Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #60

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

I hope all of you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!


Well, I had a 2500 word response that I had worked on for several hours yesterday, but, unfortunately, right as I was adding the finishing touches, I mistakenly hit a button that sent it all into the ether. One of these days, I will learn my lesson to save as I go.

It could be that Satan didn’t want my response to go out, as my able assistant said to me; or it could be that God is testing me once again; or maybe it’s that God thought I could do better; or maybe its just because I’m an idiot. Regardless, the result is the same…I had to start over, which is why you are getting this on Saturday instead of Friday.

And, as I ponder after the fact, I think I was maybe getting a bit off track with what I had originally written, so maybe it was all for the best. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this. Matthew’s portion is first and in italics, my response follows and is in bold.


Matthew Janzen

My opponent states that I “swerve off course” with the illustration given concerning Adam. My point is this: Adam is termed a “Son of God” in Scripture (Luke 3:38). Why is Adam called a Son of God? Is it not because God directly created Adam? Notice in Luke’s genealogy that Seth is not called a Son of God. This is because Seth was pro-created by Adam, whereas Adam had no earthly father. Yahweh God created him. Here, the term “Son of God” has to do with being uniquely fathered by Yahweh, and thus having a special relationship with Him. This is how the term is used in the whole of Scripture. The term is not one that is a “mask” for someone who is really God Almighty.

Mr. Martignoni states that I do not understand the difference between “created” and “begotten.” Yet in my very first speech I stated, “A difference between Yeshua and Adam is that Yeshua was begotten through the womb of a virgin and he lived a sinless life. Two things Adam did not take part in.” I recognize this difference, and I see it as important. I am not placing Adam on the same level as Yeshua, I’m only showing the meaning of the term “Son of God.”

Mr. Martignoni then writes, “Also, God is called Father. He is God. I am also called father. Therefore, I must also be God. Same term, “father,” applies to both of us, so if one of us is God, then both of us must be God. At least, by Matthew’s logic.” That’s most assuredly not the logic I’m presenting. I’m not saying that Adam and Yeshua are identical in every respect. I’m only showing that the term “Son of God” does not really mean “God.” It rather refers to a person whom God has fathered in a certain, special way. Furthermore, what Mr. Martignoni stated about the title “father” is absolutely correct. Just apply that reasoning to the term God, and you will realize that just because Yeshua is called God, doesn’t mean he is God Almighty.

Concerning my reasons #8 and #9 Mr. Martignoni just states that God and Jesus are two separate persons. What he means here is that the Father and the Son are not the same person, but they are both God. My point concerning the right hand is that it doesn’t just say the Son is at the right hand of the Father (this would prove the Son is not the Father), but it says the Son is at the right hand of God. This proves that the Son cannot be the God that he is at the right hand of.

Also, once again, the demons believe in one God, yet they confess Yeshua as the Son of God Most High. God Most High (Yahweh) has a Son (Yeshua). I honestly find it amazing that people attempt to bypass what the Scriptures teach here.

John 14:1 was dealt with by Mr. Martignoni. First, remember that Yeshua said, “…ye believe in God, believe also in me.” You do not have to be infallible to understand Scripture. Yeshua separates himself plainly and clearly from God by the use of the word also.

Secondly, my opponent thinks that belief in Yeshua must mean that he is God. Opponents of my position, please consider for a moment that Yeshua just might not be God, but rather God’s Son. Do you not think that we should believe in the very Son of Almighty God? Would not God want us to believe in and follow the person he sent to redeem us from sin and human depravity?

Also, the Scriptures reveal that Yeshua is the express image (Greek = charakter) of Yahweh’s person. This Greek term has to do with the seal left by a signet ring. Yahweh is the ring, Yeshua is the seal left by the ring (in illustration). Yeshua’s reveals to us the Father. Looking at Yeshua is like you are looking at Yahweh. He perfectly performs the Father’s will, always submitting to His Father’s instructions. This is why seeing Yeshua is seeing the Father (John 14:9). Mr. Martignoni will agree with me that it doesn’t mean Yeshua is the Father, for he believes the Son is not the Father. Therefore John 14:9 does not prove that Yeshua is God. It only shows forth the awesome relationship between Yahweh God and His only begotten Son.

