Question #1: What did Jesus mean by calling himself the bright and morning star as morning stars are associated with angels? Can it also mean that he is an angel as some people have false doctrines that he is archangel Michael? Or He is God almighty as Rev 1:8 says?
Response #1: Dear Friend, Good to make your acquaintance. You are correct: Jesus is most certainly divine. He is the God-Man, true humanity and undiminished deity in one perfect Person forever, ever since the incarnation. Please see the following links:
Jesus is God
Jesus is God and Man
The Person of Jesus Christ (in BB 4A: Christology)
Jesus is not an angel (one of the main purposes of the book of Hebrews is to demonstrate that critical fact); He created the angels and will rule over the angels forever. He is indeed the Morning Star, and the reason for that title is significant. That title represents the fact that Jesus is God's replacement for the original head-angel, Satan, who was once called by this same title (i.e., "Lucifer", the "light-bearer"), until, that is, he betrayed his trust and rebelled against God. Jesus is Head of all things, of the Church (saved human beings) and of the angels too (Heb.1:6; cf. Eph.1:20-21; Col.1:15-20). Although Jesus is a genuine man, He is not an angel.
For more on this please see the following link:
The Morning Star
I will give him the Morning Star
I hope this helps with your question. Please feel free to write me back about any of this.
In our dear Lord Jesus, true God and true humanity in one person forever.
It's been a while but I hope the Lord has continued to strengthen you and renew your zeal for his work. I still spend most of the time meant for my understanding God on your website. May the Good Lord continue to bless your ministry.
I have a relative who is very zealous of the things of God. Unfortunately, his touching far too many texts invariably ends in his having weird doctrines and at times some very unscriptural teachings. Recently he came up with a 'discovery' that Jesus is actually the Archangel Michael.
When he told me my soul was vexed, and an anger for the Lord was kindled in me. I demanded he get out of my car [we where driving] as I felt he was blaspheming the person of God. He challenged me to provide scriptures which show that Jesus is not Michael as he has scripture to show that he is. I could not but I knew God could not be his angel. Would you be able to shed some light on this?
I know from experience that the spiritual ups and downs of family members are particularly hard to bear. No doubt the devil knows that too. As to your specific question, there is, of course, no verse in scripture which even obliquely implies that "Jesus is actually the Archangel Michael" or any such blasphemy. Michael only occurs by name five times in scripture (Dan.10:13; 10:21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Rev.12:7), and none of these passages says anything of the sort. Michael's name, "who is like God?" is a question, moreover, not a statement. That is to say, it cannot mean "He who is like God", because the Hebrew word Miy is an interrogative pronoun, not a demonstrative one. Even if the other meaning were possible (which it most certainly is not), this could only potentially mean that Michael was "like" God, not that He was God. And Jesus is God. That is really at the heart of this question, because a critical part of the gospel is the truth that Jesus is divine. If a person thinks/believes that Jesus is/was "only a good man" (or an angel or whatever), no matter how "special", that person is not accepting the truth of the gospel, and it is doubtful that salvation is possible without accepting Jesus' true person (i.e., that He is the unique God-man, the Son of God, "God with us", Immanuel). For the essence of the gospel is twofold, the work of our Lord for us in dying for us on the cross and who He is: God become flesh as well in order that He might die in our place.
My own personal approach (for someone willing to listen, that is) would be first to show how scripture emphatically and undeniably proclaims the divinity of Christ. Since Jesus is God, by definition He cannot be a mere human being only, nor can He be an angel. For this point I direct you to the links: "Jesus is God" and in BB 4A "Jesus is truly Divine". Secondly, our Lord had to become a genuine human being with a genuine human body in order to bear our sins and thus provide salvation. No imperfect person could do this, only the perfect, virgin born Son of God. And no angel could do it either -- but we know of a certainty that He "bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1Pet.2:24), and of course angels do not have bodies. For this point please see the links, "Jesus is God and man", and in BB 4A "Jesus is truly Human".
