Thursday, February 28, 2013

An Exegesis of First Corinthians 8:6-7

by Bishop Jerry Hayes 

Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.   7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. (1Corinthians  8:4-7)

Our focus is vv6 and 7.  However, I have given vv 4-7 in order to present the context of the vv under consideration. The context is eating food offered to idols, and the One God of the Christians as opposed to the many gods of the non-believers.
In v6 Paul declares the Father to be the only God.  Then he proceeds to mention Jesus Christ as the Lord. Jesus is mentioned separate from the ONLY God, who is the Father. Paul does not call Jesus God here (although he does at: Ro 9:5,Titus 2:13. Col 2:9, Acts 20:28) , nor is he referencing Jesus as God. In this place, Paul speaks of Jesus in His role as the Son of God, i.e. the human Christ. (The term “Lord” is in the sense of a human Lord — not as LORD God. Lord, in the sense that He, as a human, has won the victory over all evil and is humanly Lord of all the human sphere. Lord of sin, because  He conquered sin, Lord over death because He conquered death. One should see Romans 8:3, He condemned sin “in the flesh;” Ephesians 2:15, He abolished “in His flesh the enmity... ;”  Colossians 1:21b-22 He has “reconciled in the body of his flesh” the believers through His death; but, especially Hebrews 5:5-10,  So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:“You are My Son,Today I have begotten You.”6 As He also says in another place:“You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek”;7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek.”  This may be a difficult understanding to grasp, if one is of the opinion that the term “Lord” [when associated with Jesus] is always an indicator of His deity; which view, has been among the Oneness believers, almost from the beginning of the last century; but, I, personally, do not feel it is the most correct view.)

The phrase, “Of whom are all things” (Gk, ex ou) means “out of”, or “from whom;” the Father is the “source of the the universe,” as in Romans 11:36, and Colossians 1:16.

The pharse “and we for Him” (KJV has “we in him”) is the Gk “ei auton;” means that God is our goal.

Concerning the Son of God (the humanity of Jesus), when the text says, “by whom are all things” (KJV) the Gk is “de ou:  is speaking of the “instrument” of creation. Here the text says that all things were made “by” the Son; as in Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:12.  Now we know, from Scripture that Father God created all things. So, how is it, then, that the worlds were created “by” the Son, if the Son is man, not God? The way the Trinitarian explains this is that the Father (God the First Person) created through the Son (God the Second Person) as a agent; as one might hire a carpenter to build a house. The owner could say that he build the house through the carpenter, as his an agent. (But a more correct statement by the owner would be to say that he “had” the house build.)  This does violence to Scripture, because the Father says in Isaiah 44:24, “I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;”

The proper way to think of the Son creating is that He was the “instrument” of creation. God could not have created except “by” the work of the Son — on the cross. That is why the Bible states clearly that the Son was crucified BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD (Hebrews 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). God knew His universe would fall into sin, therefore all of creation was predicated upon that finished work of the Son of God — redemption. The Sonship, then was the “blueprint” (the instrument) by which God the Father created!

There is a very real sense in which the humanity of Jesus cannot be excluded from the creation any more than can wisdom or understanding. Proverbs 3:19 states: “The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.”  If we are not to understand that neither wisdom nor understanding physically made the worlds, then why should not the same discernment be applied to the statements concerning the worlds being made by the Son.  In fact, this is seen to be reasonable by the Greek text of the passages under consideration. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, Edinburg, 1901, pages 133 and 134: Greek dia as found in Hebrews 1:2 and translated in the KJV as by, is the instrumental cause; of the ground or reason of which anything is or is not done; by reason of, because of… . Therefore, God the Father created by (dia) the Son.  That is to say, With the Son in view, as the cause – the ground – the reason – and the instrument of creation (Hebrews 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8).  