Next, Mr. Martignoni lists Scriptures which he believes proves that Yeshua is God Almighty. I would like to first deal with his point on shared titles. He states that since God and Yeshua are both called Savior, and are both referred to as the bridegroom, they must both be God (in the Trinitarian sense). This is just not the case. As I’ve stated, and even my opponent has stated to some degree, for two people to be called the same thing does not make them one and the same being. For example, The Disciples of Yeshua are called the “light of the world,” (Matthew 5:14); Yeshua is called the “light of the world,” (John 8:12). Does this mean that Yeshua and His Disciples are somehow one and the same? Of course not, both can be termed “the light of the world” without confusing their identities.

Yahweh works through His chosen agent, Yeshua. This is similar to how Yahweh struck the Nile river with the rod in His hand (Exodus 7:17), yet it was literally Aaron who struck the Nile (Exodus 7:20). Is Aaron Yahweh? No, Aaron was used by Yahweh to perform a miracle. If I asked, “Who struck the Nile River with a rod?” The answer could legitimately be Yahweh, seeing Yahweh ultimately was the one who struck the river, yet if someone answered Aaron, they would be correct too. This is known as the principle of agency.

Yahweh did miracles and signs by Yeshua (Acts 2:22). Yahweh speaks in the last days by His Son (Hebrews 1:2), and Yahweh will judge the world by that man (Yeshua) He has appointed (Acts 17:31). In each of these examples Yahweh is performing the work ultimately, but He is using the vehicle of His Son to do so. In the case of His Son, the principle of agency is at its strongest level, seeing that Yeshua is really begotten of Yahweh. Yahweh fathered Yeshua in a way no other man had been fathered before or will be after.

Mr. Martignoni asks “What human being would ever say I and my Father are one?” How about a man who was directly fathered by Yahweh? How about a man in whom the fullness of God dwelt? How about a man in whom the Spirit dwelt without measure? Furthermore, in the John 10:30 passage Yeshua is speaking of oneness of purpose, not being or person. In context Yeshua is dealing with both he and his Father “keeping the sheep” (John 10:25-29). Paul uses the same word to describe his oneness with a fellow-worker in Christ when he says, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one…” (1 Corinthians 3:8). I do agree that Yahweh and Yeshua’s oneness transcends the oneness or unity we believers have with Yahweh. The oneness of Yahweh and Yeshua is similar to the oneness I have with my begotten son. My son came forth from me. Yeshua came forth from Yahweh.

Mr. Martignoni also gives one translation of Romans 9:5. Both the RSV and the Moffat translation give the last phrase concerning God as a type of eulogy or doxology in praise to God concerning what has been said in verses 4-5. In other words, Paul makes the statement about the Israelites as God’s chosen people, out of whom Christ came, and then adds praise to God who is over all and blessed forever. The phrase is used of God the Father elsewhere in the writings of Paul (Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 11:31). Note 2 Corinthians 11:31’s use in distinction with the Lord Yeshua the Christ. The entire context in the first part of Romans 9 is about God’s blessing on the Israelites. It would be appropriate for such a doxology to be given to God the Father here.

I will now move on to Mr. Martignoni’s second speech, dealing with points I haven’t already dealt with.

Mr. Martignoni talks about how that Yeshua purified for himself a people (Titus 2:14) and how that Yahweh God basically speaks of purifying for himself a people (2 Corinthians 6:16). Does this have to mean that Yeshua is Almighty Yahweh? Definitely not. For example: the Bible speaks of the commandments of Yeshua (John 14:15), and the commandments of Yahweh God (1 John 5:2-3). It also speaks of the commandments of Moses (Joshua 23:6; Malachi 4:4; 1 Corinthians 9:8). Using Mr. Martignoni’s logic, Moses would have to be God, right along with Yeshua, seeing the commandments are called the law of Moses. Do you see what such logic actually teaches? We can be the people of Yeshua because we follow his teachings, walking in his footsteps. We can also be the people of Yahweh seeing that everything, including the Son (1 Corinthians 15:28), is subject to Him.

