’s easy only, it isn’t love.

Conclusion

The Son of God commanded the second great commandment upon us, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 22:39), “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mar 12:31). Both Paul and James commanded this upon us as well (Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8). And all three of them taught that keeping this one commandment fulfills the requirements of all the commandments: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12); “if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:9); “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14); “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well … For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas 2:8,10).

James used an illustration of looking into a mirror for hearing and doing the one word or one commandment of loving our neighbor as ourselves, “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass” (Jas 1:23), “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Jas 2:8). And Paul used the same illustration. After listing certain aspects of love, “Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (1Co 13:4), he then stated, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face” (1Co 13:12). We’re looking into a mirror when we’re hearing the commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” then when face-to-face with our neighbor we’re to be doing—suffering long, being kind, envying not, etc.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated that we must live to the righteous standard He commanded or we won’t be entering the Kingdom, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20), “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 7:21). He commanded the one word that fulfills all, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12). Keeping this one commandment is the narrow and restricted “way” that leads to eternal life, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Mat 7:14). If we hear and do this commandment, we’ll be like a wise man who built his house on a rock that withstood the storm, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” But if we hear this commandment and don’t do it, we’ll be like a foolish man who built his house on sand that was destroyed by the storm, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Mat 7:24,26).

The First and Great Commandment

Introduction

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:29-31)

The law of the Old Covenant given through Moses was primarily the Ten Commandments followed by many other commandments, statutes, and judgments. Christ’s law under the New Covenant, also given through Moses, consists of only the first and second great commandments: “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength,” “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” He declared, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” “There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Fulfilling, keeping, and obeying “The first and great commandment” begins with having the right view of God and worshipping Him as the only true God. And we can only know Him as revealed to His people through Moses, then finally and fully through His Son Jesus Christ. God the Father and His Son are in total unity and agreement: “I and my Father are one” (Jhn 10:30); “the Father is in me, and I in him” (Jhn 10:38); “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (Jhn 14:9); “I am in the Father, and the Father in me” (Jhn 14:11); “as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee” (Jhn 17:21). Therefore, we must listen to God’s Son—obey His commandments and agree with His teaching.

The LORD our God is one LORD

God had revealed to His people that He is “one Lord” or one Ruler, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deu 6:4). He isn’t multiple Rulers or Persons in one God. He is, has always been, and always will be, one person. And although His only begotten Son was with Him at the time, “The same was in the beginning with God” (Jhn 1:2), He hadn’t yet revealed the understanding of this to His people. His Son being with Him since the beginning, and being with mankind in the world for over 30 years, and being with Him now at His right hand, doesn’t change the truth that “The LORD our God is one LORD.” But once the Father sent His Son into the world, He now requires His people and all people to honor His Son as Himself. This doesn’t make His Son a co-equal Ruler with Himself as taught in Trinitarianism, but simply His subordinate and intermediary Ruler on His behalf. And although His Son is certainly a person Himself, entirely distinct from His Father as a person and completely one with His Father in unity, His Son is not “The LORD our God.”

The Son is a person and not co-equal with God. But the holy Breath of God, on the other hand, isn’t even a person. God’s people never thought of the holy Breath, the Greek hagios pneuma (Strong’s 40 & 4151), as a conscious personal being but simply God’s Breath. From its very first mention in Scripture, “And the Spirit [ruah 7307] of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2), it was God’s Breath gusting across the surface of the waters as He blew from His mouth. It wasn’t a person flying over the water like superman!

Jesus told a Samaritan woman “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews” (Jhn 4:22). Only the Jewish people knew God. Now, all other people must know the God of the Jews to be saved or have eternal life, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3). The only way to have eternal life is to know the God of the Jews “The LORD our God is one LORD,” “the only true God,” and His Son Jesus Christ whom He sent.

The greatest commandment

Jesus quoted from Moses the greatest commandment ever given: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deu 6:4-5); “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Mat 22:37-38); “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mar 12:29-30). Obviously the “first of all the commandments” isn’t first chronologically because it was actually the last commandment given before Moses died. Rather, it’s first in importance. It’s the greatest of all commandments, even greater than all the Ten Commandments. What does it really matter, hypothetically, if we’re keeping all of God’s commandments but breaking this most important one of all? Therefore, break this one commandment and nothing else ultimately matters!

There are approximately 2 billion people in the world today that identify as Trinitarian—a little over half Roman Catholic and a little less than half Protestant. And the argument is sometimes made that that many people can’t all be wrong about God. However, there are also approximately 2 billion people in the world today that identify as Muslim that are most definitely wrong about God. Therefore, that argument doesn’t stand. In fact, that there’s such a vast multitude of Trinitarians shouldn’t be assuring but alarming. Jesus taught, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Mat 7:13-14). If 2 billion Muslims are among the “many” on the broad way, then how can 2 billion Trinitarians be the “few” on the narrow way?

After the death of the apostles, the true view of God was corrupted and eventually systematized into the Trinitarian view under the Roman Catholic Church. By torturing and executing millions of people and locking the Scriptures away from society, their false view of God was forced upon the world. And this is still the predominant “Christian” view today. The Protestant Reformation about 500 years ago did good in getting the Scriptures back into people’s hands but didn’t help much in any other way. It still kept the same false view of God that doesn’t save.

Trinitarianism isn’t monotheism but polytheism. It’s three gods under the guise of only one God by calling those three gods something else—three persons. But simply calling it something else doesn’t change what it truly is. Protestant Trinitarianism is simply a “Christianized” worship of false gods that’s virtually indistinguishable from true Christianity because it does almost all the “Christian” things.

Suppose we: confess Jesus as Lord; repent of our sins; get baptized; go to church every week; sing praise and worship songs; live morally; pray every day; read our Bible every day; memorize verses; read Christian books; keep a journal; fast at times; listen to sermons; serve in ministry positions; tell others about Jesus; give our time and resources. Does any of that really matter if we’re breaking the first and greatest commandment of all? It’s the overarching deception of the devil for people to not knowingly be breaking the greatest commandment, then convince them they’re on the narrow way because they’re striving to keep all other lesser commandments. The devil doesn’t care what god or gods we serve just so long as it’s not the one true God. Whether Trinitarian, Muslim, Mormon, monotheist, polytheist, pantheist, agnostic, or atheist, a false view of God is breaking the greatest commandment of all and doesn’t save.

Worshipping God in breath

“Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit [breath] and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit [Breath]: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit [breath] and in truth.” (Jhn 4:22-24). When Jesus said “God is spirit [breath]” (NET, NIV), He wasn’t speaking literally as though identifying what kind or type of being God is. He was simply using a figure of speech called a metaphor in which a term is applied to suggest a correspondence. An example from John is “God is love” (1Jo 4:8,16). Of course, God isn’t literally love but because He completely embodies everything that love is, John spoke of Him that way metaphorically. That “God is spirit [breath]” is that God is so completely and exclusively the source of our breath that His Son spoke of Him as being our breath. Therefore, to worship Him in breath is to give Him back the breath He gave us—to serve Him with this life in whatever way pleases Him. Paul wrote to the Romans, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit [breath] in the gospel of his Son” (Rom 1:9). To “serve with my breath” is to serve Him with this life.

We breathe in and out about 23,000 times a day. That’s over 8 million times a year. A 65-year old has already breathed over half a billion times! And every single one of those breaths is from God, “God is breath.” Our lives are so extremely fragile that God decides to even give us our next breath. Since He is our breath, we must worship Him with this breath we have now for Him to give us breath for eternity.

“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit [breath]” (Psa 34:18); “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit [breath]: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psa 51:17); “Better it is to be of an humble spirit [breath] with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Pro 16:19); “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit [breath]” (Pro 29:23); “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit [breath], to revive the spirit [breath] of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa 57:15); “but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit [breath], and trembleth at my word” (Isa 66:2).

Jesus taught, “Blessed are the poor in spirit [breath]: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:3), “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luk 6:20). Our breath is our life. To be “poor in breath” is to lose or forfeit the life we have now, including all that we could have and could be, for Jesus Christ’s sake—for the glory of His name: “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Mat 10:39); “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Mat 16:25); “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mar 8:35); “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luk 9:24); “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luk 17:33); “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (Jhn 12:25).

As servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, our lives aren’t our own but belong to Him, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [Breath] which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit [breath], which are God’s.” (1Co 6:19-20). The apostle Paul said it well, “neither count I my life dear unto myself” (Act 20:24). To be “poor in breath” is to count ourselves bankrupt in this life, and only receive gain for ourselves after we die, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phl 1:21).

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit [breath], and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Phl 3:3), “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Phl 3:10-11). To “worship God in the breath” is to “rejoice in Christ Jesus” and be “made conformable unto his death.” It’s to give our lives for others as He gave His life for us. Paul wrote earlier, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phl 2:5-8). He not only was “obedient unto death,” but “even the death of the cross.” He didn’t just die but died a terribly painful and shameful death as a common criminal. And in His dying words He committed back to His Father the breath He had been given, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [breath]: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost [exhaled]” (Luk 23:46). He used the breath His Father gave to do the will of His Father unto His dying breath, then placed Himself at His Father’s mercy to breathe life back into Him.

This is what Paul meant by “being made conformable unto his death.” It’s to have the same mindset as Christ, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” serving others in humility even to the point of possibly dying a disgraceful death as He did. We “worship God in the breath” when we use our breath for the purpose it was given. This is the only means of attaining eternal life, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” We must “rejoice in Christ Jesus” by obeying Him and being conformed to His life and death as our Exemplar.

Worshipping God in truth

Jesus Christ also said that the true worshippers must worship God in truth, “worship the Father in spirit [breath] and in truth … worship him in spirit [breath] and in truth” (Jhn 4:23,24). The truth is what Jesus Christ taught: “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jhn 1:17); “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jhn 8:32); “And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” (Jhn 8:46); “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6); “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (Jhn 18:37); “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:21). The teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ is the truth. It’s the required starting point and basis for knowing the true God, ourselves, and everything else. None of us are the arbiters of the truth and neither is any religion or system of theology. Jesus Christ is the arbiter of the truth and what He said is the final word.

The correct view of God is what Jesus Christ taught about Him. Nobody but the Son of God has seen God, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (Jhn 1:18), “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (Jhn 6:46). Since He is the only one that has seen God, then what He declared about Him is the truth and final word. Furthermore, who knows the Father better than His only begotten Son?

Speaking to His Father, Jesus called Him the only true God, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3). He identified and categorized His Father as the only true God while excluding Himself from the only true God. Anyone teaching something different is wrong.

Jesus called His Father “my God” twice before He died, once after His resurrection, and four times after having been seated at the Father’s right hand, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mat 27:46; Mar 15:34), “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jhn 20:17), “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev 3:12). According to Jesus Himself, His Father is God and His Father is His God.

Jesus affirmed what Moses wrote about God, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord [kyrios] our God is one Lord [kyrios]” (Mar 12:29). The Greek kyrios appears about 750 times in the New Testament and is a lord, master, or ruler. Since Jesus taught that “The Ruler” is “one Ruler,” then God is not three co-equal Rulers as taught in Trinitarianism, but one Ruler.

Loving God with all our heart

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” Loving God with all our heart begins with having a pure heart as Jesus taught, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mat 5:8). A pure heart consists first and foremost with having pure thoughts and desires, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mat 5:28), “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mat 15:19). And it also consists of having pure motives for the good things we do, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them” (Mat 6:1), “that they may be seen of men” (Mat 6:5), “that they may appear unto men to fast” (Mat 6:16).

God knows our every imagination, thought, and motive: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5); “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1Sa 16:7); “serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts” (1Ch 28:9); “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2Ch 16:9); “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psa 44:21); “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9); “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Rev 2:23).

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe [trust] on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. (1John 3:20-23)

God is greater than our heart and knows what is in the heart because He created the heart. Loving God with all our heart means trusting in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His Son’s commandments embodied in His one commandment of loving one another. And the love we have for one another must be from a pure heart with unselfish motives. When our heart is pure in God’s sight “we have confidence toward God,” and we can ask of Him in prayer and receive.

John wrote a little later, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1Jo 5:3). And Jesus said repeatedly, “If ye love me, keep my commandments … He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me … If a man love me, he will keep my words … He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings” (Jhn 14:15,21,23,24). We can boast about loving Jesus with all our heart, but if we’re not keeping His commandments, we don’t. What we should do, rather, is simply let our actions do the talking—obey what Jesus commanded. This is what James meant by “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith [faithfulness], and have not works [actions]? can faith [faithfulness] save him? (Jas 2:14). What does it profit or accomplish to only say we’re being faithful to the Lord yet we’re not being faithful to the Lord? Can our self-declared faithfulness save us?

Jeremiah prophesied of the New Covenant, “After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33). And the writer of Hebrews quoted him twice: “I will put my laws into their mind [dianoia 1271], and write them in their hearts [kardia 2588]” (Heb 8:10); “I will put my laws into their hearts [kardia 2588], and in their minds [dianoia 1271] will I write them” (Heb 10:16). The expression “write them” is figurative. It’s because the Old Covenant law of Moses was literally written on stone tablets that Christ’s law of the New Covenant is said figuratively to be “written” on our hearts and minds, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit [Breath] of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart … But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones” (2Co 3:3,7). Nothing is literally written inside of us. It’s simply that as commandments can be written on paper with ink or engraved on stone with a tool, Christ’s commandments are said to be “written” on our hearts and minds, “Which shew the work [action] of the law written in their hearts” (Rom 2:15). Although it’s figurative speech, “the Spirit [Breath] of the living God” inside is literal. We have the presence of the Lawgiver by God’s Breath—not just His laws inside, but Himself inside! Therefore, the New Covenant consists of obeying what Christ commanded almost 2,000 years ago recorded in the Scriptures, and obeying what He is commanding today in our hearts and minds by the indwelling Breath.

It’s also worth noting that since the writer of Hebrews interchanged “hearts [kardia 2588]” with “minds [dianoia 1271]” in his two quotations, “I will put my laws into their mind [dianoia 1271], and write them in their hearts [kardia 2588]” (Heb 8:10); “I will put my laws into their hearts [kardia 2588], and in their minds [dianoia 1271] will I write them” (Heb 10:16), he considered the location of Christ’s laws inside to be equally important. The keeping of the great commandment, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart [kardia 2588], and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind [dianoia 1271], and with all thy strength” (Mar 12:30), must include Christ’s laws in both our heart and mind.

Having God’s laws in our heart means that we obey willingly and sincerely, not grudgingly and hypocritically: “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” (Deu 10:12-13); “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” (Isa 1:19); “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Rom 6:17); “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom 7:22); “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Rom 12:9); “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith [faithfulness] unfeigned” (1Ti 1:5); “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit [Breath] unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1Pe 1:22); “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1Jo 3:18); “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1Jo 5:3).

