Who is our God? Chapter 1

Mankind, animals, and plants cannot thrive if denied essential vitamins. Not only so, but diseases flourish where these elusive vitamins are absent.

The same is true of scriptural doctrines. If the essential life-giving element is removed, errors arise and flourish.

A very ancient example of such devitalized doctrine is known as Unitarianism, the adherents of which maintain that divinity is to be ascribed to God the Father alone, and not to the Son.

Ever since the Lord was on earth, there have been Unitarians—human beings whose mentality causes them to postulate the sort of God they wish.

They are described as "agreed only as to a series of negations, but are altogether at variance as to positive truths." Many of them are latitudinarian, semi-rationalist, allowing unfettered freedom of thought while denying the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and the personality of the Devil.

It will thus appear that the Unitarian "creed" is based, not upon the whole Scriptures, but upon a synthetic extract decocted from the Scriptures. With the Unitarian, the statement by the Lord in Matt. 4:4 and Luke 4:4 is not acceptable, "Not on bread alone shall man get him a life, but on every declaration going out through God's mouth." Apparently the Unitarians can thrive upon a devitalized revelation.

Our present purpose is to discover the vitamins which the Unitarians have discarded, and shew how their doctrine dishonours the God of the Scriptures and His Son.

All the half-truths dished up by Unitarians in ever attractive looking colours over the past nineteen hundred years have been exposed time after time. The fact that these errors survive proves that there are many who do not wish Truth so much as their version of Truth. Such people must possess a faint perception of God, and a very faint perception of judgment to come.
The chief negation whereon the Unitarians are united concerns the doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ before His birth at Bethlehem. Some friends asked me to criticize a pamphlet on this subject, but on looking for some mention of the really vital texts, I found to my astonishment that these had been quietly ignored.

In our School of Concordance, when we seek to recover the most exact meaning of an inspired Bible term, we must digest every occurrence and context, because sometimes it happens that one single occurrence makes necessary a readjustment in the English standard we use. Similarly, when studying a doctrine, and especially a very important one such as this, we do not have the right to ignore any context. It is when contexts are harmonized that we find Truth is looking us steadily in the face.

It is most unfortunate that Unitarians do not maintain exalted views of inspiration of the Scriptures. Our arguments, therefore, will hardly appeal to them. But they may appeal strongly to all who realize that without holiness shall no man even see the Lord.

Perhaps the author of our pamphlet felt somewhat uneasy or guilty because he suppressed those verses which oppose his views. At any rate, he labours hard—too hard it seems—to make up for this deficiency by laying great stress upon the graciousness and sympathy of his Christ, as though this was the main feature in Him.

While it is admitted that Jesus had a miraculous birth, and was without sin, just how His being merely an unusually outstanding member of the human race is going to help humanity is not at all made clear.

The writer considers transmutation of one species into another, say from angel into man, or God into man, is unthinkable, because everything continues "after his kind." But we might ask, if a man is born miraculously of a virgin, and without sin, would such a birth be in accord with the law, "after his kind?"

Surely in the Virgin Birth God Himself was directly taking hold upon humanity. Was this action in a way not a transmutation, something entirely out of the ordinary course of nature? "To think of a supernatural being becoming a man would either end his existence or there would be transmigration."

Let us get this matter straight once for all. Let us believe all that God has revealed to us for our edification and understanding. Abraham got immense blessings just because he dared to believe God implicitly. May we do the same.

Would the above statement mean, then, that the three men (anushim) or messengers (mlakim), one of whom Abraham repeatedly names Jehovah, became completely metamorphosed or suffered extinction? Surely our writer cannot mean this. In very deed, one of them is not only called a man, but also angel or messenger, and even Jehovah, that is, God Himself! (Gen. 18:2, 16; 22; 19:1). No fewer than eleven times does Abraham (in the ancient Hebrew text) address this God-man-messenger as Jehovah. And to shew that it is no less a Person than God, Abraham addresses Him with profound respect and worship. To prove beyond all doubt that the event is no mere vision or dream, Abraham gives his visitors a meal, and "they are eating" (18:8). Let us note also, that although in ancient times Hebrew scribes appear to have rubbed out the name Jehovah in ch. 18 a few times and substituted Adonai (Lord), they did not rub out the words "men" or "angels."

One of my first teachers was an elderly gentleman who belonged to the Plymouth Brethren. I can remember him, almost forty years ago, solemnly laying forth that these three men were "The Trinity." That view I could not swallow. There was no need to make the scene merely a vision or an allegory. In such cases, the fact of the parties being represented as eating and drinking is brought in to rule out any opinion that the story is an allegory. Compare also Exodus 24:11 and Luke 24:40-43.

