Meditation on Jesus: “Life in Himself”

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself (John 5:26).

“Life in himself”… what does that mean? Whatever it is, Jesus has it because the Father has it; and the Father has granted Jesus to have it.

As always, the context of the passage clarifies the mysterious statement. Let’s examine the complete record of the full statement Jesus said:

25“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment (John 5:25-29, ESV).

First, one can notice Jesus is speaking about the resurrection of the dead. Apparent from other passages, the resurrection was a touchy subject in His earthly day (Matthew 22:23, 29-32, 27:52; Mark 12:18, 24-27; Luke 20:27, 34-38; John 5:28-29; Acts 4:2, 17:18, 23:8, 24:15, 26:8; 1 Corinthians 15; Revelation 20:12-13; Daniel 12:2).

Jesus not only affirms the prophetic phenomenon of the resurrection, but also, He makes Himself the source of that resurrection when he says, “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God.”

Because Jesus is the eternal second Person of the Godhead, He always has had the ability to merely speak, and things come into existence and hold together (Genesis 1-2; John 1; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15-20). That is power, and it certainly is a result of Jesus’ having life within Himself.

SON OF GOD & SON OF MAN

Jesus’ earthly existence also has everything to do with His declaration of having life in Himself. The second Person of the Trinity has always existed. There are many temporal appearances and self-revelations by Him in the Old Testament (John 1:15, 8:58). But, there was a point “in time,” when YHWH took on the labels of the Son of God (John 3:16) & the Son of Man. The second Person of the Trinity became incarnate, robed with untainted humanity. That event brought a new species to the earth, with unique genetics and composition. Hence, He is the Son of God, the “only begotten of the Father.”

The title “Son of Man” is both a prophets’ title (Ezekiel 30:2) and a label, which indicates the human side of the God-Man. At the point the second Person of the Trinity was incarnated, the God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth, became the first human being to possess the power to create life by His words. Whereas before He exercised that power as a Spirit in Heavenly realms and affecting the temporal realm, now He exercises that power as a human being.

Because Jesus is the Son of God, the Father, He has life within Himself and is able to merely speak in order to raise the dead. He is God. Because Jesus is human—the Son of Man—He was able to atone for the sin of mankind and then be resurrected from the dead by the will of the Father and the Power of the Spirit. In that way, He is the “first fruits of those who sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Jesus is the highest ranking human, having tasted death only to defeat it, because… you guessed it…. He has life within Himself. What is more, He is the only human to have power enough to grant life again to whomever He pleases. All those in Christ shall rise again!

What is your superpower of choice? For Jesus of Nazareth, it is the power not only to create life with his words but also to bring those who have died back to life again!

“Only Begotten:” Taxonomy & the Genetics of the Messiah

Monotheists, who do not believe in the Trinity, staunchly reject the tenet that Yeshua / Jesus is the “Son of God.” To such monotheists, the very notion that God would procreate is absurd.

What is this? God has a son?

On the other hand, trinitarian monotheists see biblical data, which support their belief that Yeshua / Jesus not only is the “Son of God” by personal verbal claim but also by unique birth.

A great focal point of these Trinitarians (of which I am included) is John 1:18, translated by the ‘old timey’ translations as:

18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

(KJV, underscore mine for emphasis)

Other modern translations yield this passage of Greek language as follows:

  • “One and Only Son” – NIV, HCSB, Berean Study Bible
  • “Unique One” – NLT
  • “the Only God” – ESV
  • “the only begotten God” – NASB

As one can witness, the passage presents a deal of difference for translators, not because the Greek language is ambiguous but because theological implications arise, depending on one’s approach to translation. ESV and NASB translators consider it necessary—due to the theological implications of the phrase—to help the text communicate its meaning by adding “God.” Others like HCSB, NIV and NLT stick more closely to the original, reflecting ‘Son.’ But, in an effort to honor the older translations (i.e. KJV), NASB maintains the translation “only begotten,” which it places in tandem with ‘God.’

