Jesus answered, Mar 12:29, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
The original would read, ‘Hear, Israel, a Lord, the God of us, a Lord one He is…’
Were one to compare the above to Rom 3:29-, “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not in the same way the God of Gentiles? Yes, of Gentiles: If God is one; and he will give righteousness because of faith to those who have circumcision, and through faith to those who have not circumcision, do we, then, through faith make the law of no effect?
“In no way: but we make it clear that the law is important.” Another translation reads, “The God of Jews only is He, and not also of nations? Yes, also of nations; since one is God who shall declare righteous the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through the faith. Law then do we make useless through the faith? Let it not be! Yea, we do establish law.”
The original would read, Rom 3:29, “Of the Jews is He the God only? Not also of nations? Yes, also of nations since one the God who will justify circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through the faith law therefore we destroy through the faith? May it not be, but law we establish.” Ponder these verses.
A careful reading will explain why there are so many denominations, why certain people prefer a particular translation and why there are so many translations added each year.
In a way, we have been warned, 2Ti 4:1-, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The above, too, does not do justice to the original, “I then solemnly witness before the God and the Lord Jesus Christ the [One] being about to judge living ones and dead according to the appearance of Him and the kingdom of Him.”
The insertion and/or, the omitting of the definite article [the] and the indefinite article [a] makes such a difference in the understanding of ‘what is written’. In the above, ‘the God’ rightly refers to God, the Father; the most high God as in 2Co 1:3, “Blessed be [the] God, even the a Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of [the] mercies, and the a God of all comfort.”
The God, who is being blessed, is a Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the mercies a God of all comfort. Note the following, Acts 13:33, “In the Psalm the second it is written, ‘a‘ Son of Me art Thou I to-day have begotten you.”
God, the Father is a Father to our Lord Jesus Christ in so much as He had brought Jesus back from Death. God is not Jesus’ biological Father; He is ‘the Father of the mercies’ as is Abraham the Father of faith. Heb 1:2-, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his/a Son… [The] God, even thy God, hath anointed thee”.
There can be no doubt in one’s mind concerning a ‘trinity’; it being a group of three. However, how does one explain, 1Jo 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” and, Mar 12:29, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.”
The easy way out, concerning John’s account, is to omit that verse by reason that very few of the original texts have it leaving one with only the Mark text to grapple with. The ‘hole in the wall’ (escape route) is the invention of the word ‘Trinity’ (capital ‘T’); God in three forms, a mystery, as defined by Adam Clark, “And it is through this revelation of Jesus that we know the ever blessed and glorious Trinity; and the Trinity, Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, in the eternal, undivided unity of the ineffable (indefinable) Godhead.”
The answer lies in the understanding of the word ‘one’/‘εις’. For some reason ‘one’/‘εις’ is accepted in, Joh 17:21-, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
However, the commentator of ‘The People’s New Testament does, rightly so, add the following, ‘This is a prayer for the unity of the saints. The Lord all through this discourse has shown the intimate union between the Father and himself. The Father is in him and he in the Father, all that is the Father’s is his, and his is the Father’s. They have no separate will, kingdom, or interests.
“Such a union is demanded among the disciples of Christ. Such union is impossible while they are divided into various denominations, with separate work, property and interests, separate churches, colleges, papers and missions. Denominationalism is utterly opposed to this prayer, and every apologist for it is disloyal to the spirit of the prayer,’
The word ‘one’ is used to signify (a) “one” in contrast to many, e.g., Mat 25:15, “And unto one he gave five talents,” and (b) metaphorically, “union” and “concord,” e.g., Joh 10:30, “I and my Father are one,” (Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words). The original would read, “Hear, Israel, a Lord, the God of us, a Lord one He is.”
