Humility and Arrogance

Humility and Arrogance

Christians contend that God had to come down to earth as a human in order to “humble Himself”. I find this argument completely self-defeating.

God is humble and man is arrogant. By “taking on” the form of a man God cannot become “more humble”.

In any case; if God wanted to become “more humble” than the Christian narrative is completely self-defeating.

Let us try to appreciate a drop of God’s humility.

In order to teach a fallible people that He is the One who they ought to worship He turned the Nile into blood for a week. Let us step back and absorb this. Imagine the Mississippi turning into blood for a week. Imagine a significant body of water near you turning into blood for a week. Just stop and think how it would impact your life and the life of the people around you. Think of the credibility of this miracle.

God could have stopped right there and said: OK, I proved it to you.

He didn’t.

The frogs, the lice, the wild animals, the pestilence, the boils, the hail, the locusts, the darkness, and the smiting of the first-born. Still not enough. God still did not say – there you have it – enough of your questioning and doubts.

The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, drowning the Egyptian army in the sea. Let’s pause here for a second. Taking the world’s mightiest superpower and rendering them powerless in one fell swoop – still not enough. Bread from heaven for forty years and water from a rock.

Couldn’t God have stopped here and said. Come on fellas, didn’t you get it already?

But He didn’t.

He revealed Himself to the entirety of the nation from the midst of the fire and sealed a covenant of love with them for all generations.

That is humility.

Contrast this to a human being claiming to be god – and condemning everyone to hell for not accepting his claim – even before any alleged resurrection.

Is there anything more arrogant?

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43 Responses to Humility and Arrogance

  1. David says:

    I agree with some of what you said but you’re also in error on some of it.

    You posted: Christians contend that God had to come down to earth as a human in order to “humble Himself”

    First, for clarification, not all Christians believe that God came down to earth in the form of Jesus. If you want to say most or even the vast majority I’ll accept that.

    Second, from my personal experience, even those who believe in the Trinity who believe the above statement don’t think He did it “in order to” humble himself. True, they believe He humbled himself. But the purpose of his visit was not “to humble himself”. The humbling was, they believe, a process God used to reveal himself as never before to fulfill His will to provide for a savior to mankind. So that whoever believes in his humbled revealed self shall have life with God in the age to come.

    Now, I personally don’t believe that Jesus pre-existed himself. He didn’t incarnate into flesh. I’m a One God believing variety of Christian. But I was a Trinitarian so I can tell you what at least some Trinitarians believe from personal experience. In addition I still attend a mostly Trinitarian believing church pastored by a Trinitarian believing pastor. And I am involved in many Trinitarian Christian exchanges of ideas with other Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians in my church, in group meetings apart from church and on the web.

    David

    • Paul says:

      Hello David Just as a point it would be good for you that you just have a read of the following verses. Just so that you actually understand where you stand.
      1. 1John ch 4 v2
      2. 1 Cor ch12 v3
      3. 1 John ch5 v6-13
      x

      • David says:

        Thanks,

        I believe 100% in those verses in and others throughout the bible and that they are also 100% consistent with those verses and each other throughout the bible including for example John 20:31 “but these are written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”.

        Nothing in the verses you listed points to a Trinity unless of course you are referring to the infamous Trinitarian adulterating addition to 1 John 5: 6,7 which was added in many versions and which even Trinitarian scholars today admit was an addition to the text in support of the Trinity. For evidence read the work of Trinitarian and Greek scholar A. T. Robertson, author of the unparalleled work, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research, and the multi-volumed Word Pictures in the New Testament.

        The King James reads:
        1 John 5:7 & 8
        For there are three that bear record “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth”, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one (KJV).

        Most modern versions do not have the underlined words which I’ve put in quotes above because they are not found in any text prior to the 16th century. They were added at a later date to support the Trinity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Even the NIV study bible, which is heavily biased to the Trinity view, has a text note concerning 1 John 5:7,8 which reads:
        “The addition is not found in any Greek manuscript or NT translation prior to the 16th century.”

        A version more faithful to the original text such as the REV reads:

        “For there are three testifying: the spirit, and the water, and the blood, and the three are in agreement.”

        Dr. Schoenheit, A one God scholar, writes on his web page:

        “With the spurious addition gone, it is clear that there is no reference to the Trinity in 1 John 5:7 and 8. The context is speaking of believing that Jesus is the Son of God (v. 5 and 10). There are three that testify that Jesus is the Son of God: the spirit that Jesus received at his baptism, the water of his baptism and the blood that he shed.
        Scripture says, “We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God which He has given about his Son” (v. 9). This verse is so true! How often people accept man’s testimony and believe what men say, but do not believe what God says. We need to accept the testimony of God that He has given about His Son, and agree with the testimony of the spirit, the water and the blood, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

        I too used to accept the Trinitarian view that was given to me by the church until the evidence against it became so great I could ignore it no longer and was forced to look into it and judge for myself. I came to the conclusion that it was instituted by man and not by God.

        • Dear David;
          I have read the statement; Jesus is the Christ many times. Christ translate the same as Moshiac; anointed.
          Anyway, the Moshiac is supposed to have accomplished some items the first, and only time he is/shall be here. What did Jesus do that the Tanach said he shall do, and why the non-accommplishment of some items?
          I referred to many items, outstanding no wars, functioning Temple, and parent/child respect so common, we cannot remember when there was not such respect.
          Have a good day.
          Shalom;
          Yechiel

          • David says:

            When it comes to specific prophesies, what is, what isn’t, to whom or what it/they may or may not be pointing to, whether multiple, singular, concurrent, consecutive, past, present, future events/people or not, how they tie together or don’t etc. etc., I prefer not to get into.

            I’ll just say this, in a general sense what I think I know and what most Christians whom I personally know think about prophesies in relation to my/their faith.

            All Christians that I know, including me, did not come to a belief in Jesus because of any one specific prophesy; not even because of the entire so called body of prophesies. You might find someone who has, but it has not been my experience. Maybe theologians might say that’s backwards, prophesies must be the origin of your belief and continuing belief; I don’t know about that but I’d say “whatever” works for you, I’m just telling you my personal path and what I’ve personally seen in “Christiandom”.