So, is it proper to translate the passage as “only begotten?” And if so, why? To what end? In his article, Μονογενής = ‘only begotten’? Dr. Daniel B. Wallace recently visited the subject and analyzed the pertinent data in response to Charles Lee Iron’s assertion that translators should return to “only begotten.” The article leads a reader to lean away from “only begotten” in favor of other alternatives.

I largely agree with Dr. Wallace, but I also see room for Iron’s view. “One of a kind,” when the compound mono/GENES is used, deals with the taxonomy of Yeshua (Jesus), His classification upon incarnation (i.e. domain–>kingdom–>phylum–>class–>order–>family–>genus–>species).

Creation scientists use the word baramin to refer to created kinds (Hebrew: bara = created, min = kind). Because none of the original ancestors survive today, creationists have been trying to figure out what descendants belong to each baramin in their varied forms. Baramin is commonly believed to be at the level of family and possibly order for some plants/animals (according to the common classification scheme of kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species). On rare occasions, a kind may be equivalent to the genus or species levels.

(Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/creation-science/baraminology/what-are-kinds-in-genesis/  retrieved Nov. 24, 2016)

In writing monogenés, the Apostle John is telling us that, due to virgin conception by the Holy Spirit, Yeshua Nazaret is a completely different and unique kind of human creature, the only generation of His kind. This interpretation sustained by textual data (context as well as lexical value & and usages), both inside the holy Writ and in contemporaneous ‘secular’ texts. It also satisfies both Iron’s and Wallace’s findings and allows for (but limits) the logical ramifications of both sets of findings.

What are the theological ramifications of the interpretation? First and foremost, monogenés deals with Christology as it elucidates Yeshua / Jesus’ genome. He is within the human genus due to Mary’s egg & virgin womb, but He is of an entirely unique genetic platform, due to the Holy Spirit’s fertilization. He is the only direct God / Human hybrid, completely similar to yet unique from the rest of fallen humanity.

Trinitarian Creationists would assert that whereas God breathed life directly into the genus of mankind in the beginning, and whereas humanity fell from that state (corrupting our race, even to our genetic code); in contrast, Yeshua’s human genome and human nature are directly and biologically “of God” or “from/of the Father,” …meaning He is  necessarily the same as God, the Father, in His incarnate state. Jesus is—in nature—the same as the Father. No human alive other than Jesus can claim these features. In other words, the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity (i.e. the Word) was made to become flesh and fully dwell among us (John 1:14), as Humanity 2.0—Yeshua Nazaret. He is indeed begotten by means of Holy Spirit conception, but that fact does not diminish His pre-existence from all eternity. As the Apostle John writes:

John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 

(John 1:15 NASB)

It is therefore not incorrect to translate monogenés as “only begotten.” By doing so, one refers to Yeshua / Jesus’ miraculous conception. He was indeed and undeniably biologically produced. But, it is also correct to translate monogenés as “Unique One” or “One and Only Son [of God],” as it specially alludes to the fact that Yeshua is the only one of his genomic kind, which according to Isaiah, can be propagated and recognized by the Father:

…He will see His offspring… (Isaiah 53:10 NASB)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

Secondly and lastly, the interpretation holds tremendous theological ramifications that pertain to soteriology. In verses 12 and 13 of John 1, the text reads:

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV)

From these two verses, one gathers that anyone who receives Jesus as the uniquely begotten Son of God, believing on His Name (i.e. referent to his title as Yeshua ha’Mashiach / Jesus the Messiah), will in turn be granted authority (adoptive right) to be titled ‘sons of God’ …after the genus of Jesus, and leaving off the genus of the fallen Adamic race. Yet, more than that, the Apostle writes these are also themselves born “of God,” if in that state of belief. The conferred birth reveals a changed nature (Jesus’) which comes upon those who are, according to Jesus Himself, ‘born again’ of the Spirit (John 3:3-8). Is it safe to say that God rescues and redeems believers down to the DNA level? Absolutely! Those who believe will receive the genetics of the Messiah,