Psalm 119 includes many statements about loving and delighting oneself in God’s law: “With my whole heart have I sought thee” (v. 10); “Thy word have I hid in mine heart” (v. 11); “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies” (v. 14); “I will delight myself in thy statutes” (v. 16); “Thy testimonies also are my delight” (v. 24); “I shall observe it with my whole heart” (v. 34); “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies” (v. 36); “And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved” (v. 47); “I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart” (v. 69); “thy law is my delight” (v. 77); “Unless thy law had been my delights” (v. 92); “O how love I thy law!” (v. 97); “thy law do I love” (v. 113); “I love thy testimonies” (v. 119); “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold” (v. 127); “Thy testimonies are wonderful” (v. 129); “I longed for thy commandments” (v. 131); “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” (v. 140); “thy commandments are my delights” (v. 143); “Consider how I love thy precepts” (v. 159); “I rejoice at thy word” (v. 162); “thy law do I love” (v. 163); “thy law is my delight” (v. 174).

Loving God with all our soul

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God … with all thy soul [psyche 5590].” The Greek psyche appears around 100 times in the New Testament and is translated usually as “soul” or “life.” It’s literally the life of a breathing being. Paul used this word when quoting from the creation of man, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7), “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul [psyche 5590]” (1Co 15:45).

The following is a listing of statements where psyche is used for the cessation of one’s life: “to give his life [psyche 5590] a ransom for many” (Mat 20:28); “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives [psyche 5590]” (Luk 9:56); “Thou fool, this night thy soul [psyche 5590] shall be required of thee” (Luk 12:20); “the good shepherd giveth his life [psyche 5590] for the sheep … I lay down my life [psyche 5590] for the sheep … I lay down my life [psyche 5590]” (Jhn 10:11,15,17); “I will lay down my life [psyche 5590] for thy sake” (Jhn 13:37); “a man lay down his life [psyche 5590] for his friends” (Jhn 15:13); “Men that have hazarded their lives [psyche 5590]” (Act 15:26); “neither count I my life [psyche 5590] dear unto myself” (Act 20:24); “not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives [psyche 5590]” (Act 27:10); “there shall be no loss of any man’s life [psyche 5590] among you” (Act 27:22); “they seek my life [psyche 5590]” (Rom 11:3); “Who have for my life [psyche 5590] laid down their own necks” (Rom 16:4); “he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life [psyche 5590]” (Phl 2:30); “save a soul [psyche 5590] from death” (Jas 5:20); “he laid down his life [psyche 5590] for us: and we ought to lay down our lives [psyche 5590] for the brethren” (1Jo 3:16); “And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life [psyche 5590], died” (Rev 8:9); “they loved not their lives [psyche 5590] unto the death” (Rev 12:11); “every living soul [psyche 5590] died in the sea” (Rev 16:3).

The great commandment of loving God with all our life means possibly losing our life for Christ’s sake—glorifying Him through obeying His commandments and living by His teaching: “He that findeth his life [psyche 5590] shall lose it: and he that loseth his life [psyche 5590] for my sake shall find it” (Mat 10:39); “For whosoever will save his life [psyche 5590] shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life [psyche 5590] for my sake shall find it” (Mat 16:25); “For whosoever will save his life [psyche 5590] shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life [psyche 5590] for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mar 8:35); “For whosoever will save his life [psyche 5590] shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life [psyche 5590] for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luk 9:24); “Whosoever shall seek to save his life [psyche 5590] shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life [psyche 5590] shall preserve it” (Luk 17:33); “He that loveth his life [psyche 5590] shall lose it; and he that hateth his life [psyche 5590] in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (Jhn 12:25).

These next two passages render psyche as “heart” and “heartily” in context of serving the Lord: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness [haplotes 572] of your heart [kardia 2588], as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart [psyche 5590]” (Eph 6:5-6); “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness [haplotes 572] of heart [kardia 2588], fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily [psyche 5590], as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col 3:22-23).

The Greek noun haplotes means “singularity” or “exclusivity” in the sense of loyalty or faithfulness to a master. Its adjective form haplous is used only twice in the New Testament and both times by Jesus Christ Himself: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single [haplous 573], thy whole body shall be full of light” (Mat 6:22); “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single [haplous 573], thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness” (Luk 11:34). Our “whole body” depends completely upon light through our eyes to move and function. If we use the light we’ve been given to serve the Lord, we’ll be given light for eternity. But if we use the light we’ve been given for evil, we’ll be relegated to darkness forever. That “thine eye be single” is using our eyes in loyalty to our Lord.

This is the sense of what Paul meant by “in singleness of your heart [kardia 2588], as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers,” “not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart [kardia 2588], fearing God.” Pleasing men “with eyeservice” is always doing good when being watched, but not always doing good when not being watched. Servants of the Lord, on the other hand, know that God is always watching. Loving “the Lord thy God … with all thy soul [psyche 5590],” consists of “doing the will of God from the heart [psyche 5590],” “heartily [psyche 5590], as to the Lord, and not unto men.” The sole purpose of our life must be in service to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Loving God with all our mind

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God … with all thy mind [dianoia 1271].” As pointed out earlier in the section “Loving God with all our heart,” the writer of Hebrews quoted Jeremiah’s prophecy about Christ’s laws of the New Covenant: “After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33), “I will put my laws into their mind [dianoia 1271], and write them in their hearts” (Heb 8:10), “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds [dianoia 1271] will I write them” (Heb 10:16). And since “hearts [kardia 2588]” and “minds [dianoia 1271]” are interchanged in his two quotations, he considered the location of Christ’s laws inside of equal importance.

Loving “the Lord thy God … with all thy mind [dianoia 1271]” is composed essentially of striving to know the truth and understanding God’s message to us through the Scriptures. It’s not strictly or even primarily an academic endeavor. It’s not about employing a system of theology, hermeneutical techniques, and principles of interpretation, by the use of lexicons, commentaries, and “Christian” books. It begins with humility and fear of God’s word, “but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit [breath], and trembleth at my word” (Isa 66:2). It asks God in prayer for understanding, then objectively applies sound reason and logic to harmonize all of Scripture. It strives for the correct understanding of the Scriptures because if we’re not correctly understanding, then we don’t have God’s message to us.

In His ministry on earth, Jesus Christ said “Who hath ears to hear, let him hearFor whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (Mat 13:9,12). And from His position at the right hand of God the Father, He said seven times “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches” (Rev 2:7,11,17,29, 3:6,13,22). God’s Breath in our hearts is our Lord Jesus Christ speaking to us. The most important words we can ever hear are the commandments and teaching of our Lord. But if we’re not hearing what’s most important, then for what purpose are our ears? Having “ears to hear” means using our ears for the greatest endeavor of all—hearing what Christ said and doing it, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24,26).

If we have “ears to hear,” we “shall be given” and “shall have more abundance.” But if we don’t have “ears to hear,” then what we already have “shall be taken away.” It’s a progression in one direction or the other. If we’re hearing, understanding, and doing what Christ has already given, He will continue giving us more understanding while also requiring more from us: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luk 16:10); “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luk 12:48). But if we ever begin turning our ears away from what He has already given—disobeying what we’ve been commanded and rejecting what we’ve come to understand—He not only won’t give us any more but also will begin taking away from us what He already gave. Our hearts will start hardening toward Him and we’ll begin digressing in the other direction until we either repent and turn back, or else He decides to never accept our repentance again.

That Paul didn’t consider attaining understanding of the truth from the Scriptures as strictly an academic endeavor but more importantly a matter of prayer, he prayed regularly for the Christians at Ephesus to understand, “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding [dianoia 1271] being enlightened” (Eph 1:16-18). That last statement refers to the spiritual state of mankind from the first sin, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil … And the eyes of them both were opened” (Gen 3:5,7). God didn’t create Adam and Eve blind from understanding the truth—the eyes of their understanding were already open. The serpent deceived the woman into believing she was presently “blind” but would be able to “see” by heeding him. Thus, that “the eyes of them both were opened” meant that they started “seeing” and living by a distorted reality imposed by the devil, and became “blind” from knowing actual reality and truth. Paul brought out this idea later in his letter, “Having the understanding [dianoia 1271] darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart [kardia 2588]” (Eph 4:18).

To “love the Lord thy God … with all thy mind [dianoia 1271],” is to no longer be in the spiritual state of “Having the understanding [dianoia 1271] darkened” but that “The eyes of your understanding [dianoia 1271] being enlightened.” We must come to the truth through understanding the Scriptures so that we’ll live in reality, not by the skewed reality of this world’s system ruled by the devil, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2).

Arriving at the truth and living by reality starts with the teaching of Jesus Christ, “But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:20-21). The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ is the arbiter of the truth: “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jhn 1:17); “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jhn 8:32); “And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” (Jhn 8:46); “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6); “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (Jhn 18:37).

To “love the Lord thy God … with all thy mind [dianoia 1271],” is to know Him as the only true God by the understanding His Son gave: “the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit [breath] and in truth” (Jhn 4:23); “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3); “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding [dianoia 1271], that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (1Jo 5:20).

Loving God with all our strength

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God … with all thy strength.” Our strength essentially is what we’re capable of doing in our own being and with our available resources. Our being includes: physical strength and faculties; mental fortitude and reasoning; personality and talents; past experience; maturity level. Our available resources include: money and possessions; expendable time outside work and family; character and reputation; station in life; sphere of influence; social connections.

Of course some have physical or mental disabilities making them unable to do some things that others can. Others, on the other hand, might have the physical and mental abilities but are deprived of available resources to do as much as they would like. Loving God “with all thy strength” means giving our lives to Him wherever we’re at and however we can. In consistency with the principle “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luk 12:48), of those with less, less is required, but of those with more, more is required.

In the context of marriage, divorce, and remarriage, Paul taught the church at Corinth to serve God faithfully in whatever status they’re currently in, “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches … Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called … Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God” (1Co 7:17,20,24). This principle also applied to the issue of circumcision: “Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” (1Co 7:18-19); “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” (Gal 6:15-16); “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him … And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your fleshLet no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days” (Col 2:6,13,16). Loving God with all our strength is done whether single, married, divorced, widowed, or remarried, and whether circumcised or uncircumcised. It’s not about our state of being or station in life but about “keeping of the commandments of God.”

Even marital status itself affects how much is required of us, “But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife” (1Co 7:32-33). The unmarried have more time, freedom, and flexibility to devote to the work of the Lord than the married. It’s for this reason that Paul was able to dedicate himself entirely to ministry, not having a wife and children to consider. The married, however, must first care for their own family before others. Although some can do more as unmarried while others can do less as married, both statuses are loving God “with all thy strength.”

Having then gifts differing according to the grace [favor] that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith [faithfulness]; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8)

Our strength also consists of ministering to others in the way we’ve been gifted while not limiting our service to only this one area. Some are gifted teachers “he that teacheth,” others are gifted encouragers, “he that exhorteth,” and others are gifted leaders, “he that ruleth.” For example: I’m gifted at studying and teaching but not much at leading. And although I focus primarily on serving God with all my strength in the gift of teaching, I’m also required to lead when the need arises simply because I’m able.

When it comes to loving God “with all thy strength” in the area of giving, God only requires what is within our power, “For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves” (2Co 8:3). Although it’s certainly noble to be willing to give even what’s beyond our power, we certainly shouldn’t put our own family in jeopardy. However, if we see our brother in desperate need and have the resources to help but don’t, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1Jo 3:17), how can we be loving God with all our strength?

Conclusion

The first and great commandment begins with worshipping the true God revealed through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ coming into the world. His Son knows Him because He was begotten by Him, was with Him, was sent by Him, and returned to Him. Therefore, anyone teaching a different view of God than what His Son taught is wrong—end of discussion!

The overarching deception of the devil in Trinitarianism is for people to worship false gods—three false gods disguised as three persons in one God—then build upon it the religious systems of Catholicism and Protestantism called “Christianity.” In fact, what’s built in some cases can even be almost indistinguishable from true Christianity. But it isn’t what’s built that ultimately matters, but upon what it’s built that does:

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

The Son of God Himself illustrated this concept best by His contrast of these two people. The wise man built his house upon rock while the foolish man built his house upon sand. The houses themselves can be quite comparable and even virtually identical. The distinguishing difference isn’t the houses but their foundations. And the same is true in our walk with God—our lives must be “built upon” hearing and obeying God’s Son. Once we’ve heard what the Son taught about God, we must be unashamed of Him and His words.

Trinitarian “Christianity” can look very appealing, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Gen 3:6). But in reality it’s a forbidden fruit that’s rotten at its core. It’s breaking the first and great commandment. And if we’re breaking what’s first and greatest, what else ultimately matters?

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mar 12:30). Loving God in all four of these ways isn’t accomplished by consciously thinking all the time about doing them. If we’ll just consciously focus on pleasing God above all else, these things will be the natural outflow. But it’s needful to have the correct understanding of these things and to remind ourselves of them often. We live in an evil world ruled by spirits that are constantly tempting, deceiving, and trying to draw us away from serving and pleasing God. If we neglect to remind ourselves of these truths regularly, we’ll start letting them slip and put ourselves in danger of slipping away from God. We must keep our focus daily on loving God by keeping the first and great commandment.

The Fate of the Ignorant

Introduction

One of the most difficult questions for Christians to answer is the fate of the ignorant and those who die without having heard the gospel. This is a big problem because we recognize that it’s beyond unjust for anyone having never had the opportunity for salvation to be tormented in fire eternally. How can a loving God create multitudes of eternal beings, then allow them to suffer eternally having never had hope of any other fate? It’s not fair and it’s not love.

This question, however, is simply an unnecessary issue caused by the Trinitarian wrong view of human beings (man). Once our view of man is corrected, the issue goes away and the question answers itself. Man is a temporal physical being and his death is the cessation of the life that was given unless God raises him back to life. The real question concerns the hope of resurrection.

Holding the assumption that man is an eternal being, the typical answer for the fate of the ignorant is that Scripture is silent, therefore we should be silent—that we only have authority to speak where Scripture speaks. That mantra is certainly noble when Scripture is truly silent. However, when Scripture is not silent about any particular question or subject, there’s an inherent responsibility for finding the truth and NOT being silent about it. And this is one subject that Scripture isn’t silent about.

The fate of the ignorant has actually been quite plain in Scripture all along but obscured by false doctrine. Error blinds our minds from what is otherwise apparent. It’s the false Trinitarian view of man that has been the overriding problem. Scripture isn’t silent about the fate of the ignorant; the answer has been “under our noses” all along.

Two different views of man

The Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther about 500 years ago was an apparent split from the Roman Catholic Church. Unfortunately, it kept the foundational false teachings of the Church that God is a Trinity of Persons and that man is a non-physical eternal being living inside a body that continues to live disembodied after death either in heaven or in hell. But these false views cause major conflicts with the teaching of Scripture and with reaching sound logical and reasonable conclusions. One such major conflict is the fate of the ignorant.

Scripture teaches that man is strictly a physical being formed from the ground and animated by the breath of God, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen 2:7). And not only was man formed from the ground but so were the animals, “Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air” (Gen 2:19). Likewise, as the breath of life is in the nostrils of man, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 2:7), so were the animals, “And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died” (Gen 7:21-22).

We don’t think of animals as non-physical beings living inside bodies that continue to live disembodied after death. Why do we think this about man? Man is simply a physical being—he is dust: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground” (Gen 2:7); “till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19); “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes” (Gen 18:27); “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14); “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Ecc 3:20); “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc 12:7).