Mr. Martignoni then asks if Yeshua is the living God. The answer has to be a negative. Remember Peter’s revelation. I want to ask all my Catholic friends that read this discussion to really concentrate on Matthew 16:13-18. Peter, by revelation, claims Yeshua as the Son of the living God. That’s two identities: (1) Son, and (2) the living God. This means that he (Yeshua) cannot be the living God in that proclamation. To be the Son of anything means that you are not the person or being that you are the Son of. Yeshua thus cannot be in the category that comes after the words “Son of” (Most High, Highest, living God, God, Father, etc.)

Mr. Martignoni then asks me who is called God our Savior in Titus 3:4-7. The answer is God the Father. God the Father is also the “great God” of Titus 2:13.

Mr. Martignoni also mentions John 1. I believe he is referring to John 1:3. The proper understanding however of John 1:3 is that all things were made through the word or logos of John 1:1. The logos does not refer to the person of Yeshua, but rather to exactly what it says, God’s word. God created all things by His word (Gen. 1; Ps. 33:6-9). This word logos is used over 1,600 times in the Greek Septuagint and not once refers to a person, but rather always a thought, plan, word, utterance, etc. This is why many English translations prior to the 1582 Rheims New Testament translate John 1:3, “All things were made by it…” These translations include Tyndale’s NT (1526), Matthew’s Bible (1537), the Great Bible (1539), the Geneva bible (1560), and the Bishops Bible (1568). This plan, thought, or word of Yahweh that was with Him in the beginning (Job 10:13; 23:14; 27:14) later became flesh in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth (John 1:14). The late professor of exegesis of Holy Scripture, G.B. Caird, translated John 1:1, 14 in the following manner, “In the beginning was the purpose, the purpose in the mind of God, the purpose which was God’s own being… this purpose took human form in Jesus of Nazareth.” (New Testament Theology, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995, p. 332) Remember, John 1:1 does not say “In the beginning was the Son,” but rather “In the beginning was the word.”

All things were made through God’s word; His thought, plan and purpose. Without this word was not anything made that was made. Yeshua the Messiah doesn’t come on the scene until this word of God becomes flesh in John 1:14. I do agree, however, that passages such as Colossians 1:15-17 and Hebrews 1:2 teach that all things were made through Yeshua the Messiah, but this does not mean that all things had to made through him actively. It can indeed be understood passively. For example: Revelation 13:8 tells us that Yeshua is the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Now, was Christ literally hanging on the cross next to the Father in eternity past? Don’t we understand that Christ was slain before the foundation of the world in the foreknowledge of God? When Yahweh created all things, He did it because the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8) needed a venue or a stage, so to speak, for that to be fulfilled. Therefore, the impetus for creation was the Son. Without the Son in Yahweh’s mind there would be no creation. It was done “through” the Son. At the same time, Yahweh created everything “for” His Son. It was part of His plan to give all power and authority to His Son so that he would rule the entire Kingdom forever.

I do not have much space left, but I do want to address the issue of worship given to Yeshua. Does Yeshua being worshiped by angels (Heb. 1:6) or even the Disciples (Mt. 14:33) prove that Yeshua is God? Not if you understand the concept of worship in the Scriptural sense. The basic word for worship in Hebrew is shachah, and in Greek proskuneo. The Hebrew term is used in reference to Lot worshiping two angels (Gen. 19:1); Abraham worshiping the Hethites (Gen. 23:7); Moses worshiping Jethro (Ex. 18:7); Ruth worshiping Boaz (Ruth 2:10-11); David worshiping Saul (1 Samuel 24:8); and Joab worshiping a King (2 Sam. 14:22). The Greek word is used in reference to people worshiping at the feet of the Philadelphian Assembly in Revelation 3:9. The key was the reason for which the individual or being was worshiped. In Yeshua’s case, Matthew 14:33 tells us that his Disciples worshiped him as God’s Son, not as God. Worship literally means to bow or make obeisance to. Any worship that should go directly to Yahweh God cannot go to me, Mr. Martignoni, Peter, angels, Yeshua, etc. For example: in Revelation 4:8-11 Yahweh is worthy to receive worship because He created all things for His pleasure, but in Revelation 5:6-10 Yeshua is worthy to receive worship because he has redeemed us unto God by his blood. Notice again that Yeshua redeemed us unto God. God and Yeshua are separate here, and everywhere else in Scripture.