            Having said that, we Christians do believe that Jesus is alive right now, the first fruit of many to come after him. We believe it is in God’s plan and purpose that there be this passage of unknown time from when God raised Jesus to when God sends him back in a direct way to be “physically” (so to put it for expediency) on our physical earth. And even then, when he comes back here the job is not over. There is the millennial (1000 year kingdom etc.) period before we move into the fulfillment of the “last” stage of the end times. So Christians generally believe there is much still to happen. During this current passage of time which is in God’s purpose many things are supposed to happen including the building and perfecting of the body Christ, which is the church. We believe Jesus is actively working at this from where he is now and is the head of the body; those who believe (in all this) are the members of the body.

            Based on the above beliefs then we see the passage of time as more of a continuum along God’s plan rather than an end and a restarting again. Therefore, for us the prophesies all make sense in the above context. It’s not that some things didn’t get done or were unfulfilled never to be fulfilled; it’s more that it’s an ongoing process all according to God’s plan. But as stated in an earlier paragraph above, at least for me, belief in prophesies is not the basis of my faith.

            The way I look at prophesies is the same way I look at the entire plan of God from the beginning of time into the future. Which is also the same way I look at “the bible” (Hebrew and NT), a continuing process. I believe that God knew man before He created man. He knew man would fail in God’s perfect Garden. Not perfect in the sense that it would be void of challenges for growth, or that Adam wouldn’t be presented with decisions to be made, and assigned duties, responsibilities, but perfect in the sense that even though Adam was required to do certain things and was faced with decisions and temptations, God provided Adam everything he needed to make the proper decision. God already had a solution before the creation of day one. The solution involved interim steps such as to cite a few: a stay of execution for man, banishment from the Garden, the flood, Noah, Abraham, and Moses and the Israelites and then the removal of the stay of execution of man (Jesus). We believe the Jesus is the last step, or ultimate in the current process of the solution to the Garden problem and that the ultimate step is still ongoing, moving towards completion.

            Finally:
            Having said all that, coming back to prophesies what we might agree on is that they are in the eyes of the beholder depending on your point of view, Jew, or Christian; and highly subjective as to what it means if anything, if even we agree on what is and what isn’t a prophesy.

        • Yedidiah says:

          As a non-trinitarian, I don’t want to defend trinitarianism but challenge what appears, at least, as half-truth. There is much more evidence of a “trinity” than in the above mentioned verses. You make it appear that Trinitarianism only came about in the 1600’s. Others teach it came about because of Arius or Emperor Comstantine. It actually existed much earlier in the 2nd century or earlier, if there were earlier Christian texts. My study bible, says that the earliest manuscript in Greek of this particular type of reading of 1John 5:7-8 was about 1215 c.e., (in a Greek translation of the Acts of the Lateran Council, a work originally written in Latin). Notes in the NET bible says that the “reading seems to have arisen in a 4th century Latin homily in which the text was allegorized to refer to members of the Trinity.” The entirety of 1 John is often assumed to be added “late” (late depends on who you listen to), but that is not evidence that the idea of the trinity originated at some “late” date.

          • David says:

            You misunderstand me. I was addressing specific passages that were put to me. Of course Trinitarianism existed before the 16th century within Christianity. That is not disputed. Most unbiased scholars (without a dog in the fight) agree on the addition as I’ve described it concerning 1 John 5:7,8 appearing in the 16th century. As I mentioned there is division among Trinitarian scholars. Some say this or that as to when it was added. All one God scholars are in agreement. It did not appear in any texts before the 16th century. The evidence is quite clear on the matter. Of course you are entitled to your opinion.

            I have looked at the evidence on both sides of every passage, every passage, which Trinitarians claim points to the Trinity. It is my opinion after looking at it coming from a Trinitarian point of view myself that they (each and every passage) have all been debunked for one reason or another.

            In some cases the Trinitarian evidence rests on an outright adulteration as in 1 John 5:7,8.

            Other times it is a translation error. For example we find many cases such as the example of Philippians 2: 6-8 of which I’ve just recently commented on in this blog; in that case Trinitarians have erroneously translated the Greek “morphe” one way for Philippians to make it appear as if Jesus has the essence of God. But in every other case in the NT Greek and in the Septuagint Greek translation “morphe” does not carry the significance of inner essence, nor was “morphe” used in the Greek culture to mean inner essence. It carries the connotation of outer self, appearance, or something recognizable such as words or deeds. When you see Jesus you see God not because he is God but because his words and deeds are that of God.

            Trinitarians use a bible research and logic technique of going from the complicated and controversial and moving then to the simple in an effort to prove much of their doctrine. In other words they make an erroneous claim about a complicated verse. Then they go further and say based on our claim of what this complicated verse means we are changing the meaning of this very simple verse to mean something else.

            In reality it should be just the opposite. In proving the bible one way or the other we should go from the simple to the complicated. So for example if we have a simple to understand verse, which I’ve already commented on earlier, like John 20:31 which reads: “but these are written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” that clear verse should be a starting point to help understand more complicated verses in John, such as another favorite of Trinitarians John 1:1 and John 1:3. John did not say Jesus is God of God the Son, but the Son of God. By the way John 1:1 and 1:3 again have translation errors with the use of the Greek “logos” which should be used and understood as God’s plan, His words, His thinking; not as a separate “person” from God. So then we could read John 1 as God putting his plan into effect, his plan was “with” Him and not someone else’s idea, and was not delegated to anyone or anything else in the universe. God and God alone created the universe using His own plan which was with Him and with someone else.

            Trinitarians have a bag of tricks. There is seemingly no end. For example the English word they use for the Greek which means literally to “bow down to” or “pay homage to” or ”honor” or words to that effect they conveniently leave as bow down, honor etc. when it comes to anyone or anything but God and Jesus. When it comes to God and Jesus they translate it to “worship”! So then the reader is lead to believe the following: Oh, I get it, God is worshipped. And, the only other thing in the universe that’s worshipped according to the bible I’m reading is Jesus. Therefore, Jesus must be only God and Jesus are worshipped. All else are bowed down to, paid homage to, etc (according to the Trinitarian English translation). This is a sneaky translating way of reinforcing the Trinitarian point of view.

