Tuesday, April 11, 2017


(Answering Objections to Modalism) 
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” —Isaiah 9:6.

The text is referencing the future Son of David that would be the Messiah. This is confidently stated from the clarity of v7 which states: “Of the increase of his (the child born, and the son given) government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
There are four throne names that are in dispute between Modalism and Subordinationism. These throne names of the Messiah are: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Unlike “Immanuel,” of Isaiah 7:14, these four throne names consist of two elements each (view them in the NASB): “Wonderful” describing the kind of Counsellor, “Mighty” describing the kind of God, “Everlasting” describing the kind of Father, and “Prince” describing the Messiah’s relationship to Peace. Modalism holds that these four throne names are descriptors of the one name given to Mary’s baby by the Angel (Matt 1:21). Thus the description of the name “Jesus” (and Hebraically, the holder of said name) is that He is: the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
One may, conceivably, ask, “How does the name Jesus come to hold such divinity? The answer is found in the following explanation (this paragraph has reoccured in this writing): Jesus, is the New Covenant Name of YHWH. In Matthew 1:21, the Angel tells Joseph, thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save... . Jesus, is the Greek Iesous, (Strong’s NT #2424) the origin is Hebrew—Yehowshuwa (Strong’s #H3091). The Hebrew Yehowshuwa is from two Hebrew words (Strong’s #H3091): Yehovah and Yasha. Yehovah, is Yahweh/Jehovah, Strong’s #H3068 (YHWH). Whereas, Yasha is Savior; or, bring salvation; (Strong’s #H3467). Therefore, Yehowshuwa (Hebrew); Iesous (Greek); Jesus (English) translates to “Yahweh (YHWH) Savior.” Thus, Yehowshuwa (Jesus) is the New Covenant name of YHWH. One will notice the tetragrammaton in the name Y-eh-o-w-s-h-u-w-a.
This text is especially challenged by the Unitarian Arians  (Subordinationists), who have denied the deity of Christ altogether. They are fond of asserting, “Jehovah’s, or Yahweh’s, name being called upon the Israelites indicates that they were His people. They, then, gave a list of passages to establish their point. I agree with their initial observation. But, here, we should recognize that “Truth has boundaries, error has none.” I will explain where I see that their application has gone out of bounds of truth: There is a vast difference between the name of Yahweh being “called upon” someone or something, and the name of someone, or something BEING Yahweh. At stake here is the biblical and Hebraic concept of the name of God containing His presence. 
The texts they reference are represented by the following: Deuteronomy 28:10; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 43:7; 63:19; 2 Kings 21:4, 7; 1 Kings 11:36; Acts 15:16-18; and Amos 9:11-12. These, all speak of the name of the LORD (Yahweh ) being CALLED UPON someone, or something, either outright or in idiom, not that the one (or the thing) shares, personally, the name ‘Yahweh.’ What follows is an example from Amos 9:12. The English reads, “called by my name,” but the Hebrew has “My name called over them.” So, then, we recognize “called by my name” as an idiom for “name called upon/over.”
Amos 9:12 lmon iirshu....so-that they-shall-tenant -e⋅quim....the nations -ieue.... Yahweh  - sharith adum u⋅ki.... remant-of Edom and⋅all-of ashr - nqra shm⋅i....which he is called name of me over them averment of oshe zath....one-doing this...
First, we know this MUST be the case, because Yahweh will not share His personal name with any other person or being—heavenly or earthly. The Bible speaks clearly enough on this point in Psalm 83:18May they know that You alone—whose name is Yahweh— are the Most High over all the earth” (HCSB), and then Yahweh Himself declares in Isaiah 48:11, ... For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another(NKJV). (As a side note, Jesus IS CALLED YAHWEH [Jer 23:5-6; Zech 12:4, 10; showing that He is, in fact, the very Yahweh, Himself], not that the name of Yahweh was called UPON Him to show possession.)
