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Harlot of Babylon According to Irvin Baxter; Trinity and Oneness, Part 8
by Karl Kemp
2/14/2016 / Bible Studies
We continue this study here in Part 8.
I'LL ALSO LIST AND QUOTE AND BRIEFLY DISCUSS SOME VERSES FROM THE GOSPEL OF JOHN THAT EXPLAIN WHAT JESUS MEANT WHEN HE SAID THAT HE AND THE FATHER ARE ONE, AND THAT HE WHO HAS SEEN HIM HAS SEEN THE FATHER, AND SIMILAR EXPRESSIONS (Jesus didn't ever communicate the idea that He [He being the Son of God in His deity] and the Father were the same Person; how could He?): JOHN 5:17-23 ((When Jesus was attacked for healing a man on the Sabbath, "He answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.' [As verse 19 shows, Jesus didn't heal on the Sabbath on His own initiative; He always said and did the things God the Father wanted Him to do.] (18) For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. [Jesus in His humanity (in His human nature) wasn't calling God His own Father, but He was saying this as the Son of God, who had become the God-man.] (19) Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, 'Truly [Amen], truly [Amen], I say to you, the Son can do nothing unless it is something He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. [The Son cannot be limited to the human nature of Jesus; His deity as the Son of God is in the spotlight.] (20) For the Father loves the Son [He loves the Son, not His (the Father's) human nature).], and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. (21) For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son [the Son of God] also gives life to whom He wishes. (22) For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son [to God the Son, to the God-man, not to the human nature of Jesus], (23) so that all will honor the Son [God the Son] even as they honor the Father [God the Father]. [[Note that the Father and the Son are distinct Persons. To speak of all honoring the Son even as they honor the Father would be blasphemous if Jesus were not deity with the Father. And I don't believe it would make sense for the human nature of Jesus (or for the physical body of Jesus, which some oneness believers think the Son is) to be honored even as God the Father is honored.]] He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him [[Many passages show that the Father sent Him from heaven when it was time for the incarnation (cf., e.g., John 3:17 with 3:13; 10:36; 16:5). I remind the reader that all it takes to prove that the oneness view of God is false is to demonstrate that God the Son existed as a Person with God the Father before the Father sent Him from heaven into the world at the time of His virgin birth.]].' " We clearly see two Persons in these verses (God the Father and God the Son, not the divine nature of Jesus and His human nature), as we so often do throughout the Bible.)); JOHN 8:26-29 ((" 'I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me [the Father sent Him from heaven (cf., e.g., John 3:17 with 3:13; 10:36; 16:5)] is true; and the things which I heard from Him [Here it seems that Jesus is speaking, at least for the most part, of the things He had heard from the Father before/when He was sent into the world. Anyway, it is clear that the Father revealed many things to Jesus after He came into the world.], these I speak to the world.' (27) They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. (28) So Jesus said, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He [On the words "I am He," see under John 13:19 in my paper on John chapters 13-17. These words demonstrate His deity.], and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (29) And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.' " We see two Persons.)); JOHN 12:49 (("For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak." As in John 8:26, the idea here is that the Father sent Him from heaven and at that time He gave Him directions as to what to say and what to speak. As I mentioned, it is clear that the Son communed with the Father on a regular basis while He ministered on the earth, which included receiving directions from the Father, which undoubtedly included, for example, the ones He should choose as apostles [cf. Luke 6:12-14] and when He should and should not go to Jerusalem where they wanted to kill Him.)); JOHN 14:24 ("He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me."); JOHN 14:31 (("but so that the world may know that I love the Father [One Person loves another Person. The Father and the Son (Two Persons) have always had a super-powerful love relationship. We become recipients of the love that the Father has always had for the Son (cf. John 17:23; quoted as we continue). That's an overwhelming thought! What a salvation plan!], I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. ...."))