            I haven’t even scratched the surface, but you get the idea.

          • Yedidiah says:

            The 4th century reading of 1John 5:7-8 (in Latin) and 1215 c.e in Greek (translated from Latin) is “not my opinion”, but documented. Now your “unbiased scholars”, who do have a “dog in the fight”, might overlook that, because that wording “is not in the Greek (so called “original manuscripts”). So if one believes some words can be spurious and not “original”, who decides which other words are also not original. Some canonical NT texts were at one time called forgeries. So some very religious and holy men have have “a bag of tricks”, are you aware of ALL of them. Or who decides, when you or others are basing your opinions on your own text based on “manipulated texts”?

            There are simpler explanations then yours. But, sometimes “simple” means not being truthful to the original (or oldest known manuscripts). Nuances in the language get covered up and flattened out to make for easier reading and simple understanding, but not the real truth. I’ve commented on John 1 a couple of times on this blog, 1000 verses, using your use of logos (ie., words, thinking) when trying to explain it to an “extremist” trinitarian, but John does indeed use the word “logos” in the gnostic or Platonic sense of the word meaning an intermediary being that exists between people & God. To deny that is to deny most of John’s message and to try to remold John into either Matthew or Mark. Mark and John’s messages or their view of Jesus is about as far as you get and yet still be considered canonical gospels.

            Ignore the nuances of the language (or use one definition of the word when others are more in context) are you homogenize the text into “false teachings”. There are 3 Greek words that are used to describe the ‘outer appearance’ of Jesus: (1) Morphe (form), referring to divine nature and attributes in their manifestation. In this case, the “form” of God is in contrast to the form of a servant (v. 7) or the manifestation of Jesus in the substance and attributes of a servant. (2) Homoiomati (likeness), meaning that Jesus was made like other men in his essential attributes and manifestation as a genuine man (v. 7). (3) Schemati (fashion), referring to outer manifestation and more transient characteristics of humanity (v. 8). According to John Walvoord, the “use of all three words together means Jesus was supposed to be all that God is in substance, attributes, and manifestation”. In appearance he looked like a man and acted like a man. “In His incarnate state Christ continued to be all that God is though appearing in the form of man. After His ascension and glorification He continued to be all that man is apart from sin, limitation, and human characteristics that pertain only to this life.” (from Chapter 2. At the Name of Jesus Every Knee Should Bow: Study By: John F. Walvoord, From the Series: To Live Is Christ.” There is disagreement by scholars on the exact usage of Jesus’ externalities (morphe), because he was supposed to be more than a “form” and more than a 2-dimensional person.

            John 20:31 is also not as non-controversial, simple, and “cut-and-dry” as you imagine it to be. Is the author of John 20;31, writing to or about believers or to non-believers who are being evangelized? According to Mario Cerda, “The first half (v. 30) of the concluding remark sets up a “on the one hand A, but on the other hand B” relationship….” But, also, “In summary, the external evidence lines up pretty evenly and the internal evidence is equally inconclusive. Consequently, Metzger and Committee assign the text a C rating.” (A grade of C is better than D, but not as good as an A rating). What is ” …the precise meaning of the word “believe?” John uses it in a variety of ways, covering 14 of the 20 nuances presented in A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.” (from Appendix 6: Exegesis of John 20:31; a Study By: Mario Cerda, on bible.org). One word used 14 different ways out of a possible 20 and you see or read or understand the word ‘believe” how many different ways?

          • Yedidiah says:

            The people you listen to or read, also have their own “bags of tricks”. Take almost any doctrinal issue in Christianity and you will get 2, 3, or more sides. I’ve heard many arguments which were quite persuasive, until you hear the counter-argument. If all your non-trinitarian verses & evidence, have not yet been debunked, than you have limited your exposure to some real debunkers. But many arguments fail when you come to the “bottom line”. How reasonable are the beliefs? How internally contradictory are they? The “majority” or traditional view that you see was built up over time, to address the basic flaws of the belief system that might have been once based upon the idea that Jesus was an ordinary man. The non-trinitarian Jesus failed if you read the early church fathers who had to really contend for the faith or else see the Jesus idea only be another minor cult. From simple Jesus to complicated Jesus, because the simple “man Jesus” was no more memorable than Pastor Xyz or “miracle worker# 364279”. So don’t be surprised if some will say that you are making Jesus small & minimizing him toward extinction.

          • David says:

            I shouldn’t have written “bag of tricks” because it implies that the effort to support the Trinity was motivated by a desire for deception. I believe in my heart the scribes and translators such as Erasmus and others who truly believed in the Trinity were only trying to help others understand what they believed to be the true meaning of the text.

            They didn’t understand what they were doing as we now know it to be an adulteration of God’s word.

          • David says:

            Are you perhaps basing your some of your understanding of the Trinity on the stupidity of Erasmus?

            I fully admit that I have a “dog in the fight” as do you, as does everyone on this blog, along with other Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.

            My point was that many EVEN scholars WITH a dog in the fight FOR the Trinity concede that the passage was added at a late date. As proof, the passage in question has been taken out of modern versions such as the NET (which you cite) which still has a Trinitarian bias. All versions have a Trinitarian bias by the way with the exception of the REV.

            My point is also that many scholars WITH a dog in the fight FOR belief in the Trinity also concede that the passage did not appear until the 16th century.
            You bring up the Latin. Concerning how the adulterating addition made its way into the Latin text:

            A. T. Robertson, a (Trinitarian believing) (with a dog in the fight) Greek scholar writes it was because of the stupidity of Erasmus:

            “At this point [1 John 5:7] the Latin Vulgate gives the words in the Textus Receptus, found in no Greek MS. save two late cursives (162 in the Vatican Library of the fifteenth century, [No.] 34 of the sixteenth century in Trinity College, Dublin). Jerome did not have it. Erasmus did not have it in his first edition, but rashly offered to insert it if a single Greek MS. had it, and 34 was produced with the insertion, as if made to order. Some Latin scribe caught up Cyprian’s exegesis and wrote it on the margin of his text, and so it got into the Vulgate and finally into the Textus Receptus by the stupidity of Erasmus.”