John Martignoni

This debate is all about what the Bible says in regards to Jesus Christ being God or not being God. In his last response, Matthew Janzen simply regurgitated much of what he said in the first two rounds. Things like: The Son, Scripture tells us, is at the right hand of God, therefore that “proves” the Son is not God. He also tells us that the phrase “Son of God,” never refers to God in Scripture. He further claims that because Jesus says believe in God and “also” in Me, that “proves” Jesus isn’t God. And other such things.

Well, what’s going on in all of these instances is a combination of things that I would like to address first, and then get back to Scripture. First, the debate is on whether or not the Bible teaches Jesus is God, yet Matthew has decided, on his own and by his own apparently infallible authority, that if the Bible does not say, specifically, that Jesus is either: a) The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or b) God Almighty, or c) God the Son, or d) the Living God; then it proves that Jesus is not God…at least, not in the Trinitarian sense of Jesus being God. In other words, Matthew has rigged the contest in such a way that he will only accept specific verbiage from Scripture, that he knows does not exist in Scripture, as proof that Jesus is indeed God the Son.

To which I respond: “Nuts!” Who gave Matthew the authority to decide what constitutes “proof” as to whether or not Jesus is God? Who gave him the authority to decide how Scripture has to be worded to “prove” Jesus is God. Quick answer: He gave himself this authority. But, one needs to realize that much of what you read in Matthew’s responses, in fact most of it, is nowhere found in the pages of Scripture, yet this is a debate about what is contained in Scripture.

Authentic Scripture says, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). Matthew’s version of Scripture says, “I and the Father are of one purpose.” Authentic Scripture says, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Matthew’s version of Scripture says, “He who has seen the seal has seen the ring.” Authentic Scripture says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Matthew’s version of Scripture says, “In the beginning was the purpose, the purpose in the mind of God, the purpose which was God’s own being.” Authentic Scripture says, “For in [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created through [Jesus]” (Col 1:15-16). Matthew’s version of Scripture says, “All things were made through [Jesus] the Messiah, but this does not mean that all things had to be made through him actively.” (I still haven’t figured out exactly what he’s saying with that last one.)

My question for Matthew is, did you get these fallible, man-made, non-authoritative interpretations by simply picking up the Bible and reading it for yourself, or did someone have to teach you these things? My point being that these interpretations that Matthew is tossing out are man-made and taught to him by men. They were not taught to him by Scripture.

Second, Matthew gets caught up in some circular reasoning. He claims that the term “Son of God” never applies to God. That in all of Scripture it is used to mean one who is “uniquely fathered by Yahweh.” He can claim that only because he first assumes that Jesus is not God. In other words, he assumes Jesus is not God, then he states that the term Son of God never refers to God. Isn’t that nice and tidy?!

Plus, Matthew’s statement about how the term “Son of God” is used in Scripture is false on the surface of it. In John 10:33, the Jews tell Jesus that He is making Himself God. What did Jesus say to make them think He is making Himself God? Verse 36 tells us…the Jews think Jesus is making Himself God because He called Himself the “Son of God.” They didn’t take the phrase “Son of God” to mean one who is “uniquely fathered by Yahweh.” They took it to mean Yahweh Himself. Notice, they didn’t say, “You are making yourself the ‘Son of God.’” They said, “You are making yourself God.”