JOHN 10:30 (WITH JOHN 10:27-29) with John 17:21-23 and 10:36-38. ((When we read John 10:30 in the light of the other things Jesus said in the Gospel of John, it doesn't offer any real support for the oneness view of God. It is clear that Jesus didn't mean that He and the Father are the same Person. See my paper titled, "Verse-by-Verse Study of John Chapters 10-12 (with John 9:35-41)" for more details.)): "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (28) And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all [God the Father has the preeminent role in the Trinity, and especially during the time that the Lord Jesus was living on the earth. We see God the Father and God the Son here.], and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. [[These verses strongly emphasize the security of believers, but they do not teach that true Christians cannot willfully turn from God and His truth and righteousness and fall away. Believers can become unbelievers. ((I had a footnote: See my paper titled, "Once Saved, Always Saved?" In Revelation chapters 2, 3 Jesus warned many of the Christians that if they didn't repent, they would cease to be His people, and those passages make it clear that He was speaking to true Christians. For example, He told the Christians at Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7) that if they didn't repent He would remove their lampstand. The fact that they had a lampstand proved that it was a true Christian church (Rev. 1:20). If He removed their lampstand, however, they would no longer be true Christians. And Jesus warned the majority of the Christians at Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6) that if they didn't repent He would come against them in judgment like a thief, that they would not walk with Him in white, and that He would erase their names from the book of life. The fact that He told them that they must "wake up and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die" (Rev. 3:2), that they had soiled their garments, unlike the few Christians at Sardis who had not soiled their garments, and that their names were in the book of life showed that the Christians who must repent, or else, had become true Christians.))]] (30) I and the Father are one." [[The fact that the word "one" is neuter in the Greek, not masculine, further demonstrates that Jesus was not saying that He and the Father are one Person. The Gospel of John (as I have demonstrated), and even these few verses (John 10:27-30), make it quite clear that Jesus wasn't saying that He and the Father are one Person. I am quite sure that none of the apostles, or other disciples, thought that Jesus meant that He and the Father were the same Person. They didn't even believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus until after He was raised from the dead and appeared to them (cf., e.g., John 20:9; Mark 16:14).]]
John 17:21-23 is a helpful cross-reference: In those verses Jesus [the Son of God; the God-man] prayed to God the Father [a different Person], "that they [true Christians] may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. [[We see God the Father and God the Son here (two Persons, not the divine nature and the human nature of the one Person Jesus), as we do in the two verses that follow and a VERY LARGE number of other verses throughout the Bible. I don't believe it is possible that the human nature of Jesus was praying to His divine nature here, or anywhere else. Jesus was praying to the Father that all true Christians (persons) become one with the Father and the Son (Persons) in a supernatural way. He was praying for this to happen essentially at once, while they were still living on the earth, to help the world see the reality of new-covenant salvation, which includes believing that the Father sent His unique Son into the world to save all who will submit (in faith) to Him, His Son, and new-covenant salvation.]] (22) The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one [[As the context shows, the "glory" that Jesus was speaking of here included the divine enablement (through the indwelling Holy Spirit of life and glory) for us to be one with the Father and the Son and one another in a supernatural way. The Father and the Son are distinct Persons, even as we continue to be distinct persons after we become one as the Father and the Son are one. We must understand, of course, that the fact that we become one as the Father and the Son are one in a very real sense does not mean that we become deity with the Father and the Son (and the Spirit).]] (23) I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that you sent Me, and have loved them, even as You have loved Me." It is super-obvious that we are not going to become one Person with God the Father or God the Son, which helps confirm that Jesus is not one Person with God the Father either. If Jesus didn't pray what He did here, it would be essentially impossible to believe that the Father loves true Christians with the same love that He has for the Lord Jesus (also see 17:26). In 17:24 Jesus mentioned, for one thing, that the Father had loved Him "before the foundation of the world." The Father loved Him, not the thought or idea of Him in the Father's mind. Then in 17:25 Jesus mentioned, as He so often did, that the Father had sent Him into the world (the Son who had always been with Him, the Son through whom the world had been created).
So what does it mean that Jesus and the Father are one? As these verses show, they are one - they are united - in their desire and commitment to make sure that no one (very much including the devil himself) will be able to snatch even one of God's sheep (the elect; true believers) out of their hands. They are united in every way, including the mutual exceeding great love between the Persons of God the Father and God the Son that has always existed, and including the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ had been sent by the Father and was totally motivated to always say and do everything that the Father would have Him say and do. Since Jesus was God the Son, He was able to reveal the Father in a unique way (see John 1:18, for example). The more you picture (as the oneness Christians do) the Lord Jesus being one Person with a divine (God the Father and God the Holy Spirit) and a human nature (a human nature which didn't exist until time of the virgin birth), the more you lose the super-intense love relationship between the two Persons of God the Father and God the Son that has always existed.
I'll quote John 10:36-38, verses that are closely tied to John 10:30, "do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (37) If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; (38) but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." (For one thing, the Spirit of God was dwelling in the Lord Jesus in a very powerful way from the time Jesus was anointed by the Spirit and became The Anointed One, The Messiah (Hebrew), The Christ (Greek) at the time He was baptized in water and the Spirit descended upon Him. He was God the Son and deity before that anointing, but He didn't begin His ministry until after the Spirit came upon Him right after He was baptized in water [cf. Luke 3:21, 22].) These verses like the large number of verses I quoted from the Gospel of John in the two sections above, demonstrate the two Persons of God the Father and God the Son, and that God the Father and God the Son are one in that Jesus' works were "the works of [His] Father" (not to mention the other ways in which they are one, including the words that Jesus spoke that came from the Father; His deity, their mutual love, etc.).