            Robertson goes on to explain in detail in his work: (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research, and the multi-volumed Word Pictures in the New Testament) how the addition made its way into the text. It was first an added marginal note.

            The famous textual scholar, F. F. Bruce, does not even mention the addition in his commentary on 1 John (The Epistles of John).

            The International Critical Commentary does not mention it either.

            The conservative commentator R. C. H. Lenski, in his 12 volume commentary on the New Testament, only mentions that it is proper to leave the addition out. He writes: “The R. V. [Revised Version] is right in not even noting in the margin the interpolation found in the A.V. [KJV].”

            Henry Alford, author of the The Greek Testament, a Greek New Testament with extensive critical notes and commentary, writes:

            …OMITTED BY ALL GREEK MANUSCRIPTS previous to the beginning of the 16th century;

            ALL the GREEK FATHERS (even when producing texts in support of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity: as e.g., by [abbreviated names of Church “fathers”] Clem Iren Hipp Dion Ath Did Bas Naz Nys Ephih Caes Chr Procl Andr Damasc (EC Thl Euthym);

            ALL THE ANCIENT VERSIONS (including the Vulgate (as it came from Jerome, see below) and (though interpolated in the modern editions, the Syriac;

            AND MANY LATIN FATHERS (viz. Novat Hil Lucif Ambr Faustin Leo Jer Aug Hesych Bede) [Emphasis his].

          • David says:

            Dear Yedidiah,

            Let’s cut through to the heart of the matter as we go round and round about the Trinity issue as it relates to Jesus. We all (you and me included) want people to read and understand the bible our way because we believe that our understanding is the correct understanding as intentioned by the author of whatever passage or book we are reading.

            I chose the NET version since you stated you have a copy; John 20:31:

            “But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

            What do you think the author meant by his choice of words above?

            I too would like you and everyone to come to an understanding, as I have, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you and all who believe may have life in his name.

            I do believe, and therefore have life in his name.

            I hope you understand from my words that when I say Jesus, I am talking about a real person who walked the earth. When I say Christ I don’t mean God. I mean God’s Christ. When I say the Son of God I mean God’s Son, not God himself. When I say God I mean God our heavenly Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I don’t mean a triune god. When I say by believing I mean from the heart and not through works. When I say life I mean real eternal life. And when I say in his name I mean everything the name of Jesus stands for. For me it means I trust in everything he represents as God’s Christ and Son of God. I therefore submit myself totally to His God given authority as represented in his name, the name above every other given name in the universe.

            I agree with the REV commentary on name:
            “We are not commanded here to believe in
            Jesus, nor simply believe that he is Christ, but to believe in the name of his son Jesus
            Christ. Believing on “the name” of someone is an idiom where that person’s name is
            taken to represent the totality of who that person is: his notoriety, authority, influence, all
            he stands for, and the respect due him. It is similar to the English phrase, “Stop, in the
            name of the Law!” where the “law’s” name is invoked to represent its authority. It is not
            enough to believe that a man with the name “Jesus” really existed. Believing on his name
            is much more than this; it requires trust in what he represents and submission to his
            authority as the son of God and Messiah. It is this kind of believing we are required to
            have, the believing that is on his name. As Vincent writes concerning John 1:12, the
            phrase “expresses the sum of the qualities which mark the nature or character of a person.
            To believe in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God, is to accept as true the revelation
            contained in that title” (Word Studies, 50). (For some other instances where name
            signifies one’s notoriety see: John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18; 20:31; for instances when the name
            means the person see: Num. 1:2; 18, 20; 3:40, 43; 26:53; Acts 1:15).”

            To me the verse is clear, easy to understand and means what I stated above.

            What does the verse John 20:31 mean to you? Do you think its referring to a triune God?

            What do my words mean for you? Do you understand that I’m not talking about a triune God, But that I’m talking about a man who is not God, who is below God, but has authority from God?

          • David says:

            In reference to your point on Philippians 2:7,8, your third paragraph above:

            If the point of the verse is to say that Jesus is God, then why not just say it?

            The verse makes no logical sense to say Jesus, God, was found to be himself, God, therefore he didn’t think equality with himself, God, was something to be grasped at. We only have a potential or possibility to “grasp” at that of which we are not. If Jesus was already “God Incarnate” then he was God already which would mean he was already equal with God in every way since he was God himself. So again it would be nonsense to say God didn’t think equality with himself was something to be grasped at.

            The only way it makes sense is to say: Jesus was a man but had the form of God (because he did the will of God in word and deed performing miracles etc.) So as a man, but having the form of God, he didn’t think that equality with God was something to be grasped at.

            Regarding your references to Walvoord:

            You found a Trinitarian scholar who agrees with you. Well, that’s no surprise, there are many Trinitarian scholars such as Walvoord who point to erroneous Trinitarian authored lexicons such as Vine’s Lexicon for example to come to a Trinitarian understanding of Philippians 2:7,8. They all support and an erroneous understanding of morphe (to mean inner essential nature) in verse 7 and contrast that with schema in verse 8. The fact that you can find a Trinitarian scholar who makes this erroneous contrast based on an erroneous definition from a Trinitarian lexicon is not surprising.

            Here’s my point. There are also Trinitarian scholars, yes, even Trinitarian scholars, scholars who believe that Jesus is God incarnate who dispute the understanding of Walvoord and dispute other Trinitarian lexicons concerning their understanding of morphe.

            But I haven’t found one, not one, non-Trinitarian scholar, who believes as Walvoord does as to the meaning of morphe and the passage to mean basically “inner essential nature”. Can you find one non-Trinitarian scholar who believes that? I can’t.