Same thing in John 19:7. The phrase “Son of God” is taken to mean God. That’s why Jesus has to die…it is blasphemy to make yourself God. I know of no laws on the Jewish books that said calling yourself the “Son of God” was blasphemy and was punishable by death. No, it’s only because they equated the term “Son of God” with God Himself that they say Jesus has to die. And, in John 20:31, when it refers to Jesus as the Son of God, John would know that his Jewish audience would take that to mean that Jesus is indeed God.

More circular reasoning: He states that the Greek word “logos” never refers to a person. Well, that is only after he has first assumed that it does not refer to Christ in John 1:1. In other words, he assumes that Jesus Christ is not being referred to as the Word (logos) of God, then he claims that nowhere does the word “logos” refer to a person. Again, isn’t that nice and tidy?!

In response to Matthew’s argument on this, whether the word “he” is used in John 1:1-14, or the word “it” or the word “word,” they are all referring to the same entity. An entity that is identified as the Word of God in John 1:1 and then undeniably identified as Jesus Christ in John 1:14. That’s why almost all translators use the word “he” throughout John 1:1-14, because they know that the Greek is referring to the same entity…the same thing…the same person…Jesus Christ, all the way through these verses. To try and use the Greek to make a disconnect between the Word in verse 1 and the person of Jesus in the Word made flesh in verse 14, appears a bit disingenuous, or perhaps it is simply the result of having to twist the Scriptures to make them say what you want them to say.

Another thing Matthew is doing, again, all on his own, is authoritatively and infallibly deciding for all of us what particular passages of Scripture mean…even though they don’t actually say what he says they say, and these authoritative interpretations of his all “prove” Jesus is not God.

For example, when he states that because the Son is at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-56), it means Jesus cannot be God…that the Son can’t be God because He is on the right hand of God. Well, first of all, this is a phrase that means something other than what the words actually say. We know this because God has no right hand. The Bible tells us that God is Spirit. The Father is Spirit, not flesh. So, God has no right hand for Jesus to be on. So, when we are told that the Son is at the right hand of God, it is telling us about the relation of Jesus to the Father, but it is not telling us that Jesus is not God. In a figurative sense, Jesus is at the right hand of God…a position of power that everyone hearing the phrase would understand. This verse in no way states that Jesus is not God and in no way contradicts Trinitarian theology.

And, if you notice, I quite often say “God,” when I specifically mean “God the Father.” Other times I use “God” to mean God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You can tell by the context which meaning I intend in each instance. This is along the lines of what is being done in Scripture. When I say “God” to mean God the Father, I am in no way implying that Jesus is not God. Just so in Scriptures. But, Matthew has authoritatively and infallibly decided that this cannot be. I don’t think he’s even considered the possibility that the writers of Sacred Scripture are frequently using the convention of “God the Father” simply being called “God,” and Jesus Christ simply being called by His name, Jesus, and/or by His title, Christ.

So, when Scripture says that Jesus is standing at the right hand of God…it merely means that Jesus is standing at the right hand of the Father…it does not mean Jesus isn’t God. Neither this passage, nor Matthew 16 which states Jesus is the Son of the living God, nor any other such passage, do anything to argue against the Trinity.

Matthew 14:33 states that the disciples worshipped Jesus. Matthew tries to argue that this simply means they respected him along the lines of what people would do in the Old Testament. Well, if you look at Matthew’s O.T. examples, they all refer to a sign of respect…bowing…that one would give to another upon greeting them or when getting up to address a crowd. Like bowing when Queen Elizabeth comes up to you or what a conductor does when he first appears before the audience to lead the orchestra.

This, however, is not the context of what the disciples did in “worshipping” Jesus. They worshipped Him because He did something that they thought only God could do…He controlled nature. He walked on water; by His power Peter walked on water; He calmed the storm. They worshipped Him because He performed acts they believed only God could perform. Matthew tries to argue that they worshipped Him as God’s Son, but not as God. But, I have already shown that for the Jews of Jesus’ time, the phrase “Son of God,” basically meant God Himself.