The statement from v7 “However, there is not in everyone that knowledge;” is in reference to, “Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world,” from v4. Paul is saying that eating meat offered to idols is really of no consequence since the idol is nothing; it only exists in the mind of the people that worship it. So, while you have liberty to eat such food be watchful that you do not offend the weak in the faith that do not have this knowledge. Example: You may have the liberty to eat an Easter Egg because you know that the goddess for which it is a symbol is not real; however your brother may not have that knowledge and would be offended seeing you eat food associated with idols.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Apostolic Eschatology

Letters to My Children
Bishop Jerry Hayes
This is the Introduction to a series of letters I wrote to my three children upon receiving the light of Apostolic Eschatology. At the time I did not know what to call the enlightenment. I only knew the light was bright and glorious. I wish to share this with you. 
Dear Beloved Children,
Praise the Lord and God of us all, namely, Jesus Christ.
The Lord has placed in my heart to write a series of letters to you for the purpose of sharing the biblical principles of the Messiah’s Covenant Kingdom. I would like nothing better than to instruct you all in these principles face to face, but the present circumstances require the present means. I pray that all of you prove yourselves true Disciples of Christ by searching the Scriptures to see if these things are true; and that you follow as your example the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things taught them by the Apostle Paul were indeed so. (See the book of Acts chapter 17 and verses 10-11.)
As I move toward a new chapter of my life concerning the work of the Lord (I speak of the teaching and preaching of Kingdom Dominion and Covenant Theology) it is my deepest wish and profound prayer that you, my children both in flesh and spirit, will be able to labor with me in this most noble of causes.
As each of you know by now, a concept of the Kingdom of God has laid hold on me in a hard and fast manner which is somewhat different from the view that is commonly held by most Pentecostal authorities. (Of course I mention Pentecostal authorities, because for the past several generations our family has been a very large part of that particular movement.) However, history testifies that the common view (in most Pentecostal and mainline Evangelical churches), now called Dispensationalism, is actually rather new, and therefore neo-orthodox. The orthodox view of the Mystery of God (see Rev. 10:7) as it was believed by most Christians before the American Civil War was the view of the Kingdom Dominion as I have now come to embrace. It seems that Dispensationalism (see P. S. #1) took root in American Evangelicalism and spread throughout the world by means of Evangelical missionary activity. Before the American Civil War (1861-65) most Christian bodies viewed God’s plan for the ages (the Mystery of God – Rev 10:11) as that of Kingdom Dominion: namely, the converting of the world to Christ Jesus! However, this particular war (which took the lives of more Americans that all other wars even up to this present time) fought by our nation, where the Christian North and the Christian South killed one another in such a wholesale manner, caused the religious teachers to rethink their position on the Kingdom of God. The world, to them, was not getting better but worse. It appeared that the end was near and Christ would surely return soon. About this time an English minister by the name of Darby (Plymouth Brethren) first popularized the view now called Dispensationalism. Coming on the heels of the American Civil War was the Great War (1915-1917) or World War One, as it came to be called after the Second World War (1941-1945). These two great world conflicts seemed to give validity to Dispensationalism’s call for the imminent physical return of Christ and the appearing of the Antichrist. It was in the midst of all this that an American Bible expositor by the name of Schofield wrote his famous Study Bible which carries his name to this very day. Mr. Schofield’s Study Bible contains notes that are both Dispensational and Calvinistic (see P.S. #2). This particular study source was widely used by evangelical preachers and Bible colleges throughout the last half of the twentieth century. Adding to this has been the troubled events of the world for the last fifty or so years that have been touted as the signs of the times which presage the end of time.
Though this may seem like sound reasoning at first thought, when one applies oneself to rightly dividing the Scripture it seems far more likely that the shaking and trembling of the earth for the last 150 (or so) years are not signs of the end; but instead they should more correctly be understood as birth pangs of something new – namely, the consummation of the Kingdom of God.
In this consummation of God’s kingdom the earth will be united under the theocracy of the one true God of Heaven. All men will live in a community of peace and love as set forth by the New Testament. The New Testament has many names for this community which we will discuss later. To arrive at that place the Church should began now to establish micro communities throughout the earth.