            Other lexicons (including Trinitarian lexicons!!!!!) give a totally different understanding of morphe. Robert Thayer who wrote a well-respected lexicon says that some scholars try to make “morphe” refer to that which is intrinsic and essential, in contrast to that which is outward and accidental, but says, “the distinction is rejected by many”. In his lexicon he has morphe as “the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision; the external appearance”. Thayer refers to how the Greeks said that the children reflect the appearance “morphe” of their parents. The “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament” edited by Gerhad Kittel, has “form, external appearance”. Bulinger in his “Critical Lexicon” has a one word definition for morphe “form”. Walter Bauer’s lexicon has morphe as “outward appearance, shape”.

            The Greeks used morphe to describe when the gods changed their appearance. Kittel, cited above, points out that in pagan mythology, the gods changed their forms “morphe”. He notes that Dionysus, Demeter and Aphrodite as three who did so; a change of appearance not nature. According to Bauer’s Lexicon, cited above, Josephus, a contemporary of the Apostles, used morphe to describe the shape of statues.

            The Gospel of Mark has a reference to the story in Luke 24 where Jesus appears to two men on the road to Emmaus after God raised him from among the dead. Mark 16:12, “…he appeared to two of them in another from “morphe”, as they walked on their way…” It is clear here Mark is not talking about a change of “inner essential nature”, rather simply a different outward appearance which is why they didn’t recognize that it was Jesus. It was still Jesus, not another man. His inner self hadn’t changed.

            As you know, the Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Hebrew bible by Greek speaking Jews for Greek speaking Jews. The Septuagint used morphe several times, and it always referred to the outward appearance. Job 4:15,16 “A form “morphe” stood before my eyes…” Isaiah 44:13 has morphe in reference to man-made idols: “The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form “morphe” of a man, of man in all his glory that it may dwell in a shrine”

            Have you ever known an idol to have an “inner essential nature”? So do you think Isaiah is talking about an inner essential nature of an idol? When Nebachadnezzar became enraged at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the book of Daniel, “the form “morphe” of his countenance” changed. The King didn’t become a different person in his inner self, but they could see that his outer appearance had changed, his facial expression changed. He was still the same King, nothing in his nature changed.

            Schema, as pointed out be Kittel, cited above, can be SYNONYMOUS with morphe, but it has more of an emphasis on outward trappings rather than outward appearance, and often points to that which is more transitory in nature, like the clothing we wear or an appearance of a shorter duration. Throughout our lives our schema changes also for example we have schema “appearance” as a baby, young person and older as we age but we are always still human.

          • David says:

            Regarding Philippians 2 and the Trinity, your opinions and that of your selected Trinitarian experts are just that, opinions. And my opinions and that of my selected Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian experts are just that also, opinions. Because you claim that only yours are facts doesn’t make it so.

            It appears to me you haven’t had much exposure to one God, non-Trinitarian Christians.

            See William M Wachtel’s article “The Form of God” for a much better explanation than mine on the meaning of Philippians 2:6 – 8 at:
            http://focusonthekingdom.org/articles/philippians.htm

          • David says:

            I’m not familiar with the editing feature on posting here, but I notice I made an error. The following sentence:
            “God and God alone created the universe using His own plan which was with Him and with someone else.”

            Should read:
            “God and God alone created the universe using His own plan which was with Him, God, and NOT with anyone else.”

  2. Paul says:

    Hello, On the subject of arrogance. How would you measure all of the above that you mentioned, ie; the plagues, being freed from slavery, the parting of the sea, manna from Heaven, the cloud by day and fire by night etc etc. Then after receiving and seeing all such wonders from the God of creation, Israel decided within days to worship golden images and to moan and groan at Moses. Someone keeps mentioning the fact that the very idea of someone worshiping an “Idol” ( Jeshua) as insane. But when I read the Jewish scriptures. OT all you ever see is, Idolatry, temple prostitution etc. It seems to have been, at most all of the Jewish History ( Not including King David). I appreciate not all the kings of Israel were bad but on a 50/50 ish basis. As Jesus said, ” Why do you notice the speck of wood in your brothers eyes when you fail to notice the plank in your own.. x

    Ps. Im still waiting for a reply that I keep posting…4th time now!!……… If Messiah is still to come and will claim to be the Son of David, how will you be able to see if his claim as authority since you have lost all your records of linage since the temple was destroyed in AD70. (Which, by the way Jeshua said would happen)…. And what tribe are you from? x

  3. Yedidiah says:

    If you want a humble Jesus, read certain NT verses. And if you want a not-so-humble “lion of Zion”, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword instead” Jesus, than you read other nearby-verses. So, I see a consistency problem, which Christians also see when they criticize, denigrate (even unto “hell”) not only Jews, but their fellow Christians. If you don’t like the message this week stay tuned to next week’s sermon. Humble Jesus? No, not. If it is not hypocrisy, then the differences of the message in the
    verses and/or the sermons are just to subtle for a simple man like me or perhaps for the proponents of both beliefs. Trinitarianism and non-trinitarianism in the same church? If the 2 ideas aren’t the same belief (with only subtle differences), are the rebellious members not listening to their learned Pastor or should they rebel and throw out their pastor, because either the majority or the minority or some individuals are heretics & “going to hell”? Most Trinitarians believe in “One God”, which is very much unlike the “One God” of Tanach, so many non-trinitarians are dualists and polytheists or else put the man Jesus too high on an idolatrous-like pedestal.

    Israel was always turning toward idolatry? Those who did were looking for a message other than Torah; they began to believe many of the things taught by pagans & rejected by the Tanach. Jesus the miracle-working prophet & his followers were also Israel, just like the miracle-working prophets of ba’al who thought they were the righteous of the land. Drinking “blood”, eating “flesh”, even believing in a man-god, like Epiphanes, Casear, or herodian King Agrippa II, is not very Torah-like at all, but quite like that of one part of Israel. So, to answer an “ignorant” or absurd question with one much less ignorant, when Jesus “comes again” how will Christians know him, since his real geneaological records were destroyed, he left no writing and no signature, there are no pictures or paintings of him, and all those who knew him are long dead and gone and the writings they (?) left behind and heavily edited, are internally contradictory and they contradict each other at times?

  4. Annelise says:

    Hi David. If you don’t believe it’s right to worship Jesus as God, how do you worship in a church that does? I’m trying to understand what it means to you. Is it more important for a person to accept a messiah from God, even if they engage in worshiping him, than it is for a person to stay away from idolatry? Maybe I’m not engaging closely with your experience, but I don’t understand your approach.

