(Excerpted with alterations from "Ye are the Temple," StoodWok Productions, Copyright1995.)
Exalting some men over others is the Foundational Folly of the Corinthian Church. As a note of interest, it was in Corinth that the oldest known Church building was built. With a Church building developed a Church heirarchy.
"Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the lord.
"For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited."
Jer. 17:56 KJV
Some of the people of the early Church were headin' over the falls in a barrel.
"Blessed is the man that trusted in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
"For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
Jer. 17:7-8 KJV
Hey, Amigo, that's more like it, trusting in the Lord. Now, some people think this here is talking about the rich guy who God has blessed so that they have sufficient stored up to weather the drought. These are often those dirty dogs who suppose that gain is godliness.
No, this is the guy who doesn't have to lose a lot of sleep storing up material wealth, because in feast or famine, God is his sufficiency. You know, like Paul, who said he could deal with abasement, (I don't mean the bottom level of a house, though it's the pits,) and could deal with abounding. To be full or hungry, abound or suffer need. In Christ such a one who knows these things shall prevail. Poetic, ain't it?
The Corinthians, at least for that generation, responded. But eventually, they ceased to abide in sound doctrine. And a 'Golden Age' set in. The Golden Age of Christianity. No, I don't call it that because of how well the Christians were doing in keeping to the Word. It's 'cause that's what everybody was busy chasing after, that gold.
One of the first things to go was the believer's direct relationship with God. The Christian individual is supposed to have a direct relationship with God.
"For whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord shall not be ashamed."
Rom 10:13 KJV
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
"By whom we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
Rom 5:12 KJV
But next thing you know, the priests were interceding on behalf of the people.
No priest? Then no remission of sin, no baptism, no confession, no forgiveness, no baptism, no communion, you were in deep doggy biscuits.
Even after the reformation many priestly duties were continued by the Protestant clergy. The teaching of the word and the blessings of the Sunday services are almost exclusively the dominion of these 'latter day priests.'
(Note: The term 'Reverend' has no relationship to any position the Bible establishes for the Christian Church, any more than the Bible legitimizes the usage of the term 'Father' in regards to members of a 'clergy' or 'priesthood.' These are basically adaptations of positions in the service of most pagan faiths.)
Indeed, ever been to a Sunday service 'alter call'? Or have you seen the communion table of the Protestant denominations? Although all have legitimate equivalents in Christianity, all seem reminiscent of a Pagan sacrificial service for good reason. They drew upon Pagan archetypes and adopted them to Christian practices.
The call to salvation, whether done one on one or as part of a group service, such as on the day of Pentecost, was never established in the Epistles' to the Church as a regimented, established event as it often is today. However, today's altar service was established in Pagan religions.
It is a matter of initiation into the faith of new members, like the alter call in the Protestant churches. Or it is a matter of more immediate sacrifice such as by communion or collection (or with small animals, children or virgins.) The Temple service of today's Christianity is a leftover of the merger of paganism and Christianity as expedited by Constantine in the 5th Century A.D.
The temple, the alter, and the mediators between deity and the faithful, the priests, all were patterned after Roman religious practices of the pre-Christian era.
"Hey, Joseph Shmoesephus!" shouts Jonna Quepublicus to his friend from the gates of Joseph's yard.
"Yo, Jonna Boy!" replies Joseph, gazing out of his front door. "What's up, Brother?"
"Hey, Markus Easius is in town from Crete. The Brothers there have done some really neat things in their fellowships. He's gonna tell us what they've been doing over there."
"Well, everybody around here has been using Sundays as the day for holy service. So everybody can make it, we'll do it Sunday."
"Any idea what he's got in store?" Joseph queried, not wanting to wait to hear the juicy details. Like many of the believers here in Colosse, his ears had been itching a lot lately. (Colosse, the town Paul had addressed the book of, yeah, you guessed it, was in Asia Minor!)
"Well", Jonna answered hesitantly, knowing only second hand information, "Markus is gonna show us how the Cretians have been having one of their elders take confession of sins from everybody."
"Oh, just so people can hear from a real guy that they've been forgiven."
"But didn't Paul say that we have redemption in the blood of Christ?" This bothered Joseph; he'd remembered that letter Paul had sent a few years back. Not that it got read as often any more, but there were copies all over town.
"Paul, Smaul", Jonna exclaimed, losing his patience. "Look. Paul's in a Roman prison somewhere, or in a little flat off Appia Way, or dead, who knows? We gotta let the leadership of the Church do their thing, see?"
"Well, ya got a point," Joseph conceded.
Jonna added, "Besides, it's just to give people something to help their faith. You know, like the prayer beads the Romans are using."
"Prayer beads?" Joseph asked.
"Yeah, A lot of 'em used 'em when they were Pagan, say it helps 'em focus."
It was easy, and human, to adopt the old to the new, like old wineskins holding new wine. Hmmm, weren't we warned about that?