If we are in error in believing that a superhuman being can become a man or appear as a man, then much of the Old Testament must be false, and the Jews must be a most cruelly deceived race.

Let us cite a few more cases where the God-Man appeared. Gen. 32:24-30: Jacob is being left alone and a man (aish) is wrestling with him until the dawn. Jacob enquires after the name of the stranger, but is told he ought to know. "And Jacob is calling the name of the place Face of God (Peniel), for I see God face to face, and my soul is being delivered."

Exodus 24:9-11: "And Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel are going up. And they are seeing the God of Israel, and under His feet as a sapphire tile work, and as the substance of the heavens for clarity. And unto the adjacent sons of Israel He puts not forth His hand. And they are perceiving God, and they are eating and drinking."

Here we are not actually told God is seen as Man, but the reference to His feet infers this. Not long afterwards it happens that "Jehovah speaks unto Moses face to face, just as a man (aish) is speaking unto his friend" (ch. 33:11). This clearly implies that Jehovah was once more in human form. Indeed, it is against the entire tenor of Scripture that God, if He does appear in a form, appears in any form but that of Man.

Josh. 5:13-15: Joshua beholds a Man (aish) standing in front of him with drawn sword, who says that as Chief of Jehovah's Army He has come. Joshua worships, falling on his face. The Chief tells him the ground is holy and Joshua removes his shoe. In ch. 6:2 the name of the Chief is stated. He is Jehovah. Judges 6:11-22: And Messenger-Jehovah is coming and sitting under the oak. Then Messenger-Jehovah is appearing unto Gideon. Then in v. 14, Jehovah is facing him. In v. 21 Messenger-Jehovah causes fire to burst out of the rock, and He vanishes out of Gideon's sight.

Some will ask, why not render by "a messenger of Jehovah," as ordinary versions put "an angel of Jehovah?" We shall explain, as the point is of some importance to the meaning. The Hebrew has two words only, mlak Yeweh. In Hebrew there is no such thing as our genitive case. That is, they have no word corresponding to our word "of." Just try to speak or write English without this little word. It will soon become impossible. But the Hebrew did not require such a word. They had another device which did quite as well. We might either say, "heat of summer," or just "summer heat." The Hebrews used the latter construction. In other words, they used what was like our compound noun. The former word of the two is generally shortened either in tone or in length, so that it sounds as though it has been run into the second word. This formation is called the "construct state." Thus, if oinim is eyes, and e-aish is the man, oini-e-aish means "the eyes of the man," in which case the Hebrew omits any definite article before eyes. Or the same expression can stand for "eyes of the man" or "the man's eyes." "God's word" stands as dbr-Aleim (sounded as DbarElohim), which is simply "word-God."

Sometimes it is therefore not easy to say whether to insert an "of" or not. In this case in Judges 6, it would hardly make sense to read "angel of Jehovah" or "the messenger of Jehovah," for this reason, that the Person described is named as Jehovah a few times in the chapter, and the altar which Gideon builds is called by him Jehovah-Peace.

At the same time, let us confess that we are not thoroughly satisfied with the rendering "messenger" for the Hebrew word mlak. According to Dr. Robert Young, the term is rendered in the A.V. 4 times as ambassador, 111 times by angel; and 98 times by messenger. Another word, very similar, mlake, occurs about 155 times, of which 126 are rendered by work; 12 by business. "On the seventh day God ended His work" (Gen. 2:2). Might we say, "His message?" Perhaps the word might rather express business, something undertaken, something executed. At any rate, it is our duty to bridge the gap between "messenger" and "work." This would mean that the messenger is one who goes forth on business, with some task to undertake, as though he had executive authority. Let us compare another very similar Hebrew word, a very common one, mlk (or melek, KING; to reign). Not a messenger, but assuredly an executive. Suppose it was Jehovah's Executive who made those fleeting visits in Old Testament times. This Executive who came also with a message—could it be other than The Word of God?

Of this Angel or Executive it is said, "My name is within Him" (b-qrbu)—that is, My name and reputation and characteristics (Exodus 23:21). Not merely a name which was given to this Angel, but a name which was inherently His within Him.

This digression may help to explain the messengers to the seven ecclesias in Rev. chs. 2 and 3. Dr. Bullinger, in his "Apocalypse" has explained that there was an officer in the Synagogue, called Sheliach Tzibbur (literally, sent one of the gathering), who was the mouthpiece of the synagogue, its legate, and leader of divine worship. This is taken from Dr. Kitto's Cyclopedia (1866) and reproduced in the Concordant Press volume "The Unveiling of Jesus Christ." In other words, this official seems to be a kind of executive, who received and delivered messages for the congregation.