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed (lit. sperma), but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23 KJV)

So then, one may conclude that one who receives Yeshua / Jesus of Nazareth by believing he is the uniquely begotten Son of God receives both an exchange of nature (essence) and an exchange of genus (physicality), both of which can only be fully realized hereafter,

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:2 NASB)

He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself. (Philippians 3:21 HCSB)

“Just so, come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

The “Jesus Only” Heresy

“Jesus Only” is a cult movement, which seeks to infiltrate all sects of Christendom, in order to spread heresy (a.k.a. false teaching). Their main message is that those who have been baptized in the Name of the Trinity must undergo rebaptism in Jesus’ name only. They build their illogical dogma on Acts 2:38.

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The above verse seems “water tight” for their argument, until one remembers the words of Jesus Himself, found in Matthew 28:18-20.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Using basic logic, one can see that Peter’s command to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ is fulfilled when one is baptized according to Jesus’ prescription in the Name of the Trinity—Father, Son & Holy Spirit. The particular is contained in the whole. If at one time I say, “My name is Samuel Nathan Kean,” and in the next breath I turn to another and say, “My name is Sam Kean,” have I contradicted myself in any way? No, obviously not. My first statement is fuller than the second, but the second statement is clearly contained in the first. But, instead of recognizing this most basic & simple logic, the Jesus Only cult would rather deny the Trinity altogether. They throw out the baby with the bath water.

Not only is the message of the Jesus Only cult a demonically empowered deception, it is an outright departure from the Apostles’ teachings found in the New Testament. The Personhood (full humanity) & full Deity of Jesus have been attacked ever since the first Century A.D. Throughout history, many have asserted that either Jesus is less than eternal and co-equal to the Father and Spirit; or, He is not in some form or fashion a man. Yet others have diminished Jesus—as well as the Spirit—by believing there is no Trinity (Three Divine Persons in one Triune Godhead). That group of staunch monotheists think there is no distinction of Divine Persons (Trinity), but that, the Father, Son & Spirit are mere manifestations of God. Yet, many passages in the Bible reveal the Father talking to the Son and vice versa, or the Spirit directing, compelling and/or resting upon Jesus. That which shows distinction and difference at the same time cannot possibly be the same thing without distinction.

Bible Verses which Defeat Non-Trinitarian Errors:

Titus 2:13 “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” (notice title ‘God & Savior’)

John 20:28 “Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

Hebrews 1:2, 8 “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world…. But unto the Son [the Father] says, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of your kingdom.”

John 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

John 5:26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;”

Messiah is Divine and Eternal – Ps. 2:12; Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Mic. 5:2; Zechariah 12:10

God is the Son (pre-existent, Jesus Christ, The Messiah) — Prov. 30:4; John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20

The Father, Son, and Spirit are not the same Person but are distinct — Matt. 3:13-17; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18

The Father, Son, and Spirit are the same Essence (ousia) – John 10:30; John 14:16

The Father, Son, and Spirit are coequal in glory — Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; Heb. 1:3; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; Eph. 4:4-6

Tongues Equated to Receiving the Holy Ghost

Also, the Jesus Only cult assert that one must speak in tongues after said re-baptism, in order to prove one has “received the holy ghost.” The overt pressure which they place on an individual concerning this can only be described as ‘cult-like.’ However, in the Scriptures, one reads that receiving the Holy Spirit is a gift, which does not always manifest in tongues: a sign granted by the Spirit when there are those present who need to hear the Good News of Jesus in their own language. Rather than treating tongues as “proof” to others that one has been saved, THE test of one’s having received the gift of the (indwelling) Spirit [a.k.a. Baptism into the Body of Christ Jesus by the Spirit] is the witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16) and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), which—even more than tongues—shows itself by unashamed proclamation of “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” This is called boldness. It is what all the Apostles displayed when “filled with the Spirit.” 