And, even if Matthew wants to argue against that interpretation, then we have Hebrews 1:6 where God tells the angels to “worship” His Son. Nowhere, in any of Matthew’s examples from the O.T., do we see angels worshipping anyone…bowing down to anyone…other than God. As the angel in Rev 22:9 says, “Worship God.” That’s what the disciples are doing in Matt 14:33 and that’s what the angels are doing in Heb 1:6.

Now, let’s look again at Scripture. I will give you the verse, and ask you to read what Scripture says, and then read what Matthew Janzen says. The two don’t match up well.

Titus 2:13, “…our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” In Titus 2:10 and 3:4 we read “God our Savior.” In Titus 2:13 and 3:6, we see Jesus Christ is our Savior. It doesn’t say God, one of our saviors; or Jesus Christ, one of our saviors…we have one Savior, who is clearly identified as Jesus Christ, God and Savior, in Titus 2:13.

Rom 9:5, “…the Christ, Who is God over all, blessed for ever.”

John 2:19-21, Jesus states the He will raise His own body from the dead. Matthew has stated that only God can raise the dead. So, either Jesus is lying; or the Scriptures got it wrong; or Jesus is indeed God. Which is it, Matthew?

Rev 19:16, Jesus is referred to as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Yet, Deut 10:17 refers to Yahweh as “God of gods and Lord of lords.” Jesus and Yahweh can’t both be the “Lord of lords,” it’s either one or the other. Unless, of course, Jesus and Yahweh are one. Which, of course, Jesus tells us is the case in John 10:30…“I and the Father are one.”

Sticking with Revelation, let’s go to Rev 22:1-3. What do we see? God and the Lamb sit on the same throne. One throne for both God and the Lamb. How can that be? How can Jesus sit on the throne of God the Father? Unless, of course, He is indeed God.

Rev 22:12, Jesus is coming to bring His recompense. But, Isaiah 40:10, tells us that it is the Lord God Who is bringing His recompense. And, in Rev 22:12, it says that Jesus will repay everyone for what they have done. Yet, Jer 17:10 says that it is Lord (Yahweh) Who will give to every man according to his ways. Also, Jer 17:10 says that it is the Lord Who searches the mind and the heart. Yet, Rev 2:23 tells us that Jesus searches the mind and the heart.

Rev 1:8 tells us that the Lord God Almighty is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (also Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12), but Rev 22:13 tells us that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. How many Alphas and Omegas are there? How many beginnings and how many ends? Well, for Matthew’s theology to hold there has to be at least 2 of each. In Trinitarian theology, there is nothing to explain away here, it makes perfect sense because Jesus is God.

And, in Rev 22:6, it says that the Lord God has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place, but in 22:16, it says that “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to you…” So, Matthew, who sent the angel? God, or Jesus?

In other words, over and over again throughout the New Testament, and especially in Revelation, we see things attributed to Jesus – titles and powers and such: raising the dead, healing by power that goes out from Him (Mark 5:30), controlling nature, forgiving sins, being Lord of lords, being Thomas’ Lord and God, being worshipped by men and by angels, having all things created through Him, being with God from the beginning, being the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, calling Himself by God’s name (I AM), sitting on the throne of God, searching the hearts and minds of men – that are strictly the prerogatives of God the Almighty…strictly the prerogatives of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Yet, Matthew, time and time again, ignores this evidence for Jesus being God the Son, and comes up with extra-scriptural, fallible, man-made “opinions” for what all of these verses “really” mean. And, all of his opinions essentially boil down to this: Jesus is the Son, so that proves He’s not God.

Matthew, I would simply ask you to put down your preconceived notions that someone has erroneously taught you, and pick up the Scriptures with an open mind and an open heart. Do not limit God to that which you can get your finite mind around. You are saying God cannot be one God, yet three persons in God, mostly because you simply cannot understand how that can be. You limit God to whatever it is you can understand about God. But God is not limited by your understanding. To make that mistake could jeopardize your salvation and the salvation of all those who listen to you.

In Conclusion

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Apologetics for the Masses