Judges 13:3-22: In the story of Manoah we learn that the Messenger-Jehovah appeared to his wife, who informs him that the God-Man (aish e-Aleim) had come to her, and His aspect was like that of the God-Messenger (mlak e-Aleim), very terrible. In v. 10 this wonderful Being is termed simply "the man." Later, Manoah got to know He was the Messenger-Jehovah, and thinks they would both die, because "we have seen God."

Some have objected to the expression God-Man, as though it was not scriptural. Let them learn a little Hebrew, and their objections will vanish. We have abundantly proved that Jehovah God did appear at times in human form, as Man, and He did not lose His Godhead or His Manhood thereby. And the same One is still God, and He is still Man.

As He always was. But we are anticipating.

The first verse of John's Gospel tells us that "In beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word was face to face with God, and God was the Word." If we read as most versions do in the final clause, it must be "and the Word was God." At the beginning of his first Epistle, John tells us about the "Word of Life," that living or life-giving Word that was manifested, that Eonian Life which indeed was face to face with the Father.

Everything which came into being did so through that Word (John 1:3). Paul tells us that all things in heaven and on earth have been created through God's Image (Col. 1:16). But should there be any dubiety as to who or what this Word is, Rev. 19:13-16 will dispel this, for He is called, "King of kings and Lord of lords."

In ancient times that Word was face to face with God, the Father. But now, John shews that He has come face to face with Mankind.

"And the Word becomes Flesh," says John. He does not say it united with flesh, or fell upon flesh, or assumed flesh. The Word becomes something which it was not before. And if that Word appears in flesh as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that is, a Man, why should not that Man, or God-Man, of the Old Testament theophanies, Who spoke for God and represented God, be the same Word or Expressor of God? Could He be anyone else? Were there two distinct Beings who have expressed God? One who could appear at times in glorious form, and another in weakly flesh?

"Supernatural beings," says our Unitarian friend, "cannot enter sympathetically into the experience of human woes, because they do not sin or suffer temptation through flesh that they do not have." This statement would make God the Father a very unsympathetic Being, and it would rule out a mass of very comforting texts upon which we have been relying. And those messengers of Heb. 1:13-14, are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth for service on account of those about to fall heir to salvation? They must be supernatural, as human beings are not spirits.

But we have One who, admittedly, had a supernatural human birth, although He knew no sin whatever. But he was nothing more than a lucky human being? He might have been anybody?
If the Lord Jesus had no pre-existence of any kind or form, some verses will be extremely difficult to explain or understand. Let us test a few of them.

Gal. 4:4: "Now when the fullness of the time comes, God sends forth His Son, coming to be (genomenon) of (ek; out of) a woman, coming to be (genomenon) under law." Here for "coming to be" the A.V. reads "made," while the R.V. erroneously reads "born," which would require a spelling in the Greek slightly different, gennOmenon, as found at Luke 1:35, to which we shall later refer. The two verbs are quite distinct, BECOME, come to be, come into being, occur, come to pass, is ginomai; while be born, beget, generate, is gennaO.

Now, while it is perfectly true that the Lord was born of a woman, in addition, He came to be of a woman. To speak thus of an ordinary human being would be rather absurd. More true would it be to assert that human beings come into being through two parents. Nor could it be asserted that the One seen in Old Testament times "came to be" of a woman. No wonder Douglas Edwards, in his fine book, "The Virgin Birth in History and Faith" (1943: Faber & Faber, London), asks, "Why does St. Paul, when writing of the earthly origins of Jesus Christ, consistently refuse to employ the ordinary Greek word for being 'born'?"

The other day, I picked up cheap a book on "The Virgin Birth," by a man who ridiculed this idea altogether. He demanded to know why such a doctrine was not blazed forth by every New Testament writer, if it was true. Edwards, however, proves beyond all doubt that every N.T. writer was well aware of the fact, but had some modesty, a virtue not known to most of those who are unyielding to God and His Truth.

Rom. 1:3: "Concerning His Son, Him coming to be (genomenou) out of David's seed according to flesh." Here again Paul, for very good reasons, known to himself, avoids the common word "born," and uses an unusual word. Phil. 2:6-8: "Who, all-along-existing (huparchOn) in God's form, deems it not pillaging to be equal to God, but empties Himself, taking slave-form, coming to be (genomenos) in likeness of human beings, and in fashion being found as a human being, He humbles Himself, becoming (genomenos) obedient unto death, yet a cross-death."

Most singular it is, that this passage is all but ignored in the pamphlet we are reviewing. All that is stated is that remarks already made upon Christ's pre-existence in the divine mind and purpose cover this passage. Thus the paramount passage in the New Testament which clearly indicates the pre-existence of Christ is got rid of. We must protest. That is not the method to employ in seeking for divine Truth.

