1 Cor. 8:6 and the Trinity

Does this verse demonstrate that Jesus is included in the divine nature? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m a member on Facebook for a group to debate the doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Sadly, many witnesses really do not know what they’re arguing against when it comes to the Trinity. Most arguments against the Trinity are arguments against modalism. Also sadly, too many Christians outside of this group that are lay Christians would probably explain the Trinity using modalistic descriptions.

One passage that can regularly come up from JWs is 1 Cor. 8:6. They seem to think it really makes the case. Let’s look at it.

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

There you have it! There is one God, the Father! Jesus is not that one God. Jesus is Lord, but He is not God. On a surface level, one can say, “If that’s the case, then the Father is God, but He is not Lord.” That is indeed problematic enough, but let’s go further in looking at this text.

There are two parallel themes.

1A: For us, there is but one God, the Father.

1B: From whom all things came and for whom we live.

2A: And there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ,

2B: Through whom all things came and through whom we live.

There is indeed parallelism here, which is fascinating, but could there still be something more. Imagine that a Jew makes a statement that there is one God. What will other Jews immediately think of? The Shema, Israel’s great monotheistic statement.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

The terms Lord, God, and One, are all repeated here. Paul is using intertextuality to call to mind an Old Testament text. The same takes place in Romans 1. Paul uses terms like creator, and “male and female” to point to Genesis 1 as the basis for his argument for divine revelation in creation and for the wrongness of same-sex erotic practice.

What then Paul is doing is he is taking Jesus and he is slipping him into the Shema, Christianizing it and putting Jesus in the divine nature. Rather than denying the deity of Christ, Paul is emphasizing it in strong terms. Also, Jesus is presented as the means of creation, which is incredible since in Isaiah 44:24, God is said to have done creation alone.

“This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

I am the Lord,
the Maker of all things,
who stretches out the heavens,
who spreads out the earth by myself,

Some can see this as wisdom, but if you read Jewish writings like the Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom was taking on a more and more role of deity as a hypostasis of God. The formula is always the same in the New Testament be it John 1, 1 Cor. 8, Hebrews 1, or Col. 1. The Father is the source and the Son is the means.

I have presented this several times asking JWs to show where my exegesis is wrong. To date, no one has. Let’s look at some objections that are brought up.

“But Jesus is not His Father!”

Which shows the person doesn’t understand Trinitarian thinking. Saying Jesus is God is theological shorthand. It really is saying Jesus fully partakes of the divine nature. It in no way means Jesus is the Father.

“But the Shema never mentions Jesus!”

True, and irrelevant. This is progressive revelation. This assumes God had to reveal Himself as triune from the get-go or else He isn’t.

“But what about these passages that show Jesus is not God?”

And whatever passage is brought up needs to be discussed, but unless a JW wants to deny inerrancy, which I don’t think they do, then they need to explain this passage as well and show where my exegesis is wrong. If not, then you are saying this one passage teaches X and the other one teaches non-X, which is a denial of inerrancy.

The gauntlet has been cast down. I wait to see if any JWs are willing to pick it up and take the challenge. Show where the exegesis is wrong.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


The Trinity in The Bible

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the Ocean of Truth. We’ve just finished our Trinitarian Commentary so I thought we should go and take a look at how our whole project went overall. First though, I ask for my usual prayer requests. I first off ask that you pray for me for my continued Christlikeness and that I won’t have as much anxiety and worry in my life. Second, I ask for prayers in my financial situation. Third, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life.  God knows. For now, let’s see what we learned in our look through the Bible.

I certainly hope you learned a lot. I know I did. We’ve been through several verses and seen how they point to the doctrine of the Trinity. Even if a verse did not teach the whole Trinity with great strength, we found that there were several pieces that went together and helped form this doctrine.

That’s something that needs to be remembered in this. We are not talking about a doctrine that is just one verse in the whole of Scripture that settles everything. Too often in our studies of the Bible, we think there ought to be one verse that settles everything. In reality, that is rarely the case and the more important the doctrine, the more Scripture we will need.