These communities should be established on the principle of Christian order under Christ as the one and only Principality.
When we think of the Kingdom in terms of Christian Community (see P. S. #3), we only reach validity in such thought within the framework of Kingdom Dominion and Covenant Theology. What I intend by the term Kingdom Dominion may or may not be what others have suggested. I have not studied other writers nor have I followed after other Christian thinkers on this matter; therefore I am in no position to speak on what others have in the past called Kingdom Dominion. Having said that permit me to request permission to define my own terms and use them accordingly. What I, therefore, mean by Kingdom Dominion is that Christ’s purpose and will is for His Church to evangelize and establish His rule throughout the earth to the point that “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and his Christ” (see Rev. 11:15). It is this exact view of the kingdom that was taught by Jesus in the parable of The Leaven recorded by Matthew in 13:33 of his Gospel.
33. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
In this parable, according to Jesus, the kingdom of heaven (which He likened unto leaven) is “hidden” in the world (which Christ likened unto meal) until the whole world becomes the Kingdom of Heaven. It is only within this view that establishing Christian communities in order to affect society has justification. But, more important than that: if Kingdom Dominion is in fact the true teaching of Scripture the Church of Jesus Christ has no choice but to work toward the establishing of that Kingdom in the earth. Thereby, fulfilling the prayer He taught each of us to pray; namely, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven” (Matt 6:10).
It is to this purpose (i.e. the occupation of the earth by the Lord’s Church) that I begin this series of letters. I do not yet know how many there will be, but I will attempt to be systematic so that each letter will build upon the one preceding it. I humbly request that you all pray for me that I may communicate faithfully onto paper what The Spirit has written on my heart.

Because of the Cross, 
I am Your Devoted Father
Bishop Jerry Hayes

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hebrew Monothesim

The Hebrew concept of God is clearly seen in the Shema Israel, “HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD.” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The ONE, here referred to, is a Solitary, not a Compound, One. We do see this beyond question in Deuteronomy 32:39. Let us look closely at this scripture.

Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is not God with me, I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
Here the spokesman is Yahweh,
 Who alone is the Most High.
 Who speaks of Himself as a single Being.
  1. “I” (Hebrew: aniy) first person singular personal pronoun.
  2. “He” (Hebrew: huw) third person masculine singular personal pronoun.
  3. “With me” (Hebrew immade) it is the preposition ‘immad’ suffixed with the first person singular personal pronoun.  The personal pronouns in an abbreviated form are affixed to nouns, prepositions, etc, to express the genitive and objective cases. THEREFORE, THE OBJECT OF THE PREPOSITION IS A SINGLE PERSON.
  4. “My hand” (Hebrew: meyade) it is the noun “yad” suffixed with the first person singular possessive pronoun. THE HAND WAS THE POSSESSION OF ONE PERSON.
  5. All the verbs of this verse are the first person singular form.  In Hebrew the verb must agree with its subject in number and gender.
Thus, the Divine person, in this verse, spoke of Himself as a single person and stated that no other person of deity existed.

It is abundantly clear that Hebrew Monotheism was a believe in one solitary God. It was not an understanding of “one” in a compound sense. To believe in God as a solitary being is of so much importance that Jesus taught it to be the first of all commandments. When Jesus was asked, by a young man, which of the Commandments was the first of all, he was told by Christ that the first commandment was “Here O, Israel the Lord Our God Is One Lord.” (Mark 12:29).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

How is God One

The Crux of the Matter
In a study of the Godhead there must first be a clear definition of the terms being used. This becomes especially important in any kind of discussion, but particularly when the Godhead is in view. A classic example of this is found in the understanding, or I should say the different understandings  of the term, MONOTHEISM. The dictionary defines monotheism as the doctrine or belief that there is but one God. Of all the religions of the world only three proclaim themselves monotheistic: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For the purpose of our study we will discard Islam and consider only the first and the second, Judaism and Christianity. 

Since the Christian faith sprang from the  cradle of the Hebrew faith it would only seem logical that Christianity would maintain the monotheistic teachings of her spiritual Hebrew forefathers. While we hold this to be the fact in true Christianity, we must recognize a mutated form of monotheism that has appeared and spread through the ranks of Christendom to the point that it is today considered by the vast majority as being orthodox. This corrupted form of monotheism, unlike the true Monotheism of the Hebrew prophets of the Old Testament, declares God to be a compound One.. By "compound" is meant: composed of, or resulting from union of separate elements, ingredients, of parts

This teaching, called the Trinity confesses to believe in One God made up of three separate and distinct elements;  namely, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   These different elements are freely termed by the Trinitarian as Persons, or even Beings. Today when the Trinity is being expressed, one often hears the phrase: One What and three Whos. Here the term ONE has been redefined to no longer refer to the cardinal numeral, but instead to a compound one. 

Thus, any discussion on the subject of the Godhead, in order to be fruitful, must include an investigation of the legality of the definition of the term 'ONE.' Thus, the CRUX of the mater:  Do the Scriptures which teach that God is One mean to say God is One in a SOLITARY sense? Or, do the scriptures which teach that God is One intend to teach God is One in a COMPOUND sense?

