Over the last few months, two ministers from the Churches of God have made articles available to the public via a Church magazine and the Internet, making the point that there are two Gods. One man put his case very strongly, saying, "Jesus Christ is God right now, He was God during His ministry, and He was God before He became a human being, He has always been God together with God the Father."
I can remember Garner Ted Armstrong writing a similar article around 40 years ago ("Tomorrow's World" July 1969), and before that, reading the article "Is Jesus God?" written by Mr Armstrong in 1955, so the concept has been around in the Churches of God for a long time.
When concepts have been in a church for a long time, they can become a "tradition" that is just accepted by the members. However, some surprising results can turn up if the things that are just taken as "tradition" are challenged. The concept "Christ was also a God" can be shown to be a tradition that was not supported by the original Bible, and is not supported by the majority of the Bible today. If a concept is "truth", then it will always stand up, no matter how many times we challenge it.
If you want to try to prove that Christ was the God of the Old Testament, then there are around 20 Scriptures that will help support your argument. If you want to prove that God the Father was the God of the Old Testament, and therefore there is only one God, then there are around 150 Scriptures to support your argument.
So, it all comes down to what you want to believe.
If you feel that you should continue to support the tradition that is required to keep the Binitarian/Trinitarian beliefs alive, then, as these men have done, you just follow part of the teaching of the world's churches (Jesus was and is God, or a part of God). If you want to get to the truth of the original Bible, then you have to accept that some verses are in error (the 20 and the 150 can not both be right), and dig a little deeper for the truth. The errors in the suspect verses, that is, those that do not agree with the majority of Scriptures, can be caused by mistranslations, alterations or misinterpretation. The men who wrote the articles have been sent personal correspondence, so this article is about the the topic in general, rather than being a response.
By reading past articles, I can see that a lot depends on how you approach the problem (Is Jesus God?). If you start out with the thought that "YHVH" (the God of the Old Testament) is Christ, then many verses can be used to help support the concept. If you believe the many verses saying that there is only one God, then there are other verses that can be used to support that concept. As I will try to show, there are other ways to interpret or understand many of the verses that are used to make the point that there are two Gods. Please note that I am only giving a summary about each verse - to fully understand, you will need to do further thorough investigation. This paper is written to highlight a problem and it's solution. A paper in greater detail and with references is still needed.
One of those groups has been those who support the Trinity concept. For the "Trinity concept" to work, they have to have: - God the Father, Christ also is God, and the Holy Spirit a person and a part of God. I feel those who support the "two Gods" (Binitarian) concept have been caught up with part of the tradition required to keep the Trinity concept alive.
Of course the two concepts are quite different. The Trinitarians are most definite that there is only one God - but made up of three "parts". The Binitarians can see that the Holy Spirit is not a person, but then promote Jesus Christ to be a God in His own right. The problem starts when the Scriptures used to do this are often the same ones the Trinitarians have "twisted" to show that Christ was a member of the God-head.
A look at the Scriptures used.
As you would expect, both articles used many of the same Scriptures, so I will take a look at some of them with the with the 150+ Scriptures (supporting one God) in mind.
Mr Armstrong was able to show that "Holy Spirit" should have neuter pronouns and not masculine pronouns, and thus the Holy Spirit is not a person. That was good, but unfortunately he did not go on to show us that "logos" should also have neuter pronouns. Tyndale called "logos" "it" (1525), as did Wycliffe in 1380, and the Geneva Bible of 1557. "logos" has masculine pronouns in Greek (it has to be masculine or feminine), but for the most part - as I understand it - should have neuter pronouns in English. Those who push the Trinity concept obviously felt it best to keep the original Greek masculine pronouns for "logos" as they also did for "Holy Spirit". Correctly translated, John 1:3 should be "All things were created by it, and apart from it not one thing was created that has been created".
Which brings us back to the "logos" of verse 1 - the "it" of verse three.
While "word" is a possible translation of "logos", a person just learning Greek - who does not have a Trinity barrow to push - would more likely come up with something different. "logos" can include the driving force inside a person. Their wisdom, character (the man is as good as his word), their plans for the future. I like to condense that down to their "grand design" that they have in their mind, but you might be able to come up with something better. Even Strong G3056 (logos) includes "thought" - "reasoning" - "motive".