However, a comment on a recent blog had the commenter pointing to Col. 1:15 and Rev. 3:14 and saying that Jesus was created. The problem is that those are verses that we have to explain. Sure. Of course, we also saw that those verses can be explained and they form a coherent whole. However, it’s the Arian or the modalist that has to explain several other verses.

The reason is that this is a systematic doctrine. It’s formed not by looking at one verse, but seeing the whole tapestry of Scripture. What does the Bible say about who God is? What does the Bible say about who Jesus is? What does the Bible say about who the Holy Spirit is? When we get through all of these questions, we find the Trinity is there. The church did this right. We can try to re-invent the wheel all we want, but we will end up with the Trinity also.

So what do we do? From here, we learn about what the Trinity means. Does God tell us who he is for no reason? Is the Trinity going to be a doctrine that we just use to beat up Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly? Or rather, is the doctrine of God going to be something dynamic in our lives that changes how we live everyday?

Tomorrow, I would like to start looking at that some in to how the doctrine of the Trinity relates to us. What difference will it make in our lives? After all, if we learn a doctrine, that’s good, but if the doctrine doesn’t make any change in our lives, it’s only a means for increasing our arrogance.

We will start tomorrow.

Come Lord Jesus

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. It looks like we’re coming to the final part of our Trinitarian Commentary tonight. Isn’t that amazing? We’ve gone through the whole Bible to try to understand the Trinity. I do ask for your prayers first off. First, my continued Christlikeness as I am coming across more bumps on the road that need to be handled. Second, I ask for prayers with my financial situation. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third area in my life that everything will work out as it ought. For now, let’s get to the text. We’re going to the final verses of the Bible. Revelation 22:20-21.

20He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Come Lord Jesus. Those are words that Christians have said for years. They are words that we say still today. They are the hope of Christians in that this Jesus who came and dwelt among us will one day come and bring about the final end of the battle between good and evil. He will take us to be where he is.

He is Lord. Let us think about that as we close this book. The last words of the book of Revelation and of the Bible as a whole end on a prayer. May it be so. May it be that the Lord Jesus will come soon. May it be that the promises he’s made for the faithful come to pass.

Who is it that came and dwelt among us? John told us that the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We beheld his glory. That was a wonder that gripped John as he wrote the prologue to his gospel.

John saw that glory leave. He was there at the empty tomb. He wrote about how he touched and saw and heard the risen Christ. He could not leave behind his awe of who it was that dwelt. One who bears the nature of YHWH, the second person of the Trinity, came and dwelt among the creation.

His coming marked the defeat of evil in the form of sin. His return is to mark it in judgment. The first time brought justification and sanctification for sinners. The second time it will bring our glorification. He will take us to be with him so we may be where he is.

How can we learn from this? Every Christian can look forward to what’s coming. This is the ultimate wedding. This is the marriage of the Lamb. This is Christ and his church together for all eternity. This is the honeymoon experience that never ends.

As we close up our look through the Bible and the doctrine of the Trinity for now, let us finish with the same request. He dwelt among us and died for us so that we may be where he is. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.

Final Alpha and Omega

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. It’s hard to believe we’re almost done looking at the book of Revelation. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at verses 12-13. Before that, I ask for my prayer requests. First, I ask for my prayers with my Christlikeness. I am really learning a lot of things now and being shaped more into the man that I think I need to be. Second, I ask for prayers with my financial situation. Third, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life that I do think is going well now. For now, let’s get to Revelation 22:12-13.

12“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

There can be no doubt that this is Jesus speaking. We never hear anything about the Father coming. Instead, the hope of the church was to see the coming of Christ. While it is impromptu within the passage as the speaker changes from John to the angel to this speaker, based on prior passages, we can be sure this speaker is Jesus.

What’s interesting is how he describes himself. He says he is the Alpha and the Omega. Have we seen that before? Yes! Look at Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

And recently we covered Revelation 21:6

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.

This would be enough to show that the Son is fully God in nature, but we can also look at the other title he gave to himself alongside that, the first and the last.

We saw that used of the church of Smyrna in Revelation 2:8.

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.

But more interesting is Revelation 1:17

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.