Jesus is quoting Deut 6:4 (The original would read), “Hear O Israel, a Jehovah the God (is) a Jehovah one.” Adam Clark correctly suggests that these Hebrew words may be variously rendered into English; but almost all possible verbal varieties in the translation amount to the same sense:
“Israel, hear! Jehovah, our God, is one Jehovah;” or, “Jehovah is our God, Jehovah is one;” or, “Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone;” or, “Jehovah is our God, Jehovah who is one;” or, “Jehovah, who is our God, is the one Being.”
I would add a sixth possible translation, “Hear, O Israel, a Jehovah the God [of us] a Jehovah is one Being”. In Plain English, “Hear, O Israel, a Jehovah, The God of us and, He is a Jehovah.” The Word Jehovah means, Strong’s Dictionary, ‘self-Existent or eternal. Jehovah, Jewish national name of God: – Jehovah, the LORD.’
The ‘God of Israel’ has many Names, Jehovah Jireh; Jehovah will see/provide, Gen 22:14, Jehovah Nissi; Jehovah my banner, Ex 17:15, Jehovah Shalom; Jehovah send peace, Jud 6:24. One can safely say that, within the context, Jehovah Shammah; Jehovah is there, Ezek 48:35 and Jehovah Tsidkenu; Jehovah our righteousness.
Jer 23:6 and 33:16 has reference to Jesus, the Messiah. This means that not only is God, the Father, a Jehovah God, Jesus too, who is the resurrection, and the life (Joh 11:25), is a Jehovah Deity.
Unfortunately, Jude 1:4 has lost its importance due to the many different translations. I believe The World English Bible’s translation would have a preference as it distinguishes between the two ‘Lords’ mentioned.
The first ‘Lord’/ δεσπότης meaning Master; the second ‘Lord’/κύριος which has wide range of meanings, according to A H Strong, ‘supreme in authority, that is, (as noun) controller; by implication Mr. (as a respectful title): – God, Lord, master, Sir.’ A ‘δεσπότης’ can be likened unto someone who has a servant under contract.
The servants are expected to be faithful to their ‘δεσπότης’ it being a union between two parties (much like unto a marriage). The δεσπότης, too, is expected to be faithful to conditions agreed upon. This is basic doctrine; ‘that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed’. For this reason one is repeatedly warned against false teachings; God is a Despot, worthy of obedience and honour.
In the N. T. ‘δεσπότης’, translated Lord, occurs ten times of which five apply to God, the Father, Luk 2:29, ”Lord (‘δεσπότης’), now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.” Act 4:24, “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord (‘δεσπότης’), thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is,”
2Pe 2:1. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord (‘δεσπότης’) that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction,”
Jud 1:4. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord (‘δεσπότης’) God, and our Lord/κύριος Jesus Christ”.
And, Rev 6:10, “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord (‘δεσπότης’), holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”
The other five is a servant/master relationship, 1Ti 6:1-2, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters (‘δεσπότης’) worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
“And they that have believing masters (‘δεσπότης’), let them not despise them,because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.”
2Ti 2:21, “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s (‘δεσπότης’) use, and prepared unto every good work.” Tit 2:9, “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters (‘δεσπότης’), and to please them well in all things; not answering again.”
And, 1Pe 2:18, “Servants, be subject to your masters (‘δεσπότης’) with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.”
There are many, many O.T. Scriptures that ‘defend’ a tri-union Godhead. On the other hand, there are some that would ‘argue’ in favour of monotheism such as Isa 44:8:
“…Is there a God beside me? yea, there is none; I have not known a Rock.” (KJV II version)
“…Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” (KJV)
Were one to compare Isa 44:8 with Gen 41:44, “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt,” one will note that the translators had translated ‘without thee shall no man…’, whilst, in Isa 44:8, they translated ‘is there a God beside me?’
To complicate matters further the KJV translated ‘צור’ ‘God’ instead of ‘a rock’. Pharaoh’s decree was that without Joseph’s endorsement there would be no other power; only in the throne would Pharaoh be greater than Joseph. One could then rephrase Isa 44:8, “Is there a Deity without my consent? Yea, no other refuge I respect.”
