LET US continue our series with a careful examination of John 1: 1, 2. The Greek definite article is used twice to distinguish the Father as “the God” from the Son, who is called “God” or “a god.” It is evident from this that two persons, both identified by the word theos – the Almighty Father (“the God”) and the very mighty but not almighty Son (“god” or “a god”) – are separate Beings who are not co-equal, for if co-equal, why not designate the Son also as “the God?”
In the Greek language there is no indefinite article that corresponds to the English “a,” but the indefinite article is implied by the context and therefore must be included in the English translation. If one translated these verses in a Trinitarian manner, he is involved in a contradiction, for how can the Word be “with God” if He is the God with whom He is? The context of John 1, consistent with the rest of the Bible, shows that the Word was “a god,” not “the God.”
“The Firstborn of Every Creature”
Colossians 1: 15 refutes the Trinity error that claims Jesus was co-eternal with the Father. It is plain that the firstborn in any family is the first one to come into existence and this verse shows that Jesus was the firstborn, the first one in Jehovah’s great and extensive family, “all creation” to come into existence. Through Him (1 Corinthians 8: 6) God created the heavens and earth (Genesis 1: 1) and everything else that was created (John 1: 3).
Trinitarians assert the term “firstborn” here indicates priority solely in position rather than in time, but this does not harmonize with the context. Verse 18 compares Christ with the Church and calls Him the “firstborn from the dead.” At His resurrection Christ was the first in point of time to be born from the dead. The repetition of the word “firstborn” in verses 15 and 18 reveals that the Apostle Paul is making a direct parallelism between Christ’s relationship to all creation in verse 15 and to the church in verse 18. If “firstborn from the dead” indicates first to be born from the dead, as well as pre-eminence over all resurrected, then “firstborn of all creation” indicates the first to be created as well as pre-eminence over all creation.
Jesus “The Only-Begotten Son” of God
The expression “the only begotten Son” (John 1: 18; 3: 16, 18) (1 John 4: 9) refutes the Trinitarian error that Jesus was co-eternal with the Father. The words father and son show this. A father is one who begins the life of a son, a life-giver, whereas a son is one whose life a father has begun, a life-receiver. The begettal is a figurative creation. Similarly, the Heavenly Father’s begetting His only begotten Son was His creating Him. A son is never the same age as his father, proving that the only begotten Son is not co-eternal with the Heavenly Father.
The very same Greek word monogenes translated “only begotten” in reference to our Lord (John 1: 14, 18; 3: 16) is applied to Isaac, the son of Abraham by Sarah (Hebrews 11: 17, 18). Although Abraham had sons by the lesser wives Hagar and Keturah, Isaac was his only son by Sarah, the full wife (freewoman, Galatians 4: 22, 23, 31). So, in this sense he is properly called Abraham’s “only begotten son.”
Micah 5: 2 Examined
Trinitarians lean upon the prophecy of Jesus’ birth and birthplace (Micah 5: 2), claiming it teaches their doctrine. They claim that because Jehovah is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90: 2), from past eternity to and throughout future eternity, and Jesus in Micah 5: 2 is said to be “from everlasting,” He was co-eternal with the Father. However, the Hebrew word olam, translated “everlasting” in Micah 5: 2, means any long indefinite period, which can be less than eternity.
Jesus Receiving Worship
Trinitarians claim that in the Bible the honor that belongs to God alone is expressly attributed to Jesus. They say this honor is worship and reverence. They cite numerous passages, such as: (John 5: 23) (Philippians 2: 10).
Jesus is to be honored by our exalting Him highly in our motives, thoughts, words, and deeds, and is to be worshipped. But He is not to be honored equally with the Father. Rather He is to receive worship as the Father’s Representative and Plenipotentiary. John 5: 23 does not teach that Jesus is to be honored equally with the Father. The honor to be given Them is not to be of the same degree, because the Son is the Father’s Representative and Plenipotentiary in all things. Thus, they honor Him as the Father in a Representative.
Philippians 2: 10 shows that every knee will bow to Christ, but it is to Him as Jehovah’s Representative (Isaiah 45: 23) (Romans 14: 11), and not to Him as the final goal of every creature’s honor. However, as the next verse (Philippians 2: 11) shows, Christ’s exaltation is a means to an end – that God the Father be the One finally honored above Jesus and all others (Revelation 5: 13).
Protestant Trinitarians stress the following Scriptures as proof that God alone may receive worship: (Matthew 4: 10) (Luke 4: 8). However, numerous Scriptures are to the contrary. There are many cases in which worship is given God’s representatives, who are acting in His name, as was frequently done to the angelic representatives of God in the Bible, as is done to Jesus, and as will be done to the glorified Church by mankind in the Millennium.
A consideration of Greek and Hebrew words translated “worship” will show this. The Hebrew word shachah is usually translated “worship” in the Old Testament and means to bow down in reverence. In its 170 occurrences only about one half refer to the worship of God. The Greek word usually translated “worship” in the New Testament is proskuneo, and means to kiss the hand, as when a dog licks one’s hand. Two Scriptures that prove that it is permissible to worship God’s representatives are the following: (Isaiah 60: 14) (Revelation 3: 9).
“I Am He” (John 8: 24) is Correct
Trinitarians drop the word “he” from John 8: 24 in an attempt to draw the erroneous conclusion that Jesus is the great “I AM” of Exodus 3: 14. They therefore interpret Jesus as saying that unless they believe that He is the “I AM” of Exodus 3: 14, they will die in their sins.
They claim that the word “he” does not belong there because there is no corresponding word for it in the Greek, and that this is indicated by “he” being in italics in the King James Version.
To determine if the word “he” should be supplied in John 8: 24, we must consider what the previous context and other Scriptures show. In the previous context, Jesus first confounded the Scribes and Pharisees in the case of the woman taken in adultery (verses 1-11). Then He said, “I am the light of the world” (verse 12). Thus, it is evident from what Jesus was talking about in the previous context that in verse 24 after the words “I am [ego eimi]” the words “the light of the world” or “he” should be supplied.
This conclusion is confirmed also by Jesus’ words in John 13: 19, “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he [ego eimi].” In verse 14 Jesus told them, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” So, after the words, “I am [ego eimi] in verse 19 the words “your Lord and Master,” or “he” should be supplied. Jesus wanted them to know after His betrayal by Judas (verse 2) that He was indeed their Lord and Master, the Messiah, the One sent by God.
Numerous other translations, including many that were made by Trinitarians, all agree that in John 8: 24, after Jesus’ words “I am” the word “he” should be supplied. Obviously in John 8: 24, Jesus was telling His hearers that unless they believed on Him as the Light of the world, the Christ (Messiah), the Redeemer, they would die in their sins – not if they did not accept Jesus as the great “I AM” of Exodus 3: 14.
Other Scriptures make it plain that it is faith in Jesus as Savior that brings justification, so that those who thus loyally believe on Him have the forgiveness of sins and will not die in their sins (Matthew 1: 21) (John 3: 16, 17) (Acts 5: 31). Nothing whatever is said about it being necessary also to believe that Jesus is Jehovah, the “I AM” mentioned in Exodus 3: 14.
(to be continued)