    • David says:

      It’s not a problem for several reasons. I’m talking about non-Roman Catholic Churches here. To name a few reasons:

      I agree with the vast majority of doctrine in even so called Trinity believing churches such as Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is our Lord, and God’s Christ etc. Most Christians I’ve found look for common ground rather than pointing out potential controversies that divide.

      Most churches that I’ve been to including my current church don’t teach the doctrine of the Trinity much, if at all. To my recollection, my current church has never taught the Trinity as a topic for the Sermon. However there are official group classes on doctrine where it comes up.

      And, I’ve found, as a practical matter, there is a wide range of views on the Trinity. Even self- professing Trinitarians don’t all agree on all the particulars. For example even my own wife who swore up and down that she was a Trinitarian didn’t think that the “official” Trinitarian view meant that Jesus in his God self was completely God. She thinks He has some God DNA due to the virgin birth. But to her, God is God and Jesus is Jesus. Now she has come to understand that she has not been a true Trinitarian for about the last 30 years. That’s just one example and I can cite many more. For example there’s another who thinks he’s Trinitarian but to put it his way “ALL flows from God the Father”. Everything else in the universe is subordinate. The ranking for him is God the Father on top, then it’s Jesus who pre-exited, then it’s the Holy Spirit who has also always existed (according to him).

      I’ve found that much of Christianity is more inclusive than exclusive, especially the non- denominational churches.

      Also, I don’t personally worship the “Trinity”. No one I’ve talked to actually worships a Trinity God. And I don’t worship Jesus as if he were God either. I think many worship Jesus, even many Trinitarians “worship” him as if he were God’s Christ and mediator between man and God even though they know intellectually that he is the second person of the Trinity God Head. 99% of worship songs for example can be interpreted by the worshipper as appropriate to their own belief. Nothing directly says Jesus is God except for a very few mostly outdated Christmas hymns or songs that refer to the baby Jesus as God. So in that specific part I change the words or don’t speak.

      • Dear David;
        I respect your view, but I go with what g-d said; “Be sure to know and to understand, that I, the L-rd, am G-d in the Heaven, and on the Earth. There exist none other.”
        This is how He wants us to understand whom and what He is.
        The Triniterian concept was voted in in the First Council of Niasea. Until then, as documented by the people themselves, the Jewish followers of JC did not accept the gentile concept, but the Gentiles who came into the “Faith” had a background of doctrain where there was divinity in their human founders of their faith. Also, when Erasmus printed out the first King James Version, the concept as stated in Mark was not found by him. His latin friends found a Greek document where it is, so he included it in the second version of the King James Bible.
        There is more than a litle evidence that this concept was not in the Greek until then. The language of the document is not exactly like the older ones, for one.
        I think that as the Councils were in Latin, the concept was included, but as the Greek ones did not have any that we know of, after the vote, Erasmus had no Greek to fall back on for the Markian version.
        I noticed many vocabulary veriations from the Hebrew, in the KJV and other versions. But, then, why do they call them “versions”?
        Shalom;
        Yechiel

        • David says:

          I agree.

          I also think my posts are not inconsistent with what you just wrote; especially the first part as follows:
          “I respect your view, but I go with what g-d said; “Be sure to know and to understand, that I, the L-rd, am G-d in the Heaven, and on the Earth. There exist none other.”
          This is how He wants us to understand whom and what He is.
          The Triniterian concept was voted in in the First Council of Niasea. Until then, as documented by the people themselves, the Jewish followers of JC did not accept the gentile concept, but the Gentiles who came into the “Faith” had a background of doctrain where there was divinity in their human founders of their faith.”

          So therefore, it seems we have agreement. However, the “but” in the clause of the first sentence “I respect your view, but” makes it seem to me as though you are pointing out a particular difference somewhere between our points of view. If so, can you be specific, and tell me exactly what you are referring to.

          • Dear David;
            My mistake; I thought you were stating the Christian concept for us; Aka-Evangelizing. Not every mentioned of the Christian/Pagan concept is an attempt to change us, although you can understand the thin-skin syndrome?
            I have friends of many backgrounds; what keeps us friends is the acceptance that each one’s view-political or religious-is his and has an equal right to it. Some have gone after gentiles who tried to offend me. One Catholic friend borrowed an yarmelke from me, went into their face, and asked them; “Now, what do you have to say about us Jews!”
            A Muslim friend spoke at a Seder, showing in his talk what a true religious man is; is it one one finds pushing his way on someone, or one who works the faith. Not those words, but a good example all the same.
            My work here is to defend against attack on our humanity as He has each one live it, and to share ways we can work together, not to sass each other because one may have a view of G-d the other one does not.
            He is Infinite, we are finite, so i think we can fit all views in without abuse of anyone.
            Shalom;
            Yechiel

  5. Annelise says:

    Rabbi Yisroel, I guess what you’re saying in this article is that certain actions portray a message to their audience: a message either of humility or of pride. We interpret this based on our understanding of the rightful role of every entity. We know that humans owe worship to God, and do not deserve worship ourselves, so we have to interpret the behaviour of every human we meet through that knowledge.

    When we see God revealing Himself in history and making a covenant between Himself and humans, that sends us a message of humility. When we see a human being humble, that sends us a message that they know they owe service and love to God as their Creator. And when we see a human claiming to be our creator, that sends us a message of arrogance.

    The two questions remaining are these. You’ve shown elsewhere that no one can stand on both sides of the relationship between God and creation; not even by having ‘two natures’. But I want to understand your logic, so let me use a hypothetical. *What if* God *could* choose to make Himself incarnate, and out of love He did so? If it actually happened, wouldn’t that be another expression of His humility in coming close to humanity?

    More in line with the way of thinking in this article: *What if* God not only did that, but also provided humans with a way of being sure that this man was an exception to the rule that humans typically are created in absolutely every sense? If God put such a knowledge into our interpretive framework of events, then the claims of such a person would no longer appear arrogant to those who heard. They would appear completely justified, and the context would be beyond comprehension in bringing awe towards God.