We cannot possess that humility or humble-disposition which will cause us to deem others better than ourselves, unless we acquire that disposition which is and was in Christ Jesus. That disposition, however, did not find its origin on our earth. Was the Lord in God's form while He was on earth among men? Had the chiefs of this eon known Who the Lord was, had He appeared in the form of God, we may be very certain they would never have dared to crucify Him (1. Cor. 2:8).

But He came clothed in that humble disposition which is the loveliest characteristic of the God of Heaven. True humility has its root and origin in God Himself.

Not only did Christ Jesus in ancient times (as our quotations from the Hebrew writings shew) subsist in God's form, but we translate that He was "all along existing" thus. One of the most interesting Greek words in the Bible is this term, huparchO (UNDER-ORIGINate). We recommend a study of its occurrences as meaning something akin to "exist all along, be for a long time." Essential it is that some time element must be shewn. It signifies more than existence; rather existence for a time. The first part of the word (hupo, UNDER), may be suspected of bearing a signification like "out of sight" in some cases, or referring to that which is not prominent.

As the word is of some importance in this passage, a little study of other occurrences will be of great help. Jairus had long time been chief of the synagogue (Luke 8:41). We cannot render it that he "possessed the chieftainship of the synagogue," as archOn only means chief, and it is nominative, not accusative, which would have been archonta. This word never means belong or possess, which are very discordant ideas.

It is not only the one inherently smaller or lesser among you all who is great (Luke 9:48), but the one who long time has been so. Real humility is not a virtue to be acquired quickly.

The Rich Man of Luke 16:23, in the Unseen, was more than merely "existing" there. We could hardly say he was "inherently in torments." But we could say, and say concordantly, that he was "existing long time in torments." And that is just why he cried out.

What is stated regarding Joseph of Arimathea is not that he was "belonging to the council," or "belonging to the counselors," but that "a counsellor longtime" he was. That is to say, for a long time he must have been respected. He was a man good and just, and he had not concurred in their counsel (Luke 23:50-51). To render huparchO by "belong" or "belongings" is never correct. The meaning is rather to BE something LONG. Of David it is said in Acts 2:30, not that he was "belonging to the prophets," or that he was "inherently a prophet," but, "Being, then, long a prophet," or "Being then, for a long time a prophet." In other words, he was experienced in God's ways, well worthy of being hearkened to.

The ordinary versions at Acts 4:34 make good sense, but fail to shew that the owners of property or houses had been in possession of them for a long time. It is more difficult to give up what has been a treasured possession for a long time, than something newly acquired. An heirloom means something to an old family. The Greeks are a nation powerfully affected by the knowledge of their long history; and so are other old nations. Here we ought to understand the sense as being "whoever were long time acquirers of freeholds or of houses," sold them. To say that "whoever belonged to the acquirers of freeholds or of houses, selling them, they brought the price. . ." is to get the sense totally mixed up. That would indicate that slaves or servants disposed of the property of the owners.

It was no sudden burst of faith and spirit that enabled Stephen to endure so gloriously his martyrdom (Acts 7:55). It was not because he possessed the fullness of faith and spirit that he could look right into heaven and see God's glory, and Jesus. It was rather because he was "long time full of faith and holy spirit." We cannot say, he or anyone was "inherently" full of faith or spirit. But a believer can become full of holy spirit, if he obeys the divine directions—not otherwise.

A woman was once watching with pride a Scottish regiment on the march. Had she not reason to be proud of them, for among them was her son Jock, swinging along in his kilt. But alas, something was wrong with Jock's legs. He was out of step. But this fact was hidden from his mother. To her it was plain that the soldiers were "all oot 0' step but oor Jock." How possibly could our Jock be the only one wrong out of a thousand? Ridiculous!

At Acts 8:16 all the versions are in step, except one. With small variations they all express the grammar of the Greek correctly. But the Concordant Version is badly out of step. Not only so, but it is letting down the whole regiment, and it is false. It is many years since I tried to get Jock into step, but he was rather rude to me, and it transpired he had a bad habit of being out of step. In fact, he could prove he was always right.

Peter and John were sent down to Samaria from Jerusalem, and prayed for the people there that they might get holy spirit. For so far it had not yet fallen on to any of them, "yet only, all-along-they-were (hupErchon) (ones) baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus." Here the sense of the word we are studying beautifully clears up the meaning of the passage.

Timothy's father not merely "belonged to the Greeks." But "one and all they were aware that all along he was a Greek." (Acts 16:3). By contrast, in verse 20 Paul and Silas are charged as being "all along Jews," announcing customs whereto Romans could not assent; while in verse 37 Paul indignantly exclaims that he and Silas were "uncondemnable men, Romans all along."

