When it comes to obeying the clean food laws of the Bible, some outside the faith will find the practice novel, others peculiar. Still others will cite a passage or two in the New Testament in an effort to say that the True Worshiper no longer needs to concern himself or herself with that “old Mosaic law” in this age of grace. We answer the most popularly cited New Testament verses elsewhere in this brochure.
How important are clean foods to True Worship? Consider that it was the breaking of a “kosher” law that caused Adam and Eve to commit the original sin. Yahweh certifies certain foods as acceptable and other foods as unacceptable for our consumption. It was that way at creation and remains true today. Kosher simply means to be straight or right, by implication to be acceptable; also to succeed or prosper (Strong’s Concordance No. 3787). Yahweh told mankind’s original parents which food was right and acceptable and which was not. Obeying Him, we will succeed and prosper. Neither He nor His standards ever change, Malachi 3:6.
Yahweh’s laws of clean and unclean animals, fish, birds, insects, and even dead creatures, are found in His Word. Just as with the Ten Commandments, we can see these laws operating long before they were reiterated to Israel and handed down to Moses on stone tablets at Sinai. We also see them still in force in the New Testament.
An example in which we see clean food laws in operation long before Sinai is in Yahweh’s instructions to Noah. Yahweh told Noah that clean animals were to go aboard the ark by sevens, but he was to limit the unclean to only two, Genesis 7:2. Noah obviously had to know the difference because of the clean food laws. Peter knew the difference as well, as we see in his reaction to his own vision in Acts 10.
The laws of clean and unclean food are like the moral laws — they have been in effect since the beginning of creation. Therefore, we cannot brush them off with the argument that they were merely “Mosaic” and given only to ancient Israel.
Deciphering Clean from Unclean
In Leviticus 11 Yahweh details the laws regulating clean and unclean foods. Verses 1-8 focus on acceptable and unacceptable animals as food.
“And Yahweh spoke unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which you shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parts the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and chews the cud, among the beasts, that shall you eat. Nevertheless these shall you not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he chews the cud, but divides not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he chews the cud, but divides not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he chews the cud, but divides not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he chews not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall you not eat, and their carcass shall you not touch; they are unclean to you” (Lev. 11:1-8).
Parting the hoof and being clovenfooted means the same. A clovenfoot is a split hoof of two toes. Chewing the cud is the process of casting up and re-chewing of food. These are the two criteria that qualify animals that can be used for food. Leviticus 11 lists several animals that do not fit these qualifications. These animals include the camel, rabbit (coney), and swine (pig). The swine (Heb. Chazir) is one the most gluttonous animals on the earth. This animal has been held sacred by the Greeks, Romans, and Anglo-Saxons. Yahweh also prohibited us from touching their carcasses.
Aquatic life is discussed in verses 9-12: “These shall you eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever has fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall you eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; you shall not eat of their flesh, but you shall have their carcasses in abomination. Whatsoever has no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you” (Lev. 11:9-12).
For aquatic creatures to be fit to eat, they must have both fins and scales. One school of thought explains that marine animals without fins and scales tend to be bottom feeders, consuming the effluent that sinks to the mud. Having this in mind, we can perceive the reason Yahweh prohibited these marine species. Aquatic life unfit for human consumption includes shrimp, lobster, oysters, clams, crabs, and catfish. Modern science is now finding dangerous levels of harmful, heavy metals like mercury and lead in the flesh of many of these creatures. Yahweh certainly knows best!
Verses 13-19 discuss unclean birds. “And these are they which you shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat” (Lev. 11:13-19).
The first unfit bird that is mentioned is the eagle (Heb. nesher, from nashar). Nesher means to cut or tear in pieces. From this definition we can see that the eagle is a raptor. The Ossifrage (os – bone, frango – break) probably signifies the black eagle. Among the Greeks and Romans the eagle was held sacred, and is represented carrying the thunderbolts of Jupiter. The vulture (Heb. daah) from a root meaning “to fly,” may be more probably rendered kite. Daah is different from the vulture. The Hebrew word daiyah indicates the vulture. The word for kite in The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is No. 344, ayah, and it denotes a species of the hawk. The interesting fact that surrounds these birds is that they are all birds of prey or scavengers.
Forbidden birds are also listed in Deuteronomy 14:11-18, but Yahweh does not specify why these particular birds are forbidden. Other kinds of bird are permitted, such as chicken, goose, duck and turkey.
We will now examine those New Testament passages that are commonly used in claims that the Old Testament food laws are no longer binding.
The Passage in Question
Mark 7:18: “And he said unto them, are you so without understanding also? Do you not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without enters into the man, it cannot defile him…?”
Erroneous interpretation – Yahshua was condemning the Scribes and Pharisees for their strict lawkeeping, decreeing that virtually any “food” is harmless and therefore edible.
Proper Understanding – When taken in proper context, this passage is not difficult to understand. At the beginning we find Yahshua’s disciples eating with unwashed hands in plain sight of the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes and Pharisees were two Jewish sects in the time of Yahshua. These Jews had many rabbinical traditions that had been handed down through the ages, and one of those was ceremonial washing of hands before eating. We can see this in the first few verses. “For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables” (Mark 7:3-4).
When the Scribes and Pharisees saw Yahshua’s disciples eating before washing their hands, they accused Yahshua and His disciples of breaking their traditions. Yahshua was not pleased with their condemnation, but in turn accused them of placing their own man-made doctrine or dogma over Yahweh’s commandments. “Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of Elohim, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. And he said unto them, Full well you reject the commandment of Elohim, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).
Yahshua does not condemn them for compliance with Yahweh’s kosher food Laws, but instead condemns them for their doctrines of men. These doctrines were not part of Yahweh’s Torah, but were laws established by Jewish leaders through many generations. Yahshua’s condemnation goes even further than their doctrines of men. Yahshua chastised the Scribes and Pharisees for their carnal natures.
Throughout the New Testament it becomes clear that these Jewish leaders who were responsible for teaching Yahweh’s Law became complacent with the more important matters. This may be seen in Matthew 23:23, where Yahshua makes this statement: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” This was most evidently the problem in Mark 7, which we can see through Yahshua’s statement in verse 21. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).
Ingesting some dirt from unwashed hands will not defile a man, Yahshua taught in verse 18. But evil thoughts will defile because they come from the heart, verses 19-20. Nowhere in Mark 7 do we find Yahweh’s clean food Laws mentioned. We simply see the same message Yahshua taught during his ministry here on earth. We are to observe Yahweh’s physical Laws without neglecting His weightier Laws.
The Passage in Question
Acts 10:15: “And the voice spoke unto him again the second time, What Yahweh has cleansed, that call not common.”
Erroneous Interpretation – Yahweh has cleansed all meats in the New Testament era.
Proper Understanding – To grasp this verse, and Peter’s vision surrounding it, is to understand the context of the entire chapter. At the start of this passage we find a Gentile named Cornelius, an army captain. We learn that he is righteous and is well respected by all those around him, including the Jews. One day Yahweh sends an angel to deliver a message to Cornelius: send men to Joppa to Simon the Tanner where they will meet the Apostle Peter. Cornelius complies.
Before the men arrive, Peter goes onto the housetop to pray and there becomes hungry. As Peter prays he falls into a trace through which Yahweh reveals a message that will change True Worship forever. In his vision Peter sees a great sheet come down from the sky and on this sheet he finds all types of unclean beasts. Next, Peter hears a shocking proclamation. A voice commands, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” Peter cannot believe what he is hearing. He is confused and baffled at this command. It is repeated three times by the angelic being before the sheet is taken away.
Peter argues that he has never eaten anything unclean, verse 14, not even to this day—10 years after the death of Yahshua. Surely if the laws of clean and unclean foods had been abolished at the Savior’s death, one of the greatest apostles of the New Testament would have been aware of it immediately after Yahshua’s death. After all, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, which taught the apostles all things (John 14:26).
After the vision the three men that were sent by Cornelius find Peter and he returns with them to meet Cornelius. Once there, Peter explains the meaning of his vision of the sheet. “You know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but Elohim has showed me that I should not call ANY MAN common or unclean” (Acts 10:28). Thereafter Cornelius becomes the first Gentile convert to the faith. Here we have the simple explanation of this vision from the mouth of the inspired Apostle Peter himself: Gentiles, once considered unclean, may now enter the Covenant promise. Yahweh simply used unclean food to symbolize “unclean” Gentiles, who can now enter the Promises.
The Adam Clark’s Commentary on the Bible notes, “He [Peter] now begins to understand the import of the vision which he saw at Joppa. A gentile is not to be avoided because he is a gentile; [Elohim] is now taking down the partition wall which separated them from the Jews” (p. 984).
In the Old Testament Yahweh’s promise was only offered completely to Israel, and not freely given to the Gentiles until the death of Yahshua the Messiah. At the death of Yahshua the wall that separated Jew from Gentile was broken down through the blood of our Savior. “Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Elohim in the world: But now in Messiah Yahshua you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah. For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Eph. 2:11-14).
In verse 35 of Acts 10 Peter summarizes the lesson of his vision that he received in Joppa on the rooftop of the house of Simeon the Tanner: “But in EVERY NATION he that fears him [Yahweh], and works righteousness, is accepted with him.” Clearly the vision seen by Peter was to show him in a very graphic and profound way that Gentiles—who were once considered unclean—were now permitted into Yahweh’s covenant. Nowhere in this passage are Yahweh’s clean food Laws discussed or repealed. Peter himself denies that he should ever eat anything that conflicts with the clean food Laws.
The Passage in Question
Romans 14:1-3: “Him that is weak in the faith receive you, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believes that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eats herbs. Let not him that eats despise him that eats not; and let not him which eats not judge him that eats: for Elohim has received him.”
Erroneous Interpretation – The apostle Paul shows that those who wish to eat whatever they desire should not be judged by those who choose to follow the clean food laws.
Proper Understanding –To grasp the meaning we must realize what the concern was at the time it was written. Another of Paul’s writings, 1Corinthians 10, is helpful in our understanding of Romans 14. These two letters were written only a year apart and have similar issues. His letter to the Corinthians may hold the solution as to why Paul called those who ate only herbs here “weak.”
In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul discusses the issue of food or meats sacrificed to idols. “Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to Yahweh: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils” (1Cor. 10:18-20).
Paul here faces a dilemma, which at that time was a major concern for the Jew and the Gentile convert. He writes in verse 25, “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake.” In the Gentile meat markets (“shambles” = makellon, a butcher’s stall) meat was sold that had been first sacrificed to different idols; and many Jew and Gentile converts whom Paul calls “weak” in faith did not buy or eat this meat, considering it impure. Paul, however, said that this food was sacrificed to nothing. These pagan idols were meaningless, nonliving objects invented by man. Paul realized that they could do neither good nor bad because as “deities” they were non-existent.
But then Paul’s warns of an issue that all of Yahweh’s people should acknowledge and be concerned with. He says in1Corinthians 10:29 that we are not to partake of anything that may offend or upset a brother in the faith. Paul says that he would not even eat any meat or drink wine if it would offend a brother and cause him to stumble in the truth (Rom. 14:21). We should remember the second greatest commandment: love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:39).
If we apply what we read in 1Corinthians 10 to Romans 14, we may conclude that those that were weak and ate only herbs lacked the faith to realize that meat sacrificed to idols was no different from other food. Such idols are neither good nor bad, but take on existence only for those who would believe in them. These idols had no effect on the meat that was sacrificed to them. The meat was still proper for man to eat according to Yahweh’s dietary food Laws (assuming it first qualified as clean).
For those who prefer to be vegetarian, that is okay, Paul says, 14:2-4. Then he addresses those who choose to set aside one day for fasting, vv. 5-6. He sums up Romans 14 in verse 20: “For meat [food] destroy not the works of Elohim.” Don’t let disputes over idol meat, vegetarianism or fasting cause division among brothers and sisters in Messiah.
Nothing in any of these passages allows the eating of meat that doesn’t qualify lawfully, however.
The Passage in Question
Colossians 2:16: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days.”
Erroneous Interpretation – We are not to judge others on the freedom they now have in Messiah. No longer is the keeping of Old Testament food Laws or any other laws necessary for New Testament believers.
Proper Understanding – Is Paul speaking to the assembly or to the world in general? The answer is key to understanding this passage. If Paul is speaking to a pagan world that has neglected Yahweh’s Word, then it would only make sense to conclude that Paul is saying that we are no longer under Old Testament regulations and must not be judged in those matters. But if Paul is speaking to an obedient assembly, then this passage would take on a much different meaning. The truth is, this letter is to an Assembly of believers at Colosse.
The following verse 17 is key: “Which are a shadow of things to come: but the body [is] of Messiah.” Translators have italicized the word “is,” meaning it was added. If we take “is” out, and read verses 16 and 17 together, we see that it is the body of Messiah that should do the judging. “Man” in verse 16 refers to any person, including outsiders. “Don’t let any outsider judge you in what you eat, but only the Body of Messiah,” Paul is saying.
The 4th verse is an additional help. It reads, “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.” From this we can see that the Apostle Paul’s concern was for this assembly, for there were those outside the assembly trying to persuade the people of Colosse to reject their present beliefs. With this in mind it is evident that Paul’s statement in Colossians 2:16 was for an assembly that was obediently following Yahweh’s Laws. His warning is not to let heathens—outsiders—try to persuade you differently regarding the keeping of clean food Laws and other laws of Yahweh.
The Passage in Question
1Timothy 4:4: “For every creature of Yahweh is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”
Erroneous Interpretation – Every creature is acceptable for consumption if received with thanksgiving.
Proper Understanding –A “creature of Yahweh” that meets clean food qualifications is defined in the next verse: “For it is sanctified by the Word of Elohim and prayer.” It is the Word that sanctifies or sets apart those animals (listed in Leviticus 11 andDeuteronomy 14) that Yahweh says we may eat. Without any further study it should be clear as crystal that Paul is not promoting the eating of ceremonially unclean animals that Yahweh has ordained as abominable for mankind. Who would argue that rats, bats, lizards, scorpions and skunks are good for food?
Yahweh’s dietary Laws have not been annulled, but remain for all of Yahweh’s New Testament saints. As it becomes more knowledgeable about food and its effects on health, modern science is verifying what the Bible has been teaching for millennia—that certain meats are harmful and are not meant to be eaten. Therefore, we can see why Yahweh prohibited specific “foods” as unfit. Even then, however, True Worshipers do not need a scientific explanation. The simple fact that the Maker of our bodies tells us what to avoid is reason enough to obey.
Evidence from Medical Science
In addition to the Bible, science is also confirming the benefit of the clean food laws. Many doctors are now telling their patients to stay away from foods that Yahweh forbade some 3,000 years ago. For example, Dr. Russell explains the detriments of eating pork in his book What the Bible Says About Healthy Eating, “One reason for [Yahweh’s] rule forbidding pork is that the digestive system of a pig is completely different from that of a cow. It is similar to ours, in that the stomach is very acidic. Pigs are gluttonous, never knowing when to stop eating. Their stomach acids become diluted because of the volume of food, allowing all kinds of vermin to pass through this protective barrier. Parasites, bacteria, viruses, and toxins can pass into the pigs flesh because of overeating. These toxins and infectious agents can be passed on to humans when they eat a pig’s flesh.”
As a secondary witness, here’s part of an online article entitled, God’s Dietary Laws: Why Pigs, Crabs And Lobsters Are Bad For You, from Off The Grid News, “Lobsters are nocturnal bottom walkers and scavengers that scavenge for dead animals and debris on the ocean floor – they are like the vultures of the oceans. Lobsters have even been seen burying dead fish and digging them up a little at a time to eat. Crabs will eat just about anything and are known as professional garbage hunters. The Encyclopedia of Aquatic Life tells us that crabs, common shrimp and lobsters all feed off of dead and decaying matter. Therein lies their occupation – they were created to be the cleanup crew for the bottoms of lakes, rivers and oceans. They were not intended to be eaten by human beings. Eating raw or undercooked crabs, crayfish, shrimp or snails puts anyone at risk of a severe parasitic infection… Closer observation of oysters, mussels, scallops and clams shows us that [Yahweh’s] also had a very significant purpose for these creatures…They are stationary – meaning they do not go hunting for their food but rather pump large amounts of water over their gills, trapping small pieces of silt, bacteria, viruses and plant debris for their dinner.”
From these sources we find why these animals are a detriment to man’s health. They are scavengers and were created to remove and clean up the toxins, whether that be on land or sea. What’s amazing is that our Heavenly Father provided this information long ago.
Some believe that the Bible was not inspired, but written by nomads in the desert. However, how is it possible that a group of nomads understood the detriments of eating meats? Keep in mind that medical science is only now beginning to understand this. The fact that these commandments can now be validated through medical science prove that Yahweh’s Word is inspired and everything within it has meaning and purpose.
Yahweh’s Word prohibits consumption of both fat and blood (Lev. 3:17; 7:23, 26-27). The fat of the animal was offered to Yahweh in sacrifice (Lev. 3:16). It belongs to Him. The life of the animal is found in its blood (Lev. 17:10-14). Both fat and blood of the sacrifice were treated separately from the meat of the sacrifice and neither were eaten. Thus, it is necessary to remove all blood from the flesh of Scripturally clean animals before eating and to avoid eating residual blood.
At the time of slaughter, rapid draining of most of the blood must occur. This process is unnecessary with fish, as very little blood remains in the meat of fish. Any remaining blood can be removed by soaking in brine.
In our day Bible prophecy has become irrelevant in the eyes of many. Man believes he already has all the answers through science and human intellect. Many think the Bible is just a book of old tales drummed up by bored old men who call themselves prophets, teachers, and apostles. Is this the case? Is the Bible just a book of old stories?
Agnostics and atheists today are ruled by an egotistical spirit and they will not believe in a supernatural being who created the universe. Many want to take the Bible out of all facets of modern life because they believe it is just “another book composed of tall tales.”
One has to wonder why there is such an animosity against the Bible by so-called “learned people” today. Could it be that many choose to believe science over Yahweh simply because they don’t want to evaluate themselves by the Word of Yahweh? Maybe they are afraid of what they might find. It’s like avoiding the doctor because it might mean an adverse prognosis of their health. By not going to the doctor they somehow think a potential illness will just go away.
Prophecy proves the Bible. The surety of prophecy gives one a sense of stability in an otherwise unstable world. Prophecy makes the Bible come alive, it makes one step back and say, “Wow, what I just saw on the 10:00 news is right here prophesied in the Book of Revelation!” How could men thousands of years ago write about the calamities we see today? How did they know Persia was going to fall to Greece? How did they know Jerusalem was going to be a hotbed in the latter days? How did they know men would journey to outer space? The prophet Obadiah tells us just that: “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith Yahweh” 1:4.
How did these men know these prophecies? Did they just make some extremely good guesses? Or were they given divine inspiration? Why do many leading archaeologists today use the Bible to find hidden, ancient ruins? I’ll tell you why. The Bible is not just a book of stories, it is a book of knowledge about mankind by the Maker of man himself. It is a user’s manual for the human race. It is a shame more people don’t apply Scripture to their lives. We would live in a much better world if that were the case.
One of the most important prophecies for our time is found in the Book of Daniel, chapter 2. We see a Babylonian king who has some inspiration of his own. He dreams a very strange dream in which a statue of himself is before him when it suddenly is crushed by a rock. He is distressed because no man in Babylon is able to describe or interpret the dream. Very upset, the king orders all the wise men, astrologers, magicians and wise men of the land to die. Daniel hears this, tells his three companions Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah about the King’s decree. They all pray to Yahweh to intervene, so their lives would be spared. Yahweh blesses Daniel and his companions and gives Daniel the essence of the dream and it’s interpretation in a night vision. Daniel then confronts King Nebuchadnezzar.
Very eagerly the king asks Daniel to explain what he saw. He tells Nebuchadnezzar that there is a Mighty One in heaven Who reveals such secrets. Daniel 2:31 reads: “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32: This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,33: His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.34: Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
35: Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
36: This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
37: Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the Elohim of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38: And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
39: And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
40: And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
41: And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
42: And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
43: And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
44: And in the days of these kings shall the Mighty One of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45: Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; Yahweh hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
46: Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors unto him.”
In this article we are focusing specifically on verses 41-43 because everything before this point in the chapter has already been fulfilled.
Where are the Toes?
Verse 41 says, “And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.“
What do the 10 toes represent? The most popular belief held by Christians today is that these toes represent a Europeanconfederacy or EU. This belief is backed by Rome‘s historical possession of Jerusalem for 666 years starting from the battle of Actium in 31 B.C.E. until C.E. 636. The belief is that Rome (Europe) is the only country of the four mentioned by way of the statue that has trodden down Jerusalem utterly.
We find some problems with this belief, however.
At last count there were14 nations in the EU with more planning to join. This statue does not have 14-plus toes!
We see these toes do not adhere well, being made of an iron-clay mix. They do not get along, so to speak. Yet we do not see any vast problems among and between European nations today. In fact they get along quite well, and even have their own currency, the Euro dollar.
The country of Israel is a power once again. Jerusalem is again a flourishing city, it has not been “utterly” destroyed.
So if not Europe, what do these toes represent?
Bible prophecy always centers on the Middle East, Israel and Jerusalem. Could these 10 toes be 10 nations surrounding Israel? Let’s let scripture answer that question. We need to find some cross- reference in the Bible dealing with this description in verse 41.
We can find that scripture in the 83rd chapter of Psalms. This important Psalm tells us that the enemies are confederate against “Thy People” and want to “cut them off from being a nation,” verse 4. The avowed purpose of many Arabs is to destroy Israel. Witness the many wars throughout history, and the recent wars in 60s and 70s that were attempts to do just that. Even in Desert Storm Iraq launched missiles against Israel.
“1: Keep not thou silence, O Elohim: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O El.
2: For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
3: They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4: They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5: For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
6: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
7: Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8: Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot.
9: Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:
10: Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.
11: Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:
12: Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of Yahweh in possession.
13: O my Elohim, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
14: As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;
15: So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
16: Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O YAHWEH.
17: Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
18: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is YAHWEH, art the most high over all the earth.” (Psalm 83).
Verses 6-8 speak of 10 nations surrounding Israel. Some scholars have defined these territories this way:
Edom =southern Jordan
The “children of Lot” in verse 8 equates historically to the Jordanians and Yemenites. They Are Not Cohesive
“41. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
42. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
43. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”
The prophecy goes to great lengths to point out an important fact: These 10 toes (nations) are not cohesive. They do not get along. We know that the Middle Eastern nations are always fighting amongst themselves, they are indeed “broken” on most issues. The key here is iron. What is that iron? It is this iron that makes them “partly” strong. Let’s again refer back Psalm 83, verses 3-5.
“3. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee.
“The nations surrounding Israel have one thing in common with their Arab neighbors—their mutual hatred of Israel. Notice again verse 5: “They are consulted together with ONE consent: they are confederate against thee.” It is precisely this dislike for Israel that unites an otherwise weak and divided coalition.
We can see that Daniel chapter 2 goes hand–in–hand with Psalm 83. As you watch and read world news, notice the problems surrounding Israel and Jerusalem. The Middle East nations are indeed confederate against her (Israel).
We cannot draw absolute conclusions about the identity of these nations, but what we are saying is, watch the Middle East and keep an open mind. Bible prophecy has many variables, and one can easily be deceived by falling in with popular interpretations. If we are looking in the wrong place for prophecy fulfillment…Satan may take us by surprise!
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Bible prophecy has become irrelevant in the eyes of many today. Man believes that he already holds the answers to the future through science and human intellect. For this reason many view the Bible as just a book of old tales drummed up by bored old men who called themselves prophets, teachers, and apostles. Is this the case? Is the Bible just a book of old stories? Or does the Bible accurately predict what will happen in your lifetime and your children’s future?
Past prophecies have repeatedly proven the inspiration of the Bible. Not one has ever failed. The surety of prophecy provides a sense of stability in an otherwise unstable world. Prophecy makes the Bible come alive; it makes a person step back and say, “Wow, what I just saw on the ten o’clock news is right here in the Book of Revelation!” How could men thousands of years ago precisely write about the events we see unfolding today?
How did they know that Persia would fall to Greece, or that Jerusalem and the Mideast were going to dominate our daily news? How did they know thousands of years before that men would journey to outer space? The prophet Obadiah tells us just that! “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith Yahweh,” 1:4.
Were ancient predictions just extremely good guesses from active imaginations, or were they inspired from a Creator above? Why do many leading archaeologists today use the Bible to find hidden, ancient ruins? The Bible is not just a book of stories; it is a book of knowledge about man by the Maker of man. It’s a user’s manual for the human race, past, present and future.
One prophecy that is especially fascinating in light of today’s events is the Beast and the Ten Toes prophecies foretold by Daniel and in Revelation by John of Patmos. These shadowy figures will play a central role in end-time events.
Let’s begin by first examining the evidence for the Beast, also known as the Man of Sin or the Antimessiah (i.e., Antichrist). As we’ll find, this man will possess extraordinary power that will shake the very core of civilization.
One of the first references to the Beast is Daniel 8:23-25. It reads, “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”
Verse 23 is one of the most overlooked but critical end-time prophecies in the Word. The reference to “they” is the four generals who ruled the divided empire of Alexander the Great. They were: (1) Seleucus, who controlled Syria and Babylon, (2) Lysimachus, who ruled Asia Minor, (3) Ptolemy, who governed Egypt, and (4) Cassander, who maintained control over Macedonia and Greece. Alexander’s empire and later these four kingdoms never included Rome or northern Europe. Rome was insignificant at the time and the lands west of Greece never attracted Alexander’s attention.
Why is this important? According to Daniel’s prophecy, the Antimessiah will arise from the territory ruled by Alexander and passed on to his Seleucid generals. Many claim that the Antimessiah is the papacy. While there is more than one problem with this view, the greatest difficulty is found here.
We also see that this prophecy is for the latter days when the “transgressors will come to the full.” The word “transgressors” is from the Hebrew pasha and means, “…to break away (from just authority), i.e. trespass, apostatize, quarrel:–offend, rebel, revolt, transgress(-ion, -or)” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). This word refers to the coming of the Antimessiah who will break away or revolt from Yahweh’s authority and cause unparalleled offense.
Daniel also prophesies that the Antimessiah will have great insight into dark sentences. In the Hebrew, the phrase “dark sentences” refers to a puzzle or riddle. He will receive astonishing insights from Satan, the father of lies. It’s important to remember that in the beginning Satan was full of wisdom (Ez. 28:12). It is never wise to underestimate the Adversary!
Through this unholy Beast-Satan alliance, this Man of Sin will deceive the entire world and in the process wreak worldwide chaos and mayhem. The word “wonderfully” comes from the Hebrew pala, a primitive root, meaning, “to separate or distinguish.” This individual will be the greatest adversary of Yahweh this world has ever seen!
While Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin mercilessly murdered millions of Jews and others, the persecution from this man will be even greater and without historical equal. He will be empowered by the Evil One himself and will possess an arsenal that will destroy millions, including some believers. According to Revelation chapter 6, some will die as a testimony to their faith.
In addition to persecution, Daniel prophesied that the “Beast” would cause “craft” to prosper. This word is derived from the Hebrewmirmah and means, “subtle deception.” While we learn from Revelation that he will maintain his power through war, he also achieves authority peacefully through deception and fraud.
Once he achieves power he will make war with those who oppose him and exalt himself above all mighty ones, including Yahweh, the Father and Creator of the universe. However, at the end of his reign, he will be broken or destroyed without hands by the Prince of Princes, i.e., Yahshua the Messiah. Paul writes that the brightness or manifestation of the Messiah’s coming will consume this demon-driven person, 2Thessalonians 2:8.
Another sign that is connected with the Antimessiah is a seven-year covenant that he will establish with many nations. Daniel 9:27reads, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
“Week” here represents the seven years of the Tribulation. During this time, he will confirm or pledge to a covenant, i.e., a league or agreement with many nations. In the middle of this covenant he will sever the earlier agreement and exalt himself as dictator.
This power grab starts the three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation, as also found in Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:14. When this occurs, he will cause the sacrifices and oblations to cease or end.
This action hints at a startling possibility that the Man of Sin may impose a Hebraic form of worship, or system of worship resembling the Old Testament. This could explain the great falling away mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 2Thessalonians 2:3: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed the son of perdition….”
After he removes the sacrifices he will pollute the temple through an abomination of desolation. Yahshua warned of this idolatrous act in Matthew 24:15, “When ye therefore shall see THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.”
The Jews interpret this abomination as the action of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, when he desecrated the holy place by erecting a statue of Jupiter there and sacrificing swine on the temple altar. While this was likely fulfilled once by Antiochus, from Yahshua’s prophecy it is clear that it will be fulfilled once more under the reign of the Antimessiah, showing that this prophecy is dual in scope. Many prophecies have two fulfillments, one anciently and another future one.
Speculation of what this “abomination” is varies greatly. Some claim that it might represent the statue that the false prophet gives life to, as we find later in Revelation 13. Whatever it is, the placement of this abomination in the holy place of the rebuilt temple will usher in three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation.
Power by Flatteries
Daniel 11 describes how this Man of Sin will come to power and what form of worship he may initiate.
“And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time,” vv. 21-24.
This ulta-slick con artist will come to power without conflict and deftly employ flattery. The word “flatteries” is from the Hebrewchalaqlaqqah and means, “something very smooth; i.e. a treacherous spot; figuratively, blandishment” (Strong’s). As we saw in chapter eight of this prophecy, he will come not by force, but by smooth speech. Undoubtedly, this man will profess peace, but his intent will be war.
Once he obtains his tyrannical position he will break the covenant he made with the nations (9:27). Let us reread verse 23, “And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully.” This man’s rulership will be built upon fraud and pretense.
