The God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ

What God and gospel do Trinitarian ministers preach? Is it the God that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself preached? Is it the gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself preached? If it’s not, then what does that say about them? Jesus preached the truth, and anyone preaching different is wrong. Since no subjects are more important than God and the gospel, if Trinitarian ministers are wrong about what’s most important, why listen to them about anything else?

Several times Christ called Himself “the Son of God,” and twice from heaven His Father called Him “My Beloved Son.” The Son never called Himself “God” and the Father never called His Son “God.” The Son did, however, call His Father “God” and called Him the only true God, “thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent” (Jhn 17:3). Trinitarian ministers, however, deny that the Father is the only true God but preach that Christ is also God.

Christ taught that He was begotten of God: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son … the only begotten Son of God” (Jhn 3:16,18); “I proceeded forth and came from God” (Jhn 8:42); “I came out from God. I came forth from the Father” (Jhn 16:27,28). It’s His own words “begotten,” “proceeded forth,” and “came out from God” about Himself that attest to His begetting and His beginning. Trinitarian ministers, however, deny that the Son had a beginning but preach that He has always existed as God Himself.

Christ called His Father “my God” before He died, after He was resurrected, and after He was seated next to Him: “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” (Rev 3:12). Trinitarian ministers, however, deny that the Father is the Son’s God but preach that the Son is co-equal with the Father.

Christ stated that His miracles were not of Himself: “I cast out devils by the Spirit [breath] of God” (Mat 12:28); “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); “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (Jhn 14:10). Trinitarian ministers, however, deny that Christ was given the power to work miracles but preach that His miracles were by His own power as God Himself.

In Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, He said nothing of believing but everything of obeying. He began the main portion by declaring, “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 said that if we don’t live righteously according to the standard He taught in this Sermon, then in no case, without exception, will we enter His Kingdom. We must live righteously to be saved. And He ended His Sermon, “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). It’s simple—we’re saved by doing what He said but perish if we don’t. Trinitarian ministers, however, deny that we can live righteously but preach that we must only believe.

Christ preached faithfulness to Him as Lord: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant” (Mat 24:45); “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things” (Mat 25:21); “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little” (Luk 19:17); “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much” (Luk 16:10). Trinitarian ministers, however, deny that we’re saved by faithful service to Christ as Lord, and translate the Greek noun [pistis 4102] throughout the New Testament as “faith” rather than “faithfulness” to preach salvation by faith alone.

Trinitarian ministers transgress what the Son of God Himself taught about God, and what the Savior Himself taught about salvation. John wrote, “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” (2Jn 1:9). The view of God and the gospel preached by Trinitarian ministers transgresses the doctrine of Christ—He didn’t teach them. And according to John, whoever transgresses what Jesus Christ taught doesn’t have God.

The litmus test of any minister is if they preach the same God and gospel that Jesus Christ Himself preached. Trinitarian ministers, however, preach a different God and gospel, and therefore don’t have God. If they don’t have God, why listen to them?

The Gospel of Christ

When Paul began his letter to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (1:16), he didn’t mean the gospel about Christ but the gospel Christ Himself preached as evident by how he ended his letter, “the preaching of Jesus Christ” (16:25). The true gospel message, the message that saves, is the message the Savior Himself preached. Paul’s entire letter of Romans is defining and explaining the gospel Christ preached. Salvation or eternal life isn’t according to our beliefs but according to our actions, “Who will render to every man according to his deeds [actions]: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (2:6-7). “I know thy works [actions]” (Rev 2:2,9,13,19,3:1,8,15), “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work [actions] shall be” (Rev 22:12).

Jesus Christ preached, “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). That “this is” the law and the prophets is that this one commandment of doing good is the satisfying of all that was required in the law and the prophets. With regards to the requirements of the Old Covenant law, there’s a distinction between the moral and the formal, the righteous and the ritualistic. There’s no change in what’s morally and righteously required of God’s people from the Old Covenant to the New—Christ preached the same righteous standard. What changed is the formal and ritualistic from which Christ set us free, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal 5:1).

In Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, He said nothing of believing but everything of obeying. He began the main portion by declaring, “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). If we don’t live righteously according to the standard He taught in this Sermon, then in no case, without exceptions, will we enter His Kingdom. Toward the end of His Sermon, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [anomia 458]” (Mat 7:23), “you lawbreakers!” (NET), “you who practice lawlessness!” (NKJV). The Greek anomia is contempt, transgression, or violation of law. And He ended His Sermon with, “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). It’s simple—if we do what He commanded we’ll be saved, but if we don’t we won’t be, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them … But he that heareth, and doeth not” (Luk 6:46,47,49).

Jesus Christ preached that we must fulfil the righteousness of the law: “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Mat 5:17); “That except your righteousness” (5:20); “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (6:33); “this is the law and the prophets” (7:12). And this was Paul’s gospel: “Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law … if it fulfil the law” (Rom 2:26-27); “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us” (8:4); “for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law … love is the fulfilling of the law” (13:8,10).

Jesus Christ preached faithfulness to Him as Lord: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant” (Mat 24:45); “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things” (Mat 25:21); “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little” (Luk 19:17); “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much” (Luk 16:10). And He preached that unfaithful servants will perish, “The lord of that servant … shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites” (Mat 24:50,51), “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness” (Mat 25:30). But to convey a different gospel message, throughout the New Testament the Greek noun [pistis 4102] and verb [pisteuo 4100] have been translated as “faith” and “believe” respectively, rather than “faithfulness” and “trust.” But Abraham isn’t our example of faith but of faithfulness: “because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen 22:18); “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen 26:5); “So then they which be of faith [faithfulness] are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal 3:9). Furthermore, not even once were the early Christians called “believers,” but translations have been fudged to read that way: “All the believers were together” (Act 2:44 NIV); “All the believers were one in heart and mind” (4:32); “And all the believers used to meet together” (5:12).

The gospel of Christ is obedience to Him: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel” (Rom 10:16); “that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1:8); “he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:9).

How to Perform that which is Good

There has been an ongoing debate whether Romans 7:7-25 is Paul’s former life under the law, or his present struggle as a Christian. It’s actually neither, but his former life without God’s breath in his heart because in the next chapter he used pneuma for “breath” 22 times!

In chapter 7, he quoted the Tenth Commandment he was guilty of breaking, “I had not known lust [epithymia 1939], except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet [epithymeo 1937]” (v. 7), then five verses in a row he referred to it simply as “the commandment” (vs. 9,10,11,12,13). He said repeatedly that he wanted to do good, “what I would” (v. 15), “perform that which is good” (v. 18), “the good that I would” (v. 19), “when I would do good” (v. 21). However, the evil of coveting and lusting that he didn’t want to do, he was doing, “that which I do I allow not … but what I hate, that do I” (v. 15), “I do that which I would not” (v. 16), “the evil which I would not, that I do” (v. 19), “I do that I would not” (v. 20).

Except for the two “positive” commands “Remember the sabbath day … Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exo 20:8,12), the Ten Commandments are “negative” prohibitions: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (v. 3); “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (v. 4); “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (v. 7); “Thou shalt not kill” (v. 13); “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (v. 14); “Thou shalt not steal” (v. 15); “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (v. 16); “Thou shalt not covet” (v. 17). But Jesus taught that all of the “Thou shalt nots” are kept by two “Thou shalts,” “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 shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mar 12:29-30,31). Paul wasn’t doing the good “Thou shalts” because he was doing the evil of the “Thou shalt nots.”

His members, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (vs. 22-23), were his eyes for lust and his hands for getting what he coveted. This is the evil that Jesus taught against, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after [epithymeo 1937] her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Mat 5:28-30).

But Jesus also taught us to do the good: “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 5:44), “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), “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again” (Luk 6:35). When Paul said “how to perform that which is good I find not,” he meant that without God’s breath in him, he couldn’t find how to perform the good of doing to his enemy as he would want done to him. This is the litmus test of salvation—do we sincerely love as ourselves, our enemies and those that mistreat us? God’s children do as He does, “Love your enemies … That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (Mat 5:44,45), “The Spirit [breath] itself beareth witness with our spirit [breath], that we are the children of God” (Rom 8:16).

Those “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [breath]” (Rom 8:1,4), are those who walk after God’s breath in their hearts. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself … Walk in the Spirit [breath], and ye shall not fulfil the lust [epithymia 1939] of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth [epithymeo 1937] against the Spirit [breath], and the Spirit [breath] against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:14,16-17). That we “cannot do the things that ye would” is that we cannot the “thou shalts” without God’s breath. By the “thou shalt nots,” the law manifested or revealed the works of the flesh, “But if ye be led of the Spirit [breath], ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness …” (Gal 5:18-19). But there are no “thou shalt nots” against the fruit of the breath, “But the fruit of the Spirit [breath] is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith [faithfulness], Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23). Do the “thou shalts” and we won’t be doing the rest.

How do we NOT walk after the flesh? By walking after the breath. When we do the good by God’s breath in our hearts, we won’t “fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

The Tri-Part Beast

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Rev 13:1). In this vision, John stood on the shoreline in Judea looking toward the west across the Mediterranean—the “great sea” (Dan 7:2). It was westward in Rome where this beast arose, “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Rev 13:2). It’s three different kinds of beasts yet one beast—a tri-part beast. And since the dragon gave this beast his power, therefore either of them are worshipped the same, “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast” (Rev 13:4). And we were told earlier that the dragon is the devil, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Rev 12:9). Therefore, worship of this beast is worship of the devil.

Daniel wrote, “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Dan 12:8-10). The wise will understand and John gave that understanding, “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Rev 13:18).

“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev 13:17). There are three either/or equivalents: the mark or the name or the number. Since the number of the name “Trinity” is tri- or three, therefore to “count the number” would be to count the three digits in “six hundred threescore and six.” And since an entity is a being, then a three-part being is a tri-entity or a trinity. If the beast is in fact the tri-part God of the Trinity, then its seven heads would be the seven main Trinitarian organizations: Roman Catholic Church, Reformed, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and Baptist. Therefore, “the name of blasphemy” upon each of its seven heads is the name “Trinity” upon these seven religious groups.

The Greek mysterion in “MYSTERY [mysterion 3466], BABYLON THE GREAT” (Rev 17:5), means “hidden.” Hidden within Babylon past is Babylon present, “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (v. 8), “it once was, now is not, and yet will come” (NIV). Three beasts from the past form again into one great fourth beast, “And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another” (Dan 7:3), “The first was like a lion” (v. 4), “a second, like to a bear” (v. 5), “another, like a leopard” (v. 6), “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast” (v. 7), “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth” (v. 23). This fourth beast is what John saw rise from Rome that would be the former three but in one. Hidden within three kingdoms of the past is the fourth kingdom of today.

This tri-part beast came up from the abyss, “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit [abyssos 12]” (Rev 11:7), “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit [abyssos 12]” (Rev 17:8). And that’s where the devil will be cast during the Millennium, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit [abyssos 12] and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit [abyssos 12]” (Rev 20:1-3). The source of this beast is the devil from the abyss.

God’s people worshipped beasts in the past, “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Rom 1:23). And the beast itself is a trinity, “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion.” It’s extremely fast like a leopard that can’t be outrun, extremely strong like a bear that can’t be fought, and its roar is extremely fierce like a lion that can’t be faced. It can only be overcome by the Lord.

Just what is the terrifying roar of this beast? Its cry is manifold: even questioning the doctrine of the Trinity is the danger of blasphemy against the Spirit for which there will never be forgiveness; if we deny it, we’ll be shamed, labeled a heretic, and deemed as never truly saved; we can’t understand the Scriptures on our own; anything disagreeing with it is new, and if it’s new it’s not true. Its roar tests us—whether we fear it, or fear God. Will we listen to the doctrines of men, or the doctrine of Christ, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jhn 18:37 NIV)?

Where Our Treasure Is

Introduction

Matthew chapter 6 is the middle chapter and heart of Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, and the most definitive teaching in the entire Bible of how to enter His Kingdom and have eternal life. There’s an explicit characteristic distinguishing those on the two different paths in this life, “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction … narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life” (Mat 7:13, 14). Christ taught us that it’s where our treasure is. What we treasure, value, or hold dear dictates the motives for our actions and ultimately our eternal destiny.