Anyway, leaving the "Trinity" out of it, and doing an honest translation, John 1:1 should look something like this "In the beginning there was God, who had a plan, purpose, wisdom and power [logos] which by its very nature and origin is divine" (page 221 OG&OL). I might add that Moffatt also shows that "logos" was divine, but not a God.
With this more accurate translation of John 1:1, it can no longer be used to support the conclusion that Christ was the God of the Old Testament. But that should not come as any surprise. There are around 118 verses in the Old Testament and 32 in the New Testament - 150 [and still counting] - that state, or support the statement, that there is only one God. To put it another way, if we take the 150 Scriptures that support one God, and add that to the 20 Scriptures that support two Gods, then the "two Gods" supporters are using just 12% of the Scriptures that are relevant to the topic. I feel that this is being very selective.
The Jews of Jesus's day did not have the "benefit" of the New Testament as we do today, and they certainly believed there was only one God as the 118 or so verses in the Old Testament were telling them. In the Scriptures quoted below, emphasis (bold and/or underline) is mine.
Mar 12:29-34 NKJV Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE.
(30) AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART,
WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.'
This is the first commandment. (31) And the second, like
it, is this: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no
other commandment greater than these." (32) So the scribe
said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.
(33) And to love Him with all the heart, with all the
understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to
love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt
offerings and sacrifices." (34) Now when Jesus saw that he
answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of
God." But after that no one dared question Him.
In fact, if there has always been two Gods, as the men are saying in their articles, then was not Jesus committing sin by not correcting the man who said that there was only one God?
Since He did not correct him, that would mean that the "expert in law" was correct when he said that there was only one God.
Scriptures that state that there is only one God are not hard to find, and it was the going understanding in the early Christian church before the Trinity concept came to the fore. To make my point, I will show you some "snippets" of what Jesus and the Apostles taught and believed.
Jesus: Mar 10:6 NET. ... beginning of creation he [God, not himself] made them .
Mat 19:17 NET. ... There is only one who is good. ... .
Apostle Paul: 1Co 8:4 NET. ... ," and that "there is no God but one."
Eph 4:6 NET. one God and Father of all ... .
The writer of Hebrews: Heb 3:4 NET. ... , but the builder of all things is God.
James: Jas 2:19 NET. You believe that God is one; well and good. ... .
Since "logos" is an "it", the "He" of John 1:10-13 is God the Father - the one who did in fact create Adam and Eve. There are books around that also show by grammar alone, the "He" of v10 is linked to "God" in v6. The "born" of v13 is better translated as "begotten" - see note 1 in the NET Bible.
The plan of God [to have a son that could pay for the sins of the whole world] took on a fleshly form. As Moffatt puts it "So the logos [grand design of God] became flesh ... ".
These two verses are a little hard to see without doing a bit of extra study. It most certainly does not say that Christ created cows, fish or birds. The last part of v15 "over all creation" can also be translated "of the whole church". The first two words of v16 - G3754, G1722 - can also be translated as "Because of". The last phase "through Him" or "by Him" can also be translated as "because of Him". As soon as people see "all things ... were created by Him", they assume that it is talking about the Gen 1 creation. In context (v18 is talking about the church) and in a better translation, it is saying that since Jesus's resurrection, Christ - as head of the Church, and first of the first-born - has been working with God creating positions of responsibility and power within the future Church/Kingdom of God.
Let us look at the verses with the other possible translations put into it.
1:15-16 NET. He is the image [looks like His father] of the
invisible God, the firstborn [of the whole church], (16)
[because of him] all things in heaven and on earth [to do with the Church] were created
— all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or
dominions, whether principalities or powers — all things were
created [because of] him.
These verses as they are usually translated, are a good example of what happens when you have a preconceived concept such as the Trinity in mind while making a translation.
"worlds" in Heb 1:2 is a mistranslation, and is better translated the "coming ages". In other words, we have a future - our "age" - because of what Christ has done.
For Gen 1:26 there are plenty of articles on the Internet showing that the use of the plural pronoun was for emphasis (the royal "we") and is only used about four times, while the single pronoun for God is used about 15,000 times. Again, it gets down to what you want to do. You can "force" a few plural pronouns into the picture, or you can let 15,000 single pronouns speak for themselves.
A better translation is "seen with the minds eye" or no one at that time "understood" what God was about. If Jesus was "God", and people were seeing Him, then the statement - as it stands - is not true anyway, and if anything, it proves Jesus was not "God" at that time. Because people did not understand (see) God at that time, part of Jesus's ministry was to explain what God was like.