In Acts 17:24 Paul informs the ignorant Athenians that the God who makes the world and all things in it, "This One, of heaven and earth being all along Lord, is not dwelling in temples makeable by hand." This was Paul's answer to the inscription on a pedestal. "To an unknowable (agnOstO) God." Could He be unknowable when all along He had been Lord of heaven and earth? The inscription did not claim that God was unknown. It admitted the existence of a God, but claimed that no one could know Him. The form of the Greek word proves this meaning.
In verse 27 we encounter this word once more. God wishes men to seek after Him, and grope so that they might, find Him "though to be sure, not far from each one of us all the time (or, all along), for it is in Him we are living and moving, and are." This is better than rendering "not far from each one of us is He inherent," as this is hardly good English usage, and might be difficult to understand. The Latin root of the word inherent means to "stick"—compare "adhere." The idea we should find for huparchO ought to be a time conception.

All the time God has not been far distant from the Race He created in His own Image! That is the marvelous thought which Paul set before the wise Athenians. No need for the pedestal and its erroneous inscription! God was not so unknowable though He appeared to be hopelessly distant. He is very near everyone! And He has been so all the time, all along. Here was Good News for the Gentiles. And it is Good News for the saints today. For if God was always close to His Race, mankind, how much closer must He be to His chosen ones.

I can remember when I was groping after God. I could not imagine He was unfriendly, but at that time I did not know the truth of verse 27. Yet again, in verse 29, we encounter the term we are studying.

This time Paul makes the astounding revelation that human beings are God's Kin. "For of Him Kin also are we" (Tou gar kai genos esmen).

Not only so, but Paul adds "Kin, then, being all along of God, we ought not. . .." It is entirely false to say we are "of God's Race" or Kin. Mankind IS God's Race or Kin. But because this mighty fact is made known by Paul, not to any ecclesia, but to religious unbelievers, it is seldom fully accepted. The feeling still lingers in some, that the quotation being from a heathen poet (Aratus), the sense is heathen. But to this topic we shall later on recur.

Great was the fury and turmoil in the large city of Ephesus when the artisans discovered that Paul was draining off their funds. So they rushed to the theatre, in maddest mood. For about two whole hours their indignation was so fierce that they could shout no more than "Great is the Artemis of Ephesians!" Their own Artemis, known to the Romans as Diana. But the town clerk was worried, as the crowd had caused a disturbance without any proper cause. So he argues with them and informs them (Acts 19:36) that all along they should have been composed and not committing anything rash, while in verse 40, he adds that all along there had been no single cause of the turmoil. Thus rebuked firmly and cleverly for acting like fools, he dismisses them.
Those myriads of Jews in Acts 21:20 who believed more than possessed a zeal for the law. They were more than inherently zealous for it. The Greek word tells us that they were "all along zealous for the law." The same is said by Paul of himself in ch. 22:3. We could hardly say that any Jew was "inherently zealous for God." But it could be true that Paul was "all along zealous for God." Nor can we properly speak of "inherent abstinence" (ch. 27:21). What could this signify? The true sense is, "There being all along much abstinence." Compare verse 33, "you are constantly abstinent" for fourteen days.

Abraham was "long time existing—somewhere about a hundred years," when the promise was made to him (Rom. 4:19).

A man praying or prophesying ought not to have the head covered, being all along image and glory of God (1. Cor. 11:7). Paul heard that all along, or for long time, there had been schisms among the Corinthians (verse 18). This shews up the facts to have been worse than our versions indicate.

Paul had to say to Kephas in front of all, "If thou, a Jew being all along, gentilely and not Jewishly art living. . ." (Gal. 2:14).

Our citizenship, Paul tells us (Phil. 3:20), our home or homeland, our community or commonwealth, our realm (politeuma), is all along in heavens. So it must be waiting for us. How like our God! He does not wait until the Body of Christ is complete, but all along has had our country ready waiting for us. Would that we were all along eager to get there! Some have sought to render the word we are studying (huparchO) as "originate," but if we said our homeland originated in the heavens, that might imply that it came down to earth.

In 2. Peter 1:5-7, the saints are told how to add virtue to virtue in methodical order. Then, in verse 8, Peter adds, "For these things being yours continually (or, all along, all through), and increasing are constituting you not idle nor yet unfruitful, unto the recognition (or, fuller knowledge) of the Lord Jesus Christ." What Peter means is that there should be a steady advance in these virtues. These fine qualities. ought to be ours all the time, and yet should keep on growing. It is one of the "rudimentary" teachings among believers that one must either move forward spiritually or slip back. But this is not invariably true. Some believers neither advance nor slip back; they roll about in the doldrums, quite content to do no more than merely hold their own.