In this crucial passage, He revealed three polar opposite attributes dividing those onto the two paths: (1) whether the motives for our actions are to be seen by people or by God, “before men, to be seen of them … thy Father which seeth in secret” (vs. 1, 4); (2) whether our treasure is upon this earth or in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth … But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (vs. 19, 20); (3) whether we’re faithfully serving Him as Master or another master, “No man can serve two masters” (v. 24).

Praise from men or from God?

In the first half of Matthew chapter 6, Christ used the examples of giving, praying, and fasting to teach arguably the most fundamental distinction between those on the two paths: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven … That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (vs. 1, 4); “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men … pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (vs. 5, 6); “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast … That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (vs. 16, 18).

What’s our motive for the things we do? We can do much good but with impure motives or intentions in our hearts, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mat 5:8). God created us with natural and normal desires to receive praise, recognition, approval, honor, acclamation, and applause for the good things we do. It’s not wrong necessarily to receive praise from people for doing these types of things, only if it’s the reason we’re doing them. The motives in our hearts for our actions is a gauge of salvation.

Jesus questioned the corrupt Jewish leaders, “How can ye believe [trust], which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (Jhn 5:44). They wouldn’t put their trust in Him as their Messiah because they would be rejected by their fellow Jewish brethren for doing so. Because they didn’t want to lose the honor and acceptance they were receiving one another, they rejected Jesus instead and lost any honor and acceptance they would have received from God.

Hypocrites are those that pretend or feign serving God; whose actions contradict their public confession. According to what He had said earlier in His sermon “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees” (Mat 5:20), Jesus was talking specifically about the scribes and Pharisees in His statements “as the hypocrites do … that they may have glory of men” (6:2), “as the hypocrites are … that they may be seen of men” (6:5), “as the hypocrites … that they may appear unto men” (6:16). In Matthew chapter 23 He exclaimed seven times “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (vs. 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29). And He described their hypocrisy in detail, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” (Mat 23:5-7). Hypocrisy consists not only of doing good deeds to be seen by people but also presenting oneself in such a manner as to be viewed by people, treated by people, greeted by people, and called by people in an elevated fashion. These ways of being regarded and treated by others can be summarized in the one word “praise.”

Paul began his letter to the Romans presenting its message as the gospel of Christ: “the gospel of God” (Rom 1:1), “the gospel of his Son” (v. 9), “preach the gospel” (v. 15), “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (v. 16). And a little later he made the statement, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). Circumcision is a sign or token of being in covenant with God and being counted righteous before Him. But the circumcision God recognizes and counts is that of the heart. It’s doing all things with a pure heart—with the motive of receiving praise, not from men but from God.

He also wrote to the Corinthians, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels [boule] of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God” (1Co 4:5). The Greek boule appears 11 other times in the New Testament: “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel [boule] of God against themselves” (Luk 7:30); “The same had not consented to the counsel [boule] and deed of them” (Luk 23:51); “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel [boule] and foreknowledge of God” (Act 2:23); “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel [boule] determined before to be done” (Act 4:28); “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel [boule] or this work be of men, it will come to nought” (Act 5:38); “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will [boule] of God” (Act 13:36); “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel [boule] of God” (Act 20:27); “And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised [boule] to depart thence also” (Act 27:12); “And the soldiers’ counsel [boule] was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape” (Act 27:42); “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel [boule] of his own will” (Eph 1:11); “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel [boule], confirmed it by an oath” (Heb 6:17).

This word speaks of something decided or determined beforehand that is to be done. It’s the purpose or reason something is done. When Paul said that God “will make manifest the counsels of the hearts,” it is that He will make known openly the purpose or reason we determined in our hearts to do the things we did. But it won’t be “until the Lord come” that He does this. It will be then “shall every man have praise of God” (1Co 4:5). This is also what Peter said, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:7).

Circling back to what Jesus taught in His Sermon, “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (v. 4), “pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (v. 6), “That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (v. 18). If our motive for the good things we’re doing is to please God and not people, then we won’t be trying to draw attention to ourselves but doing those things in secret without anyone but God knowing what we did. If this characterizes our walk with God the Father, then when His Son Jesus Christ returns and gathers us to Himself we will receive praise, recognition, approval, honor, acclamation, and applause from God. All the good things we did in secret that nobody knew about will finally be disclosed openly for everyone to hear and witness praise being given to us by God Himself.

What is our treasure?

When we hear the word “treasure” we tend to think about a treasure chest full of gold or financial wealth and riches. But its meaning in Christ’s Sermon is that of anything we value or hold dear to ourselves. When He said “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” He wasn’t talking about a wooden chest or a heavenly bank account but referring back to what He had said earlier, “your Father which is in heaven” (v. 1). It’s because our Father is in heaven that our treasure is said to be in heaven.

God told Abram, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Gen 15:1). He didn’t say that He would just give him a reward but that He is his reward. Both David and Jeremiah would later declare, “The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot” (Psa 16:5), “I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living” (Psa 142:5), “The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him” (Lam 3:24).

What’s more valuable than God Himself? What should we cherish more than God Himself who gave us life and gives us eternal life? If He is our treasure, then pleasing Him and being right with Him will be the utmost important endeavor in our lives and the determining factor of which path we’re traveling. This is what Hebrews chapter 11 is all about. All of the “By faith [faithfulness]” statements are examples of men and women from the Scriptures that pleased God by their faithfulness to Him, “But without faith [faithfulness] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe [trust] that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6). He rewards those that diligently seek to please Him. And what’s their reward? It’s Him! Just prior to this chapter the writer reminded his audience that their treasure is in heaven, “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Heb 10:34).

Where is our treasure?

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven” (Mat 6:1), “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Mat 6:19-20). Treasure upon earth is because people are on earth while treasure in heaven is because God our Father is in heaven. If we’re seeking praise from people, then our treasure is upon earth but if we’re seeking praise from God, then our treasure is in heaven.

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest [phroneo] not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:21-23)

The Greek verb phroneo means “to seek” and “to desire,” or “to focus on” and “to attend to.” Peter was yielding to Satan’s temptation of desiring praise from men. He wanted to look big in the eyes of his fellow disciples by correcting Jesus in front of them. But, of course, it was he that got corrected in front of them and got put in his place.

Paul used this word when writing similarly to the Colossians, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [phroneo] on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col 3:1-2). Our desire, attention, and focus is to be on “things which are above.” It’s not that we’re to simply be “heavenly minded” in general but specifically focusing on “where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Everything we do needs to be with conscience toward God—faithful obedience to our Lord who is advocating, interceding, and mediating for us at God’s right hand. We’re shown favor by our Father in heaven when we obey His Son seated at His right hand.

Paul used both the verb phroneo and its corresponding noun phronema when writing this same message to the Romans, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath]. For they that are after the flesh do mind [phroneo] the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [Breath] the things of the Spirit [Breath]. For to be carnally minded [phronema tes sarkos] is death; but to be spiritually minded [phronema tou pneumatos] is life and peace.” (Rom 8:4-6). In both “carnally minded” and “spiritually minded,” the noun phronema is possessive—it’s literally “mind of the flesh” and “mind of the Breath.” He used the exact same statement a little later in the chapter, “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit [phronema tou pneumatos], because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom 8:27), “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.” (Rom 8:34). Jesus Christ is “he that searcheth the hearts” because He said so Himself, “and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Rev 2:23).

Unpacking all of this; the two converse lifestyles of either walking after the flesh or after the Breath, minding the things of the flesh or the things of the Breath, correspond to our treasure either being upon earth or in heaven. It goes back to what Paul had said earlier in his letter, “whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). Since Jesus Christ searches our hearts, He knows the motives of our hearts for the things we do—whether we’re doing things to be seen by people and receive praise from them or to be seen by God in secret and receive praise from Him. He “knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit [phronema tou pneumatos],” or who it is that’s seeking, desiring, and focusing upon the things of the Breath. And it’s those walking after the Breath, minding the things of the Breath that He intercedes on their behalf at the right hand of God.

In His personal messages to the seven churches in Asia, Jesus said “These things saith the Son of God” (Rev 2:18), but also said seven times “the Spirit [Breath] saith” (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22). He called Himself “the Breath,” not just once or twice, but seven times! When we confess Him before men, then seated at the Father’s right hand, He confesses us and His Father obliges to breathe His Breath into our hearts. This reciprocity equates to the Son Himself being called the Breath. Since no human has God’s Holy Breath without the Son’s intercession for them at the right hand of God, the Son metaphorically is the Breath. It’s not some third Person but the Person of the Son of God by advocacy, intercession, and mediation.

Our treasure must be in heaven for Christ to intercede on our behalf at the right hand of God, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [phroneo] on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col 3:1-2). Since He knows our motives for the things we do and that our treasure is in heaven, He intercedes for us before God. Salvation is all about whether or not we’re one of those that the Son is presently and actively interceding for. It’s not about us believing but about Him interceding! The devil’s ministers don’t want us to know that. They want us deceived into thinking we’re saved simply because we believe some facts are true.

Our hearts are where our treasure is

One of the most profound statements in all of Scripture is “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21; Luk 12:34). The motives in our hearts correspond to the location of our treasure. Let’s repeat that again. The motives in our hearts correspond to the location of our treasure. If our treasure is on earth, we’ll have impure motives in our hearts for the things we do, but if our treasure is in heaven we’ll have pure motives in our hearts for the things we do. Therefore, for our hearts to be changed, our treasure must first be changed. Living the Christian life is all about keeping our focus on our treasure so that the motives in our hearts for the things we do will be pure.

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Mat 12:34-35). According to Jesus, nobody has a mixture of part good and part evil in their hearts but everyone has an abundance of one or the other. And the determinant of whether our hearts are good or evil is whether our treasure is good or evil, “the good treasure of the heart” and “the evil treasure”—treasure in heaven or on the earth. There’s no gray area, middle ground, or neutral territory. Either our treasure is in heaven, our hearts are good, and we’ll have eternal life, or our treasure is on earth, our hearts are evil, and we’ll perish.

We can become very skilled at saying all the right things to convince others that our hearts are pure. But giving this false impression goes right back to the underlying problem of seeking praise from people. It’s because we want to look good to people that we train ourselves to speak humbly, graciously, and kindly when we need to. This is what James taught, “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (Jas 3:7-8). We train all kinds of animals to do things that aren’t natural to them. The snake charmer trains a cobra to sway and entertain people without biting yet its mouth is still “full of deadly poison.” And it’s similar with the tongue. We can “tame” or subdue our tongues to a certain point but eventually we’ll be in a situation where pressure or urgency will bring out of our mouths what’s truly in our hearts, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”

What people say and don’t say identifies the location of their treasure—whether they’re seeking praise from people or from God. When we hear someone say “I don’t care what people think about me,” it means they do care what people think about them which is why they said that. If they really don’t care what people think about them, they wouldn’t have said anything. And why would someone say “God knows my heart” when we already know that? It’s because they’re concerned we think their heart isn’t right that they’re trying to convince us that it is. Our mouths betray our hearts. The main way to discern what’s in someone’s heart, and ultimately what it is they treasure, is by listening to how they talk. Do they say things to justify and defend themselves? Do they say things to make themselves look good or others look bad? Do they complain and talk negatively or are they thankful? Our mouths indicate what’s in our hearts and where our treasure is—seeking praise from people on earth or from God in heaven.

This same convention is what Jesus taught for identifying false ministers or wolves in sheep’s clothing, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Mat 7:15-16), “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Mat 12:33-34). Trinitarian ministers refusing to agree with the Son of God’s teaching about His Father was the crucible in which I finally concluded that they’re false ministers or wolves in sheep’s clothing. It’s one thing for someone to be ignorant about what Christ taught but these men are highly educated with decades of ministry experience. What comes out of their mouths about God conflicts with what came out of the Son of God’s mouth about God. They’re known by their fruits—their mouths betray their hearts.