Verse 24 suggests the Antimessiah’s geographic location. It says that he shall come from the “fattest places of the province.” The word “fattest” comes from the Hebrew mashman. The primitive root of this word is shaman and means, “to shine, i.e. (by analogy) be (causatively, make) oily or gross” (Strong’s). Shaman has been interpreted as a place that is rich in oil or petroleum, perhaps corresponding to the oil-rich Middle East.
Prophecy says the Antimessiah will become strong with collusion of only a few, referring possibly to the 10-toe nations of Daniel’s image. Significantly, the Islamic religion started with one man, Mohammed, and a few who followed him. This once fledgling faith today is second only to Christianity in numbers, and the fastest growing religion in the world. Once the Man of Sin achieves power, he will then collect and redistribute the wealth of this world to his adherents. The NIV reads, “He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers,” verse 24. After all this he will seek to destroy all who oppose him.
Starting in verse 36 of Daniel 11 we find: “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every el, and shall speak marvelous things against the El of els, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.”
This man will usurp complete control over the world and will disregard and blaspheme all other mighty ones, including Almighty Yahweh. This will occur in the Great Tribulation when he removes the oblations and sacrifices and will intend to change times and laws, as found in Daniel 7:25. At this time, he will also begin persecuting the saints, the remnant of Yahweh.
We find a similar prophecy from the Apostle Paul in 2Thessalonians 2:4. It reads, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called Elohim, or that is worshiped; so that he as Elohim sitteth in the temple of Elohim, shewing himself that he is Elohim.” This evil individual will force all flesh to worship him as the only true elohim or deity. All those who fail to comply will be persecuted. This is why it is important that as believers we understand and watch as the prophetic trends unfold.
His Mideastern Heritage
In Daniel 11:37 we find an indication of this man’s genealogy: “Neither shall he regard the Elohim of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any eloah: for he shall magnify himself above all.” The phrase “Elohim of his fathers” occurs five additional times in Scripture (2Kings 21:22; 2Chron. 21:10; 28:25; 30:19; 33:12). In each of these examples, this phrase refers to Yahweh. If this passage follows the same trend, then the Antimessiah’s genealogy will be Hebraic.
Some have speculated that the Man of Sin will be half Israelite and half Arab. Because the Jews trace ancestry from the mother and the Arabs trace from the father, this interpretation is possible. This would not only satisfy this passage, but possibly provide an association that would unify the Middle East.
He shall not desire women, the prophecy says. This has been viewed many ways. Perhaps the most logical interpretation is that he will be celibate, as Yahshua the Messiah was during His Ministry. We also find once more that the Man of Sin will elevate himself above all mighty ones and cause the earth to worship him alone, except for one, as we’ll see next. In the end, his lust for power will be his undoing, as is common with those who desire such positions.
To achieve this goal, he will turn to a false mighty one. In verses 38-39 we find a description of this deity: “But in his estate shall he honour the eloah of forces: and an eloah whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange eloah, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.”
The word “eloah” is the singular of the Hebrew elohim and refers to a mighty one or deity. In this instance, it’s the mighty one of forces. “Forces” is from the Hebrew ma’owz and means, “a fortified place; figuratively, a defence:–force, fort(-ress), rock, strength(-en), (X most) strong (hold) (Strong’s). Explaining this deity has proven difficult for biblical scholars throughout history. One thing is for certain, however, it’s not the mighty one of his forefathers, a possible reference to Yahweh, the Elohim of the Hebrews. It is something vastly different and almost certainly connected with strength or with war.
Because this highly charismatic individual will exalt himself above all other mighty ones, it seems odd that he would worship any mighty one. According to the Companion Bible, while this man will exalt himself in public, he will worship this deity in private. This may explain the seeming contradiction.
We also find here that he will take land as he desires. It again says in verse 39, “…and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.” This may be a reference to the Ten Toes that will rule with the Antimessiah. As we’ll find later, these men will receive their power with the Antimessiah. This also corroborates that he will contain complete control and sovereignty over the earth.
The First Beast
Possibly the greatest prophecy regarding the Beast is found in Revelation. There we find detail that is missing in Daniel or other prophetic writings. Chapter 13 is dedicated to the Antimessiah and his False Prophet, which we will examine in due course.
Let’s begin in verse 1, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a Beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” The Beast rising from the sea here represents the Antimessiah. As we’ll see later, the sea represents nations and languages of this world. The heads and horns correspond to seven past and future kingdoms and ten kings, respectively. Both of these prophetic signs will be further described along with the Ten Toes.
For now, let’s continue with verse 2 as we begin to uncover the characteristics of the Beast and his global empire. “And the Beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
The leopard represents the third Beast in Daniel 7:6 or Alexander the Great and his kingdom, and refers to the swiftness of his conquest. By the age of 30 he controlled one of the largest empires known to man. His dominion stretched from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas. In like manner the Man of Sin will swiftly achieve global domination!
The bear is found in the second Beast of Daniel’s prophecy, representing the Persian Empire and refers to its strength. In the chronicles of history, Persia was the largest empire the earth had ever seen. It successfully conquered and overthrew the Median confederation and the ancient empire of Babylon. It was a kingdom of great power. Similarly, the Antimessiah will control this world with unparalleled strength.
The last image, the mouth of a lion, is also found in Daniel’s prophecy; however, this time it is associated with the first Beast, symbolizing Babylon. It was this same Babylon that conquered Assyria and later, Judah. As with its successors, this ancient empire was a formidable superpower. The lion here further expands upon the Antimessiah’s strength or boldness.
Through these three Beasts we find the unrivaled strength and power that this man will possess in the years ahead of us.
We also see once more that the dragon gave him his power. The dragon corresponds to Satan the devil. Even though this man will control the world, it will not be by his own strength or intellect, but through the power of the Evil One. This is a point that must not go unnoticed. It will be this unholy relationship that will cause all the earth to worship the Beast.
“And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the Beast: and they worshiped the Beast, saying, Who is like unto the Beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against Yahweh, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:4-8).
Unlike Daniel’s description of the Antimessiah, here John of Patmos prophesies that he will be a man of war. Daniel’s prophecy speaks to his rise of power, while we find here the method by which he will maintain power. This fact again rules out the popular notion that the Man of Sin corresponds to the papacy. The pope is not a man of war, but a religious figure. Such an interpretation counters our Father’s prophetic Word.
In addition to being a man of war, we find that the Man of Sin will speak blasphemies against Yahweh for forty-two months. This number equates to three-and-a-half years, the time of the Great Tribulation. It will be during this time that he will be in complete control of the world with no opposition. Verse 7 refers to “all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
The Second Beast
Starting with verse eleven, we find another Beast similar to the first: “And I beheld another Beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exercises all the power of the first Beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first Beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the Beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the Beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”
This second Beast represents the false prophet in league with the Antimessiah. This man is depicted by two lamb’s horns, possibly indicating his attempt to counterfeit the Messiah. He also speaks like a dragon, symbolizing the demonic influence of Satan. He is able to exercise all the power of the first Beast. Like the Antimessiah, the false prophet will be able to show great signs and wonders, such that cannot be explained by human logic or reasoning.
Through these signs many will be deceived and led astray. It’s for this reason that Yahshua’s first warning in His Olivet prophecy was, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Our Savior knew that the greatest danger to His saints during this latter time was deception. Because of these miracles all the earth will follow the first Beast. The purpose of the false prophet is to mislead the world into following the Antimessiah.
This man’s miracles will be like nothing seen before. To the shock of many, Scripture indicates that he will make a statue live and thereby “deceive them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the Beast.” He will “say to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the Beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the Beast, that the image of the Beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the Beast should be killed,” vv. 14-15.
Some claim that this statue will resemble Nebuchadnezzar’s image in Daniel and be used for the same purpose. Others say that it will be similar to the statue of Zeus (or known as Jupiter in Rome) that Antiochus placed in the holy place. Whatever the parallel, we find again that this man will perform a mind-boggling miracle that will deceive millions.
This miraculous image will be the catalyst leading the masses to worship the first Beast; those who refuse will be killed. While we are unsure of the details, we know that some will pay the ultimate price for refusing to compromise their beliefs. A great deal is at stake, and we must not neglect the Messiah’s warning about deception.
What is the Mark of the Beast?
We find another sign in this passage. In addition to the image, all those who worship the Beast will receive a mark. “And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the Beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six,” vv. 16-18.
Like the image of the Beast, the meaning of his mark has been debated for centuries. Here’s what we know. The word “mark” derives from the Greek charagma and means, “a scratch or etching, i.e. stamp (as a badge of servitude), or scupltured figure (statue)” (Strong’s). Some believe that this mark corresponds to a barcode or some type of permanent mark, while others hold that it means a computer microchip. While the latter seems to fulfill this prophecy, the truth is we can only offer conjecture as to the nature of this mark. Perhaps the future will reveal another meaningful interpretation.
The purpose behind this mark is more important than what it is. Without this special identification, a person will not be able to buy or sell. If we’re ever told that we must receive a mark, whether it is a barcode, microchip, or something completely different, on our hand or forehead, we should proceed with extreme caution.
Imagine not being able to buy food for your family or being unable to purchase life-saving medication for your child. In this scenario, what would you do? Would you sacrifice your faith and agree to the mark to feed your children? This is a very real scenario that we may find ourselves up against in the near future. If this day comes upon us, how will we respond? In the Great Tribulation sacrifice will be required. In those times it is incumbent upon the elect to remain faithful without compromise!
In addition to the Antimessiah and his False Prophet, we find another critical prophecy involving Ten Toes. These shadowy figures are found in Daniel, Revelation, and Psalms. The Ten Toes will play a pivotal role with the Man of Sin at the end of this age.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Revealing Dream
Before delving into this prophecy, it’s important that we first take a step back. In Daniel chapter 2, the prophet provides insight into Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, through Daniel’s ability to interpret dreams.
“Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is an Elah in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that reveals secrets makes known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou might know the thoughts of thy heart,” vv. 27-30.
In Daniel’s explanation to King Nebuchadnezzar, he affirms that the interpretation of dreams is not through man’s knowledge, but through the inspiration of Almighty Yahweh. This is a key point, as it reveals the source of wisdom and understanding and the basis of biblical prophecy.
Starting in verse 31, Daniel recounts the king’s dream; “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth,” vv. 31-35.
The king had not told the dream to Daniel. Instead, Daniel provided the dream accurately as well as its interpretation. This further illustrates the miraculous work and the omniscience of Yahweh, our Father in heaven.
Many have wondered what this image represents. As is the case with many prophecies, our Father’s Word itself provides the interpretation. “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the Elah of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the Beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the Elah of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great Elah hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
Daniel says that the head of gold represents Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon. The second kingdom, which is represented by the arms of silver, symbolizes Medo-Persia. This second kingdom was inferior to the first. The Persian Empire was three times the size of its predecessor. How then was this kingdom inferior to Babylon? This may be referring to internal conflicts within the Persian Empire or possibly to the weakness of its leaders.
As depicted by the two arms, the Persian Empire was made up of two separate peoples, the Medes and the Persians. This is why scholars refer to this empire as “Medo-Persia.” Even though the Persians were able to absorb the Medes into their empire, they were unable to completely attain the same unity found in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar.
The third Beast, represented by the belly and thighs of brass, refers to Greece. This third Beast seems to symbolize both unity and division through the symbolic belly and two thighs. Under Alexander the Great, Greece had one ruler renowned for his resilient leadership. After his death, however, his kingdom was divided among his four generals and it never experienced the same strength and unity.
The Legs of Iron
The fourth Beast with its two legs of iron is one of the most well-known kingdoms in the history of mankind. It is the Roman Empire, which incredibly ruled much of the world for 500 years. The iron symbolizes the strength of this kingdom, while the legs represent the eastern (also known as the Byzantine) empire with its capital at Constantinople and the western division of the empire with its capital at Rome. The Byzantine Empire at its peak controlled parts of southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia, the northeast corner of Africa, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, eastern Libya and Turkey. Constantinople was established by Constantine, from whom the name is derived, as the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 CE and is now Istanbul, Turkey. This grand empire would exist for 1,000 years until its overthrow by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE.
While many prophetic interpretations focus exclusively on Rome, it is more likely that the metal man prophecy is associated with the Byzantine Empire. Interestingly, we find that the feet of this image are made of both iron and clay and specifically Ten Toes. What do these toes signify? Many who study end-time prophecy have proposed that they correspond to 10 historic kings of the Eastern Roman Empire; others tie them to members of the European Union (EU).
As we’ll find in Revelation, these kings will coexist at the end of the age. Regarding the EU, there are currently twenty-seven member states that constitute this international organization. Based on this fact alone, such an interpretation seems to also defy Scripture.
As we read from Daniel 2:41, the clay and iron symbolize both division and strength. They somewhat cohere but at the same time are divided, just as iron and clay do not adhere well. Strength comes through the iron, weakness is in the clay.
What group of people is strong and unified yet divided? One possibility is that these Ten Toes represent 10 Arab or Middle Eastern nations, including the descendants of Ishmael (it should be noted that the Iranian people are descendants of Persia and are not considered Arabic). They are unified through their religion but have difficulty uniting politically. Prophetically we find that Ishmael and his ancestry, the Arabs, would be fractured: “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Gen. 16:12).
The Ten Kings Identified
The first passage providing evidence associating these toes to 10 Middle Eastern nations is Psalm 83:3-8. We read, “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot.”
According to some scholars and historians, this prophecy has never been fulfilled. For example, we find this acknowledgement from the HarperCollins Study Bible: “There is no particular historical moment with which such a grouping of nations against Israel can be associated.” The Wycliffe Bible Commentary agrees, “The occasion cannot be identified with certainty, because at no period in Israel’s history has such a confederation of nations existed.”
Interestingly, we find ten specific nations mentioned in this passage, which were all anciently located in the Middle East. According to author Walid Shoebat in his book, God’s War on Terror, these nations represent:
Edom – Southern Jordan and Saudi Arabia
Ishmaelites and Hagarenes – Arabs (Hagarenes, also identified as Egypt)
Gebal – Lebanon
Ammon – Northern Jordan
Amalek – southwest of the Dead Sea (also indentified as the Sinai Peninsula)
Philistines – Gaza
Tyre – Lebanon
Assur – Syria, Iraq, and Turkey
Children of Lot – Jordan
From this passage we see that these ten will make a pact. According to The Pulpit Commentary, the phrase, “They are confederate against thee,” literally means that they “have entered into a covenant against thee.” Now keep in mind the purpose of this alliance. It is to remove Israel from being a nation. How often have we heard calls for Israel’s destruction from Arab and Middle Eastern leaders? Below is a partial list of the many calls for Israel’s obliteration from recent leaders.
“Since we cannot defeat Israel in war we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel” (Former PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat, 1993).
“Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” (Article 12 of the Fatah Constitution, 1998).
“If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel” (Former Iranian President, Hashemi Rafsanani, 2001).
“I declared that we will not recognize Israel which is an alien entity in the region. And we expect the demise of this cancer soon” (Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, Muhammad Mehdi Akef, 2005).
This same desire for Israel’s annihilation, as found in Psalm 83, is well documented and should not be a surprise to anyone—the hatred for Israel is undeniable. If they could eliminate Israel as a nation, they would!
Biblical prophecy almost exclusively centers on the Middle East. This is true for the Ten Toes prophecy of Daniel as well as for the prophecies of our Savior. For example, Yahshua in Matthew 24:15-16 stated, “When ye therefore shall see THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:”
Those specifically in “Judea” were to flee upon seeing the Abomination of Desolation. This image is connected to the Antimessiah and by association, the Ten Toes. To have a proper understanding of eschatology we must grasp this key point.
According to Revelation 17:15, the image of a sea in Revelation 13 symbolizes “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Therefore, the sea here represents the Antimessiah’s vast empire, which will include people of different ethnic groups, nations and languages.
The seven heads represent seven past and future kingdoms from which this man’s empire will rise. This interpretation can be verified from Revelation 17:9-10: “…The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”
The word “mountain” represents a kingdom. At the time of this prophecy, five of these kings or kingdoms were fallen. This may refer to Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. In reference to “and one is,” undoubtedly is Rome. This last kingdom likely comes from one of the previous ones. Based on the geography of the Grecian empire, from which the Antimessiah will arise (Dan. 8:23), and the many references to Babylon in Revelation (14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2), this last kingdom likely refers to Babylon, whose location was the modern country of Iraq.
Interpreting the Ten Horns
In addition to the seven heads, we also find ten horns. These ten horns correspond to the Ten Toes of Daniel. In Revelation 17:12-13we find the Bible’s interpretation: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast.”
These horns denote 10 kings that will rule with the Antimessiah. Notice that these kings have received no kingdom as of yet, but will with the Beast, i.e., the Antimessiah. From this prophecy it’s possible that the territory that these men will receive has not yet been established. We also see here the purpose and intent of these 10 kings. They will be united and will give their power and strength to the Antimessiah.
The word “power” comes from the Greek dynamis, meaning, “might or force,” while the word “strength” is derived from the Greekexousia, and refers to “force, authority, or delegated influence.”
It’s interesting that the Greek word for “power” means “delegated authority,” and the text indicates that their power is provided by the Antimessiah. From this we discover that the Ten Toes of Daniel likely represent ten vassal kings of Arab or Middle Eastern descent, which will give their allegiance and support to the Man of Sin, who will likely also be of Middle Eastern descent.
These despots will enslave the world to the Antimessiah. Those who defy them will be put to death. We read in Revelation 20:4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Yahshua, and for the word of Yahweh, and which had not worshipped the Beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Messiah a thousand years.”
Notice here that the saints will be beheaded for not worshiping the Beast and his image. While not exclusive to a specific ethnic group or religion, beheading is common among Islamic extremists. This is one more indication that the Man of Sin along with his ten toed confederacy will arise from the Middle East.
It’s remarkable how the Bible not only interprets the identity and purpose of the Ten Toes, but also how this prophecy follows current events. The actions of today’s Islamic terrorists are likely a shadow of what is to come in the future.
We find yet one more prophecy in Revelation 17:16 that involves the Ten Toes: “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the Beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” The kings of the earth will commit fornication and will burn the whore with fire.
From Revelation 18:3, some speculate that this whore represents America, “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
The word “fornication” here is from the Greek porneuo and means, “to act the harlot, i.e. (literally) indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or (figuratively) practise idolatry” (Strong’s). As found here this word can denote idolatry, which is any worship that is not of Yahweh. This is likely the guilt spoken of by porneuo. It is possible that this “fornication” refers to America’s trend of evolving into a melting pot of diverse religions, including the promotion of secularism.
Possibly the greatest indication here of this referring to the United States is the statement, “…and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” America was once an industrial nation; however, in the last several decades its trend to import goods has sharply increased over the producing of goods. This greed has made the nations of this world rich, including China. According to the U.S.-China Business Council, in 2011 U.S. exports to China were 103.9 billion. However, U.S. imports from China were 399.9 billion, a 9.4% increase from the previous year.
The parallels between this mysterious “woman” and America are fascinating. If this is indeed the case, today’s animosity between the Ten Toes nations, representing ten Arab nations, and the United States may very well be a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The hostility toward America by today’s Middle Eastern nations is well known and documented, including the many anti-American demonstrations in 2012 in countries like Egypt and Libya, where Christopher Stevens, U.S. diplomat to Libya, and three other Americans were ruthlessly murdered. Regardless of the identity of this woman, we find that these ten kings will play a pivotal role in end-time prophecy.
Understanding end-time prophecy is one thing, but what are we to do with this knowledge? Are we to use it simply to impress our fellow believers, or is prophecy for a greater purpose? Our Father in heaven tells us that understanding of prophecy is for a reason.
In Hebrews 10:22-25 we read, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
As Yahshua’s return draws closer, we are to prepare our minds and hearts for Almighty Yahweh, our Father in heaven. This is the calling of all believers. We must mold our lives to the example of Yahshua the Messiah, our Savior and soon-coming King. This includes obeying His commandments.
He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments…He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him,” John 14:15, 21.
Further we read, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked,”1John 2:3-6.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city,” Revelation 22:14.
Yahweh in heaven is calling out a special people unto Him. Those who respond will receive treasures beyond anything this transitory life can offer. Yahshua in Matthew 6:19-21, stated, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Where is your treasure? Is it in material belongings, earthly goals, aimless hobbies, endless entertainment or in the Kingdom to come? Our Father promises incomparable peace, happiness, and fulfillment in the life to come. All we must do is respond, repent and live according to His instruction. Don’t ignore this call! It’s never too late to repent. Commit your life now to Him and experience unparalleled fulfillment in this life, and more importantly, in the life to come!
Watch: “Countdown to Armageddon Starts from Here” below.
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If a person told you his name, would you argue with him about it? Would you tell him, “No, I don’t think so. I’ll call you something else instead”? Of course not, that would be absurd! You have no right to do such a thing and you would certainly not make him too happy if you did.
Yet when it comes to the personal Name of the Father in Heaven, many believe that they have the prerogative to decide what they will call the One they worship. They will go to great lengths to avoid using the revealed Name of the Heavenly Father, Yahweh. The most creative mental gymnastics are performed in an effort to justify the continued use of common titles over the personal Name Yahweh, which the Bible says is a name above every name.
In an effort to quiet their consciences, some will argue, “He has many names.” Many will rationalize, “He knows who I mean no matter what I call Him,” while others will postulate, “His ‘name’ just means His authority.” Anyone looking into this important matter from the Scriptures, however, soon discovers that Yahweh Himself rejects all of these arguments, as well as other common assumptions about His Name.
A simple examination of the Scriptures shows that the issue of Yahweh’s Name is of paramount importance to Him — just as your name is important to you. He thunders, “I am YAHWEH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images,” Isaiah 42:8. The Hebrew original of this passage contains the Tetragrammaton YHWH, or Yahweh.
Yahweh is resolute about His Name. He is adamant that His people call on Him by the only Name that ensures salvation. The New Testament Book of Acts tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
He even wrote the Third Commandment specifically to address the neglect of His Name: “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy Elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.” The Hebrew behind that commandment says “bring to deso-lation and ruin,” which is exactly what will happen if you substitute other names and titles for the one true Name.
Following are the most familiar arguments given to justify the use of substitute titles like “God” and “Lord” in place of the true Name Yahweh. We will examine each in light of the Bible to see whether any has validity.
“He has many names.”
This is one of the most popular justifications advanced to avoid using the Name Yahweh. If He has many names then it is implied that no single name stands out as His one, special, personal Name. Or in other words, He has many names but no name. The problem with this argument is the failure to recognize that generic titles are not names.
Take “Mr. Sam Jones,” for instance. “Mister” is not the name of “Sam Jones.” Mister is only a title for him. Sam Jones cannot sign a document with only the word “Mister” and expect anyone to accept it as his authentic endorsement. One is a generic term that applies to any man, the other is his real name.
The same goes for the various descriptive titles for Yahweh that some erroneously think are names, like eloah (“mighty one”), el shaddai (“the all-powerful”) and adon/adonai (“sovereign”). Others are confused by attributions that are sometimes used in connection with His Name, like Yahweh-Yireh (“Yahweh provides”), Yahweh-Zidkenu (“Yahweh our righteousness”) and Yahweh-Rapha (“Yahweh our healer”).
Regardless of certain titles and attributions, He still has only one Name — Yahweh. He inspired the prophet Isaiah in 42:8 to write, “I am YAHWEH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Psalm 83:18 confirms that He has but one Name: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is YAHWEH, art the most high over all the earth.” Nowhere in the pages of the Bible can we find a statement saying He has many names. But we can find many passages attesting to His one true Name.
“He knows who I mean no matter what I choose to call Him.”
You cannot find such a statement expressed or implied anywhere in the Bible. Nowhere are we given the right to rename our Heavenly Father. To bestow a name is the sole prerogative of a superior, as when a parent names his child and as when Adam named the animals under his dominion. Since when does the one created have the right to address his Creator by any name he pleases?
To use this argument for the One who made us is the height of insolence and is utterly offensive to Yahweh. Notice His warning about such obstinacy: “If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, says Yahweh of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart.” Yahweh’s Name is bound up in proper worship and in Psalm 68:4 He commands His people to praise Him by His Name. John 4:24 reminds us, “Yahweh is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” To deliberately ignore the Truth of His Name in favor of what pleases us as His worshipers is nothing less than vain arrogance deserving of rebuke. We cannot reverse the flow of authority —Yahweh our Creator tells us how to worship Him, not the other way around. Even beyond this, His knowing “who you mean” makes no difference to Him if you refuse to honor and glorify Him as He demands, which includes using the right Name. His Name represents Him and His truths, something no other name does.
“The pronunciation of the Name has been lost and we don’t know how His Name was spoken.”
Besides being false, this argument amounts to no more than an excuse — that because of supposed uncertainty we should not even try to pronounce His Name. The fact is, the Name is given us in the Hebrew in the form of the Tetragrammaton or “four letters,” which is YHWH (Yod, Hay, Waw, Hay). Jewish scribes went to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of this Name in the Hebrew, while the Masoretes or text guardians vowel-pointed the Hebrew letters to preserve the pronunciation.
It is not true that the pronunciation of the Hebrew Name was lost. If it were then the pronunciation of the entire Hebrew Old Testament was lost as well. It would also mean that in the passing-down process of the Hebrew tongue from one generation to another, that at some point all Jews suddenly woke up and forgot how to speak their own language! If we can read the Old Testament out loud in the Hebrew, then we can also read the Name Yahweh accurately in the same Hebrew. Today the Jews read Hebrew every Sabbath in their synagogues. They have no problem pronouncing it.
Here is what the noted Encyclopaedia Judaica says about this issue: “The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh.’ This is confirmed, at least for the vowels of the first syllable of the name, by the shorter form Yah, which is sometimes used in poetry (e.g., Ex. 15:2) and the –yahu or –yah that serves as the final syllable in very many Hebrew names,” Vol. 7, p. 680.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica comments: “Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used the form Yahweh, thus this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh,” 15th Edition, Vol. X, p. 786.
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes: “The saying of God, ‘I am who I am,’ is surely connected with His name that is written in the Hebrew consonantal text as Yhwh, the original pronunciation of which is well attested as Yahweh,” 1967, Vol. 5, p. 743.
“But there are no vowels in the Hebrew so how can we know how to pronounce the four letters of YHWH correctly?”
Vowels do exist in Hebrew, as in all languages, or else it would be impossible to speak Hebrew. Vowels are spoken via the open mouth, while consonants are spoken by closure of the lips or by tongue contact on teeth or palate. Old Testament Hebrew is composed of words written in consonants with the vowels understood.
As noted, the Masoretes in the seventh century inserted vowel points or marks in and around the Hebrew letters to preserve the correct pronunciation. Just as with our letter “Y,” there are some Hebrew letters that serve as both consonants and vowels. Amazingly, all four letters of Yahweh’s Name are such consonant-vowels. This fact can be verified in most Hebrew grammars, including A Beginner’s Handbook to Biblical Hebrew (Horowitz), p. 7 under “Vowel Letters”; The Berlitz Self-Teacher, p. 73 under “The Vanishing Dots”; Hebrew Primer and Grammar (Fagnani and Davidson) p. 10, under “The Quiescents and Mappiq,” and How the Hebrew Language Grew (Horowitz), p. 28.
First-century priest and historian Falvius Josephus writes about the sacred Name that was engraved on the headpiece of the high priest (Ex. 28:36-38): “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue riband, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of Yahweh]; it consists of four vowels,” Wars of the Jews, Book 5, chapter 5, p. 556.
“When the Bible speaks of His name it just means His authority, not His literal name.”
It is true that to do or say something in someone’s name can mean by the authority of that person. But that is only a small part of the meaning of Yahweh’s name in His Word. Through the Hebrew verb of existence, haYah, the Name Yahweh defines the very nature, character, and essence of Yahweh. His Name means to cause to be. To claim that references to His name refer only to His authority is incongruous in many important passages. To drive home the point, we have changed the word “name” to “authority” in the following verses. See whether each still makes proper sense:
“Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the waters in a garment? who has established all the ends of the earth? what is his [authority]and what is his son’s [authority], if you can tell?” Prov. 30:4
“That men may know that thou, whose [authority] alone is YAHWEH, art the most high over all the earth.” Ps. 83:18
“Sing unto Elohim, sing praises to his [authority] extol him that rides upon the heavens by his [authority] YAH, and rejoice before him.” Ps. 68:4
“Seek him that makes the seven stars and Orion… Yahweh is his [authority].” Amos 5:8
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his [authority] Yahshua: for he shall save his people from their sins.”Matthew 1:21
Once we realize that Yahweh has a personal, life-giving, healing, covenant Name only through which we can find salvation, to continue calling on an inanimate, generic title to provide the same blessings that His Name gives is an affront to Him and His character.
“I speak English, not Hebrew, so I use the English ‘God and ‘Lord.’”
One problem here is that these are not names but common titles that can apply to any number of mighty ones or even less than mighty ones. Another problem with this statement is that “God” is not English at all but Germanic from the word gott. A “lord” is someone subordinate to a king. “Lord” derives from Old English hlafweard meaning “loaf keeper,” a person who headed a feudal estate under a king.Yahweh is King of the universe, and so to address Him with a diminutive title like Lord is a dishonor.
Lord is also related etymologically to Bel, a pagan deity. As one source notes, “In late Babylonian times the title Bel, ‘Lord,’ became synonymous with Marduk, who like Ishtar assimilated to himself various aspects of other gods,” Babylon, by Joan Oates, p. 172. The Companion Bible note on Isaiah 46:1 says, “Bel. Abbreviation of Baal=Lord. Here=Zeus, or Jupiter of the Greek and Roman mythology.” Neither is the term “god” free of heathen trappings. Paul wrote that there are “gods many and lords many,”1Corinthians 8:5. One root of “god” means to pour as in a molten image (Oxford English Dictionary). No wonder idols are known as gods.