The same idea is prominent in ch. 3:11, "what manner of people must you all along be (or continually be) in holy behaviour (plural) and devoutness (plural)."

The above are some of the main occurrences of huparchO, which is found over fifty times in the N. T. The sense we have given to it is much more concordant than found elsewhere, and fits every occurrence as closely as English will permit. We would humbly recommend that you take your pen and alter all occurrences in your Bible. It is obvious that the word must be given a time value of some sort. Only in one version have we seen our solution adopted, and that is A. T. Robertson's Luke, where at ch. 8:41 he reads, "Just then a man named Jairus came up who had long been a ruler of the synagogue." But Robertson does not use this rendering elsewhere in Luke, unfortunately. Dr. Bullinger's Lexicon and Concordance to the N.T. comes near the mark by explaining the word as referring to "original state and continued existence." Liddell and Scott, and other lexicographers, completely miss the mark, giving many so-called "meanings," all totally discordant.

We therefore acclaim Christ Jesus as having existed all along, in Old Testament times, in God's form, until He emptied Himself, and came to be in likeness of human beings. But, although we are told that in fashion He was found as a human being, let us avoid the error of saying He then became Man. This is precisely what Paul does not say. He Who was the anointable, the Christ, could never have been aught else but Man. For was not mankind made in His image?

Many a time have we seen this error that Christ became Man stated in the magazine "Unsearchable Riches," although the late Pastor Rogers did not fall into this error, saying that the Word became flesh, which expresses the truth. The one who appeared in Old Testament times always was seen in human form. This was no transitory form, but His permanent form. He was no apparition, no mere vision, but a real Human Being—God Himself in human form.

We shall now challenge any Unitarian friends to put forward a rational and reasonable explanation of the passage before us, Phil. 2:5-8. Do not shirk this passage. Do not say it does not concern you. Face it boldly, as the Subject of the passage faced death. But do not cut the passage out of Scripture, or assuredly, something will be cut out of your part in Life's Book. It is not the Circumcision writers who say that God is not to be mocked or sneered at, but Paul, your Paul (Gal. 6:7). If you were extremely intimate with one good human friend, who was completely trustworthy, you would trust him or her implicitly in everything-not merely in bits.

The fact that Unitarians ignore Phil. 2:5-8 proves that their case is more than weak. It proves they are not proud of their Creed. And it proves to be their defeat.

"For you are getting to know," says Paul (2. Cor. 8:9), "the kindly-goodwill (or, grace) of our Lord Jesus Christ, seeing that, because of you, He becomes poor, being rich, that you, by that One's poverty, should become rich." We may be quite sure that it was not after His birth that the Lord was wealthy. He was not born with any silver spoon in His mouth. Had He been wealthy, He would not have needed to be a Builder (tektOn is rather a builder than a carpenter; perhaps a builder of wooden houses). This verse is quite in harmony with Phil. 2.

Upon John 8:58 our Unitarian has something to say. He thinks that to Abraham the Lord only existed in promise. Abraham could only look forward to the actual existence of the Messiah, as his own seed. He takes the statement as "Before Abraham was, I am," not "I was." The Greek, however, reads, "Ere Abraham's coming into being, I am." In verse 53, the Jews asked the Lord, "Whom are you making yourself?" They had just heard the Lord make an extraordinary claim, "If God were your Father, in that case you loved Me, for out of God I came forth, and I am here." (We prefer this rendering for hEkO instead of "I am arriving," which in English sounds as though He had newly arrived. Perhaps we might say, "and I have got here"). In verse 55, the Lord tells these Jews, "And you have not got to know Him, yet I am acquainted with Him." Note the sharp contrasts between the words used. The Jews had to get to know God through a process of learning (ginOskO), while the Lord knew God as it were instinctively, through perception (eidO). We contend that had Jesus been merely a very fortunate man among men, he would necessarily have had to get to- know God in the same way as the Jews, just as we have to get to know God.

Furthermore, the Lord states, "Abraham your father exults that he should perceive (or, be acquainted with) My very own day, and he perceives it and rejoices."

Who was to tell him of Messiah's day? "And Jehovah says, Am I hiding from Abraham what I do?" (Gen. 18:17). If Jehovah knew that Abraham was to become a great and mighty nation, in whom all nations were to be blessed, and if he was so to order his household that they kept Jehovah's way in justice, is it likely that Jehovah would omit to tell Abraham about His own coming day of glory? The same One who appeared in bodily human form in Gen. 18 to Abraham now stands before the sons of Abraham in John 8:58. We commend the note here in the Concordant Version.