Secondly, they often reference to the Ark of Covenant and Tabernacle of Moses, and the name of Yahweh associated with these items. However, the Ark and the Tabernacle are in a class to themselves, in that the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, tabernacled the very being of God on the Mercyseat of the Ark of the Covenant; thus, making the Ark, Tabernacle and later the Temple the “tabernacled presence” of Yahweh God. (2 Samuel 6:2, And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD [YHWH] of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.”  The Ark was, indeed, called by the name “Yahweh,” and the reason is clearly stated: The LORD of hosts dwells “between the Cherbim.”) A tabernacled presence of Yahweh is indeed Yahweh Himself made known to His creation. Thus, Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:16, that, “God was manifest in the flesh;” and John wrote (John 1:14) that God was “ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν,” literally: “tabernacled among us.” God, who fills all space and time has “tabernacled” Himself in different ways and manners throughout biblical history. E.g., the voice in the Garden, the Angel of the LORD that appeared to Abraham, and Abraham washed His feet; Melchizedek; the burning bush—by being a tabernacled presence of the great I AM, the very ground was made holy; the pillar of fire; cloud; then the ultimate—and consummation of all theophanies—the Tabernacled Presence of Yahweh in the flesh of Mary’s baby —John 1:1, 14.
Lastly, they will reference the two angels that went to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as both having the name of Yahweh, as proof that one having the name “Yahweh” does not mean that that one is Yahweh. If I understand them correctly, they are implying a thing that is biblically impossible: namely, that the two angels shared the personal name, “Yahweh.” This is impossible, because only One has that name (Ps 83:18), and He will not share it with any other (Isa 48:11). So then, one MUST return to what should have been the first understanding, because it is the (oli⋅em nam) normal understanding. That being: Angels are ministers of God to carry out His wishes throughout creation; therefore, their deeds are the deeds of God. So that when they (the Angels) destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was, indeed, Yahweh who destroyed. This should have been clear from Genesis 19:24Then the LORD (YHWH) rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD (YHWH) out of heaven.” However, they see two LORDS (two Yahwehs), which is impossible, because only ONE has this name; and He will not give its glory to any other: May they know that You alone— whose name is Yahweh—are the Most High over all the earth” (Psalm 83:18 HCSB), and then Yahweh Himself declares... For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another—Isaiah 48:11 (NKJV).
Another challenge that Subordinationists (who deny the deity of Christ) like to bring is a refusal to accept that Yahweh could be in Heaven as God, and on earth as a child at the same moment in time.
In dealing with Isaiah 9:6 the Arian has a problem understanding how God could be IN Jesus and IN heaven.  How can God, they ask, occupy a throne in Heaven, while dwelling in Jesus on the earth? With this concept, it is not possible for them to comprehend God in Christ. So they must be reasoned from that position, if they are ever to accept Jesus as their God.
I submit to you that the Subordinationists do not have a correct concept of the omnipresence of God: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” —1 Kings 8:27.
God is a being Whose center is everywhere and Whose circumference is nowhere.
God cannot be excluded from any location or object in creation. God’s presence is continuous throughout all creation. (God Is A Being Who’s Center Is Everywhere and Who’s Circumference Is Nowhere.) The Bible reveals that God can be both present to a person in a manifest matter, as well as being present in every situation in all of creation at any given time. God is naturally present in every aspect of the natural order, in every level of causality, every fleeting moment of natural history.
God is actively present in every event in history;