Our actions reveal what we treasure

Our actions in certain circumstances divulge what we treasure and therefore what’s in our hearts. James said that God tests our faithfulness to Him, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith [faithfulness] worketh patience” (Jas 1:2-3). He puts us in situations where there’s a distinct conflict of interest and we’re forced to decide one way or the other. What we do when pressured to obey God and suffer consequences or disobey God out of self-preservation, shows where our treasure is and therefore the motives of our hearts. James cited the time when “God did tempt [test] Abraham” (Gen 22:1):

Was not Abraham our father justified by works [ergon], when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith [faithfulness] wrought with his works [ergon], and by works [ergon] was faith [faithfulness] made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. (James 2:21-23).

The Greek ergon translated here and in the majority of its 176 occurrences in the New Testament as “works” simply means “actions.” It rarely conveys meritorious actions of trying to earn righteousness before God under the Law of Moses. Only a few contexts impose that meaning while most of the time it’s simply about our everyday actions or the things we do. James was saying that Abraham’s faithfulness to God was tested when he was told to offer his son Isaac. And nobody else was on that mountain to witness what he was about to do, therefore he certainly wasn’t trying to be seen by people but only by God in secret. Of course, he was stopped short of carrying it out because it was only a test but he didn’t know that—he was going to following through with it. His actions, therefore, justified what had been said many years earlier, “Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” He truly trusted God and it showed by his obedient actions, therefore justifying his righteous standing before Him.

We recognize this basic principle in everyday life. We say things like “Actions speak louder than words,” or “What you’re doing speaks so loudly that I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” Sometimes we’ll hear a sports team “trash talk” before a game but the other team responds with “We’ll do our talking on the field!” This is what James meant, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith [faithfulness], and have not works [ergon]? can faith [faithfulness] save him?” (Jas 2:14). What good is it to say we’re faithful yet we’re unfaithful? It isn’t what we say but what we do that counts, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith [faithfulness], and I have works [ergon]: shew me thy faith [faithfulness] without thy works [ergon], and I will shew thee my faith [faithfulness] by my works [ergon].” (Jas 2:18). If we’re truly being faithful, we don’t need to say anything—our actions speak for themselves.

Peter also said that our faithfulness is tested, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith [faithfulness], being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:6-7). And when we pass the testing of our faithfulness, we will receive praise, honor, and glory from God at Christ’s return.

God tests us regularly to build a case that will be used in the final judgment—either for us or against us. We must learn to appreciate these tests as opportunities to prove our faithfulness to Him and justify our entry into His kingdom. We have no idea the multitudes of situations we’ve been put through in our Christian lives that were orchestrated by God to test our faithfulness to Him. We thought things just happened the way they did or that people acted the way they did for no particular reason. We didn’t know that God was testing our faithfulness to Him.

The sheep and the goats

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:37-40)

When read in its plain sense, the “sheep and goats” judgment recorded in Matthew 25 sounds like some type of “social gospel”—that entering Christ’s Kingdom depends entirely on feeding and clothing the poor, taking in strangers, and visiting the sick or incarcerated. However, it all comes back to what Christ taught is the determining factor between those that are His and the hypocrites, or the sheep and the goats.

“That thine alms may be in secret [kryptos]: and thy Father which seeth in secret [kryptos] himself shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:4). Those that are His give alms to the poor with conscience toward God the Father—to be seen by Him in secret. This principle is consistent with what He will say to the sheep in the judgment, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Mat 25:40). When the sheep do good deeds in secret toward God, they’re doing those deeds unto Him.

This is also what Paul taught, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets [kryptos] of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom 2:16), “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly [kryptos]; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). The “sheep and goats” judgment will be the day when Jesus Christ reveals what was done in secret, “That thine alms may be in secret [kryptos]: and thy Father which seeth in secret [kryptos] himself shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:4). And what was done in secret with conscience toward Him will be rewarded with praise and recognition by Him in that day.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ was teaching God’s righteousness, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat 6:33). This is why the sheep are called “the righteous” in the judgment, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Mat 25:46). They’re righteous because their treasure was in heaven—they fed, clothed, lodged, and visited people with pure motives toward God to receive praise from Him.

Now, it’s not that the goats never did any of these same things that the sheep did but that their righteous deeds aren’t going to be recognized at the judgment, “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” (Eze 18:24). They’re not going to be rewarded for their good deeds because they were rewarded already, “Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Mat 6:2, 5, 16). The praise they received from people is the only reward they’ll ever receive.

It’s because the sheep and the goats weren’t aware they were being tested is the reason they’re going to ask Christ “When did we see you…?” God routinely puts us in situations that reveal what’s in our hearts by testing where our treasure is located. He imposes upon us conflicts of interest in which we must either make a sacrifice to remain faithful to Him or be unfaithful to reap a personal benefit.

Abraham’s sacrifice when nobody was watching proved His fear of God and trust in Him. And the same is true with us when we make sacrifices for others expecting and receiving nothing at all in return, “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.” (Luk 6:34-35), “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” (Luk 14:13-14). This is what distinguishes the sheep from the goats.

No man can serve two masters

It was prophesied in a mystery from the very beginning, even before mankind had been created, that there would be two categories or classifications of people: “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” (Gen 1:4-5), “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8), “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1Th 5:5).

These two classes would have one ruler or another over them, “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.” (Gen 1:16-18).

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared “No man 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.” (Mat 6:24). Since every person belongs to one category or the other, ruled by one master or the other, then everyone not ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ is ruled by the devil. This is what it all comes down to. If our treasure is pleasing our Father in heaven, we’ll serve and obey His Son with pure hearts and be rewarded with eternal life. However, if our treasure is pleasing people on the earth, we won’t be serving and obeying His Son with pure hearts and we’ll perish.

Pastors of Protestant Trinitarian churches aren’t leading their flocks to eternal life but to destruction. They’re effective at this by teaching their definition of serving the Lord to convince their flocks that they’re serving Him. But their definition is not His. We can only serve Him, His way.

In Luke chapter 16, Jesus taught the parable of the Unjust Steward and concluded it with the same statement He had made in His Sermon on the Mount, “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 16:13). The word “mammon” is an English transliteration of a noun from Aramaic origin. In the entire New Testament, it’s only used by Jesus and only in His Sermon on the Mount and His parable of the Unjust Steward. Lexicons and theological dictionaries define this word as “money,” “riches,” or “wealth,” but this isn’t how Jesus used it in His parable.

The parable is about a servant that was unfaithful to his master. He was given the responsibility of overseeing his master’s debts and collecting what was owed to him but was unfaithful in this duty by misappropriating the funds to make friends with his master’s debtors. He settled what they owed for pennies on the dollar for his own personal gain and benefit. This is the essential idea of mammon—it’s personal benefit at our mater’s expense.

A similar endeavor is true with Protestant Trinitarian elders, pastors, scholars, and theologians today. Rather than faithfully upholding the standard of righteousness our Lord commanded, they lower His standard by settling His debts for less than what is due. Such doctrines as original sin, a sin nature, sola fide, and once-saved-always-saved, lower the bar of what’s required to enter Christ’s Kingdom. And by keeping their flocks preoccupied with serving religiously—church attendance, a daily Bible reading plan, devotionals, journaling, memorizing verses, small group discussions, prayer groups, serving in positions, missionary trips—they delude them into believing they’re serving the Lord faithfully. They’re serving alright, but not necessarily serving the Lord.

A couple of life examples

My wife and I used to live in a condominium unit near an older Christian couple wanting to sell their unit to my wife’s mother. We had only known them passively for about a year but they were always warm and kind to us and attended a local church regularly. However, when it came to dealing with them over the sale of their property, they turned quite unpleasant very quickly. They pressured us to make an offer which we finally did but about a week after signing the contract and receiving their earnest money, another party made them a better offer. That was when things turned ugly. They began demanding to be released from their contract and for their money to be returned. We eventually did this. What I learned from the experience is that we get a glimpse into people’s hearts when their treasure is in jeopardy. Just start messing with people’s treasure and we’ll see pretty quickly where their hearts are at.

There’s a dear Christian lady my wife and I have known for many years that had a prolonged period where some family members were causing her problems. The times we would get together with her just to visit, she would inevitably bring up the latest things these family members were doing to her. And I never once heard her admit anything she had ever done wrong to them but it was always about what they were doing wrong to her. What she didn’t realize is that the entire situation could very well have been a test from God and she was apparently failing the test. James said, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell [geenna]” (Jas 3:6), “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” (Jas 3:14-15). The little tongue in our mouths can lead our entire bodies to geenna or the Lake of Fire. Envying and strife from the tongue is “earthly, sensual, devilish”—it indicates we’re treasuring what’s on the earth, yielding to the flesh, and serving the devil.

Conclusion

Within the heart of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ taught the distinguishing characteristic of those that will enter His Kingdom and have eternal life, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them … That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (vs. 1, 4), “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth … But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (vs. 19, 20), “No man can serve two masters” (v. 24). They do good deeds to be seen by God their Father and therefore to please Him. And because they live to please the Father in heaven, their treasure is said to be in heaven.

There’s nothing more valuable than God Himself. Therefore, there’s no greater endeavor in life than pleasing Him and being right with Him. And the only way we can please the Father and be right with Him is to faithfully serve His Son seated at His right hand. Salvation or eternal life is all about the Son presently and actively interceding for us at the Father’s right hand in heaven.

Hypocrisy is pretending or feigning; it’s acting contradictory to one’s confession. It consists of doing good deeds to be seen by people and presenting oneself in such a way as to be viewed by people, treated by people, greeted by people, and called by people in an elevated manner. The word that best expresses this is “praise.” Hypocrites seek praise from people while genuine servants of the Lord Jesus Christ seek praise from God, “whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). The reason treasures are said to be upon the earth or in heaven is because people are upon the earth and God is in heaven. Therefore, the essence of laying up treasures upon the earth or in heaven is whether we’re seeking praise from people or from God.

The motives of our hearts coincide with the location of our treasure, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21; Luk 12:34). It’s whether our treasure is in heaven or upon the earth—seeking praise from God or from people—that we’ll have a corresponding abundance of good or evil motives in our hearts for the things we do and say, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Mat 12:34-35). Christ’s statement “the good treasure of the heart” is simply an abbreviated form of “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The only way the abundance of motives in our hearts can be changed is by changing what we treasure.

Our words divulge the motives of our hearts and what it is we treasure. As animals can be trained, we can coach ourselves to speak humbly and graciously to give the impression that we have good motives in our hearts. However, our idle words and small talk betray what we truly treasure.

God routinely tests our faithfulness to Him by putting us in situations with a conflict of interest to observe what we will do when pressured one way or the other. Our actions when tested justify our righteous standing before Him. Therefore, we’ll be judged by our actions, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works [ergon]” (Rev 2:23), “the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works [ergon] … and they were judged every man according to their works [ergon]” (Rev 20:12, 13).

Eternal life comes by being counted righteous by God. But to be counted righteous by God we must please God. The only way to please God is to confess His Son as Lord, then obey Him by our actions with the right motives in our hearts—genuinely, not hypocritically. And the determining factor of whether we’re genuine or hypocrites, righteous or unrighteous, sheep or goats, is the location of our treasure. What we treasure, value, or hold dear dictates the motives for our actions and ultimately our eternal destiny. Our trust in God is demonstrated when we’re willing to forego the praise, approval, recognition, and honor we could have received in this life from people in exchange for being criticized, mocked, belittled, and falsely accused instead. God is pleased when we’re willing to be shamed before people for His Son Jesus Christ’s sake—His glory, name, and honor. It’s difficult and discouraging to continue for years and even decades without getting any recognition or praise for the things we’re doing in secret. But Jesus Christ assured us that one day we’ll receive the treasure we’ve been seeking, “and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:4, 6, 18).

Learning from the Unlearned

Introduction

Trinitarian scholars, theologians, and pastors hold a tight grip over mainstream Christianity by masquerading as the purveyors of the truth and denouncing true teachers gifted by Christ as unlearned and uneducated. They’re full of tactics and schemes to magnify themselves and minimize others in the eyes of their followers. They persuade their followers against true teachers to keep them deceived and on the broad way that leads to destruction.