JOHN 12:44, 45. (These verses are discussed in my paper on John chapters 10-12. See Matt. 10:40; Luke 10:16. Essentially everything I said above dealing with the Gospel of John applies here too.) "And Jesus cried out and said, 'He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. [[Jesus was not saying, of course, that those who believed in Him did not believe in Him. He was making the super-important point that those who really believe in Him (based on who He really is) necessarily believe in the One who sent Him, God the Father, who has the preeminent role in the Trinity. A person could not believe in the Messiah and not believe in God the Father who sent Him.]] (45) He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.' " Although these verses are used by some oneness Christians to argue for a oneness view of God, I believe it is totally clear in the light of the other things that John said in this Gospel (and the other relevant things said throughout the Bible, especially the New Testament) that Jesus was not saying that He and the Father are one Person. The point that Jesus was making in verse 44 was that those who honored Him by believing in Him (which included submitting, in faith, to Him for who He was) were also believing in and honoring God the Father who had sent Him. The one who really sees Jesus is also seeing God the Father in the sense that the Son reveals the Father (John 1:18) in His character, His words, His works, etc. Those who rejected Jesus showed that they didn't really believe in the One who sent Him. It is not possible to really see the Son and reject Him and to really believe in the One who sent Him and want to do His will (cf., e.g., John 3:19-21; 5:37-47; 7:16, 17; 8:39-47). For us to believe in Jesus requires us to believe all that the Bible reveals about Him, including His being God the Son, who was sent by the Father into the world. We certainly cannot skip believing in His deity, like some do.
JOHN 14:7, 9-11 (WITH JOHN 14:1, 2, 6). (These verses are discussed in my paper on John chapters 13-17. Jesus spoke these words to His apostles on the last night before He was crucified.) "(1) Do not let your heart be troubled, believe in God [or, "you believe in God"], believe also in Me. (2) In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you [or, "if there were not, would I have told you that I am going to get a place ready for you?"] ... (6) Jesus said to him [to Thomas], 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life [see John 1:4; 11:25, for example]; no one comes to the Father but through Me. [[One reason I quoted verses 1, 2, and 6 here is because these verses, along with a large number of verses in the Gospel of John (as I demonstrated above) and throughout the Bible, speak of the two Persons of God the Father and God the Son (and three Persons with the Holy Spirit). These verses also help set the stage for the following verses. The Lord Jesus brings us (He is the way) to God the Father through our becoming the Father's born-again children when we repent and become Christians. At the end of this age, He will bring us to God the Father in the ultimate sense, when we will be glorified, including having resurrected, glorified bodies designed for us to live in heaven. Also, when Christians die they go to heaven, but not (at that time) in the ultimate, fully glorified sense.]] (7) If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also [[My Greek New Testament (The United Bible Societies' "Greek New Testament" (fourth revised edition) gives a different reading, which is favored by many commentators, and after further study I prefer this other reading: "If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also."]]; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him. [[(This double bracket goes on for three paragraphs.) The apostles had already come to know Jesus person to Person on one level, and they had come to know a lot more about God the Father through Jesus, but they hardly knew the Father on a person to Person basis. Now they would come to know Jesus and God the Father on a much deeper person to Person level. As verses 8-11 show, the disciples had already seen God the Father in one sense, in that they had seen the Lord Jesus Christ (God the Son), and they had heard the things that He had said and seen the things He had done from the Father. They came to know Jesus and God the Father on a deeper level through the things Jesus said to them that last evening (before the cross). They came to know Jesus and God the Father on a much deeper level through seeing the resurrected Christ and having Him share with them on numerous occasions throughout the forty days that started with His resurrection and culminated with His being taken up in a glory cloud from the Mount of Olives to return to the Father while they were watching. But their knowledge of God the Son and God the Father was taken to a whole new level through receiving the promised Holy Spirit, starting on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit brought the new birth and enables Christians to participate in spiritual/eternal life; He sanctifies; He reveals; He convicts; He anoints to minister; He distributes the charismatic gifts; etc. After we are born-again, we can know God the Son and God the Father in the Spiritual dimension. Now we can worship the Father in the Spirit and in the truth (see John 4:23, 24). Now the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirits that we are (born-again) children of God, and we can cry out in sincerity and in truth, Abba, Father (see Rom. 8:15, 16). But the best is yet to come, when we will be glorified (see Rom. 8:17, 18, for example) and begin to reign with God the Father and His Son.
In John 14:18 Jesus says He will come to the disciples, and in verse 23 He says the Father and the Son will make their abode with the disciples. Those glorious intimate relationships come to pass (at least for the most part) through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in new-covenant believers. Romans 8:9 shows that we are not true (born-again) Christians if the Holy Spirit does not dwell in us.