    You can say very fairly that God didn’t give a clear way for anyone to know, or know for sure, that Jesus was an exception to the fact that all humans are created and our very being, in the sight of others, declares that God is Creator. There’s so much wrong in other senses with these hypotheticals. But in light of this article’s idea, I just want to know if you think that a) *if* the incarnation happened, then it should be called humility, and b) *if* humans were able to ‘know’ that a person wasn’t created, then they shouldn’t have to believe his claims to be God were arrogant.

    • Annelise says:

      I thought that your image of God giving sign after sign so that humans could know He had revealed Himself to your nation, with immense patience to allow such a relationship to be formed, was very beautiful. I don’t know if I’ve ever grasped the humility of God in relating to creation through that lens before.

  6. David says:

    Philippians 2:6 – 8 commentary “he humbled himself”

    I believe that Dr. Schoenheit and other one God believers have gotten the meaning of the passage right and that Trinitarian believers are in error.

    I copied what I believe to be Dr. John Schoenheit’s commentary of Philippians 2:6 – 8 taken in part (to keep it shorter here on this blog) from biblicalunitarin.com. He gives 4 arguments against a Trinitarian interpretation for the passage. Arguments 1 and 3 are quite lengthy and I did not include them in their entirety to keep it shorter here but included my own synopsis. My synopsis and/or Dr. Schoenheit’s arguments are provided below. For the entire unedited transcript of Dr. Scheonheit’s commentary of Philippians 2: 6 – 8 you can go to: http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/verses/philippians-2-6-8

    #1: Translation error:
    My synopsis:

    Trinitarians have committed a translation error with the Greek word “morphe”. They translated it to mean “very nature” as in “being in very nature God.” To quote Dr. Schoenheit, “We do not believe that morphe refers to an “inner essential nature,” and we will give evidence that it refers to an outer form.” Dr. Schoenheit goes on to argue prove that in no other instance in either the Septuagint (Greek translation) of the Hebrew bible or in the NT is the Greek work “morphe” used to represent an inner essential nature.

    #2 Illogical:
    Verbatim quote of Dr. Schoenheit’s second argument:

    2. After saying that Christ was in the form of God, Philippians 2:6 goes on to say that Christ “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped” (NIV). This phrase is a powerful argument against the Trinity. If Jesus were God, then it would make no sense at all to say that he did not “grasp” at equality with God because no one grasps at equality with himself. It only makes sense to compliment someone for not seeking equality when he is not equal. Some Trinitarians say, “Well, he was not grasping for equality with the Father.” That is not what the verse says. It says Christ did not grasp at equality with God, which makes the verse nonsense if he were God.

    #3 The erroneous, non-biblical and illogical doctrine of the dual nature of Christ:
    My synopsis:

    Dr. Schoenheit here provides some of the historical context and historical development of the non-biblical Trinitarian dual nature of Christ doctrine and how it has presented its own set of problems. For example Trinitarian theologians use this doctrine to explain Christ’s ability to perform miracles and how he knew what people were thinking etc. But as Dr. Schoenheit points out, God has worked miracles through other prophets as well. Also, because of the unchanging nature of God, the doctrine of dual nature with God “changing” into man presented its own theological problems which needed resolving. So therefore, convoluted Trinitarian arguments were necessarily invented to explain the unchanging but changing nature problem which is unsatisfactorily done in the dual nature doctrine.

    #4: The true meaning and context of the passage:
    Verbatim quote of Dr. S 4th argument:

    4. While Trinitarians have argued among themselves about the meaning of Philippians 2:6-8, an unfortunate thing has occurred—the loss of the actual meaning of the verse. The verse is not speaking either of Christ’s giving up his “Godhood” at his incarnation or of his God-nature being willing to “hide” so that his man-nature can show itself clearly. Rather, it is saying something else. Scripture says Christ was the “image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4), and Jesus himself testified that if one had seen him, he had seen the Father. Saying that Christ was in the “form” (outward appearance) of God is simply stating that truth in another way. Unlike Adam, who grasped at being like God (Gen. 3:5), Christ, the Last Adam, “emptied himself” of all his reputation and the things due him as the true child of the King. He lived in the same fashion as other men. He humbled himself to the Word and will of God. He lived by “It is written” and the commands of his Father. He did not “toot his own horn,” but instead called himself “the son of man,” which, in the Aramaic language he spoke, meant “a man.” He trusted God and became obedient, even to a horrible and shameful death on a cross.
    The Philippian Church was doing well and was supportive of Paul, but they had problems as well. There was “selfish ambition” (1:15; 2:3) and “vain conceit” (2:3), arguing and lack of consideration for others (2:4 and 14) and a need for humility, purity and blamelessness (2:3 and 15). So, Paul wrote an exhortation to the believers that, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (2:5). He then went on to show how Christ did not grasp at equality with God, but was completely humble, and as a result God “highly exalted him.” The example of Jesus Christ is a powerful one. We do not need to make sure people notice us or know who we are. We should simply serve in obedience and humility, assured that God will one day reward us for our deeds. [For further study read Textual Corruptions Favoring the Trinitarian Position.]

  7. Son of David says:

    Knowledge and wisdom comes from listening to all sides of the argument. And always ask questions, Learn not to be dictating as your doctrine is in all its way’s.

  8. Evangilest who even know hebrew delibreatly mis-tramslate, to support their view.
    Here is an example i copied from one evangilest website.
    >>>
    Psalm 89: God cast off, rejected and became angry with His Moshiach
    by Joseph
    The word Moshiach (מָשִׁיחַ‎) in Hebrew, means messiah or Christ. The term refers to the Anointed One of God, who will sit upon the throne of David and rule forever.

    Messianic Jews are sometimes pilloried for claiming that Moshiach must first suffer, before he takes his throne. The Messianic claim that Isaiah 53 refers to the Moshiach, is widely derided within Orthodox Judaism. As a result, Yeshua-centred beliefs are seen as out-of-sync with traditional Jewish messianic expectations.

    Yet Isaiah 53 is not the only place we read of the suffering Servant – Psalm 89 identifies this servant as Moshiach.