An interesting and enlightening read is Isa 40 onwards were one to compare various translations. Access to e-Sword’s free Bible program makes it possible to notice, the ABP+ and KJV+, where words are either added or, omitted. One is in addition able to appreciate the advantage were the title ‘Jehovah’ is used instead of ‘Lord’; Jehovah meaning ‘a self-existent Being’. Within this background, the understanding of Isa 44:8 and other verses becomes straightforward.
People did worship ‘other gods’ (idols) and, God appointed Moses to be a god, Exo 7:1, “And Jehovah saith unto Moses, `See, I have given thee a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother is thy prophet”. Jehovah is Moses’ God; Moses receives his instructions from the Jehovah God and passes it on to his prophet Aaron who, in turn, speaks to Pharaoh.
Moses is held responsible for Aaron’s utterances. Concerning Jesus; note the following, Isa 9:6, “For a Child hath been born to us, A Son hath been given to us, And the princely power is on his shoulder, And He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.”
Not only is Jesus said to be a Mighty God; He is the Father of Eternity as is Abraham the Father of Faith. Jesus’ resurrection from among the dead; the First fruit of the ‘harvest’ made it possible for believers in Him to partake of his nature, Phi 3:21, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
The term ‘most high God’ appears seventeen times in the KJV; the Heb 7:1, “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God”, has reference to the four entries found in Gen14. In the Psalms there are six entries, two in the book Daniel and four in the New Testament of which two, Mark and Luke, are the same event. The New Testament entries are:
Mar 5:7, “And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.”
Luk 8:28, “When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.”
Act 16:17, “The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the highest God, which show unto us the way of salvation.”
Heb 7:1, “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him.”
Already it has been established that this same ‘most high God’ is the ‘δεσπότης’ God; an Owner, the One that ‘bought’. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord (‘δεσπότης’) that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction,” 2Pe 2:1.
John, at the time of writing his gospel, recounts the interview Nikodémus had with Jesus and gives the reason why God ‘bought’, Joh 3:16-, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but should have life eternal. For God sent not his Son into the world, to condemn the world; but that the world might live by means of him. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not, is already condemned; because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
The ‘δεσπότης’ God is worthy of being a dictator, 1Pe 1:13-, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be sober and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ –as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behaviour; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy; for I am holy.’
“If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as strangers here in reverent fear: knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, the blood of Christ; who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake, who through him are believers in the God, who raised Him from the dead, and gave Him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in a God.”
By reason that the ‘δεσπότης’ God raised Jesus from death with a glorified body a ‘born again’ believer, too, has put his/her faith in that ‘δεσπότης’ God in the hope of receiving the blessed promises, 1Jo 3:1-, “See what kind of love the Father has given us in letting us be called God’s children! Yet that is what we are. For this reason, the world does not recognize us, because it did not recognize him either. Dear friends, we are now God’s children, but what we will be like has not been revealed yet. We know that when Christ is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope based on him keeps himself pure, just as he is pure.”
Moreover, 1Co 15:49-, “Just as we have borne the likeness of the man who was made from dust, we will also bear the likeness of the man from heaven. Brothers, this is what I mean: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of the God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay. Let me tell you a secret. Not all of us will die, but all of us will be changed- in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet. Indeed, that trumpet will sound, and then the dead will be raised never to decay, and we will be changed. For what is decaying must put on what cannot decay, and what is dying must put on what cannot die.”
Rephrasing 1Joh 5:7-, “Concerning heaven there are three witnesses; the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost. Concerning earth there are three, the spirit, and the water, and the blood.” That spirit transforms a believer into a Jehovah, too, at the last trump. That ‘spirit’ is not the ‘Holy Spirit’ it’s the ‘life-giving spirit’ of Jesus, which one receives at rebirth, Rom 8:9 (rephrased), “Ye, however, are not carnally minded, but spiritually minded since a spirit of a God dwells in you. However, if in any one there is not a spirit of Christ he does not belong to Him”.