Oneness Christians use John 14:7, 9-11 (along with John 10:30; 12:44, 45) to argue for a oneness view of God, but Jesus wasn't saying in 14:7 or in verses 9-11 (or anywhere else), that He and God the Father are one Person. What I said above regarding John 10:30 and 12:44, 45 fully applies here.]] (8) Philip said to Him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.' (9) Jesus said to him, 'Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father [As we have discussed, those who had seen Jesus had seen the Father in that the Son revealed the Father (John 1:18, for example) in many different ways.]; how can you say, "Show us the Father?" (10) Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? [[Compare John 10:37, 38; 14:20. I'll quote these verses. (Jesus spoke the words of John 10:37, 38 to Jews who had rejected Him and wanted to kill Him.) "If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe Me; (38) but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." John 14:20, "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me and I in you." We can see two Persons here in John 14:10, God the Father and God the Son. With the words that follow here in 14:10, 11, Jesus tells us (a big part of) what He meant when He said "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).]] The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. [[Jesus, God the Son, didn't stop being deity when He lived on the earth in a physical body, but He temporarily laid aside His glory when He became the God-man. He didn't work any miracles until after He had received the Spirit when He was baptized by John the Baptist (see John 2:11). At that time He became the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ.]] (11) [Jesus was speaking to Philip in verse 10, but the Greek shows that He began to speak to all of the apostles here in verse 11.] Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me [[Many verses speak of our being in Christ and His being in us, but we aren't the same Person. I am not suggesting that the glorious relationship that we have with the Lord Jesus is fully comparable with the super-glorious relationship God the Son has with God the Father, but it serves to confirm that we are not to think of one Person here.]]; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.' " As Jesus so often said, the words that He spoke and the miraculous works that He did didn't originate with Him. They originated with God the Father and very much included the work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' life. It is significant, for one thing, that the Old Testament had prophesied that the Messiah/Christ would do these works (see, for example, Luke 4:17-21; 7:18-23).
ACTS 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 1 COR. 1:13 with MATT. 28:19 and BAPTIZING IN/INTO the NAME OF.... These four verses from Acts speak of baptizing in, or into, the name of Jesus Christ (or, the name of the Lord Jesus). 1 Corinthians 1:13 is similar, but Matt. 28:19 says that Jesus, after His resurrection, told His apostles to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Based on Jesus' words (for one primary reason) most Christians in our day baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. So too throughout most of the history of the Christian church. The instructions in "The Didache" (an early Christian document, which is typically dated in the late first century or early second century) mentions baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
I don't think we have enough information to answer every question, but it seems rather clear to me why Peter didn't mention baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit to his Jewish audience in Acts 2:38 on the Day of Pentecost. I'm confident that the apostle Peter (and the other apostles) would not have intentionally disobeyed what the Lord Jesus told them about baptism a short while before the Day of Pentecost. Jesus may have informed them, one way, or another, that they wouldn't use the words in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit at first. The apostles themselves had just begun to understand the deity of the Lord Jesus and the Trinity, and they didn't receive the Holy Spirit to help them understand until the Day of Pentecost, the very day Peter was preaching. Some fifty days before the Day of Pentecost the apostles didn't really believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (even though He had told them He would be killed and resurrected on the third day on several occasions), and they certainly didn't fully understand His deity and the Trinity fifty days before the Day of Pentecost (see Luke chapter 24 and John 20:9, for example).
The Jews didn't know about or believe in God the Son, and they were not expecting the Messiah to be deity. (Nor were they expecting the sacrificial death of the Messiah [but John the Baptist spoke of "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29, 36.], or His resurrection.) These things which are so clear to us now were not understood back then, even though there were prophetic passages that spoke of these super-important things. God's salvation plans through, and in, the Messiah were MUCH GREATER than they had anticipated, even as the Messiah was VERY MUCH GREATER than they had expected. It took a while for the details concerning the Trinity to sink in, and the Jews that Peter was speaking to on the Day of Pentecost wouldn't have understood His deity or the Trinity yet, and there is no record that Peter spoke to them of His deity or the Trinity on that day. At least Peter didn't emphasize His deity or the Trinity before the large audience. (It would be different regarding those who were ready to submit to the Lord Jesus and new-covenant salvation. The deity of Christ and the Trinity is super-important foundational Christian doctrine.) Peter's message, as he was led by the Spirit, centered on the fact that Jesus was God's promised Messiah, and that He was the One who, after He had been crucified and resurrected and taken up to heaven (all according to the plan of God the Father), received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit and poured forth the Spirit, which was causing the things to happen that they were seeing and hearing (see Acts 2:1-33). In such a setting it would have been very confusing (and very controversial) to publicly baptize converts in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We will continue this discussion in Part 9 of this paper.
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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