DEITY ANNOUNCED, FINALLY
I and My Father are One.
The Lord is claiming to be deity. He is divine. He is not saying that He is the same person as is the Father, but that they are one in unity, purpose, and will.
John 17:11 (KJV)
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
John 17:22 (KJV)
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
The Lord is praying here that He wants us, His disciples, to be one in the same way as the Father and He are one. Does Jesus want one disciple only? No, of course not. He wants multitudes of disciples. He wants us to be in harmony, as He and the Father are. So, when Jesus says that He and the Father are One in that same way He wants us to be one, then we know that they are not the same Person, but the same in purpose.
Jesus and the Father are not one in person or individuality.
I John 5:7
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."
This last verse in I John is condemned by the Oneness groups as uninspired. They claim to be the strongest defenders of the Word, and yet, they want to remove passages which disagree with them. The true understanding of any doctrine will be supported by all Scripture. When any group needs to discount, remove, or ignore any passage, there is something wrong with their doctrine.
In the Scripture, the use of the word "one" is more of "unity" than it is of number. For instance, let us examine Deuteronomy 6:4:
"Hear of Israel, the Lord our God is one..."
The word translated "one" is "achid" which means "a united one."
The Lord could have used the word "yachid" which means "an absolute one", but He chose to use the other word. This is because the "Elohim" (plural of "El", which means 'Almighty God') is one in unity of mind and purpose.
Some other examples of the words "achid" and "yachid" are these:
Genesis 1 says that the "evening and the morning" were "one (achid) day."
Genesis 2:24 tells us that two partners were married by God and became "one flesh." This is also "achid."
Genesis 22:2 shows Abraham being commanded to "take thy son, thine only son." This is the word "yachid" for it was the absolute one son that was referred to.
Oneness groups have committed the same sin as mentioned in Jeremiah 23:36:
"For ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of hosts, our God."
There is One God, a united One, made up of three personalities Who are united in will, mind, and purpose so much that it is often hard to distinguish between Them.
Oneness exponents might expect smooth sailing for their principal doctrine, if the Bible only contained their favorite scriptures. But there are numerous Scriptures that indicate a plurality in the Godhead.
In the Old Testament, the first name given to us for God is "Elohim". This is the plural form of "El" which means "Almighty God." Elohim occurs over 2000 times in the Bible.
"In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth."
"Elohim is joined by plural adjectives, plural forms of verbs, and plural pronouns. (Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7, 20:13, 31:7,53). This is the first revelation of God to mankind, that the Godhead is made up of more than one personality.
The Bible has frequent references to God with pronouns that are plural.
"Let Us make man in Our image..."
"Behold, the man is become one of Us."
"Go to, let Us go down and there confound their language."
"Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?"
Conversations of One of the Trinity to Another of the Trinity are recorded in Scripture.
"Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God."
"When He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me."
"Father, glorify Thy name, Then there came a voice from heaven, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
"For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell (sheol), neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption."
"The Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee..."
"The Lord (Jehovah) said unto my Lord (Adonai), Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool..."
Three are declared to be God.
First, we know One Whom we call GOD, THE FATHER.
Then, we know Another as JESUS, THE SON.
A third member of the Trinity is the HOLY SPIRIT.
I Peter 1:2
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God."
Since the Father, the Son, and the Spirit each have the same traits as the Others, we have to admit that Each is, without need of the Others, a Person.
Webster defines "person" as "a particular individual - one who has intellect, sensibility, and will..." Angels are persons, departed saints in heaven are still persons, those who have gone to hell-fire - are still persons.
All three of the Trinity have INTELLECT.
"For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need."
"He knew what was in man."
"And He that searches the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit."
All three of the Trinity have SENSIBILITY.
"I am well pleased."
"He was moved with compassion."
"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God..."
All three of the Trinity have WILL.
Jesus said "Thy will be done."
"I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me."
I Corinthians 12:11
"dividing to every man severally, as He will."
The knowledge of the three in the Trinity
is not always the same.
If they were all one Person, they would necessarily have the same knowledge.
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only."
Each of the Trinity meets the basic requirements for being a real Person. They are separate Persons, able to function individually. They have their own feelings, will, and intellect.
These three Persons have a mutual relationship.
They each recognize the existence of the Others of the Godhead. They each refer to the Others with personal pronouns. They communicate with each Other. They love each Other.
"As the Father hath loved Me..."
"I love the Father..."
There are distinctions in the relationship.
The Son proceeded from the Father, but never is it said that the Father proceeded from the Son. (John 8:42, 16:28)
It is always the Father that begets, and never the Son begetting another of the Trinity. (John 1:14, 18, 3:16)
The Father is never said to proceed from the Spirit, but the vice versa is true. (John 15:26, 14:26, Acts 2:17)
The Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father, but never said to be begotten of the Father, as is the Son.