When man dies, he doesn’t continue living as a disembodied non-physical being but is dead and no longer living. The dead know nothing and have no consciousness. They’re not praising God in heaven right now because the dead cannot praise at all: “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecc 9:5); “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” (Psa 6:5); “Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?” (Psa 88:10-11); “The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence” (Psa 115:17); “For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.” (Isa 38:18-19).

Creation and conscience

The eternal being view of man caused a major problem in the Trinitarian view of salvation and evangelization that had to be reconciled. If man is inherently eternal and will always exist either in heaven or in hell, then what about the ignorant or those that have never heard the gospel? Will they simply get automatically admitted to heaven or will they burn forever in hell having had no hope of avoiding it? It can’t be that the ignorant have no hope but spend eternity in fire, and it can’t be universalism either—that everyone will be in heaven. But everyone must go somewhere in that view so there must be an objective determining standard.

To resolve this quandary, Trinitarian scholars and theologians devised an interpretation of two passages in Romans which allows them to teach that the ignorant aren’t actually ignorant at all because they’ve heard sufficiently about God through the creation and through their own conscience—the creation/conscience (CC) interpretation: “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:19-20); “Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Rom 2:15). Since the creation itself supposedly “preaches” the gospel to them, and their own conscience bears witness of moral good and evil to them, therefore they can come to salvation if they receive this knowledge or “they are without excuse” if they reject it.

However, these are simply misinterpretations concocted to solve the problem caused by their false view of man. If we have the correct view of man that he is a physical being, then there isn’t the problem necessitating those interpretations. Man doesn’t continue existing somewhere eternally after death. Man doesn’t exist at all unless he is resurrected back to life.

The CC interpretation also “opens a can of worms” causing a whole new set of problems. Why preach the gospel at all if everyone has already heard and is still hearing through CC? Can people really be saved that way? If people can find the true God through CC, then why does human history show that they’ve always turned to idolatry and false gods? But the bottom line is that if CC is true, then nobody is ignorant—everybody will be raised from the dead either to eternal life, or to condemnation and destruction. And if nobody is ignorant, then everybody has heard and is still hearing. Why preach the gospel at all?

What Paul meant by his reference to the creation in chapter 1, he stated at the conclusion of his letter: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (16:25-26). The mystery was “made known to all nations” because it couldn’t be known prior to being revealed or manifested. This is how his opening words of Romans are to be understood, “for obedience to the faith among all nations” (1:5), “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:19-20). If the Trinitarian interpretation is true that “all nations” and even pagans can understand the message of the gospel through the creation and be saved, then they don’t need revelation from Jesus Christ. And why is it even a mystery if everyone can understand it? Furthermore, it’s not only that they can understand it and be saved, but also that they must understand it or “they are without excuse” and will be condemned by it. Essentially, in the Trinitarian view of man, nobody is truly ignorant at all.

In chapter 10, Paul quoted from Psalm 19: “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” (Rom 10:18), “There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” (Psa 19:3-4). He understood and used Psalm 19 to conclude that the gospel message is to be preached to all people and not just to the Jews, “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom 10:12-14). His proof that the gospel should now be preached to all people is that the gospel message has been “preached” every day to all people by the creation itself, but hidden in a mystery. And he certainly wasn’t teaching that people can be saved by hearing the creation “preach” because he asked “how shall they hear without a preacher?”

In Romans chapter 2, Paul wasn’t teaching that the ignorant can be saved through their own conscience. He was using Gentiles under Christ’s law “the law written in their hearts” (v. 15) that were keeping God’s righteous requirements, to compare with Jews under the Law of Moses that were not keeping God’s righteous requirements. His point of the comparison was to prove “there is no respect of persons with God” (v. 11), and that His judgment “will render to every man according to his deeds [actions]” (v. 6), of “every soul of man that doeth evil” (v. 9) and “every man that worketh good” (v. 10), regardless of whether Jew or Gentile. Therefore, if the actions of uncircumcised Gentiles fulfill the standard of God’s righteousness, while the actions of circumcised Jews do not, then Paul’s point is proven. He wasn’t teaching that Gentiles can live righteously on their own through their conscience and by some instinctive nature. But in their natural born state of “uncircumcision which is by nature” (v. 27), they can keep the righteous requirements of the law “written” in their hearts by Christ’s teaching and the Holy Breath of God under the New Covenant, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah … I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Heb 8:8,10).

All flesh is like grass

The question about the fate of the ignorant isn’t a problem once we accept the reality that man isn’t an eternal being but a physical being that perishes at death. We recognize that animals pass from existence when they die—dogs don’t go to heaven. And we don’t think of any unjustness done to them in existing for a short time then passing from existence. Why not the same with humans? What would be unjust with God allowing humans to live, then never live again? For them to not exist, come into existence, then no longer exist? For man to be given life then have that life taken away, he is substantially back to where he started, “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

Now, this isn’t degrading humanity, created in the image of God, down to that of animals. It’s recognizing the truth taught in Scripture: “Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perishLike sheep they are laid in the grave … Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish” (Psa 49:14, 12, 20); “that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast” (Ecc 3:18-19).

All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass” (Isa 40:6-7); “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” (Psa 103:15-16); “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1Pe 1:23-24). All flesh is like grass in that it’s born of “corruptible seed.” All flesh produces more flesh after its own kind, then decomposes back to the ground from which it came. But there is a second birth to life in resurrection that is of incorruptible “seed” that will never again return to the ground in death. Since Scripture teaches that “all flesh is as grass,” and grass produces more grass before it dies and decomposes back to the ground, why think differently about human flesh?

Sin is not imputed when there is no law

In Romans chapter 5, Paul reveals the hidden mystery in Adam since the beginning, “the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (16:25). In 5:12-14, he taught about death passing from Adam upon all, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” Since “death passed upon all men,” then all humanity dies because of Adam’s sin. And although everyone also sins, God doesn’t impute their sins to them “sin is not imputed when there is no law,” if they hadn’t sinned in the same way as Adam under a direct commandment from God, “had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” They simply died and will never live again. They were without law, therefore they perished without law as Paul taught earlier, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law” (2:12).

He taught repeatedly in Romans that the knowledge of sin came by the law and that God doesn’t impute sin to those who didn’t have its knowledge: “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law” (2:12); “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (3:20); “for where no law is, there is no transgression” (4:15); “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (5:13); “I had not known sin, but by the law” (7:7); “For without the law sin was dead” (7:8).

Verses 15-19 is a parenthetical section giving specific details in which Adam was a type of Christ to come, “the figure of him that was to come” (v. 14). Paul gives a series of contrasts—how they ARE NOT alike—then comparisons of how they ARE: “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift” (v. 15), “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift” (v. 16), “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one … shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (v. 17), “as by the offence of one … even so by the righteousness of one” (v. 18), “For as by one man’s disobedience … so by the obedience of one” (v. 19). His primary point in this section is the same that he taught the Corinthians, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Co 15:21-22). All die because of Adam, and the only hope of resurrection to eternal life is Jesus Christ.

His secondary point in this section is that it’s God’s favored people that received the gift of righteousness and hope of eternal life, “much more the grace [favor] of God, and the gift by grace [favor], which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (v. 15), “much more they which receive abundance of grace [favor] and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (v. 17). From Moses to Nehemiah it was stated that if God’s people kept the law they would die in hope of eternal life: “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them” (Lev 18:5); “And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them” (Eze 20:11); “yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear” (Neh 9:29). And Christ Himself affirmed the same, “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mat 19:17), “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live” (Luk 10:28).

In verses 20-21, Paul rejoins and concludes the point he began about the law of Moses before having diverted into the parenthetical section, “For until the law … from Adam to Moses” (vs. 13,14). The law given through Moses resulted in many now sinning “after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” (v. 14), because “the law entered, that the offence might abound” (v. 20). But God’s “grace [favor] did much more abound” (v. 20). God now favored His people over all other people, “I and thy people have found grace [favor] in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth” (Exo 33:16). Making his final comparison between Adam and Christ, “That as sin hath reigned … even so might grace [favor] reign” (v. 21), Paul concluded that as Adam’s sin reigned over mankind resulting in death, God’s favor now reigns over His people through Jesus Christ resulting in eternal life, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace [favor] reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 21).

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2Corinthians 5:17-21).

This passage from 2Corinthians conveys an essentially parallel message with Romans 5:21-21. Now, the popular understanding taught about “he is a new creature” is false. That “he is” is italicized indicates it’s not in the Greek text but was added by the translators. Paul wasn’t teaching that people become some kind of new creatures, but that the creation itself will be renewed from the curse in the end. The “old things are passed away” are death, sorrow, crying, and pain: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea … And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:1,4). That “all things are of God” (v. 18) are the death, sorrow, crying, and pain imposed upon the creation in the curse: “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children … in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life … till thou return unto the ground” (Gen 3:16,17,19); “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope … the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom 8:20,22). Thus, this passage concerns the curse upon the creation since Adam until its renewal from the curse in the end, and all of this is of God.

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (v. 19) are the events during the 4,000 years from the pronouncing of the curse until Christ dying for the sins of the world. The expression “God was in Christ” indicates God’s purpose for orchestrating the events that happened during that period—the curse, the flood, the confusion of the languages, the calling of Abraham, the Exodus, the conquest of the land, etc. He administered such advents “in Christ” or with the express purpose of the world being reconciled to Himself through Christ. In other words, those events and many others were necessary to bring about and consummate the salvation of the world through Jesus Christ.

His statement “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (v. 19), is essentially parallel with “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son … but sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Rom 5:10,13). For God to reconcile the world to Himself through the death of his Son, He dealt with humanity differently during the first 4,000 years than He has been during these last 2,000 years. He didn’t send preachers evangelizing the world with the message of reconciliation before Christ as He did after, “and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation… and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (vs. 18,19). Therefore, since the message wasn’t being offered, judgment upon their sins wasn’t being imputed, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” How would it be just to not give commandments to humanity defining sin, yet resurrect them from the dead to be judged for their sins?

As Paul taught the Gentiles at Ephesus, “who were dead in trespasses and sins … Even when we were dead in sins” (Eph 2:1,5), “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12). What did he mean by “dead in trespasses and sins”? If he meant that they died with their sins imputed, then the fate of the ignorant is that all will be raised and judged for their sins. If he meant that they died with their sins forgiven, then the fate of the ignorant is that all will be raised to eternal life. But the plain sense and what makes the most sense is that they died with their sins not being imputed which corresponds with having no hope of living again, “having no hope.” If they did have hope, why say they didn’t?

Sin is the transgression of the law

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ began His “sayings” or teaching on the morality contained in the Law of Moses with “Think not that I am come to destroy the law [nomos 3551], or the prophets” (Mat 5:17), and ended with “this is the law [nomos 3551] and the prophets” (Mat 7:12). He then foretold of how it will be for many before Him in judgment, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [anomia 458]” (Mat 7:23). It will be “lawbreakers” (NET), “who break God’s laws” (NLT), “who practice lawlessness” (NKJV), that will be banished from Him and condemned. The Greek anomia means “violator of law” or “breaker of law.” It can’t be the ignorant or those without law that will be judged and condemned but those that violated and broke His law. As He concluded His Sermon, “whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24,26).

Paul reiterated the same to the Romans, “For not the hearers of the law [nomos 3551] are just before God, but the doers of the law [nomos 3551] shall be justified” (Rom 2:13). It’s actions that will be judged, and actions require first hearing. Since the ignorant haven’t heard, how can their actions be justified or condemned? He then continued to relay that message repeatedly: “by the law [nomos 3551] is the knowledge of sin” (3:20); “for where no law [nomos 3551] is, there is no transgression” (4:15); “sin is not imputed when there is no law [nomos 3551]” (5:13); “Moreover the law [nomos 3551] entered, that the offence might abound” (5:20); “I had not known sin, but by the law [nomos 3551] … For without the law [nomos 3551] sin was dead” (7:7,8).

Jeremiah prophesied of the New Covenant that would replace the Old, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts” (Jer 31:33). And the writer of Hebrews quoted him twice, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws [nomos 3551] into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Heb 8:10), “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws [nomos 3551] into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb 10:16). The Old Covenant law of Moses was written on stone tablets but the New Covenant law of Christ is “written” on our hearts. Christ’s teaching and commandments, particularly in His Sermon on the Mount, is the nomos by which our actions will be judged.

The same violation of the Old Covenant law, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities [anomia 458] will I remember no more” (Heb 8:12), is true also with the New Covenant law, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [anomia 458]” (Mat 7:23). Since sin is the transgression of the law whether under the Old or New Covenants, how can the ignorant be judged without having been under law?

The knowledge of God

Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul declared that all humanity outside the Jews didn’t know God: “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews” (Jhn 4:22); “I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship” (Act 17:23); “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God” (1Co 1:21); “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God” (Gal 4:8-9); “having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12); “being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them” (Eph 4:18); “Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God” (1Th 4:5).

Paul taught that the Gentiles were in ignorance: “Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (Act 14:16); “And the times of this ignorance [agnoia 52] God winked at [hyperorao 5237]; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Act 17:30); “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12); “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance [agnoia 52] that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph 4:18); “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance [agnoia 52]” (1Pe 1:14). The Greek noun agnoia is the negative form of “knowledge” or “understanding.” It’s to not have knowledge or understanding. And the Greek hyperorao translated “winked at” means “to overlook” or “take no notice of.” It’s similar to our saying “turn a blind eye.” Paul was saying that since God left all nations of people in ignorance or without knowledge of Him, therefore He suffered them to “walk in their own ways” and looked away. If it was God’s will to leave vast multitudes of humanity in ignorance, then how would it be just for Him to judge them later? And if prior to the cross He wasn’t commanding “all men every where to repent,” then how would He be just in judging them later for not repenting? In fact, that He wasn’t commanding them to repent implies that He wasn’t imputing their sins, “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Rom 5:13), “not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2Co 5:19).

Paul told the Greeks in Athens, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Act 17:26-27). Other Bible versions have “perhaps reach out for him and find him” (NIV), “in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him” (NKJV), “perhaps feel their way toward him and find him” (NLT). It’s the idea of someone in the dark or someone blind feeling and groping to find someone. But it’s not saying humanity actually could find God this way but to prove they couldn’t!

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe [trust]. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness. (1Corinthians 1:20-23)

Paul told the “wise” Greeks at Corinth that it was “in the wisdom of God” to prove “the world by wisdom knew not God.” He gave the world, particularly the Greeks which were the wisest people of all, ample opportunity to find Him by their own wisdom and intelligence. Through it all, He proved that their “wisdom” is foolishness and that the preaching of the cross which they now deem “foolishness” is tremendously wise. That this is what was meant by “feel after him, and find him” is evident by the statement “though he be not far from every one of us.” In other words, there’s no room for excuse by claiming He was just too far away because He has always been as close as our own selves, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (v. 28). He allowed humanity to unsuccessfully “feel after him” or “grope for Him” even though He was right there all along. We’ve all played hide-and-seek with our kids. But how about with God? Can He find us? Can we find Him?