In the next chapter the same words spoken by Jesus were spoken by the blind man who could see again. There (John 9:9) they are translated as "I am the one". Jesus was confirming that He was the one that Abraham was "overjoyed to see the day [Jesus would be born]". Once the correct translation is made, the connection with the "I am" of the Old Testament is broken. The Trinitarians need to make the connection - God's people should not. Perhaps, in a way, this verse is even more significant. If you take the incorrect translation as the articles have done, and say that Jesus was fully aware that He spoke the "I AM" words in the Old Testament, then according to Jas 4:17 NET. "So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin.", they make Jesus sin in Mark 12:32 - given above - where the "expert in law" stated that there was only one God. If he (the expert in law) was wrong - as the articles suggest - then Jesus should have corrected him, not given him a "pat on the back" and condoned his "sin". Of course, Jesus did not sin, just as the expert in law, in this instance, did not sin.
The reference to Ps 110:1 is interesting. When you understand it, it is saying that God the Father [LORD] is saying to His Son [Lord], sit at my right hand until I "sort out the mess". This prophecy is further enhanced by Jesus saying in Mat 26:64 NET. Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself [that he was the Son of God]. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."
"the right hand of the power" is an expression used for God the Father (see note 10 NET Bible). Christ comes back to the earth with God, not as God. When you get this [the fact that God the Father's feet touch the Mount of Olives first] right, it is easy to see that the New Jerusalem comes down at the beginning of the Millennium, and many other "events" fall into place. You may want to look at God to Earth? and The New Jerusalem.
1 Cor 10:1-4
This can be translated as Christ following Israel in time - not distance. Much of what Israel did - daily sacrifices, washings, Passover, and so on, all pointed to the future when Jesus would be born.
Talking about Israel "drinking" in the many symbols of the coming Christ, one of the articles made the statement that a "God" is needed to "constitute a payment". As Jesus was a man, what he was able to go through in obedience to the Father has a lot more value than a "God" (who can not sin) just "going through the motions". As I understand it, God the Father (not men) is the one who determines what sacrifice is suitable for the sins of all mankind.
In the margin of the NKJV it says that the words "through Jesus Christ" are not found in some manuscripts. If these words are left out, then it supports the "one God" concept. In other words, this verse is doubtful and should not be used to prove anything - for or against.
"form" just refers to His "outward appearance". Notice the way the NET Bible puts it
"who though he existed in the form [outward appearance] of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,"
This directly contrasts Eve who did want to know all that God knew (Gen 3:5,6).
While the Churches of God ministers have been asleep at the wheel (read - so busy doing "the Work" that they have not taken the time to check things out individually) other ministers in some other churches have not been. Some of these men belong to a group that now has a lot of problems, but before that happened they were able to gather a lot of information into one book. The book is called "One God & One Lord" (OG&OL) by Graeser, Lynn and Schoenheit. It can be purchased by going to www.biblicalunitarian.com - click on "Articles", then "Books". Just like our English Bibles, you should not believe every word, but they do point out why many verses in our English Bibles are in error.
A list of the verses that talk about or support the concept of One God, can be read on my site http://newbiblicalunderstanding.info. Click on "Index of Articles" then "Miscellaneous Index", and the verses are under "Themes".
feel for God's people in all the Churches of God, and in the spirit of
1 John 3:22, I feel we will get more direct answers - miracles maybe -
if we get back to the intention of the original authors of the Bible.
If there is just one God - as the majority of verses on the topic
state - then supporting that concept must be much more "pleasing in
His sight". Having just one God to worship makes the keeping
the First Commandment a lot easier too. And it makes a lot more sense
in the way it is worded - if "Christ" spoke it as the articles
say, then God the Father was definitely
left out of the picture at Mount Sinai. Exo 20:5 NLT ... for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.... .
It all comes down to what you want to do. You can continue to uphold the tradition that the Trinitarians have, to make Christ a "God", or you can be part of God's people who believe the truth of the original Bible, and have a closer relationship with God the Father - who had a "hands on" role in creating Adam and Eve.