I hope this will give you what you need for this trial, but, as always, do please feel free to write back about any of this.
Thank you for all your kind words. Your example of steadfastness in the truth and perseverance in the study of the Word of God is truly an inspiration.
Keep on fighting that good fight of faith.
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Hello Brother Bob,
Would like your spiritual thoughts on the following, as it did not seem right using the word "created" in relation to Jesus. Seems anti trinity?
Jesus is the only Son that God created by himself. God Almighty used the prehuman Jesus as his "master worker" in creating all other things in heaven and on earth. (Proverbs 8:22-31; Colossians 1:16, 17) God also used him as His chief spokesman. That is why Jesus is called "the Word."-John 1:1-3; Revelation 19:13. God sent His Son to the earth by TRANSFERRING his life to the womb of Mary.
Thanks and Gods Blessings to you-
On your question, I quite agree with your sense of dis-ease over the formulation above. Jesus is God, and as such has always existed. Only His humanity is "new". He did not "create Himself" as He was not created in His deity: "In the beginning, the Word existed". Christ is the One who carries out the plan of the Father; that is His "role" in the plan of God; but just as the Spirit's empowerment of the plan does not in anyway mean any diminution of His deity, so it is with Christ. As to "transferring life", this is an oddity developed by the person who wrote it; it doesn't occur in scripture for the obvious reason that it is entirely untrue. As God, Jesus is life. Even in His capacity as a human being, this statement you report is untrue, for human life began for our Lord in the same way in which it begins for us all, namely, with the imparting of the human spirit at the point of birth. Christ became a man as well as God when He was born, receiving a human spirit into His just-born human body; this is called in theology "the incarnation" (see the link in BB 4A: "The Incarnation"). Many people are confused about the "first born" language in scripture (see the links: "Firstborn of all creation" and "Firstborn from the dead"), but this has everything to do with Christ's position and honor as the Son of God, and nothing to do with the pre-existence of His deity (please see the link: "Explaining and Defending the Trinity and the Person of Christ"; especially the response to Q#3). The wording in the passage you quote is a very good example of how dangerous it can be to produce theology "on the fly". It is always better to let scripture speak in its own words, and to explain and define one's own terms very carefully whenever departing even slightly from the exact language of the Bible.
Wishing you and yours a very blessed and happy new year!
In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,
You claim that the titles Father and Son are mere role play. I believe that this teaching destroys the facts of Scripture and denies the blessed truth that God the Father truly gave His beloved Son, to me the most precious and important truth in the Bible. There is a clear warning given in the Scripture about those who deny this fundamental truth. It is found in 1John 1:22,23:
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
I would draw your attention to John Gill's commentary on this passage:
He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son: that denies the Father of Christ to be the Creator of the world, but asserts that it was made by angels, as some ancient heretics did; or that the Father of Christ is not the God of the Old Testament, as Marcion; or that denies that God is the Father of Christ, and that Christ is the Son of God; who will not allow that there is any such relation in nature between them; who affirm that Christ is only the Son of God by adoption, or because of his love to him, or because of his incarnation and resurrection from the dead; or that he is not his true and proper Son, only in a figurative and metaphorical sense; that he is not the natural and eternally begotten Son of God, only by office, and as Mediator, and that God is only his Father, as having installed him into an office; or he that denies that these two are distinct from each other, but affirms that Father is the Son, and the Son is the Father, and so confounds them both, and, by confounding both, denies that there are either Father or Son; and all such persons are antichrists, or opposers of Christ. John Gill Expositor of the Bible
Good to make your acquaintance. However I am a bit nonplused by your e-mail. I have never said nor claimed nor implied that "the titles Father and Son are mere role play". I certainly do teach that Jesus is the Gift from the Father. The Father is the Father; Jesus is the Son; the Spirit is the Spirit. All three are divine and together constitute the Trinity. I'm not sure how much more clear than that I can be. I don't have any problem with Mr. Gill's statement; I only fail to see how it has any applicability to anything I have said or written.