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are” (1Co 1:27-28). Throughout Scripture, God showed time and again that the world couldn’t outsmart or outmuscle Him. He repeatedly made people look like fools! For example, to keep from bowing before Joseph, his brothers’ evil plan resulted in them bowing before Joseph, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen 50:20). And Haman’s evil was his own undoing, “But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows” (Est 9:25). Thus, God “taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1Co 3:19).

Many times God defeated vast armies with a relatively small number of men. Take Gideon for example, “By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand” (Jdg 7:7). Just imagine the talk after that, “An army of 120 thousand trained soldiers was defeated by 300 men that lap water like dogs?” And “things which are not, to bring to nought things that are,” was demonstrated in Abram being called “a father of many nations” though he wasn’t, “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee” (Gen 17:5), “I have made thee a father of many nations … calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom 4:17). God did such things so “That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1Co 1:29).

Not only Paul DID NOT teach that the nations could find God through the creation (Rom 1:19-20) or through their own conscience (Rom 2:14-15), but also he DID teach that they couldn’t find Him through any means at all! Far from giving the world hope of finding Him on their own, Scripture records that God consistently destroyed all hope of anyone finding Him. The only hope is for Him to reveal Himself, which He did to His people through Moses and then to the world through His only begotten Son.

The fate of the ignorant

Humans are physical beings that, like the animals, are no longer alive after they die because death is the cessation of life. Up to this point, Scripture isn’t silent about fate—the ignorant perish when they die because all perish when they die unless there is hope of resurrection. Therefore, since Scripture isn’t silent about the reason everyone dies “death passed upon all men” (Rom 5:12), and Scripture isn’t silent about the fate of everyone that dies, then if Scripture is silent about the hope of resurrection, then Scripture isn’t silent about their fate.

Jesus and Paul taught resurrections of only two “classes” of the dead: “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jhn 5:29), “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Act 24:15). There is a resurrection of the just that did good, and a resurrection of the unjust that did evil. These are the only two resurrections of which we are told.

For judgment to be just, there must be an objective standard by which actions can be measured as either good or evil. Adam was given a law that clearly defined both, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:16-17). He wasn’t ignorant—he knew it was good to eat from every tree, but evil to eat from that one tree carrying the penalty of death. And the same was true for God’s people under the law of Moses, “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil” (Deu 30:15). However, this wasn’t true for those living between the time of Adam and Moses, “sin is not imputed when there is no law … from Adam to Moses” (Rom 5:13-14). Although they sinned without law, but without law they “had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” (Rom 5:14). They had not “done good, unto the resurrection of life” and had not “done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

Although people were sinning prior to the law, “For until the law sin was in the world,” but without law their sins were not being held against them, “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (5:13). And Paul had said earlier that the fate of those sinning without law is that they perish, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law” (2:12), while those sinning under the law are judged, “and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” To be judged, they must be resurrected to stand in judgment. Therefore, the sins of those without law are not counted against them and they perish when they die, but the sins of those under the law are counted against them in judgment after being resurrected. This is the resurrection of the unjust—they heard the law but didn’t do its requirements, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God” (2:13). But those that did the requirements of the law are resurrected and justified, “the doers of the law shall be justified.” Thus, Paul spoke here of three possible fates: (1) those without law, perish when they die; (2) those that kept the requirements of the law, will be resurrected to justification; (3) those that didn’t keep the requirements of the law, will be resurrected to judgment and condemnation.

Furthermore, when Paul said, “but sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Rom 5:13), “not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2Co 5:19), if he didn’t mean what he said, then just what did he mean? How would their sins not be imputed by resurrecting them later to be imputed? In other words, if everyone will be resurrected to have their sins imputed and judged, then what is meant by “sin is not imputed” and “not imputing their trespasses”? Who is truly ignorant?

And what did Paul mean by “who were dead in trespasses and sins … we were dead in sins” (Eph 2:1,5), “being dead in your sins” (Col 2:13), if he didn’t mean that Gentiles died with no hope of eternal life? “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1Co 15:19); “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12); “that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1Th 4:13). God’s people, on the other hand, had hope of eternal life, “if a man do, he shall live in them” (Lev 18:5), “I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil” (Deu 30:15).

The resurrection to judgment will be of the just and the unjust—those that heard God’s law either under the Old or New Covenant, and either kept or didn’t keep its righteous requirements. But Paul spoke of another “class” of people that never heard, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law” (Rom 2:12). Since it’s “the doers of the law” that will be justified, and doing requires first hearing, then how can those that never heard be doing what the law requires? And if it’s the hearers that will be judged for either doing or not doing, then how can those that have never heard be judged? Doing requires hearing, therefore judging requires hearing.

Jesus Christ taught, “That whosoever believeth [trusts] in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth [trusts] in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jhn 3:15-16). The “world” are all people outside God’s covenant people without hope of eternal life. Jesus stated that they perish. The world’s only hope of eternal life is trusting in God’s only begotten Son: “believeth [trusts] on him that sent me, hath everlasting life” (Jhn 5:24); “believeth [trusts] on him, may have everlasting life” (Jhn 6:40); “He that believeth [trusts] on me hath everlasting life” (Jhn 6:47); “that believing [trusting] ye might have life through his name” (Jhn 20:31).

Daniel was told that the resurrection will be of “many” and not necessarily all, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2). And of the many there are only two fates mentioned—everlasting life and everlasting contempt. But also the expressions “sleep” and “awake” are used for those that are resurrected regardless of their final fate—even those that will die a second time are said to be “asleep” but will “awake.” Therefore, those with hope of resurrection are said to be asleep while nothing is said about others: “Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1Co 15:18-19); “concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1Th 4:13).

That the dead are “asleep” is an expression first used for Moses and continued through the rest of Scripture for God’s people that have died: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers” (Deu 31:16); “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers” (2Sa 7:12); “lest I sleep the sleep of death” (Psa 13:3); “And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Act 7:60); “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep” (Act 13:36); “some are fallen asleep” (1Co 15:6), “they also which are fallen asleep in Christ” (v. 18), “them that slept” (v. 20), “We shall not all sleep” (v. 51); “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead” (Eph 5:14); “concerning them which are asleep … them also which sleep in Jesus” (1Th 4:13,14).

That “sleep” and “awake” are simply figures of speech for the dead that have hope of resurrection is understood by how Christ Himself used the expressions for Lazarus, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” (Jhn 11:11-14).

When we wake up from sleep, even if we slept for eight hours straight, it seems to have been just a blink of the eye. And the same would be true of those who have been dead even for thousands of years. We would think that when Abel “awakes” in resurrection, he will have no concept of having been dead for almost 6,000 years! This is because death truly is the cessation of life and consciousness, and sleep is similar to it in some ways. No wonder David said, “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psa 19:2-3). Regardless of ethnicity or language, our solar system and biological system speaks the message of life and death figuratively to us daily—every day waking up to new life and every night falling asleep at the end.

The fate of the innocent

Since humans are physical beings, essentially no different than animals, their passing from existence at death is the natural and logical fate. And since we don’t consider any unjustness with God in allowing animals to exist for a short time then passing from existence, why not the same with humans? Furthermore, animals sometimes suffer cruel and horrible abuse but we don’t think of them receiving any justice after they die. Again, what would be unjust of God allowing innocent humans to suffer horribly then die without any redress? This isn’t being heartless or insensitive about the tragic suffering and loss of innocent human life but simply acknowledging the reality of their fate.

“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” (Ecc 4:1-3). Solomon acknowledged the suffering of those horribly abused and the power of their abusers over them. Yet he was silent about any kind of justice for the victim or judgment upon the oppressor. Rather, he simply praised the dead no longer suffering and those not yet suffering.

Human life begins at the moment of conception. But this poses a huge problem for the eternal being view. What happens when a baby dies even within moments of conception? If the baby is an eternal being, then it must leave whatever physical “body” it had and go somewhere for eternity. On the other hand, what about humans as physical beings? Will every human life, including those that died just moments after conception, be resurrected? Possibly. But what makes far more sense, and is consistent with all created life, and harmonizes Scripture best, is that ignorant and innocent human life perishes at death.

Babies and young children have no knowledge of good and evil for which they will be held accountable: “Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it” (Deu 1:39); “For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings” (Isa 7:16); “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil” (Rom 9:11); “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:14).

Since we’re only told about resurrections of those that did either good or evil, “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jhn 5:29), therefore we’re given no hope that babies will be resurrected. Does this mean they won’t be resurrected? Not necessarily, only that no hope is given of it. But to say that Scripture is silent actually does give people a glimmer of hope—something Scripture doesn’t give. Therefore, since Scripture doesn’t give this hope, why should we?

The mercy of God

God is merciful and gracious: “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exo 34:6); “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Psa 86:15); “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Psa 103:8); “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful” (Psa 116:5); “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy” (Psa 145:8).

If the ignorant simply perish when they die and their sins go to the grave with them, what about justice for their innocent victims that were horribly abused by them? Again, this goes back to man’s parallel with animals. We don’t question God’s justice in letting animals perish when they die with no hope of any redress. Why not the same with humans?

Is it consistent with the character of God to judge anyone for violating knowledge they had no way of knowing? Would that be just and fair? And is that the standard by which we want to be judged as well? Would we want to be judged for things we sincerely had no knowledge of? What if we were one of the ignorant among an isolated people group that never heard? Though we sinned against others and others sinned against us, would we rather perish at death, or be raised, judged, punished, and die a second time in the lake of fire? Those maintaining that the ignorant must be raised and judged likely haven’t considered themselves first.

We all want pity when we’re the violator, but penalty when we’re the victim. We want justice when others have hurt us, but not when we’ve hurt others. Why is that? It’s because we’re selfish and not always viewing others equally important as ourselves. Christ’s law of love “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Jas 2:8), the law by which He will judge us, “shall be judged by the law of liberty” (v. 12), is that we’ll be shown the mercy we have shown, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (v. 13). If we’re not forgiving, we won’t be forgiven, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mat 6:14-15). And by the same measure we judge, we shall be judged, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Mat 7:2).

What about Moses murdering an Egyptian, “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.” (Exo 2:11-12)? Of course Moses was forgiven of his sin by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. But what about judgment and justice for the Egyptian? Will that ignorant man be raised and judged for the lesser sin of smiting a Hebrew, yet receive no justice for the greater sin of his own murder? The “victim” argument—that victims should always receive justice—doesn’t necessarily take into account that victims are also violators and violators are also victims. When we demand justice for victims, we also demand justice for their own victims as well.

We’ve all been ignorant and God was merciful to us. It’s for the very reason God is merciful that the ignorant perish when they die and won’t be held accountable for what they had no way of knowing. It’s God’s mercy to allow the ignorant to perish without facing His judgment.

Without excuse

In our daily lives, whenever we install a new app or create a login to a website, we must check a box and push a button affirming we have read and agree with their terms. By doing that, we’re binding ourselves to their terms by legal liability and can’t later plead ignorance in a court of law for violating them. This is the essence of a covenant—it binds two parties to fulfill their part of an agreement and eliminates any excuses on both sides.

The basis by which Israel was held accountable for their sins is that they had confessed from their own mouths that they had heard, understood, and would do the law they had been commanded. Moses gave instructions for God’s people to carry out after they had crossed the Jordan: “These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.” (Deu 27:12-13), “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deu 27:26). When all the people said “Amen” after hearing the law along with its blessings for keeping it and curses for breaking it, they had relinquished all ignorance and excuses. And they carried out those instructions after crossing the Jordan, “half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.” (Jos 8:33-34). This is what Moses meant in his last words to God’s people:

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil. (Deuteronomy 30:11-15)

They couldn’t make excuses saying that God’s law was too far away or beyond their reach for them to hear it and do it. It wasn’t far at all but very near—even affirmed out of their own mouths that they had understood it in their hearts. Therefore, they made themselves liable to do it. It was because of this binding agreement that both “life and good, and death and evil” were now set before them. And the same is true with the New Covenant:

But the righteousness which is of faith [faithfulness] speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith [faithfulness], which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:6-9).

To “confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” isn’t speaking a magic formula. It’s confessing our loyalty to Him in obedience. Baptism is the point we confess Him as our Lord—affirming we have heard and will do everything He commanded, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat 28:19-20). Once we’ve heard and confessed from our own mouths, we must do, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24,26).

However, since the ignorant have neither heard nor confessed, how can they be held liable? What’s the basis for their resurrection and judgment? It’s because God made His people hear and acknowledge from their own mouths His commandments that He ensured there was no place for ignorance or excuse. And the same is true with God’s people today hearing and confessing Christ, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9), “heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth themheareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24,26).

This is what Paul taught earlier in Romans, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom 2:12-13). Those “without law” never heard and perish when they die, while those that “sinned in the law” will be “judged by the law” because they heard but didn’t do.

Reconciling the world unto Himself

God commanded His people through Moses, the genocide of entire people groups in the land, “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them” (Deu 7:2). And His people carried it out under Joshua: “For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai” (8:26); “he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain” (10:28); “smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it” (10:30); “smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein” (10:32); “Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining” (10:33); “smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day” (10:35); “smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein” (10:37); “smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining” (10:39); “he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded” (10:40); “And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe” (11:11); “but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe” (11:14); “Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities” (11:21).

God’s people utterly destroyed every man, woman, child, and infant … but saved the cattle: “only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves” (8:2); “Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves” (8:27); “And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves” (11:14).

In fact, not only God commanded His people to destroy all of them but even hardened the hearts of the leaders so that they wouldn’t seek peace but fight and be destroyed, “There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses” (Jos 11:19-20).

Job lost all ten of his children the same day. Let’s pause and grasp that for a moment; he didn’t just lose a child, or even two, but all ten. And Job was a real person with real emotions and hurts. Yet he declared, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:21-22). God gave all life and He can take it all away. And why couldn’t He take away that life without having given any hope of eternal life? If He gives life, is He bound and required to give it eternally, or at least some hope of it? If so, then why?

There’s only one explanation that adequately accounts for God’s command to His people for the genocide of many ignorant and innocent people in the promised land—the world’s only hope of eternal life was the crucifixion of His Son, and bringing this one event to pass required many horrible events to precede it. These events had to happen so that some could be given the hope of eternal life. God had to first establish a chosen people in the promised land with Jerusalem as the capital and David seated on the throne. And the world couldn’t be evangelized yet by sending preachers as He did Jonah to Nineveh, but had to ensure first that “darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen 1:2). He had to keep the understanding of the crucifixion hidden from the world, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Co 2:8). And He had to keep the understanding of the gospel message hidden. But once it was all consummated and complete, the understanding of it was revealed and the evangelization of the world began!

“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Mat 11:21), “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here” (Mat 12:41). Jesus taught that had God sent someone to preach to the people of Tyre and Sidon they would have repented. But of course, the obvious question is why didn’t He? Why send Jonah to Nineveh but nobody to them? If God had sent preachers throughout history to every people, then the world wouldn’t have been in darkness but in light—and a world full of light wouldn’t have crucified the Light of the world: “That was the true Light” (Jhn 1:9); “that light is come into the world” (Jhn 3:19); “I am the light of the world” (Jhn 9:5); “I am come a light into the world” (Jhn 12:46); “for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Co 2:8).