True teachers, on the other hand, are gifted by Jesus Christ to teach His message. They remain faithful to Him and His teaching regardless of being ridiculed, defamed, and silenced. While false teachers abound and can be easily heard, true teachers are few and censored from public hearing.

Unlearned and uneducated men

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Act 4:13). Instead of “unlearned and ignorant men,” other versions have “uneducated and ordinary men” (NET), “unschooled, ordinary men” (NIV). Two of the greatest disciples and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ were belittled by the religious leaders as unlearned and uneducated.

It’s true that Peter and John were uneducated when compared with the religious leaders of the day. They had both been fishermen before leaving behind the family business to follow Jesus. However, they became two of the three that were Christ’s “inner circle” of the 12 that witnessed His transfiguration on the mountain. Peter was the apostle that preached on the Day of Pentecost and established the Jewish body of Christians through the first half of the book of Acts. John was entrusted with the care of Christ’s mother and was the last living apostle to lead the Christians. Between them both, they wrote 7 of the 27 books in the New Testament.

Not only were two of greatest His disciples demeaned as unlearned but so was Christ Himself, “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” (Jhn 7:14-16). If Christ Himself had “never learned” according to the Jewish leaders, then it’s no wonder Peter and John were esteemed unlearned as well—they learned from the unlearned! But Christ replied, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” He learned from God Himself.

Christ and His apostles were scorned by the religious leaders as unlearned and the same is true today. Essentially, this same dynamic is at work today where the doctrines of men are disguised and hailed as teaching the truth while any nonconformists are discredited. Trinitarian scholars, theologians, and pastors with their systematic theology boast of being the experts in Christian doctrine while degrading any outside their circle that didn’t graduate from seminary. They perpetuate their false doctrines to the simple under the façade of being the learned and educated.

Corrupt seminaries

As with the media feigning objectivity in order to push their liberal agenda, Trinitarian seminaries likewise are corrupt. When students go to these seminaries to get a theological degree, the doctrine of the Trinity is incessantly drilled into them. Anyone raising questions or objecting to this view of God is dealt with and eventually pressured to leave or even discharged if deemed nonconforming. The bottom line is that those finishing seminary and receiving a degree are pledged and devoted to Trinitarianism. It’s not that they’re necessarily smarter or know more than those that didn’t finish but that they succumbed and bowed the knee: “bowed down to their gods” (Num 25:2); “they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them” (Jdg 2:17); “fall down and worship the golden image” (Dan 3:10); “bowed the knee to the image of Baal” (Rom 11:4).

This doesn’t mean that every person graduating from seminary has passed the point of no return and can never repent and turn back to God. For many, this is the case but some might still have hope although it’s extremely difficult for them to ever depart from Trinitarianism. Leaving means essentially losing everything into which they’ve invested their lives, then setting out like Abraham not knowing where they’re going, “and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Heb 11:8). But this is what it means to walk in Abraham’s steps of faithfulness to God, “who also walk in the steps of that faith [faithfulness] of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Rom 4:12). Abraham was faithful to God in obeying Him and walking away from everything into what appeared to be nothing.

Moses forsook his name, position, and wealth in Egypt in exchange for a life of suffering with the people of God, “By faith [faithfulness] Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Heb 11:24-26).

Paul relinquished everything he had built his life upon, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” (Phl 3:5-7). He not only gave up his life of wealth, power, and prestige but exchanged it for a life of tremendous persecution and suffering:

Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:22-27)

Tactics of Trinitarian theologians

Rather than sincerely seeking the truth and submitting to it, Trinitarian theologians fight to defend their system of theology. They’re full of ploys to intimidate their followers and keep them dependent on themselves and their system. Their tactics alone should be enough to convince us that something is seriously wrong. They’re threatened by anyone trying to understand the truth from the Scriptures for themselves and will employ an arsenal of tactics against them.

They make their followers dependent upon them. Their credentials and degrees are from Trinitarian seminaries and they’re endorsed by a strong support system of highly esteemed Trinitarians. Anybody not endorsed by them is a “nobody” and we shouldn’t listen to them. They use big words and theological jargon to make their doctrines sound official and authoritative. They’re proficient in apologetics, not to defend the truth, but to defend their theological system.

They misuse the Scriptures. They start with their system of theology as their basis of “truth,” then impose it upon the Scriptures. They mistranslate certain words like pneuma as “spirit” rather than “breath” and pistis as “faith” rather than “faithfulness” to conceal what’s being said. They also find statements that sound like or can be made to sound like, support for their Trinitarian system such as “making himself equal with God” (Jhn 5:18), but ignore or explain away statements that disagree with their system such as the very next verse “the Son can do nothing of himself” (Jhn 5:19). And those sincerely trying to understand the truth from the Scriptures for themselves get scoffed that they’re not using sound hermeneutics or that they’re allegorizing the Scriptures.

They act as the arbiters of the truth. They appoint themselves to act as the “doctrine police” over everyone else to make it appear that they have the truth. They tell us which ministries and teachers to avoid. They tell us what beliefs are supposedly essential and non-essential for salvation. By fighting what’s false, they appear to be crusading for truth.

They make false claims. They claim that their system of theology is “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3) and that the Trinitarian view of God is the historical view established by the early church. They also claim that Trinitarianism is essential for salvation and that blasphemy against the Spirit is denying that the Spirit is a person. But these are simply false claims they’ve been largely successful at pawning as the truth.

They appeal to the majority. They point to large numbers and the majority as evidence of the truth. After all, they balk, 2 billion Trinitarians couldn’t all be wrong, could they? But by the same argument, could 2 billion Muslims all be wrong? Of course! They’ll also appeal to great Christian men and women in history as being Trinitarians and that libraries and bookshelves are full of published works by Trinitarians.

They make false comparisons. By pointing to Arius as obviously wrong (and he was!), therefore the doctrine of the Trinity must be right. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are obviously wrong (and they are!), therefore the doctrine of the Trinity must be right. It’s simply a dishonest tactic posing as a champion for the truth.

They intimidate and instill fear. They make us fear falling into error by studying the Scriptures on our own when really they just don’t want us falling into the truth. We supposedly need a group consensus which, of course, must be a group of Trinitarians! They warn us that if we deny the doctrine of the Trinity we’ll be categorized with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Unitarians. Also, we’ll be branded a heretic and seen as leading our family into a cult.

They silence and censor. They proclaim that the doctrine of the Trinity is a closed case that’s not open for discussion and even questioning this doctrine is the danger of blasphemy against the Spirit for which they will never be forgiven. They acclaim and praise those that agree with them but won’t recommend, acknowledge, or support anyone that’s not a Trinitarian.

They belittle and mock. They appeal to their credentials and discredit those without. They’ll say, “Why should anyone listen to you? Did you graduate from seminary? Are you smarter than the scholars and theologians? Why would God allow you to understand the truth?” Their favorite saying is, “If it’s new it’s not true, and if it’s true it’s not new.” However, when the truth is finally taught it only seems new because they haven’t been teaching it!

They sway the people

Corrupt religious leaders don’t fear God, they fear the people: “And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet” (Mat 14:5); “But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet” (Mat 21:26); “But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed” (Mar 11:32); “And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way” (Mar 12:12); “And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them” (Luk 20:19); “And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people” (Luk 22:2); “Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned” (Act 5:26).

Because of their power and influence over the people, religious leaders persuade and move them to accomplish their agenda: “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus” (Mat 27:20); “But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them” (Mar 15:11); “But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people” (Act 17:13).

The same is happening in churches today—leaders are swaying people to keep them loyal to their system. The name Barabbas means “son of a father” while, of course, Jesus Christ is the Son of the Father. People today are being moved and stirred to “ask Barabbas” but “destroy Jesus.” This is what the writer of Hebrews was warning his readers about, “they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb 6:6). It’s tantamount to rejecting Christ when rejecting His gifted teachers that are delivering His message. But simple and trusting people in churches today are being told a narrative about the true teachers so that they’ll refuse them but keep Barabbas.

Christian bookstores are full of glossy paged books and commentaries that seem very appealing and helpful but ultimately communicate a different God and different message than the Lord Jesus Christ preached. It takes much time and effort to find the truth. This is why we love shortcuts consisting of study guides, outlines, modern translations, footnotes, devotionals, reading plans, and 30 days to this or that. But it’s just another tactic of the devil and his ministers—to make his doctrine as easy, convenient, and appealing as possible. When speaking of false teachers Peter said “they allure through the lusts of the flesh” (2Pe 2:18). They appeal to our laziness by making things easy and comfortable. We work hard at our jobs to feed our stomachs yet don’t want to exert much effort for our souls. Our enemy is all too eager to make everything smooth and effortless so that we’ll stay blinded and belonging to him. If we’re not willing to work hard at finding the truth by studying for ourselves and asking God to help us, we’ll stay deceived and perish.

Letters of recommendation

We’ve been hoodwinked into believing that credentials issued by men is the main qualifier for teaching the Scriptures. But this is nothing new. The same trickery was peddled in the early church.

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:1-3)

The Corinthians had begun looking to “credentialed” men to teach them. But Paul’s qualifications as a true minister of God didn’t come from any man’s writing on a piece of paper whether it be a signed letter of recommendation from an upper-echelon or a graduate diploma from a theological school. The Corinthians themselves were his “writing” of qualification so to speak. The fact that they even existed as a church is on account of the Lord calling Paul to them, “And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them” (Act 16:10). This made them “the epistle of Christ” or Paul’s letter of recommendation from Jesus Christ Himself!

The persecution and resistance Paul experienced on his way through Macedonia to reach the Corinthians also qualified him as a true minister of God: “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely” (Act 16:23); “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea” (Act 17:10); “But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people” (Act 17:13). Delivering the truth requires suffering and sacrifice.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Mat 5:11-12). At the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was saying that the same pattern of persecution experienced by the true prophets in the Scriptures is what would also be endured by men of God in the church age. He carried forward this same idea toward the end of His Sermon when He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mat 7:15). These “false prophets” aren’t men professing to be prophets necessarily, but false teachers that don’t fit the pattern of the true prophets in the Scriptures, “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” And this is how Peter understood Christ’s words, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (2Pe 2:1). True teachers fit the mold of the prophets—they’re persecuted in the same way.

The measure of faithfulness

For I say, through the grace [favor] given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith [faithfulness]. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 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 12:3-8)

In the statement, “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith [faithfulness],” the Greek pistis is mistranslated, as in almost 250 other places throughout the New Testament, as “faith” instead of “faithfulness.” It makes no sense to have been given a measure of belief. What has been given, however, are different measures or portions of the Lord’s “goods” over which each of His servants have the responsibility of faithfulness, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” (Mat 25:14-15), “His lord said unto him, 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).

God’s people are shown special favor through His Son Jesus Christ over all other people on the earth—He forgives their sins and counts them right with Him. But within the collective body of His favored people, God also bestows varying measures of favored gifts to each individual member, “But unto every one of us is given grace [favor] according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph 4:7), “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Eph 4:11). Obviously, the apostles and prophets were highly favored and uniquely gifted with more “talents” than the rest of us. Consequently, Christ required more from them, “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).

Those that teach the Scriptures will be held to a higher standard of judgment than other Christians, “My brethren, be not many masters [didaskalos 1320], knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (Jas 3:1). The Greek didaskalos means “teachers.” Personally speaking, teaching isn’t something that I chose to do or particularly care to do but it’s what I’ve come to recognize that I’ve been gifted with. I don’t relish the responsibility but approach it very seriously and soberly. I enjoy studying the Scriptures and teaching either in writing or speaking more than anything else in life. And I’ve learned that Christ has gifted me with being able to understand the truth communicated through the Scriptures beyond what others are capable of. It’s not a matter of intelligence or credentials but of gifting. I’m simply trying to follow the example of other unlearned men of God.