How can we justify using such terms when calling on the only true Father in Heaven, and His Son, Yahshua the Messiah? The language you speak has nothing to do with the Name of the one you worship, because His Name doesn’t change from language to language (Consider that there is no English form for the French name Napoleon and neither is there a German or Russian version for the English name Churchill. Specific names transcend language. They are transliterated, not translated).
“I have had prayers answered using ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ so it must be okay to use those titles.”
Yahshua said that even an evil person won’t give his son a stone when he cries out for bread (Matt. 7:9). Each one who seeks the Truth of Yahweh first does so with a certain lack of understanding. If Yahweh let our ignorance get in the way of our heart’s desire to seek Him, then we would soon become discouraged and give up our quest.
After more truth is revealed to us, however, then we become accountable to make the proper changes in our lives and toward True Worship. “And the times of this ignorance Yahweh winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent,” Acts 17:30. Our true walk must start somewhere, and if calling on Him through common titles is all we know, then Yahweh will show compassion and toleration.
But as He gives us more knowledge and Truth, He expects us to walk in all the light we are given. Paul wrote, “For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Master: walk as children of light,” Ephesians 5:8. Yahshua said, “Not every one that says unto me, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven,” Mattthew 7:21.
Many who understand the importance of observing the seventh-day Sabbath also acknowledge the necessity of calling on the personal Name of the One they worship —Almighty Yahweh. The two go hand-in-hand as instructed in the Ten Commandments.
The Fourth Commandment obligates the True Worshiper to keep the weekly Sabbath on the seventh day, while the Third Commandment tells us not to be negligent when it comes to calling on His true Name: “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain,” Exodus 20:7. “Vain” is the Hebrew shoaw and means to make waste or ruin. When we substitute His personal Name with titles we are bringing His Name to waste or ruin, and therefore are in violation of the Third Commandment.
Sabbath keepers are aware of the many arguments leveled against the seventh-day Sabbath. Perhaps you at one time also raised the same points before you came to understand that the Bible upholds only one weekly day of worship, the seventh day. Maybe just like pre-converted Paul who had persecuted the early Assembly but who then came to the Truth, you eventually came to the Truth as well and discovered that worship on the first day of the week is not endorsed anywhere in the Scriptures. You found that all of those common rationalizations used against the true Sabbath day were baseless (request our two-part audio taped sermon series, Sabbath or Sunday, Parts 1 and 2).
But are you aware that the very same kinds of unsupported arguments employed against the Sabbath are also raised in an effort to refute the truth of the Name Yahweh and the Name of His Son, Yahshua? And just as those contentions against the Sabbath collapsed under the weight of Scriptural proof, likewise the various allegations against the Name.
Following are a dozen common, flawed arguments leveled at both the Sabbath and the Name (shown in bold type). We will answer each in the true light of the Word.
I am not a Jew, therefore I do not need to keep the Jewish Sabbath.
The Sabbath was established at the creation of the universe when Yahweh Himself rested on the seventh day, long before there were any Jews, Genesis 2:2-3. Just because the Jews have been most visible in keeping the Sabbath down through history does not mean it is a “Jewish” Sabbath. The Israelites kept the Sabbath, even though 11 of their 12 tribes were not Jewish (see 2Kings 16:1,6-7, where the Jews are at war with Israel). In Acts 13 we find Gentiles keeping the Sabbath as well as Jews, vv. 42, 44, 46. The Savior said that the Sabbath was made for man, not just for Jews, Mark 2:27.
I am not a Jew, therefore I do not need to use the Hebrew Name Yahweh.
Yahweh never refers to His Name as Hebrew or Jewish, even though it was revealed predominately to a Hebrew-speaking people.Psalm 86:9 prophesies that ALL nations will worship Him and glorify His Name. A person’s nationality has no bearing on whether he calls on the personal Name of the Father of all creation. Yahweh Himself told Moses, “This is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” Joel 2:32 foretold that in the last days, whoever calls on the Name Yahweh will be delivered. You need not be Jewish or speak Hebrew to do so.
I keep holy whatever day I wish, so long as I keep a day to Him.
Nowhere does Yahweh give man the prerogative to make any day holy. He never allows us the liberty to decide ourselves how we will worship Him. He sets the conditions, and His people follow them. Some may point to Romans 14:5 as giving them liberty when choosing a weekly worship day. This passage, however, merely refers to fasting on any one day, not Sabbath keeping, as verse 6 makes clear.
I can call Him whatever I wish. He understands who I mean.
Again, nowhere in the Scriptures is such a right granted to man, and He never says He “knows who we mean” when we call on Him using other names. Just the opposite is true. He tells us not even to mention the names of other supposed deities (using the same titles), Exodus 23:13. And in Isaiah 42:8 He says, “Yahweh is my Name, and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Being our personal Father, He demands that we use His personal Name. The title “God” has as a root meaning, “to pour as in a molten image” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Is this an acceptable title to use for the true Creator of the universe? Paul said there are “gods many and lords many.” How can these generic designations please the Heavenly Father when applied to Him? (1Cor. 8:5)
Any day can be a Sabbath.
The fact is, Yahweh blessed only one day of the week, at the end of the creation week, and He commands us specifically to keep holy the seventh day also: “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh…Yahweh blessed the seventh day and hallowed it,”Exodus 20:8-11. He never set apart any other weekday for regular Sabbath rest.
The Father has many names.
Psalm 83:18 says His Name alone is Yahweh. Romans 10:13 says we are saved by calling upon His Name not His many titles. He has several titles, like El Elyon (“El Most High”), El Shaddai (“El All-powerful”), and Yahweh Zebaoth (“Yahweh of Hosts”), but only one Name is attributed to Him in the Bible — the personal, revealed Name Yahweh.
The Sabbath was changed to Sunday.
Not one verse in the Scriptures changes the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week. It was not the Scriptures but the Roman Church that made that portentous change. Dr. Edward Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, writes, “There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday…It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week…where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament.” The Roman Church admits that it alone authorized the change. Note: “Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the church [Roman Catholic] outside the Bible,” Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947.
His Name changes from language to language just like other names.
If this is true, why didn’t original Hebrew names like Abraham, Martha, David and even Satan change when they were brought into the English translations? What about Hebraic descriptive terms like Sabbath, Rabbi, and Maranatha, all of which exist unchanged in the English Bible? The fact is, names are transliterated, meaning the same sound is brought over into the new language virtually unaltered.
You would not change your name if you visited Russia or Argentina; your name on your passport would remain as before. When reading newspapers we never find an English translation or substitute for foreign names like Putin or Sharon. Commercials on Spanish television always leave retail names like Chevrolet and Coca-Cola untouched. Names are not language-dependent. They stand on their own, regardless of the language spoken. Again, names are transliterated, not translated.
The Sabbath was first given to Moses and was just for Israel.
The implication is that the law came into existence at Sinai, including the Fourth Commandment — the Sabbath Commandment. But we can see the law in operation in Genesis and all the way back to creation. Being part of the law, the Sabbath was also in force from the creation of man. We read of Abraham in the Book of Genesis, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws,” Genesis 26:5.
The Name Yahweh was first given to Moses at the burning bush and was unknown previously.
Yahweh’s Name is first mentioned in Genesis 2:4. We read that after the birth of Adam’s grandson Enos, “then began men to call upon the name of Yahweh,” Genesis 4:26. In Genesis 22:14 we find this, “And Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh-yireh: as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of Yahweh it shall be seen.’” Here’s proof that Yahweh’s Name was known and called upon long before Moses and even before the flood.
Sunday worship is far more common and poses fewer difficulties than Sabbath keeping.
Sin is far more common than righteousness, too, but that shouldn’t mean we choose sin over obedience. Revelation 12:9 says that Satan deceives the entire world. Whatever is popular and easy, therefore, must be closely examined and proved against the Word. Yahshua the Messiah said the way of Truth is a narrow way and few are going to find it and follow it, Matthew 7:13-14. Therefore, the Truth will be accepted only by a relatively few, and that includes the truth of the true Sabbath, 2Peter 2:2.
“God” and “Lord” are far more common than “Yahweh,” and less misunderstood.
Yahweh’s people are to come out of the world and be separate, 2Corinthians 6:17. Our convictions are not based on popular practice or public opinion polls. We are told in Psalm 22:22 that Yahshua declared Yahweh’s Name to His brethren, and so are we to do so. Regardless of what otherwise may be fashionable or common, Yahweh’s people will know His Name and be called by it, Daniel 9:19. True Worshipers get their standards from the Word, not the world.
Our salvation is not in a specific day but in the Messiah.
When Yahshua was asked about entering into everlasting life, He responded by admonishing, “keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). Hebrews 5:8-9 tells us a key fact about Yahshua, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” He set the example for us by His obedient life as He kept the weekly Sabbath as well as all of the commandments.
Our salvation is not in a specific name but in the person and authority of the Messiah.
Acts 4:12 clearly says that there is salvation in no other Name. Joel 2:32 tells us that whoever calls on Yahweh’s Name will be delivered. The Name “Yahshua” means “Yahweh is salvation.” The Name Yahshua also defines the person, and the person of the Messiah is manifest by His one Name. You cannot separate the two.
Time was lost and we do not know which day is the Sabbath.
The sequence of days in the week has never been “lost” or reshuffled. In the past, calendar dates have been adjusted to put the Gregorian calendar back in synchronization with the seasons, but never have the weekdays themselves been rearranged. Even in a leap year when an extra day is added in February, the sequence of our weekdays remains unchanged. The Hebrews kept every seventh day as the Sabbath down through history, and to confirm it we need only go back to the time of Yahshua, who Himself kept the Sabbath as commanded in the law. Never have any days been lost since. The Jews have diligently seen to that.
The exact pronunciation of the Name was lost over time.
The Encyclopaedia Judaica tells us, “The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh.’ ” (Vol. 7, p. 680). This fact is confirmed by the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used the form Yahweh, thus this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh” (15th edition, Vol. X, p. 786). Other references, including The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Catholic Encyclopedia, and Eerdman’s and Unger’s Bible dictionaries, confirm that the original pronunciation was “Yahweh.”
Early believers worshiped on Sunday, not on the Sabbath.
The Apostles kept the seventh-day Sabbath. It was on the Sabbath day that they went regularly into the synagogue to worship. InActs 16:13 we also read, “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Paul customarily taught on the Sabbath: “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,” Acts 17:2. Yahshua kept the Sabbath as well (see Matt. 12:2; Mark 6:2, Luke 13:10). Request our booklet, Popular Arguments Against the Sabbath for a fuller discourse.
Early believers used “Jehovah” and “Jesus,” not “Yahweh” and “Yahshua.”
Neither Jehovah nor Jesus was ever used by early believers because the letter “J” did not come into existence until the 15th century. “Jehovah” is a ghost word that was never used in the Scriptures for the Heavenly Father. This hybrid name, invented by the confessor to Pope Leo X, was formed by taking the vowels of Adonai and inserting them into the Tetragrammaton, YHWH. The letter “J” did not exist in Hebrew or Greek and the “v” should be a “w,” from the third Hebrew letter waw of the Tetragrammaton.
The Sabbath was nailed to the cross and was done away with.
If this were true then Paul, the supposed champion of Christianity, knew nothing about it. We find him observing the so-called “Jewish” Sabbath long after the Savior’s death and resurrection when a whole city of Gentiles came to hear him and Barnabas preach the Word on the Sabbath, Acts 13:42-46. We learn that what was nailed to the tree in Colossians 2:14 was the handwriting of ordinances (Greek dogma, man-made rules) that were “against us.” Yahweh’s law is never characterized as against us or contrary to us. Paul in Romans 7:12 informs us, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” In Acts 18:4 he preached to both Jews and Gentiles on the Sabbath.
When the Savior died Israelites were speaking Greek and so we call Him by a Greek name.
The language of Galilee and Jerusalem has always been Hebrew (or its close sister, Aramaic). Passages showing that Yahshua spoke Hebrew by using Hebrew terms and sentences include Matthew 27:46; Mark 5:41, and 7:34. Clearly, He was not speaking Greek to Jews in Galilee.
The Sabbath is not commanded in the New Testament.
This is a widely held fallacy. Hebrews 4:9 is a direct injunction to keep the seventh-day Sabbath in the New Testament: “There remains therefore a rest to the people of Elohim.” The word “rest” is sabbatismos, whose verbal form means “to keep Sabbath” and is also found several places in the Septuagint Old Testament. Verse 10 explains that this is speaking of the weekly Sabbath: “For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as Yahweh did from His.” How much clearer can the New Testament be to keep the Sabbath as Yahweh did at the end of the creation week?
The Name Yahweh does not appear in the New Testament.
Certainly we cannot earn our own salvation. Salvation is a gift given only by Yahweh through Yahshua. He does, however, give that gift to those He deems worthy through their obedience, and denies salvation to the disobedient. “And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him,” Hebrews 5:9. On the other hand, Paul wrote, “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of Elohim?” 1Corinthians 6:9. Then he defines unrighteousness by listing many examples of lawbreaking. The Sabbath is part of the royal law, and therefore to violate it is to break the law and join the ranks of the unrighteous.
Salvation does not depend on the correct pronouncing of a name.
Salvation comes to those who know their Savior, as He was our example of doing the Father’s will. Joel 2:32 says that whoever calls on the Name of Yahweh will be delivered. Luke 24:47 tells us that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations. In the KJV we read in Psalm 68:4 to “extol Him by His Name Yah,” which is a short or poetic form of the Name Yahweh. Here, we are expressly told to use His Name. Being that the Savior’s Name Yahshua means “Yahweh is salvation,” when we call on the personal, true Name of the Messiah Yahshua, we are accepting the salvation of the Father. When we say, “It doesn’t make any difference what I call Him,” we are choosing to worship as we alone see fit, rather than to do as He commands us and honor His Name, Ps. 66:2,4.
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All faiths and religions have identifying characteristics that distinguish them and the one they worship from all others. These features are instantly recognizable.
For instance, you hear the word “Hindu” and you think of a man in shorts, sitting cross-legged with hands resting on his knees, palms up, meditating on his trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. His deities, with their unique names, embody a well-defined worship, faith, and set of practices unique to Hinduism.
Similarly, when you hear the word “Islam” visions of ornate mosques come to mind and turban-headed men on their knees bowing toward Mecca with foreheads touching the ground as they worship Allah and practice the dictates they claim are demanded.
These and nearly all other religions have a worship that is consistent with the name of the one they worship. They would be quick to tell you that worshiping any other way in any other name is not worshiping Brahma…or Allah. The deity’s name invokes a unique regimen of worship. This fact should be self-evident.
Closer to home, what comes to mind by the term Roman Catholicism? The pope is prominent here. But unlike other faiths, he and his followers worship a mighty one by the generic term G-o-d. They believe this unnamed mighty one requires a specific kind of worship as well, including the rosary, veneration of Mary and saints, Sunday worship, mass, sacraments and popular holidays.
An offshoot of the Roman Church is the Protestant movement. Protestants worship the same nameless mighty one using the same nonexclusive title “G-o-d.” Nevertheless, they believe that their eternal one that goes by the same common title the Roman Church uses demands a whole different practice of faith. Although they worship the same “G-o-d,” more than 500 Protestant divisions don’t agree on that worship even among themselves, as they hold clashing beliefs and much different doctrines. Amazingly, few people ever give this profound oddity a second’s worth of thought.
Worshiping under the specific name of an identifiable Mighty One limits one’s faith to a particular belief and practice. But attempting to aim an exclusive faith at a nonspecific mighty one, as churchianity has done, leads to today’s hodgepodge.
Identify the One You Worship
In light of these facts it is critical that we ask, is the revealed, personal Name of the Heavenly Father important? Does it matter to Yahweh what you call Him? Does He need to have a name for proper worship, as the rest of the world’s faiths demand?
Some say He knows who you mean no matter what you call Him. How many Bible believers would fall on their knees in times of desperation and call out to Vishnu? Or Baal? Or Zeus? How can one expect the one true Father Yahweh to respond to a plea to a false god? What about your name in the Book of Life? Does it matter if it is correct or not? You bet it does! You see, names do matter. Names do mean something, as any honest worshiper will admit.
Names are definitive. In worship they identify and specify the one being worshiped. For all other faiths on earth the name called on points to a particular one who is worshiped in a specific manner and who (supposedly) responds in well-defined ways to a particular worship. But in a strange contradiction to this norm, Bible believers accept a common, generalized title for the true Heavenly Father they claim to invoke. And because only a nonspecific title is called on, widely divergent beliefs and practices can and do result. Does this make any sense in light of dozens and dozens of Scriptures commanding us to honor and call on His personal Name and follow only one true way of faith connected with that Name (Ephesians 4:5)?
More importantly, how close is He to those who refuse His personal Name? Does He eagerly embrace those who have decided that a generic title is more acceptable than His revealed, personal Name – the same title found at the center of contradictory doctrines, beliefs and practices?
Notice what the Apostle Paul said about this title: “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other Elohim but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one Yahweh, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Master Yahshua the Messiah, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1Cor. 8:4-6).
Names Have Meaning, Even Today
We in our Western culture have nearly lost the significance of names. Today “Johnny” is as good as “Tommy.” Even still we may be prompted to name our child after some beloved and admired individual with the same name. The good attributes of that person come through when we hear his or her name. Similarly we may reject a name for the reverse reason. All this from what the name brings to mind.
Names are much more than mere labels when it comes to the Bible. All Hebrew names mean something. For instance, Joshua (Yahshua) means “Yahweh’s Salvation”; Nehemiah (Nehemyah) signifies “Comforter of Yahweh”; and Daniel means “El My Judge,” which accords with the character and contents of his book.
The Name of the true Father we worship is particularly important because He tells us it is. Philippians 2:9 says His Name Yahweh is above every name. His Name reveals His special identity as the one true Mighty One of the universe. No other one worshiped has His Name. His Name brings us close.
You don’t mind when a stranger calls you “friend,” or “sir,” or “ma’am.” In fact you expect an unfamiliar person to use such terms. But once you are introduced and you develop camaraderie with that individual, you would feel put off if he or she continued to call you the generic “sir” or “ma’am.” Your supposed friend would be rejecting the bond that using your personal name engenders.
Yahweh feels the same way if once we know His Name we insist on calling on Him by common titles, especially the titles of other deities (Isa.42:8). His Name is the seal of a relationship that bonds us with Him. He said in Isaiah 52:6, “Therefore my people shall know my name.”
When making His all-important covenant with Israel one of the first things Yahweh did was to introduce His people to His personal Name, Exodus 3:13-15. He wanted and expected the intimacy that using His personal name would create. He called it His “memorial for all generations,” Exodus 3:15.
He thundered to the prophet, “I am Yahweh that is my name!” Isaiah 42:8. Notice He didn’t say, “I am Yahweh, that is one of my names,” or “You can just call me whatever you wish, Isaiah, I’ll know who you mean.” He said specifically, “That is my Name!” Period. (“…whose Name alone is Yahweh…” Ps. 83:18).
In the Scriptures when a person gave his name to another it signified the joining of the two in closest unity. When Yahweh gave His Name to Israel He was calling them to a marriage covenant, the closest union two can have. It is no different when a bride takes on her husband’s name. When she shares his name she becomes at one with him, both in aspiration, goal and commitment to a single cause – building a family.
Yahweh is creating his own heavenly family with His people now, one day to be resurrected as a kingdom of priests, Revelation 5:10. We read in Acts 15:14 that Yahweh is taking out from the world a special people “for His Name.” He is making a family of Yahweh. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Master Yahshua the Messiah, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” Ephesians 3:14-15.
Esteemed by Name
Biblically, the person and his name are virtually equivalent and inseparable. The word “name” in Hebrew is shem. Shem means a mark or a memorial – a person’s individuality. His name implies his honor (or dishonor), his authority, his character. In fact, scripturally a name describes and defines a person in all aspects of his or her persona.
The Name Yahweh has great importance because of what it signifies. Intrinsic to Yahweh’s Name is the very verb of existence. InExodus 3:14 He tells Moses: “I am that I am,” or “haYah asher haYah” in the Hebrew. It means I am existence itself. I cause everything to come into being. His Name Yahweh describes Him, defines Him, and expresses His attributes as the one who causes us to exist in this life and the one who can give us everlasting existence, too.
Joel 2:32 prophesies that the day will come when whoever shall call on His Name will be delivered. That meaning is central to the definition of His Name: “I am” or “I will be.” “Yahweh” also has the connotation, “I will be there (for you),” especially to be your deliverance.
His Name is a family Name. His people, His very Chosen, are a family called by His Name: “O Yahweh, hear, O Yahweh, forgive; O Yahweh, hearken and do; defer not, for your own sake, O my Elohim: for your city and your people are called by your name” (Dan. 9:19). His people take on this wonderful Name because they are in covenant union with Him – obeying Him and pleasing Him in all that they do. His Name Yahweh is found an astonishing 6,823 times in ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible. It simply cannot be ignored or dismissed.
Is ‘G-o-d’ an English Form of His Name?
A typical argument is, “I don’t call on Him by His Hebrew Name because I speak English.” Does a person change his name when traveling to foreign lands in which a different language is spoken? Or is his name the same everywhere he goes? Does he get a new passport with the corresponding name change at each new port of entry? Or is John Doe called John Doe everywhere he goes? Clearly, the name is the same everywhere. If names do in fact change then what would be the English equivalent of Vladimir Putin? It’s none other than Vladimir Putin. What is the English form of the Japanese Prime Minister’s name, Junichiro Koizumi? Why it’s Junichiro Koizumi, of course. No English equivalent exists because it’s not needed! Names don’t change in going from one country to another or one language to another.
If the argument is, I speak English therefore I use an English name for the one I worship, then please provide the English name for Satan – because that name is Hebrew and it never changed in our English Bibles. Can you supply the English form of Abraham? This is another Hebrew name right out of the Hebrew Scriptures and carried over virtually unaltered into our English translation.
What’s the English equivalent for the Hebrew name Daniel? How about Sarah and Martha? These are all Hebrew names that are unchanged in the English text because names are not translated. We have no trouble using these Hebrew names without an English equivalent because there is no English equivalent. Why should Yahweh’s Name be any different? Besides, “G-o-d” is not a name anyway but only a generic title. Calling on Him by this title is like calling out to your neighbor, “Hello human being!”
One of the most popular words of praise is halleluyah. One hears it shouted out in churches all the time by those who have no clue as to its meaning. Halleluyah is one of the most ancient words of exultation in existence and it is pure Hebrew. “Hallel” means “praise” in Hebrew, and “Yah” is the first part of the sacred Name Yahweh. Therefore halleluyah means “Praise Yah”! The most common word of praise has our Heavenly Father’s very Name embedded within it – “Halle1uYah.” We usually see this word in the form hallelujah, but there was no “j” in Hebrew, Greek or English until about the 15th century. The “j” is merely an “i” with a tail and given a “juh” sound relatively recently. The “j” and “i” were used interchangeably in alphabets until the 17th century.
Scripture records many well-known names that incorporate the name of the Heavenly Father. “Elijah” was not pronounced that way in the Scriptures. It was “Eliyah,” a name that means,” my El is Yah.” Isaiah (YeshaYah) is a Hebrew name that means “salvation of Yah.” Jeremiah (YirmeYah) is “whom Yah raises up,” Zephaniah (ZephanYah) means “hidden of Yah.” The names of many other writers and prophets contain the shortened “Yah” Name of Yahweh, showing the close bond they had to Him.
If one sticks to the position that because we speak English we should not use Hebrew name forms, then we shouldn’t use any of the aforementioned, Biblical names, either, because they are all Hebrew names and we don’t speak Hebrew. It would not be right to apply that argument just to Yahweh’s Name and not to all the other Hebrew names and words in the Bible – like Sabbath, a Hebrew term, and Messiah, another Hebrew word.
What about all the Biblical cities like Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, and the names of rivers, seas, deserts, and mountains? These would all need to be changed to some English form to be consistent with the argument for the exclusive use of English. The problem is, there are no equivalent English forms for these Hebrew names! Neither is there a proper equivalent or substitute name for Yahweh’s great Name. Let’s pursue this point even further.
‘Dear (Nameless) President’
For argument’s sake, let’s say that there is an English equivalent for the sacred Name Yahweh and that equivalent is “god,” with a capital G..
First, we must note again that “god” is not a name but a title. As we already read, Paul said there are gods many and lords many. There are also many presidents in our country – presidents of corporations, colleges, board presidents, bank presidents…but there is only one president of General Motors, only one president of Harvard, only one president of Citibank – and each has a specific, identifiable name that he answers to. If I wrote a letter addressed “Dear President,” it could apply to any one of these presidents. Only when I include the name with that title do I reveal the one I am actually addressing.
If I pray to a god then according to Paul in 2Corinthians 4:4 I may be praying to Satan because Satan is called the “god of this world.” Myriads of other god deities have been worshiped by man throughout history.
Is “G-o-d” an English form for “Yahweh”? Does He expect His people to change His Name to something else according to the language spoken? And is that even possible? TheOxford English Dictionary (OED) says “god” stems from the Old High German,got, deriving from the Gothic guthand going back to the Teutonic gudo, which stems from two Aryan roots – one meaning to invoke, the other to pour in the sense of a molten image. Call on god and you call on an idol, according to the origin of this word. Capitalizing it doesn’t change anything.
G-o-d is far from being an English term. Its common English usage belies ancient foreign origins. Relatively few of the words we use in English are purely English. The word “English” itself isn’t even English. England is from Englaland, land of the Angles. Who were the Angles? None other than Germans from the lowlands of Germany who settled in eastern England in the 5th century. “English” is from Englisc, meaning of the Angles – Germans! (see “English,” OED)
Our Impure ‘English’ Language
English is a melting pot language borrowing extensively from many languages. The statement, “I speak English so I do not use the Hebrew Name” is self-contradictory. Here’s why:
Let’s break down the words etymologically: “I speak English so I do not use the Hebrew Name.” Discovering the origin of each of the words in that sentence proves enlightening indeed:
I = the letter I is the ninth letter of the alphabet, coming through the Latin from the Greek and ultimately from the Semitic or Hebrewyod – the first letter in Yahweh’s Name.
speak = from the German sprechen.
English = a proper noun based in German
so = akin to the Gothic swa
do = traces to Sanskrit which was spoken in India.
not = Old English nought, cognate to several old Saxon and French formations
use = from Latin usus
the = from Teutonic and Indo-European forms
Hebrew = Hebrew Eber, one who “crosses over”
Name = Greek onoma
In the statement, “I speak English so I do not use the Hebrew Name,” only one of those 11 words is in fact English. English is not by any stretch a pure language. Much of it is from the Romance languages and vast numbers of its words derive from the Greek and Latin (and ultimately Hebrew). Most of the words we use in English come from some other language!
The point in all of this is that language has little to do with calling on Yahweh’s Name. He was Yahweh before He put man on earth. Before He created all these languages from Babel, He was Yahweh. “Yahweh” is existence personified. Psalm 135:13 says, “Thy Name endures forever, your memorial throughout all generations.” His Name is His memorial that endures for all time.
The First Commandment Is Foundational
The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:2 begin, “I am Yahweh your Elohim which brought you out of the land of Egypt. You shall have no other mighty ones before me.” In the very first of the 10 Commandments Yahweh established right off the bat that, above everything else, He has an identity. If you don’t get that part right, everything else about your worship will fall like dominoes. We must above all else worship the right Mighty One. As we witness the general decay of Bible-professing religion and the perversion of all that is right and moral on this planet, we can go back to the very first of the Ten Commandments and see why Yahweh established Himself as supreme.
If man would have just kept Commandment One he would have kept all the rest. All false worship can ultimately be traced to a violation of this first of the Ten Commandments. Every sin we commit results from an unwillingness to put Yahweh and His laws first in our lives. Before He says anything Yahweh establishes at the start that HE is Yahweh our Mighty One. Ecclesiastes 12:13 bears out this important truth: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Yahweh and keep His commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.”
We continue in Exodus 20:4: “You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Understand that heathens didn’t worship a stone image as the stone that it was, but as a representation of some deity.
Yahweh says don’t make these things because they will remove you from worship of Me, and I am the only one you are to worship. When we employ substitute titles for His Name we are in idolatry not unlike the pagan’s wood and stone. In the same way that an idol removes us from Him, substituting His Name veers us away from Him and the specific worship expressed by His Name and puts us in a generalized worship that is practiced by diverse and conflicting denominations.
Moving on to 20:6 we are told to keep the commandments if we love Him and He in turn will show mercy to us. Now notice verse 7: “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain.” Taking His Name in vain does not mean to curse when you smash your thumb with a hammer. “Take” is the Hebrew nasa, meaning to lift or bring to. “Vain” comes from shoaw, to rush over, bring to devastation, uselessness, waste – basically it means neglect.
When we trade His name for some title, we are breaking the Third Commandment. “You shall not bring His Name to desolation or ignore it through neglect,” the Hebrew behind the commandment says. When we use a common title in worship we are missing the most important aspect of who Yahweh is and what He stands for; what He is all about and what He will do for us if we would just follow and obey Him. His Name describes the very essence of who He is – Yahweh: He is existence personified.
No title can begin to denote all that His Name stands for. A title defeats the purpose of a name. It just sits there like a pasted-on label, with no unique meaning and no particular identity attached. Calling Him G-o-d is like greeting your neighbor, “Hello human being.”
When you call on the Name Yahweh you are invoking the only true, active, all-powerful, majestic Being in the universe. Most people would prefer a nameless mighty one who, like a kindly old grandfather, is there to bail them out when needed but who otherwise is absent while they live out their lives any way they choose without hindrance. Much better for them to keep Him nameless and in the shadows and not make Him too real through the calling on a personal name. Perhaps this is the underlying reason His Name is so often avoided today.
Do we have such little respect and regard for our Heavenly Father that we would deny Him His own Name and call Him whatever we please?