Please see the link: in BB 4A Christology: "The Names of Jesus Christ"
I am happy to answer any questions you have in this regard; some clarification of your criticism would be helpful to that end.
In the Name of the Savior of the World, the Gift of God, the First-Born of all creation, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It was good of you to respond. I thank you for your kind reply but I am the one who is now puzzled that you say you do not have any idea why I have taken issue with you about the information on your website in which you make it very clear that the Father and Son titles are not literal but representative roles.
So I must refer you to the following;
"As should be clear from the discussion above, the names Father, Son, and Spirit are thus representative of the Trinity's individual roles in the plan of God for mankind, and have been given to help us understand the relationships and functions of the three divine personalities in that plan. The names themselves must not be pushed beyond the clearly intended analogies to our human frame of reference as outlined above."
FROM: Section 3. Roles of the Trinity in the Plan of God note bb) The Names of the Trinity Bible Basics: Essential Doctrines of the Bible Part 1 Theology: the Study of God by Dr. Robert D. Luginbill Ichthys Undated Online http://www.ichthys.com/1Theo.htm
I do not think you can support this statement and support a literal Father and Son at the same time. Do you still stand by this statement?
Forgive the brevity of my last email I was tired and in a hurry and thus the email was somewhat abrupt.
I look forward to corresponding with your further
Sincerely In His Name
I am very happy to correspond with you on this question; I do wish to clear up any confusion. Yes, I do stand by this statement you quote. I suppose I can see how it might be potentially confusing taken out of context. But I believe that if you read the whole of part 1 of Bible Basics: Theology carefully, you will see that what I teach about the Trinity is consistent with all that is right and true in the evangelical Protestant tradition. Let me break down this statement you quote and explain what I mean and why I have said what I have said:
1) "the names Father, Son, and Spirit are thus representative of the Trinity's individual roles in the plan of God for mankind": This is certainly true. All three members of the Trinity are Spirit, yet only the Holy Spirit is called "Spirit", reflecting His role in the plan of God which is felt but not seen. Unlike human fathers and sons, the Father and the Son both exist from eternity past, before the universe even existed, and the Father therefore does not pre-date the Son since both existed together before there was even any time (John 1:1-3). However the Father does send the Son into the world by the process of human birth, and the Son does respond, coming into the world and faithfully and obediently carrying out the Father's will.
2) "[these names] have been given to help us understand the relationships and functions of the three divine personalities in that plan." This is also true. God the Father invented the human family. There would be no fathers and sons except that He so ordained it, creating us in this way for our good according to His plan. The relationship He has with the Son is more meaningful to us and understandable by us because of what we can apply from our human frame of reference based on human families. Therefore the dynamics of the relationship between Father and Son are primary; those of human fathers and sons secondary. We exist as we do as a mirror of the greater reality of God. Nonetheless, the use of these names by God is for our benefit, that we might have some small inkling of the closeness of the relationship between the Father and Jesus by our observation of the best human father-son relationships.
3) "The names themselves must not be pushed beyond the clearly intended analogies to our human frame of reference". This is also true, and an important caveat. God the Father is not a man. And Jesus is both God and man, since the time of the incarnation. Therefore while there is a literal Father-Son relationship, and while it is deliberately analogous to what we see between human beings (because God made us this way at least in part that we might understand His relationship with the Son), what the Father and the Son share is so much more to an infinite degree so as to make full understanding on our part before the resurrection an impossibility. We are created as we are and are given the analogy as a help, but it should never be used to devalue what the Father and Son have (which is more than we can imagine) -- that would be bringing them down to our level. This is an important point in appreciating the sacrifice of the Son by the Father, for whatever Abraham, for example, felt in anticipating the sacrifice of Isaac, what the Father actually sacrificed in judging the sins of the world in the body of Jesus is infinitely greater and beyond our true comprehension (not to mention what Jesus Himself suffered in His spiritual death for all mankind; see the link: "The Spiritual Death of Christ" in BB 4A: Christology).