As I have written about in other articles, I believe Mr Armstrong started a process of gathering the truth that was available in the 1920's & 30's. From all that I have read, and from putting questions to some of the men who worked at headquarters, as I understand it, Mr Armstrong would read material written by others, and if he felt it was truth, he would take that as "a revelation" from God, and included it in the church's doctrine. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr and Mrs Armstrong did gather much truth that was available at that time, but from history we know that not everything that Mr Armstrong took as "a revelation" was indeed truth (Monday Pentecost, D & R and 1975 for example). While it now appears that the list of mistakes is getting a little longer, we should not undervalue the truth that we were taught by WCG prior to 1967. Without that "start", we would not be in a position to "finish" today.
For some unknown reason, it seems that Mr Armstrong stopped looking for the truth before the job was completely finished. Perhaps "doing the Work" took over from "searching for the truth". Whatever the reason, I also believe that we are way behind the time where we need to pick up the dropped baton and finish the job of extracting all the truth the original Bible has for us, and especially the words spoken by God the Father..
I also feel that it is fairly easy to prove that many verses in the Bible have been "got at" - either accidentally or deliberately - by men (possibly with some "inspiration" from Satan), or were never meant to represent "truth" in the first place. Let me give you two simple examples of where verses in our English Bibles can not be truth.
As Luke 1:2 indicates, Luke was writing down what was being told to him some 30 years after the events. As best we know, Luke was not an eye witness to Jesus's ministry, as he was to some of Paul's ministry. Therefore he took what he was told at face value, and accurately wrote it down. The problem was that the "truth" had become jumbled in the telling and retelling of the story, and in many cases was no longer "truth". A couple of examples.
Matthew - an eye witness - records,
Mat 5:3 NET. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Luke accurately records what he has been told as,
Luk 6:20 NET. Then he looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God belongs to you.
Being "poor in spirit" has a vastly different meaning than just being "poor".
Mat 5:6 NET. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied."
Luk 6:21 NET. "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. ..."
Wanting righteousness is very different from wanting physical food. So Luke 6:20 and 21 are just recording history, and did not contain "truth" from day one. There are many more examples of where the Book of Luke is "out of step" with the eye witness accounts.
To be able to sort out the truth from the error, we need a new Biblical understanding - a new way of searching for what the original authors were trying to tell us. We need to go a lot deeper in "proving" or "disproving" what we teach as doctrine. It might sound bad to say that a portion of the Bible has been corrupted, but the positive aspect is that we still have much to work with.
As I have said before, the only way I know of to sort out the truth from the error, is to put the words spoken by God, before the words written by men, and then look for themes running throughout the Bible. Or to put it another way, if we look at ALL the Bible has to say on a given topic, then the verses that don't fit the overall position are the ones most likely to have been corrupted by man. In my previous example, there are around 20 verses that can be used to show that Jesus "pre-existed", and 150 verses that say He did not "pre-exist", because there is only one God. It is obvious to me that the around 20 verses are coming out of the small portion that has been corrupted or badly translated, and should not be used for formulating doctrine.
Let me mention some Scriptures out of the seemingly uncorrupted portion of the Bible - part of a Bible theme - that go against what these articles are so strongly stating.
Deu 32:39 NET. "See now that I, indeed I, am he!" says the LORD,
"and there is no other god besides me.
I kill and give life,
I smash and I heal,
and none can resist my power.
Psa 18:31 NET. Indeed, who is God besides the LORD?
Who is a protector besides our God?
Isa 37:20 NET. Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power, so all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD."
Isa 42:8 NET. I am the LORD! That is my name!
I will not share my glory with anyone else,
or the praise due me with idols.
Isa 43:11 NET. I, I am the LORD,
and there is no deliverer besides me.
Isa 44:6 NET. This is what the LORD, Israel's king, says,
their protector, the LORD who commands armies:
"I am the first and I am the last,
there is no God but me.
Isa 45:5 NET. I am the LORD, I have no peer,
there is no God but me.
I arm you for battle, even though you do not recognize me.
Mal 2:10 NET. Do we not all have one father? Did not one God create us? Why do we betray
one another, in this way making light of the covenant of our ancestors?
1Ti 2:5 NET. For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human,
Joh 14:12 NET. I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father.
If, as the articles are saying, Jesus was "God" - then how come just ordinary human beings that come after Him will do "greater deeds"? Surely a "God" would do the greatest deeds? Maybe the phase "because I am going to the Father" might be the clue we need. Once the man, Jesus, was resurrected and installed in heaven, He was able to further help the men who would come after Him, and together "perform greater deeds".
