I came across the following article on a discussion board :-
As Biblical Unitarians …
We believe that Jesus Christ is a completely unique (one of a kind) human being.
He is the only man who was ever born of a virgin (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35). …
Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God (John 3:16) and the Son of Man (John 5:27).
He is the only man who is called “the Last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45). As the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus was the genetic equivalent to the first “Son of God,” Adam (Luke 3:38). … Romans 5:12-21 is the classic comparison of these two Adams and the respective impact each had on mankind.
He is the only man who had perfect faith in God, and who, by his free will choices to trust God, lived a sinless life, always doing the will of his Father (John 8:29). Jesus was not a robot, programmed to obey God. If so, he could not have been genuinely tempted to sin, just like all men he came to save (Heb. 4:15). …
He is the only man who died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins (Heb. 10:12-14; 1 John 4:10). … By his lifelong obedience to God, all the way to his dying breath on the Cross, he became the “behaviorally” perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind (Heb. 2:17). Thus, he was the complete propitiation for fallen men to be redeemed.
He is the only man God ever raised from the dead in order to confirm that he was who he had said he was – the Son of God (Acts 17:31; Rom. 1:4). The resurrection of Jesus Christ was God keeping His promise to His Son, and also His affirmation to all men that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
He is the only man whom God highly exalted as “Lord” and “Head of the Church,” and to whom God has given all authority in heaven and on earth (Dan. 7:13-14; Phil. 2:9; Acts 2:36; Eph. 1:22; Matt. 28:18). As Pharaoh exalted Joseph to his right hand and gave him all authority in Egypt (Gen. 41:37-46), so God has given Jesus functional equality with Himself.
Jesus Christ is now God’s “right hand man” (Eph. 1:20), carrying out the work that will eventually restore this fallen world.
He is the only man who is now the Mediator between God and mankind (1 Tim. 2:5). It is Jesus Christ to whom God has given the power to “save to the uttermost” all who call upon his name, because he ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).
He is the only man who will gather together all Christians to meet him “in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17) and give each one a new body like his own (Phil. 3:21). As the promised “seed” of the woman (Gen. 3:15), Jesus Christ will produce fruit after his kind, a race of people living forever.
He is the only man who will one day return to the earth, destroy all evil … (and eventually destroy Satan and his evil spirit cohorts), and rule the earth as King for 1000 years (Rev. 19:11-20:7). …
He is the only man who will raise from the dead every human being who has ever lived (John 5:21, 25). As God has given Jesus “life in himself,” so he will raise up all people.
He is the only man who will judge all men and women of all time (John 5:22, 27). Jesus will righteously judge all people, granting everlasting life to those who deserve it, and annihilating all the wicked
(Acts 17:31; John 5:28, 29).
He is the only man who will restore on a new earth the Paradise that the First Adam lost (1 Cor. 15:24-28). As “the Last Adam,” Jesus was God’s Contingency Plan to salvage His original plan that Adam’s disobedience thwarted, that is, a perfect race of people living forever on a perfect earth. Amen.
He is the only man who is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Mediator, our Lord, our constant Companion, our Best Friend, our Big Brother, the Light of our lives, our Peace, our Joy, and our Mentor in the art of faith.
He is the Lover of our souls, and that is why we love him and confess him as Lord (Rom. 10:9).
Pastor Mark Jones of Tennessee takes up the matter of the post-biblical tradition of the supposed dual nature of Christ. Pastor Jones tells us that Jesus has no dual nature. Rather, that as the true human Son of God, Jesus is “Man Enough” to purchase the salvation of mankind. This video produced by J. Dan Gill of 21st Century Reformation http://www.21stcr.org.
God Enough! Pastor Mark Jones
Pastor Mark Jones of Tennessee teaches about the sufficienty of the Father as the only true God. Mark tells us that the Father needs no help from other “God Persons” – He is “God Enough” to do everything that needs to be done by God. This video produced by J. Dan Gill of 21st Century Reformation http://www.21stcr.org.
To understand Rev. 3:14 you have to understand the two creations. We have the Genesis creation and the new creation referring to Jesus and his establishment of the church and the age to come.
Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may have the preeminence.
This is not Genesis.
2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Jesus is the beginning of God’s new creation, not the Genesis creation.
Ephesians 2:15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in himselfone new man from the two, thus making peace.
Ephesians 4:24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him.
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, which makes him the first or beginning of the new creation.
Listen to Colossians 1:16 and you will hear kingdom language regarding things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers IN heaven andON earth, not THE heaven and THE earth. This is not Genesis language.