THE PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE
EXPECTED THE MESSIAH TO BE DEITY
In Isaiah, there is a great prophecy that we have seldom truly considered, and usually only notice at all around Christmas time.
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name, Immanuel."
This event of the incarnation of deity becoming human flesh is a foundation truth of the gospel. Jesus came as One equal to the Father, eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and became a man, born of the Spirit into a virgin named Mary. He began to reveal Himself, and the message of the Father to us.
Isaiah had prophesied that this Messiah would be born of a virgin, and that the life in her would be Deity. The name "Emmanuel" (Immanuel in the Old Testament, and Emmanuel in the New Testament) means "GOD WITH US".
The Jews studied Scripture, memorized it, debated it, and were anxious for it to be fulfilled. The Good Shepherd came as "Emmanuel". He was ready to announce that is Who He is.
THE MOST LEARNED,
WHO SHOULD HAVE RECOGNIZED JESUS,
REJECTED HIS CLAIM OF DEITY
There were different religious people in the nation, who should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah: PHARISEES... SADDUCEES... ESSENES... HERODIANS... ZEALOTS... FOLLOWERS OF JESUS. Each of these groups had studied prophecy, and had expectations of what was soon to happen.
The pharisees were called "chasidim" of themselves. This word means "pious ones". The opponents of this group called them the "perushim" meaning "separated ones." The pharisees reportedly numbered only about 6000 in the time of Jesus' first coming.
They studied the law, read the prophets, and were piously proud, wanting all to see them as educated in the Word, and so much so that others should listen to them, their rules, their interpretations of the Word.
The pharisees denied themselves much in the eating of foods. They frequently fasted. They believed in the resurrection, in angels, in spirits, in heaven, and in hell-fire. The pharisees had a belief in the pre-ordination of God.
This was a middle-class group, not the most prosperous of the day. They separated themselves to find their own idea of righteousness, which was all outward. The "oral law" was emphasized over the "written law" of the Torah. The oral law was composed of many explanations of the written law. The oral law focused on trifling details. They were therefore scrupulous in details.
The Pharisees lived in the closed communities under the direction of a scribe (an expert in the law of Moses). The pharisees were scrupulous for minor details of legalism. They claimed to know the Word of God better than any, but they were so involved with minor judgmental rules, that the main message of a coming Messiah was not well discussed by them. They missed the important, while majoring in minor debates.
Paul said of the pharisees:
"... they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they disregarded the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness."
The pharisees missed the whole message of God, in the Old Testament, and confirmed in the New Testament, of righteousness through faith. They looked to be more holy than others, and measured that ‘holiness’ on details of rules, instead of on the purity of their love. They watched Jesus, not looking for the Messiah, but looking to denigrate Him lest He receive more attention than did they.
This religious group called themselves to be the "tsaddiquim", meaning "the righteous ones." Since the Pharisees called themselves to be "the pious ones", the sadducees competitively called themselves to be "the righteous ones." Like many denominations today, each wanted to place themselves to be the ones who had the only true doctrines...
They did not believe in the resurrection. They did not believe in the soul living after death. They did not believe in any reward, punishment, heaven, or hell. They did not believe in angels or spirits. Some remember their name thereby, for such ones who had these beliefs would be "SAD, YOU SEE".
These Sadducees believed in man having a free will, and argued much with the pharisees. Both groups were legalistic, and they could not even agree with how to dry the body following a bath, i.e. do you dry it all at once, or one limb at a time?
Sadducees did not rule out all traditions, but objected to the traditionalism of the pharisees. Sadducees believed in man's free will and objected to the pre-ordination of the pharisees. The pharisees felt that one was chosen to be righteous by God, and those who were not righteous (as they supposed they were) were meant not to be. Therefore, the pharisees felt chosen by God, and others, not so chosen, were chosen to die in hell. The sadducees felt God wanted them to choose to serve Him. They believed man had to choose good or evil, and reaped the consequences of such choice.
We see those kinds of doctrines still today, still in debate. Then they argued over those things, and missed seeing the Messiah arrive, with healings, miracles, and great sermons. Their debate made them competitive to look more holy, more righteous. And today, the same kind of debates are going on, while we are nearing the sudden rapture of the saints. Many are forgetting or neglecting to see the nearness of the coming of Jesus today, and are sidelined from the joy of seeing His soon coming.
This group called themselves to be the "chitsonim", meaning the "holy ones". "Essenoi" is the Greek word for "chitsonim", and therefore equivalent. They were very exclusive, and thought that they themselves would be saved. They were so exclusive that they were not mentioned directly in the New Testament, for they had kept so much to themselves that contact, conversations, and confrontation with them was scarce.