And the persecutions that started around '64 didn't help any. See, there was this fire, and Roman Emperor Nero, well, it has been said that he took out his fiddle and serenaded the occasion. Since this has never been proven, I prefer to think that he'd either been playing a Stratocaster, or a Gibson Les Paul, with one of those old Peavey amps.
No matter, the point is Nero did a bogus thing and blamed the pyrotechnics on the Christians of Rome, and a lot of good people all of a sudden found themselves property of Lion Chow, Inc.
And so as leaders of the Church were killed or scattered, even more of the practices of the first Christians were lost.
Along with many of the writings.
It then became very easy for fables to be taught as truth. There arose sects that throughout the sphere of Greek influence taught fables, and in the areas of Semitic influence that taught a measure of adherence to Mosaic Law. Of the former, many of our rituals regarding the 'mysteries' originate, stretching back to Solomon's adoptation of pagan mysticism.
Indeed, these 'Gnostics' would eventually predominantly influence many of the rituals and beliefs eventually adopted by the Western Church, such as the idea of the divinity of Jesus Christ, an idea that was foreign to the early Church as well as Jesus himself.
God said He was the Father to both Jesus Christ, and to the Church.
Jesus havin an origin is the very first premise of Matthew and Luke, lost though it often is in translation.
Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren, not ashamed to call the people of the Church brethren, and it was the man Jesus Christ who is the mediator between God and man.
Dozens of references are made in the New Testament about the Son of God, but not one about God the Son. If the phrase didn't originate with the Bible, where did it come from?
And if God WAS the Son, why AIN'T the title in the Bible?
Jesus was tempted in every way, so that our salvation is complete. God is not tempted in any way.
God is not a man, that he should lie, and he changes not, which is why the sons of Jacob were not consumed
Some people read God as saying, 'not my will, but mine own be done.' Didn't say that.
Is God your brother? If you're Christian, Jesus Christ is your brother, "not ashamed to call us brethren.' For we too are sons of the most High.
God is your Father, Jesus is your brother! Let's get it straight again!
"Mary," Joseph shouted from the kitchen, "God did a number. Will you change His diaper?" I don't think that's how it went.
It was said of Jesus that he grew in wisdom and grace. Did God grow in wisdom, become more full of grace? If God wasn't sure of where He was going when He started the whole shebang, Houston, we got problems!
Mary the mother of God? Get real. Luke 1:35 says that what got put in Mary was a holy thing. And that this thing, which shall be born of her, shall be called the Son of God. Not God, but the Son of God.
Matthew 1:1 says "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." In the texts, the word 'generation' is the word 'genesis'': it means 'origin', or beginning. Get the picture?
Mark 1:1 says, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God..." No where does it mention in Mark about God saying to his other self, the Jesus Man-God, "Other-self, Jesus Man-God, create everything." But it clearly says that Mark is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Who is lying? Those who say that a "Jesus Man God" made everything? Or the Word of God, which says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" and which says Jesus had an origin, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ had a beginning?
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. "
Since we already know from the other gospels that Jesus Christ had an origin, and his gospel a beginning, this cannot be talking of Jesus Christ being with God. Then What, or Who, was?
The Word. The Spoken or to be Written Word of God. God magnified His Word above His name, for God is as good as His Word. And His Word as good as He, and God said, Let there be, and guess what? There was.
John 1:12 is a poetic manner of saying what I so crudely paraphrased. Its an idiom, a riddle, not a mystery.
"All things were made by him, God, and without him, God, was not anything made that was made. In Him, God, was life, and the life (in God) was the light of men."
How do I know that all of these pronouns are in reference to God? Cause it told me back in verse one, and nobody else has yet been mentioned.
"And the light (this life which is in God) shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it (the light which was the life which is in God) not.
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness of the Light (which was the life which was in God), that all men through him (John) might believe. He (John) was not that Light (which was the life which was in God), but was sent to bear witness of that Light (which was the life which was in God). That was the true Light (the life which was in God), which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
"He was in the world..."
"He" who? Jesus? If John had meant Jesus, then why hasn't he mentioned him yet? Read it.
"He (God) was in the world, and the world was made by him (God) and the world knew him (God) not. He (God) came into his own (Israel, by prophets, by teachers, by written word) and his own received him not. (As a nation). But as many (of his own, of Israel) as received him, to them gave he (God) power to become the sons of God, (still hasn't mentioned Jesus) even to them that believe on his (God's) name:
"Which were born (these of Israel, God's own which believed) not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Without disputing the translation (which can be done from the viewpoint of certain texts) of King James from the Stephen's text, we've gotten to verse thirteen. And if you follow the rules of grammar, and allow the words to interpret themselves by following tenses, nouns and pronouns, you see that Jesus has not been mentioned.
All along, we have been taught that Jesus was mentioned, therefore we have assumed that he was talked about, but up to the account here in John, from creation to the salvation of certain in Israel, All the way up to verse thirteen, no mention of Jesus has been made.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
"John bare witness of him, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me."
And now you say to me, "see? Told you it was Jesus."