Apostolically Speaking
Bishop Jerry Hayes

Friday, February 8, 2013

Philippains 2:6-8 Answering Trinitarian Objections

Jesus taught servanthood by being a servant.
Philippains 2:6-8
Answering Trinitarian Objections
Bishop Jerry Hayes

I.  The Challenge of Philippians 2:6-8 To Oneness (Modalistic) Theology
The Trinitarian understanding of Philippians 2:2-8 presents Modalism with three basic challenges. First, the monotheism of the apostles is challenged by the introduction of the plurality of Beings concept; secondly, the Trinitarian willingness to accept the idea of a person of God ‘divesting’ Himself of His deity brings into question the doctrine of incarnation; thirdly, the integrity of the teaching of the ‘immutability” of God is brought into dispute.
  1. Denies the Radical Monotheism of ScriptureFirst, there is verse 6 which seems to place Jesus as another person of God Who was equal with God; i.e. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”  This presents a theological problem in view of the many Scriptures which show clearly that this equality of another person with God is an impossibility. Notice the following scriptures carefully. 
  • Exodus 8:10, “That thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God.”  
  • In Exodus 15:11 Moses sings out this question, “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?”  To this own question Moses gives the answer, “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurum” (a symbolic name for Israel, means upright). (Deuteronomy 33:26.)  
  • Furthermore, David declared in 2 Samuel 7:22, “Wherefore thou art great O Lord God for there is none like thee,” 
  • Then there is 1 Kings 8:23, “... Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath.”  
  • The Psalmist asked, “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord?” Psalms 89:6. 
  • Isaiah asked a like question, “To whom will ye liken unto God?” Isaiah 40:18.  
  • The LORD God asked the same question Himself, “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?” Isaiah 46:5.  
  • Finally the scribe concurs with Christ when he says, “Well, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:” (Mark 12:32).

B.  A Person of God divesting (Emptying) Himself of Deity Denies the Incarnation.
The second challenge presented by the pluralist view is to the integrity of Yahweh Himself and is found in verses 7-8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a  servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  It is alleged pluralist that the second person of God, i.e. Jesus Christ, “emptied” Himself of His deity in order to live and die as a man. Thereby, becoming inferior to the Father. The theological problem with this interpretation is that Colossians 2:9-10 teaches that just the opposite is true: “For in him (Jesus Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

Paul’s statement as it appears in English is: “But make himself of no reputation...” This statement in the Greek is: all eauton ekenosen. While the pluralist want to interpret this as “poured out (or empitied) himself” (and by that implying that the second person of the Godhead emptied Himself of deity in order to suffer as a man) the testimony of holy Scripture just will not allow it. The word ekenisen is kenoō (Strong’s #G2758) from #G2756; to make empty, i.e. (figuratively) to abase, neutralize, falsify:-make (of none effect, of no reputation, void), be in vain.  Although the root of this Greek word  (kenos) has as one of its meaning “to make empty,” our word “kenoō” is never so translated in the New Testament. 

Kenoō is used four other times in the New Testament and that by the same writer, Paul: 
  • Romans 4:14 “ is made void.” 
  • 1 Corinthians 1:17 “...lest the cross of Christ should be made void.” 
  • 1 Corinthians 9:15 “...should make my glorying void.” 
  • 2 Corinthians 9:3 “...lest our boasting of you should be in vain.”
In our text (Philippians 2:7) kenoō is used in the same context as its other uses and is so translated by the KJV translators as “no reputation.”

Not only does the “divesting” interpretation go counter wise to Colossians 2:9-10 but it also is a denial of the incarnation of the Mighty God in Christ. In this understanding of Philippians 2:2-8, which takes the imagined second person of Deity and empties him of his God-ness, we do not have Yahweh God manifest in flesh, as 1 Timothy 3:16 would teach. But instead, we have a God that has divested (emptied) himself of His deity in order to BECOME human. The problem exists in the fact that the Scripture states: “To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  Now the question, simply put, is: Was Jesus Christ God IN man, or was Jesus Christ God BECOME man? For the integrity of the incarnation to remain intact, it must be admitted that Jesus was God IN man.