God allowed multitudes of humanity to live and die with no hope of eternal life so that some would have that hope. It should give us tremendous appreciation for the hope of eternal life we have that many were never given. It should compel us to love God all the more for what He did for us.

The rest of the dead

In the book of Revelation, we’re told that those raised in the first resurrection before the Millennium won’t die a second time, “the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power … and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev 20:6). To never die again is eternal life. However, there will be another resurrection after the Millennium, “the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Rev 20:5). Those not raised in the first resurrection are “the rest of the dead” which will be raised after the Millennium and eventually die a second time, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Rev 20:14).

Since there are only two “classes” of the dead that will be resurrected, “they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jhn 5:29), “resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Act 24:15), then the just that did good are those resurrected to eternal life before the Millennium, while the unjust that did evil are “the rest of the dead” that will be resurrected after the Millennium to be judged for their sins and die a second time in the lake of fire. Where are the ignorant?

“Who will render to every man according to his deeds [ergon 2041] … Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile” (Rom 2:6,9-10). The Greek noun ergon means “actions,” any actions defined by the context in which it’s used. Here, it’s the good or evil actions of all nations of people that will be judged. This is consistent with the judgment after the Millennium: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works [ergon 2041]. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works [ergon 2041]” (Rev 20:12-13).

For actions to be judged as either good or evil, people must have had the knowledge of good and evil. And judgment will be to “the Jew first” because they were given that knowledge first, “For until the law … death reigned from Adam to Moses … Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound” (Rom 5:13-14,20). As with Adam, the Jews were given the knowledge of the true God and the knowledge of both good and evil. But Gentiles, on the other hand, continued to remain in ignorance, “sin was in the world: sin is not imputed when there is no law … them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” (Rom 5:13-14). They were still sinning but not as the Jews “after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.”

Ignorance is not having the knowledge of good and evil—having the knowledge of good is to not be in ignorance. This is why perishing when they die is the only logical fate of the ignorant because if they’re raised for their actions to be judged as either good or evil, then they weren’t ignorant. If everybody is raised and judged, then nobody is ignorant.

Every knee shall bow

Isaiah prophesied of the judgment seat of Christ, “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isa 45:23). And Paul quoted from Isaiah in two of his letters. In Romans, it was within the context of brethren judging one another over eating meats and observing days: “For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs … One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alikeBut why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Rom 14:2,5,10-11).

In Philippians, it was within the context of brethren being in strife and pride: “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus … That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phl 2:2-5,10-11).

Paul used Isaiah’s words to urge the brethren to love and unity—walking in love and not judging one another because we will all be judged by Christ. On judgment day, we will all be on our knees at the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ’s judgment to enter into eternal life, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jde 1:21), “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (Jas 2:13).

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” (Jhn 5:22-23). Jesus Christ Himself said that all judgment is committed to Him for all to honor Him as they honor the Father. That “every knee shall bow to me” (Rom 14:11), isn’t necessarily an inclusion of all humanity to resurrection and judgment, but is necessarily an inclusion of all humanity resurrected to judgment by Him. It’s not about who is judged, but who the Judge is.

Daniel was told that many will be resurrected, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2). This is consistent with what Christ and Paul later taught that only two “classes” of the dead will be resurrected: “they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jhn 5:29); “resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Act 24:15). That “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,” implies that the resurrection isn’t all humanity.

After this the judgment

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment [krisis 2920]” (Heb 9:27). The Greek krisis for “judgment” occurs almost 50 times in the New Testament and consistently indicates judgment unto condemnation as it’s even used a little later, “But a certain fearful looking for of judgment [krisis 2920] and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb 10:27). It’s never used of those that are resurrected to eternal life. In fact, Christ Himself made this distinction: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [krisis 2920]; but is passed from death unto life” (Jhn 5:24), “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [krisis 2920]” (Jhn 5:29). Therefore, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” isn’t about all humanity dying and being resurrected, but the unjust being reserved unto judgment. In other words, the unjust didn’t perish when they died but will be resurrected, judged, and condemned to die a second time in the lake of fire. They will receive their just deserts.

Conclusion

The fate of the ignorant isn’t about categorizing people into neat packages or “classes,” and it isn’t about oversimplifying the complexity of humanity into a theological paradigm. It’s about seeking answers to questions that God wants us to have. He has revealed certain things in the Scriptures and wants us to come to the knowledge of them. In fact, we have a duty to pursue that knowledge, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Mat 22:37). Loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind consists of sincerely seeking the truth and embracing it. And loving people consists of telling them the truth.

God is seeking those who will worship Him in breath and in truth, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit [breath] and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit [breath] and in truth.” (Jhn 4:23-24). It’s not that we simply should but that we must worship God with the very breath He gave us and in the truth. Of course, the truth isn’t always what we want it to be. That babies perish when they die is certainly not what any heartbroken parent that has lost a baby wants to believe. Therefore, they gain comfort from hearing that their baby is now in heaven or will be resurrected for them to raise in the next age. But those messages are simply myths—fanciful stories that tell people what they want to hear and make a hero of the messenger. Even the “Scripture is silent” answer insulates the messenger from being “the bad guy.” But if we truly love God and love people, we’re not going to tell stories that give false hope, nor are we going to dodge difficult questions with silence. We’re going to lovingly tell people the truth from the Scriptures. The truth is what honors God and respects the dignity of human life. True worshippers accept the truth and submit to it.

Although Scripture teaches that the ignorant and innocent perish at death, this in no way hinders God from applying Christ’s atonement and granting eternal life to whomever He wills. He is God and can do whatever He wills within His character, within equitable justice, and within logical possibility. But since He has revealed that they perish, this is the answer for their fate—but not necessarily the absolute and final answer. Most assuredly we’ll be pleasantly surprised by things in eternity that He never revealed to us.

The False Antithesis of Faith Versus Works

Introduction

Jesus Christ warned us to not be deceived, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mat 24:5). Jesus is our Savior and what He said about salvation is the truth while anyone saying something different is wrong. We must be very careful to not allow ourselves to be deceived.

By a corrupt theological system and skewed Bible translations, many have been deceived into embracing the message of salvation by sola fide or faith alone. For about 500 years it has been an extremely successful false narrative from our enemy imposed upon the New Covenant to delude many and lead them to destruction. Its effectiveness has been bolstered by another false narrative forced upon the Old Covenant, that justification under the law was about trying to merit righteousness by keeping the commandments perfectly without ever sinning. Being sold the bill of goods that God’s people just couldn’t keep His commandments, the message of salvation became that God’s people today only need to believe some facts are true. In short, it’s a false antithesis of faith versus works intended to hinder us from keeping God’s commandments so that we won’t be saved.

Jesus Christ stated that we must live according to the righteous standard He taught in His Sermon on the Mount or we won’t enter His Kingdom, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20). And He ended His Sermon with only two options—either doing or not doing what He said: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24, 26). According to our Savior Jesus Christ, salvation isn’t about believing but about obeying.

He also stated several times: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jhn 14:15); “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (Jhn 14:21); “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (Jhn 14:23); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14); “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20). Our Savior said that we must keep His commandments. Let us take heed and be sober about being deceived by those that say something different.

The righteous requirements of the law

Jesus Christ said at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount that His teaching doesn’t overturn what was stated in the law and by prophets but fulfills it, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Mat 5:17-18). He later encapsulated His teaching on the law in one commandment, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12). He didn’t invalidate or nullify the law but even restated and reinforced its two greatest commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40).

Toward the beginning of His Sermon He said, “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20). He then stated what the scribes and Pharisees had been teaching about the law, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time” (v. 21), followed by what He was now saying, “But I say unto you” (v. 22). And this is the repeated pattern throughout the rest of the chapter—what they said and what He was saying (vs. 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). Christ’s law isn’t a new code of ethics superseding the Old Covenant law but the proper interpretation—as opposed to what the scribes and Pharisees taught—of its moral righteous requirements. Righteousness under the New Covenant is the same as under the Old Covenant—we must live according to the same moral standard. Christ didn’t absolve us from any of the moral righteousness embodied in the Old Covenant law. It was the scribes and Pharisees that were trying to do that.

The proper perspective of the law

Probably the biggest hindrance with our understanding of how the Old Covenant and New Covenant relate to each other is our backwards perspective of the two. Since the Old came first chronologically, we think in terms of the Old having the preeminence and that the New must be understood in conformity to it. But the New was the end goal and purpose from the very beginning. Prior to either covenant, God had already shown both prophetically in an allegory of Abraham’s two sons by two different women, “Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman … Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants” (Gal 4:22, 24). Although Ishmael came first, Isaac was God’s purpose all along.

That Christ’s law under the New Covenant has always been God’s will and purpose is witnessed by Moses and the prophets: “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deu 18:15); “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luk 24:44); “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (Jhn 5:46); “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Act 3:22); “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Act 10:43); “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (Rom 3:21); “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Rom 3:31); “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom 10:4).

Christ’s sacrifice of Himself and current High Priestly ministry at the right hand of God wasn’t patterned after the Old Covenant Levitical priesthood with its animal sacrifices but the other way around: “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exo 25:40); “And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exo 26:30); “And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick” (Num 8:4); “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen” (Act 7:44); “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Heb 8:4-5), “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these” (Heb 9:23).

The law of the Old Covenant didn’t establish morality but codified it. It didn’t become morally evil to murder when Moses commanded “Thou shalt not kill” (Exo 20:13). It has been evil since the beginning, “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1Jo 3:12). It’s not so much an issue of the New enforcing the morality of the Old because both the Old and the New enforce the morality that has always been binding.

When Jesus taught, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Mat 5:21-22), He was defining the intent of the Sixth Commandment that has always been true since the beginning—hatred in the heart is murder, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1Jo 3:15).

Mankind’s morality comes from having been made in the image of God, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen 1:27). It’s morally evil for us to lie because “God, that cannot lie” (Tit 1:2), and we’re made after His image. Our morality issues from Him, not from what was carved on stone tablets.

The Ten Commandments or Decalogue of the Old Covenant didn’t establish morality but codified it. But we no longer live under the Old Covenant and its laws including the Ten Commandments. We live under Christ’s law of the New Covenant which upholds and enforces all the same morality that the Old Covenant laws upheld and enforced.

The dead actions of the law

The Greek ergon means “actions,” any kind of actions defined by the context in which it’s used. Referring to the high priestly duties on Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, the writer of Hebrews calls them nekros ergon or “dead actions” because they were ritualistic actions that never atoned for sins: “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year” (Heb 9:7), “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings [baptismos 909]” (v. 10), “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead [nekros 3498] works [ergon 2041] to serve the living God?” (vs. 13-14).

The high priest’s dead actions are what the writer of Hebrews meant earlier, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [nekros 3498] works [ergon 2041], and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms [baptismos 909], and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Heb 6:1-2). Washing himself and laying his hands on the scapegoat were just two of the high priestly dead actions on Yom Kippur, “therefore shall he wash his flesh in water” (Lev 16:4), “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat” (v. 21), “And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place” (v. 24).

Dead actions prescribed by the law include such things as “baptisms [washings], and of laying on of hands” (Heb 6:2), “meats and drinks, and divers washings” (Heb 9:10), “the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer” (Heb 9:13). They’re also comprised of dietary requirements and observance of holy days including all of the various Sabbaths, “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him” (Rom 14:3), “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom 14:5), “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days” (Col 2:16).

The liberty by which Christ set us free

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:21-26)

Paul revealed to the Galatians the allegory God had hid in a mystery within the life of Abraham. His two sons Ishmael and Isaac symbolized prophetically what would come later in the two covenants—the Old Covenant under Moses and the New Covenant under Jesus Christ. The Old with all of its bondages of dead works—sacrificing animals, washing in water, eating a kosher diet, keeping the feast days, keeping the Sabbaths—centered in Jerusalem with the temple sacrifices and most holy place. But Jesus freed God’s people from the requirement of traveling to Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts, “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father” (Jhn 4:21).

The Jerusalem currently in heaven will one day come down to the renewed earth, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb 12:22), “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” (Rev 21:2). Since “the Jerusalem which is above is free,” God’s people whose home is that city are free from the dead actions of the law.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” (Gal 5:1-3). Christ freed us from the bondages of dead actions under the law. When Paul said “I testify again … he is a debtor to do the whole law,” he was referring back to earlier when he testified of Moses’ own words about the law, “The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Gal 3:12), “Ye shall do my judgments [mishpat 4941], and keep mine ordinances [chuqqah 2708], to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes [chuqqah 2708], and my judgments [mishpat 4941]: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5).

Ordinances and statutes under the law consisted of such dead actions as the Passover, consecration of priests, abstinence from ingesting fat and blood, and the Day of Atonement: “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance [chuqqah 2708] for ever” (Exo 12:14); “And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute [chuqqah 2708]: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons” (Exo 29:9); “It shall be a perpetual statute [chuqqah 2708] for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood” (Lev 3:17); “And this shall be an everlasting statute [chuqqah 2708] unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year” (Lev 16:34).

Many of the judgments were stated in Exodus 21 after the giving of the Ten Commandments, “Now these are the judgments [mishpat 4941] which thou shalt set before them” (Exo 21:1). The judgments included the treatment and handling of: Hebrew servants (vs. 2-6), giving of a daughter in marriage (vs. 7-11), murder and manslaughter (vs. 21-15), kidnapping (v. 16), cursing father or mother (v. 17), injuries sustained from a fight (vs. 18-19), the beating of a servant (vs. 20-21), injuring a pregnant woman (vs. 22-25), injuring a servant (vs. 26-27), an ox or an open pit causing damage (vs. 28-36).

Eternal life under the law meant doing all of its requirements including the dead actions, “The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Gal 3:12). And the promise was that if a man did all of its requirements, not perfectly but faithfully, he would live again in resurrection. There were, however, times when God made exceptions, not to the moral requirements of the law but to its dead actions, to meet a greater pressing need.

Jesus Himself recounted the time when God allowed David and his men to eat consecrated bread to meet the need of their urgent hunger, “But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?” (Mat 12:3-4). He also pointed out that the priests routinely broke the Sabbath by circumcising on that day, “Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man” (Jhn 7:22). If the eighth day from birth happened to fall on the Sabbath day, the priests broke one dead action to keep another. There was also a time when God hearkened to the prayer of Hezekiah to allow some people to partake of the Passover though they weren’t cleansed according to the requirement of the law:

For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. (2 Chronicles 30:17-20)

Although God required adherence to the dead actions under the law, when His people were living in moral unrighteousness, He hated their dead actions: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1Sa 15:22); “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering” (Psa 51:16); “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Pro 21:3); “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hos 6:6); “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” (Isa 1:13-14); “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.” (Amo 5:21-22).

Several times we’re told that Jesus Himself “broke” the dietary restrictions under the law: “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” (Mat 9:11); “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luk 7:34); “And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them” (Luk 15:2); “And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner” (Luk 19:7).

Likewise, several times He “broke” the Sabbath day under the law: “How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other” (Mat 12:12-13); “And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day” (Luk 13:14); “And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go” (Luk 14:2-4); “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day” (Jhn 5:16); “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them” (Jhn 9:16).