But let’s see what he says after that.

I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Which gets me to something we’ve been hinting at since the first mention of this idea. This is a great technique to use on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Go to the first two Alpha and Omega passages and ask them who the Alpha and Omega is. In the end, see that the Alpha and Omega is also the First and the Last. Then ask “When did Jehovah die?”

The question presents a problem for Jehovah’s Witnesses. It doesn’t for Christians. We serve the one who is fully God and fully man, the alpha and omega, the first and the last.

The Throne of God and the Lamb

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are continuing our Trinitarian commentary as we dive into the ocean of truth. I ask for your prayers for my Christlikeness first off and that I will deal with anxiety in my life especially. There are times I need to be especially mindful of Philippians 4:6-9. I also ask for your prayers for my financial situation. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third related area in my life. God knows what it is. For now, let’s get to the text. It’s Revelation 22:1-3.

1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

We start out this passage with reference to a river and one can think of the river that is found in Ezekiel 47. The Lamb and the Lord are the new temple after all and this river is the river of life. It is this water that symbolizes life that flows forth from God himself for the people.

Notice that God is sharing the throne with the Lamb, and once again, we are given a clear picture of who the Lamb is by this. I hope you have been amazed as I have been going through this book and seeing how much the title of the Lamb is used. Indeed, it had been something that had escaped my notice before going through this study and now, I pray I will never lose sight of it again.

God has said however that he will not share his glory with another, and that would include his throne, but now he does share his throne. Are we seeing here a fulfillment of such OT passages as Psalm 110:1 and of Daniel 7:13-14? Is the one who conquered his enemies and has an everlasting kingdom also the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world?

There will also be no more curse. We see not just the redemption of humanity but the redemption of creation entirely. Why is there no curse? Because God is present with his people and where that is, there is perfection. This is in a unique way in that the people now know God and he knows them and we have a sanctified humanity living at the foot of the throne.

What can be drawn from this? Christians of all ages can remember that the good guys win in the end. Think about going to a movie and seeing the hero suffering. Many of us see some good guys die in movies and we mourn that, but we also think it’ll be okay in the end. It’ll be okay because in the end, the good guys will win ultimately. Revelation reminds us of that. The good guys do win. Whatever stuff went on in the past 21 chapters, it’s been made right now. The good guys have won. The Lamb is victorious.

We shall continue tomorrow.

The Lord and the Lamb

Hello everyone and welcome to Deeper Waters. Tonight we’re going to be continuing our Trinitarian Commentary. We’re wrapping up Revelation 21 tonight which means that we’re going to be moving on to the last chapter of the Bible tomorrow. It’s hard to believe isn’t it. I do ask for your prayers for my Christlikeness. It has been a hard day and I am somewhat anxious, which gets to my first prayer request for my continued Christlikeness. I really have a lot of growth that needs to be done. Second, I ask for your prayers in my financial situation. Things are really tight right now. Finally, I do ask for prayers in a third related area in my life. In this area, I am still seeing a lot of work that needs to be done. For now, let’s go to the text. It’s Revelation 21:22-27.

22I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The Lord God and the Lamb are doing everything in tandem in this passage. There is no temple for instance. Why? The Lord and the Lamb are the temple. They are the places of worship. The place where everyone goes to meet God is essentially God himself.

The next statement is the glory of God is the light and the Lamb is the lamp. This is quite a revealing statement as the light is that which shines forth and the lamp is that through which the light shines. What is being said is that the Lamb is the one through whom we see the light and the glory of God.

The city will be a place of healing. That is, the work of the kingdom begun in Christ will be manifest in it. It will be a place free of sickness and of sin. No one impure can ever enter into this city. It will be a place open at the same time as the righteous can always move freely in the kingdom and the glory and honor of the nations will come there. This will be a place that exalts God and the Lamb.

Finally, all who are there are in the Lamb’s book of life. It’s interesting to say this because the book of life is seen as that of God. Now we are told that it belongs to the Lamb. The Lamb is in charge in the city along with God. The two work together. The two having the same nature in this case is an inescapable conclusion.