Our prayer is that you will grasp the critical importance of the truth presented here and come to know your Creator through His personal, covenant Name Yahweh, the only Name given to us for salvation, Acts 4:12; Joel 2:32.
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It is the greatest cover-up in all of human history. Many have lived their entire lives never realizing that their Father in heaven has a personal name that is a necessary part of proper worship. Some believe He answers to Jehovah. But that name has been soundly disproven. Today His true Name is being proclaimed and many are discovering it and realizing the necessity of calling on the only Name given to man for salvation. He Himself challenges us in Proverbs 30:4 by asking, “What is His Name and what is His Son’s Name if you can tell?” In this study we will show what the Heavenly Father’s actual name is, what His son’s Name is as well, and why knowing them by their revealed names is critically important for correct worship and … for salvation itself.
Do you want a personal relationship with the one you worship?” the evangelist bellowed to the crowd. “Do you want to know Him intimately and receive His blessings?” The crowd goes wild. “Then ask God to come into your heart.”
Hold on a minute. What’s wrong with this scene? How can you have a personal relationship with a generic label? Doesn’t closeness begin with a personal name? The Apostle Paul wrote, “For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’,” 1Corinthians 8:5 (ESV). Even Satan is referred to by the common term “god”! Paul wrote, “…in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving…” 2Corinthians 4:4.
Using the same designation for our Creator that is used for the evil one, as well for false deities of the pagans, presents serious issues. Replacing His Name with a common title is identity theft.
The Third Commandment is explicit about the necessity of His true Name in our worship. “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” The word vain is the Hebrew shoaw and means emptiness, worthlessness, waste, ruin. Removal of His name brings it to a state of ruin and desolation.
To distinguish the Heavenly Father from other so-called deities, those who refuse to call on His Name are forced to add qualifying descriptions like “the great god,” and “the one and only true god.” By its very nature a title must be buttressed with many adjectives in order to nail down exactly who you mean. But a personal name easily solves this identity problem, and of course is entirely appropriate as well. He commands His people to call on His revealed, personal Name.
It should be obvious that the title “god” is a broad-spectrum, general term and is not capable of individual identification. Capitalizing it doesn’t change that.
We would have the same problem if every man in the world had his name replaced with the title “Mr.” Imagine this conversation: “Give this to Mr. for me, would you?”
“Uh, which Mr. do you mean? There are millions of them.”
“You know, the one true Mr., the only genuine Mr.”
Does this make sense?
The obvious purpose of a name is to distinguish one individual from another. That should go without saying, yet how many think about that simple fact when it comes to their Heavenly Father? They have been taught to call Him by a generic label, which He Himself says is unacceptable.
It is amazing that all religions are known by the name of the one worshiped … except Christianity. Anciently the god of the Akkadians was Marduk; the god of the Ammonites was Moloch; the god of the Greeks was Zeus; the god of the Romans was Jupiter; the god of the Moabites was Baal-peor; The god of the Muslims is Allah, and the god of the Christians is…God? Using a nondescript, indefinite, impersonal, nonidentifying title does not identify the One you worship! Capitalizing that title doesn’t turn it into a name, no more than capitalizing the title “mister” does.
By removing His Name from our Bibles and our worship we denigrate Him and bring Him down to the lowest common denominator. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary explains: “[His] name reveals his character and salvation in which people may take refuge (Ps. 20:1; cf. Isa. 25:1, 56:6); to treat [His] name as empty is to despise his person (Ex. 20:7),” p. 747.
His One and Only Name
What then is the revealed, personal Name of the Creator of the universe as established in the Bible?
We’ll let Him tell us. In Isaiah 42:8 He said, “I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my honor will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” He makes it crystal clear that He expects us to call on His personal Name Yahweh, which separates Him from the world of idols. He says that when you hear my Name that you will know it is I. When using His personal Name you don’t need to define who you mean. It is His personal identity. His Name tells it all. It also distinguishes His people when they call on Him in His Name.
In Isaiah 52:6 Yahweh thunders, “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.”
The prophet said in Micah 4:5, “For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of Yahweh our Elohim for ever and ever.” In other words, all the other religions have a name for the one they worship, and so does the true one.
The Name “Yahweh” is becoming more widely known and acknowledged as His genuine Name. Theologians along with the general public are starting to catch up with Bible scholarship, textual proof, and historical fact, all of which reveal the truth of the Name Yahweh.
In this booklet we will show why His Name is Yahweh and His Son’s Name is Yahshua by using source manuscripts, scholarship, linguistics, etymology, and archaeology.
Coming to know His revealed, personal name is one of those gratifying “Ah-ha” moments that make you say, “Yes, of course, that makes perfect sense. Why wasn’t I told this before?” When He refers to His Name, He means His literal Name, not a common title or generic stamp. To those who say He has many names, Yahweh inspired this response, “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is YAHWEH, are the most high over all the earth,” Psalm 83:18.
Those other “names” that some may cite are just adjectives added to His Name to describe some aspect of Him, like Yahweh-Yireh (Yahweh will provide), Yahweh-Nissi (Yahweh my banner), Yahweh-Sabaoth (Yahweh of hosts), and Yahweh Zidkenu (Yahweh our righteousness). Other so-called “names” are just titles, like “Elohim,” “Lord,” and “Adonai.”
The Name Yahweh is from the Hebrew verb of existence hayah, meaning “I am.” Some scholars say it also means I will be whatever I want to be or need to be. He explained His Name and its significance in Exodus 3. In verse 15 He told Moses that His Name was a memorial to all generations. Memorial in Hebrew (zakar) means to mark, remember, mention.
Yahweh causes all things to exist, including us human beings, He is the self-existent One. He causes everything in the universe to be and He controls all of it. We exist because He exists. That is who “Yahweh” is.
Jehovah and the Letter J
His true Name Yahweh was cloaked through the centuries by the erroneous “Jehovah.” The name Jehovah is an impossibility because there was never a letter “J” or sound of a J in the Hebrew or Greek languages from which our Bible translations are derived. Not even the early 1611 King James English Bible used the letter J, but employed the letter “I” instead. In Psalm 68:4 it reads, “…extol him that rideth upon the heavens, by his Name IAH…” The letter J came into widespread use only 500 years ago, becoming the newest letter to join the English alphabet. Before its debut, the J had a Y sound and grew out of the vowel “i,” which is why the lower case “j” is dotted like the “i” and was given a hooked tail to distinguish it from the “i.”
The Encyclopedia Americana says, “The form of J was unknown in any alphabet until the 14th century.”
The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, agrees that the J is only a modification of the Latin I and dates back with a separate value only to the 15th century.
Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia (1979 edition), volume 14, page 94 under “J,” states: “J, the tenth letter and seventh consonant in the English alphabet. It is the latest addition to the English script and has been inserted in the alphabet after I, from which it was developed…”
The Jewish Encyclopedia calls the word Jehovah “a philological impossibility.”
The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology says that Jehovah is an erroneous transliteration of the Hebrew name YHWH, “often represented as Yahweh” (1995).
In the preface to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible is the following statement: “The form Jehovah is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name [YHWH] and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word. The sound of Y is represented by J and the sound of W by V, as in Latin. The word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew,” pp. 6-7.
The Moffatt Bible says in the preface about the Jehovah:
“Strictly speaking, this ought to be rendered ‘Yahweh,’ which is familiar to modern readers in the erroneous form of ‘Jehovah.’ Were this a version intended for students of the original, there would be no hesitation whatever in printing ‘Yahweh.’”
The name Jehovah is a synthetic blend. It even has a shocking aspect. The suffix hovah is No. 1943 in Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary and has the meaning of “ruin: mischief.” It is another form of No. 1942, havvah, which is translated “calamity, iniquity, mischief, mischievous (thing), naughtiness, naughty, noisome, perverse thing, substance, very wickedness.” Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius says of No. 1943, hovah: “ruin, disaster.” No wonder the Rotherham Bible refers to the name Jehovah as a monstrous hybrid!
Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses acknowledge that the name Jehovah falls short. Their book, “Let Your Name Be Sanctified” freely admits on pages 16 and 18 that Yahweh is the superior translation of the Tetragrammaton.
Read One Way But Spoken Another
In an effort to protect the sacred Name from being pronounced and even profaned, ancient scribes added vowel points (code letters) from the title Adonai (“Lord” in English) to the four letters of His Name, YHWH, thereby prompting the reader to use the substitute term “Adonai” instead of “Yahweh.” Kohlenberger in his introduction to Hebrew-English explains this device as kethib-qere, meaning the name is written one way but is read or pronounced another way.
The Encyclopedia Judaica explains which vowels were used wrongly to transform Yahweh into Jehovah: “In the early Middle Ages, when the consonantal text of the Bible was supplied with vowel points to facilitate its correct traditional reading, the vowel points for Adonai with one variation—a sheva (short ‘e’) with the first yod [Y] of YHWH instead of the hataf-patah (short ‘a’) under the aleph of Adonai—was used for YHWH, thus producing the form YeHoWaH. When Christian scholars of Europe first began to study Hebrew they did not understand what this really meant, and they introduced the hybrid name ‘Jehovah’” (vol. 7, p. 680).
As the Judaica notes, by deliberately inserting the vowel sign for “e” into the first part of the Tetragrammaton, the short form of the Name “Yah” was rendered “Yeh.” Thus, the Jewish Masoretes effectively hid even the short form Yah of the sacred Name. It is this erroneous form “Yeh” that has survived to this day in “Jeh”ovah and most likely enters into the development of the erroneous form of the Son’s name, Je-sus, which we will see later.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (Micropedia, vol. 10) corroborates. Under “Yahweh” we read, “The personal name of the [El] of the Israelites …The Masoretes, Jewish biblical scholars of the Middle Ages, replaced the vowel signs that had appeared above or beneath the consonants of YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or of Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) came into being.”
Another authority says this: “The pronunciation Jehovah was unknown until 1520 when it was introduced by [Petrus] Galatinus [Pope Leo X’s confessor] but was contested by Le Mercier, J. Drusius, and L. Capellus as against grammatical and historical propriety,”Emphasized Bible, Rotherham, p. 24.
(To learn more about the Hebrew alphabet and the practice of vowel pointing see “Hebrew Articulation” preceding Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary.)
The Reason for Hiding the Sacred Name
Why was His Name Yahweh avoided and hidden for millennia? Jewish religious leaders had an ultra-pious interpretation of Leviticus 24:16, which commanded that anyone who blasphemed Yahweh’s Name (did violence to it) should be stoned to death. They took that injunction and ramped it up, so that just pronouncing the Name constituted a serious offense. Ultimately, the Jews would not use the Name even in normal religious worship or exercises.
Another passage the Jews cite is Jeremiah 44:26, where Yahweh tells Judah not to use His Name in Egypt or foreign lands. Why did He say that? It was because they had worshiped the queen of heaven! It was a punishment for their sins. We have statements from Philo and Josephus around the time of Yahshua that this avoidance in uttering the name carried over into the New Testament as well.
What exactly happened in the New Testament and why aren’t most churches using the sacred Name today
Hiding the Name in the New Testament — Nomina Sacra
The Jewish belief that the name was not to be pronounced was picked up in the 2nd century C.E. by Greek translators and various Christian church leaders who continued the Jewish practice of Name substitution. They also adopted the notion that Adonai, translated Lord (kyrios in Greek), gave the Heavenly Father a universal character. Finally, the Jewish practice of avoiding the Name further evolved among Christians into the belief that the Name was no longer important and to use it was Judaizing.
The New Testament translators even mimicked the Hebrew scribal custom of adding vowel pointing to the Name to render it “Adonai” instead of Yahweh. This scribal practice carried over in the New Testament Greek and was known as nomina sacra (meaning “sacred names”). Specifically, the Greek letters kappa epsilon with a line above them were inserted for the sacred Name. Consequently, the reader would read “kurios” (Greek term for Lord) instead of the Name. All of the earliest Christian papyri exhibit the nomina sacra.
Bruce Metzger’s book, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, lists 15 examples of these abbreviations from Greek papyri that were used for: God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, Son, Spirit, David, cross, Mother, Father, Israel, Savior, Man, Jerusalem, and Heaven (examples appear as found in KJV). Except for “mother,” which is not found until the 4th century CE, all other nomina sacra in Greek manuscripts from the first through third centuries CE. While scholars are still debating the purpose, some propose that this shortening of key words may have been used to replace the Tetragrammaton (see Ex. 3:15) with the common title Kurios (typically abreviated “KS” with a line above) in Greek Christian manuscripts.
This offers a likely explanation as to why Yahweh’s Name is missing from the Greek New Testament. In fact, in those places where the Tetragrammaton should appear, the definite article is missing in front of the nomina sacra. This conclusion is supported also by German scholar David Trobisch’s work, The First Edition of The New Testament. In the instance of a Hebrew or Aramaic NT original, this may also explain why the Greek title theos, typically (abbreviated “THS” with a line above), appears in place of the Hebrew [Elohim] (see Gen. 1:1).
Let’s now look at the oldest Bible manuscripts available to confirm that ‘the Heavenly Father’s Name was truly Yahweh.
‘Yahweh’ in the Original Text
In the Hebrew, which is the oldest text of your Bible, Yahweh’s Name is found in the form of the four letters (known as the Tetragrammaton) no fewer than 6,823 times. Those four letters are: yod, hay, waw, hay or YHWH in our alphabet. This four-lettered name is seen abundantly throughout the ancient Hebrew manuscripts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest of the Bible manuscripts in existence.
Some believe that the correct pronunciation of Yahweh’s Name has been lost through the centuries. The Judaica says otherwise: “The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh’” (Vol. 7, p. 680).
One of those was Clement of Alexandria, a Greek-speaking teacher in the early New Testament period (150-211 CE). He said, “The mystic name which is called the tetragrammaton … is pronounced Iaoue, which means, ‘who is, and who shall be’” (“How to pronounce ‘YHWH,’” Biblical Archaeology Review magazine, September/October 1994).
Already in the sixteenth century Mercerus suggested that the original pronunciation of the name was Yahwe (Anchor Bible note on Job).
The Schaff-Herzog 20th Century Encyclopedia says, “The pronunciation Yahweh of the Hebrew tetragrammaton need no longer be based on traditions preserved in late patristic sources. Both the vocalization yahwe and yahu (a shortened form used chiefly in personal names) are now confirmed by a variety of ancient Near Eastern inscriptional materials from the first and second millennia B.C,” pp. 1194-1195.
Others who confirm the correct rendition of the Tetragrammaton include Origen in his Hexapla (Greek revision of the Septuagint) and Jerome, who translated the Old Testament into Latin.
Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible says, “The true pronunciation seems to have been Yahwe (or Iahway, the initial I = y, as in Iachimo).” It notes that the e should be pronounced as the e in there, and the first h sounded as an aspirate (breathed letter).
For those who claim the Name should be Yahveh, the book, How the Hebrew Language Grew by Edward Horowitz, says, “The Yemenite Jews of Arabia who retain an ancient, correct and pure pronunciation of Hebrew still pronounce the (waw) as ‘w’ – as does Arabic, the close sister language of Hebrew.” The “v” developed much later through the Germanic, Yiddish influence in Europe.
The Missing Vowels Argument
Some misinformed individuals have claimed that the exact pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton is unknown because Hebrew lacks vowels. This is incorrect for several reasons. Hebrew indeed has vowels, but the vowels were just not written into the Hebrew text. If Hebrew had no vowels then the entire Old Testament could not be read out loud or spoken. The Hebrew speaker understood the correct pronunciation of each word because he knew the language and the sounds of the letters and their combinations.
Consider, we can decipher many English words through repeated usage, even with no vowels. For example, if we saw the letters “txt” we would read it “text” even without the vowel “e.” When it came to names, “Wllm” would be “William” and “Jhn” would signify “John.” As with Hebrew, we see the consonants and restore the proper vowels.
Later in the seventh century C.E. scribes called Masoretes added diacritical marks or vowel points to Hebrew words so that the correct pronunciation would be preserved. These scribes obviously knew how to pronounce Hebrew words! We have also seen how the wrong vowel points were purposely used to try to hide the name Yahweh.
No language can be spoken without vowels. Vowels are vocalized with the open mouth. It would be virtually impossible to pronounce words without vowels; all you could do with just consonants alone is make incomprehensible sounds (try pronouncing those last two words with their vowels removed: ncmprhnsbl snds). Acting as a built-in safeguard to preserve the correct pronunciation, the three letters of the Tetragrammaton (the H is repeated) are also used as vowel-consonants in Hebrew, much as our letter “Y” can be used as either a vowel or a consonant. The writings of Qumran show that in the first century that “Y” used as a vowel made the sounds I and E. In Hebrew the consonants Y, W, H, can serve as vowels, being called ‘mothers of reading’ (matres lectionis). When these consonants do double-duty as vowels they help in the pronunciation of many Hebrew words.
But there is yet more confirmation that Yahweh is the correct Name.
The Jewish priest and historian Josephus, who lived in the first century of the New Testament era, attests that the Tetragrammaton is made up of vowels. In writing of the Temple, he said about the high priest, “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of Yahweh]; it consists of four vowels,” Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 5, section 7.
Being vowels, the letters of the Tetragrammaton spoken together are pronounced: EE-AH-OO-EH. Say them rapidly and you get “Yahweh.”
The personal, revealed Name Yahweh is attested in the prefaces of some Bibles. For example, the New Revised Standard Version says, “While it is almost, if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced ‘Yahweh’…’ Greek versions corroborate “Yahweh.”
Importance of His Name
In an effort to explain why a particular Bible version doesn’t use the Name Yahweh, some editors will waffle with a statement like, we use the substitute names and titles that readers are more familiar with—as if it didn’t matter to Yahweh Himself what we call Him.
Yahweh has a much different attitude about His personal Name, however. He told Moses to tell Israel in Exodus 3:15, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Yahweh Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
Repeatedly He emphasizes the necessity of His Name. He said His Name alone is Yahweh forever, and it is not subject to alterations. He gives the command to “call on my name” in Psalm 99:6; we are told to declare His Name in Romans 9:17 andHebrews 2:2; to exalt His Name in Psalm 34:3 and Isaiah 2:4; to honor his name in Psalm 66:2, 4; to praise his Name in2Samuel 22:50; to remember His Name in Exodus 3:15; to sing to His Name in Psalm 9:1-2; to think on His Name in Malachi 3:16.; and in Deuteronomy 32:3 to publish His Name. In a critical passage He declares that there is salvation in no other name. Acts 4:12reads: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Yahshua the Savior carries His father’s Name in His own, and therefore has the only Name that offers salvation. After reading what He Himself says, who can argue that substitute names and titles are just as acceptable to Him?
You can find the name Yahweh verified in nearly any common encyclopedia, in most dictionaries and in a host of Bible study references (look under “Yahweh,” “Lord” or “God”). It is restored in the modern text of some Bible versions, including the Jerusalem and New Jerusalem Bibles, The Anchor Bible, Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible, World English Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible (50 times) and eight times in the New Living Translation and the Bible in Basic English. It is completely restored in our own Restoration Study Bible.
The Scriptures Confirm His Name Yahweh
Abundant evidence of the true Name exists within the Bible itself. Nicknames, which are often just shortened versions of the longer name, were used anciently as well as today. Abram was a shortened version of Abraham.
Yahweh also has a short form of His name, which is spelled by the first two letters of the Tetragrammaton, YH. The name “Yah” is found abundantly in the Hebrew manuscript sources of our Bible translations. It is even found in the King James Version inPsalm 68:4: “Sing unto Elohim, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.” The “J” was originally a “Y,” as corrected in Psalm 68:4 by the New King James Version.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew dictionary No. 3050 has the entry Yahh, a contraction for 3068 [the Tetragrammaton, the Sacred Name].
The short form of Yahweh’s Name exists in many names of key Bible personalities. For example, it is found at the end of such names as Isaiah (IsaYah), Jeremiah (YeremYah), Hosea (HoseYah), Nehemiah (NehemiYah) and Hezekiah (HezekYah). The Anglicized “i-a-h” in these names is Y-a-h in the Hebrew. You can hear the “Yah” clearly when the name is spoken. But Yah also appears at the beginning of many names, as in Joel (Yah-el); Joash (Yah-awsh); Jonadab (Yah-nadab), Jochebed (Yah-chebed, mother of Moses), and Joanna (Yah-anna). This “Yah” or shortened form of Yahweh’s Name is also found in the common word of praise, halleluYah, a purely Hebrew term that
means “praise Yah.” Spelled hallelujah, it is still pronounced with the original Y sound—halleluyah—thus preserving the short form of His Name in a very well-established word.
Having His Name encoded in the names of notable Bible personalities is known as theophany. And there is one individual’s name in which assimilating the Father’s Name is absolutely critical — it is the Name of His Son the Messiah, the Savior of men
Our Savior’s True Name
In Exodus 23:21 we see a prophecy that the one sent to rescue Israel, and all of mankind as well, carries the Father’s Name within his own name. “Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name [is] in him.” This is a reference to the Savior Yahshua because only He is given the authority to pardon transgressions.
The last six words plainly state that the Father’s Name exists in the Son’s – “for my name [is] in him.” The Son affirmed that He literally bore His Father’s Name. “I am come in my Father’s name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive,” John 5:43.
Some contend that this just means that He came in the authority of the Father. That is true, too. Yet, as we have seen with many noteworthy patriarchs and prophets, the short form of Yahweh’s Name, Yah, is literally found in their names. This is common in the Hebrew Scriptures. Should it not be even more essential that the Son would carry his Father’s name in His own, especially since He Himself said so and because they are Father and Son? Every son today inherits his father’s surname. If the father’s last name is Smith, so is the son’s. The Heavenly Father and Son also share the family Name, Yah, in their own names.
Virtually every name in Hebrew has a meaning. Our Savior’s earthly father Joseph was told by the angel to give His Son a name that signified salvation.
Notice, “But while he (Joseph) thought on these things, behold, the angel of Yahweh appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Yahshua: for he shall save his people from their sins,” Matthew 1:20-21.
The angel Gabriel also spoke to Mary regarding the name of her unborn son. Since Mary, or more correctly Miriam, was a Hebrew of the tribe of Judah (see Luke 1:27), Gabriel had to communicate to her in the Hebrew tongue, her native language. Had he spoken to her in Latin or Greek she would not have understood him. Whenever angels spoke to mankind in Scripture it was always in the Hebrew tongue.
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with Elohim. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Yahshua” (Luke 1:30-31).
The Messiah’s purpose was to save His people from the death penalty resulting from their sinful behavior IF they would turn to Him in repentance. The angel tied the son’s Name directly to salvation. You shall call Him this Name because He shall save His people. It can’t get any clearer! In Hebrew the word for salvation is hoshua. Because the Father’s Name is in the Savior’s Name, and knowing that His purpose was to bring salvation, we combine these two essential facts and the result is a name that means “Yahweh (Yah) is salvation” or “Yahshua.”
Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary shows how erroneous vowel pointing changes YAH to give YEH. You can see this by scanning through the entire column starting with “Yehovah.” In every name in this column, a shewa (:) appears under the Hebrew letter yod (y), and thereby the pronunciation in the prefix of all those names is changed to “YEH.” The proper vowel point should have been the hataf-patah (short ‘a’) to yield “YAH,” as the Judaica has explained.
Using the “e” instead of the proper “a” changes the critical family Name YAH, the first syllable of both Yahweh’s and Yahshua’s Names. This also explains how the “e” likely came about in the transformed name that became Jesus. The next letter in Jesus, “s,” results from the fact that Greek has no letter “h” and therefore no “sh” sound, only the hard “s” sound of the sigma. This was incorporated into the Latin text.
The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology explains, “Iesous is the Greek form of the Old Testament Jewish name Yesua [Yahshua], arrived at by transcribing the Hebrew and adding an “s” to the nominative to facilitate declension.”
The final “us” in “Jesus” is the Greek nominative masculine singular ending. Matthew 1:8-11 contains the genealogy of Joseph’s line, where we can find similar examples of “s” added to produce Greek-inflected Hebrew names: Uzziah becomes Ozias; Hezekiah becomes Ezekias; Jonah becomes Jonas, etc. Ending a name with an “a” in Greek makes it feminine, so the Greek translators gave it a masculine “us” ending. Such errors among names in most versions can be traced to translators who failed to transliterate those names properly to bring the name sound for sound into the next language. Jesus is the English rendering of the Latin transliteration of the Greek word “Iesous” (pronounced ee-ay-sooce’). As we look into the origin and meaning of the Savior’s name we learn that the Latinized Greek name Jesus has no connection to His true Hebrew name.
Yahweh has bestowed on His Son the family Name, as we see in Philippians 2:9, “Wherefore Yahweh also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Yahshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Yahshua Messiah is Master, to the glory of Yahweh the Father.”
Our Savior’s Family Was Not Greek
A fundamental question about the Messiah’s Name is, why would His Hebrew parents Mary and Joseph call their child a Latinized Greek name, which also lacks any connotation of salvation? To do so would also violate what the angel told them to call their Son. Would an American couple living in Iowa give their child a Chinese name? Of course not. Chinese is not their race or culture. Neither would a Hebrew couple living in the heart of Israel name their child a Greek name like “Jesus.”
The Greek culture and language were foreign to the Jews in Israel. The invading Greeks were gentiles and were despised by most Hebrews living in the environs of Jerusalem at the time. There was no love between Jews and the pagan, Zeus-worshiping Helenists. The Greek ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes had grotesquely defiled the Hebrew’s temple by having a hog slaughtered on its altar and then dedicating the Temple to Zeus. This madman’s monstrous act was so egregious that it would parallel what the man of sin will one day do to devastate true worship prior to Yahshua’s return, Matthew 24:15.
The acts of Antiochus in forcing the worship of the Greek god Zeus on the Jews and killing tens of thousands of Hebrews incited the Maccabbean revolt. In Acts 21:26-29 Paul had upset the Jews by bringing Greeks into the temple, proving that Jews had no love for the heathen Greeks. It was for the Greek-speaking Jews outside of Israel in Gentile nations, mostly in Egypt, that the Septuagint Greek Scriptures were translated.
Was the New Testament Originally Greek?
Many believe that the apostles originally wrote the New Testament in Greek simply because Greek manuscripts are the oldest available. Internal and external testimony explodes the common myth of a Greek original. Consider that the Savior’s earthly parents were Jews, Semitic people in the Hebrew nation of Israel. The Savior’s avowed purpose was to take the truth of the Word to the house of Israel. He chose Hebrew apostles to help in His ministry. He taught and worked almost exclusively in the central region of Israel, mostly around Galilee. He spoke Hebrew or the close sister tongue Aramaic as did everyone else in Galilee. Everything about Him exhibited the Semitic tongue Hebrew, including His Name.
The reason so much of worship — even today— reflects a Grecianized, Romanized flavor is that these cultures transformed the early New Testament faith when they absorbed the Hebrews into their western society. Because of this, many key New Testament teachings today do not reflect what they were in the year 30 CE. (Request the booklet, Astonishing Bible Truths That Your Church Never Taught.)
Joshua and Yahshua Share Virtually the Same Name
Another eye-opening link to the actual name of our Savior is the Old Testament name Joshua. If you replace the more recent letter “J” in Joshua’s name with the original “Y,” you have the pronunciation “Yahshua” (try it—say Joshua out loud, now say it again using the proper Y instead of J). There is an equivalency between the Savior’s name and the Old Testament name Joshua, as indicated in several Scriptures.
The first of these is Jeremiah 23:5, which prophesies, “Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”
This “Branch” with a capital “B” in the KJV is a clear reference to Yahshua the Messiah, who came from King David’s line. Note that this Branch is called righteous, that He shall reign as king, and that he will judge the earth. That can only point directly to the returning Messiah.
But now let’s see how truly illuminating this Branch metaphor is. Who else is associated with this designation “Branch”?
The prophet Zechariah in 6:11-12 wrote: “Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set [them] upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Yahweh of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name [is] The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of Yahweh.” It is the name Joshua that is associated with “the Branch.” Through this Branch epithet we see that both the high priest Joshua and the Messiah share the same Name.
But there is still more confirmation connecting the name Joshua to the Savior’s name.
When Bible translators brought the New Testament Greek translation over into the English, they substituted the sacred Names rather than transliterated them as they should have done. Two examples are Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8.
Acts 7:45 reads, “Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom Elohim drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David.”
Hebrews 4:8 reads, “For if Jesus had given them rest then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.”
Both verses refer to Joshua, the leader of Israel in the Old Testament who succeeded Moses and led Israel into the promised land. Yet, here He is called “Jesus”! Clearly this was a mistake by translators, and a very revealing error at that.
It demonstrates that when translators came across the name Yahshua in the New Testament, that they automatically changed it to the Latinized Greek substitute, Jesus. The Bible itself warns against adding to or taking from the Word. In Deuteronomy 4:2 we hear Yahweh’s warning about changing the text in any manner:
Explicit Meaning in the Name
We read in Acts 4:12, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Changing His Name is serious business and even impacts salvation. Names in Hebrew are tightly wrapped in their own meanings. Changing Yahshua’s name is not only identity theft, but it also alters His purpose for coming. He has gone from “Yahweh’s Salvation” to a name void of any innate meaning, showing again that Jesus is not Hebraic because Hebrew names have meaning.
The Savior Yahshua came to offer salvation. That is what Yah-shua means in the Hebrew. Act 4:12 tells us there is salvation in no other name. No Latinized-Grecian name or substitute title has that significance.
In his book, The God of Two Testaments, author Robert Brent Graves writes, “…the rendering of ‘Savior’ only gives part of the Hebrew meaning. In the original Hebrew, ‘Joshua’ literally means ‘Yahweh saves’ or ‘Yahweh-Savior’! For the first syllable of ‘Joshua’ in the Hebrew is Yah, an abbreviated form of Yahweh…” Graves further observes that Yahweh “has literally stamped upon the Messiah’s Name (1) His own name—Yahweh and (2) His own title—Savior.”