Of course Christ never sinned. That He “broke” the dietary laws and the Sabbath day of the Old Covenant in order to uphold a greater moral good indicates that neither of these laws were moral in essence. He freed us from any dietary requirements, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man” (Mat 15:11), “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him” (Mar 7:15). And He said “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mar 2:27). Man was made on the sixth day, then the seventh day was made. Therefore, the Sabbath day was made to serve man’s needs, not that man’s needs must be neglected to serve the Sabbath. Since we’re no longer under the Ten Commandments, we’re no longer under the Fourth Commandment, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exo 20:8).

Christ’s law

Jesus summarized the entire law in one commandment, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12), “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luk 6:31), “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 19:19, 22:39; Mar 12:31). Paul also stated “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14), and later called it “the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2). Keeping this one law fulfills all the moral righteous requirements of the Old Covenant law, “for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12).

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

Since keeping the one law “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” fulfills everything Christ requires of us, then we’re not required to also abstain from certain meats, keep any of the Sabbaths, observe the annual feasts, or even tithe. It’s not “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” plus keep the Sabbath day. All the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled in one word not in two, three, or more.

Faithfulness to God

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:  He staggered [diakrino 1252] not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (Romans 4:17-22)

In this passage, Paul was extrapolating upon Genesis 17 where God redirected Abraham’s hope of an heir from Ishmael to Isaac. His promise to him years before was that “he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir … So shall thy seed be” (Gen 15:4-5). Abraham, therefore, considered all along that Ishmael was the fulfillment of that promise. But he would learn later that his hope in this promise would be fulfilled in another biological son but through his own wife.

The Greek diakrino means “to contend with” as shown “when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended [diakrino 1252] with him” (Act 11:2). Although Abraham didn’t contend with God about the fulfillment of His promise “He staggered [diakrino]1252] not at the promise of God,” initially he did: “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Gen 17:17-18). He contended with God for Ishmael to be his heir. The intended message Paul was revealing is that this event in Abraham’s life foretold of the conflict that God’s people in the early church would experience with remaining faithful to Him, “repentance from dead works [actions], and of faith [faithfulness] toward God” (Heb 6:1). Would they contend with God to keep “Ishmael”—the dead actions of the Old Covenant law? Or, would they remain faithful to Him by turning to “Isaac”—Christ’s shed blood of the New Covenant?

Abraham is the father of all those that follow the steps of his example of faithfulness, “And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith [faithfulness] of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Rom 4:11-12). His faithfulness to God was shown in turning his hope from Ishmael to Isaac while still uncircumcised earlier that same day, “And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him … In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son” (Gen 17:23, 26). Circumcision was the sign in his flesh that he wasn’t contending with God but submitting to the true hope of fulfilling His promise—Isaac and not Ishmael. This correlates to God’s people being faithful to Him in turning their hope of eternal life from the law to His Son, their promised Messiah.

Looking at just a few of Christ’s healings from the Gospel of Matthew: “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith [faithfulness], no, not in Israel … And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (8:10, 13); “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith [faithfulness] said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (9:2); “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith [faithfulness] hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (9:22); “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us … Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith [faithfulness] be it unto you” (9:27, 29); “O woman, great is thy faith [faithfulness]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (15:28).

Did Christ mean that these people were healed by their faith or belief? Notice that the two blind men were crying out “Thou son of David.” Jesus healed those that were faithful to God in receiving Him as their promised Messiah. This is what Christ taught, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance [metanoia 3341] from dead works [actions], and of faith [faithfulness] toward God” (Heb 6:1). Once Christ came, God required His people’s faithfulness in repenting or turning away from the dead actions of the law and turning their hope to Christ.

When Peter preached the first evangelistic message to his fellow Jewish brethren, he concluded it with the directive to “Repent [metanoeo 3340], and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Act 2:38). The blood of animals never remitted sins. They were to turn away from the dead actions of the law for righteousness and turn to the Lord for remission or forgiveness of their sins. The Greek verb metanoeo means “to turn away from” and epistrepho means “to turn unto,” and this was the continued message to them, “Repent [metanoeo 3340] ye therefore, and be converted [epistrepho 1994], that your sins may be blotted out” (Act 3:19), “turned [epistrepho 1994] unto the Lord” (Act 9:35, 11:21).

Righteousness under the law

Although everyone sins, there were righteous people living under the law: “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man” (Mat 1:19); “a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luk 1:5-6); “Simeon; and the same man was just and devout” (Luk 2:25); “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just” (Luk 23:50). And Jesus Himself said there have been righteous people since the beginning: “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mat 5:45); “That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see” (Mat 13:17); “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias” (Mat 23:35).

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:8-11).

Many use this passage from James to teach that righteousness under the law was only possible by keeping the law absolutely perfectly without ever sinning even once—meriting righteousness. But James was simply making the same point Paul made but from a different angle, “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:9). Paul said that keeping one law keeps all the laws, while James said that breaking one of the laws breaks all the laws. It’s the same conclusion reached two different ways. Since all the laws are one whole, then one broken is the whole broken. James wasn’t teaching that righteousness under the law meant keeping it perfectly without ever sinning. That line of teaching discourages righteous living so that we’ll quit, “Well, we can’t do it anyway, so why even try? Besides, we’re saved by faith alone!”

The man that doeth them shall live in them

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 19:16-19)

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. (Luke 10:25-28)

On these two occasions Jesus affirmed that those under the law would have eternal life by keeping the commandments. Now, many take what He said as only hypothetical—that He wasn’t really telling these men that they could have eternal life by keeping the commandments. But that’s simply not the case. The wise way to take what He said is that He said what He meant and meant what He said. He wasn’t speaking theoretically. He meant that they not only could but must keep God’s commandments to have eternal life. This has always been true and still is. After having been seated at God’s right hand, Christ gave His Revelation to John, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1), and stated three times: “the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 12:17); “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev 14:12); “Blessed are they that do his commandments” (Rev 22:14).

Moses said that eternal life under the law was by doing it, “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5). The prophets and apostles affirmed this as well: “And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;)” (Neh 9:29); “And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them” (Eze 20:11); “That the man which doeth those things shall live by them” (Rom 10:5); “The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Gal 3:12).

Paul taught, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Rom 2:7), “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom 2:13). Therefore, since he had already said here that “the doers of the law shall be justified,” he certainly wasn’t contradicting himself a little later by stating, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20), “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28). He truly meant that we must do, fulfill, or keep the moral righteous requirements of the law to be justified—not only under the Old Covenant but also under the New. That “the doers of the law shall be justified,” includes even the uncircumcised keeping the righteous requirements of the law, “Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law” (Rom 2:26), “And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law” (Rom 2:27).

Paul cited David’s sin and repentance as his support, “That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged” (Rom 3:4), “I have sinned against the LORD” (2Sa 12:13), “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psa 51:4-5). Although arguably the greatest Jew in Israel’s history, David concluded that he was conceived and shaped by God in the womb uncircumcised. Therefore, in breaking God’s commandments, he was no better than the uncircumcised. His circumcision profited him nothing as Paul declared, “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision” (Rom 2:25).

In fact, Uriah’s righteous actions were an indictment against David, “And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.” (2Sa 11:11). This uncircumcised Hittite was keeping the righteous requirements of the law while the greatest of the Jews was not, “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.” (2Sa 12:9).

What Paul taught in chapter three of Romans, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20), “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28), is that the actions of the high priest in offering animal sacrifices won’t justify any flesh in God’s sight. This is what David learned, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest … For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering” (Psa 51:4, 16). The “deeds of the law” in chapter three are different from “the doers of the law” back in chapter two. One is dead actions while the other is the moral righteous requirements.

Faith versus works

The Greek ergon means “actions” but was translated as either “deeds” or “works” in “the deeds [ergon 2041] of the law” (Rom 3:20, 28), “the works [ergon 2041] of the law” (Rom 9:32; Gal 2:16, 3:2, 5, 10), to intentionally impose a false understanding of righteousness under the law. Romans chapter three is about God’s righteousness through Jesus Christ’s faithfulness, “the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ” (Rom 3:22 NET), “the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness” (Rom 3:26 NET). The Greek hilasterion means “mercy seat” where the high priest under the law would sprinkle the blood of animals once a year, “And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat [hilasterion 2435] … But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people” (Heb 9:5, 7). Therefore, when Paul said, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [hilasterion 2435] through faith [faithfulness] in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Rom 3:25), it was about Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood upon the true mercy seat as opposed to the actions of the high priest shedding the blood of animals.

Although “the deeds [actions] of the law” (Rom 3:20, 28) are specifically the high priest’s dead actions, it’s being taught that “deeds” or “works” are actions of trying to merit righteousness by obeying God’s commandments perfectly. By altering our understanding of what Paul said about the law, the message of salvation was corrupted to simply believing some facts are true without obeying God’s commandments, “justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28). However, it’s actually “justified by faith [faithfulness] without the deeds [actions] of the law,” because we’re justified by Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood without the actions of shedding the blood of animals prescribed by the law.

Under the Old Covenant law, there was no such concept of meriting righteousness by perfect living without sin. Everyone, including the high priest himself, was conscious of sin and therefore submitted to the ordinances of animal sacrifices: “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself” (Lev 16:11), “made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel” (Lev 16:17), “the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people” (Heb 9:7). It was never about keeping God’s commandments perfectly but keeping them faithfully. Paul was teaching that it’s now about hearing of Christ’s faithfulness to God in shedding His precious blood for our sins.

The hearing of faithfulness

Jesus Christ’s faithfulness to His Father was to do the work His Father sent Him to do, consummated with dying on the cross for the sins of the world: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (Jhn 4:34); “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (Jhn 5:30); “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (Jhn 6:38); “I do always those things that please him” (Jhn 8:29); “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (Jhn 10:18); “I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do” (Jhn 14:31); “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (Jhn 17:4); “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mat 26:39); “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phl 2:8); “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb 5:8); “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Heb 10:7).

Paul taught the Galatians that we’re not justified by the actions of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, “yet we know that no one is justified by the works [actions] of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works [actions] of the law, because by the works [actions] of the law no one will be justified” (Gal 2:16 NET). We’re justified by His faithfulness to His Father in giving Himself for us on the cross, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!” (Gal 2:20-21 NET). He then continued this thought into the next chapter:

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works [actions] of the law, or by the hearing of faith [faithfulness]? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works [actions] of the law, or by the hearing of faith [faithfulness]? (Galatians 3:1-5).

This “hearing of faithfulness” is the Galatians initially hearing from Paul the true gospel message about Christ’s faithfulness as stated at the beginning of his letter, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:6-8), “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Gal 1:11-12).

This true antithesis of “the actions of the law” versus “the hearing of faithfulness” concerns which we trust for salvation—the dead actions of the law, or Jesus Christ’s faithfulness to His Father? Paul challenged the Galatians, “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works [actions] of the law, or by the hearing of faith [faithfulness]?” Which of the two messages they heard was confirmed with miracles, signs, and wonders that Jesus Christ said would follow?

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth [trusts] and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth [trusts] not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe [trust] … And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:15-17, 20).

Prior to their evangelization by the apostle Paul, the Galatians had been serving false gods through various means involving the material elements of this earth, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” (Gal 4:8-10). His point was that turning to the dead actions of the law for justification—including the keeping of the feasts and Sabbaths—is essentially going right back to idolatry. It’s the same thing he warned the Colossians about, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Col 2:16-17). Under the Old Covenant, God allowed Himself to be worshipped through these dead actions that He prescribed for His people to keep. But once His only begotten Son came and consummated His plan of salvation, He requires His people to turn from these dead actions and to His Son for justification under the New Covenant.

The law was like a school teacher that taught God’s people about their Messiah to come, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith [faithfulness]. But after that faith [faithfulness] is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal 3:24-25). The dead actions of the law foreshadowed as types and figures the true redemption that would come in Christ. But once He came, God’s people are no longer under the dead actions.

The gospel message Paul preached to the Galatians which was confirmed by miracles from the Lord Jesus Christ wasn’t at all against the moral righteousness of the law. In fact, his message affirmed the morality of the law entirely, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14), which is what Jesus Christ Himself preached, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 19:19, 22:39; Mar 12:31). And this one commandment summarized everything Christ taught in His Sermon on the Mount and everything in the law, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12).

Writing to the Romans, Paul stated that Christ ended the law’s requirements, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.” (Rom 10:4-5). He ended the requirement of keeping the dead actions of statutes and judgments, “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5). Paul then quoted again from Moses:

It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (Deuteronomy 30:12-14)

But the righteousness which is of faith [faithfulness] speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above🙂 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith [faithfulness], which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:6-9)

The righteousness which is by Christ’s faithfulness “speaketh on this wise.” In God’s wisdom, He hid in a mystery within the writings of Moses what He would later accomplish through His Son Jesus Christ. His Son would come and teach the moral righteousness of the law very clearly for us to hear and do it, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24, 26). And baptism is the point we declare from our mouths that we’ve heard and will do all that He commanded, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20). Therefore, we can’t make excuses for our disobedience “that thou shouldest say.” We can’t say that we hadn’t heard or didn’t know because we already affirmed from our mouths that we heard and understood. This is salvation. It’s not believing some facts are true and we’re good to go. It’s confessing the Lord Jesus Christ—affirming from our mouths we have heard and will obey from the heart our resurrected Lord seated in heaven.

Paul then reached the logical conclusion, “So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). This popular verse isn’t saying that the more we hear, the more we believe! That’s false doctrine intended to keep people hearing, and hearing, and hearing ad nauseam but not doing to be saved. Paul was saying that Christ’s faithfulness to His Father to come down from heaven into this world “that is, to bring Christ down from above,” and His faithfulness to go to the cross in trust that His Father would raise Him from the dead “that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead,” is the message he was preaching, “that is, the word of faith [faithfulness], which we preach.”

“So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” is simply the logical conclusion of the previous statements. To be saved we must call on the name of the Lord, to call on His name we must first trust Him, to trust Him we have to hear about Him, to hear about Him there must be a preacher sent—a preacher sent from God with His words. Thus, the beautiful feet that trekked over the mountains of Asia and Macedonia are Paul’s, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa 52:7), “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom 10:15). “So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Hearing about Christ’s faithfulness comes by the preacher sent from God.

Reformation or Rebranding?

The Protestant Reformation about 500 years ago led by Martin Luther was a counterfeit. It was instigated by the Roman Catholic Church itself as a means by which the Scriptures could be released to the world while still maintaining strict control over the truth. The truth being communicated through the Scriptures was corrupted through skewed translations and false teaching of Protestant Trinitarian churches. Protestant churches are essentially their mother Church rebranded under a new name with a new gospel message. Their core beliefs are still the same Roman Catholic false views of God, Jesus, and man: that God is a Trinity of persons, that Christ is an eternal spirit clothed with flesh, and that man is an eternal spirit that goes to either heaven or hell after death.

Not only did Luther continue to embrace these false views, but he was also horribly anti-Semitic. In the last couple years of his life he wrote the book “On The Jews and their Lies” which was even used by Hitler to help foment hatred for the Jews and justify the holocaust. Yet Luther is honored and praised by Protestant ministers! He held a blasphemous view of God, a false view of Jesus Christ, a wrong view of man and the destiny of man, and admittedly hated people. How could any such person possibly have attained and taught the right gospel message? Yet his “enlightenment” of sola fide or faith alone is hailed as a return to the true gospel preached by the apostles.