God is attentively present to those who call upon his name;

God is bodily present in His Incarnation of His Son;

God is mystically present in the Eucharist, and through the means of grace in the church, the body of Christ;

God is sacredly present and becomes known in special places where He chooses to meet us; where it may be said: “Truly the Lord is in this place.

Such omnipresence is logically possible by way of the classic geometric point or its equivalent, in that such a point is, by definition, within all of space without taking up any space. 

Quality Not Quantity
When Colossians 2:9 declares that the fullness of the God-head dwells in Jesus, Paul is not speaking of the total quantity of God dwelling in Christ, but, of the total quality of the Deity dwelling in Jesus’ physical form.
Keeping in mind that any earthly illustration of a Heavenly truth will always be lacking, let us consider the following illustration: 
Let us say that I go to the Mississippi River and take a glass and dip it full of Mississippi River water. I then hold that glass up before all present and announce: “This is the Mississippi River.” Now, no one present, who is in their right mind, would understand me to say the glass contains the total quantity of the Mississippi River. My statement is true, in that the glass contains the quality of the Mississippi River. The minerals that are particular to the Mississippi River are in the Mississippi River glass. But, I do not mean that the Mississippi River ONLY exists in the Mississippi River glass. So, too, Jesus. We point to Jesus and say: He is Father God. Because God is Omnipresent, we do not mean that God exists only in the bodily form of Jesus. We mean all God is qualitatively is in Christ. We do not mean quantitatively. (Therefore, in the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist, God could speak from Heaven concerning His Son on the earth, while occupying that Son without measure—quantitatively.)

Further, the Subordinationists allege that Isaiah 9:6 has been mistranslated. Of course we deny the allegation and challenge the “alligator.” The translation of “His name shall be called” has been challenged. 
Modalism responds with the following:
First: The Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint (LXX), translated the expression as “his name is called.” The LXX was translated by Jews in the 3rd century B.C., and thus not affected by the Christian-Jewish debates over this issue. The translation of the verb is the important thing here. Obviously these Jewish translators had no problem rendering the verb as a passive.
Second: In the Talmud the verse is translated as follows: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty, Judge, Everlasting, Father, Prince, and Peace.” [Sanhedrin 94a]. Obviously this is an authentic Jewish translation.
Third: The Subordinationists have taken the Jewish Publication Society Bible, and the Complete Jewish Bible as their preferred rendering (Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the Ever-lasting Father, the Ruler of peace.”) Christians should reject these sources out of hand because of the bias against the deity of Christ from that quarter.

Unitarian, Subordinationists and Arians: 
Paul quotes a passage from Joel that says “whoever calls on the name of the LORD (Yahweh) will be saved.”
Joel 2:32 “whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered ... .” Compare to:
Romans 10:9-13 “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. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
It is evident that the Lord in Romans is Jesus Christ, and Paul says that He is the same LORD of Joel 2:32. We must notice that the word “LORD” of Joel is written in all uppercase letters which is the Tetragrammaton YHWH, or Yahweh. So, then, the name of Jesus is the same as the name Yahweh.

Before I move on, a word needs to be said about the proclivity of the Subordinationists’ camp to claim that the Bible (as the world has it) is corrupted and unreliable in directing its readers to God. At every turn, where the deity of Jesus is declared in the Bible, the Subordinationists allege corruption. Do they not understand, that in doing this, they, and those of their ilk, are disparaging the integrity of God to protect His Word? Is the One Who said “Let there be” and His universe leapt into existence, is the One Who reached into His tunic and flung stars into space, so inept that He could not protect His Word from corruption!? I think not! 

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius

If the Bishop's ministry has been a blessing to you, please make a donation at the link provided here. In this way you will help this ministry to continue its work. Thank you. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=4EXSWA2A47ARC

Friday, April 7, 2017

He Shall Be Called A Nazarene

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, 
He shall be called a Nazarene. 
— Mathew 2:23

This is not found in any single prophecy of the Old Testament, nor is the town of Nazareth mentioned in the Old Testament. It is based on the sense of several OT prophecies (notice the plural word “prophets” Some such OT texts are Isa 11:1 where the Davidic king of the messianic age is called “neser” -- a rod, (or lit. a bud) that shall blossom from the roots of Jesse, and Judges 13:5, 7 where Samson, the future deliverer of Israel, is called one who shall be consecrated a “nazir” (Hebrew Strong’s #H5139 separated, an unpruned vine) to God. In this sense, Samson is seen as a type of Christ. 
More likely, however, Nazarene could be a synonym for “contemptible” or “despised,’ since Nazareth was a most unlikely place for the residence of the Messiah.  We should consider John 1:46 where Nathanael asked, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” and compare this to such Old Testament passages as Isaiah 53:3 and Psalms 22:6 where the Bible states that the Messiah  would be “despised and rejected of men.” Moreover, Nazarene  is a name given to the followers of Christ by the Jews -- no doubt to show contempt.  Tertullus, in behalf of Ananias the high priest said, concerning Paul, “We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:” — Acts 22:5. So, then, by Matthew writing that “He shall be called a Nazarene” should, most likely, not be understood in a literal sense, but should, instead, be understood as an allegorical idiom for “contemptible.”