It is not the case that the Jews made any mistake in gathering that the Lord meant He existed before Abraham. Had He meant that He existed only to Abraham in imagination, as prophesied, He could easily have so expressed Himself. But He so expressed Himself that to the Jews he became guilty of blasphemy. Had the Lord meant to say He did not exist in person before Abraham, how ought He to have spoken?

Six times in His wonderful prayer in John 17 does the Lord address the Father. Never once, here or elsewhere, does He call Him "Our Father," (Matt. 6:9 is exceptional, "Thus then be praying YOU: Our Father, Who art in the heavens. . ."). Now this is strange. If the Messiah was a purely human mediator between man and God, one would certainly have expected Him to approach God as "Our Father." And we should certainly have expected Him not to utter anything so insipid or out of place as "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28).

That fact would be far too obvious for words. But it was quite in order for the Lord Jesus to speak thus. In some ways He was equal with God (Phil. 2:6. isa may be a plural adverb). But the Unitarian Christ is never and nowhere equal with God. Every right-loving person feels it keenly when he or she is treated with gross bad manners. Such manners are an indication, like anger, or pride, and betray a sense of superiority towards the person abused. Our Lord's manners, we may be sure, were invariably perfect. In genuine humility there cannot be bad manners.

But what may we think of John 10:30, where the Lord said, "I and the Father—we are One"? If the Son and the Father in certain respects, are on an equality, there is nothing remiss in this statement. But if this son was only a human being, only a specially favoured man, then his manners are atrocious. The Jews standing by took this statement to mean that Jesus made Himself God. Were they again mistaken? At ch. 5:18 the Jews sought to kill Him because He not only annulled the sabbath, but also termed (His) own Father God, making Himself equal to God. This means that they understood quite clearly that He made Himself God's direct offspring. This is the only case in the Scriptures where anyone is said to have called God his "own Father" (patera idion). Conversely, only at Romans 8:32 does God speak of His "own Son." No human being could speak of God as being his own Father. The sense of the word idios may be more closely grasped when we see that in the A.V. it has to be rendered sometimes by "apart," or "privately."

The word at Rom. 8:3 (God sending His own Son) is different, heatou, of-Himself. When the Jews sought to kill the Lord for making Himself equal to God, what did the Lord answer? "The Son can be doing nothing from Himself, unless what He should be observing the Father doing" (John 5:19).

Could any mere created being make such a stupendous claim? If the Son could do whatever He saw the Father doing, does not this set Him on an equality with God? Moreover, as to DO or make in Greek (poiO) signifies to carry through, to effect something, to produce a finished product, would it not suit a Unitarian Christ much better were the word "practise" (prassO) instead of DO (poiO)? This would suit any imitative actions, trying to copy the actions of another. The Lord's claim here is virtually one of omnipotence.

Just set that Unitarian Messiah into Hebrews 1:3, and see what a tragically miserable figure he cuts. "Carrying on all things by His powerful declaration." Is not that omnipotence?

That Unitarian Christ must have been transmuted, before he could change from manhood to Godhead. "My glory I am not giving to another," says Jehovah (Isa. 42:8). Who, then, was the glorified One of John 17:5? "And now do Thou glorify Me, Father, beside Thyself, with the glory which I had before the world is, beside Thee." "That they may be beholding the glory, My-own-personal (glory), which Thou hast given Me" (verse 24). "Now is glorified the Son of Mankind, and God is glorified in Him" (John 13:31). "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son should be glorifying Thee" (John 17:1). If the Son is the effulgence of the glory of God (Heb. 1:3), and if God is not giving His glory to another, does this not prove that the Son must be God?
If Abraham "saw Calvary" in the offering of his own personal son Isaac, who is this Lamb we see in Rev. 5:11-13, Who gets such glory and universal worship? Whose Son is He?

Other Scriptures and other considerations and questions we must leave over to the next chapter. The subject of God's being ought to be of transcendent interest to all who love Him. Up till a certain point the disciples were puzzled about the Lord. But after He said a few very simple things to them, their difficulties suddenly vanished. Our earnest desire is to make things crystal clear to those who are in any way puzzled. There must be an answer to that eternal question which arises in the human heart, "Shew us the Father."

If you are wrong regarding the doctrine of the Father, you cannot be correct regarding the Son. If you are hazy regarding the Son, you cannot be clear about the Father: If the disciples could become clear and satisfied, so can you.

The doctrine of God must come first. A true knowledge of God is our most pressing need. You cannot attain maturity without it. You cannot supplicate God effectively without it. You cannot truly worship God if you do not know Him. And how can you proclaim the Good News of God if you are in a mental fog regarding Him? Might God send forth His light and His truth regarding Himself!