C.  Does Violence to the Immutability of God
Another part of this problem is that if Jesus, as God, divested Himself of Deity in order to become a man it would require a change in the nature of God. I.e. God gave up what He was in order to become what He was not. Which is to say that God, who is not and was not human, became human. something; that He was not before! This presents a problem of some magnitude, because the Word of God states emphatically, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither a shadow of turning.” (James 1:17).  Furthermore, God says of himself.”For I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).  so, not only is the emptying or divesting interpretation of Philippians 2:6-8 a denial of the incarnation of the Mighty God in Christ, but it is in the same instance a rejection of the ‘immutability” (the impossibility of change) of God; which doctrine is taught clearly in Scripture. 

II  Philippians 2: 6-8 Interpreted Biblically
Having stated the challenges of the text as understood by the pluralist, such as the Trinitarians, I will attempt to show that, although the text presents problems that need solving, there is no problem with the text. The perceived difficulty for  Oneness theology exists only when a wrong interpretation is forced upon the passage in order to arrive at a pretext (a purpose or motive alleged or an appearance assumed in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs). When rightly divided, the meaning is harmonious with other scripture, and its message is edifying.

A.  The Context Is Humility.
First and foremost, we must not make the mistake of attempting to force a meaning onto the passage which the writer did not intend. What then did the writer intend to teach by Philippians 2:6-8? The answer may be found in the verses 3 and 4. When we approach the text in this manner we are studying and interpreting by context.  (A text without context is a pretext.) The question, then, is: “What is the context of the passage?”  The subject is introduced clearly in verse 3, “ the lowness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  The topic is humility. Not to insist on one’s own importance; but, to always prefer others before one’s self. Paul writes in verse 4, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”  

In order to bring this truth home to his readers Paul directs them to Christ their Great Example as a model for the correct way to think of one’s self.  Notice verse 5, “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.”  Then verse 8 says, “he (Jesus) humbled himself.”  That is the whole point! Paul is teaching the Philippians about humility by employing the master example: the Creator of the universe “appearing” as a mere man.  

It does not follow that one loses his importance by assuming an inferior image; nor does one lose his superiority by projecting an inferior attitude.  Counter-wise, however. One is proven even more important and more superior by his or her unassuming character.

B.  Jesus Did Not Cease To Be God Because He Appeared As A Man.
So, now we face the text in its proper context. (This will avoid the pretext of the pluralist.) That is, although Jesus was All Important, All Superior, All God, because He was the Almighty (Revelation 1:8), He did not display His importance, His superiority, His deity, before men. Instead, He appeared as a servant. This, however, did not lessen His importance, His superiority, His deity; but rather, exalted it.  Notice the spiritual principle of holy Scripture, “So the last shall be first and the first last,” (Matthew 20:16). The Christian gets by giving (Luke 6:38); Lives by dying (Colossians 2:20); Is exalted by being abased (Matthew 23:12).

C.  The Scholars Explain.
In commenting on Philippians 2:6 (“Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”) Joseph Henry Thayer explains: “Who, although (formerly when he was Logos) he bore the form (in which he appeared to the inhabitants of heaven) of God (the Sovereign). Yet did not think that this equality with God was to be eagerly clung to or retained...”  Adam Clark shares the following insight: “Who being in the form of God did not think it a matter to be earnestly desired to appear equal to God. But made himself of no reputation. Though he was from eternity in the form of God ... yet he thought it right to veil this glory and not to appear with it among He ... took upon ... the form or appearance of a servant.”

To all of this I can add very little except to say that Jesus was God (in being and form) from eternity. When it became necessary for God to come into our world He, in His wisdom, thought it not good to appear unto men as God. So He humbled himself and appeared as a man - in the form of a man; all the while remaining God in being. Thus, 1 Timothy 3:16, “...God was manifest in flesh.”

D.  Why did He Not Just Say So?
Many times the question is asked, ‘If Jesus was Father God why did he not just say so?”  The answer to this question is so completely summed up in Philippians 2:5-8.   He was humble.  He did not think it a good thing to flaunt His deity before men. He did not choose to appear better than other men, although He was better that all other men for He was the creator of all men.  He choose, instead, to have all men appear better that himself.

When Jesus spoke of the Father it was always in a way that distanced His own identify from that of the Father God. This action was in keeping with His character of not appearing as God - although He was.  Concerning this very subject Jesus made the following promise, “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.” (John 16:25).  Paul referred to this same event of revelation when he wrote to Timothy, “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

At the time of this great revelation may we all bow low at His feet and whisper in hushed tones of adoration the confession of Thomas, “The Lord of me and the God of me!”