Joh 5:44-46 NET. How can you believe, if you accept praise from one another and don't seek the praise that comes from the only God? (45) "Do not suppose that I will accuse you before the Father. The one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. (46) If you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me.
Moses wrote about a "prophet" coming - not a "God", and that he would be selected from the general population.
Deu 18:15 NLT Moses continued, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
Joh 17:3 NET. Now this is eternal life — that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
Act 4:24 NET. When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, "Master of all, you who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them,
This reads like they believed that God made everything - not Christ.
Act 14:15 NET. "Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.
They (the Apostles of the day) are still insisting that God made everything.
Act 17:24-26 NET. The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, (25) nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone. (26) From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live,
Still the same story - God made the first man.
Act 17:31 NET. because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead."
What God the Father raised from the dead was a "man" - a special man because he was God's son - but nevertheless a "man".
1Co 8:4 NET. With regard then to eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that "an idol in this world is nothing," and that "there is no God but one."
Paul believed that there was only one God.
Eph 4:6 NET. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
1Ti 1:17 NET. Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.
Paul is consistent - there is just one God.
Heb 3:4 NET. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
Rev 7:10 NLT And they were shouting with a mighty shout, "Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!"
God the Father has the senior position.
If you are prepared to believe the whole Bible - minus the errors - it is very clear that the early church believed as did the Jews, that there was only one God. The fact that some of the articles say that the two Gods form the "one" God family, and thus there is only "One God", is not supported by the rest of the article. Once you say that the Father "is a God" and Christ "is a God" then you are promoting the "two Gods" concept, as I see it. At the very least it is doing away with the fact that Jesus started His life being born a human. The men who wrote the articles, and circulated them to the public, saying that there has always been "two" Gods are - in my view - building a house of cards.
They can do this because the majority of people who read their material are willing to have the "error" reinforced in their own mind. The more you hear a point repeated, the more comfortable it becomes. The world's scientists did it with "evolution" and now they are trying to do it with "climate change" (something it always has done - with or without man's help).
And people have certainly done it with "Jesus was God".
reason they can do it, is that the members of the
churches have been so conditioned to "just accept what the minister
says", that they no longer are willing to challenge what is said during
services or written in articles. And if they did "challenge"
would soon be silenced and/or put out of the church, which in the end
kills all incentive to think things through (read - "puts people to sleep"). In effect, the
prophecy of 2Ti 4:3-4 (NLT)
has come true in our time - "For a time is coming when people
will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look
for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. (4) They will reject the truth and chase after myths."
The point made by the men that there are "two Gods" is a myth. But people continue to want to be told about it.
the last few years I have contacted a few Churches of God ministers
about my concerns over the many
false doctrines within the Churches - including the "two Gods"
situation. Of those who received my initial inquiry, some said they did
not want to read the material. When those that did indicate that they
would read my letter, received it, two let me know
that they received my communication, but they did not want to follow it
up. The rest broke the spirit of the Second Great
and just ignored my communication.
So, as I see it at this present time (2009), there will be no "sorting out" from the top down. It is very hard to start some sort of "revival" in the Churches if the leaders and senior ministers are unwilling to even discuss the mater.
When I say "Churches" or "Churches of God", I am referring to those Churches that have "Church of God" as part of their name, keep the Friday sunset to Saturday sunset Sabbath, and the Holy Days of Lev 23. In other words, those churches that have their roots in the Worldwide Church of God.
There are three reasons.
1. For those individuals who read this and may be challenged to look into things further. These people may include those who have been put out of a church in the past - that is, people who already have an understanding that all was/is not well within the Churches of God.
While I hope for some positive responses, I do understand that for many, making such a drastic change in their thinking will feel "too hard", and those people will most likely take the easy way out, and just ignore it. Unfortunately for many, it seems that "denial" is easier than "dealing" with a problem.
2. In the main, the Churches of God understand a lot about prophecy. Most members are aware that we are in the beginning of the end and the "bridegroom" is about to reappear. But the members are still asleep (Mat 25:5). The wheels seem to have fallen off the Church, and the "Work" being done today is only a fraction of what was achieved in the past. I would like the church members to "wake up" to what needs to be done today.
The members do not understand that the Bible records many words - some spoken by God, and have to be obeyed, but some words are spoken by men and are there as history, and some words have been accidentally or deliberately corrupted by men, and should be avoided. There is much work to be done sorting out which is which.