The Anchor Bible note on Matthew 1:1 reads: “Jesus. The word is the Greek rendering of a well-known Hebrew name. It was Yahoshu first, then by inner Hebrew phonetic change it became Yoshua, and by a still northern dialectal shift, Yeshua.” This reference goes on to say that the first part of the name, Yahu equals Yahweh, while the second comes from shua, “to help, save.”
Kittle’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament reveals through the Hebrew that the name Yahoshua was shortened after the exile. The shortened form Yahshua was in vogue at the time of His birth.
Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott says in the appendix under “Jesus”—”This name is composed of YAH, or JAH, I shall be and SHUA, Powerful;–“I shall be the Powerful.” Hence he is “mighty to save, and strong to deliver,” and will “save his people from their sins.
Eusebius, third-century scholar of the Biblical canon, noted that the Son’s name means the salvation of Elohim. “For Isoua among the Hebrews is salvation, and among them the son of Nun is called Joshua; and Iasoue is the salvation of JAH,” Ibid.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:10-11: “That at the name of Yahshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Yahshua Messiah is Sovereign, to the glory of Yahweh the Father.”
Man Decides Instead of Yahweh
Ancient Bible manuscripts from which your Bible was translated show the sacred names, but translators failed to carry them over and instead replaced them. Remarkably, they left many other Hebrew names virtually unchanged, such as: Satan, David, Abraham, Eleazar, Immanuel, Rachel, Joseph, Barabbas, Martha, and Tabitha.
It is fundamental to understand that names are not translated. Nor are specific names changed in going from language to language. Instead, the sound of a name is brought over from one language to another. William Smith is William Smith no matter where he goes in the world. His name isn’t translated or changed. He signs his credit card “William Smith” in every foreign country he is in. He answers to the name William Smith whether in France, Russia or Zimbabwe. When a dignitary from Russia or China visits the U.S., American newscasts pronounce his name the same as in his native language. Who would ever ask for the English equivalent of Vladimir Putin or the English version of Chinese leader Hu Jintao? Clearly, no one, because there is no English version. The same goes for the Father’s Name. It is the same worldwide in every language.
The Lord God?
The shocking negligence in the way the sacred Name was handled through the centuries was even prophesied in such passages asJeremiah 23:27, saying, “Their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.” Baal equals “Lord” according to the Hebrew lexicon. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names confirms that Baal is used in the Bible as “L-o-r-d.” The Companion Bible’s note onIsaiah 46:1 says of Bel: “Abbreviation of Baal=lord” (see note on Num. 25:3). You have forgotten my name for Lord, Yahweh foretold through the prophet.
Besides its connection to Ba’al, our English word “Lord” itself is a contraction of two words meaning “keeper of the loaf” (bread). It is from the Old English hlaford (hlaf=bread and weard=guardian (American Heritage Dictionary). Is it proper to use such a term for the Mighty One of the universe?
“God” comes from Old English gheu(d), “to pour” (American Heritage Dictionary). The Oxford English Dictionary adds that god also means to “pour as in a molten image.” Paul says there are many lords and many gods. We reduce Yahweh to just another common deity when we replace His Name with their titles. Doing so also changes His identity. He thunders in Isaiah 42:8, “I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my honour will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
When you reduce Yahweh to a simple title—one that makes Him into a broad-spectrum, ambiguous and impersonal persona, you also water down his worship by the same measure. A one-size-fits-all belief goes along with a generic deity. Nothing specific is required when you worship a no-named mighty one. That’s modern worship in a nutshell, honoring a generic title with general worship and nonspecific behavior.
When you worship “Yahweh,” however, your worship takes on an identity as it comes under the mandates of the Creator Himself. It is to be conducted in very specific ways. His people adhere to the requirements of the covenant promise He made through His personal Name. That is why He established His Name in the very first of the Ten Commandments, so that Israel would understand that they were worshiping only Him exclusively; specifics of His unique worship will now be required of them. Exclusive worship in His one and only Name extends all the way to the end of the Bible. Concerning the 144,000, Revelation 14:1 says: “Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
The Price of Concealment
The one who owns the Name repeatedly commands that He be called by His Name and worshiped in that name.
Is it just a coincidence that the distinguished Philadelphia congregation, the most faithful end-time assembly, has not denied His Name? (Rev. 3:10).
Although Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament show His Name correctly, most Christian Bibles substitute “the LORD,” “the Lord GOD,” or “LORD of hosts.” (The Tanak uses the word “HASHEM” or the phrase “the Lord HASHEM/Elohim” instead of the Name “Yahweh.”)
This is by far the greatest cover-up in all of history by those who know better. It explains why so few Bible students know Yahweh’s Name today—as well as the True Worship that goes along with His covenant Name.
Most churchgoers have never heard Yahweh’s Name mentioned from the pulpit. A reasonable person would think that at some point most ministers would have turned on to the host of commands in the Bible associated with Yahweh’s Name and would have shown the truth about it to their congregations. Any sincere minister would teach this truth they learned in seminary, especially in light of the 7,000 times His Name appears in the Old Testament manuscripts. But it has yet to happen on a large scale. The age-old suppression of the Name has latent power. Tradition is a powerful force to reckon with.
What more does it take for Yahweh to prove to man that He has a personal Name by which He expects to be called and worshiped? Does He need to reveal His Name 7,000 more times before people begin to see its importance? He says over and over again how critical His true Name is to proper worship.
He Commands His Name Be Honored
Yahweh tied His promises, His covenant, and salvation to His Name. He commands His people to call on His true Name as part of His worship. “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is YAHWEH, art the most high over all the earth,” Psalm 83:18. It is nothing short of stunning that so few clergy are willing to teach this key salvation truth!
But some might ask, when it all comes down to it, does it really matter? Doesn’t He know who I mean anyway?
We’ll let Yahweh Himself answer that.
He says in Malachi 2:1-2: “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith Yahweh of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.” Refusal to call on His true name is a condition of the heart. It says to Him you have no real desire to honor Him in all things. He says you are not completely true to Me if you can’t even honor me by my Name.
The issue is, does He “know who you mean” when your worship also fails to live up to what He expects? Both His worship and His people are tied to Him through His Name. It is not just a matter of knowing or even just using His Name. It is also about aligning your worship and your life with all that His Name signifies, because His Name defines Him. This is clear in Exodus 6:3: “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them.” This is a Hebrew idiomatic expression that means Yahweh’s Name was not yet revealed in its fullness through the sustaining and saving acts that He would eventually perform for Israel.
According to the Apostle Peter, our very salvation is through the Name Yahshua. Consider what he tells us in Acts 2:37-38. “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Yahshua Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Yahshua warned in Matthew 7:22, “Many will say to me in that day, Sovereign, Sovereign, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Iniquity is sin. Sin is defined as lawbreaking, 1John 3:4. Along with knowing and using His name is the obedience that goes with it. Living a unique life of obedience is what He means by giving glory to His Name.
Those who honor His name will receive the blessings of life everlasting as they call on the only name that offers salvation. Acts 4:12says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
What about you? Will you honor the One you worship by honoring His personal name? Will you be among the select ones who eagerly embrace what they have learned and submit to His Name in worship? That is what He expects of His followers. The first commandment says, I am Yahweh, you shall have none other mighty ones before me. If you honor Him by His personal, revealed Name, He will bless you as well.
Some will say: He has many names; He knows who you mean anyway; one name is as good as another; I speak English not Hebrew; His name just means his authority, and the pronunciation of His Name was lost. Each of these is soundly and decisively refuted by Yahweh Himself as well as by linguistic fact.
The Name Before Moses
Some believe that Yahweh’s Name was not known before He revealed it to Moses in Exodus, and therefore it cannot apply to all people. The following verses from Genesis reveal the error of this argument and show that Yahweh’s Name was indeed known by the patriarchs and used long before Moses:
This study will show the permanence of marriage as Yahweh designed it, with the hope of breaking today’s cycle of broken homes. Our purpose is not to vilify those who are divorced, but to uphold the sanctity of marriage. Yahweh Himself ordained marriage and family as the fundamental social institution.
While some consider it a secular institution, Scripture teaches that marriage is a sacred union that Yahweh himself ordained at the very creation of man and woman. This fundamental institution has served society well for thousands of years.
But since the 1970s marriage has come under attack like nothing in history. As it functions today, the family institution is weak and no longer provides stability and a sense of well-being to millions of children. The undermining of the moral framework sustaining marriage and family has teamed up with an assault on Biblical faith, leading to even shakier marital unions and assisting in their unprecedented failure.
The root problem is that human wants and priorities have usurped Biblical standards in a majority of homes. True fear and respect of Yahweh are rare. An honest and zealous pursuit of His will is even more rare.
A growing number of disillusioned ministers are refusing to perform weddings out of sheer frustration with the brevity of today’s marriage unions. “I marry them one week and the next week they want a divorce,” a pastor lamented.
While the phrase “until death do you part” and Yahshua’s words, “let no man put asunder” are repeated in wedding after wedding, the reality is that these words are considered mostly ritualistic and have little holding power today when marriage-threatening problems arise between couples. Rather than remembering their solemn vows and working through the difficulty, couples at risk are much more willing to follow the advice of a marriage counselor suggesting they just call it quits.
One major cause of broken unions is that many modern marriages are preceded by cohabitation, which statistics reveal increases the likelihood of a future breakup by 50 percent. Getting married today is more like going steady: if it isn’t working, give it up and try again with someone else.
The stigma surrounding divorce is mostly gone. A century ago only 7 percent of Americans were divorced; today a staggering 60 percent of marriages fail, triple the rate of 1960. Half of all weddings now involve the remarriage of at least one spouse.
According to 2000 census data, since 1950 the rate of married couples in households has declined by nearly 30 percent.. Married couples now make up only half of all households. Meanwhile, the number of unmarried partners living together has risen from 523,000 in 1970 to approximately 4.9 million in 2000.
Suffer the Children
The epidemic of fractured families is a strong contributing factor to the failure of our society to produce well-adjusted and balanced children. That consequence, more than any other, will impact future of society itself. The children of broken families suffer the most, thrown into an emotional free-fall when dad and mom call it quits. Consider for a moment the cost paid by these innocents:
Nearly one-third of all children today are born out of wedlock, and more than half of U.S. children will spend all or part of their childhood in a broken family. The number of children living with mothers who have never married increased to 36 percent in 1996, up from 7 percent in 1970, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy. A child raised by a single mother is seven times more likely to live in poverty than a child raised by both biological parents. Over 1 million children each year experience their parents’ divorce; a total of 15.8 million children are now living with a single parent. The consequences are staggering:
25% of those children will be high school drop-outs.
40% need psychological help.
65% never build a good post-divorce relationship with their fathers.
30% never build a good post-divorce relationship with their mothers.
Compared to those who have grown up with both parents in the home, adult children of divorce are 60 percent more likely to have problems in their own marriage. This last fact is the cycle that must be broken if there is going to be any hope for the family and society itself.
They Shall Become One
The “lock” is missing in wedlock and it is time to put it back in. Almighty Yahweh takes vows very seriously, and the vow joining husband and wife in marriage lies at the very core of the family as Yahweh designed it. To violate this contract is called in Scripture a sin against Yahweh the Creator Himself.
Ultimate success in marriage hinges on the proper attitude and understanding that couples share going into it. Few couples are given marriage counseling before they go to the altar. If both spouses fail to grasp the gravity of their commitment and don’t enter it with full resolve to make it work – whatever may come – then the probability is high that their marriage will eventually implode from the inevitable strains that test every marriage (Matt. 12:25).
From the beginning Yahweh created marriage between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:22). This union of male and female is the only institution that Yahweh’s Word allows. At the creation of Adam and Eve the concept of one flesh was established. “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh…” (Gen. 2:23).
From the beginning Yahweh made one man and one woman who complement each other perfectly in marriage. From the start Yahweh excluded same-sex unions. Activists pushing for homosexual marriage seek to revolutionize our entire culture by breaking the backbone of society itself – the traditional man-woman family. The family should be where moral values are taught and engendered, but if the family can be redefined to include same-sex couples, then its values can be redefined and altered as well. Moral restraints lose their impact when the forbidden is being openly practiced daily.
When two people commit to marriage they are no longer two but one. The greatest unifying force between a husband and wife is in their faith. Since Yahweh commands loyalty to Him above all (Acts 5:29), both people considering marriage are to be believers. If after marriage Yahweh calls only one spouse into His Truth then the believing mate should place Yahweh first while secondarily striving to please his or her spouse, 1Corinthians 7:12-14.
All Unions Need a Leader
An important key for a successful marriage is the understanding of the spousal roles: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Messiah; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of the Messiah is Elohim” (1Cor. 11:3). The same hierarchy that exists between Father and Son also exists between husband and wife. From the beginning Yahweh established this relationship when He told Eve: “…and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). According to theKJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon the word “rule” found in Genesis 3:16 implies to “have dominion or to reign over.” The Apostle Paul also confirms this relationship, “Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Master. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Messiah is the head of the assembly” (Eph. 5:22).
The husband’s authority is no license to abuse or exploit his wife. Because marriage between a man and a woman mirrors the unique relationship between Yahshua and the assembly, it should be apparent that Yahweh wants the relationship based on mutual love and honor.
Love Makes a Strong Union
The Apostle Paul compares Yahshua’s love for the assembly to the husband’s love for his wife. “Husbands love your wives, even as Messiah loved the assembly, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). Yahshua through his death and atonement demonstrated the greatest love known to man for the assembly (John 15:13). This is the same love that a husband is to have for his wife. As the Messiah died and gave all for the assembly, the husband should be willing to do the same for his wife. Once again this type of supernal love precludes the sin of spousal abuse. Yahweh’s Word gives no justification for abusing one’s spouse. Yahshua never abused or mistreated the assembly but cherished and valued it. In like manner, the husband should cherish and love his wife.
Paul in Titus 2:4 commands older women to teach the younger women to “love their husbands.” Love in a marriage cannot be a one-way street, but must be shared by both spouses. As Yahshua loved the assembly, the assembly loved Yahshua. A marriage will not be blessed with strength and happiness if sincere love is not at the center for both spouses.
Yahweh’s Standards Ignored
Today’s high divorce rates are a result in large part to a rejection of Yahweh’s Word as the ultimate, moral authority. Yahweh from the beginning established marriage between one man and one woman as a lifelong union. When Yahweh created the first man and first woman he gave no provision for divorce or remarriage.
One common error among professed Bible believers is thinking that Yahweh built divorce into Old Testament regulations. There is no Old Testament statute in which Yahweh provided for divorce between two individuals lawfully united by vow.
Yahweh addresses the divorce issue in Deuteronomy 24:1-4: “When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before Yahweh: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which Yahweh your Elohim gives you for an inheritance.”
In this passage Yahweh is speaking about a specific circumstance. Yahweh is addressing the condition where a spouse marries another after she has been sent out or divorced by her first husband because of uncleanness. Again, it is important to understand that Yahweh is not giving justification for divorce, but is focusing on a specific situation that He tolerated because of the hardness of man’s heart. The statement “…she had been defiled” in verse 4 shows that even in the Old Testament divorce and remarriage was an adulteration, even after the second spouse had died. Notice that it occurred with the second marriage while her first husband was yet alive. This understanding is no different from what Yahshua and Paul taught in the New Testament.
The Commentary on the Torah discusses Deuteronomy 24:1: “This law (vv. 1-4) has been taken as the biblical law of divorce, but it is not. It is the law governing a specific instance in which a couple might want to return to each other after they were divorced and she was remarried and then was divorced again or widowed. Divorce law in general has been derived in part from this case because of the curious fact that there is no law in the Torah telling how to get married and no law telling how to get divorced” (Richard Elliott Friedman, p. 639).
If Yahweh did command divorce in the Old Testament, why then did Yahweh command in Deuteronomy 22:19, 29 that if a husband had dishonored his wife in some fashion that he was not to “put her away all his days”? The examples in Deuteronomy 22 and 24show without question that divorce and remarriage was not Yahweh’s will in the Old Testament. Malachi 2:16 reads, “For Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel, says that he hates putting away…” A unique situation is in Ezra 10, where the prophet tells Judah to straighten out their sin of marrying strange wives by separating from them, which they did.
Moses’ Toleration of the People’s Hard Hearts
Most who advocate Yahweh’s allowance for divorce will say that Moses had the authority to grant divorce in the Old Testament. From the New Testament it is evident that while Moses tolerated or allowed divorce, he never gave commandment from Yahweh for or against divorce.
“They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your heart suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so” (Matt. 19:7-8).
According to Yahshua, Moses only “suffered” divorce because of the hardness of man’s heart. This word “suffered” is far from a command in the Greek. It is from the word epitrepo, which according to the KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon means, “to permit or allow.” Scholars speculate that the reason for Moses’ toleration or allowance for divorce in the Old Testament was partly to protect the safety of wives. To this point Matthew Henry adds, “[Messiah] rectifies their mistake concerning the law of Moses; they called it a command, [Messiah] called it but permission, a toleration. [Messiah] tells them there was a reason for this toleration, not at all to their credit. If they had not been allowed to put away their wives, when they had conceived a dislike of them, they would have used them cruelly, would have beaten and abused them, and perhaps have murdered them” (Matthew Henry Study Bible, study note onMatthew 19:8).
The New Testament ‘Exception Clause’
Those who believe that the new Testament allows divorce and remarriage will point to Matthew 5:32: “But I say unto you, that whoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.” Here some will point to the word “fornication” and maintain that the grounds for divorce is adultery.
The word fornication is from the Greek word porneia, and is defined by the New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible as, “harlotry, adultery, incest, idolatry, or fornication.” From this definition the word porneia has numerous meanings. Since this is the case, this word must be interpreted in accordance with the overall context of the passage.
One point of interest for those who believe that the word porneia implies adultery instead of fornication is the fact that Yahshua used a different word in this same verse to denote adultery: “…whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.” The word “adultery” in this passage is from the Greek word moichao, which according to the New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of theBible means only “adultery.” Question: If Yahshua meant adultery in the place of fornication in Matthew 5:32 (KJV), why did He not use the Greek word moichao or its Hebrew equivalent? Why did Yahshua use two different words to express the same thing? This passage clearly shows that he was expressing two different acts – fornication, which applies to the premarital state of engagement – and adultery, respectively.
The Significance of Engagement
To understand what Yahshua meant by the use of the word porneia in Matthew 5:32, a grasp of scriptural engagement is necessary. Scriptural engagement was seen much differently than it is today. In the Bible betrothal was understood as a binding relationship, the entering into of marriage. Nave’s Topical Bible under “Marriage” says, “Betrothal, a quasi-marriage, Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:27.”
The KJV Study Bible verifies this, “There was no sexual relations during a Jewish betrothal period, but it was a much more binding relationship than a modern engagement and could be broken only by divorce (v. 19). In Deut. 22:24 a betrothed woman is called a ‘wife,’ though the preceding verse speaks of her as being ‘betrothed unto a husband’” (study note at Matthew 1:18).
Through the example of Joseph, Yahshua’s use of “fornication” in Matthew 5:32 is now clear. Joseph’s contemplating divorcing Mary is the only account of a divorce in the New Testament, which occurred while Joseph and Mary were engaged but the marriage was yet to be finalized, Matthew 1:19.
Let Not Man Put Asunder
If any doubt existed in the minds of the Pharisees who approached Yahshua in Matthew 19, Yahshua emphatically put those doubts to rest by his statement: “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore Elohim has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6). Yahshua categorically states in this passage that once two people have made the commitment and consummated a marriage that they are no longer two, but one. He also verifies that once this happens that no man can separate that which Yahweh has joined.
Just as it is today, Yahshua’s teaching was hard for many to accept. This is obvious in His statement in verse 11: “…All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.” Yahshua’s teachings on divorce and remarriage were not for the lukewarm, but for those sincerely seeking Yahweh and His will in their lives. Yahshua was reaffirming what his Father had established from the beginning:. For those who would point to the Old Testament as justification to break wedding vows, Yahshua explained, “Moses…suffered you to put away your wives…but from the beginning it was not so” (Matt. 19:8). At the beginning in Genesis it is clear that Yahweh made marriage between one man and one woman for life.
Till Death Do Us Part
In accordance with what Yahshua said in Matthew 19, the Apostle Paul reiterates the message in Romans 7:2-3: “For the woman which has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long that he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she is married to another man.” The concept that marriage is a lifelong union might seem strange in a day of runaway divorce rates. Apathetic attitudes of marriage notwithstanding, it is clear from Paul’s statement that the permanence of marriage still stands.
Paul, under the inspiration of Yahshua the Messiah, taught that marriage was a lifelong institution that was broken or dissolved only by the physical death of a spouse. Paul said that if a spouse remarried while the other spouse was yet alive that the spouse who remarried would commit adultery. This is the same thing that Yahshua taught during his ministry and the same doctrine that Yahshua was referring to when he said that not all men could receive this saying.
Not Under Bondage
The last passage to consider is 1Corinthians 7:15: “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage is such cases…” Those who maintain that Yahshua and Paul permitted divorce in the New Testament claim that the word “bondage” in the above passage suggests that the believing mate is no longer obligated to his or her first spouse and is therefore free to remarry.
The first contradiction to this interpretation is found in verses 10-11: “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but Yahweh, let not the wife depart from her husband: But if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” According to Yahweh’s command, not Paul’s, if a husband and wife separated they were either to stay unmarried or be reconciled. Notice that divorce was not an option.
The other point to consider in this passage is the meaning of the word “bondage.” The word bondage is from the Greek word douloo, which according to the KJV New testament Greek Lexicon means, “to make a slave of or to reduce to bondage.” The “bondage” that this word is referring to means the marital responsibilities that one is subservient to that Paul speaks of in verses 3-6. This word, however, is not speaking of the dissolving of the martial vow or covenant.
Yahweh Judges on the Basis of Understanding
We must follow every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh, and Yahweh makes it clear that He hates divorce. Yahshua never taught divorce. Rather, He raised the bar and restored marriage to the position it was originally meant to have before the hardness of man’s heart took over. Yahshua said, “What Yahweh has joined together, let no man put asunder.” How then can man separate what Yahweh has joined?
When we consider Matthew 5:32, addressing those that are engaged rather than married, the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly. This understanding ties together all the loose ends that other arguments leave hanging. The only example in the New Testament of a man considering divorce was Joseph, who was not married but engaged. Romans 7 says that a marriage covenant can only be terminated upon death. Man cannot terminate a marriage covenant through divorce.
What does this mean, then, for those who were divorced and remarried before coming into the knowledge of the Truth? Does this place them in a constant state of adultery or sin? While there is no passage in Scripture where Yahweh says specifically that divorce and remarriage in ignorance before baptism is forgiven and washed away, what the Bible does say is that Yahweh winks at our ignorance, but commands that we repent after coming to the knowledge of His truth, Acts 17:30.
It is our understanding that Yahweh will acknowledge repentance that takes place at baptism, and consider the present situation. If this situation could not be forgiven then He would never call the divorced person into His Truth in the first place. His grace and mercy extend to all who repent of past mistakes and who now go on to live for Him.
Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry acknowledges Yahweh’s standards as they are. We don’t accept excuses for an individual’s personal situation. Once immersed into Yahshua’s Name, couples must not seek divorce or remarriage, having a much better understanding of the marital vow and how inviolate Yahweh considers it.
Marriage is a sacred covenant. Yahweh’s marriage laws are designed to form a stable family environment that will produce happy, well-adjusted children reared by both a loving father and mother. Children must be taught the permanence of marriage and toward that end to choose their future mates wisely from among believers, 1Corinthians 7:39.
The cycle of broken homes must end, and it starts with knowing your future spouse very well before you recite your vows, realizing that marriage is for life.
A great deal of misinformation has been written about notable personalities down through history, but nothing compares to the delusion and confusion in the minds of millions regarding the true Messiah and His earthly mission.
Centuries of false teachings coupled with widespread ignorance of the Scriptures have produced an entirely skewed view of the person of the Savior and what He stood for. If Satan, the father of lies, could convince millions to believe in a different messiah who completely misses the mark, then he could score a coup of staggering proportions. That is exactly what has happened as countless people have been misled as to the teachings and purposes of their Savior.
All kinds of false concepts regarding the Son are crystallized in conventional beliefs. They extend even down to such details as His physical appearance. Imagine for a moment that He revealed His identity on the old To Tell the Truth television program. Millions of shocked viewers would stare in stunned disbelief when the announcer asks, “Would the real Messiah please stand up?” Rising from His chair is a rugged, muscular, olive-toned Hebrew with shorter, dark hair and beard, calling Himself “Yahshua” and proclaiming that He will set up His kingdom soon at Jerusalem.
Still seated on either side of him and staring forlornly into space are two fragile impostors. They sport shoulder-length, blondish locks, puppy-dog eyes, thin eyebrows, narrow noses, and lily-white skin — not unlike that popular painting of a frail, northern European “Messiah” decorating the walls of thousands of churches and homes. Rather than a Jew of the Middle East who was no stranger to hardship and hard work, these impostors present an image that is as far off the mark with regard to His appearance as popular beliefs are about what He taught.
Many of the early Christians, who were polytheistic in nature, would meld their former pagan gods and ideas into this new worship of the Messiah.The Early Alexandrian Christians were syncretic in their worship of the Messiah and Serapis (a Hellenistic-Egyptian god) and they would prostrate themselves without distinction between the two. A letter inserted in the Augustan History, ascribed to the Emperor Hadrian, refers to the worship of Serapis by residents of Egypt who described themselves as Christians: “The land of Egypt, the praises of which you have been recounting to me, my dear Servianus, I have found to be wholly light-minded, unstable, and blown about by every breath of rumour. There those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians, and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are, in fact, devotees of Serapis…”
Is it just a coincidence that image we see of the Messiah bears a disturbing resemblance to Serapis with his long flowing locks? Does this imagery square with the Bible when the Apostle Paul tells us it is a shame for a man to have long hair?1Corinthians 11:14.
To tell the truth, the Savior of the Scriptures is not the same one you probably have been taught from your youth. He is quite unlike the individual described in contemporary sermons and Sunday school lessons.
Incredibly, millions who rely on Him for their very salvation are more ignorant of Him than they are about their favorite sports stars or Hollywood celebrities. Shouldn’t you want to know the truth about the One who stands at the center of your beliefs? Being that He is soon going to judge your life, isn’t it important to know what He said regarding salvation, as well as what His standards of judgment will be?
Clearing Out the Tangled Undergrowth of Error
You need no special revelation from on high to learn the truth about the Messiah. All it takes is an honest look into the Scriptures and a willingness to shed some popular but false concepts.
The most basic knowledge about Him, which is elementary to knowing anyone, is amazingly missing in traditional teachings. Most professed believers have been given bogus instruction about the One they claim as their Savior. Because of that fact, they do not know:
when He was actually born
what His and His Father’s Names really are
what He actually looked like here on earth
whether He had brothers and sisters
why He came to earth
what He taught about salvation and the Kingdom
when He died
how He died
why He died
whether He even died
With so much misinformation and ignorance surrounding the Messiah, how can millions say with complete confidence that they “know” their Savior?
One of the most eye-opening Scriptures regarding the Messiah is in the first verse of John 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Yahweh, and the Word was Elohim.”
Who is this “Word” who was in the beginning? Verse 14 explains: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” The Word is none other than the Son of Yahweh. He was on the scene at the creation of the universe. Proverbs 8:22-35 confirms His existence from the beginning of creation. Speaking to a group of Jews the Savior Himself testified to His heavenly existence before He came as a babe born in a manger. “Yahshua said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am’” (John 8:58). See also John 6:62 and John 6:38, where He said, “I came down from heaven.” His entire motivation, according to verse 38, was to “do the will of Him who sent me.” His Father’s plan, incidentally, has been the same from the beginning, Malachi 3:6 and James 1:17.
Everything in the universe was made by the Word, according to John 1:3. He is the image of the invisible Elohim, and “by him were all things created…by him and for him,” Colossians 1:16.
The facts surrounding His human birth have been skewed, which we are reminded of at the end of each secular year. Tradition says He was born at Bethlehem on December 25, yet the Scriptures never mention the day or even the month of His birth. He likely was born in the autumn, when shepherds would still be in the fields “watching their flocks by night,” Luke 2:8. This would not be happening in the middle of the cold, wet winters of the Middle East. The December 25th observance date derives from the ancient Roman Saturnalia, a celebration of the return of the sun-god Mithras at the winter solstice.
Nowhere in Scripture are we told to observe the birthday of the Savior; hence, no date is ever given for that observance. If His birthday were important to Him, and necessary to observe, you can be sure He would have told us exactly when it was. This is clear from those observances that are essential to Yahweh and His Son. For example, remembering His Son’s death at the Passover is explicitly mandated and, because it is so very important to Yahweh, the date to keep the Passover is precisely laid out for us (Ex. 12:6; Lev. 23:5). The same is true of the six other annual observances of the Bible.
Born a Hebrew, He Had a Hebrew Name
The Savior was born of Hebrew parents, Luke 1:27. It naturally follows that He would have a Hebrew name. “Jesus Christ” is a Greek name, and we know He was not Greek (see Luke 1:32; Hebrews 7:14).
Being a Hebrew who came in His Father’s Name, John 5:43, the Son would have a name tied to His Father’s. It is no different with a son bearing his father’s surname today. And that is just what we find in Matthew 1:21, where the angel told Joseph that his son’s Name would be based on the key fact that He would save His people from their sins. Thus, we have Yahshua, a Name in the Hebrew meaning “Yahweh is salvation” (Yah-shua). No such meaning exists in the Grecianized name “Jesus.” “Christ” is a shortened form of the Greek Christos, meaning “anointed.”
Being a hybrid, the name “Jesus” has no distinctive etymological root meaning. In fact, the letter J did not exist in any language until the time of Christopher Columbus. This is a fact provable from any unabridged dictionary under the letter J. Therefore, no one referred to Him as “Jesus” until the 15th century or 1,500 years after His birth.