True teachers are silenced

True teachers gifted by Christ are hard to find because there aren’t very many relative to the plethora of false teachers lurking everywhere. And they’re censored from public hearing by the false teachers. They don’t want true servants of Christ to find each other and join together. Therefore, there are many of us struggling to serve Christ without an assembly for fellowship and support.

Those that bow the knee to the Trinitarian theological system get endorsed, supported, funded, and praised while the true teachers get derided, suppressed, and silenced. I’m not a fan of the internet at all. I would love to go back to the days during the first 25 years of my life when it didn’t exist. However, these are the times in which we now live and we don’t have much choice but to use the internet as our main means for communication.

Conclusion

Peter and John, two of the greatest disciples and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, were belittled as unlearned and uneducated men by the religious leaders of their day. And the same pattern is at work today—Trinitarian theologians, scholars, and pastors tout their credentials while undermining teachers truly gifted by Christ. Trinitarian leaders are full of tactics and ploys to exalt themselves and debase those esteemed as threat to their message and agenda.

We should be listening to the teachers Christ has gifted. These are men that have refused to bow their knee to the false view of God and false doctrines coerced by the Trinitarian leaders of mainstream Christianity. They fit the mold set by the prophets in the Scriptures, “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Mat 5:12). They’ve walked away from everything into nothing, “and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Heb 11:8). They don’t need to commend themselves or be recommended by others, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?” (2Co 3:1). Their credentials aren’t in writing on paper—a diploma hanging on the wall or affirmation by other ministers. Their credentials are the gifts from Christ Himself.

No Man Can Serve Two Masters

Introduction

There’s only one way to eternal life and it’s through the only way God provided—His Son Jesus Christ. But even knowing and embracing that truth, we can still be falsely assured that we have the Son yet truly headed for destruction, “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 7:14).

The popular gospel message preached today is that we have the Son if we have confessed Him as Lord and believe some facts about Him—essentially that salvation is by faith or belief in Him. But the true saving gospel is the message the Son Himself preached to the world. It matters not what millions or even billions of people say but only what one Person said. What He said is the truth and the final word. He told us what we must do to have Him and eternal life. We must listen to Him.

Now, the latter half of this writing isn’t intended to give inordinate attention to the devil but is simply addressing necessary issues so that we’re not ignorant of his devices. The more covertly he’s allowed to operate under the radar without detection, the more successful he is. Therefore, our souls depend on discussing and recognizing his sinister activity so that we won’t fall prey to him.

The Creator preached the message of salvation

The true message of salvation is known by what the Creator preached in the beginning in a mystery, and what the Creator preached again when He came into this world and revealed the mystery. The Son of God is the Creator: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (Jhn 1:3); “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 1:2); “for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11).

Within the creation account narrative itself, the Son of God interjected the message of salvation but kept the understanding of it hidden from us in a mystery: “according to the revelation of the mystery [mysterion 3466], which was kept secret since the world began” (Rom 16:25); “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery [mysterion 3466], even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1Co 2:7); “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery [mysterion 3466], which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph 3:9); “Even the mystery [mysterion 3466] which hath been hid from ages and from generations” (Col 1:26).

The Creator Himself came into this world and revealed to our understanding the message of salvation He had hid in a mystery: “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries [mysterion 3466] of the kingdom of heaven … I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Mat 13:11, 35); “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery [mysterion 3466]” (Rom 16:25); “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery [mysterion 3466]; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery [mysterion 3466] of Christ)” (Eph 3:3-4); “that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery [mysterion 3466] of the gospel” (Eph 6:19).

The true message of salvation preached by the Creator

In the beginning, the Son of God preached the message of salvation but hid it from our understanding in a mystery—the creation of the sun and the moon contained a figurative message, “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night … And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness” (Gen 1:16,18). The message contained in these heavenly bodies before man had even been created is that there would be two rulers over humanity and one would be greater than the other. Salvation is about which lord or master is ours.

About 4,000 years later the Son of God became a man and preached this same message of salvation—faithfulness to Him as our Lord and Ruler: “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24); “Who then is a faithful and wise servant” (Mat 25:45); “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Mat 25:21); “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46); “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luk 16:11); “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luk 17:10); “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am” (Jhn 13:13).

The apostle John began his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word [Message], and the Word [Message] was with God, and the Word [Message] 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” (Jhn 1:1-3), “And the Word [Message] was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jhn 1:14). When the Son of God became a man, He exemplified the message He preached in the beginning. His life and preaching embodied that same message to such an extent that John spoke metaphorically of Him as the Message.

Later in his Gospel, John recorded Jesus foretelling of His Advocacy for us at His Father’s right hand: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever … But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit [breath]” (Jhn 14:16, 26 NIV); “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit [breath] of truth” (Jhn 15:26 NIV); “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you” (Jhn 16:7 NIV). The message the Son of God preached in the beginning, “the greater light to rule the day” (Gen 1:16), is the same message He later preached of His Rule and Advocacy at the right hand of God.

Because of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, He is now “the greater light,” our Ruler or Advocate at the right hand of God in heaven: “Sit thou at my right hand” (Psa 110:1); “he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mar 16:19); “being by the right hand of God exalted” (Act 2:33); “who is even at the right hand of God” (Rom 8:34); “set him at his own right hand” (Eph 1:20); “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); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1); “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); “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 message of salvation has been detoured

The entire issue of salvation preached by the Son of God since the beginning is which lord, master, or ruler we’re serving. And since “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24), if we’re not serving the Lord Jesus Christ, then we’re serving the devil and his cohorts. But to impede people from being ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore maintain his rule over them, the devil diverts the message preached to anything else. As long as people aren’t hearing the message of faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ as Advocate at God’s right hand, they’re not being ruled by “the greater light” but by “the lesser light.”

The Protestant Reformation about 500 years ago was supposedly an enlightenment that the statement “the just shall live by his faith [emuna 530]” (Hab 2:4), “the just shall live by faith [pistis 4102]” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38), is to simply believe and only believe. But the Hebrew emuna and Greek pistis translated as “faith” means “faithfulness” which agrees with what was preached in the beginning—faithfulness and loyalty to the “the greater light.” The Reformation wasn’t a return to the message from the beginning but the beginning of a new message! It transferred the message preached to an entirely different context—from “faithful service to the Lord” to “faith or belief in the Lord.”

Within the context of faithful service to the Lord, water baptism is the point of change in lord, master, or ruler over our lives. We repent of our sinful past and commit ourselves to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—to serve and obey Him faithfully to death. God breathes His breath into our hearts and His Son becomes our Lord and Advocate at His right hand. We live daily obeying Him, submitting to Him, and agreeing with Him. And when we die in faithfulness to Him, we’re assured of being raised to eternal life at His return.

On the other hand, in the context of faith or belief in the Lord, an altar-call or sinner’s prayer is the point of “salvation.” We repent of our sins and make a confession of faith or belief in Jesus Christ. At that moment we’re born again as new creatures with eternal life inside—our spirit person changes from spiritual death to spiritual life. We’re saved right now and assured of going to heaven after we die.

Christians today call themselves “believers” but the apostles and early Christians called themselves servants: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:1); “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ” (Col 4:12); “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ” (Phl 1:1); “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Tit 1:1); “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Jas 1:1); “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2Pe 1:1); “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ” (Jde 1:1).

Christianity has become a “Jesus” religion. By quoting Paul’s statement out of context, “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), salvation has become simply confessing Him as Lord and believing facts about Him.

However, Jesus said that we must serve Him as Lord and do what He said: “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24); “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 why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46). And Paul agreed, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom 6:16). We’re not servants of whom we confess as Lord but of whom we obey as Lord! Therefore, what he said later, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” (Rom 10:9), wasn’t merely a confession but a commitment.

Although it’s good and necessary that we’re taught to believe the facts of Jesus Christ’s divinity and humanity, virgin birth, life and ministry, miracles, death, burial, and resurrection, hardly anything is being taught about His position and function today at the right hand of God. This isn’t by mistake but by design. Principalities and powers—the devil and his minions—don’t want the message preached about Christ’s position at the right hand of God with all power and authority over them: “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, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:20-21); “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it … If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col 2:15,3:1); “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).

We wrestle not against flesh and blood

Paul revealed that flesh and blood isn’t what we’re ultimately struggling against, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [methodeia 3180] 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 places.” (Eph 6:11-12). The “rulers of the darkness” are “the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen 1:16) preached in the beginning. Paul had used the same Greek word methodeia earlier when speaking about the deceptions of men, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait [methodeia 3180] to deceive” (Eph 4:14). The devil rules over flesh and blood people and uses them as instruments to spread his wiles and deceptions.

The devil not only wants us to believe there is no God but also that there is no devil! He’s not trying to make himself known but exactly the opposite. His strategy is for us to forget all about him, live as though he doesn’t exist, and assume people just act from their own initiative. He gets us fighting with each other rather than against him.

He uses people, including ministers of churches, as his instruments, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2Co 11:14-15). We’re quite naïve if we think this isn’t even more of a problem today than it was in the churches established and overseen by the apostle Paul himself. If wolves ravished the church in Ephesus as soon as he left, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Act 20:29), then they’re certainly wreaking more havoc almost 2,000 years later.

The devil understands salvation better than we do. He knows that as long as he’s ruling over us, then we’re on our way to destruction, “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction” (Mat 7:13). And he knows very well what to have his ministers teach in churches to keep people under his rule yet think they’re on their way to eternal life, “narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life” (Mat 7:14).

Protestant Trinitarian pastors are quite confident and relaxed that they’re doing a good job. But the “job” they’re doing depends on who they’re working for. Of course if they’re working for God, then their flocks are headed to eternal life. But if they’re working for the devil, then their flocks are bound for destruction so long as they keep them following their teaching. And since they’re teaching that God is a Trinity of Persons, Jesus is God Himself, man is an immortal spirit living in a body, and salvation is by believing, then it’s obvious who they must be working for. These highly intelligent men are embracing and advancing false views of the most important subjects. How can every one of them be wrong about what’s most crucial? Jesus Christ didn’t teach these things and if they won’t submit to what He taught, what other conclusion can be drawn about them?

One of the most accurate indicators of which “way” we’re heading—destruction or eternal life—is how we’re treated by the devil’s ministers. Since the devil knows who is under his rule and who isn’t, his ministers conduct themselves differently toward both groups. Those under his rule are treated well in church to keep them going the wrong way, all the while assuming they’re heading the right way. On the other hand, since those under the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ are seen as a threat, they’re dealt with in various ways including shunning, discouraging, intimidating, mocking, belittling, reprimanding, and employing an array of setups and stumbling blocks intended to make them fall or at least slow them down.

The devil’s ministers plot and scheme various traps for the godly to be entangled and snared thereby: “And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him” (1Sa 23:9); “The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth” (Psa 37:12); “They also that seek after my life lay snares for me” (Psa 38:12); “They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul” (Psa 56:6); “The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me” (Psa 140:5); “Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah” (Jer 18:18); “All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him” (Jer 20:10); “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom” (Dan 6:4); “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk … But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?” (Mat 22:15,18); “And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words … But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me?” (Mar 12:13,15); “Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him” (Luk 11:54); “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words … But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?” (Luk 20:20,23); “But their laying await was known of Saul” (Act 9:24); “in perils among false brethren” (2Co 11:26); “by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph 4:14); “false brethren unawares brought in” (Gal 2:4); “For there are certain men crept in unawares” (Jde 1:4).

They set up stumbling blocks and snares to cause the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ to fall into sin and fall away. And if they can’t get them out of the way entirely, they’ll at least work at slowing them down from effectively doing God’s work. They have an arsenal of tactics intended to distract them, discourage them, and discredit them.

However, the souls of those in church that simply flow with the system and don’t rock the boat are obviously in danger since they’re treated well by comparison. They’re recognized, encouraged, honored, esteemed, and placed in prominent positions. Sadly, it’s ominous evidence of the way they’re headed. As long as the devil’s system is flowing smoothly, his ministers are confident of the end result.

