Another challenge for the 'Oneness' Revised Version will be
John 8:42: "Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth
and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.'" In other words, '...for I
proceeded forth and came from Myself; nor have I come of Myself, but I sent Me.'
I commit My spirit
Christ committed Himself to Him who judges righteously:
"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you
should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth'; who, when He was
reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself
to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we,
having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter
2:21-24). He who judges righteously, Peter had said in the prior chapter, is the Father: "And
if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct
yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear..." (1 Peter 1:17).
Jesus cried out on the cross, "And when Jesus had cried
out with a loud voice, He said, 'Father, "into Your hands I commit My spirit."' Having said this, He
breathed His last." (Luke 23:46). This is as prophesied in Psalm 31:5: "Into Your hand I commit
my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth."
It's less than obvious how to translate Jesus' death-cry into
the 'Oneness'-speak of the 'Jesus' who is the Father-Son-Holy Ghost. 'And when Jesus had cried
out with a loud voice, He said, 'Self, into My hands I commit My spirit'? Or does the 'flesh' say,
'Spirit, into Your hands I commit...Spirit'?
It is far from clear why one 'title' or 'office' would address another
as "You", but the Father and the Son so address one another:
"Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:
'Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also
may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give
eternal life to as many as You have given Him." (John 17:1-2).
"At that time Jesus answered and said, 'I thank
You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things
from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good
in Your sight.'" (Matthew 11:25-26).
"And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove
upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said,
'You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.'" (Luke 3:22).
"But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the
scepter of Your kingdom. '" (Hebrews 1:8).
I go to My Father
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the
works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My
Father." (John 14:12).
"You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming
back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, "I am going to the
Father," for My Father is greater than I.'" (John 14:28).
"And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and
of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness,
because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of
judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." (John 16:8-11).
"I came forth from the Father and have come into the world.
Again, I leave the world and go to the Father." (John 16:28).
"Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to Me, for I have not
yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, "I am ascending to My Father and
your Father, and to My God and your God."'" (John 20:17).
If 'Father' were one 'title', 'office', or 'manifestation' and the 'Son'
another, it's less than obvious what "I go to My Father" would
be intended to mean. How can one 'title' go to another 'title'?
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My
Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies
Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is
in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33).
If Jesus is the Father as 'Oneness' Pentecostals claim, it is less than obvious how He
can also come before His Father to confess our names. Not only is the 'Oneness'
Pentecostals' 'Jesus-only' at His own right hand, He's also before and beside Himself!
I will declare Your name
"I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given
Me out of the world..." (John 17:6).
The Bible assigns to the Messiah the mission of declaring His
Father's name to the world:
"I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly
I will praise You." (Psalm 22:22);
"For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are
all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:
'I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly
I will sing praise to You.'" (Hebrews 2:11-12);
"And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare
it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in
them, and I in them." (John 17:26).
A rival new religious movement, the Jehovah's Witnesses, teach the "name"
of the Father which Jesus declared was 'Jehovah.' But the evidence
from the Talmud, while conflicting, suggests that no Jew of the day outside
of the high priest on the Day of Atonement pronounced the Divine Name,
though Jesus does present the Name in translation ('ego eimi'). The 'Oneness'
Pentecostals, on the other hand, claim the "name"
Jesus sought to declare was His own birth name, 'Jesus'. But this
is no more satisfactory, making nonsense out of scriptures like John 5:43,
"I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another
comes in his own name, him you will receive." Translated into 'Oneness'-speak, this comes
out, 'I have come in my own name, and you do not receive me; if another
comes in his own name, him you will receive'! Biblical evidence that
'Jesus' is the name of the Father is lacking, since it is used exclusively
of the Son: "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed
forever, knows that I am not lying." (1 Corinthians 11:31).
Declaring the name means, not only to pronounce the syllables, but to declare
the nature, attributes and character of God. One gets lost in a hall
of mirrors understanding passages like Matthew 10:41 to mechanically require
the recitation of somebody's proper name: "He who receives a prophet
in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he
who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive
a righteous man's reward."
A new name declared by Jesus the Son which speaks to the heart of His relationship
with His father is "Abba, Father": "And because you are sons, God has
sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba,
Father!'" (Galatians 4:6). While the synagogue also prays to 'Our Father',
the way to true sonship was opened by the Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:12). One
interesting thing to note about Isaiah 9:6 is that it shows 'father' to be a "name" ['shem'],
not a title: "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be
called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of
Peace." (wow, look at all those 'titles', identified as one [SINGULAR!]
name!). In teaching us to call out 'Abba, Father,' Jesus initiates us into
His own fellowship with His Father: "For whom He foreknew, He also
predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the
firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29).
Call no Man Father
"But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher,
the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your
Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the
Christ." (Matthew 23:8-10).
On its face, this passage explicitly forbids the common
'Oneness' Pentecostal practice of calling Jesus 'Father', because Jesus, on earth, speaking to His
disciples, told them not to call "anyone on earth" Father.