Please also note in considering the above (and in reading the whole of BB 1) that I never say that the names Father and Son are not to be taken "literally". They are Father and Son in a literal sense, but, clearly, there is a difference between you and your father and the relationship you share and me and my father and the relationship we shared and that of the Father and the Son (i.e., one of more on their part, not of less). They are each analogous of the other, and with our earthly relationships tailored to mirror the heavenly one. But just because they are not identical does not mean that either set of relationships is not "literal".
Perhaps it would be helpful if you would clarify for me what you mean by "literal" in terms of the Father and the Son. Different people mean different things by this word, especially in this context. For example, God the Father did not "produce" Jesus in His divinity; the Logos was "face to face with God [the Father]" before creation.
In the Name of the One who became a man, entering into the world to die for all our sins, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I am asking you, why? Why have you went out of your way to misrepresent the writer, John, in John 1:1-2?
The rules of English will read as follows: The word[subject of the sentence] was[verb] in[preposition] beginning[absence of the article]. And The word[subject] was[verb] with[preposition] the God[presence of the article]. And The word[subject] was[verb] God[absence of the article].
This[pronoun][word][agreement of the pronoun] was[verb] in[preposition] beginning[absence of the article] with[preposition] the God[presence of the article].
Here is the translation I provide in part of the Bible Basics series, Theology:
The Word existed in the beginning: the Word was both present with the [Father] God [before creation] and the Word was God [in His own right]. This same One was present with the [Father] God in the beginning.
It would be good of you to explain what part of it you feel to be a misrepresentation. Any good translation (of anything into any other language) requires the translator to correctly represent what is genuinely meant in the original text being translated. Mechanical word-for-word renderings can only produce gibberish. That is why computers are limited when it comes to bringing out the subtleties of language, for translation is as much of an art as it is a science (and in complicated languages like Greek and Hebrew cyber-techniques are even more limited, since reducing these highly inflected languages to machine readable systems is also an impossible task beyond a certain point).
I stand behind my translation of John 1:1 as being not only accurate, but also effective, because it brings out the meaning that is there in the Greek original. Let me use an example a comparison of the text you provide to my translation above, comparing "in beginning" in yours to "in the beginning" in mine. For all the English speakers I know, "in beginning" is gibberish, not English. Since we are not dealing with gibberish in the Greek, to render the phrase this way in English is both inaccurate (because the Greek has true meaning) and ineffective (because the impression it leaves on the English speaker is jarring and counter-productive at best, and completely incomprehensible at worst).
Therefore there is no misrepresentation here.
I am happy to answer any questions about the specific choices of words or phrases in this or any of the other passages translated at Ichthys.
You are talking to one who knows the Koine Greek. No bluffing allowed.
One simple question: John 1:2 begins with a pronoun. Please tell me it antecedent?
Again, here is the translation I provide in part of the Bible Basics series, Theology:
(1) The Word existed in the beginning: the Word was both present with the [Father] God [before creation] and the Word was God [in His own right]. (2) This same One was present with the [Father] God in the beginning.
It is very clear from the Greek and from any responsible English translation that the "this same One" is the Logos, the Word of God, Jesus Christ (from verse one).
I never bluff. If you know anything about Greek or any other foreign language (and most people, even in this country, have at least some exposure to some other foreign language), then my comments on translation will ring true (so that my comments were clearly not a "bluff" but an attempt to explain). The only thing gibberish accomplishes in translating Greek is exactly the sort of "bluff" you seem concerned about, namely, it gives the impression to the uneducated or uninitiated that somehow this special translation must be based upon deeper insight -- whereas in fact it is only a bad translation at best (and a deliberate attempt to mislead at worst).