Luther’s wrong understanding of “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38), is that we simply believe some facts are true. But it was all a devious deception to damn countless multitudes of souls. It was designed to keep people from obeying Christ’s commandments under the guise that they need only believe. This wrong understanding of “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17) laid the groundwork for taking such statements as “justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28) to mean justified by believing without our meritorious deeds. But it’s simply “doctored” translations fueled by false doctrine.

The just shall live by faithfulness

Habakkuk’s famous statement “but the just shall live by his faith [emuwnah 530]” (Hab 2:4), isn’t about faith but about faithfulness as it’s correctly translated in some versions, “but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness” (NET), “but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (NIV). The Hebrew noun emuwnah appears around 50 times in the Old Testament and always indicates faithfulness in every context without exception. It’s rather fishy that in the King James Version, Habakkuk 2:4 is the only occurrence in 50 where emuwnah is translated as “faith.” The Greek pistis in “The just shall live by faith [pistis 4102]” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38) is wrongly translated as “faith” in accordance with Luther’s false salvation message, then imposed back upon what Habakkuk said.

The Greek noun pistis appears almost 250 times in the New Testament and most all of its contexts allow it to be translated as either “faith” or “faithfulness.” There are, however, three places where the contexts require “faithfulness” as its meaning: “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith [faithfulness] of God without effect? (Rom 3:3); “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith [faithfulness], Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23); “Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity [faithfulness]; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Tit 2:10). And although there aren’t any places where the contexts require “faith” for the meaning of pistis, this didn’t stop the translators from rending it consistently as “faith” rather than “faithfulness.”

This word also appears about 30 times in the Septuagint (Deu 32:20; 1Sa 21:12, 26:23; 2Ki 12:15, 22:7; 1Ch 9:22,26,31; 2Ch 31:12,15,18, 34:12; Neh 9:38; Psa 33:4; Pro 3:3, 12:17,22, 14:22, 15:28; Sng 4:8; Jer 5:1,3, 9:3, 15:18, 28:9, 32:41, 33:6; Hos 2:20; Hab 2:4), and all but two are rendered as “faithfully,” “faithfulness,” “truth,” “trust,” “loyalty,” “reliable,” “steadfast,” “assuredly,” and on one occasion the proper name “Amana.” And the contexts of the two exceptions (Deu 32:20; Hab 2:4) don’t force the meaning of “faith” but only allow it. In fact, the majority of its occurrences require “faithfulness” with only a couple of exceptions allowing “faith.” In short, the Septuagint translators understood pistis as “faithfulness” and used it consistently with this meaning.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith [faithfulness] to faith [faithfulness]: as it is written, The just shall live by faith [faithfulness].” (Rom 1:16-17). The gospel of Christ that Paul wasn’t ashamed to preach is the message Jesus Christ Himself preached, “the gospel of his Son” (Rom 1:9), “my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:25). And He preached faithfulness.

The gospel message Jesus Christ Himself preached is faithfulness to Him as Lord: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (Mat 24:45); “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 25:21); “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luk 16:12-13); “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Luk 19:17).

Jesus Christ healed those that were faithful to God in receiving Him as their Messiah: “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith [faithfulness], no, not in Israel” (Mat 8:10); “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith [faithfulness] said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mat 9:2); “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith [faithfulness] hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (Mat 9:22); “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us … Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith [faithfulness] be it unto you” (Mat 9:27, 29); “O woman, great is thy faith [faithfulness]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Mat 15:28).

The statement “Now the just shall live by faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 10:38), is understood clearly by the entire chapter that follows it. Hebrews chapter 11 is all about those that were justified by their faithfulness to God: “By faith [faithfulness] Abel” (v. 4); “By faith [faithfulness] Enoch” (v. 5); “By faith [faithfulness] Noah” (v. 7); “By faith [faithfulness] Abraham” (v. 8); “Through faith [faithfulness] also Sarah” (v. 11); “By faith [faithfulness] Isaac” (v. 20); “By faith [faithfulness] Jacob” (v. 21); “By faith [faithfulness] Joseph” (v. 22); “By faith [faithfulness] Moses” (v. 23); “By faith [faithfulness] the harlot Rahab” (v. 31); “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: (v. 32). Because they went to their deaths in faithfulness to God, “These all died in faith [faithfulness]” (v. 13), therefore they will live in resurrection and never die again, “Now the just shall live by faith [faithfulness].” They diligently sought the reward of eternal life from God and remained faithful to Him unto death, “But without faith [faithfulness] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (v. 6).

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [faithfulness]; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). Had the Son of God not come into this world and sacrificed Himself on the cross for the sins of the world, the faithfulness of all those men and women in the past would have been in vain. Their hope of eternal life would have been put to shame and they would never live again.

The pronoun “our” in “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [faithfulness]” is italicized indicating that it’s not in the underlying Greek text. But a definite article, however, is in the text. In other words, it should be rendered “the faithfulness.” Jesus Christ is the “author” or Orchestrator of the faithfulness of all those Old Testament saints, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (Jhn 1:1-2). He is the Word or Messenger of the Lord that spoke to them. And He is the “finisher” or Consummator of their faithfulness by His own faithfulness in dying on the cross, “Now the just shall live by faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 10:38).

The false antithesis of faith versus works

Faith or belief is best understood as simply one component of faithfulness. All good relationships, particularly marriage relationships, require faithfulness from both sides. And faithfulness includes faith because a couple can’t have a good marriage while not believing a word the other says! Good relationships, however, aren’t limited to only faith or belief but also include love, trust, obedience, unity, sacrifice, understanding, sincerity, and humility. But the doctrine of sola fide conceived by Luther claims that we’re in a right relationship with God by only one component of faithfulness—faith alone!

Justification by faith alone is a false narrative being pushed throughout the New Testament by a corrupt theological system and tainted Bible translations to keep people from being faithful to God and ultimately from living eternally, “The just shall live by faith [faithfulness].” By restricting justification to a single component of faith, people become apathetic toward faithfulness. After all, if we’re saved by faith alone, nothing else is even necessary. In fact, if we’re saved by faith alone, anything else is even detrimental. Obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ’s commandments is deemed our works that indicate lack of faith in His finished work. Obedience to Christ actually becomes a bad thing! It’s a horribly twisted logic that’s damning multitudes.

The “deeds [ergon 2041] of the law” (Rom 3:20, 28) are the high priest’s actions of shedding the blood of animals and sprinkling it on the mercy seat. And “the works [ergon 2041] of the law” (Gal 2:16) are Peter’s actions of breaking his kosher diet when “he did eat with the Gentiles” (Gal 2:12). But by translating ergon as “deeds” or “works” and teaching that it is attempting to merit righteousness by obeying God’s commandments perfectly, then “justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28), and “justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law” (Gal 2:16), becomes faith alone without meritorious works. There is no such antithesis of faith versus works in Scripture. It’s simply a false antithesis intended to limit faithfulness to only faith so that ultimately we’ll be unfaithful to God and perish.

Conclusion

Jesus Christ is our Savior and stated that we must live righteously according to the standard He taught in His Sermon on the Mount or we won’t be saved, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20). And He concluded His Sermon by contrasting two different people, illustrated by two different houses:

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

The person that hears what Christ commanded and obeys is like a house built on a foundation that stands through the storm. But the person that hears what Christ commanded and doesn’t obey is like a house built upon sand that falls in the storm. The only difference between the two is either doing or not doing, obeying or not obeying. And He said nothing here of faith alone or even of faith at all!

The narrow way that leads to eternal life is keeping His one commandment of love, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Mat 7:12-14). Our Savior taught us that obedience to His one commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 19:19, 22:39; Mar 12:31), is the narrow way that leads to life.

Our Savior told us to obey Him: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20); “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jhn 14:15); “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (Jhn 14:21); “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (Jhn 14:23); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14); “which keep the commandments of God” (Rev 12:17); “they that keep the commandments of God” (Rev 14:12); “Blessed are they that do his commandments” (Rev 22:14).

Finally, our Savior warned us against being deceived, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mat 24:5). Faith alone is a false narrative interwoven through the New Testament by corrupt Protestant theology and skewed Bible translations. And faith versus works is simply a false antithesis intended to inhibit obedience to Christ and promote unfaithfulness. It’s a false gospel message deceiving and damning many.

Seated Together with Him

Introduction

Trinitarian ministers teach and preach extensively about Christ’s death on the Cross, burial in the tomb, and resurrection from the dead but hardly utter a peep about His ascension to heaven and current position as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Mediator at the right hand of God. They push the doctrine of Sola Fide or “faith alone”—that salvation consists only of believing the historical facts of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. What they apparently don’t want us to know, however, is that salvation is contingent upon faithfully serving the living Lord seated at God’s right hand.

That salvation isn’t dependent upon believing some facts are true is easily debunked by what Jesus taught about forgiveness, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mat 6:14-15). Regardless of our beliefs, if we don’t forgive others, we won’t be forgiven by God. Jesus illustrated this by a parable about a king that forgave one of his servants, “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt” (Mat 18:27). However, the king later un-forgave him because he was found to be unforgiving, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” (Mat 18:32-34). This man was forgiven but later unforgiven. So much for Once-Saved, Always-Saved!

We can believe some facts are true until the cows come home so to speak but will perish if we’re not obeying what Jesus Christ commanded and taught. We must faithfully serve and obey Him as Lord because He is the Lord seated at the right hand of God in heaven. Salvation is about pleasing God the Father in heaven, and the only way to please the Father is to faithfully serve His Son.

In heavenly

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:14-18).

In the beginning, even before having created the first man, God showed figuratively in the heavens that His Son would be the Greater Ruler at His right hand. That He would “rule over the day” speaks of His Lordship over those called “Day” by God, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Gen 1:3-5). As foreseen by Him speaking “Let there be light” in the beginning, His Son came into the world and preached the truth to deceived humanity as if light was shining into the darkness, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (Jhn 1:1-5).

Profoundly, a staggering amount of matter is being prophesied and foretold in the concise statement “the greater light to rule the day.” The 4,000 years of human history that would follow had to have transpired essentially as it did for this statement to have been fulfilled and accomplished. The geographical, political, religious, and social state of humanity had to be precisely as it was for the Son of God to become human and consummate God’s plan from the beginning—His birth, life, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at His Father’s right hand as the Greater Ruler! He is now the Lord, Master, and Ruler over the “Day”—God’s people that agree with the truth He taught and preached, publicly repent and confess Him as their Lord, and faithfully obey Him seated at God’s right hand in heaven.

This prophecy from the beginning is what Paul meant in the opening statement of his letter to the church at Ephesus, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). Since the Greek adjective epouranios rendered “heavenly” doesn’t include a noun for it to modify, the translators dutifully supplied “places” in its place. However, a different noun that helps our understanding of Paul’s intended message isn’t a place but a thing—the heavenly body of the sun, “There are also celestial [epouranios] bodies [soma], and bodies [soma] terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [epouranios] is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (1Co 15:40-41).

The subject of First Corinthians chapter 15, of course, is the resurrection of the human soma or body. But Paul ascribed the glory of bodily resurrection to that of the sun’s heavenly body—it rises and “rules” over the day by shining its light into the darkness. This lends to our understanding that the Son of God’s resurrected flesh and bone body now seated at God’s right hand in heaven is what is heavenly. The realm of the firmament of the heavens where the sun rules the day figuratively portrays the place of heaven itself where the Son rules from God’s throne at His right hand. Paul carried this thought on through his letter to the Ephesians:

Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly [epouranios] places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:16-23)

He had been praying earnestly that the Ephesians would come to understand these truths from the Scriptures, particularly from the creation account. The “revelation in the knowledge of him” is that Jesus Christ personally revealed to Paul the message about Himself that had been hidden within the creation narrative—that the Greater Light is Him ruling in the heavenly at God’s right hand over “all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named.” At God’s right hand, His enemies are “under his feet” as David prophesied, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa 110:1).

Seated together with Him

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace [favor] ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace [favor] in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace [favor] are ye saved through faith [faithfulness]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)

Twice in this passage, Paul said “by grace [favor] ye are saved” (v. 5), “For by grace [favor] are ye saved” (v. 8). This is the favor God bestowed on His chosen people over all other people, “According as he hath chosen us in him” (1:4). He favored them by sending His Son to shed His precious blood for their sins, “To the praise of the glory of his grace [favor], wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace [favor]” (1:6-7). Therefore, when he said, “For by grace [favor] are ye saved through faith [faithfulness]” (2:8), it’s not about our faith or belief but about Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood, “This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access [prosagoge] to God because of Christ’s faithfulness” (3:11-12 NET). We were dead in our sins “Even when we were dead in sins” (2:5), but were saved by Christ’s faithfulness to His Father to come into this world and shed His precious blood for our sins, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace [favor]” (1:7).

Although salvation was accomplished for God’s favored people from which Gentiles were alienated, “being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” (Eph 2:12), but now Gentiles can be joined with them, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19). Both now have access to God the Father, “For through him we both have access [prosagoge] by one Spirit [Breath] unto the Father” (Eph 2:18), “access [prosagoge] to God because of Christ’s faithfulness” (Eph 3:12 NET).

This access to God is by His Son seated at His right hand advocating, mediating, and interceding for us. Because we have access to God by His Son seated “in heavenly” as our Representative, Paul spoke of this as though we’re seated there ourselves together with Him, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace [favor] ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6).

Principalities and powers

In the beginning, however, God made not just one but two great lights that depict two rulers, “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also” (Gen 1:16). The first three times Paul used epouranios in his letter to the Ephesians, he was teaching about “the greater light” (Gen 1:16) seated at God’s right hand: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ” (1:3); “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly [epouranios] places” (1:20); “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus” (2:6). Christ seated on God’s throne was given authority over all principalities and powers in heaven and in earth, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat 28:18), “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion” (Eph 1:20-21), “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22).

However, the last two times he used epouranios in this same letter, Paul was teaching about “the lesser light” (Gen 1:16) of principalities and powers: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [epouranios] places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (3:10); “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [epouranios] places” (6:12).

Principalities and powers are evil spirits operating through flesh and blood human beings primarily in positions of political and religious power: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities [arche], against powers [exousia]” (Eph 6:12); “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates [arche], and powers [exousia], take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say” (Luk 12:11); “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power [arche] and authority [exousia] of the governor” (Luk 20:20); “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities [arche] and powers [exousia], to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work” (Tit 3:1).

It was the corrupt religious leaders that conspired together and persuaded the political powers to have Jesus Christ falsely sentenced to death. But His empty tomb and the outpouring on the Day of Pentecost publicly exposed and shamed their miscarriage of justice, “And having spoiled principalities [arche] and powers [exousia], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2:15). Also, the prophets in the Old Testament and apostles in the New suffered frequently at the hands of religious and political leaders on account of the truth they preached.