Colossians 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
The flesh and blood Jesus had his beginning 2000 years ago. he had to grow in wisdom and stature and had to learn obedience …
Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that God did not speak to us through His Son in the Old Testament. Jesus himself says it was God who created Adam and Eve, not himself.
Mark 10:5-6 Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, he is a new creation, which makes him the beginning or source of God’s new creation.
God plainly says that it was He alone who all by Himself stretched out the heavens and laid the foundation of the earth.
Isaiah 44:24 Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am Yahweh, Who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself.”
How and when did Jesus become the Son of God? Was it before his birth or at his birth…listen
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore,
(or because of this)
that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35 The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy child developing inside you will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God’s power will rest upon you. For this reasonthe holy child will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the “holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
All these translations indicate how the origin of the Son of God started at his birth and not before his birth. The goings forth of Jesus was from before the foundation of the world in the foreknowledge of God’s mind as part of His plan. This is indicated all throughout the Old Testament as Jesus being the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world and as the seed of the woman in Genesis and the seed of Abraham and the seed of King David but none of this refers to a literal Son existing in the Old Testament.
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
Many have used the above verse to teach a literal preexistence of Jesus but once again what we have is a misinterpretation of the plan and foreknowledge of God.
First, notice how Micah was only making known how the promised Messiah was to come out of Bethlehem and we know this happened at the birth of Jesus. Micah was not describing a literal reality at the time it was written, but rather, he was revealing a promise for the future.
Secondly, Micah is revealing how the coming Messiah was not a last minute idea of God, but rather, the promise of a Savior for man was in the plan and foreknowledge of God … The hope of a coming Messiah to save God’s people is what the people of God, in Jesus’ day, were waiting for.
Luke 2:25-32 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. he was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah [Yahweh’s Messiah]. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord [Yahweh] as the law required, Simeon was there. he took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. he is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
When you’re waiting for something it means it has not yet arrived.
A sister verse to Micah that people use to confirm Micah and teach a literal preexistence of Jesus is found in John 8:58.
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
People use this statement of Jesus to prove that he literally existed in the Old Testament. But just like how the people in Jesus’ day missed what he was saying, we have many people today doing the same thing. Let’s read it in context and listen carefully to what is being said. We must be careful not to bring our preconceived beliefs into the conversation.
John 8:54-58 Jesus answered, “If I honor myself, my honor is nothing. It is my Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
We have been taught, through these verses, that Jesus was revealing his preexistence to the religious Jews. Those who teach this from these verses have come to the same wrong conclusion as the Jews did back then. The wrong conclusion is seen in how the Jews questioned the fact that Jesus said he saw Abraham. Jesus never said he saw Abraham. What he did say is that Abraham SAW HIS DAY and rejoiced. It was the Jews who misquoted Jesus, which has led to our confusion today.
What did Abraham see that caused him to be glad and how did he see it?
Abraham saw, by faith, Jesus’ DAY and rejoiced. This day is referring to the coming of the promised seed according to God’s plan. God told Abraham that he was (present tense) a father of many nations even before Abraham had any children and Abraham believed God.
James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.
The promise of God was to be fulfilled in Jesus as being the promised seed of Abraham and Savior of God’s people. This is what the people of God in Jesus’ day were waiting for.
By faith Abraham saw Jesus’ day and believed and rejoiced because of it. We know this day was a future day that Abraham saw because Abraham died without receiving the promise.
In order for God to reveal his plan to Abraham, regarding the day of Jesus, the plan would have had to have been in existence before Abraham was even born. Jesus understood this because he knew his Father’s plan through reading the Old Testament Scriptures so he could say, “Before Abraham was, I am”, referring to the foreordained plan of God. In other words, before Abraham ever existed, the seed was already in route. Listen.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise his heel.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.
PS Concerning similar verses in Colossians, please see also :-
instead of a 1st century Jew, he might have sounded something like this humerous little cartoon. Jesus’ reply to the absurdity of Peter’s faux response here is exactly what anyone in their right mind would/should say. “What???”
The Restitution of Jesus Christ – by Kermit Zarley
A Grateful Review — In Appreciation
by Barbara Buzzard
I have just finished reading Kermit Zarley’s (Servetus the Evangelical) The Restitution of Jesus Christ (2008, 566 pages). What a fantastic read! And what a labor of love from the time he first began to wonder about what Jesus knew (1980) to the publication of his findings in 2008. Zarley has amassed dozens upon dozens of astonishing and to-the-point quotations that have guided, directed and challenged his thinking. And he has given us this goldmine — because truth matters.