"Jesus answered them and said, 'My doctrine is not Mine,
but His who sent Me.'" (John 7:16).
It's less than obvious why Jesus, if He had meant to say 'My doctrine is
Mine,' said instead, "My doctrine is not Mine."
Before my Father
"He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not
blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before
My Father and before His angels." (Revelation 3:5).
"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as
I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation
Who's the Speaker who says these things? The "first and the last"!
(Revelation 1:17, 2:8).
"You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God,
Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions."
"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to
preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind..."
"...how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with
power, who went about going good and healing all who were oppressed by
the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38).
The Lord's title 'Christ' means 'Anointed One':
"christos...'anointed,' translates, in the Septuagint,
the word 'Messiah,' a term applied to the priests who were anointed with the holy oil,
particularly the high priest...The prophets are called hoi christoi Theou, 'the
anointed of God'...A king of Israel was described upon occasion as christos tou Kuriou, 'the
anointed of the Lord.'" (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary).
'Anoint' means to do like Samuel did, "Anoint...To pour oil upon;
to smear or rub with oil or unctuous substances..." (Webster's International):
"So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes,
and good-looking. And the LORD said, 'Arise, anoint him; for this is the
one!' Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of
his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day
forward." (1 Samuel 16:12-13).
It is not clear how one 'title' could or would wish to anoint another 'title.'
No one Knows
The nescience of the Son is a tough nut to crack for 'Oneness' Plan A here
under discussion: "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even
the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32).
One could not say that Mr. Smith, as President of the Chamber of
Commerce, does not know the date of the company picnic, whereas Mr. Smith,
as Chairman of the Board, does know the date; one person filling one 'office'
must know all that the same person filling another 'office' does. Granted
this nescience of the Son is a perplexing problem for Christians, who must
understand His self-abasement, charted in Philippians 2:6-8, in taking
on our infirmities to extend even to our ignorance. But it is altogether
insoluble for 'Oneness' Plan A herein under review, the 'titles, roles,
offices, manifestations' deal. As we shall see, the 'Oneness' Pentecostals
deal with the demonstrated impossibility of Plan A by whipping out...Plan
B. Not to worry, they will then deal with the demonstrated impossibility
of Plan B by whipping out...Plan A.
One of the Messiah's titles is 'Servant:'
"See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high." (Isaiah 52:13).
"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My
soul delights!" (Isaiah 42:1).
This title of the Lord was a popular theme of apostolic preaching:
"The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our
fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate,
when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a
murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of
which we are witnesses." (Acts 3:13-15);
The word for one who acts on His own account is 'autonomous,' not 'servant.'
The term implies a relationship, between one who serves and who is served.
While this relationship was not one of 'servitude' before the Son "humbled
himself" and took on the "form of a servant," (Philippians
2:7-8) at the incarnation, such a relationship requires participants.
"'Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion,' says the LORD of hosts. 'Strike the
Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones.'"
(Zechariah 13:7, applied to Jesus in
Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27).
Focusing now not on fellowship but on smiting, this passage is one of several
Old Testament prophecies portraying the Messiah as Suffering Servant:
"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."
Not only physical blows, but psychological distress, is here described
("grief"). There are several psalms the apostles quote as foretelling
the Messiah's sufferings. Peter quotes Psalm 69 and Psalm 109 in connection
with the Lord's betrayal: "Men and brethren, this scripture must needs
have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before
concerning Judas...For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation
be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another
take." (Acts 1:20). Psalm 69 says, where Peter is quoting,
"Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten;
and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded."
The psalmist's "thou" addresses Him the speaker supplicates to
"deliver me." When a psalm is cited as a prophecy of Jesus, it
need not be supposed every line in the psalm is about the Lord, but it
is reasonable to expect the next clause of the section quoted to be. If
the apostles did not think these psalms with their description of the sufferings
of God's anointed are about Jesus, then why quote them as fulfilled prophecy?
Some readers do not think Psalm 69 can be about the Messiah, in spite of
several New Testament quotes, because the speaker describes Himself as
a sinner. Yet, though Jesus had no sin of His own, He took upon Him the
sins of the people, on the very occasion foretold by the psalm. Paul even
says that He was made sin: "For he hath made him to be sin for us,
who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
(2 Corinthians 5:21).
'Smiting' and 'bruising' are transitive verbs, presupposing an agent and
a patient. A 'title' cannot 'bruise' or 'smite' another title.
At this, 'Oneness' Pentecostals drop their initial 'titles, offices' schema
and revert to the traditional Unitarian schema of a 'Son' who is but a
man, -- 'flesh,' -- sometimes indwelt by 'the Father,' who alone is God.
This traditional Unitarian schema is not adequate either, as will be seen,
because the innocency of a mere man would be of sufficient worth to save
none but himself.
In any case this page addresses 'Plan A,' the 'titles, offices,' concept,
whose inadequacy is again apparent.