I believe that for the Church to get back to doing "great Works", the errors in in the Bible that has resulted in errors in doctrine, need to be addressed. In the spirit of 1 John 3:22, if we start keeping the Commandments (like having no other Gods and stop giving false witness about two "Gods"), and sort out the truth from the error, then we should be able to get back to having more of our prayers answered - especially the prayers for healing and miracles.
3.If (and I did say "if" - it is not for certain) some Church of God brethren (past or present) find themselves in the future sitting in a concentration camp with their country destroyed and most of their friends and family dead, then they might remember this, and understand that there were reasons why God may not have been as pleased with "their" church as they were lead to believe.
It is my understanding that Malachi prophesied for only one Elijah to come, and having it happen around 29-30AD is certainly "before the great and terrible day of the LORD arrives". Jesus clearly identified that John the Baptist was that Elijah (Mat 17:11,12). So, saying that a man coming after John the Baptist is an "Elijah" is a figment of a man's imagination (it may help to look at the NET translation, as it leaves no room for a "second"). The first Elijah showed us how the leaders of the Church are to confront the world leaders with mighty miracles. This aspect will be picked up by the two witnesses. The second Elijah - who did no miracles - showed us how to make God's laws relevant for everyday life, that we are to lead people to repentance, and get fathers involved in teaching their children about God. If we are prepared to believe the original Bible, we have all the truth we need. No one needs to come to "restore" anything - the knowledge is already here in the world. We just need to look for it, believe it when we find it, and hardest of all, live it. All the concepts presented here and on my site can be extracted out of the Bible, books, magazines and off the Internet. In other words it is available for millions of people today, if they are willing to search for the "pearl of great price" (Mat 13:45,46).
The original Bible does not allow for, and we do not need another Elijah. We do not need the truth "restored" by any man, as it is quite readily available today. We do need to ask God for help to see truth that we have been overlooking, and we do need to live the truth as we find it. We also need to understand that not every word in our English Bibles is "God breathed", or inspired by God. A better translation of 2 Tim 3:16 NET would be " Every scripture [that] is [G2315, divinely breathed] spoken by God [is] useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness", Those words in the Bible NOT directly spoken or inspired by God may have other good uses, but should not be used "for training in righteousness".
Most of the New Testament was first written in Aramaic. The English translation of the Aramaic reads,
2 Tim 3:16 AENT "All Scripture that was written by the Spirit is profitable for instruction and for decisive refutation, and for correction, and for deep extensive learning in righteousness, ... "
Obviously then, Scripture not "written by the Spirit" does not carry the same weight. We have to make a decision about which is which.
I have no doubt - based on my past experience with ministers - that many will want to "attack" the concept of one God - at least initially - rather than take the time to look into it. I can understand that no one wants their position of employment to be put into jeopardy - especially under today's conditions - by potentially dropping numbers because of making changes. As I see it, the Church in Opposition (to the concept of "One God") will want join with others in trying to snuff out the truth by telling people that they should be loyal to what Mr Armstrong (or some other man) taught (some of which was truth - for which I am thankful - but unfortunately some was also error).
Romans 1 - three times the apostle Paul tells us that God said to the
people who wanted to reject His way of life, that they were "given
over" to their sin. If you want to fight against God's truth, God will
allow you to do it - maybe even help you (1 Kings 22:19-23).
you want to obey God's laws, then God will give you help to do that.
Rev 22:11 shows us that there is no middle ground. So make
decision about what you want to believe, understanding that it will
either lead to a reward, or to a judgment.
In the past, some of the Churches of God have promoted the statistics of what they are doing as a badge of pride, and equated numerical growth and/or income with righteousness. So my warning is to never confuse Church activity with "doing the will of God". Let me try and explain why we need to be careful.
all need to take a good hard look at Mat
7:21-23 NLT "Not everyone who calls out to Me, 'Lord! Lord!'
will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only
those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter. (22) On judgment day many
will say to Me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons
in Your name and performed
many miracles in Your
name.' (23) But I will reply, 'I never knew you.
Get away from Me, you who
break God's laws.'"
Jesus is talking about churches that were/are doing even greater works than the Churches of God today (they were performing miracles), yet He did not want to even "know them". The many incorrect doctrines still being taught in the Churches of God today (the "two Gods" is just one) do in fact cause people to "break God's laws" and could be reason enough for Christ to not even want to know us [members of the various Churches of God].