I quickly need to add that the author himself feels that the reader need only read the first three chapters and the introductions to the rest (plus one other chapter) to avail himself of the thesis of this book, and the rest of the material is there as a resource. So don’t be daunted by the length of the book. It is a book about Christology — the study of Christ. It examines what is said to be the most popular question of our day: Is Jesus God?
I was fascinated to read of the friendship between Sir Isaac Newton and William Whiston and the very real challenges to that relationship that the issue of the trinity created. Both felt that the trinity was incoherent and yet one went public and one did not (perhaps a forerunner of the don’t ask/don’t tell policy). Sir Isaac Newton actually wrote more on theology than he did on science, much of it yet untranslated.
I found very valuable the format that Mr. Zarley used to arrange numbers of different translations so as to compare them and also to see where the weight of evidence is, and from what time period. Much modern work, particularly from international scholars, is very revealing of minds able to question and re-visit the evidence, and who have the freedom of the press and publication. After the presentation of material on each topic, Zarley enumerates the pros and cons of differing viewpoints, sums it up, and allows the reader to digest certain points before moving on. For example, he lists all of the versions which call Jesus God in Romans 9:5, and all those which do not. He then gives reasons for the one-Person views and rebuttals, and reasons for the two-Persons views and rebuttals. A great format, I think, and a writing style that targets novices and intends to bridge that gulf between the academy and the pew.
How important is it to understand the principle of agency in Scripture? The agency (sending) principle is vital, particularly so since we have lost what the Jews of Jesus’ day so readily understood, practices which were prevalent in both business and law. Without this understanding, one is missing the key to unlocking the riddle of the New Testament.
Far from shying away from the book of John, Zarley applauds the depths of its riches and concludes with the Dutch theologian Ellen Flesseman-VanLeer that by “replacing the expression ‘God and man’ with ‘God in this man’… justice can better be done to the true humanity of Jesus Christ” (A Faith for Today, p. 66). Zarley finds that John’s most prominent theme is that “God sent Jesus to speak God’s words and teach His truth.” “Finally, John cannot be saying that Jesus is God because that would conflict with his purpose for writing his gospel … ‘but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.’” Mr. Zarley has done his homework when it comes to investigating how others view the book of John. He quotes C.K. Barrett concerning John 8:28: “It is simply intolerable that Jesus should be made to say, ‘I am God, the supreme God of the Old Testament, and being God I do as I am told.’”
I was delighted to find all through the book yet more characteristics of Jesus that are not qualities of the Father. These, when compiled, create quite a lengthy list and are a strong testimony to the differences between the Father and the Son. To whet your appetite, consider for a moment that Jesus depended on the Father, or that he had needs or that he improved. One of the benefits of reading widely is to be able to see through another’s eyes. This is well attested to as Zarley tells us what he believes is the most important phenomenon in the New Testament. (I see the strength of his point but confess that I never quite saw it in this way.)
It is that in the book of Acts, which records the acts of the disciples and early Christians, they never proclaimed or announced that Jesus was God!
I won’t keep you in suspense — the second most important phenomenon is that the four gospels never related that Jesus identified himself as God.
Dear reader, do yourself a favor — challenge your critical faculties. (I more or less divide my life into two periods: BT – before thinking, and AT – after thinking.) Zarley, in his examination of the roots of the faith, suggests that the church departed from its moorings very early on and has remained that way ever since. He asks whether Christianity has broken with its parent faith. He finds that the theology which came from the councils led to a considerable alienation from the New Testament. Is the arithmetic of heaven different, wondered Daniel Webster as he confessed that he couldn’t understand it. What are we to make of Abraham Lincoln’s reason for never having joined a church — that he couldn’t understand their creeds? For those really serious about putting on God’s armor, you need the information in this book as part of your arsenal. Wishing you a challenging read. Prepare to be astonished by the evidence.
One point of difference, perhaps just clarification, is that Zarley writes:
“So this book’s thesis is that God fully indwelt Jesus [yes, I couldn’t agree more] yet Jesus was no more than a man.” I would say that he certainly was not an ordinary man! He was God’s man, unique, sinless, filled with holy spirit, the most amazing and incredible man, a man with whom God was well pleased. I cringe when the term “mere” is attached to the man Jesus. Of all that he was, he was not mere!
I know that Zarley agrees that we exalt Jesus as highly as we possibly can short of breaking the first commandment.