    Many Jews will know the Psalm from its famous ending (89v51):

    אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ אוֹיְבֶיךָ יְהוָה: אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ, עִקְּבוֹת מְשִׁיחֶךָ

    Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.

    The phrase עִקְּבוֹת מְשִׁיחֶךָ ikvot moshichecha , the footsteps of your messiah, is widely recognised in Judaism as referring to Moshiach.

    Here is Rabbi Hillel Rivlin, a disciple of the Vilna Gaon, on this verse in Kol HaTor, which expounded the Litvish understanding of Moshiach:

    As is known, the enemies of God and the enemies of Israel cause trouble to the entire process of the beginning of the Redemption that occurs in the footsteps of the Mashiach. In the Psalm, it states regarding this matter: “who taunted the footsteps of Your Mashiach” [Ps. 89:52]. Our Sages have already enumerated all the tribulations that come during the footsteps of the Mashiach.<<<

    First of all, from the top of tis item, Moshiac = "Anointed". The author knows this, as i have dealt with him in the past. Second; the interpretations of Isaiah 53, Psalm 89 and others are streached, to be kind about it. How can X be made sure of something hundreds of years after his death? I have shared with this person how KJV and the Hebrew differ on the pronouns, for one.
    If you think mis-translating the Hebrew is not important, then ou would not be uneasy when these verses are used to sell their faith to ignorant Jews (regarding their faith). If you are Jewish, believe that G-d still has a purpose for you and all other Jews, then I would like to see more assertiveness in your approach to their distortions.
    Thank you.
    Shalom;
    Yechiel

  9. Yedidiah says:

    Which of the faces of Jesus was the image of God (which is also the image of all humans)? There is nothing in humility that makes us divine. John, a baptizer, was a humble man who was was only made “great” by others, but Luke 7:28 says, “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” If the kingdom of God is made up of “believers on earth”, Jesus is not offering people teachings of humility. And in Matthew 23:12, Jesus supposedly said, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”. After saying this,

  10. Yedidiah says:

    …. and in Matthew 23:12., Jesus supposedly says, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”. After saying this, the on-again-off-again humility of Jesus cannot be taken as true humility, since he feigns humility in order to be exalted. His game to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, is not to show that he is humble (as it is with previous true kings of Israel), but as a deliberate attempt (a production) to show that he should he seen as an anointed king making a glorious entry into Jerusalem (Hosanna, to the highest”). But the people were only celebrating Sukkot and were most likely oblivious to some ordinary man riding on a donkey (like countless other Jews, except Jesus appears like some “Don Quixote-ish” character). Mark’s Jesus might be both mysterious & humble, but John’s Jesus is neither. John’s Jesus is portrayed as a king, as royalty, as exalted, as a god.

    One might show the “error of Trinitarians” with one or a few articles, but the reverse (the error of non-Trinitarians) is also well studied and presented and much more persuasive. Here is one article from about the year, 1790. http://www.truecovenanter.com/reformedpresbyterian/reformed_presbytery_testimony_against_sandu_errors_sect_1.html

  11. Dear Readers;
    Obvious to me in reading the above is that Jewish concepts were part of the orignal formate, but soon, the new sect became Gentilized. this left opened the door for the divinity of a human-again- and the Trinity, not trimutry, of the godhood they acepted. Thus, two separate and unique faiths and religioins resulted from the re-intertretation of both, the Tanach and of the Gospel.
    The godhood concept of a human being coneived by the G-d contradicts Tanach, and is what helps to keep us at separate directions. This can be helped only if we learn to humble ourselves, to his Will, and not worry about some else humility/ Remember, just because we are two separate faiths does not negate the fact that we can and do work together on many levels, without trying to change any one’s faith. key word=respect!
    Shalom;
    Yechiel.

  12. hyechiel says:

    Dear Readers;
    I read with interest the comment that the way the passages read are not important. If I give you directions how to get somewhere, and you accept what you like, and reject what is inconveniant, will you get to where you want to go?
    Problem we have is that not only are the directions of G-d played with by evangilest, but they insert their view, or how they see it is better to go. As a result, the whole “bus load” of believers have not arrived, where as the Jews are with Him. If you do not think this makes sense to you, concider this; those who take the time to study the whole map, many have arrived at the gate of Noah, or at Sinai.
    All of the rest are arguing, or wringiong their hands at not having unimnaity with all the other “true believers”. This can change, one “true” believer at a time. Read His word as He gave it (The Map’s directions) and see then where you arrive.
    Shalom;
    yechiel

  13. hyechiel says:

    Dear RFeaders;
    RoshPinaProject has an interesting article on an article printed in an Atlantic pulication;
    ] Messianic Jews Misrepresented in Atlantic Article
    There are verious opinions expressed and I am sure that Gev is correct on much of his responce. The bottom line was expressed in the Messianich view point quoted in the the article; “The Messianic “Jews” want to save Israel from it’sJewishness.”
    Oh, G-d made us as we are, so now, they are going to save us from what He made us.
    Am I wrong, or is this arrogance at its best?
    Shalom;
    Yechiel

  14. hyechiel says:

    Dear David;
    I hope thjis helps.
    WordPress.com comment-reply@wordpress.com
    Shalom;
    Yechiel

  15. dvnwrrr says:

    this is the best set of comments on a blog i have yet read. where i mostly read scathing remarks, here i find a diversity of beliefs with the same love for Him. may His peace be upon you all. may His blessings draw you closer under His light as you seek Him through His Word.

  16. hyechiel says:

    Dear Friends;
    All I wonder about the “King James” version is whither Erasmus was lied to, when his friends brought him a Greek version with the John verses in it, which he ommited from the first KJV because his research turn up no such verse. If they found one version from even the second century, which had these verses in it, OK. If no such version existed before the first KJV was published, is Christianity legitimatly a triniterian religion, or going on false information?
    Many Christians are leaving the Church because they feel they have been hoodwinked. I hope they are wrong, and that Christian valuse can be streanthen for their sakes.
    Thank you,
    Shalom;
    Yechiel

  17. Dina says:

    Exactly so.

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