We can also see from the above three verses, that while God the Father may allow men and organizations to use power from the spirit world to perform miracles, this does not mean that the reason behind it is pleasing to Christ. To put it another way, miracles are not "proof" of a person's spiritual purity, but they can be used to get someone's attention - and this includes for good (Mat 11:5) and bad (Rev 13:13) reasons.
We can be running very hard on the treadmill of life (doing "The Work") but if it is not doing the will of our Father, then it all counts for nothing. I think that ignoring large numbers of verses in the Bible on a particular topic, because they do not support what men have told us to believe, can not be equated to "doing the will of the Father".
Mat 4:4 NET. But he answered, "It is written, 'Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
should note that Christ is not telling us to live by every word of our
current English Bibles. However, the words, as spoken by God, if recorded
and preserved accurately in our Bibles, are the ones to give us life.
who push for Jesus Christ to be a God, end up making Christ the "Top
God", and God the Father is relegated to the background. The "God"
Christ creates man, is the God of the Old Testament, dies for His
creation, comes back and rules the world on his own for 1000 years, and
then God the Father turns up to accept the fruits of Christ's labours.
Surely this is a "slap in the face" to God the Father.
The plan to create a God Family was God the Father's idea, and He has a hands on role in dealing with the potential members of His family right through the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Millennium (see "God will restore Israel" under Themes). To take the praise and recognition due to Him and to give it to another, is, as I see it, a serious breach of the command to "put God first".
There is either one God, or there are two Gods.
you are willing to reject the corrupt verses of the Bible, then the
case for one God is very strong, with at least 150 verses supporting
If you want to select out those verses that can be made to support the concept of two Gods, then you will find about 20 to suit your cause.
Before our death, each one of us will make - or make by default - a decision about what we believe. In the flavour of 1 Kings 18:21 (Elijah asking the people to make a decision) - If God the Father is the only true God, then give Him all the credit that He deserves. If Jesus was a human, but so committed to doing His Father's will that He never sinned, then also give Him all the credit He deserves.
If giving God and Jesus (as a man) their due rewards does not please you (in other words, only a God is good enough to die for you), then it appears that there are many ministers around who will tell you the myth about "two Gods". By all means follow and support them if that is your wish. No one will be allowed to "sit on the fence" forever.
Each Christian should make their own decision about what they want to believe - but you can not ignore the issue (stay lukewarm) and still have good standing before God and Christ (Rev 3:16 NET ... vomit you out of my mouth!) . The pressure is on to get it right, or run the risk of missing out on the first resurrection. As I understand it, just the cream of the class over the first 6000 years - the 144,000 of Rev 14:1-5 - are in the first resurrection. Notice, Rev 14:5 NET. "and no lie was found on their lips ..." - but believing and saying there are "two Gods" is a lie, and thus has the potential to keep people out of the first resurrection.
If, by breaking the first and ninth Commandments, and teaching others to do the same, is enough reason for Christ to reject us as candidates for the first resurrection, then why would God bother to take us to a "Place of Safety"?
That said, we need to keep the first resurrection in perspective. All have sinned (1 John 1:5-10) so everyone in the first resurrection will have had God apply the sacrifice of His Son to cover their sins. The sin of teaching there are two Gods when there is only one, could be annulled like any other sin. However, by not repenting and changing, we do give Christ extra grounds - if He wanted to use it - to bypass us for the first resurrection.
rejection of the effort Jesus put in to remain sinless as a man,
because people say that He was a "God", could be the reason He says
in, Mat 25:12 NET. But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I
do not know you!'
I believe, it is that serious.
There is much more information available than what I have mentioned above, but that will give you a good start, and with that information in your mind, then you are in a position to make a better judgment about which group - if any - that you want to fellowship with.If word gets out that you are reading material "not authorized" by your church, and the minister asks you to leave because you are not being "loyal" to the teaching put into the Church by Mr Armstrong, take that as a positive sign. Our "loyalty" should be to Christ, not to men. I feel that putting our search for the truth of the original Bible, before social or fellowship needs, will give us the best chance to be both in the place of safety and the first resurrection, because that is seeking the will of God, not the "approval" of men.
Be careful to continue to show love to all the brethren, regardless of their belief about One God, Two Gods, or a Three in One God. More than ever we need to follow the principle of the Second Great Commandment, and treat others as the way you would like to be treated, if you were in their position.
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