Tomorrow, we begin the final chapter.

Alpha and Omega

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. We are going to start Revelation 21 as we come to the close of our Trinitarian Commentary tonight. I hope you all have enjoyed it. In addition to the usual prayer requests, I ask that you pray for a friend of mine who was in a car accident tonight. He and the other driver are fine, but I hope he’ll take this as a wake-up call to turn his life around. I ask for your prayers also for my continued Christlikeness as I submit my will to be in alignment with that of the Potter. Second, for my financial situation. Third, I ask for your prayers in a related area of my life. For now, let’s get to Revelation 21:6.

6He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.

This is something that we noted at the very beginning of the book. When we got to Revelation 1:8, we saw that the Lord God identified himself as the Alpha and Omega. It is fitting that as we come to the conclusion of this book, that the same title is repeated for God.

The title indicates the eternality and infinity of God. He is outside of time. The beginning and end find their being in him. He cannot be bound by space. He cannot be bound by time. Before there was anything else, there was him.

This would be different from the Greek deities who had their origins in time. Zeus had a father and a mother, for instance, and he was the father of many other gods. The gods of the Greek system, which became the gods of the Roman system, were parts of the world. They were bound by the universe much like men were. The gods could do things that men couldn’t, but they were still part of the universe. The God of Israel revealed in Christ is not and was not and never will be.

As applied to Christ, it would mean that he is one without beginning and end and it is noteworthy that he is described in a similar way in Revelation 1, an idea that we will look at later on in this series. In Revelation 1:17, Jesus uses the term “First and the Last” to describe himself.

The term is also used to indicate further God’s sovereignty in the context of Revelation 21. He is in charge of who gets in and out of the city and he has not been surprised by anything. Those who are wicked are not allowed in. God also has the last word on all matters.

We today need to realize what a blessing this would have been for early Christians first reading this book. God was in control of time. He is not surprised by anything. He will bring about all things for his intended purpose. The victory of the Lamb is that he does take the bride to be with him, and so shall we be someday.

Christ in the Millennium

Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters. We are preparing to dive into the ocean of truth right now and as it is, we are swimming in the Trinity ocean. We’ve reached some great depths and we’re about to finish this tour. Before tonight’s text, I do ask for your prayers concerning my Christlikeness and that I will not resist the will of the Potter but will rather submit to him in all things. The second request is in the area of my financial well-being. Third, I ask for prayers in a third related area I choose to not discuss at the moment. For now, let’s go to the text. It’s Revelation 20:4-6.

4I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Readers know that we don’t touch eschatology in this blog. Whatever your view is of the millennium, and I do have my own view, that is up to you to figure out. We want to look at this passage and just see what it says about Jesus.

One thing we notice is that the reason people are slain is because of their testimony of Jesus. This tells us that the martyrs have on their lips the name of Christ. He is the focus of the gospel that they proclaim and because of that, they are martyred. (I ask readers to realize the tense of my verbs is just one I think I have to use. I don’t want to imply anything about the timing of these events.)

The Word of God is also cause for their death. They will not repent of their view of the Scriptures. If only we would have such passion in the church. The Bible is the most bought book and it is the least read book. (Interestingly, it’s also the most shoplifted book.)

These are ones who will reign with Christ. What Christ does by nature, they do by being united in him. We must learn what this means as we are said to be in Christ. This is what is meant by being a partaker of the divine nature. Not that we become gods, but that we possess holiness and righteousness by grace then.

Finally, they’re said to be priests of God and of Christ. Note the idea of being a priest of Christ. The significance is strong for who Christ is. You would not be a priest for anyone less than deity and the context of a monotheistic Jew makes it clear how he viewed Christ.

Your view of the millennium here? It’s a non-essential. Your view of Jesus here? It means everything.

Here Comes The Groom!

Welcome back readers to Deeper Waters. We are going to be continuing our Trinitarian Commentary tonight in the book of Revelation. It’s hard to believe we’ve gone through the whole Bible looking at the Trinity and I do hope you’ve benefited from it. First, I ask for your prayers for my continual Christlikeness and that my will will submit to the hand of the potter. I also ask that readers pray for my financial situation. I have an awfully expensive Summer coming up. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third related are in my life that I will rise up to be who I need to be. For now, let’s go to the text. Tonight, it’s Revelation 19:11-16.