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

Moreover, Paul writes in Romans 10:9

if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

 

…………………………………

OTHER RESOURCES:

Yes. The Trinity

Jesus DID Claim to be God 

Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 3

In the course of studying the Letter to the Colossians, one quickly notices the Apostle Paul gives a powerful and truthful defense of the Christian faith against gnosticism. “Jesus is better than special knowledge” is the theme of the epistle.

Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 1 — Paul communicates joy and thanks for the Colossian believers just before describing the benefits each believer enjoys with Christ Jesus as Savior.

Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 2 — Paul examines the greatness and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, contrasted by what the Colossian believers were and did before they received redemption & reconciliation to God through Jesus. He furthermore explains the sure cleansing and reconciliation each believer has in Christ, but the Apostle warns them about wavering from faith in Jesus. These warnings and defenses are part of Paul’s (and every minister’s) struggle to preserve and guide the body of Christ—the Church.

The 3rd part of our study begins at the traditional chapter 2 mark.

2:1-7

Paul continues by explaining how great is his (inner) struggle for the Colossians and the Laodiceans and for all the new believers whom he had not seen face-to-face.

Why is seeing new believers so important to Paul? Even though Paul is absent in body, he is with the believers in spirit (v. 5), rejoicing to hear of their good determination and the firmness of their faith in Christ. But, Paul wishes to see new believers in person (especially the Colossians)…

  • SO THAT their hearts (with the result of being knit together in God’s love)…
    • might be encouraged to reach all the riches that come from:
      • (gaining) the full assurance that comes from understanding and fully knowing God’s mystery, which is Christ…
        • in Whom are hidden all the treasures of riches and knowledge.
  • IN ORDER THAT no one may delude the new believers with plausible arguments.

On these grounds, Paul charges the Colossian believers to continue walking in the Lord Jesus Christ, just as they had received him [with good determination and firmness of faith – ref. v. 5] …

  • being both rooted and built up [solely] in Jesus Christ
  • being established in the faith just as they were taught
    • [by] “abounding” (fig. meditating tirelessly) in those teachings with thanksgiving

2:8-15 

And so, Paul begins to warn believers against:

  • [The kinds of] Philosophy and Empty Words (Lies) which are

Paul warns them of these things, because:

  • In Christ dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. [He’s not a mere emanation]

This is important, because:

  • Believers have been filled (i.e. baptized) in Him, who is the Head of all (spiritual and physical) rule and authority.
    • In Him, believers were circumcised (showing identification as God’s) with a circumcision made without hands >>[Spirit baptism, see also Romans 6; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph.1:13]>>
      • by putting off the body of the flesh by means of the Circumcision of Christ (a.k.a. Spirit baptism)
        • having been buried with him in (Spirit) baptism
        • [and] in which (baptism) believers were also raised with Him
          • through faith in the powerful working of God
            • who raised Him from the dead

And also, because:

  • Believers, who were once dead in regards to trespasses (disobedience to God’s Law) and the un-circumcision of the flesh (a.k.a. not belonging to God’s covenant of redemption), …
    •  God has made alive together with Christ…
      • having forgiven all our trespasses
        • by canceling our the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. God set this record aside, nailing it to the cross.
    • God disarmed the (spiritual) rulers and authorities and put them to open shame
      • by triumphing over them in Christ

 

In other words, JESUS IS BETTER THAN SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE!!!

Exposing Chrislam

Chrislam — is the unification of Islam and Christianity a real agenda by global religious elites? We know that Judaism and Catholic Christianity have already “partnered.” Rhetorically, I ask, “who saw that coming?”… and I answer: the same people who warn about “Chrislam.”