The Anchor Bible explains His Name Yahshua in a note on Matthew 1:1: “The first element, Yahu (=Yahweh) means ‘the [L-rd],’ while the second comes from shua ‘To help, save’” (vol. 26, p. 2). Translator errors in Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8 in the King James Version testify to the fact that “Jesus” was wrongly inserted in the New Testament text for the closer “Joshua” (Yahshua), son of Nun. Modern versions have fixed this error.
Why should we be so scrupulous and careful about what we call Him? Do names really matter? Does your name matter to you? His Name certainly matters to Yahweh, who instructs us in no less than the very outset of the Ten Commandments what His Name is, and in the Second Commandment that He expects us to worship none else, Exodus 20:2-3. He also warns against falsifying His Name, 20:7, which is done by the use of erroneous substitutes.
When we use another name in worship we are dishonoring Him and His Son by ignoring His specific commands to call on His Name, and therefore putting our will before His. To insist on using another name once we know His true Name is to defy the very One who gives us each breath. The four combined Hebrew letters of His Name are found 6,823 times in the ancient text, and He refers to His Name hundreds of times throughout the Scriptures. For example, He tells us to honor His Name (Ps. 66:2,4); call on it (Ps. 99:6); confess it (1Kings 8:33); love His Name (Ps. 5:11); praise His Name (2Sam. 22:50); think on it (Mal. 3:16), and trust in it (Isa. 50:10).
Common arguments against His Name are completely baseless. Nowhere in the Bible do we find any statement saying, “It doesn’t matter what you call Me, I know who you mean.” Neither do we find a single verse stating, “I have many names” or one verse that says, “All names for Me are acceptable if you are sincere in your worship.”
On the contrary, we learn that the truly sincere worshiper will honor His Father in all things, especially when it comes to His Name. Yahweh is adamant that He has but one Name. The Psalmist writes, “That men may know that You, whose name alone is Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth,” Psalm 83:18. His people will know and be called by His Name, Deuteronomy 28:10 tells us. He commands us not even to mention the names of other “deities,” Exodus 23:13.
He says the false prophets have tried to make people forget His Name just as their fathers have “forgotten my name for Baal,”Jeremiah 23:27. Baal, the supreme deity of the Babylonians, is associated with the title “Lord.” When we call on Him by the title Lord, we not only violate His command not to do so, but we also invoke heathen worship traditions and place Him in a lesser role than the heavenly Majesty that He is. (In English a lord is a husbandman and landowner, not a Supreme Sovereign of the universe.)
The Savior Looked Like the Average Man
Besides His Hebrew Name, the Messiah looked like a typical Jew of His day with plain, average features, a fact that was prophesied: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him,” Isaiah 53:2.
His hair was the normal, clipped style for a man of His time, and certainly not shoulder length. This is clear because He was a priest in the Melchizedek order (Ps. 110:4) and a priest had to have clipped hair, according to Ezekiel 44:20. Paul, who saw the risen Messiah, would never have said that it was a shame for a man to have long hair if the Messiah Himself sported long hair (1Cor. 11:14).
Yahshua, the firstborn in the family of Joseph, had four brothers: James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, and at least three sisters,Matthew 13:55-56, John 2:12. Therefore, His mother Mary (correctly, Miriam) was not a virgin for long. While dying Yahshua made arrangements for the care of His mother, John 19:26-27. His death, incidentally, was not on a cross, as popularly believed, but on an upright pole with wrists nailed overhead. This is clear from the words translated “cross.” They are the Greek stauros and xulon, and mean a plain stake or pole without a crosspiece. John 3:14 tells us He was lifted up at His impalement in the same way Moses lifted the serpent up on a pole in Numbers 21:9.
The pagan origins of the cross can be traced back to Egypt where it was known as the “Ankh” (key of the Nile). It was an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that literally reads “eternal life.” The Ankh was a symbol of life and fertility.
With the syncretistic beliefs of the early Roman church it is not surprising they grasped on to this symbol as their own. One only needs to look at the Vatican in Rome to see remnants of ancient Egyptian symbols, most notably the pagan Egyptian obelisk (phalic symbol) in the center of St. Peter’s Square. Significantly, atop the obelisk they have added the cross. This obelisk was brought to Rome by pagan Emperor Caligula in CE 37 and relocated by Pope Sixtus V in 1586.
He Died or We Have No Payment for Our Sin
Some believe He did not actually die but went down to hell to preach to lost souls for three days. If He didn’t die and wasn’t resurrected from the dead, then we have no payment for our sins, 1Corinthians 15:13, 17. Sin’s consequences require no less than a death penalty payment, just as for Israel when they slayed animals on the altar. Yahshua became that death sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins, Philippians 2:8, Hebrews 9:27-28.
In Hebrew 9:15 we read that as the mediator of the New Testament, that He redeemed transgressors under the first covenant by means of His own death. The Evangels tell us plainly that He died on the stake, Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, andJohn 19:30. The expression, “Gave up the ghost” in the King James Version is an Old English euphemism for the act of death, when the spirit or breath of life (Greek pneuma) leaves a person and he becomes life-less. We also know through accounts like Peter’s testimony in Acts 10:39-41 that the Messiah literally died and did not just leave His body for a period of time while He remained conscious in spirit form.
Yahshua Obeyed and Taught Obedience by Words, Example
Of all the mistruths about Him, however, the most pernicious in regard to salvation completely misconstrues the Son’s purpose for coming to this earth. Many have the image of an iconoclastic Son who came bringing simple grace and faith to replace the failed law of His Father.
This widespread myth is openly expressed in traditional teachings in spite of Yahshua’s clear and unambiguous personal testimony to the contrary. He said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled,”Matthew 5:17-18. So long as this universe exists, so does every aspect of the law. He said so Himself!
Many read “fulfill” and still think “do away with.” This is attributable to an endless chorus of clerics who find Yahweh’s law contemptible and teach against it at every opportunity. And no wonder. It is Yahweh’s laws that separate the true faith from the many false ones, Revelation 14:12. His way of Truth is guided by His laws and commands and to learn of His Truth is to begin obeying them.
What exactly did Yahshua mean by fulfill? If I fulfill my obligations I complete them. I do everything I was obligated to do. If Yahshua fulfilled the law, He did what the law required and He did it perfectly without sin. We know this to be fact because He did no sin,1Peter 2:21-22, and sin is defined as the transgression of the law, 1John 3:4. Being sinless and not transgressing the law means to be in perfect subjection and obedience to it. Because He was our example, He showed us the necessity to obey the Father’s laws just as He did, verse 21. See also Philippians 2:5 and 1John 2:6.
Many use the term “Mosaic law” in a disparaging way, saying that ancient Israel’s obedience to “Mosaic” laws is not necessary today. Yet, in Acts 7:38 – in the New Testament – we read that Moses at Mount Sinai “received the lively [living] oracles to give unto us.” Oracles refers directly to Yahweh’s “spoken words” which were given to Moses at Mt. Sinai.
In Romans 9:4 Paul explains that spiritual Israelites today are those who get the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of Yahweh and the promises. Peter says that ministers are to speak the law of Yahweh, 1Peter 4:11. Yet, few have the desire or courage to do what Peter said.
Yahweh’s laws are perfect, and they convert the soul, Psalm 19:7 tells us. Far from being a burden, obedience to His laws changes us, shows our love for Him, and carries untold blessings as well. “For this is the love of Yahweh, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous,” 1John 5:3.
He Magnified, Not Diminished the Law
This is the most serious misunderstanding regarding Yahshua’s purpose for coming. He did not come to abolish the law given to Israel. Rather, He came to enlarge upon it, to make it more incumbent on Yahweh’s people, to teach us to obey, as He obeyed, for the right reasons. He explained that not only the sinful act itself but the very thought of the act is a sinful wrong, and He expanded the provisions of the law to cover wider applications, Matthew 5:20-47. Now just entertaining the thought of evil can condemn us.
He said that not even the least of the commandments are to be broken and those teaching against obedience to them will be called the least in the Kingdom, while those who teach His laws will be called great in the Kingdom, Matthew 5:19. Why would Yahshua say this and then in the next breath teach against obedience? After all, the law is exactly what He stands for and what His Father also stands for. “He that keeps His commandments dwells in Him, and He in him,” we read in 1John 3:24. His laws test our desire to honor and be true to Him.
The majority will not accept this key, essential truth. Human beings in their unconverted state are by nature rebellious against Yahweh and His standards. Paul warned, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim: for it is not subject to the law of Elohim, neither indeed can be.”
No wonder, then, that Yahshua’s coming to obey and uphold the laws of His Father would be met with widespread human resistance and denial. So much resistance, in fact, that His very purpose has been completely negated by the teaching that He nailed the moral law, along with the Ten Commandments, to the torture stake (popularly known as “cross”).
This teaching derives partly from a widespread misunderstanding of Colossians 2:14, where the “handwriting of ordinances that was against us” is in fact the added laws of man (which is what the Greek word ordinances –dogma – means: man-made law). Yahweh’s laws are never characterized as “against us” anywhere in the Word. On the contrary, Paul tells us they are “holy, just and good,”Romans 7:12. Yet it was the religious establishment of Paul’s day who gave these dogma or added, handwritten statutes of man, like “touch not, taste not, handle not,” the force of scriptural law, Colossians 2:20-22. Both Paul and Yahshua showed the difference between true laws of Yahweh and these “commandments and doctrines of men” that effectively separated Jew from Gentile and the Gentile from the Kingdom, in their eyes.
Above all, Yahshua taught only what was given to Him by His Father: “He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” Yahweh’s law first given to man in the Old Testament is still His law today, and Yahshua came to expand upon and perpetuate it. The only change was in the ritualistic law like animal sacrifices and man’s additions.
Scriptural law doesn’t exist for its own sake. Its purpose is rooted in Yahweh’s will for His people. Yahshua followed Biblical law because He did the will of His Father and did exactly what His Father sent Him to do, John 6:38.
His Truth Unifies Believers, Separates Others
Because Yahshua stands on the side of righteousness and obedience, He automatically generates division between the sincere follower of Yahweh and those who desire to live as they please. This is true even within families. Note how He demolished another popular myth, “Suppose you that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, No; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law,” Luke 12:51-53.
The Scriptures are characterized as a sword that cuts to the depths of soul and spirit, discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart, Hebrew 4:12. Yahshua also will return with the double-edged sword of the Word and separate the obedient from the rebellious,Revelation 1:16. He will be the Judge, John 5:22, while His Word – the law – will be the standard by which He will judge,Psalm 96:13.
This important fact is prophesied in Revelation 20:12: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Elohim; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
How plain! If we will one day be judged by His Word, then it is crucial that we get in line with that Word now. His Word is the guide for living the life acceptable to Him. Yahshua Himself followed Yahweh’s Word (the Old Testament) and His living an obedient, sinless life was our example, 1Peter 2:21-22.
How often have you heard someone say something like, “It’s good that the Savior is going to judge you and not me, because He will forgive; I won’t.” Many have the misguided notion that going around forgiving everyone is all that Yahshua will do. His job will be to automatically forgive even the vilest behavior regardless of whether that behavior is followed by repentance or not. This is a heresy of the greatest proportions and could only make sense if He did away with the law so that there are no longer any standards to live by. But as we have seen, He did the exact opposite – He magnified the law, raising the bar by extending it even to our very thoughts (Rom. 7:1).
Lawbreaking has serious consequences and requires repentance leading to forgiveness for those contrite in heart. At the same time it exacts a death penalty on the defiant who refuse to bow the knee to Yahshua.
We learn from the Word that Yahshua has righteous indignation for those who refuse to submit to Him once they know the Truth. He minced no words when it came to the self-righteous, religious leaders – the Scribes and Pharisees of His day – calling them hypocrites, snakes, sepulchers, and blind guides. He was patient and forgiving when it came to the ignorant, but He came down hard on the knowingly rebellious in clear and devastating terms.
The Wicked and Rebellious to Face His Wrath
Yahshua is returning to the earth to wrest its control from unruly and disobedient man. Paul tells us, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death,” 1Corinthians 15:25-26. His actions will be forceful and decisive when He returns with a rod of iron to conquer defiant nations. “Then shall the Master go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle,” Zechariah 14:3.
Read the apocalyptic description in Revelation 6:14-17: “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
When that day comes rebellion against the laws of Scripture will be dealt with swiftly and decisively. Those who say the laws were done away, but in their hearts know differently, will face an uncompromising Judge —who is the very One who gave those laws at Sinai for our own good. Everyone will either obey or taste the wrath of the Sovereign of the world.
Paul wrote these sobering words, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with Elohim to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Master Yahshua shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not Elohim, and that obey not the evangel of our Master Yahshua the Messiah,”2Thessalonians 1:6-8.
Daniel 7:27 tells us that one day soon everyone will bow to the authority of Yahweh, “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
The Kingdom Yahweh sets up on earth will be placed under the rulership of His Son and run by His laws, Micah 4:2. Just as He did while He walked this earth, the nations will be keeping Biblical Sabbaths and Feast days. We read of this in the prophetic chapters ofIsaiah 66:23; Ezekiel 45, and Zechariah 14:16-19. All rebellion will be put down and the entire world will finally learn and practice His ways and worship Him on the Scripturally appointed days known as moedim.
The traditional, worldly holidays will be but a distant and flickering memory. Isaiah wrote, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Yahweh’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Yahweh from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,” 2:2-4.
Once obedience is universal the earth will return to its Edenic state, a re-establishment of a time when there was no sin and consequently the earth was a veritable paradise. Yahshua’s role as “Yahweh’s salvation” will be finished. From Yahshua – the “Salvation of Yah” – He will become Yahzidkenu, “Yahweh our Righteousness” as the will of His Father is enforced across the whole earth, Jeremiah 23:6. Peace, happiness, and unspeakable joy will fill the lives of everyone.
At last mankind will understand the truth and realize the blessings of obedience that Yahshua taught while on this earth. Everyone will get in line with the ways of Yahweh and His Son. There will be no atheist or agnostic in the coming Kingdom on earth. All will know Him, from the least to the greatest. Satan will no longer be around to pervert the truth through false teachings and injurious heresies like “all His laws have been nailed to the cross.”
The inspired prophets boldly proclaimed that His laws will go forth from Zion into every corner of the planet, and then all people will discover firsthand the unspeakable blessings that come with following the ways of Yahweh.
May each of us hold to the sure hope of the soon-coming rulership of Yahshua the Messiah, the true Savior whose blood paid sin’s death penalty and opened the way of salvation. May we seek and learn all we can of Him, obeying Yahweh as His Word commands and as Yahshua taught, in preparation for that Kingdom.
The greatest blessing of a true follower of Yahweh is to be found worthy to attain His Kingdom, 2Thessalonians 1:5, and to show others the only way that leads to life everlasting through faith in Yahshua and a life of obedience to His Word.
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For nearly 2,000 years the intrinsic nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has been in dispute. To remedy this problem the Roman Church convened councils and passed several creeds, which continue to influence modern worship today. But do these creeds reflect the truth of Scripture? To answer this crucial question, this booklet will explore the historical and biblical accuracy of these doctrines, including the Trinity, oneness belief, and the preexistence of Yahshua the Messiah.
An Early Paradigm Shift
The main inducement for interpreting the essence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a triune deity came through Greek and Roman cults. The early church constituted Jews and proselytes to the Jewish faith. With the introduction of gentile converts came a shift in thought and theology. Unlike the Jews, who viewed the worship of Yahweh in a monotheistic manner, the gentiles were polytheistic, worshiping many false gods.
Besides the monotheism versus polytheism issue, there was another key distinction between Jew and gentile. While the Jews emphasized their relationship with Yahweh, the Greeks were more concerned with His essence. This difference in emphasis along with the burgeoning numbers of gentile converts led to understanding Yahweh from a Greco-Roman perspective.
According to authors Alan Johnson and Robert E. Webber, “The view of God in the ancient church passed through the Greco-Roman grid. Consequently the emphasis in this early period of the church is not so much on the relationship of God to the world as on God as he is in himself” (What Christians Believe, A Biblical and Historical Summary, p. 82).
The authors go on to state, “The issue the church faced in the pagan Hellenistic culture was to affirm both the unity and the diversity of God in the midst of a polytheistic culture. On the one hand, the church needed to remain faithful to the Old Testament emphasis on the oneness of God. On the other hand, it could not ignore the New Testament revelation of diversity. So the questions were: How do you maintain the unity of God without losing the diversity? How do you maintain the diversity of God without falling into polytheism? While the church was eventually to affirm both the unity and the diversity of God in the creeds, various groups in the second and third century overemphasized either the unity or the diversity” (p. 83).
The authors explain here the overwhelming task that the Church had in the first few centuries. As gentile-minded believers were coming in they had to please both them and the Jewish converts who established the early assembly in the New Testament. Many Jews were arguing that a convert to Messiah had to become a Jew first through physical circumcision, which is the controversy inActs 15.
So what was the church to do? Should they continue to maintain the monotheistic beliefs of the Jews or change their theology to more closely align with the many new gentile converts? At the root of this question was the essence of the Father and Son. Were they one and the same, were they distinct beings, were they co-equal, were they co-eternal, was one subservient to the other?
To answer these critical questions, the church went through several stages of meetings (counsels) and developed several creeds until they solidified the position of the church. The major advocates of each side were Arius (250 CE – 336 CE) and the bishop Athanasius (296-336). While there were other arguments and contributors, the positions that the men proposed became the two competing views of the church.
Arius’ Hebraic View
Arius was a prominent priest in Alexandria, Egypt. He chose an ascetic life, rejecting the many pleasures of the world. From historical accounts, Arius was a man of devotion and sincere motives. He received his religious training at Antioch, the first location of the early assembly. Unlike Alexandria, which was dominated by the Greek mind, Antioch maintained a Hebraic view, including a strict monotheistic interpretation of Scripture. He was taught under Lucian of Antioch, a well-known teacher and martyr of the early church; some blamed Lucian for Arius’ opposition to the Trinity.
Arius held that the Father and Son were distinct from one another and that the Father was superior to the Son. He also maintained that the Son pre-existed with the Father and rejected the belief that the Son was co-eternal with the Father. He maintained that the Messiah was created by His Father Yahweh. For these beliefs he was branded a heretic and suffered persecution.
Author Wayne Gruden concurs, “Arius taught that god the Son was at one point created by God the Father, and that before that time the Son did not exist, nor did the Holy Spirit, but the Father only. Thus, though the Son is a heavenly being who existed before the rest of creation and who is far greater than all the rest of creation, he is still not equal to the Father in all his attributes—he may even be said to be ‘like the Father’ or ‘similar to the Father’ in his nature, but he cannot be said to be ‘of the same nature’ as the Father” (Systematic Theology, p. 243).
Athanasius for the Opposition
While historical records are sketchy, records show that Athanasius was born in Alexandria and was mentored under Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria. From an early age he showed promise in the church. As a result, he was ordained a deacon in the Roman Church before age 30.
Because of these early achievements, Athanasius was instrumental at influencing the most important council in the history of the church. “Although many early church leaders contributed to the gradual formulation of a correct doctrine of the Trinity, the most influential by far was Athanasius. He was only twenty-nine years old when he came to the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, not as an official member but as secretary to Alexander, the Bishop of Alexandria. Yet his keen mind and writing ability allowed him to have an important influence on the outcome of the Council, and he himself became Bishop of Alexandria in 328” (Ibid, p. 245).
Athanasius understood the relationship between the Father and Son much differently from his opponent, Arius. He believed that the Father and Son were co-equal and of the same substance. According to author Earl E. Cairns he “insisted that Christ had existed from all eternity with the Father and was of the same essence (homoousios) as the Father, although He was a distinct personality. He insisted upon these things because he believed that, if Christ were less than He had stated Him to be, He could not be the Saviour of men. The question of man’s eternal salvation was involved in the relationship of the Father and the son according to Athanasius. He held that Christ was coequal, coeternal and consubstantial with the Father…” (Christianity Through the Centuries, pp. 142-143).
Political Unity the Overriding Concern
Because of the competing beliefs of Arius and Athanasius, many were concerned about not only the stability of the church but of the empire, including Emperor Constantine. Authors Anthony F. Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting in their book, The Doctrine of the Unity, describe this deep fear: “The marked ideological differences between Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch were matters of concern to the Roman Emperor. The power of religion played so great a role in the stability of the fourth-century Roman Empire that religious turmoil had to be brought under control by the State, lest it disrupt political unity.
“Constantine determined to resolve the dispute by means of the following identical, conciliatory letters sent to each faction, urging reconciliation of differences: ‘Constantine the Victor, Supreme Augustus, to Alexander and Arius…How deep a wound has not only my ears but my heart received from the report that divisions exist among yourselves…Having inquired carefully into the origin and foundation of these differences, I find their cause to be of a truly insignificant nature, quite unworthy of such bitter contention’” (pp. 149-150).
Emperor Constantine simply wanted political unity in his empire and he failed to grasp the magnitude of what was being discussed. This is consistent with his heathen background, wherein both pagan Greek and Roman cults’ theological differences were inconsequential. The overriding concern was only that the many gods in Greece and Rome got their due obeisance. Doctrine was not critical.
The theological impact of the two views being espoused was enormous, with Athanasius firmly holding to the view that the Father and Son were of the same substance, co-eternal and co-equal, while Arius contended that the Father and Son were distinct with the Son being neither co-eternal nor co-equal with His Father. According to historians, their differences led to numerous bloody conflicts. “Before the orthodox doctrine of the relationship of the two natures was finally formulated, many scenes of passion and violence occurred” (Christianity Through the Centuries, p. 146).
According to Arthur Cushman McGiffert, “In the hope of securing for his throne the support of the growing body of Christians he had shown them considerable favor and it was to his interest to have the church vigorous and united. The Arian controversy was threatening its unity and menacing its strength. He therefore undertook to put an end to the trouble. It was suggested to him, perhaps by the Spanish bishop Hosius, who was influential at court, that if a synod were to meet representing the whole church both east and west, it might be possible to restore harmony. ‘Constantine himself of course neither knew nor cared anything about the matter in dispute but he was eager to bring the controversy to a close, and Hosius’ advice appealed to him as sound’” (A History of Christian Thought, vol. 1, p. 258).
It’s ironic that the motivation for finding a resolution on this central issue was not scriptural but political. To accomplish this, the church convened a council, which would become the method of resolving disputes in the church. In most cases, the emperor would preside over the councils. In the case of the Council of Nicea, Emperor Constantine chaired the proceedings.
Hot Debate at the Council of Nicea
From June 19 through August 25, 325 CE, leaders of the Church met at the council of Nicea. Constantine invited 1,800 bishops, but only a fraction attended. In addition to discussing the canonization of the New Testament and the date for Easter, the council was there to finally resolve the debate between Arius and Athanasius.
According to author Earl E. Cairns, “Three hundred and eighteen leaders were present, but less than ten were from the Western section of the Empire…Arius, who was backed by Eusebius of Nicomedia (to be distinguished from Eusebius of Caesarea) and a minority of those present, insisted that Christ had not existed from all eternity but had a beginning by the creative act of God prior to time. He believed that Christ was of a different (heteros) essence or substance than the Father. Because of the virtue of His life and His obedience to God’s will, Christ was to be considered divine. But Arius believed that Christ was a being, created out of nothing, subordinate to the Father and of a different essence from the Father. He was not coequal, coeternal or consubstantial with the Father. To Arius He was divine but not deity.
“Athanasius became the chief exponent of what became the orthodox view. His wealthy parents had provided for his theological education in the famous catechetical school of Alexandria. His work De Incarnatione presented his idea of the doctrine of Christ. At the council this young man, slightly over thirty, insisted that Christ had existed from all eternity with the Father and was of the same essence (homoousios) as the Father, although He was a distinct personality. He insisted upon these things because he believed that, if Christ were less than He had stated Him to be, He could not be the Saviour of men. The question of man’s eternal salvation was involved in the relationship of the Father and the son according to Athanasius. He held that Christ was coequal, coeternal and consubstantial with the Father, and for these views he suffered exile five times before his death” (Christianity Through the Centuries, pp. 142-143).
After much debate, Athanasius won the day. While this was a major setback for those who embraced the original Jewish tenants as taught by the Messiah and His Apostles, this was a notable win for the Greek minded gentiles that influenced the church. Authors Anthony F. Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting state, “The Greek philosophically-minded Alexandrian theologians, led by Athanasius, won the day. Those more under the earlier influence of Jewish monotheism were defeated. Dissenters who refused to sign the agreement were immediately banished. The Church was now taken over and dictated to by theologians strongly influenced by the Greek mind… ‘When the Greek mind and the Roman mind, instead of the Hebrew mind, came to dominate the Church, there occurred a disaster from which the Church has never recovered, either in doctrine or practice’” (The Doctrine of the Trinity, pp. 151-152).
To ensure uniformity in the Church, the council drafted its first creed, which was called the Nicene Creed. It read, “We believe in one God the Father all-sovereign, maker of all things. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made, things in heaven and things on the earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, and became man, suffered, and rose on the third day, ascended into the heavens, and is coming to judge living and dead. And in the Holy Spirit. And those that say ‘There was when he was not,’ and, ‘Before he was begotten he was not,’ and that, ‘He came into being from what-is-not,’ or those that allege, that the son of God is ‘Of another substance or essence’ or ‘created,’ or ‘changeable’ or ‘alterable,’ these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.”
While the first Nicene Creed set out to express the official position of the Church regarding the persons of the Father and Son, it did little to address the Holy Spirit. Consequently, while this council gave a final dogmatic ruling on the Father and Son, it did not fully substantiate the Trinity doctrine. It would take almost fifty more years to solidify the Trinity doctrine into church teaching.
How Constant Was Constantine?
With Emperor Constantine presiding over and greatly influencing the results at the Council of Nicea, it must be asked, was this emperor ever converted? Even though many in Christendom desire to show him as a champion of the Church, the reality is he was nothing more than a crafty politician and a pagan sun worshiper, as was his father before him.
“Constantine appears to have been a sun-worshiper, one of a number of late pagan cults which had observances in common with Christians. Worship of such gods was not a novel idea. Every Greek or Roman expected that political success followed from religious piety. Christianity was the religion of Constantine’s father. Although Constantine claimed that he was the thirteenth Apostle, his was no sudden Damascus conversion. Indeed it is highly doubtful that he ever truly abandoned sun-worship. After his professed acceptance of Christianity, he built a triumphal arch to the sun god and in Constantinople set up a statue of the same sun god bearing his own features. He was finally deified after his death by official edict in the Empire, as were many Roman rulers” (Ibid, p. 147).
Author Norbert Brox endorses this position. “Constantine did not experience any conversion; there are no signs of a change of faith in him. He never said of himself that he had turned to another god. . . at the time when he turned to Christianity, for him this was Sol Invictus (the victorious sun god)” (A Concise History of the Early Church, p. 48).
Another historian writes of Constantine, “He did not make Christianity the sole religion of the state. That was to follow under later Emperors. He continued to support both paganism and Christianity. In 314, when the cross first appeared on his coins, it was accompanied by the figures of Sol Invictus and Mars Conservator. To the end of his days he bore the title of pontifex maximus as chief priest of the pagan state cult. The subservient Roman Senate followed the long-established custom and classed him among the gods” (A History of Christianity, Kenneth Scott Latourette, p. 92).
Despite his penchant for sun worship, the church in its attempt to recognize the legitimacy of Constantine’s involvement at the Council at Nicea deified him as a saint. Such recognition is hardly justifiable on any level. For this reason all those who bow their knee to Athanasius and to the Nicene Creed justify this pagan emperor who changed the church forever!
If not for Constantine’s involvement, it’s possible that the Church would have preserved its monotheistic heritage. “The bulk of Christians, had they been let alone, would have been satisfied with the old belief in one God, the Father, and would have distrusted the ‘dispensation,’ as it has been called, by which the sole Deity of the Father expanded into the Deity of the Father and the Son… ‘All simple people,’ Tertullian wrote, ‘not to call them ignorant and uneducated…take fright at the “dispensation”…They will have it that we are proclaiming two or three gods’” (The Doctrine of the Unity, Anthony F. Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting, p. 145).
Council at Constantinople Solidifies the Trinity
After the first council at Nicea and the persistent strife that followed, Emperor Constantine began to regret convening the council. According to historians, little changed after this council. Church leaders continued teaching their preferred position, whether it was Arius (also known as Arianism) or the doctrine solidified by Athanasius at Nicea. “For two centuries after Constantine, slaughter followed slaughter as professing Christian vied with Christian in a bloody struggle in defense of what became a hardened religious orthodoxy. It was required that one accept belief in the Godhead of two persons (later expanded to a Deity of three persons) or face banishment, exile, torture and death…” (Ibid, p. 153).
In an attempt to finally resolve the division in the church, in 381 CE Emperor Theodosius I, also known as Theodosius the Great, who ruled from 379 CE to 395 CE, called a second ecumenical council. A total of 150 bishops attended. It was held at Constantinople, which is Istanbul, Turkey, today. Gregory of Nazianzus chaired the council, an educated philosopher who infused Hellenistic beliefs into the church. Being an advocate of the Trinity, including the divinity of the Holy Spirit, he urged his fellow bishops to accept his view. However, during the council, Gregory of Nazianzus became ill and resigned his chair. In his place, a man named Nectarous was appointed. Oddly, Nectarous was not even baptized and was now in a position to help determine the theological fate of Christianity. This was the second time a layman presided over a prominent council.
The council ultimately confirmed the Holy Spirit as a third equal “person” in the Trinity. As a result, the original Nicene Creed, now known as the Nicene -Constantinopolitan Creed, was updated to read,
“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended in heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”
This final step by Theodosius the Great not only produced an updated creed, but also established the doctrine of the Trinity that we know today.