11I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

Two days ago, we saw the bride and it was a beautiful and pristine event. Now, we get to see her groom. What do we see however? We see a horse and on the horse sets a warrior who is faithful and true. This was the same title Jesus gave of himself in Revelation 3:14.

We are told that with justice he judges and makes war. Just when we thought a wedding was about to take place, it seems that a war must take place first. However, this rider is a good rider who rides with justice. This is also a passage that should once again eliminate the image of Jesus I so often see that we think of today, of gentle Jesus meek and mild. Jesus was meek and mild to the righteous, but to the unrighteous, he was anything but.

Revelation 1:14 and 2:18 both mentioned Jesus having eyes of blazing fire. We are also told he has a name that no one knows save he himself, paralleling what happens in Revelation 2:17. I also like to use this verse on Jehovah’s Witnesses to ask them if they think that the Father is ignorant of something.

Most grooms would wear something fancy, but this one wears a robe dipped in blood and his name is the Word of God, fitting since he is the Word in John 1:1. The blood imagery shows the nature of the war that this rider is fighting in. There will be many casualties.

The sword should remind us of 1:16, 2:12, and 2:16. The scepter imagery will remind us of 12:5 and most notably, 2:27 which uses the exact same verse. This is a rider who is not fighting defensively but offensively. He is charging out to meet the enemy.

The treading of the winepress should remind us of Revelation 14. John is drawing out much of the imagery of the past to show the nature of the one who is riding. He wants the reader to get as serious as possible a picture of what is going on.

Lastly however we see his name. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We talked about this earlier, but this is the title given to the Lamb as well meaning this Lamb who we have seen throughout this book is the same one who is the warrior coming to conquer. Is he named? No. John expects us to know however who he is speaking of.

The groom is here. What of the wedding? That is for another time.

The Testimony of Jesus

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. Tonight, we are going to be continuing our Trinitarian Commentary in the book of Revelation. Before that, I do ask for your prayers. First in my continued Christlikeness, which I believe is having an effect and producing in me a greater confidence.  I also ask for prayers for my current financial situation. I finally ask for prayers in a third related area of my life. I trust that God is working in these situations to bring about a greater good. For now, let’s go to the text of Revelation 19:10.

10At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

This is the point in between the appearance of the bride and the appearance of the groom. John bows down to worship the angel and he is told to stop by said angel. What is important for our purposes at first is that the angel resists worship. We can point to numerous times in the gospels and the Acts where people bow down to Jesus and worship him and he does not resist it.

The only one worship is to go to is God. The angel makes that clear, yet Jesus accepted worship. We can especially point to passages where people bow down and then worship him. In Matthew 28, for instance, the text says that his followers fell down and clung to his feet and then worshipped him. It cannot mean just bow down then, for there is no point in saying that they clung to his feet and then bowed down.

What is most interesting is what he says about holding to the testimony of Jesus. What does he mean by this claim? How is it that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy and who really brought prophecy into this book at this point?

We can think back to the two witnesses. They were the ones who testified in Revelation 11. We spoke back then about them holding to the message of Christ. We can also think of Hebrews 11 where we are told that Moses suffered for the cause of Christ.

All prophecy has ultimately been about Christ. He is the centerpiece of it all. The testimony of Jesus means that the testimony pertains to Jesus. In a way, we could also say it is testimony from Jesus. It is the testimony that comes from God about the Son.

Why in this book at this point? This is about redemption and the redemption is found in the Son and that is how one gets the white for the righteous acts of the saints. The way to that redemption is found only in Christ. Only he can give us the righteousness. I also find it interesting that this happens after John sees the beauty of the bride. We, the church, are that beautiful bride and when John sees us, it is then that he is tempted to worship. Let us see this as testimony of how we will be changed.

What does this say about Jesus? All prophecy is about him. He is the one who is to be worshiped. May our testimony today be testimony of the Son as well.