Conclusion

Our salvation isn’t just about faith or belief. It’s ultimately a spiritual battle that requires depending on God’s strength to overcome the evil spirits bent on destroying us. Jesus Himself exhorted all seven churches in the book of Revelation, “To him that overcometh,” “He that overcometh,” “Him that overcometh” (Rev 2:7,11,17,26, 3:5,12,21). It’s about staying faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ through the deceptions, temptations, and oppositions that come against us. It’s about being ruled by Him and not by “the god of this world” (2Co 4:4).

The devil doesn’t want us to know these things. He wants us thinking that salvation is simply by believing some facts are true. But the main logical conclusion of a salvation that’s by “faith alone” is that ultimately we’re secure no matter what we do or don’t do—the very opposite of what Jesus taught, “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).

The devil doesn’t want us to know the depths of his involvement in our lives. He wants us thinking that we just make wrong choices and mistakes, and that we’re the victims of circumstance. He wants us thinking that the beliefs and teaching of his ministers is the fruit of their intelligence and academic achievement when it’s mainly out of their loyalty to him. After all, how can they be ministers of God while disagreeing with the teaching of the Son of God? If shown the truth that Jesus Christ taught, the fear of the Lord should compel them to change what they’re teaching. Otherwise, what other conclusion can be drawn?

As long as the devil keeps us from serving the Lord Jesus Christ, he keeps us serving him. This is what the message of “faith alone” is intended to do. It’s meant to detour us from the message preached from the beginning—faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of God. The true message that leads to eternal life is what was preached in the beginning by the Son of God and what He preached again when He came into this world.

10 Reasons the Doctrine of the Trinity is False

  1. Only God the Father and the Son of God know each other, and only the Son has seen the Father.
    • Only the Father and Son know each other: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Mat 11:27); “Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (Jhn 8:19); “Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying” (Jhn 8:55); “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (Jhn 10:15); “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me” (Jhn 17:25).
    • Nobody but the Son has seen God the Father: “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); “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” (Jhn 5:37); “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (Jhn 6:46); “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (1Ti 6:16); “No man hath seen God at any time” (1Jo 4:12).
    • The Son called Himself “the Son of God” and the Father called Him “My Beloved Son.” The Son never called Himself “God” and the Father never called His Son “God.” Furthermore, the Son did call His Father “God” and even called Him “My God.” Finally, neither of them called the Holy Spirit [Breath] “God.” What the Father and Son said about each other is the final word. Who dare say otherwise?
  2. Jesus Christ taught that God is one Person.
    • 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, and excluded Himself from the only true God.
    • Jesus affirmed what Moses wrote, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, 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 “The Ruler” is “one Ruler,” therefore Jesus Himself attested that God is not three co-equal Rulers but one.
    • The Greek theos for “God” or “gods” is grammatically in the singular or plural form depending on the number of persons. One person requires theos to be singular while multiple persons requires it to be plural. This is simple grammar. And since Jesus always used theos in the singular when speaking about God, then God must be one Person. This is further bolstered by the fact that when He spoke about men as gods—more than one person as theos—He used the plural, “I said, Ye are gods [theos]? If he called them gods [theos]” (Jhn 10:34-35). Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul both used this word in plural and singular form even within the same statement, “I said, Ye are gods [theos]? If he called them gods [theos], unto whom the word of God [theos] came” (Jhn 10:34-35), “For though there be that are called gods [theos], whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods [theos] many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God [theos], the Father” (1Co 8:5-6). Paul also emphasized that the plural is “many” and the singular is “one.” Since both Jesus and Paul understood and used theos as either plural or singular based on the number of persons, then the singular Theos is one Person.
  3. Scripture is replete with statements identifying the Father as God with many of these same statements also distinguishing the Son in distinction from Him as the Lord Jesus Christ: “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 said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (Jhn 5:18); “for him hath God the Father sealed” (Jhn 6:27); “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (Jhn 6:46); “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God” (Jhn 13:3); “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” (Jhn 16:27); “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jhn 20:17); “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 this, which ye now see and hear” (Act 2:33); “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:7); “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15:6); “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (1Co 1:3); “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” (1Co 8:6); “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father” (1Co 15:24); “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (1Co 1:2-3); “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not” (2Co 11:31); “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)” (Gal 1:1); “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Gal 1:3-4); “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:2-3); “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” (Eph 1:17); “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:6); “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:20); “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 6:23); “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phl 1:2); “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phl 2:11); “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Phl 4:20); “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Col 1:2-3); “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col 3:17); “unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1Th 1:1); “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father” (1Th 1:3); “Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you” (1Th 3:11); “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1Th 3:13); “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1:1-2); “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2Th 2:16); “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1Ti 1:2); “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (2Ti 1:2); “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit 1:4); “Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phm 1:3); “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this” (Jas 1:27); “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God” (Jas 3:9); “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1Pe 1:2); “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:3); “For he received from God the Father honour and glory” (2Pe 1:17); “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2Jo 1:3); “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called” (Jde 1:1); “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:6).
  4. The throne of God is the Father’s while the Son is seated next to Him on His right hand. We’re never told that the Father is seated on the left hand of the Son and we’re never told of a third Person seated on the throne with them: “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); “who is even at the right hand of God” (Rom 8:34); “set him at his own right hand” (Eph 1:20); “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); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1); “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); “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).
  5. The Father is Jesus Christ’s God.
    • Jesus Christ Himself called His Father “My God” twice before He died, once before He ascended to heaven, and four times after He had ascended to heaven: “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” (Rev 3:12).
    • The prophets and apostles wrote that the Father is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? … O my God, I cry in the daytime … thou art my God from my mother’s belly” (Psa 22:1-2, 10); “I delight to do thy will, O my God” (Psa 40:8); “God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15:6); “And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1Co 3:23); “the head of Christ is God” (1Co 11:3); “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Co 11:31); “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:3); “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory” (Eph 1:17); “God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Col 1:3); “therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Heb 1:9); “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:3).
  6. The Father and Son aren’t co-equal. The Son derives His power and authority from the Father: “until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa 110:1); “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); “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luk 22:69); “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); “for my Father is greater than I” (Jhn 14:28); “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted” (Act 2:33); “Him hath God exalted” (Act 5:31); “For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1Co 15:27-28); “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:22); “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Phl 2:9); “he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Heb 1:4); “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); “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev 5:12).
  7. The Trinitarian claim that Jesus was eternally begotten is an oxymoron. The normal and reasonable understanding of a father and son relationship is that a son begins existing at the time he is begotten or brought forth. The Son of God hasn’t always existed but had a beginning when He was begotten or brought forth by His Father before the creation of the universe: “When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth” (Pro 8:24-25); “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); “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); “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jhn 3:16); “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jhn 3:18); “If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (Jhn 8:42); “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (Jhn 16:27-28); “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me” (Jhn 17:8); “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:19).
  8. The miraculous works Jesus Christ performed were not by any divine power He retained when He became fully human, but were by God the Father performing the works through Him.
    • Jesus Himself said that He couldn’t do the miraculous works but that His Father was doing them: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God” (Mat 12:28); “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); “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); “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (Jhn 14:10).
    • Jesus Christ performed miracles as the Prophet foretold by Moses, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet … I will raise them up a Prophet” (Deu 18:15, 18). God performed the miracles through Him as the Prophet: “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Mat 21:11); “That a great prophet is risen up among us” (Luk 7:16); “no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (Jhn 3:2); “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); “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); “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost 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).
  9. The Holy Spirit [Hagios Pneuma] is not a personal being but the Breath of God. The Greek pneuma should have been translated throughout the New Testament as “breath” not “spirit.”
    • The Greek pneuma is simply the noun form of the verb pneo which means “to blow” (Mat 7:25, 27; Luk 12:55; Jhn 3:8, 6:18; Act 27:40; Rev 7:1).
    • The Greek pneuma is where our English word “pneumonia” is derived which a respiratory infection in the air sacs of the lungs that causes difficulty in breathing and can be life-threatening. Another word is “pneumatics” which is the scientific study of compressed air, not of spirit beings!
    • Jesus Himself defined Hagios Pneuma as “breath” by literally breathing on His disciples, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [Hagios Pneuma]” (Jhn 20:22).
    • It’s the Breath of God the Father: “the Spirit [Breath] of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2); “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit [Breath] of your Father which speaketh in you” (Mat 10:20); “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit [Breath] to them that ask him?” (Luk 11:13); “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit [Breath] of truth, which proceedeth from the Father” (Jhn 15:26); “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9); “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwelleth in you?” (1Co 3:16).
    • It’s because Jesus Christ has been given full agency and proxy over God’s Breath that the presence of the Holy Breath in our hearts is the equivalency of Jesus Christ: “if so be that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwell in you. 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 with groanings which cannot be uttered … 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, crying, Abba, Father” (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); “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).
    • Many years after His ascension and seating at the right hand of God, Jesus gave seven messages to seven churches in Asia. He declared “These things saith the Son of God” (Rev 2:18), and concluded each message with, “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 called Himself “the Breath” not just once or twice but seven times!
  10. The doctrine of the Trinity is illogical: the one God consists of three co-equal Persons; Jesus is “God the Son” but also “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.

The Separated Breath

Introduction

Ask several Christians their view of the Holy Spirit and you’ll likely get an array of different answers. Most aren’t very confident in what they know and believe about this subject. Some say that it’s a force or a power while others maintain that it’s a personal being. The primary cause for the confusion is the Trinitarian teaching that the Holy Spirit is a person and the mistranslation of the Hebrew word ruwach and Greek word pneuma as “spirit” implying that it’s a person.

I was a Trinitarian the first 25 years of my Christian life, believing that the one God exists in three co-equal Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I didn’t reach this view of God through my own study of the Scriptures. Rather, it was imposed upon me by the teaching of my local church and theological books. Although it’s illogical that one God could exist as three Persons, I learned to just swallow that bitter pill and move on.

Eventually, I began studying the Scriptures concerning the Holy Spirit and concluded that it isn’t a person but God’s breath. The Hebrew “ruwach of God” in the Old Testament and Greek “pneuma of God” in the New Testament is the breath of God. It isn’t a personal being—a living, self-conscious, rational, and moral agent. It’s simply the breath of God or God’s breath from His mouth.

Concluding that the Holy Spirit isn’t a person is where my journey of learning the truth about God began. Once I came to that knowledge, then the entire doctrine of the Trinity was suspect. If Trinitarian teachers—scholars, theologians, and pastors—are wrong about one of the “persons” of the Trinity, then everything else they teach about God is on the table. In fact, everything else they teach about anything else is open for discussion. The doctrine of God is the most important subject of all. If highly intelligent and educated Trinitarian teachers are wrong about what’s most important, how can they be trusted to be right about anything else?

Introducing God’s breath

The first mention of God’s breath in the Scriptures is within the very first words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit [ruwach] of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:1-2). In its initial introduction through God’s revelation, the ruwach of God is identified as something belonging to Him as His possession. It’s “the breath of God” or His breath. In the beginning, there wasn’t a person flying over the water like superman! God was blowing from His mouth, His breath across the surface of the water.

The next occurrence of ruwach in Scripture, it’s the wind, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool [ruwach] of the day” (Gen 3:8). 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). There’s no mistaking from the context that ruwach is simply air, wind, or breath.

The third time ruwach appears, God Himself is speaking about His breath, “And the LORD said, My spirit [ruwach] shall not always strive with man” (Gen 6:3). In its introduction it was “the breath of God” and now it’s Himself calling it “My breath.” Therefore, ruwach is of Himself, not an entirely separate being from Himself.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth occurrences of ruwach are about the breath of life from God in the nostrils of all living beings, “wherein is the breath [ruwach] of life” (Gen 6:17, 7:15), “All in whose nostrils was the breath [ruwach] of life” (Gen 7:22). This is referring back to the creation of man to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). This is how God imparted life to man. We’re even told later in Scripture that the ruwach into man’s nostrils is simply God’s breath from His mouth, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth” (Psa 33:6). It’s not a Person. It’s His breath from His mouth!