Scholars: Zero Evidence in New Testament for the Trinity
Being that it took 350 years after the Messiah to solidify the Trinity, the simple question is, why so long? If the Trinity is found and supported in the Bible, why did it require many centuries and numerous church schisms, arguments, debates, and even violence to legitimize and propagate this doctrine? Why wasn’t it authenticated from the very beginning, in the book of Acts, avoiding endless questions and wrangling over it? Where is the New Testament teaching of a triune being?
The fact is the word “Trinity” is not found anywhere in the Bible. Even the concept is missing. Clearly it was contrived in the imaginations of man. An exhaustive review of Scripture and history reveals the simple fact that the Trinity teaching was unknown to the early New Testament assembly, as supported by numerous authorities:
• “Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon” (Oxford Companion to the Bible, 1993, p. 782).
• “The Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. Neither the word ‘trinity’ itself nor such language as ‘one-in-three,’ ‘three-in-one,’ one ‘essence’ (or ‘substance’), and three ‘persons,’ is biblical language. The language of the doctrine is the language of the ancient church taken from classical Greek philosophy” (Christian Doctrine, Shirley Guthrie, Jr., 1994, pp. 76-77). It’s important to observe here that the author attributes the notion of the Trinity not to Scripture, but to influence from Greek philosophy.
• “This is not itself a Biblical term, but was a term coined by Tertullian to refer to this whole concept under one word” (Classic Bible Dictionary, Jay P. Green, p. 483). Tertullian was a Christian author and apologist who lived from 160 CE to 225 CE. Before Tertullian the word trinity did not exist in Christian writing.
• “Many doctrines are accepted by evangelicals as being clearly taught in the Scripture for which there are no proof texts. The doctrine of the Trinity furnishes the best example of this. It is fair to say that the Bible does not clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity” (Basic Theology, Professor Charles Ryrie, 1999, p. 89).
• “It is indeed true that the name ‘Trinity’ is nowhere to be found in the Holy Scriptures, but has been conceived and invented by man” (The Sermons of Martin Luther, John Lenker, Vol. 3, 1988, p. 406). Even though Martin Luther was an avid supporter of the Trinity, he correctly recognized that the doctrine was derived from man and not from the Bible.
• “The term ‘Trinity’ is not a biblical term…In point of fact, the doctrine of the Trinity is a purely revealed doctrine…As the doctrine of the Trinity is indiscoverable by reason, so it is incapable of proof from reason” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia , vol. 5, p. 3012, “Trinity”).
• “It is admitted by all who thoughtfully deal with this subject that the Scripture revelation here leads us into the presence of a deep mystery; and that all human attempts at expression are of necessity imperfect” (New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, 1988, p. 1308, “Trinity”). Should we rest our entire faith on a belief that is a “deep mystery?”
• “Respecting the manner in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit make one God, the Scripture teaches nothing, since the subject is of such a nature as not to admit of its being explained to us” (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, p. 553, “Trinity”).
• “Precisely what that doctrine is, or rather precisely how it is to be explained, Trinitarians are not agreed among themselves” (A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge, 1885, “Trinitarians”). Disagreements abounded through the centuries even among those who advocate this doctrine. Should not a belief so critical and indispensable be not only plainly and clearly taught in the Scriptures, but at least be understood and agreed upon by its very proponents?
• “The formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the NT” (The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary, 1996, “Trinity”).
• “The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies… The council of Nicea in 325 stated the crucial formula for that doctrine in its confession that the ‘Son is of the same substance…as the Father,’ even though it said very little about the Holy Spirit…By the end of the 4th century…the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Trinity”).
• “…primitive Christianity did not have an explicit doctrine of the Trinity such as was subsequently elaborated in the creeds of the early church” (New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 2, 1976, p. 84, “God”).
• “The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century… Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective” (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. 14).
Both secular historians and Bible scholars readily admit that the doctrine of the Trinity was not official church teaching until the council of Nicea. This is startling! Neither the Apostles nor the early apostolic fathers had a concept of a triune relationship among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is freely admitted that the doctrine was not established until 400 years after the Savior’s resurrection. If the doctrine of the Trinity is not biblical, how did it originate?
Legions of Pagan Trinities
Author Marie Sinclair writes, “It is generally, although erroneously, supposed that the doctrine of the Trinity is of Christian origin. Nearly every nation of antiquity possessed a similar doctrine” (Old Truths in a New Light, 1876, p. 382). The belief in a triune deity is also very ancient, and can be traced back to ancient Babylon. “Will anyone after this say that the Roman Catholic Church must still be called Christian, because it holds the doctrine of the Trinity? So did the pagan Babylonians, so did the Egyptians, so do the Hindoos at this hour, in the very sense in which Rome does” (The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop).
Hislop’s statements are supported in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, “Although the notion of a divine triad or Trinity is characteristic of the Christian religion, it is by no means peculiar to it. In Indian religion we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, constituting a divine family, like the Father, Mother and Son in mediaeval Christian pictures” (Trinity, p. 458). According to the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, Sumer, an ancient civilization first settled around 4500 BCE to 4000 BCE in southern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), contained a similar belief, “The universe was divided into three regions each of which become the domain of a god. Anu’s share was the sky. The earth was given to Enlil. Ea became the ruler of the waters. Together they constituted the triad of the Great Gods” (1994, pg. 54-55).
Perhaps even more important is the influence of Greek philosophy. According to Aristotle, “All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of our gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and they compose the number of the Trinity” (Author Weigall,Paganism in Our Christianity, p. 197-198).
A question few ever stop to ask is, why is the Trinity a belief held firmly by most of Christendom, being completely lacking in the Bible’s teachings? The historian Will Durant offers this revealing explanation, “Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it…The Greek language, having reigned for centuries over philosophy, became the vehicle of Christian literature and ritual; The Greek mysteries passed down into the impressive mystery of the Mass. Other pagan cultures contributed to the syncretist result. From Egypt came the ideas of a divine Trinity” (The Story of Civilization, vol. III).
This blending with paganism, which was commonplace in the early church, changed Christianity forever. Like the development of the Trinity, many practices and beliefs today developed over time without biblical support.
A Son Unequal to His Father
What does the Bible actually say about the relationship between the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit? Does any evidence for the Trinity exist in the New Testament? The answer is a resolute no. The first problem with the Trinity doctrine is that the New Testament says expressly that the Father is greater than the Son. Yahshua called Yahweh His “Father” for the simple reason that Yahweh was superior to and preceded the Son in existence—as do all fathers.
The doctrine of the Trinity says that the Son is both co-equal to and co-eternal with the Father, while the Scriptures maintain the opposite.
Yahshua the Messiah Himself affirmed that he was not co-equal with the Father, but was in submission and subjection to the Father. “You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). One cannot be equal with another if the other is greater.
Yahshua again confirms his submission to his Father in John 10:29, “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Since Yahshua is speaking, He included Himself here. In His own words Yahshua confirms that the Father is superior to everyone, including the Son Himself. As we note in the Restoration Study Bible, “…This precludes the possibility of a duality or trinity of Father and Son.”
The Apostle Paul also confirms Yahshua’s subordinate relationship to the Father. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Messiah; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Messiah is Yahweh” (1Cor. 11:3). As Yahweh appointed the man over the woman at creation, Paul states in like manner that the Father is over His Son.
In another of Yahshua’s statements we find that the Father is superior in knowledge to the Son, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). If the Father and Son were equal, why is it that the Son is not privy to the timing of His own coming? If they are indeed co-equal, something is amiss here.
In Matthew 20:23 Yahshua is confronted by the mother of Zebedee’s children about future positions for her sons. In response to her inquiry, Yahshua clearly shows that the Father is superior, “And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.”
The Father alone prepares Kingdom rewards. This is not something that the Son can provide. He again defaults to His Father. If they were equal and of the same being, why is this honor not bestowed also upon the Son?
In several instances the Messiah stated that he could do nothing outside of His Father. In response to the Jews’ hatred for doing His Father’s will, He stated, “…Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). If the Father and Son shared equal authority, why then was He limited by what He saw the Father do? Clearly, the concept of the Father and Son being co-equal is scripturally unfounded.
The Son Is Not Co-eternal with the Father
These passages pose serious problems — but not the only ones — with the Trinity. The definition of the Trinity states that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-eternal. This assertion is another misunderstanding, arising from the Council of Nicea.
John of Patmos wrote the Book of Revelation under the direction of Yahshua the Messiah. He confirmed that Yahshua was the first of Yahweh’s creation. “And unto the angel of the assembly of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of Elohim” (Rev. 3:14).
The Greek for the word “beginning” here is arche and means, “a commencement, or (concretely) chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank),” Strong’s. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words further defines this word: “…NT:746 means ‘a beginning.’ The root arch primarily indicated what was of worth. Hence the verb archo meant ‘to be first,’ and archon denoted ‘a ruler.’” While some will argue for the latter definition, the primary and most reasonable definition conveys that Yahshua was the first in the commencement of His Father’s creation. If Yahshua was created by His Father how then can He be co-eternal with His Father? Knowing that one existed prior to the other, reason alone would conclude that a co-eternal relationship between the Son and Father is illogical.
To further confirm Yahshua’s statement in Revelation, in Proverbs 8 we find Solomon confirming Yahshua’s cre-ation, “Yahweh possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth” (vv. 22-25).
The preceding verses speak of wisdom. Yahshua the Messiah is the personification of wisdom. Solomon here was not referring to simply an attribute, but to the creation of Yahweh’s Son. The word “possessed” comes from the Hebrew qanah and is a primitive root. Strong’s defines this word as, “to erect, i.e. create; by extension, to procure, especially by purchase (causatively, sell); by implication to own.” Even though qanah most often refers to procurement in context of Scripture, the primary meaning in Strong’s is “to erect, i.e. to create.”
In addition to the aforementioned passages, the Bible clearly states that only Yahweh, the Heavenly Father, has immortality and is the only one who ever possessed innate immortality. “Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting” (1Tim. 6:16). This statement can only apply to Yahweh, the Father. How can a Son be co-eternal with His Father if only His Father contains immortality? This is further proof that a co-eternal relationship between the Son and Father cannot be scripturally established.
The Power of Yahweh
The Nicene – Constantinopolitan Creed defined the Holy Spirit as, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified…” There are several contradictions between this creed and the Bible regarding the Holy Spirit. However, before examining these inconsistencies, let’s first seek to understand the terms.
The term “Holy Spirit” is from the Hebrew ruach qodesh. The word spirit is derived from the Hebrew ruach, occurring 389 times in the Old Testament. That includes 232 as “spirit,” 92 times as “wind,” and 27 times as “breath” in the King James Version.
Note the definition of the word ruach: “The basic meaning of ruach is both ‘wind’ or ‘breath,’ but neither is understood as essence; rather it is the power encountered in the breath and the wind, whose whence and whither remains mysterious…2. ruach as a designation for the wind is necessarily something found in motion with the power to set other things in motion…The divine designation also apparently has an intensifying function in a few passages: ruach elohim (Gen 1:2) and ruach yhwh (Isa 59:19)” (Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament, “Ruach”).
This lexicon states that ruach implies a power that is within the breath and wind, which is connected to the Name YHWH or Yahweh. The Holy Spirit is the power emanating from our Father Yahweh. It is Yahweh’s power that puts all things into motion. It is His power that brings life into creation. In Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of Elohim “moved” upon the face of the waters. The word is rachaph in the Hebrew and means, “to brood (flutter, move, shake).” Yahweh’s power (not an individual) energized the planet, after which the earthly creation began in earnest.
The Greek word for Spirit is pneuma, which shares a mirror definition with the word ruach. “Pneuma; to breathe, blow, primarily denotes the wind. Breath; the spirit which, like the wind, is invisible, immaterial, and powerful” (The Complete Word Study New Testament, “Pneuma”).
It can be further demonstrated that the Holy Spirit is not a separate being, but an inanimate power that proceeds from the Father. InIsaiah 32:15, 44:3, and Acts 2:17 the Holy Spirit is described as being poured. How can a being be poured into another? Titus 3:5-6and Acts 2:33 testify that the Spirit is shed. How can a being shed itself onto another? The Spirit is also described as something that can be stirred up, 2Timothy 1:6; quenched, 1Thes. 5:19, and renewed, 2Cor. 4:16. These attributes are far more fitting for a power than a person.
Father and Son, but No Spirit
In addition to this, there is another key fact consistent in the New Testament. Paul never addressed the Holy Spirit in the salutation of his letters, as he did the Father and Son. Notice:
“… Grace to you and peace from Yahweh our Father, and the Master Yahshua Messiah” (Rom. 1:7).
“Grace be unto you, and peace, from Yahweh our Father, and from the Master Yahshua Messiah” (1Cor. 1:3).
“Grace be to you and peace from Yahweh our Father, and from the Master Yahshua Messiah” (2Cor. 1:2).
“Grace be to you and peace from Yahweh the Father, and from our Master Yahshua Messiah” (Gal. 1:3).
“Grace be to you, and peace, from Yahweh our Father, and from the Master Yahshua Messiah” (Eph. 1:2).
“Grace be unto you, and peace, from Yahweh our Father, and from the Master Yahshua Messiah” (Phil. 1:2).
“…Grace be unto you, and peace, from Yahweh our Father and the Master Yahshua Messiah” (Col. 1:2).
“…Grace be unto you, and peace, from Yahweh our Father, and the Master Yahshua Messiah” (1Thess. 1:1).
“Grace unto you, and peace, from Yahweh our Father and the Master Yahshua Messiah” (2Thess. 1:2).
“…Grace, mercy, and peace, from Yahweh our Father and Yahshua Messiah our Master” (1Tim. 1:2).
“…Grace, mercy, and peace, from Yahweh the Father and Messiah Yahshua our Master” (2Tim. 1:2).
• “…Grace, mercy, and peace, from Yahweh the Father and the Master Yahshua Messiah our Saviour” (Tit. 1:4).
In these twelve passages not once does Paul mention the Holy Spirit; however, he consistently mentions both the Father and Son. Is it possible that Paul, one of the greatest apostles in the New Testament, simply forgot about one-third of a heavenly triunity? Of course not, Paul recognized that it was not proper to include the Spirit, since it represents Yahweh’s power and not a sentient being.
Paul is not alone in his omission of the Holy Spirit. There are two key passages that mention the Father and Son with no reference to the Holy Spirit. The first is Acts 7:55-56, “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of Elohim, and Yahshua standing on the right hand of Yahweh, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of Yahweh.”
As Stephen was being stoned for his open rebuke of the Jewish leaders, he saw a vision of the Father and Son. While Scripture states that he was “full of the Holy Spirit,” the fact is the Spirit was missing from his supernatural vision. He saw only the Father and Son. If the Trinity is biblical, why does Stephen see only two heavenly Hosts in this profound vision? There is no better opportunity to reveal it than in a sacred visualization of the heavenly majesty, especially at such key times like these.
In our second example, we find again the Father and Son present, but the Spirit absent. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our Elohim which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9-10).
If the Trinity were legitimate and understood by the writers of the New Testament, why is the Holy Spirit missing in this passage and in so many others where it should be found? It’s quite simple –no heavenly triumvirate exists in either old or new testament.
Alvan Lamson, author of The Church of the First Three Centuries, offers a summation as to the legitimacy of the Holy Spirit in composing part of a Trinity. “…we must look, not to Jewish Scriptures, nor to the teachings of [Yahshua] and his apostles, but to Philo and the Alexandrine Platonists. In consistency with this view, we maintain that the doctrine of the Trinity was of gradual and comparatively late formation; that it had its origin in a source entirely foreign from that of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures; that it grew up, and was ingrafted on Christianity, through the Platonizing Fathers…”
Why the Pronoun ‘He’?
In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is often referenced with the personal pronoun “he,” “him,” or “himself.” Many will point to this as proof for the Trinity. For example, in John 14:16-17 Yahshua stated, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
The “whom” here refers to the comforter, which comes from the Greek parakletos, a masculine word in Greek. Even though the Holy Spirit is described in the both the neuter and masculine throughout the New Testament, it’s likely that the translators used the Greekparakletos as an indicator for the gender of the Holy Spirit. As such, the Spirit has been incorrectly rendered by the masculine pronoun in the New Testament.
Referring to inanimate objects in the masculine and feminine is not unusual. We find it in many languages. For example, in Italian the words for “love,” “sea,” and “sun,” are masculine and the words for “art,” “faith,” and “light” are feminine. In like manner, in Arabic, which contains no neuter gender, the words for “book,” “class,” “street” are masculine while the words “car,” “university,” and “city” are feminine.
Similarly, Hebrew, a semitic language that shares many parallels with Arabic, including being without the neuter gender, has many cases where inanimate objects are rendered in the masculine or feminine. Masculine examples include the words for “word,” “day,” and “room.” Instances of the feminine include “land,” “animal,” and “spirit.” Even though the word for spirit (Heb. ruach) is feminine in the Hebrew language, Judaism views ruach as an inanimate object, i.e., wind. Likewise, parakletos is masculine in Greek, notwithstanding, its usage is neuter. Translators with preconceived ideas about the Spirit would use “he” when they had no justifiation to do so.
While many follow the pattern found in the King James Version in rendering the Holy Spirit in the masculine, a few translations correctly render it in the neuter, including the Diaglott, Rotherham, Goodspeed, and Literal Concordant. In addition to the above references, there are three instances in the KJV where it correctly refers to the Holy Spirit in the neuter. The first is found inMatthew 10:20, “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Instead of “who,” the translators correctly used the form “which” in reference to the Spirit. The last two examples are both found in the eighth chapter of Romans, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of Elohim…Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (vv. 16, 26).
The Meaning of Elohim
In addition to the gender gap, much confusion over the Trinity has developed from the Hebrew word elohim. According to theEnglishman’s Concordance, this term occurs 2,597 in the Hebrew text. While it is singular in usage, it can be used in the plural form, as a collective noun. Strong’s defines this term as, “…plural of OT:433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.”The Complete Word Study Old Testament further states, “Elohim; this masc. noun is pl. in form but it has both sing. and pl. uses. In a pl. sense it refers to rulers or judges with divine connections (Ex. 21:6); pagan gods (Ex. 18:11; Ps. 88:8); and probably angels (Ps. 8:5; 97:7)…In the sing. sense it is used of a god or a goddess (1 Sam. 5:7; 2 Kgs. 18:34); a man in a position like a god (Ex. 7:1); God (Deut. 7:9; Ezra 1:3; Is. 45:18 and many other passages,” Lexical Aids, 430. The following provide additional evidence for the singular and plural usages of elohim, beginning with the singular.
• “And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Yahweh Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” (Ex 3:15).
• “When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father in law, heard of all that Elohim had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that Yahweh had brought Israel out of Egypt” (Ex. 18:1).
• “Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto Yahweh thy Elohim in the place which Yahweh shall choose: because Yahweh thy Elohim shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice” (Deut. 16:15). The above examples illustrate elohim in the singular; the remainder provides examples of this word in the plural.
• “And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their mighty ones [elohim]: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their mighty ones” (Num. 25:2).
• “Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their mighty ones [elohim], and do sacrifice unto their mighty ones [elohim], and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice” (Ex. 34:15).
• “And they forsook Yahweh Elohim of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other mighty ones [elohim], of the mighty ones [elohim] of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked Yahweh to anger” (Judg. 2:12).
Many assume that because elohim is usually used in the plural, that it must refer to a Trinity. This is an erroneous assumption by many who attempt to force the concept of a triad into the Hebrew elohim. Elohim does not specify a number, only a plurality. It can just as easily mean two heavenly beings.
Problematic ‘Trinitarian’ Passages
Two New Testament passages are popularly used to support the doctrine of the Trinity. One is Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (KJV).
The Jerusalem Bible questions whether the formula given for baptism here is inspired or liturgical (added later by the church). The Hebrew version of Matthew omits the verse entirely. And although the passage is found in the three earliest known Greek New Testament manuscripts, without any original New Testament manuscripts in existence we have no evidence to substantiate that the present form of Matthew 28:19 is accurate.
One reason biblical scholars question the authenticity of this passage is that it conflicts with the actual method used for baptizing in the New Testament. In all other instances baptism is done only into the singular name of Yahshua (see Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5;22:16; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). The Companion Bible makes special note of this: “To some, perplexity, and even distress, is caused by the apparent neglect of the disciples to carry out the [Master’s] command in Matthew 28:19, 20, with regard to the formula for baptism. …Turning to Acts and onwards, they find no single instance of, or reference to, baptism in which the Triune name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is employed. On the contrary, from the very first, only ten days after the injunction had been given, Peter is found (Acts 2:38) commanding all his hearers including those of the dispersion to be baptized in the name of [Yahshua the Messiah]” (p. 206, Appendix 185).
A second reason why biblical scholars are skeptical of Matthew 28:19 is because of conflicting historical documents. Eusebius of Caesarea is known as one of the greatest Greek teachers and historians of the early church. He lived approximately between the years of 270 CE and 340 CE. In citing Matthew, Eusebius omitted the Trinitarian formula found in Matthew 28:19. “The facts are, in summary, that Eusebius quotes Matthew 28:19, 21 times, either omitting everything between ‘nations’ and ‘teaching,’ or in the form ‘make disciples of all nations in my name,’ the latter form being the more frequent” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics).
The Jewish New Testament Commentary says, “Although nearly all ancient manuscripts have the trinitarian formula, Eusebius, the Church historian, who may have been a non-trinitarian, in his writings preceding the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E., quotes the verse without it. Most scholars believe the formula is original, but papers by Hans Kosmala (‘The Conclusion of Matthew,’ Annual of the Swedish Theological Institute, 4 (1965), (pp. 132-147) and David Flusser (‘The Conclusion of Matthew in a New Jewish Christian Source,’ ibid., 5 (1966-7), pp. 110-119) take the opposite view” (note on Matt. 28:19, p. 86).
Obviously, Eusebius did not recognize the current form of Matthew 28:19. Instead of quoting the phrase, “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” he most often used the phrase, “in my name,” which would agree with all other accounts of baptism in the New Testament.
The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 380, further reveals that Justin Martyr, another church father, was also possibly ignorant of the present form of Matthew 28:19. “Justin Martyr quotes a saying of Christ as a proof of the necessity of regeneration, but falls back upon the use of Isaiah and apostolic tradition to justify the practice of baptism and the use of the triune formula. This certainly suggests that Justin did not know the traditional text of Matthew 28:19.”
The second passage in question is 1John 5:7. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.” Most biblical scholars will admit that 1John 5:7 was a late addition to the New Testament. In other words, this passage is not found in the oldest Greek New Testament manuscripts.
Note the following on 1John 5:7: “During the controversy of the 4th cent. over the doctrine of the Trinity the text was expanded – first in Spain ca. 380, and then taken in the Vulg. – by the insertion: ‘There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.’ A few late Greek manuscripts contain the addition. Hence it is passed into the KJV. But all modern critical editions and translations of the NT, including RSV, omit the interpolation, as it has no warrant in the best and most ancient manuscripts or in the early church fathers” (The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, note on1John 5:4-12).
The Jerusalem Bible note on 1John 5:7-8 says, “Vulg. vv. 7-8 read as follows ‘There are three witnesses in heaven: the Father the Word and the Spirit, and these three are one; there are three witnesses on earth: the Spirit the water and the blood’. The words in italics (not in any of the early Greek MSS, or any of the early translations, or in the best MSS of the Vulg. itself) are probably a gloss that has crept into the text,” 1 John 5:7.
There should be no question regarding the faulty rendering of 1John 5:7-8. Historically, along with modern scholarship, it is freely admitted that this passage is a later addition to the original New Testament manuscripts. This passage, along with Matthew 28:19, cannot be used to establish the doctrine of the Trinity.
From both the inspired Word of Yahweh and biblical scholarship, the error of the Trinity is exposed. It is freely admitted through historical and present scholarship that the Trinity was not established during the time of the Apostles, but took an additional three hundred years to become firmly established in the church. This occurred at a time when the church was assimilating many people of pagan beliefs, most of whom held to a Trinity teaching in their heathen background.
Like so many beliefs practiced by mankind, the Trinity was developed through syncretized theology from various religions, and not from the inspired Word.
In addition to the Trinity, there is another doctrine that developed during the first few centuries of the early Church. It was called “Modalism” or “Sabellianism” and emphasized that there was only one mighty one. Those who held to this belief rejected the Trinity. According to author Wayne Grudem, “Another term for modalism is ‘modalistic monarchianism,’ because this teaching not only says that God revealed himself in different ‘modes’ but it also says that there is only one supreme ruler (‘monarch’) in the universe and that is God himself, who consists of only one person,” Systematic Theology, p. 242.
The online Catholic Encyclopedia states, “The Monarchians properly so-called (Modalists) exaggerated the oneness of the Father and the Son so as to make them but one Person; thus the distinctions in the Holy Trinity are energies or modes, not Persons: God the Father appears on earth as Son; hence it seemed to their opponents that Monarchians made the Father suffer and die. In the West they were called Patripassians, whereas in the East they are usually called Sabellians. The first to visit Rome was probably Praxeas, who went on to Carthage some time before 206-208; but he was apparently not in reality a heresiarch, and the arguments refuted by Tertullian somewhat later in his book ‘Adversus Praxean’ are doubtless those of the Roman Monarchians” (newadvent.org, “Monarchians”).
A modern version of Modalism is “Oneness.” This doctrine is a cornerstone of the Pentecostal faith and other charismatic groups. It’s also believed by many in today’s messianic movement. Like Modalism, they accept only the singleness of G-d. They emphatically state that the G-d of the Bible presented himself in different “modes” at different times. In the Old Testament He was the Father; in the New Testament (prior to the giving of the Spirit) He was the Son and lastly; on the day of Pentecost appeared as the Holy Spirit. Along with the Trinity, they also reject the Messiah’s preexistence, which will be discussed at length later.
The Pentecostal Oneness movement arose in the early 1900s from a desire to follow Acts 2:38, baptism into the singular name of the Messiah. While most Oneness advocates accept Matthew 28:19, they reinterpret the passage as referring to the singular name of the Son. The movement soon broke away from its parent church, the Church of God, and formed an independent Oneness denomination. The movement then merged with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Since they emphasized the singleness of “Jesus,” they were also called by the name “Jesus Only,” implying their rejection of the Father and Holy Spirit.
The two largest Oneness Pentecostal organizations today are the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). According to the UPCI statement of beliefs, “There is one God, who has revealed Himself as our Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and as the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God manifested in flesh. He is both God and man. (SeeDeuteronomy 6:4; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 2:9; 1Timothy 3:16.)”
Does Scripture show that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are simply different modes existing at separate times in history? As we have already seen in our discussion of the Trinity, the Father and Son are distinct; they are neither co-equal nor co-eternal.
Passages Cited for Oneness
We will now look at some of the common passages used by those who advocate the oneness doctrine. One of the most cited isDeuteronomy 6:4, also known as the Shema. It states, “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Elohim is one Yahweh.”
While there is debate as to the meaning of this passage, the word “one” can be interpreted two ways. The first is as a single being. In this case it refers to the Father. The second way is as a collective noun. The Hebrew for “one” is echad, meaning, “…united, i.e. one; or (as an ordinal) first,” Strong’s. In Genesis 2:24 this word is used to express the relationship of a husband and wife. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Clearly, the word echad here doesn’t refer to one being, but to one in unity. The same relationship exists between the Father and Son. They are not one being, but one in mind and goal. This is likely what the Shema conveys.
Another passage cited in support of Oneness is Deuteronomy 32:39, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no mighty one with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” This passage is simply expressing the omnipotence of our Father in heaven. There is nothing in this passage indicating that the Father and Son are one.
A third and very common reference is Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty El, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” This is a prophecy of the Messiah when He will reign as King in the millennial Kingdom. Many who promote Oneness point to the title “everlasting Father.” As the Restoration Study Bible note reads, “This literally means, ‘Father of eternity.’ However, The Chaldee renders this passage, ‘The man abiding forever’; The Vulgate as, ‘The Father of the future age.’ The Jews understand the term ‘father’ in a variety of ways, including: as a literal father, a grandfather, a ruler, or an instructor. Since the context seems to refer to the Messiah, perhaps, this would be better rendered, ‘everlasting ruler’ or ‘instructor.’ Yahshua will both rule and instruct mankind in the Millennium and for all ages to come (Isa. 11:1-5; Mic. 4:1-2).”
No Other El
The next three claims for the Oneness teaching are related and found in Isaiah. We will therefore refer to them together:
• “O Yahweh of hosts, Elohim of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the Elohim, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth” (Isa. 37:16).
• “Ye are my witnesses, saith Yahweh, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no El formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am Yahweh; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange elohim among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith Yahweh, that I am El. Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? Thus saith Yahweh, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. I am Yahweh, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King” (Isa. 43:10-15).
• “I am Yahweh, and there is none else, there is no Elohim beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am Yahweh, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:5-6).
Those who maintain the oneness of Yahweh will typically say of these passages:
• Yahshua the Messiah did not preexist.
• Yahweh alone formed man from the womb.
• Yahweh alone made the earth.
• Yahweh alone stretched forth the heavens.
In short, Yahweh created all things without the presence of Yahshua the Messiah. From these verses one can see how they might come to these conclusions; however, as with most points of study there is another possible explanation. This passage is not expressing the literal act of creation but the Father’s authority.
In Exodus 3:14 the Father revealed Himself as the great “I AM,” conveying His ultimate superiority to all creation, including His Son, Yahshua the Messiah. In this light all that is done is the result of Yahweh’s greatness, regardless of whether He is the active force involved. It is for this reason that He alone receives the recognition for the creation of the heavens and earth, as we find here in Isaiah.
This is no different from notable historical figures like Alexander the Great or Nebuchadnezzar claiming complete credit for their empires. In truth, probably neither Alexander the Great nor Nebuchadnezzar ever laid a brick, but it was by their authority and power that they built their kingdoms and as a result received full acknowledgment for their grand achievements.