As we march headlong toward the end times, all over the world evil is escalating and heightening by principalities and powers working through religious and political authorities. What God has been withholding, He has increasingly been allowing, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2Th 2:6-7). God limits and sets bounds for what the devil and his cohorts are able to do. We see this illustrated with His handling of Satan in Job’s case, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand” (Job 1:12), “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life” (Job 2:6).

God allows us to suffer to a limited extent at the hand of the enemy to test our faithfulness to Him. During the end times, in particular, we will suffer for not taking the mark of the beast. However, as with Job we’re guaranteed a happy ending, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (Jas 5:11). Although we will suffer, we don’t have to fear principalities and powers when we’re faithfully submitted to the Greater Light seated at God’s right hand.

The whole armor of God

Of course, the “two great lights” (Gen 1:16) created in the firmament of the heavens by the Son of God are the literal sun and moon by which the temporal life-cycle on this earth is sustained and perpetuated. But He created them to also represent figuratively His message of eternal life, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). This woman is the corporate body of God’s people consisting of Jews joined by Gentiles—all nationalities and ethnic people groups. And it’s only because she’s clothed with the sun that the moon is under her feet. At God’s right hand, Christ has been given absolute power and authority over all principalities and powers, and the expression “under his feet” conveys that message: “thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psa 8:6); “For he hath put all things under his feet” (1Co 15:27); “And hath put all things under his feet” (Eph 1:22); “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb 2:8).

Although the principalities and powers are under Christ’s feet, they’re said to be under the woman’s feet as well by virtue of her being “clothed with” or “putting on” Christ: “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet” (Rev 12:1), “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Rom 13:12-14). What she is “clothed with” or has “put on” is the armor of God:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [epouranios] places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Paul had already laid the groundwork for teaching about this armor earlier in his letter, “And hath put all things under his feet” (1:22), “and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus” (2:6). Christ seated at God’s right hand has all principalities and powers under His feet, and the woman—the collective body of God’s people—when clothed with His armor, also has all principalities and powers under her feet as if seated together with Him. This is the essence of what it means for Christ to be our Advocate, Interceder, and Mediator.

Now obviously, this armor is only metaphorical and was intended by Paul to simply help our understanding of salvation, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (1:18). He was equating Christ’s advocacy in our defense to that of a protective suit of armor and even correlating specific spiritual truths to individual pieces of the whole: “having your loins girt about with truth … the breastplate of righteousness … your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace … the shield of faith [faithfulness] … the helmet of salvation … the sword of the Spirit [Breath] … Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit [Breath]” (6:14-18).

These pieces of armor toward the end of his letter are the aggregate of Paul’s teaching permeating throughout it. For example, he had already instructed, “But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus” (4:20-21), which is the sense of the first piece of armor, “having your loins girt about with truth” (6:14). The only way we are “able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (6:11) and overcome his deceptions, is by learning the truth Jesus Christ taught. If we don’t hear the truth from Jesus and live by it in faithful service to Him, we will be deceived and perish.

Our Advocate

Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. (Matthew 22:42-46)

And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly. (Mark 12:35-37)

En route to the Cross, Jesus silenced the religious leaders with a conundrum from David’s writings, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa 110:1). He was making it known beforehand that this was a prophecy about Himself that would be fulfilled in Him. His ensuing death would be consummated by resurrection, ascension, and seating at God’s right hand.

John chapters 14-16 records Him teaching His disciples about His coming advocacy at the Father’s right hand: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate [parakletos] to help you and be with you forever” (Jhn 14:16 NIV); “But the Advocate [parakletos], the Holy Spirit [breath], whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (Jhn 14:26 NIV); “When the Advocate [parakletos] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit [breath] of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (Jhn 15:26 NIV); “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [parakletos] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (Jhn 16:7 NIV).

The Greek parakletos for “advocate” was used only these four times by Christ and once many years later by John, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1Jo 2:1 NIV). An advocate is one that speaks in favor, support, or defense of another—similar to armor! Christ’s advocacy for us at God’s right hand means that we’re favored, supported, and defended by God when falsely accused or maligned. He is our Representative before God.

Of course, since Christ used the personal pronouns “he” and “him” for the Holy Breath in His discourse, it’s the favorite passage of Trinitarian ministers to support their claim of a literal third person. But Christ was only speaking figuratively as He said so Himself: “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs” (Jhn 16:25), “I have told you these things in obscure figures of speech” (Jhn 16:25 NET), “Though I have been speaking figuratively” (Jhn 16:25 NIV), “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language” (Jhn 16:25 NKJV). He was talking about His advocacy in the third person, not of a third person! It was only a figure of speech.

Regardless of what He said about His own words, Trinitarian ministers take Him literally, making Him say something else. The doctrine of the Trinity not only misrepresents the correct view of God but also the correct view of salvation. By turning Christ’s words about the parakletos into a teaching about another person rather than about Himself, His intended message of His position as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Mediator at the right hand of God is cloaked. This leaves a vacuum for the message of salvation by faith or simply believing some facts are true to be taught.

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:7-11 NIV)

The apostle John, present when Christ taught about the Advocate, later identified Him as the Advocate, “But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1Jo 2:1 NIV). When Jesus said “about righteousness, because I am going to the Father,” He was indicating that the only means of righteousness before the Father is through His advocacy at His right hand. The outpouring of God’s Breath on the Day of Pentecost proved to the world His righteousness—it vindicated His unjust execution as a criminal by publicly displaying that He did indeed go to the Father and was now seated as the Righteous One at His right hand.

The Day of Pentecost

The main thrust of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost was the reality of Christ now seated at the right hand of God, “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved” (Act 2:25), “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost [Breath], he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” (Act 2:33-35).

These statements Christ made before His death, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate” (Jhn 14:16 NIV), “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father” (Jhn 15:26 NIV), “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (Jhn 16:7 NIV), He fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost by sending the Holy Breath from the right hand of the Father. The Breath is called “the Advocate” because the Breath was sent from the Advocate. It isn’t literally another person but denoted as such by virtue of the person from whom it was sent. Since we have God’s Breath in our hearts by Christ’s advocacy before God, the Breath itself is equated metaphorically with the Advocate Himself. The presence of God’s Breath can be regarded as Christ.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul taught about those “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath]” (Rom 8:1, 4). This flesh versus breath antithesis isn’t material versus non-material but rather two distinct classes or categories of people differentiated by the indwelling Breath of God, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit [Breath], if so be that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9). Those that have God’s Breath in their hearts belong to God as one of His favored people. However, the Breath of God comes only through Christ, “Now if any man have not the Spirit [Breath] of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom 8:9). And the Breath of God can be called “the Breath of Christ” because it was sent by Christ from God’s right hand, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate,” “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father,” “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you,” “having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost [Breath], he hath shed forth this.” Therefore, those that belong to God affirm and follow the message Peter preached on the day that Christ sent God’s Breath from His right hand.

The Day of Pentecost with the accompanying sign of tongues, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people” (Isa 28:11), is the foundation of Christianity, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa 28:16). Jerusalem is Zion—the city of David. Around 50 days after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, while Christ’s empty tomb itself was still preaching loudly just outside Jerusalem and while David’s tomb was still occupied with his remains, Peter preached the gospel message of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at God’s right hand. This was also the message of his first letter: “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost [Breath] sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1Pe 1:12); “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded” (1Pe 2:6); “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22).

The saving gospel message is the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, seating, and current advocacy of Christ at God’s right hand. This is the “sure foundation” that was laid on the Day of Pentecost. Trinitarian ministers, on the other hand, preach only part of this saving message. By delivering a message that stops short at the resurrection and proof-texted with various Scriptures, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9), they make a convincing case that we need only to believe in His resurrection to be saved.

Christ our High Priest

That Paul didn’t mean we need only to believe in Christ’s resurrection as a historical fact by his statement “believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead” (10:9), is evident by his references to Isaiah’s prophecy about the Day of Pentecost preceding and following his statement, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth [trusts] on him shall not be ashamed” (9:33), “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth [trusts] on him shall not be ashamed” (10:11). The “Whosoever believeth [trusts] on him,” are those trusting on God that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand as Lord, “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe [trust] on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (4:24). We must publicly confess Him as our Lord and from that point forward faithfully obey Him as Lord in a trusting relationship with God. That Paul didn’t mean to simply believe in Christ’s resurrection as a historical fact is also evident by what he taught earlier in his letter about Christ’s intercession for us at the right hand of God:

Likewise the Spirit [Breath] also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit [Breath], because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. … Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:26-27, 33-34)

Christ’s intercession at the right hand of God is His current role as High Priest. This message of Him as High Priest at God’s right hand was interwoven throughout the letter to the Hebrews: “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3); “Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (1:13); “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (2:8); “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Heb 3:1); “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace” (4:16); “As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb 5:6); Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb 5:10); “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb 6:20); “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb 7:17, 21); “seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (7:25); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (8:1); “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament” (9:15); “but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (9:24); “sat down on the right hand of God” (10:12); “From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool” (10:13); “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19); “set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2); “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (12:24); “if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (12:25).

This statement in particular, “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:23-25), correlates with what Paul taught the Romans, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath].” (Rom 8:3-4). The Law of Moses, with its endless stream of animal sacrifices and priests sinful themselves that were continually replaced due to death, is what was “weak through the flesh.” However, “God sending his own Son” in the flesh to be the one and only perfect sacrifice for our sins, then seating Him at His right hand as our sinless High Priest that “ever liveth to make intercession” for us, is what is meant by “the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us.”

Those “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath],” are God’s people that no longer live under the Law that was “weak through the flesh” but have turned to the Lord with God’s Breath in their hearts, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwell in you” (8:9). Since the Breath of God was sent from God by Christ at His right hand, it can be called “the Spirit [Breath] of Christ” (8:9). Therefore, “if Christ be in you” (8:10) by God’s Breath being in us, then “the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us” (8:26), “at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (8:34). This is also what Paul taught the Ephesians, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit [Breath] unto the Father” (Eph 2:18), “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit [Breath] in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith [faithfulness]” (Eph 3:16-17).

Faithful unto death

The messages to the seven churches in Asia recorded in Revelation chapters 2-3 are from Christ in His position of authority at the right hand of God. Speaking as our Advocate, Interceder, and Mediator, He called Himself “the Breath” seven times, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches” (2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22). And Paul had also called Christ “the Breath” in His intercession for us at the right hand of God, “the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26), “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:34).

As Advocate at the right hand of God, Jesus demanded five of the seven churches in Asia to repent: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (2:5); “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (2:16); “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (2:22); “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent” (3:3); “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (3:19). It’s because He is our Advocate before the Father that we can be forgiven of our sin when we repent, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1Jo 2:1).

When we disobey the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re being unfaithful to Him in our sin. But so long as He allows us to repent and continues to advocate for us before the Father, we remain in faithful service to Him as Lord and in a standing of righteousness before God. He said that eternal life is to those faithful to Him unto death, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev 2:10). He also commended one of His servants by name that had given his life in faithfulness to Him, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith [faithfulness], even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth” (Rev 2:13). And Paul’s last words before his death were that he had remained faithful, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith [faithfulness]” (2Ti 4:6-7), “I have remained faithful” (NLT).

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews warned them against being unfaithful, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief [unfaithfulness], in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb 3:12-14). Later in chapter 11, he cited many examples of Old Testament saints that were faithful unto death, “By faith [faithfulness] Abel” (v. 4), “By faith [faithfulness] Enoch” (v. 5), “By faith [faithfulness] Noah” (v. 7),

“By faith [faithfulness] Abraham” (v. 8), “These all died in faith [faithfulness]” (v. 13). All of these examples of faithfulness culminate with Jesus Christ’s faithfulness unto death, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [faithfulness]; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).

The reason we all need to be exhorted and warned to stay faithful to the Lord unto death is because it’s difficult to do. If it was easy there would be no need for warning. And if faithfulness to the Lord is unnecessary for salvation then the warnings themselves are also unnecessary. Why would anyone nullify these very warning passages in Hebrews given to help us remain faithful to the end? Yet that’s what many ministers do.

Since salvation is by faithfully serving the Lord and trusting God from our hearts, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9), therefore the Lord searches and examines our hearts, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Rev 2:23). Anyone can say they’re trusting God and can appear to be trusting God, but truly trusting God comes from the heart and is discerned through overcoming trials, “that ye may be tried” (Rev 2:10), “to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev 3:10). James and Peter both said the same, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith [faithfulness] worketh patience” (Jas 1:3), “That the trial of your faith [faithfulness], being much more precious than of gold that perisheth” (1Pe 1:7).

The greatest assurance of salvation is when our faithfulness to the Lord is tested and we pass the tests. Tried and proven faithfulness is more precious and valuable than any amount of gold and riches on this earth. On the other hand, if salvation is simply by believing some facts are true, then suffering doesn’t make much sense and serves no apparent purpose. But when we begin to understand that our willingness to suffer in obedience to the Lord demonstrates what’s truly in our hearts, then suffering takes on a whole new perspective. And Jesus is our preeminent example by willingly suffering faithfully unto death, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (Jhn 10:17-18).

Furthermore, Christ said to each of the seven churches: “To him that overcometh” (2:7); “He that overcometh” (2:11); “To him that overcometh” (2:17); “And he that overcometh” (2:26); “He that overcometh” (3:5); “Him that overcometh” (3:12); “To him that overcometh” (3:21). And at the end of His seven messages, He defined what it means to overcome, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches.” (3:21-22). Salvation isn’t about simply believing some facts are true but about overcoming in a similar manner that Jesus Christ Himself overcame—to willingly suffer as He did, No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (Jhn 10:18). We look to Him as our example of faithfulness unto death, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 12:2).

Conclusion

Trinitarian ministers don’t teach much, if at all, about Christ’s current position as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Mediator at the right hand of God. Instead, they fill that void with the message that salvation is by simply believing some facts are true. It seems they don’t want us to know that salvation is contingent upon faithfully serving the living Lord seated at God’s right hand.

It was foretold in the very beginning, through the creation itself that the Lord Jesus Christ would be seated at the right hand of the Father as “the Greater Light” ruling over His people “the Day.” Human history was later orchestrated and caused to unfold the way it did to consummate the fulfillment of that prophecy. The salvation of mankind was accomplished by “the Greater Light” at God’s right hand and procured by our submission and faithfulness to Him.

The Day of Pentecost became the underlying foundation of Christianity. From His position at the right hand of God, the Lord Jesus Christ sent God’s Breath from heaven for those that repent and are baptized into His name, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Act 2:38). Those with God’s Breath in their hearts have turned from their former way of life unto faithfulness to His name until death.

When we live in faithful obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of God, it’s as though we’re shod with a suit of armor in defense against our enemy the devil. And the very first piece of this metaphorical armor is the truth Jesus Christ taught. Without the truth from Him, we will be deceived and we will perish. Our salvation depends upon hearing the truth from Jesus and doing it, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them” (Mat 7:24), “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:26). It’s because Jesus is seated at the right hand of God as our Advocate that we’re said to be seated together with Him, “And hath raised us up together, and made ussit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). We overcome the deceptions and temptations of this world only by sitting with Him on His throne, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21). And when we’re seated together with Him, all things under His feet are also under ours.