But that can't be. Jesus had not been mentioned at all in the first thirteen verses. To say he had been requires sheer speculation. He is, however, mentioned in verses fourteen and fifteen, and John even says that Jesus 'was before him'
First, exactly what does it say?
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."
God wasn't made flesh, because he wasn't flesh and He doesn't change. However, notice the Word was 'made' flesh.
Verse three says nothing was made without God having made it. So God made the Word flesh, that Word which was 'with God', and that had been thought about, and would at some time be written to man or spoken to man, man or angels. The next line clarifies it further:
...(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)...
He was made as a SON!
And as far as John saying that Jesus was before him? Mathew 11:11:
"Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
And Ephesians 1:34:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love..."
In God's foreknowledge, we also were there with Christ, chosen in him before the foundation of the world. Was Christ with God, in the beginning? In God's foreknowledge, yes, as were you and I, for Jesus Christ is 'Firstborn among many brethren'.
It is said of Jesus that he is one with his Father. This is true. One purpose, one standard, one goal. "I and my Father are one".
But if that makes Jesus God, then it makes us God, for in that same prayer he says, "That they may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us..." (John 17:21). I am not God, nor are you, nor is our brother, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus was not presented to the nations in Acts as God, but rather as the Son of God.
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh..."
Could Paul have introduced Romans any clearer? Concerning God's Son! Made according to the flesh! Every single Church epistle except one, III John, makes a clear distinction between God the Father of Jesus Christ and of the Church, and His Son. Jesus Christ our Lord! Why? Could it be to send an unmistakable message through the ages?
It was written of Christ that he would be exalted above all other men. God had said, that Moses was like god to Pharaoh, of the judges of Israel that they were gods to Israel. But to the Son he said, "Thy throne, o God, is for ever and ever," and thus the scripture fulfilled, and the Lord properly exalted by God Himself, for Christ judges like a god over man.
But prior to that in the book of Hebrews, it said,
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
"Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he hath also made the worlds."
Sure it says "by whom he made the worlds." But only after it differentiates between them.
The word 'by' is the word 'di' in the Greek, pronounced 'Di', like the Brit princess. It can be translated 'on account of'' depending on context. And since Jesus' origin as depicted in Mathew hadn't happened when God threw the whole ball of wax, you judge, Especially since Jesus Christ is the purpose of the ages, and that is what 'world' is here, 'aiwnas', 'aionas', 'from the age', or, 'ages'. 'On account of whom he made all from the ages.'
God's arch-enemy knew who God was, and who Jesus Christ was. God had pounded Satan once, and it was only due to the merciful nature of God that Satan existed at all.
The Devil took Jesus up into the mountains, and showed him the whole ball of wax, and the glory of them. And said, "I'll give ya the whole kit 'n kaboodle if you'll just put a few of them calluses on the knees for me."
Wait a sec. Did I miss something? If Jesus Christ was God, and he decided he wanted the kingdoms of the world and the power thereof at any given moment, he'd not have to bow down to Satan to get it. Satan would be an instantaneous greasespot. If Jesus were God, and were tempted to sin.
Satan would have known it, after getting booted out of Heaven already.
Jesus knew who he was, and cried to God, "Not my will but Thine be done". I wouldn't sleep well at night if my God had two 'wills'. ("Oh, I do so LOVE people." "Oh, NO I DON'T!")
And the testimony of the Father?
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!"
God Himself said Jesus was His son, not His Self. You want to argue with God, be my guest. I won't.
Although the historical evidence is available to those interested in such matters, to prove to reasonable men and women that the Trinity is a falsehood, I need no more than my bible.
The many, many clear verses that plainly set the identity of Jesus as the son of the Father and not a grotesque detachable appendage of the Father ring as true today as through all of Christian history.
Understanding how the very basics of Christianity, the very identity of God and His son Jesus Christ, were warped by they "who would not endure sound doctrine," it becomes easy to see how the institutional Church could carry on the spiritual tyranny perpetrated through the ages. It is easy to understand how those at the top, who are often well aware of what a farce the whole structure is, can often use the people of the Church, and the name of God Himself, to further their own greed, lust and ambition. It is easy to understand how the institutional Church has the very blood of millions of innocents upon it's hands, as from the Inquisition of yesteryear, to religious strife today, for a Trinity doctrine is not a doctrine of peace, regardless of what adherents might say.
For peace is of the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, not 'God the Son'.
It is easy to see that, though we can and should learn from the elders of the Church, we must not trust in those who have strayed so far.
We must not trust in those who would lord over God's heritage, and we must try all doctrine ourselves, against the Word, the same years after we've heard as when it is fresh in our ears, whether it be true.
Note: The idea that Jesus Christ was not God was presented me in 1981, about the same time that the Trinity doctrine was explained to me. Early on, much of my information came to me through the Way International's book, 'Jesus Christ is Not God' by their founder, Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, available from American Christian Press out of New Knoxville, Oh.
To this day it remains a decent compilation of other works from which one might study the origins and applicability of the Trinity doctrine.
All Scriptural references cited were located in 'Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible', Nelson , 1980 and 'The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament', G. R. Berry, Zondervan, 1984.