They thought themselves to be so holy that they: had to abstain from marriage, could not wear colored garments, could not have contact with outsiders from their group.
In the times of Jesus' first coming, this group numbered about 4000. They seemed to only exist from 100 B.C. until about 66 A.D.
The essenes claimed contact with angels, were legalistic, took frequent baths and baptisms, abstained from wine and all meats. Their routine required they take a bath, then have a meal. They also would take a bath if touched by an outsider. They would take a bath after every time they went to the rest room.
The other groups rejected the claims of holiness of the essenes, and the Mishnah prohibited public reading of the law by those who did not come in colored garments. Since the essenes only wore white garments, this probably refers to them. The white garments clearly identified the essenes, making it very easy for the other groups to avoid them.
Sadducees and pharisees were parties inside the synagogue, but the essenes were separatists. The essenes denied the resurrection, believed in absolute separation, avoided large cities as centers of immorality. They did do works of charity, and shared all their worldly goods, wearing the common white garments, had common prayers, and had common meals.
The essenes had three years of training and study, with strict rule and living standards before they could become a member. At the beginning of the fourth year, an oath was taken. They promised in such oath to avoid all vanity, falsehood, dishonesty, unlawful gains. They bound themselves to not conceal anything from his own sect. They promised to not reveal their doctrines to others, and to hand down their doctrines as they had received them. They also gave oath to guard the books belonging to the sect, to not reveal the names of angels. The oath also affirmed that to blaspheme Moses was a capital offense.
The essenes claimed to have conversations and dealings with angels, and supposedly received angelic instruction, and learned cures from herbs and stones from them.
The essenes believed in salvation by legalism, no atonement, repetitive ritual to earn points with God. They expected an earthly Messiah, one of themselves to be a wise teacher, and they were exclusive not evangelical.
They became so studious, but so separatists, that the only place they looked for a Messiah, was amidst their small group. They so isolated themselves, that they may never have heard of the ‘shepherds of Bethlehem’, the wise men, the prophecies of Anna and Simeon. They stayed away from others like John the Baptist who pointed out the ‘Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world. Their religion sealed them out from seeing and hearing the Messiah as He traveled around the country for three years. They did not recognize Him as the Messiah.
This was more political than religious. The Herodians wanted people to submit to Rome and to the taxation of the Romans. They wanted Herod's family to have the thrones, and did not want the Messiah to come. Herod filled the Sanhedrin and the office of High Priest with these. Matthew probably had been a Herodian until he found Jesus.
The Herodians combined the pharisaical views with Herodian politics. So, being so politically minded, so intent on changing things for the better while working in political work, they did not feel the need or desire for a Messiah to come, and remove their fortune they had gained by political favoritism. They wanted to wrestle control of the nation via their own political acumen, rather than by the Messiah coming to save the nation from sin.
This religious group believed that no human could be their absolute "lord". They wanted a political "Messiah" to come and overthrow the Romans and Herod. They had zeal, but were selfishly inspired, for they wanted the Messiah to come so that they could become rich and powerful. The zealots became thieves of anything that belonged to the Romans.
The zealots glorified the thought and act of murdering Romans, or anyone who aided a Roman. The Herodians were trying to exterminate all the zealots, and the zealots had as their chief goal -- to kill all the Herodians.
Simon, the Canaanite, a disciple of Jesus, had been a zealot until he found Jesus, and perhaps for a bit longer. He likely thought Jesus to be the Messiah Who would conquer the Romans, and was wanting to be near to Him for when He would announce His intentions. Jesus had to re-educate this zealous disciple. Had Jesus taken up a sword and murdered Romans, they may have accepted Him.
FOLLOWERS OF JESUS
Jesus was first a teacher to the disciples. Then, later they realized that He was the Son of God, and the Messiah. The followers of Jesus emphasized that entering into the new kingdom to come by an inward change. This group stressed love, forgiveness, and mercy as expressive of their founder, Jesus Christ. They failed to fully grasp what the Messiahship of Jesus would mean. In the end, though forewarned, they followed afar off, were frightened enough to deny Him. One actually decided to betray Him. They failed to understand that He was deity with a purpose of dying for our sins.
So, Jesus announced to all, that He was Emmanuel, God with us, but with a purpose that they did not understand. Some plotted His death, some followed and were in fear from this time forward. Yet, Jesus had made the grand announcement, He is the One. We have all heard sermons followed by an ‘altar call’. This sermon of the Good Shepherd somewhat ended with a ‘stoning call’. The enemies of Jesus were certainly angered, as much as some of the others were gladdened. The angry crowd seems to always have more vocal courage.