A scriptural example can be found with King Solomon and the building of the temple. “So Solomon built the house, and finished it. And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the cieling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place…And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of Yahweh…So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold” (1Kings 6:14-16, 19, 21-22).
This passage gives all credit to Solomon as the builder in every phase of temple construction. Does it mean he was out there with gloves and hammer chipping away at stones while sweating in the hot sun? No, Solomon was just overseeing and directing the construction. Yet, he received full credit for the work. Similarly, Yahweh also oversaw creation of the universe and justifiably received all credit. In both cases each was acknowledged for the accomplishments but the actual work was carried out by others.
What ‘One’ Means
The New Testament passage most often used to support the Oneness doctrine is John 10:30. Yahshua states there, “I and my Father are one.” Was He referring to one in being or one in unity? Dr. E.W. Bullinger states, “Gr. hen. Neut., one in essence, not one person…” (Companion Bible, John 10:30). Barnes Notes further clarifies, “The word translated “one” is not in the masculine, but in the neuter gender. It expresses union, but not the precise nature of the union. It may express any union, and the particular kind intended is to be inferred from the connection.”
Again, John 10:30 speaks of one in mind and purpose. Yahshua provides many illustrations of this unity in the New Testament. One of the clearest is John 17, where He is praying to His Father prior to His impalement. “And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (vv. 10-11).
The word “one” here is the same word in John 10:30. According to Yahshua, in the same way we believers are one, the Father and Son are one. Are we all one person? Obviously not! As we find from the Apostle Paul, we are one in conviction and heart: “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind,” Philippians 2:2. Consider the following:
• “Yahshua saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34).
• “Then answered Yahshua and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19).
• “Then said Yahshua unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (John 8:28).
• “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (John 12:49).
Clearly Yahshua is not stating that He and His Father are the same being, but simply that they are one in mind and heart. As a son follows the instructions of his father, Yahshua followed the instructions of His Father Yahweh. He repeatedly said that He did not come to do His own will, but the will of the Father. They cannot possibly be the same individual! See Luke 22:42; Matthew 26:39;John 5:30; 6:38.
Another passage that is commonly used to support Oneness is John 14:6-7: “Yahshua saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Some will make the claim from this passage that Yahshua and His Father are the same individual; however, this passage would again be better understood as being one in goal and mind. As previously noted, just as a son obeys and shares the same interests as his father, the Son shares the same interest, desire, motivation, and character as His Heavenly Father.
The Son’s Authority
Another approach used by Oneness advocates is the testimony found in John 20:28: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Master and my Elohim.” As referenced in the foregoing discussion on elohim, while this term most often refers to Yahweh, it can also denote false deities (both male and female), angels, and mankind. In essence, it refers to an exalted position. Thomas here was not confusing the Son with the Father, but was simply conveying the Son’s high-ranking position, keeping in mind that this was after Yahshua’s resurrection.
In another passage, Peter states, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that Elohim hath made that same Yahshua, whom ye have impaled, both Master and Messiah,” Acts 2:36. The word “Master” is translated “Lord” in the KJV. It comes from the Greekkurios and means, “…supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Mr. (as a respectful title),” Strong’s. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines this term as, “…properly an adjective, signifying ‘having power’ (kuros) or ‘authority,’ is used as a noun, variously translated in the NT, ‘Lord,’ ‘master,’ ‘Master,’ ‘owner,’ ‘Sir,’ a title of wide significance, occurring in each book of the NT save Titus and the Epistles of John. It is used (a) of an owner, as in Luke 19:33, cf. Matt 20:8;Acts 16:16; Gal 4:1; or of one who has the disposal of anything, as the Sabbath, Matt 12:8; (b) of a master, i.e., one to whom service is due on any ground, Matt 6:24; 24:50; Eph 6:5; (c) of an Emperor or King, Acts 25:26; Rev 17:14; (d) of idols, ironically,1 Cor 8:5, cf. Isa 26:13; (e) as a title of respect addressed to a father, Matt 21:30, a husband, 1 Peter 3:6, a master, Matt 13:27;Luke 13:8, a ruler, Matt 27:63, an angel, Acts 10:4; Rev 7:14; (f) as a title of courtesy addressed to a stranger, John 12:21; 20:15;Acts 16:30; from the outset of His ministry this was a common form of address to the Lord Jesus, alike by the people, Matt 8:2;John 4:11, and by His disciples, Matt 8:25; Luke 5:8; John 6:68; (g) kurios is the Sept. and NT representative of Heb. [Yahweh] (`LORD’ in Eng. versions), see Matt 4:7; James 5:11, e. g., of adon, Lord, Matt 22:44, and of Adonay, Lord, 1:22; it also occurs for Elohim, God, 1 Peter 1:25.”
Similar to the word elohim, the Greek kurios refers to positions of power or authority. This not only includes the Father and Son, but also authority within family and society. As such, there is nothing in this word’s definition that would imply that the Son and Father are one in being. Akin to the previous example, this passage is simply expressing the Son’s elevated position.
Paul’s fourth chapter of Ephesians is also used by advocates of the Oneness teaching: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Master, one faith, one baptism, One El and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (vv. 4-6).
Do we finally see evidence here for Oneness? No. Paul is conveying six key truths, none of which shows that the Father and Son are the same being. Note:
While these passages provide insight into the nature and activities of the Father and Son, they are silent in support of the Oneness teaching. Nowhere in his writings does Paul forthrightly state that the Father and Son are one being. This concept isn’t only missing here, but is also counter to his message, as he makes a distinction between our Master Yahshua and His Father Yahweh, the Creator and El of this grand universe.
Paul writing to young Timothy states, “For there is one Elohim, and one mediator between Elohim and men, the man Messiah Yahshua” (1Tim. 2:5). Oneness adherents will also use this to support their view. However, Paul shows a distinction between the two beings. If Yahshua the Messiah is the mediator between His Father and man, how is it possible that He is also the Father? Such reasoning is not only unscriptural, but also irrational.
Writing again to Timothy, Paul speaks of a great mystery pertaining to our Father Yahweh. “And without controversy great is the mystery of holiness: Elohim was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1Tim. 3:16). Many believe that Paul is confirming here that the Father and Son are the same being. This passage is used by advocates of both the Trinity and Oneness teachings.
“Manifest” is derived from the Greek phaneroo and means, “…to render apparent (literally or figuratively),” Strong’s. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states, “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way.” This word conveys making something known or visible. The Father was made visible in the flesh through His Son, Yahshua the Messiah. Paul confirms this in the first chapter of Colossians: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible El, the firstborn of every creature” (vv. 13-16).
The phrase “invisible El” refers to the Father. Yahshua, the son of Yahweh, was created in His Father’s image and therefore represented His Father on earth. Does this mean that the Father and Son are the same being? It must be remembered that mankind too was created in Yahweh’s image, Genesis 1:26. If Paul’s statement in Colossians 1:16 proves that the Father and Son are one being, then we also must be one being with the Father, as Scriptures declare that we were created in His image as well! (Gen. 1:27).
The Alpha and Omega
The phrase “Alpha and Omega” is also frequently employed to confirm the oneness of the Father and Son. It appears four times in the book of Revelation and depending on the context, refers to both the Father and the Son. The words “Alpha” and “Omega” are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet, respectively.
Chapter one contains the first two occurrences, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith Yahweh, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty…I was in the Spirit on Yahweh’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last…” (vv. 8, 10-11). From the context, this is describing our Father Yahweh.
The third example is found in chapter 21, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his Elohim, and he shall be my son” (vv. 6-7). With the reference here to Elohim and the promise of becoming his “sons,” this third also refers to the Father.
Chapter 22 contains the last and final instance, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (vv. 12-13). Unlike the previous, this last example likely refers to Yahshua the Messiah. Yahshua will come at the end of the age and reward those who were faithful (Matt. 16:27; 24:30; 25:1-13; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27; Acts 1:9-11; Rev. 1:7). According to Paul in1Corinthians 15:23-28, the Father cannot come until Yahshua defeats all enemies, including death.
What is the purpose for the phrase, “Alpha and Omega”? This term is likely the result of rabbinic influence. According to Barnes’ Notes, “Among the Jewish rabbis it was common to use the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to denote the whole of anything, from beginning to end. Thus, it is said, ‘Adam transgressed the whole law, from “Aleph ( ) to Taw ( ).”’ ‘Abraham kept the whole law, from “Aleph ( ) to Taw ( ).”’”
Speaking about Yahshua, Paul states, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the assembly: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
According to Paul, through Yahshua all things were created and consist. It’s important to recognize that Yahshua was the active, creative agent behind all “thrones,” “dominions,” “principalities,” and “powers.” As such, He is the beginning and end of all things within this universe, the visible and invisible. Does this imply though that the Son is the same being as the Father? Of course not! As Yahshua did the will of His Father in the New Testament, the same was true in His preexistence. Yahshua is the manifestation of all that His Father is. All that He does reflects upon His Father. It’s for this reason that the phrase “Alpha and Omega” complements the Father, even in reference to the Son.
Numerous passages show a clear distinction between the Father and Son. Possibly the greatest hurdle of those who promote the Oneness doctrine involves Yahshua’s death and resurrection. After our Savior was horrifically beaten and tortured on the tree, Scripture indicates that he died. Matthew 27:50 clearly states that He “yielded up the spirit.” As seen earlier, the word “spirit” is from the Greek pneuma and refers to “a current of air, i.e. breath…” Strong’s. The Hebrew equivalent to pneuma is ruach. Strong’s defines this word as, “wind; by resemblance breath….”
When we die our Spirit returns to Yahweh (Eccl. 12:7), our con-sciousness ceases to exist (Ps.146:4; Eccl. 9:10) and our bodies lie dormant in the grave awaiting the resurrection (Dan. 12:2, Matt. 27:52; 1Thess. 4:13-15). If our spirit or breath returns to Yahweh at death, where then did Yahshua’s breath return, if He and the Father were one? Equally perplexing, being that the Son was dead and unconscious in the grave, is who resurrected Him three days later? Peter confirms that Yahweh resurrected Yahshua, Acts 2:32. If Yahweh and Yahshua are one, this means that Yahweh resurrected Himself from the grave even while dead.
Some attempt to explain these contradictions by claiming that Yahshua never died, but descended to the depths of Hades where he preached to the wicked. The fact is, if He never died we are without a Savior. Hebrews unequivocally states that a complete death was required by our Savior if we are to have life everlasting: “But Messiah being come an high priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us… And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Heb. 9:11-12, 15-16).
Yahshua confirms His own death in Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of the grave and of death.” The word “dead” here comes from the Greek nekros and according to the Thayer’s literally refers to “one that has breathed his last, lifeless.” Based on Hebrews and Yahshua’s own testimony, there should be no doubt that our Savior literally died and was in the grave (heart of the earth) for three full days and three full nights, as He prophesied inMatthew 12:40. On a side note, this would make His traditional time in the grave impossible. Based on the biblical record, He was placed in the tomb Wednesday evening and resurrected late on the Sabbath (Saturday before sunset).
In addition, it must be asked, if Yahweh and Yahshua are one, how did the world survive for the three days and three nights while they lay unconscious in the grave? To state that the Father resurrected Himself and that Yahweh was absent for three days and three nights makes no sense and contradicts the very core of Scripture!
One might also ask who Yahshua cried out to when he stated, “…Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My El, my El, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Yahshua is calling out here to His Father. If the Father and Son are one, does this mean that He was calling out to Himself?
What about those instances where Yahshua prayed to the Father, both in public and private. If He and the Father were one being, what was the point? Was it for public show or self-affirmation? Certainly neither. Yahshua was not praying to Himself but to His Father in heaven.
Consider two more illustrations. Yahshua in Matthew 22:44 said, “Yahweh said unto my Master, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Is Yahshua sitting on His own hand? As a final example, Yahshua confirms that only the Father knows the timing of His Coming, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only,”Matthew 24:36. If the Father and Son are one being, how is it possible that the Father has information that the son lacks? Was Yahshua simply telling a fib? Of course not; He was confirming the fact that is apparent from cover to cover and that is that He and His Father are not the same being. These passages along with the other examples confirm that the belief in Oneness is not only unfounded scripturally, but escapes reason and logic.
The Word Became Flesh
Even though the Son is distinct and not co-eternal with the Father, Scripture confirms that He existed prior to His birth at Bethlehem. There is no passage of greater importance regarding His preexistence than the first chapter of John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. The same was in the beginning with Elohim. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was 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 1:1-3, 14).
Who represents the “Word” here? In verse 14 the “Word” is identified as the only begotten of the Father. This can refer only to Yahshua the Messiah. Does the “Word” in verse 1 correspond to the “Word” in verse 14? There are those who argue that the word in verse 1 refers to the “plan of Yahweh,” while the word in verse 14 refers to the manifestation of that plan, i.e., Yahshua the Messiah. The problem with this view is context. It’s clear here that there is only one “Word” and that is the Messiah.
This passage could be rendered, “In the beginning was the Messiah, and the Messiah was with Elohim, and the Messiah was Elohim.” Here is evidence that the Messiah was with Yahweh in the beginning. There are some who struggle with John 1:1, which states, “…the Word was Elohim.” Some have interpreted this as John confirming the equivalence of the Father and Son; validating that the Father and Son are either co-equal or co-eternal or perhaps both.
Proper understanding begins with the Greek word for “elohim,” i.e., theos. This word refers to “a general name of deities or divinities” (Thayer’s). From the Old and New testaments we find that this term along with its Hebrew equivalent, elohim, contains a wide application and applies to both the Father and Son. Based on the meaning of theos, this passage could be rendered, “…the Messiah was a ‘Mighty One.’” John is not confusing the Father and Son. He is simply confirming that in the beginning the Son was with His Father as a “Mighty One.”
Having established who this “Word” represents, let’s now move on to the meaning of verse 3. It says there that all things were made by Him. The Word, i.e., Yahshua, was the one who created all things. This includes the atom, one of the smallest units of matter known to man, as well as the vast galaxies in this universe.
To summarize, we find three facts in this passage: (1) The “Word” represents Yahshua the Messiah, (2) Yahshua was with His Father in the beginning and (3) all things were made through the Messiah. To remove the Messiah’s preexistence is to remove His presence with His Father and His pivotal role at creation.
In Yahshua’s eye-opening prayer in John 17:5 we find Yahshua Himself declaring His own preexistence as He prepared for His imminent death: “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
The key word here is “was.” It is derived from the Greek einai meaning, “to exist” (Strong’s). Thayer’s offers a similar definition, “to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.” Based on the Greek, Yahshua is asking His Father to provide Him the same glory that He had before the world existed. The Messiah here offers irrefutable confirmation of his preexistence. He declares that He had glory with His Father, indicating His exalted state, before the world existed. This is the same message found in the first chapter of John.
Similar to the previous example, in John 8:56-58 the Messiah confirms that He existed before Abraham. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Yahshua said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
Before we consider verse 58, the critical verse here, we must understand the context of this passage. Though this passage speaks in the present tense, the context clearly refers to the past. In verse 58, Yahshua makes the remarkable statement, “….before Abraham existed, I was.” What was He actually saying here? The meaning is once again revealed in the Greek. The word “was” comes from the Greek ginomai. Strong’s defines it as, “to cause to be, i.e. (reflexively) to become (come into being).” Thayer’s adds, “to become, that is, to come into existence, to begin to be, or to receive being.” The phrase “I am” comes from the same Greek word for “was” in John 17:5, i.e., einai. Additionally, The Complete Word Study New Testament, under its Lexical Aid, provides this definition: “to be, to exist, have existence or being.”
The Messiah confirms here that before Abraham came into being that He Himself existed or was present.
John the Baptist also confirms the Messiah’s preexistence, “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, this was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me” (John 1:15). The word “before” here is the Greekprotos. Strong’s defines this word as, “foremost (in time, place, order or importance).” This statement by John clearly refers to time and not to order of importance. This is evident from John’s earlier statement, “He that cometh after me.”
Those who know the genealogy might be saying, but wait. John the Baptist’s mother, Elisabeth, conceived six months before Mary (Luke 1:26). How then was Yahshua before John? This is explained only through His preexistence. He existed in heaven with His Father prior to being born as a man.
I Came from Above
In addition to these examples, Yahshua also noted in several passages that He came down from heaven. One is John 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”
Yahshua states that He came down from heaven. The phrase “came down” is the Greek katabaino, meaning “to descend” (Strong’s). Thayer’s offers additional detail on the meaning: “the place from which one has come down.” Yahshua confirms that He came down or descended from heaven. Based on the Greek, no other interpretation would apply. For this statement to be true our Savior would have had to first exist in heaven prior to His human birth.
An analogous passage can be found in John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” The phrase “came down” is derived from the same Greek word found in John 3:13, katabaino. The Messiah confirms once more that He came down or descended from heaven. For this to be possible, He would have had to preexist. In verse 62 Yahshua went on to say, “What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” Scripture states that after Yahshua’s death and resurrection that He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11).
In John 8:23 Yahshua provides proof for His previous existence by drawing a contrast between Himself and mankind. “And he said unto them, You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world.” The Messiah provides witness here to His place of origin. He states that while man was from beneath and of this world, that He Himself was neither. If Yahshua was not from beneath or of this world, from where did He commence? The only clear conclusion is that He had His beginning in heaven. The fact that Yahshua also stated that He was from above further solidifies this fact.
So from multiple passages we find the same message, the Messiah came down from or existed in heaven prior to his human birth. He also confirms that no man has gone to heaven which is corroborated in both Old and New testaments (Gen. 3:19, Job 14:2, Ps. 103: 14-16, 146:4, Eccl. 9:10, 12:7, Dan. 12:2, Acts 2:29-34).
Image of the Invisible El
Paul in Colossians 1:14-17 not only confirms Yahshua’s preexistence, but also explains His role in the Old Testament: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible El, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
The subject here is clearly Yahshua. In verse 15 Paul states that Yahshua is the image of the invisible El, referring to the Father. The Messiah in John 6:46 confirmed that no man had seen the Father except for the Son. Scripture also corroborates that the Father cannot be seen and is invisible (1Tim. 1:17, Heb. 11:27).
Paul states here that Yahshua is the image of His Father. Is he referring to Yahshua’s past existence with His Father prior to the world or His present existence as a man? From the next few verses we find that he’s referring to His past existence, which confirms that He was the image or representation of His Father in the Old Testament.
In verse 15 Paul states that Yahshua is the firstborn of every creature. The word “firstborn” is derived from the Greek wordprototokos. Both Strong’s and Thayer’s define this word as “firstborn.” They offer no other definition. The KJV also translates this word as “first begotten.” The meaning of prototokos is very specific. It forthrightly describes Yahshua as the firstborn of every creature.
To ensure that we have a full understanding of this passage, we must not neglect the word “creature.” This word is derived from the Greek ktisis. Strong’s defines it as, “original formation.” Thayer’s offers a similar definition, “creation, that is, a thing created; used of individual things, beings, a creature, a creation.” Based on the Greek, Paul is validating that Yahshua was the firstborn of every original formation of creation.
He goes on to further explain that not only was Yahshua the firstborn of every creature, but also that through Him all things in the heavens and on earth were created. The word “created” in verse 16 is from the Greek ktizo. Strong’s defines this word as, “to fabricate” or to “create.” As we saw from John 1:3, it was by the Messiah that all things in heaven and on earth were created.
Paul’s last point here is important. Paul states that by Him, Yahshua, all things consist, speaking about the creation of the heavens and earth. If Yahshua was not present at creation, how then would all things consist by Him? This would make no sense unless Yahshua was both present and active at creation.
Present in the Beginning
As noted, Yahshua again validates His preexistence in Revelation 3:14, “And unto the angel of the assembly of the Laodiceans write, These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of El.” This passage states that Yahshua was the “beginning” of Yahweh’s creation. This word is derived from the Greek arche. Strong’s defines this word as, “a commencement, or (concretely) chief” as it pertains to time. Thayer’s offers a similar definition: “(1) beginning, origin; (2) the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader; (3) that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause; or (4) the extremity of a thing; used of the corners of a sail.”
As seen from these sources, the Greek arche has two definitions: (1) origin, beginning or commencement and (2) chief in importance. While both definitions would apply to Yahshua, the first is much more likely based on Colossians 1:15, where Paul states that the Messiah is “the firstborn of every creature.” Yahshua verifies here by His own testimony that He was the beginning, origin, or commencement of Yahweh’s creation. Understating this point is paramount. To ignore this truth is to disregard the remarkable contribution Yahshua had as the origin or active cause of Yahweh’s creation.
More extraordinary evidence of Yahshua’s preexistence is found in Luke 10:17-18: “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Master, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’” (NIV).
Satan was once in heaven, but because of his rebellion was cast out. The Old Testament also speaks of Satan’s fall from grace in the past tense (Gen. 3:14; Isa. 14:12; Ezek. 28:12-15). Yahshua said here that He witnessed this event. If Yahshua did not preexist, how is it possible that He witnessed Satan’s fall from heaven? Without being present, this would have been impossible. The only reasonable conclusion is that Yahshua was actually there when Yahweh ousted Satan from heaven, thus confirming Yahshua’s existence prior to Bethlehem.
Yahshua the Rock
In 1Corinthians 10 we find Paul confirming Yahshua’s presence in the Old Testament. He states, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Messiah” (vv. 1-4).
Yahshua as the “spiritual Rock” had a unique relationship with Israel. He followed, meaning accompanied, Israel through the wilderness. The Old Testament calls Him “the Angel of Yahweh.” A clear connection exists between the “spiritual Rock” and the Angel of Yahweh in the Old Testament.
We find a second parallel between Yahshua and the Angel of Yahweh. As Israel symbolically drank of this “spiritual Rock,” we find in the New Testament that Yahshua declared that He was the living waters: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yahshua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).
In both Old and New testaments Yahshua symbolized spiritual waters. This further reinforces the connection between the Angel of Yahweh and the Messiah’s presence and activity in the Old Testament.
Solomon Confirms the Savior’s Preexistence
As seen earlier, Solomon in Proverbs 8:22-31 chronicles Yahshua’s preexistence and active role in creation. “Yahweh possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”
Some will say this passage refers not to Yahshua, but to Yahweh’s wisdom. They will refer to verse 12 to validate this assertion, where Solomon was inspired to write, “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” The challenge with this belief is that the person in verse 22 was “possessed,” literally meaning, “to erect, i.e., create,” Strong’s.
To erect or create something conveys that the thing at one point did not exist. Therefore, to state that this refers to Yahweh’s wisdom would be to claim that Yahweh at one point was without wisdom. A much more likely interpretation is that the preexistent Messiah is meant. This would not only harmonize with Revelation 3:14, but also corroborate with all other New Testament passages referring to the Messiah’s presence before Bethlehem.
Before moving on, Proverbs 8:30 offers a key truth. It again states, “Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” The phrase “one brought up” comes from the Hebrew amown. Brown Driver and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines this Hebrew word as, “an artificer, an architect, a master workman, a skilled workman.” Within the context, this phrase would be better rendered “master workman,” as found in most modern translations.
Yahweh possessed (i.e., created) Yahshua before His works of old. This includes before the existence of the earth (v.26) and heavens (v.27). In verse 30, as previously noted, Yahshua was with Yahweh, His Father, as a master workman. This phrase connotes the integral contributions of the preexistent Messiah. As Solomon produced the blueprints and plans of the temple and hired the best workman to complete the construction, we find the same relationship here between Yahweh, the great architect, and Yahshua, His master workman.
Solomon provides another contribution to the Messiah’s preexistence in Proverbs 30:4. He writes, “Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the waters in a garment? who has established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if you can tell?” (Prov. 30:4).
This passage is referring to the creation of the heavens and earth. This is a key point. In closing, Solomon asks, “What is His Name, and what is His Son’s Name?” The question leads to one conclusion: both the Father and Son existed and were present at creation.
This relationship may also be found in Genesis 1:1, where we read, “In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth.” As previously mentioned, the word Elohim is singular, but is often used in the plural, expressing more than one mighty one.
Based on the context of Genesis chapter one, this word undoubtedly refers to more than one mighty one. This can be seen from verse 26, where Scripture states, “Let us make man in our image.” Similar language is found in Genesis 3:22; 11:7. The question is, who is the “us” mentioned here? Based on Proverbs 8:22-31, John 1:1-3, and Colossians 1:15-16, the “us” likely refers to the Father and Son, showing evidence once more of both the Father and Son at creation.
As a side note, Genesis 1:1 literally reads, “In the beginning Elohim, Aleph Tau, created . . . .” The Aleph and Tau represents the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet and is a sign of the direct object in Hebrew grammar. This may also depict the presence of both the Father and Son at creation. As previously noted, a parallel exists with several passages in Revelation, where both the Father and Son are referred to as the Alpha and Omega.
Angel of Yahweh
Another intriguing parallel concerning the pre-existent Messiah is found in the Angel of Yahweh. Exodus 23:20-21 reveals several similarities between these two figures: “Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.”
No other being corresponds based on the context of these two passages. This angel can be found in other important roles, three of which we will cover now. The first is referred to by Deacon Stephen in the New Testament. In Acts 7:38 Stephen confirms that Moses received the law from an angel: “This is he [Moses], that was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.”
The word angel here is from the Greek aggelos meaning, “a messenger; especially an ‘angel’” (Strong’s). Thayer’s offers a similar definition: “a messenger, an envoy, one who was sent, an angel, a messenger….” In contrast, Yahweh, the Father, the exalted El, is neither an angel nor a messenger. Both are far below His exalted status.
How does this correspond to the Old Testament? “And Yahweh said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven” (Ex. 20:22). How do we reconcile this passage with what Stephen said in Acts? The one who likely gave the commandments to Moses was the Angel of Yahweh, corresponding to the preexistent Messiah (1 Cor. 10:4) and the active agent of creation (John 1:1). In the two remaining examples, this point will become clearer.
In Genesis 22 we find Abraham on the brink of sacrificing his son Isaac, in which he was stopped by a mysterious figure. “And the angel of Yahweh called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith Yahweh, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld your son, your only son” (Gen. 22:15-16).
A passage akin to Genesis 22 is Exodus 3:2, 4: “And the angel of Yahweh appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed… And when Yahweh saw that he turned aside to see, Elohim called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”
In both of these passages we find one being called the “angel of Yahweh” and “Yahweh.” The narrative clearly shows that this is the same being. From the culmination of evidence, this likely refers to the active Word or preexistent Messiah acting on behalf of His Father.
Before continuing, it’s important to clarify several crucial points. The Word, Angel of Yahweh and the Yahweh who spoke and interacted with mankind was not the Father, but the Son conveying the intents and words of His Father. This is comparable to when Yahshua spoke and acted on behalf of His Father in the New Testament (John 1:18; 4:34; 5:19; 6:38; 7:16; 8:15-19, 28-30; 14:6). As noted earlier, Scripture does not support a duality between the Father and Son. The Father is greater than the Son (John 10:29;14:28; 1 Cor. 11:3) and “one” only in mind and purpose (John 17:22), not in being.
Yahweh of the Old Testament
We now lack only one remaining piece of this puzzle. In several Old Testament passages we find “Yahweh” appearing and interacting with man. For the reasons stated above and one additional reason, which will now be explained, this cannot be the Father. Scripture expressly states that no man has seen or heard the Father:
“No man hath seen Yahweh at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).
“And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape” (John 5:37).
“Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting” (1Tim. 6:16).
“No man hath seen Yahweh at any time. If we love one another, Elohim dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (1John 4:12, 20).
Yahshua, Paul, and John all state that no human has seen or heard the Father. Considering this, how can we explain those instances of when Yahweh appeared before man? For example, how can we explain when Yahweh appeared before Abraham inGenesis 18:1-3: “And Yahweh appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Master, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant.”
Genesis 19:1 identifies the two men with Yahweh as angels. The question remains, who was the “Yahweh” who appeared before Abraham? Since Scripture declares that no man has seen the Father, this cannot be the Father. From the weight of evidence, this probably represents the Son, the active Word (Heb. Debar, Gk. Logos). To extend this mystery further, Genesis 19:24 reveals two beings with the name Yahweh: “Then Yahweh rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh out of heaven.” We find here one Yahweh on earth, the same Yahweh who appeared before Abraham, and a second Yahweh in heaven. The Yahweh on earth likely represents the Son and the Yahweh in heaven represents the Father. We find that the Son rained fire and brimstone from the Father, not from Himself.
In the New Testament Yahshua testified that He could do nothing without His Father (John 8:28). As found here, this New Testament principle held true in the Old Testament. All things within this universe come from the Father, including His active Word, the preexistent Messiah. Yahshua’s presence before Bethlehem is well documented in both Old and New Testaments. The most important of this evidence is from the Messiah Himself. He declared in several passages that He was with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1), that He descended from heaven (John 3:13), that He existed before Abraham (John 8:56) and that He had glory with the Father before the world was (John 17:5).
In summary, while the identity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has been a long standing debate throughout the history of the Church, Scripture is clear on the following facts:
The word “Trinity” and its concept is absent from the Old and New testaments.
The notion of the Trinity is not new, but goes back to the start of civilization.
The Trinity doctrine was not firmly established until over 300 years after the Messiah.
The codification of the Trinity was motivated from political pressure.
The Father is greater and superior to the Son.
The Holy Spirit represents the power of the Father, not a third of a Trinity.
The Father and Son are not one in being, but one in mind and goal
While the Messiah is not eternal, He preexisted as the active Word, i.e., logos.
As mankind ponders the nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it’s important that we study and confirm the truth behind this crucial subject. This begins by letting go of preconceived thoughts and biases and acknowledging the pages of Scripture as the sole source of authority. Only through a forthright look at the Word can we decipher and break through 2,000 years of man’s tradition.
Watch: The Pagan Trinity Exposed below:
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