The ruwach and pneuma of God

In the Old Testament, the translators rendered ruwach as “breath,” “blast,” or “wind” when the immediate context forced it upon them: “And with the blast [ruwach] of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together” (Exo 15:8); “at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils” (2Sa 22:16); “By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils are they consumed” (Job 4:9); “by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth shall he go away” (Job 15:30); “all the host of them by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth” (Psa 33:6); “he causeth his wind [ruwach] to blow” (Psa 147:18); “with the breath [ruwach] of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isa 11:4). However, when various contexts allowed the translators a degree of freedom to render ruwach as “spirit” to imply a person, they always took that liberty. It’s simply translator bias—rendering statements to comport with their beliefs and what they wanted communicated.

In the New Testament, the Greek pneuma translated consistently as “spirit” is the noun form of the verb pneo which means “to blow.” The contexts of all seven occurrences of this word agree: “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew [pneo] … And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew [pneo]” (Mat 7:25, 27); “And when ye see the south wind blow [pneo]” (Luk 12:55); “The wind bloweth [pneo] where it listeth” (Jhn 3:8); “And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew [pneo]” (Jhn 6:18); “and hoised up the mainsail to the wind [pneo]” (Act 27:40); “that the wind should not blow [pneo] on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree” (Rev 7:1). There’s nothing inherent in the word pneuma that implies a conscious personal being. It’s simply breath or wind as its verb counterpart attests. Also, pneuma is neuter in gender, not masculine or feminine which would be required if referring to a person.

Furthermore, the Greek pneuma is where the English word “pneumonia”—a respiratory infection in the air sacs of the lungs that causes difficulty in breathing and can be life-threatening—is derived. Also, “pneumology” which is the medical study of the lungs and respiratory organs. And “pneumatics” which is a branch of engineering using systems of compressed air.

Lastly, Jesus Christ Himself is the highest authority with the final word and He defined pneuma as breath by literally blowing from His mouth onto His disciples, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [pneuma]” (Jhn 20:22). He also likened the new birth, “that which is born of the Spirit [pneuma] is spirit [pneuma]” (Jhn 3:6), to the wind blowing, “The wind [pneuma] bloweth [pneo] where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit [pneuma]” (Jhn 3:8). Jesus Christ Himself said that pneuma is like the wind blowing.

God’s Breath is our life

Man isn’t an autonomous immortal spirit being that can live outside the body. That’s simply Roman Catholic Church doctrine rooted in Greek philosophy and appropriated by the Protestant reformation. Man is simply a physical being formed from the earth and brought to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed [naphach] into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7).

The Hebrew verb naphach simply means “to breathe” or “to blow” as it’s used in all eleven of its other occurrences in Scripture: “a fire not blown [naphach] shall consume him” (Job 20:26); “I have caused to breathe out [naphach]” (Job 31:39 YLT); “Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething [naphach] pot or caldron” (Job 41:20); “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth [naphach] the coals in the fire” (Isa 54:16); “I see a seething [naphach] pot” (Jer 1:13); “She hath breathed out [naphach] her spirit” (Jer 15:9 YLT); “to blow [naphach] the fire upon it … I will gather you, and blow [naphach] upon you in the fire of my wrath” (Eze 22:20-21); “O breath, and breathe [naphach] upon these slain, that they may live” (Eze 37:9); “I did blow [naphach] upon it” (Hag 1:9); “ye have snuffed [naphach] at it” (Mal 1:13).

The Hebrew noun neshamah in “the breath [neshamah] of life” is used synonymously with ruwach in several other places of Scripture: “All in whose nostrils was the breath [neshamah] [ruwach] of life, of all that was in the dry land, died” (Gen 7:22); “at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast [neshamah] of the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils” (2Sa 22:16); “By the blast [neshamah] of God they perish, and by the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils are they consumed” (Job 4:9); “All the while my breath [neshamah] is in me, and the spirit [ruwach] of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3); “But there is a spirit [ruwach] in man: and the inspiration [neshamah] of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32:8); “The Spirit [ruwach] of God hath made me, and the breath [neshamah] of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4); “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit [ruwach] and his breath [neshamah]” (Job 34:14); “O LORD, at the blast [neshamah] of the breath [ruwach] of thy nostrils” (Psa 18:15); “he that giveth breath [neshamah] unto the people upon it, and spirit [ruwach] to them that walk therein” (Isa 42:5); “for the spirit [ruwach] should fail before me, and the souls [neshamah] which I have made” (Isa 57:16).

Since man is from the earth and brought to life by God’s breath in his nostrils, then death is the departing of the breath and the returning of the body to the earth: “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit [breath] and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust” (Job 34:14-15); “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust” (Psa 104:29); “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psa 146:4); “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [breath] shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc 12:7).

Taking this further, since life and death consists of the imparting and departing of God’s breath in man’s nostrils, then resurrection from the dead to eternal life is consistent with this. God raises the dead by breathing life back into the body: “It is the spirit [breath] that quickeneth” (Jhn 6:63); “the Spirit [breath] of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2); “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11); “a quickening spirit [breath]” (1Co 15:45); “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18); “the Spirit [breath] of life from God entered into them” (Rev 11:11).

The Son of God became fully human just as we are—a physical being with God’s breath in His nostrils. He isn’t a dual-being but a human being. The breath in His nostrils returned to God when He died, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [pneuma]: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost [exhaled]” (Luk 23:46). And God’s breath returned to Him when He was raised, “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11), “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18).

Our hope is eternal life

The hope of God’s people has always been bodily resurrection to eternal life: “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); “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26); “my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psa 16:9); “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psa 17:15); “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death” (Pro 14:32); “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isa 26:19); “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); “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); “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (Hab 2:4); “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); “of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question” (Act 23:6); “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); “the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers” (Act 26:6); “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” (Act 28:20); “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:17); “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); “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phl 3:21);  “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1Th 4:13); “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Tit 1:2); “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit 3:7); “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power” (Rev 20:6).

The consequences of God’s breath as a person

God’s breath as a person isn’t the truth and isn’t reality. By making His breath into something it’s not, it encroaches upon His glory—that His breath is not only a person but even a person that is co-equal with Himself! Trinitarianism is somewhat analogous to the people of the United States affirming that the President’s son is co-equal with him and even the President’s breath from his mouth and nose is another person that’s also co-equal with him.

The primary ramification of misrepresenting God’s breath as a person is that it not only allows but also requires a different message of salvation. Because if ruwach and pneuma isn’t God’s breath, then it isn’t God’s breath in our nostrils that makes us alive—we’re inherently immortal spirit beings living inside a body. And if we’re inherently immortal spirit beings, then death isn’t the cessation of life and perishing isn’t annihilation. And if we’re inherently immortal spirit beings, then eternal life isn’t resurrection by God’s breath in our nostrils to never die again but an internal change of the immortal spirit being from spiritual death to spiritual life. Therefore, Christianity isn’t a life of faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ in hope of eternal life at His return but a one-time faith confession to go to heaven after death. The consequence of a wrong view of God and a wrong view of man is a wrong message of salvation which is no salvation.

The Greater Light ruling the Day

A favorite saying of many is, “If it’s new, it’s not true!” Well, it doesn’t get any older than “In the beginning”! The gospel message of salvation was shown in a mystery from the very beginning to leave us without excuse.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided [badal] the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis 1:1-5)

The Hebrew verb badal means “to divide,” “to separate,” or “to sever.” These very first words of God in the beginning were figurative and prophetic of what He would later perform by dividing, separating, or severing His people from all other people, “I am the LORD your God, which have separated [badal] you from other people … have severed [badal] you from other people, that ye should be mine” (Lev 20:24, 26). God’s people are light which He called “Day,” and all other people are darkness which He called “Night.” Then God proceeded to distinguish them both by a ruler over them.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide [badal] 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 [badal] the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:14-18)

This is what Paul meant by “in heavenly” at the beginning of Ephesians: “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: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Eph 1:3-4). God’s chosen people were shown by the Greater Light in heaven ruling over them while all other people are ruled by the lesser light, “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” (Eph 6:12), “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8).

The Greater Light shown in the beginning is now sitting at the right hand of God, greater and far above all principalities and powers, “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” (Eph 1:20-21). Paul earnestly wanted us to understand these things, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Eph 1:18), but those ruled by the lesser light don’t want these things to be understood.

God’s people are saved by God’s favor, “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 2:5-6). God divided His people from all other people, and extends favor to them by His Son Jesus Christ advocating for them at His right hand. Christ’s advocacy as our Mediator and Interceder is as if we’re sitting there ourselves! But the Greater Light only advocates for us when we’re being ruled by Him—we must obey His commandments.

John chapters 14-16 is Jesus Christ speaking figuratively of Himself in His future role as our Advocate at God’s right hand over all principality and power, “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (Jhn 16:10). Yet it’s being taught that this is an entirely different Person than Jesus Christ—another Person that doesn’t even exist! Is this just an honest mistake? Well, it doesn’t agree with the message from the beginning. If it’s new, it’s not true!

The separated people of God

The Hebrew adjective qadowsh translated primarily as “holy” or sometimes as “saint” in the Old Testament means “separated,” “divided,” or “set apart.” God chose His people Israel and separated them from all other people: “For thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deu 7:6); “For thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deu 14:2); “Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God” (Deu 14:21); “And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken” (Deu 26:19); “The LORD shall establish thee an holy [qadowsh] people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways” (Deu 28:9).

Throughout the New Testament, the Greek adjective hagios is translated as either “holy” or “saints” but means “separated” or “set apart.” The Hebrew qadowsh for “holy” is simply the adjective form of the verb qadash for “sanctify,” “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify [qadash] yourselves, and ye shall be holy [qadowsh]; for I am holy [qadowsh]” (Lev 11:44). God’s people were to be divided and separated from the sinful people around them because God is separate—He was not their God and He was not among them. Peter quoted this statement with its Greek counterpart hagios, “But as he which hath called you is holy [hagios], so be ye holy [hagios] in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy [hagios]; for I am holy [hagios]” (1Pe 1:15-16).

When used for God’s people in the New Testament, the translators rendered the adjective hagios as “saints” rather than “separated” which obscures the identity of the subjects. The “saints” are simply God’s people, separated or set apart from all other people in the world: “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints [hagios] which slept arose” (Mat 27:52); “thy saints [hagios] at Jerusalem” (Act 9:13); “the saints [hagios] which dwelt at Lydda” (Act 9:32); “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints [hagios] did I shut up in prison” (Act 26:10); “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints [hagios]” (Rom 1:7); “Distributing to the necessity of saints [hagios]” (Rom 12:13); “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints [hagios]” (Rom 15:25); “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints [hagios]” (1Co 1:2); “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints [hagios]” (1Co 14:33); “Now concerning the collection for the saints [hagios]” (1Co 16:1); “unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints [hagios] which are in all Achaia” (2Co 1:1); “and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints [hagios]” (2Co 8:4); “For as touching the ministering to the saints [hagios], it is superfluous for me to write to you” (2Co 9:1); “All the saints [hagios] salute you” (2Co 13:13); “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints [hagios] which are at Ephesus” (Eph 1:1); “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints [hagios], and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19); “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints [hagios]” (Eph 5:3); “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints [hagios] in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi” (Phl 1:1); “All the saints [hagios] salute you” (Phl 4:22); “To the saints [hagios] and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse” (Col 1:2); “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints [hagios] in light” (Col 1:12); “Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints [hagios]” (Phm 1:5); “in that ye have ministered to the saints [hagios], and do minister” (Heb 6:10); “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints [hagios]” (Heb 13:24); “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints [hagios]” (Jde 1:3); “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints [hagios], and to overcome them” (Rev 13:7); “For they have shed the blood of saints [hagios] and prophets” (Rev 16:6).

Since hagios means “separated,” then hagios pneuma translated consistently as “Holy Spirit” should be “separated breath.” It’s not a holy spirit being or a reverent person. It’s God’s breath in the hearts of His people that separates or sets them apart from all other people.