End Chapter 1 (Alexander Thomson)

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Listing of Articles

Who is our God? Chapter 1
Who is our God? Chapter 2
Who is our God? Chapter 3
Who is our God? Chapter 4
Who is our God? Chapter 5
Who is our God? Chapter 6
Who is our God? Chapter 7
Who is our God? Chapter 8
Who is our God? Chapter 9
Who is our God? Chapter 10
Who is our God? Chapter 11
Who is our God? Chapter 12
Who is our God? Chapter 13
Who is our God? Chapter 14
Who is our God? Chapter 15
Who is our God? Chapter 16
Who is our God? Chapter 17
A Female Deity?
Acts 7:15 & 16
All Things
Amos 3:6
An Answer to the Challenge of Hell
Angels & Men One Species?
An Interesting New Version
Are You an Ambassador?
Are You a Pillar?
Are You a Witness for Jehovah?
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 1
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 2
Are You an Israelite? Chapters 3 & 4
A Special Resurrection?
Baptized for the Dead?
"Beloved" or "Loveable"?
Brotherly Love
Book Review
Colossians 1:23
Common or Unclean?
Common Sense
Did Paul Visit Spain?
Did the Lord give up His Flesh?
"Divine" Fire?
Doctoring the Holy Scriptures
Does God know Everything?
Does God will Everything?
Does your Spiritual Life seem Unreal?
Did God hate Esau?
Earth our Future Home?
Emphasis in the Scriptures
English more Archaic than Ancient Hebrew?
Ephesians 1:23
Erroneous Translations
Gleanings from A.T.
Heaven our Homeland
How is Christ God's "Word"?
How many were Crucified?
In the Christ All Shall Be Made Alive
Is Dust the Serpent's Food?
Is the Devil Impersonal?
Isaiah 26:14,19
James 4:5
Jehovah's Theocratic Organization
Jesus the Saviour
John 19:29
The Kingdom of the Hebrews
Leave it with God
Men or Mortals?
Misplaced Ingenuity
New Light on the Second Death
None Other Things
Objective Value of Prayer
Other or Different
Our Advocate
Paul's Chain
Paul the Sensitive
Paul versus James
Prevailing Prayer
Problems of Translation: I Cor. 7:21
Problems of Translation: II Cor. 3:18
Psalm 66:18
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
Rogues and Rascals
Rom 9 & 10: Human Freedom & Human Choice
Romans 9:14-24
Romans 9:30 to 10:21
II Corinthians 5:16
II Peter 3:10
Seven Wicked Spirits
Shall We See God?
Sir, We would see Jesus
Should we fear God?
The Bloody Husband
The Cherubim of Glory
The Corinthian Error
The Cunning Manager
The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah
The Designation of Jesus as "God"
The Disruption Fallacy
The Disruption Fallacy #2
The Eighth of Proverbs
The Eleven "Generations" of Genesis
The Elohim
The Ends of the Eons
The Eternal Saviour-Judge
The Eternity of Hell Torments
The First Christian Convention
The Four Gospels
The Gentiles in Ephesians
The Greek Definite Article
The Hardening of Pharoah's Heart
The Hebrew Conception of Time
The Hebrews Epistle
The Hebrew Terms Rendered 'For Ever'
The Hope of Israel
The Life of Prayer
The Lord Jesus Revealing the Heart of God
The Lord's Relatives
The Lordly Supper
The Meaning of Ta Panta
The Ministry of Women Parts 1 & 2
The Ministry of Women Parts 3 & 4
The "Penalty of Sin"
The Poor in Spirit
The Primeval Laws
The Primeval Laws #2
The Problem of Evil
The Quality of Divine Love
The Rich Man and Lazarus
The Serpent of Genesis 3
The Soul and the Spirit
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 1 & 2
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 3 & 4
The Translation of Acts 28:25
The Trial of the Lord
The Truth of the Bible
The Two Seeds
The Works of Henry Clay Mabie, D.D.
"Three Days and Three Nights"
Translator's Incentive
Truthfulness and Mercy
Try the Spirits
Unto Eternity and Further
We have all been Wrong
What did Peter do?
What does Olethros mean?
What Happened to Jephthah's Daughter?
What is Destruction?
What is the Flesh?
What is the Sin unto Death?
Whence "Eternity"?
Who are the Saints?
Who is Jehovah?
Who Shall Deliver Me?
Why Pray?
Why the "Lake" of Fire?
Will God Punish?
Will the Lord Come for Us?
Will the Man of Lawlessness be Killed?


The Differentiator Revisited 2009