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Proper Biblical Understanding of the Word, "Person"

We cannot possibly overemphasize the importance of word understanding. There can be no meaningful discussion on any topic, especially theology, unless all participants are on the same page in definition of terms. I cannot think of any other single thing that has brought as much confusion to the Lord’s church as the different applications of the word person. To Westerners the word person brings to mind a very clear and definite image. An example is found in the very first words of the definition of “person” in the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (principle copyright 1973):  “a human being regarded as an individual.” Further down in the definitions, along about #4 is this: “bodily appearance, the body of a human being.” To most people, this is the mental image of the word person. So, then, when the Pluralists say that God eternally exists as three co-equal, co-eternal, separate and distinct persons, the image is three separate and distinct individual sentient beings, with their individual centers of intellect, volition and emotions—and yes, even separate bodies. Such Trinitarians as Finis Jennings Dake, and like theological midgets, take just such a position, which is nothing short of tritheism. 
What is the best way to think of the term person, in relation to God? Well, it is best to avoid its use completely. However, the term is so rooted in Godhead theology that that may not be practicable. Karl Barth asks, “Why should we cling to the concept of person which invariably obscures everything?” Then he presents J. Pohle as responding to his question, “The terminology has been fixed ecclesiastical and theological usage in such a way that it can no longer be discarded.”
  So, in view of that, we should be educated on the word, and come correct in its theological use. 

The English word “person” is from the Latin persona; which comes into the Latin from the Greek prosōpon. Prosopon is a word from  the Greek stage. It means mask or face; as one actor would use different faces or masks to represent different characters. It is interesting that the English dictionary we referenced above, does, indeed, give this definition for the word person; but by the way we use and understand the word, hardly anyone would know it.  In fact Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary states the following for the word person: “Latin, persona, actor’s mask, character in a play, person, ... ;” then definition #2. A character or part in or as in a play: GUISE; definition #3. one of the three modes of being in the Trinitarian Godhead as understood by Christians (underlining, mine). Then there is definition 5. The individual personality of a human being: SELF. Please note definition #3, from above: “one of the three modes of being... .”
Any theological study of the term “person,” as it relates to God, must come from the Biblical use of the word prosōpon, rendered in our English Bibles as person. Joseph Henry Thayer says concerning prosōpon: “Hebraistically, the appearance one presents by his wealth or poverty, his rank or low condition; outward circumstances, external condition; so used in expressions which denote to regard the person in one’s judgment and treatment of man... .”  Prosopon is rendered “person” in the following scriptures, which have the persona of power, wealth, and/or influence of an individual (or individuals) in view—not the physical being: 
Matthew 22:16 “And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.” 
Mark 12:14 “...thou regardest not the person of men, ...” 
Luke 20:21 “neither acceptest thou the person of any, ...” 
2 Corinthians 2:10 “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;”  
Galatians 2:6 “God accepteth no man's person.”  
Jude v16 “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.” 
While the above list of Scriptures establishes our point, a text that sweeps all clouds from the sky is Matthew 16:2-3. Here, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees and Sadducees for not recognizing the “signs of the times.” He says to them: “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Jesus referenced the appearance (persona) of the sky on any given occasion as the “πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ” “face of the sky.” The Greek “πρόσωπον” (prosōpon) is translated as “face.” The sky can have many different “faces” or “persons.” In this biblical sense, “person” has its basic and primary meaning of “mask.” One would do well to consider the words of Barth. “It is obvious that the ancient concept of person, which is the only possible one here, has now become obsolete.” (He is speaking of the Trinity.) “It is also obvious that the only possible definition of the matter in question is not a definition of this ancient concept of person. At the point where earlier dogmatics and even modern Roman Catholic dogmatics speak of persons, we preferred to call the Father, Son and Spirit of God the three distinctive modes of being of the one God subsisting in their relationships one with another.” (Bolding, mine.)

