WE WILL continue our subject by considering 1 Timothy 3: 16. The expression “God was manifest in the flesh” is used by some to try to prove that Jesus is equal with the Father. But the name “God” does not belong in the King James Version. It should read “He who” or “Who,” as it does in most versions. There is no ancient evidence that it belongs in the text, but even as it reads in the King James Version, all that it proves is that Jesus is the character image of the Father.
Some try to prove that Jesus is equal to Jehovah by omitting “our” in Titus 2: 13 which reads, “The glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, but the King James Version and many other versions give the correct thought, that it refers to the appearing of the glory of both Jehovah and Jesus.
In the past 1 John 5: 7 was quoted to prove the Trinity: “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” But now no well-informed Trinitarian uses the passage for such proof because no Greek manuscripts of the New Testament earlier than the fifteenth century contains it, which proves that it is a forgery. During the great Trinitarian controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries, the Trinity’s defenders never quoted 1 John 5: 7 and that is because it was then no part of the New Testament. Even if we were to accept this text as genuine, all it would prove is that there is the same oneness of disposition – heart, mind, and will – that John 10: 30 proves does exist.
Some Trinitarians appeal to: (2 John 9-11) and use it as a basis for a refusal to even reason on and discuss the subject with others. But the Apostle John was referring (2 John 7) to some who claimed to be Christians but who denied and would not confess that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh. Verses 9-11 are thus seen to be misapplied by Trinitarians to keep people from listening to those who see the error of their doctrine.
“Alpha and Omega,” “The First and Last”
Trinitarians cite Revelation 1: 8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” as sure proof that Jesus is also “the Almighty,” assuming that Jesus is here calling Himself the Almighty, but such is not the case. In verse 4 John first brings a greeting from Jehovah. Then in verse 5, John brings additionally a greeting from Jesus Christ. The same person is not meant in both verses. Verse 7 obviously refers to Jesus, and ends with “Amen,” thus separating it from the one that follows. Then in verse 8 Jehovah is again the speaker, making the statement quoted above. He alone is “the Almighty,” “which is [who now exists], and which was [who has existed for all past eternity], and which is to come [who will exist for all future eternity].”
In verse 11, Jesus is the speaker, saying: “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” These two sets of expressions are synonymous, because alpha is the first, and omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. These expressions are used four times of Jehovah and four times of our Lord Jesus in the Bible. Trinitarians hold that these expressions surely mean the past and future eternity of the Father and of the Son. But this cannot be the case with the texts that refer to the Son since He was created or begotten and had a beginning (Revelation 3: 14); therefore, He could not have existed from eternity.
So how can these expressions apply to both? We answer: Each is the first and last of His peculiar kind: The Father is the first and the last one to be increate, that is, never to have been created; and the Son is the first and the last to have been directly created by The Father, all other creatures having been indirectly created by The Father, that is, through the agency of the Logos.
Jesus states of Himself in (Revelation 1: 18), “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” There is nothing in this verse to support the thought that Jesus “always existed eternally.” He states merely that He is alive (“that liveth”), even though He was dead, and now He is “alive for evermore.”
What is the Holy Spirit?
Having proven from the Scriptures that Jehovah is, and that Jesus is not, God Almighty, let us now proceed to discuss the holy Spirit in relation to the Trinity doctrine. Many Bible translations correct the mistake of the King James Version in using “Ghost” instead of “Spirit.” The Hebrew and Greek words translated “Spirit” are ruach and pneuma and have many different meanings in the Bible, such as breath, influence, power, wind, etc. It is not a person.
In harmony with this is a twofold definition of the holy Spirit: (1) God’s power or influence, wherever and by whomever used. This is evident from Luke 1: 35: “The Holy Ghost [Spirit] shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” Here the holy Spirit is defined as the power of the Highest. Luke 24: 49 defines the holy Spirit as “power from on high.” The same is true of: (John 20: 22, 23). Because of Christ’s death in providing the Ransom-price as the basis for forgiveness of sins, He here gave His disciples the holy power to act as His representatives in declaring the basis and conditions on which sins are to be forgiven or retained, and to assure those concerned of these two facts.
Whenever the Spirit is spoken of as acting in nature or on fallen man, it is always in the sense of God’s holy power or influence.
The second definition of the holy Spirit is: (2) the disposition of God in Himself and in others. It is in them a holy mind, holy affections, and a holy will. During the Gospel Age this is in Christ’s disciples a spiritual disposition begun in them when they became His disciples by consecration, and it was developed in them by the Spirit (in the sense of power), Word, and providences of God, working in and upon them.
The holy Spirit, in addition to being called in the Bible the Spirit of God and Christ, is called by many other names which show that it means God’s disposition in Himself and His people. For example, the spirit of holiness, meekness, grace, power and love and a sound mind, Truth, promise, watchfulness, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, reverence, glory, etc. By contrast, the Bible mentions the spirit, or disposition, of servility, bondage, cowardice, error, slumber, the world, the flesh, antichrist, divination, etc. It is evident that these do not refer to different persons, but different undesirable qualities of disposition – of mind, heart, and will.
A definition of the holy Spirit is given in: (Isaiah 11: 2). We reach the same conclusion in: (1 Corinthians 2: 10). If the Spirit were God Almighty, it would know all things intuitively, as God does, and would not need to study out anything; but God’s mind, disposition, in Christ’s disciples does not know everything, and must study out the deep things of God to understand them. This same thought is implied in: (Romans 8: 26, 27), where we are told that the Spirit groans, unable to express its feelings. But God Almighty neither groans nor is He unable to express His feelings; but His disposition in Christ’s disciples often groans (Romans 8: 23), and often is unable to express its feelings. But God knows of and supplies our needs (Matthew 6: 32) (1 Corinthians 2: 10) (Ephesians 3: 20).
Again, we are exhorted in: (1 Thessalonians 5: 19) not to quench God’s Spirit. We are here admonished not to do anything that would put out the holy fire of God’s disposition in us. To understand God’s Spirit here to mean Almighty God would imply that by quenching it we can put God Almighty out of existence! Every passage in the Bible that uses the expression holy Spirit, but that does not use the words holy Spirit in the sense of power, influence, uses them in the sense of God’s disposition in Himself and others.
While God is a person and while Jesus is a person, the holy Spirit is not a person. There is no Scripture, apart from mistranslation, that speaks of it as a person, yet numerous passages do speak of God and Christ as persons.
(to be continued)