On one side of the arguments, some say Chrislam is a figment of overactive imaginations… an unfounded conspiracy theory, if you will. Those who deny allegations of (in effect) promoting Chrislam resort to (in essence) defensively calling their opponents “quacks.”

The other side of the argumentation begins with allegations from conservative evangelicals, calling their opponents “apostates” and “blasphemers.” They offer evidence of the agenda to wed Christianity and Islam. I’d like to be on the side which lays out some evidence and let you weigh it for yourself.

Firstly, we are not discussing militant or apocalyptic Islam. These are breeds of Islam that stand apart from the sort of “diplomatic” and (ironically) “democracy-friendly” Islam, which first began to appear in the early 2000’s and then to assert itself in 2010 with the Arab Spring. This “westernized” and “academic” Islam seeks to present itself as a peaceful and cultured religion. Yet, those who are “by the book” Muslim accuse the political Islam of fakery; and there is much evidence that historical Islam does not philosophically match that of the “new (2010-present) Islam.” Nor can political Islam rationally explain the commands of the Qu’ran to brutally murder Christians and Jews and those who refuse to convert to Islam. Political Islam is just that—an Islam, which has been engineered within the past 1.5 to 2 decades to achieve certain religious/philosophical, international/economicalpolitical agendas, namely formation of a cohesive UfM [which happens to be fulfilling Bible Prophecy].

Political Islam is the brand of Islam which ecumenical Christianity seeks to wed.

Secondly, perverted ecumenism such as the Catholic/Muslim Summit, and more recently, the Wheaton debacle only give fuel to the Chrislam controversy. If religious elites want conservative evangelicals to quit accusing them, then perhaps they should cease putting proverbial fodder in the scrutiny cannons. For example, Rick Warren (and N.T. Wright, and Russell Moore) have come under great controversy within the past year, because they–ignoring warnings from Italian Evangelicals–went (on invitation by the Pope) to the Vatican to speak about marriage. Yes, the same “conservative marriage agenda” that Pope Francis shredded earlier this year by altering the moral line on homosexuality, the family and divorce after only about 2,000 yrs. of Christian teachings which prove otherwise. [see also Amoris Laetitia]

Part of Warren’s activity at the Vatican was to speak in front of Muslims (among other religious elites). Warren reportedly told those present that he believes in inter-faith projects instead of Inter-faith dialogue. Warren should simply say something like, ‘I will serve [Muslims] however I can, BUT I boldly preach the Gospel that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God and the Only Way to the Father.’ (see also Christianity Today)

For other examples:

Thirdly, I submit personal experience. I am someone who likes a good investigation. Instead of believing someone else’s word, I go to the source or else study a plethora of evidence, or both. Where I can, I give the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. I err on the side of grace. Earlier this year, such an opportunity came my way in the form of  interviewing Marian University’s career placement department for potential employees. One continually hears, “not all catholics are the same;” and I do know some catholics who are clearly (by every word of their testimony, as it matches the Scriptures) regenerated by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The fact that some catholics are truly saved is no testament to the doctrine and practice of the Roman Catholic Church, but rather, to the power of the Gospel.

Marian University’s order is Franciscan—one of the more notably “evangelical” branches of the ecclesiastical RCC, if there is such a self-contradictory thing. So, I seized the occasion; but sadly, I had to conscientiously turn down opportunities for making contacts in the “inter-faith” sector. Catholics are indeed inter-faith dialoging and partnering with Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus in the name of doing good and ‘good religion.’ Those at Marian feel it is the spiritually wise and mature thing to do. I, however, read the Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

IN CONCLUSION:

I am what the religious elites of our day may call a conspiracist quack. I am crazy enough to weigh all of the evidence against what is being denied. I am also conscientious enough to read and prayerfully study the Bible for Divine illumination. What I have gained in that discipline is the same as many others—that God foretells through His prophets a time when Satan will deceive the leaders of religions to be of one nebulous, apostate religion and leaders of governments to be a one-world empire. That time is now.