Now, since you have asked me a question and I have answered, I will ask you one too. This is your second e-mail of veiled disapproval. If you want to continue this dialogue, please get to the point and tell me what your objection/position is -- or else let the matter drop if you unwilling to do so.
I am giving you details why your insertions in John 1:1-2 are wrong.
The Word existed[Why do you like "existed" instead of "was"?] in the beginning: the Word was[Why don't you like "existed" here? It is the very same Greek verb "was"] both present with the [Father] God [before creation] and the Word was God [in His own right]. This same One was present with the [Father] God in the beginning. John 1:1-2 It's very clear from the Greek and from any responsible English translation that the "this same One" is the logos, the Word of God, Jesus Christ (from verse one). [Why don't you like the "pronoun" in John 1:2? Which means: This word was in [the] beginning with God].
Jn 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. "Just tell me plainly in the Koine Greek the difference between: Feed my lambs and Feed my sheep?"
Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Jn 1:2 This same word was in the beginning with God.
Jn 1:14 And the Word became[Why is this Greek verb in contrast to the Greek verb "was" in John 1:1-2?] flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Col 1:13 Who["Who" is a Greek pronoun. Which noun is the antecedent for this pronoun?] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14 In whom["Whom" is a Greek pronoun. Which noun is the antecedent for this pronoun?] we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15 Who["Who" is a Greek pronoun. Which noun is the antecedent for this pronoun?] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
To answer your questions,
1) "existed": To translate "was" here is misleading in the extreme. "Was" is the English copula, and requires a predicate. To translate "was in the beginning" begs the question "was what?". Whereas in fact the verb eimi in Greek can be existential in its own right, and that is the way it is used here. The translation "was in the beginning" only makes any sense in English if one understands or reads into this gibberish-like translation that by "was" we really mean "existed" (or something similar); my translation merely makes this necessary connection for the reader. To translate into genuine English and to do so correctly, one has to avoid the appearance of an unfulfilled copula (and that is only possible here by choosing a verb other than "was"). Otherwise, one risks giving a false impression about what the Greek means (in cases where the reader does not make the substitution of English for gibberish for him/herself). Later you point out that that in John 1:14 the verb switches to gignomai: that is very instructive here, for while gignomai can and often does indicate change, eimi is an indication of unchanged state (i.e., "existence" versus "becoming").
2) "was": Unlike the first occurrence, in the second occurrence there is indicates expressed predicate: "God". In the second instance, "God" is what "the Word" "was". Having or not having an expressed predicate makes all the difference in the world as to what the construction means (and therefore how to translate it).
3) "pronoun": The pronoun in question is the near demonstrative houtos, which I translate as "this same One". Your translation supplies the word "word" which is not in fact present in verse two. My translation merely expands houtos to fit it into an adequate English meaning (whereas yours supplies a previous word which is not in fact there in order to accomplish the same thing). There is not much difference between the two, semantically speaking, but I believe mine to be a clearer representation of the original.
4) "John 21:15": The three statements of Jesus here are entirely synonymous. It is true that He varies the words lambs and sheep (and also love phileo and love agapao). However, from a hermeneutic point of view, the fact that 1) Peter clearly understands these as synonymous, and 2) scripture essentially deems them synonymous (i.e., v.17, Peter is hurt "because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"), are clear indications that trying to make grand distinctions between these three questions and commands is an interpretive mistake. Instead, the threefold repetition should be taken as meaning that the necessity for pastors to provide real food for their congregations is their paramount responsibility (and that is a lesson which, to judge by the current state of affairs in the church-visible, has largely been lost).
I'm not sure what you want me to say about the remaining laundry list of relative pronouns that follows. If you have a point here, please make it, and I'd be happy to respond.
I hope this clears things up for you. Feel free to write back about any of this.