The people of God have God’s breath dwelling in their hearts: “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); “But if the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit [breath] that dwelleth in you” (Rom 8:11); “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit [breath] of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15); “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?” (1Co 6:19); “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit [breath] in our hearts” (2Co 1:22); “God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit [breath]” (2Co 5:5); “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit [breath] of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6); “ye were sealed with that holy Spirit [breath] of promise” (Eph 1:13); “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit [breath]” (Eph 2:22); “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost [breath] which dwelleth in us” (2Ti 1:14); “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit [breath] which he hath given us” (1Jo 3:24).

Jude urged God’s people in his days to “earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jde 1:3). They were to continue being faithful to God and distinct from all other people “having not the Spirit [breath]” (Jde 1:19). They were separated unto faithfulness by God’s breath, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy [separated] faith [faithfulness], praying in the Holy Ghost [separated breath]” (Jde 1:20).

The anointed one

Israel’s political structure became a Monarchy at the time that Samuel anointed Saul as their first King or Messiah by pouring oil upon his head, “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed [mashach] thee to be captain over his inheritance?” (1Sa 10:1). Saul’s anointing was also the point when the breath of God came upon him, “And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit [ruwach] of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them” (1Sa 10:10). Saul was later rejected as King and David was anointed in his place with the breath of the Lord coming upon him, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed [mashach] him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit [ruwach] of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1Sa 16:13).

The Hebrew word mashach is the verb form of the noun mashiyach which is transliterated into English as messiah. Messiah is the man that was anointed as king as David was called, “Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed [mashiyach], to David, and to his seed for evermore” (Psa 18:50), “For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed [mashiyach]” (Psa 132:10)

Both the verb and noun forms were used by Daniel when prophesying of Jesus the Messiah:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint [mashach] the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah [mashiyach] the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah [mashiyach] be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:24-26)

The Son of God was anointed by God as the King or Messiah at His baptism when the breath of God came upon Him: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit [pneuma] of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat 3:16-17); “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit [pneuma] like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mar 1:10-11); Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost [pneuma] descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luk 3:21-22).

Isaiah had prophesied that the breath of God would be upon Him: “And the spirit [ruwach] of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isa 11:2); “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit [ruwach] upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” (Isa 42:1); “The Spirit [ruwach] of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed [mashach] me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isa 61:1).

The Spirit [pneuma] of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed [chrio] 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 [chrio] Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost [pneuma] 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 Christ is our Advocate at the Father’s right hand

The Father has given all things to His Son: “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); “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (Jhn 5:22); “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); “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phl 2:10); “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).

Since all things have been given to the Son, the Son has been given full agency and proxy over God the Father’s breath. 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). Therefore, the Son makes the final decision of who will be raised to eternal life.

It’s because Jesus Christ has full agency and proxy over God’s breath that it’s His prerogative for God’s Breath to dwell in our hearts. Therefore, the presence of God’s Breath in our hearts is the equivalency of 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 is one that 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).

Prior to His death, Jesus spoke of His advocacy at the Father’s right hand, but figuratively of Himself as the 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); “Though I have been speaking figuratively” (Jhn 16:25 NIV). That He was speaking of Himself as our Advocate before the Father, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6), “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (Jhn 16:10), Paul and John 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).

After His seating at the right hand of God, Jesus gave seven messages to seven churches concluding each message with, “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 was calling Himself “the breath.” Of course He was speaking metaphorically because He also called Himself the Son of God literally, “These things saith the Son of God” (Rev 2:18). 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 each letter, “hear what the 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 to eternal life by His breath!”

Conclusion

The very first words in Scripture attest to God’s breath, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit [ruwach] of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:1-2). And Scripture is consistent in teaching this view throughout. The only passage where a “person” can be construed is John chapters 14, 15 and 16 where Jesus spoke figuratively of Himself as God’s breath. However, He later defined it literally by blowing from His mouth onto His disciples, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [pneuma]” (Jhn 20:22).

God’s breath gave us life and will give us eternal life. Man isn’t an autonomous immortal spirit being that can live outside the body. He’s simply a physical being formed from the earth and brought to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed [naphach] into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). And God raises the dead by breathing life back into the body: “It is the spirit [breath] that quickeneth” (Jhn 6:63); “the Spirit [breath] of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2); “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11); “a quickening spirit [breath]” (1Co 15:45); “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18); “the Spirit [breath] of life from God entered into them” (Rev 11:11).

The consequence of teaching that God’s breath is a person is that it compels a false view of man and the message of man’s salvation. Because if ruwach and pneuma isn’t God’s breath, then man isn’t alive by God’s breath in his nostrils but is an inherently immortal spirit being living inside a body. Therefore, death isn’t the cessation of life and perishing isn’t annihilation. And eternal life isn’t resurrection by God’s breath in the nostrils to never die again but an internal change of the immortal spirit being from spiritual death to spiritual life. It becomes something we already have now rather than what we’re hoping for at the return of the Lord. The message from the beginning is that God would have a people to Himself, separated from all other people by His breath in their hearts and submission to the Lordship of His Son. The hagios pneuma isn’t “Holy Spirit” but “separated breath.” It’s not a holy or reverent person. It’s God’s breath in the hearts of His people that separates or sets them apart from all other people.

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Introduction

Why do many ministers discourage us from trying to understand the Bible ourselves? Why do they warn us that we’ll fall into error unless we learn from them and their system of theology? Could it be that the opposite is the case? Could it be that they’re knowingly teaching us error and don’t want us to find the truth by studying on our own?

It was a long and difficult process over the span of 30 years for me to come to the realization about the utter depth and expanse of deception being swayed over people by many and possibly even all Protestant Trinitarian churches today. Why won’t the leaders of these churches agree with what Jesus Christ taught about God and about Himself? How can they disagree with Him yet still be walking with Him, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amo 3:3)? It’s one thing to be ignorant of what Christ taught but quite another to know His teaching but willingly teach something different.

The two litmus tests

Jesus told us two main ways to identify false ministers and false Christians, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Mat 12:30). Whoever is not in agreement with Jesus is against Him, and whoever is not working with Him is working against Him. Now, someone can be sincerely ignorant or confused about what Jesus Christ taught and not be overtly disagreeing with Him. God’s mercy and forgiveness is there when we come to the knowledge of the truth and repent, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luk 23:34). However, those that know and understand what Jesus Christ taught but teach something different are against Him and are working against Him.

Jesus Christ’s teaching about God and about Himself is very clear and straightforward. The Son called Himself “the Son of God” and the Father called Him “My Beloved Son.” The Son never called Himself “God” and the Father never called His Son “God.” Furthermore, the Son did call His Father “God” and even called Him “My God.” And neither of them called the Holy Spirit “God.” The Father and the Son aren’t co-equal because the Son said that His Father “doeth the works” (Jhn 14:10), “is greater than I” (Jhn 14:28), “the only true God” (Jhn 17:3), and that His Father is “My God” (Mat 27:46; Jhn 20:17; Rev 3:12). To be with Him, we must be in agreement with what He taught, otherwise we’re against Him.

Jesus told us to keep His commandments and to teach others His commandments to keep: “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” (Mat 5:19); “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); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14); “For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus” (1Th 4:2); “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1Jo 2:3); “Blessed are they that do his commandments” (Rev 22:14). To be working with Him for the good of His Kingdom, we must obey His commandments and teach others His commandments.

There are two reliable litmus tests that expose whether someone is with Christ or against Him: (1) Do they agree with His teaching about God and about Himself? (2) Do they teach His commandments to others? Ministers in particular that have been clearly shown the simple and straightforward teaching of Christ about God and about Himself yet stubbornly refuse to submit to Him aren’t with Him—they’re not ministers of God. And when they teach people anything except Christ’s commandments, particularly the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew chapters 5-7, they bear the fruit of wolves.

We’ll know them by their fruit

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Jesus said that their fruit is how we’ll know them—the only way we’ll know them. We might have known for years and even decades dear Christian ministers and fellow laborers that seemed the model and example of loving, serving, and teaching others. They poured their hearts out in tears and nurtured people almost as if their own children. They’re warm, kind-hearted, loving, and sacrificing. Yet they won’t agree with the clear teaching of Jesus Christ about God and about Himself, and they don’t teach others Christ’s commandments to help them walk in obedience. They’re not with Him and they’re not working with Him. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are extremely good at what they do! Let’s not be naïve in supposing we can spot them—because we can’t. As Jesus said, they can only be known by their fruit.

Jesus told the religious leaders that the words they speak betrays them, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Mat 12:33-34). Those that are evil cannot speak in agreement with the good things Jesus spoke, and they cannot teach others the commandments He taught. They won’t teach others to obey and submit to Him because they’re working against Him. Wolves don’t teach the flock His commandments because they’re purposely leading them down the broad road of destruction.

Jesus told us to not only hear but also do His commandments, “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). However, wolves want the sheep to only hear yet think they’re on the narrow road that leads to life. They want them hearing sermons, listening to podcasts, memorizing Bible verses, sticking to a daily Bible reading plan, meeting in small group Bible studies, reading Christian books, and on and on it goes. They love to quote, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17), because they want them hearing, and hearing, and hearing but not doing.

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2Co 11:14-15). They appear to be ministering righteousness—helping people to be right with God. But they’re not. They’re extremely subtle, cunning, and deceitful.

Which side of the truth are we on?

“Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (Jhn 18:37), “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jhn 18:37 NIV). When the truth comes to our knowledge and understanding, we’re forced to take sides. Those that choose the side of the truth listen to Jesus while those against the truth won’t listen to Him.

When we’re on the side of the truth, we’ll have adversaries on the other side, “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” (Phl 1:28-30). The opposite sides of the truth are evidence of salvation and destruction. Having adversaries helps assure us that we’re on the right side of the truth, the side of salvation.

Suffering for His sake comes with the territory—it comes with being on the side of the truth, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Mat 5:11). To affirm and stand for the truth that Jesus Christ taught and suffer the consequences is to suffer for His sake and His glory. When we stand for the truth Jesus taught, His adversaries become ours and God will bless us for it.

When Paul said, “Having the same conflict which ye saw in me,” he certainly didn’t mean that we’ll necessarily be beaten, flogged, stoned, and shipwrecked like he was. He meant that we’ll also experience the same conflict over the truth. We’ll have adversaries using the same kinds of tactics against us that they used against him. The particular conflict the Philippians saw Paul and Silas have is that they were falsely accused before multitudes of people which led to their punishment, “And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.” (Act 16:20-22). The people were told false things about them to stir up animosity, retaliation, and unjust punishment, “But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans” (Act 16:37).

This same conflict had happened to Paul earlier in other regions, “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren” (Act 14:2), “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead” (Act 14:19). And this same conflict happened later in other regions, “Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.” (Act 17:7-8), “But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people” (Act 17:13).

When we’re on the side of the truth, we’ll experience the same conflict as Paul. We’ll have adversaries in positions of authority that will stir up people against us. We won’t always know what people are being told about us or why they have suddenly turned against us.

When we’re reproached for Christ’s name and His sake, it’s evidence that God’s breath is in us but not in them, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1Pe 4:14). These two “parts” or two sides of the truth reveal who belongs to God and who doesn’t.

Conclusion

“For I am not ashamed [epaischynomai] of the gospel of Christ” (Rom 1:16). Paul was not ashamed of the gospel Christ preached. He was not ashamed of Him and His words, “For whosoever shall be ashamed [epaischynomai] of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luk 9:26). Those that teach a different view of God than what Jesus Christ Himself taught should be suspect. If they’re sincerely ignorant by way of having been taught that view by men in seminary, then God will be merciful to them when they come to the knowledge of the truth and repent. However, when they’ve been shown the truth but refuse to change their teaching, they’re bearing the fruit of a wolf. They’re exhibiting the evidence of being ashamed of Him and of His words. Sanctification means “separated” or “set apart,” “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed [epaischynomai] to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11). Jesus separated His disciples from the rest of the world by the truth He taught them, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (Jhn 17:17). And He that separated them along with them that were separated by Him are “all of one,” they’re in unity and agreement about the truth. For that cause, for the cause of the truth, He’s not ashamed to call them His brethren, “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jhn 20:17). And He’s not ashamed to call us His brethren when we’re not ashamed to call His Father our Father, and His God our God!