We may add to the lists of scholars Anglican priest and theologian Alister McGrath: "The word ‘person’ has changed its meaning since the third century when it began to be used in connection with the ‘threefoldness of God’. When we talk about God as a person, we naturally think of God as being one person. But theologians such as Tertullian, writing in the third century, used the word ‘person’ with a different meaning. The word ‘person’ originally derives from the Latin word persona, meaning an actor’s face-mask—and, by extension, the role which he takes in a play. By stating that there were three persons but only one God, Tertullian was asserting that all three major roles in the great drama of human redemption are played by the one and the same God. The three great roles in this drama are all played by the same actor: God. Each of these roles may reveal God in a somewhat different way, but it is the same God in every case. So when we talk about God as one person, we mean one person in the modern sense of the word, and when we talk about God as three persons, we mean three persons in the ancient sense of the word. ... Confusing these two senses of the word ‘person’ inevitably leads to the idea that God is actually a committee" (Alister McGrath in Understanding the Trinity pages 130-131).

The Modalist may, to the tritheist’s dismay,  speak of God being manifest in three persons—knowing as he does that prosōpon (person) means persona or mask, or modes of the same individual Deity. This is even recognized in the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary’s definition of person when associated with the Deity: #3. “one of the three modes of being in the Trinitarian Godhead as understood by Christians” (Bolding, mine).  This, “modes of being” as a definition for “persons,” is most certainly a Modalistic interpretation of the term. 
We can, therefore, speak of the different faces, or masks, worn by the Deity throughout Holy Scripture as His prosopa (persons).

The Many Prosōpa (Faces, or persons, of Jesus)
The opposition to Modalism fails to acknowledge the different roles (offices, administrations, manifestations, modes) performed by Jesus (often at the same moment) throughout the economy of God. At times these different modes are diametric to each other.  The following is but a sampling:

Jesus is the Judge: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” —2 Corinthians 5:10.  Yet, Jesus is the Advocate who pleads the case before the Judge: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” —1 John 2:1.

Jesus is the Lamb of God: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” —John 1:29; see Revelation  5:6. Yet, Jesus is the Lion of Judah: “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” —Revelation 5:5.

Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness: But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” —Malachi 4:2. Yet, Jesus is the Morning Star: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” —Revelation 22:16. The Sun and the Morning Star occupy the same sky at the same time—the Morning Star remains in the sky AFTER the Sun appears.

Jesus is the Yahweh of Battles: “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle” —Psalm 24:8. Yet, Jesus is the Prince of Peace: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: ... and his name shall be called ... The Prince of Peace” —Isaiah 9:6.

In Relation to Redemption
Jesus is the Shepherd, (John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.)
 Who goes through Himself the Door to the Sheepfold, (John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.)
 and chooses Himself the Lamb, ( John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.)
 to be Himself the Sacrifice, (1 Cor 5:7 ...For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:)
 which He delivers to Himself the High Priest, (Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;)
 Who lays Himself upon Himself the Altar, (Heb 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.)
 which is located in Himself the Temple, (John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.)
 where the blood of Himself is carried through Himself the Veil, (Heb 10:20  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;)
 and sprinkled upon Himself the Mercy Seat, (Rom 3:25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [mercyseat] through faith in his blood, ... (Literally: ἱλαστήριον διὰ [τῆς] πίστεως ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ αἵματι  There is here an unmistakable identification of Jesus with the Mercyseat.  Both are termed the “hilastēron,” namely, the propitiation.)

In Relation to God
Jesus is the Father, ( Isa 9:6  ... his name shall be called ...  The everlasting Father, ...)
 Who Himself is the Son, (Matt 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, ... Jesus: )
 Who Himself is the Holy Spirit, (John 14:17-18 Even the Spirit of truth; ... for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. See 2 Cor 3:14-18; Col 1:27.)

There is no wonder Paul could write: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9).

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius

If the Bishop's ministry has been a blessing to you, please make a donation at the link provided here. In this way you will help this ministry to continue its work. Thank you. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=4EXSWA2A47ARC

The above article is excerpted from the author's book entitled "Godhead Theology." You may acquire your person copy of this 613 page classic at the link provided here: CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5689352