Dear Brother, Can you think like a Koine Greek person without letting English come into the picture? You have pointed something out for me that is very important. Look. A store in the local Mall has this sign: "Come on in. Approval of credit in minutes." See, "in minutes" is very good English. Greek word order means little. English word order means: Subject, Verb, Predicate. Look. In[preposition] beginning WAS the word AND the word WAS with[preposition] God AND the word WAS God. This word WAS in[preposition] beginning with[preposition] God. "...in John 1:14 the verb switches to gignomai: that is instructive here, for while gignomai can and often does indicate change, eimi is an indication of unchanged state (i.e., "existence"). NOTE: "WAS" is in the imperfect tense therefore "WAS" means the word "KEPT" on being, as John stated, until the word "BECAME" flesh. Exactly, a change of state. And that is John's whole point. "LAMB" the slain lamb is only found in Revelation except for John 21:15. I thought you would have instantly caught my drift, but not so. Look again at Col. Below: Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which[Father] hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Col 1:13 Who[the Father] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son: Col 1:14 In whom[dear Son] we have redemption through his[dear Son's] blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins: Col 1:15 Who[dear Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: "image of the invisible God"
The Father is invisible. The Father only became visible in his dear son or the son of his love.
Of course, to translate correctly one has to "think" in both the original and target languages. "In minutes" (which can be indefinite) is perfectly good English. "In beginning" (which by the the nature of a beginning has to be definite) is gibberish.
Secondly, the fact that the "was" here is imperfect is irrelevant because in Greek, the verb "to be" only has an imperfect; since it has no aorist and no pluperfect, drawing distinctions between aspects in the past such as you are attempting to do is incredibly misleading as there is/was no alternative way of rendering the past tense of this verb.
However, none of the above seems to be germane to what you are really interested in (as far as I can tell). I still am unable to discern from your e-mail what your point is in all this. Jesus is God. He took on true humanity at the incarnation and "became" the God-Man. I certainly accept this blessed truth and fundamental premise of orthodox Christianity as even a casual overview of the writings at Ichthys would easily confirm. So if this is your concern, namely, that by translating "existed" instead of "was" I somehow am departing from this essential doctrine, I can assure you that this is not the case.
Please see the link: in BB 4A: Christology, "Jesus Christ is truly Divine"
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Have you inserted the following words to support the belief in the Trinity? "existed", "both present" "[Father]", ["before creation"], ["in his own right"],
Anytime you or anyone else uses a NUMBER other than ONE when speaking of God [in any way, shape or form] has corrupted the true God and eternal life. So now tell me WHO is described in Revelation, Chapter One, verses 10-18.
The insertions in brackets in my translations are for the sake explanation. They always reflect what the original means which is often "between the lines", a common phenomenon in any language. I use brackets in such cases precisely so that readers will know when I am supplying words that are not there literally (but which are necessary to communicate the full meaning of the text which it possesses in the original language; see the link: Frequently Asked Questions #20: Sigla).
So the additional words are there in brackets not "to support the doctrine of the Trinity", but to adequately translate what the Greek text actually means; correctly understood this passage does clearly show two co-equal and co-eternal members of the Trinity, the Father and Christ -- with or without the words in brackets.
That John's vision in Revelation 1:10-18 is of the resurrected Jesus is, to my mind, clear enough, even from poorly translated English versions.
As to "one", God Himself speaks of Himself in the plural right at the beginning of the Bible: "Let us make man in our image".
In our Lord Jesus,
Please explain to me WHY John left out the third member of the trinity?
Everything has its place. The Bible is not a theological textbook. Rather, one must build theology upon everything the Bible says (without cherry-picking). In fact, of course, John says quite a bit about the Holy Spirit in chapters 14 and 16 in ways that make His divinity clear as well (as well as many other places in the gospel of John as well as the epistles and in Revelation). For example, in John 16:8-10 we see the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
Please see the link: "The Divinity of the Holy Spirit"
In our Lord Jesus,