""The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." ( Mark 1:1 -2 KJB
Jesus himself defines his relationship with God in the following...
5:30 "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father (7) which hath sent me. (King James Bible, John)
8:42 "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. (King James Bible, John)
6:35 "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 6:36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Jesus makes clear, " He is the Bread of Life that came down from Heaven (not born in a manger). His essence of Truth is the Word which is of heaven; not a physical man to be worshipped. Also, the Will of the Father is all important, not the specific name of Jesus. The last thing Jesus would have wanted is to be worshipped as substitute to the Father!
And there is more...
"The Jews were amazed and asked,' How did this man get such learning without having studied? Jesus answered,' My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him." (John: 7:15-18 NIV)
" Then Jesus cried out,' When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me, When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me."..." There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord , but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life, So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." (John: 12: 44-45 and 48-50 NIV)
" I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." ( John:5:24 NIV)
" All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Luke 10:22 NIV)
[Jesus said]," I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to other towns also, because that is why I was sent." (Luke:4:43 NIV)
James and John ask Jesus a favor: " Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory. Jesus said,' You don't know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with? " we can" they answered. Jesus said to them," You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." ( Mark 11: 37-40 NIV)
Is Jesus a Messenger, a great Teacher, a lamp wherein shines the Light of the world; the Enlightenment of the Christ Spirit; the Flame of the Holy Ghost? For me, the Bible is clear. The essence, the Christ Spirit of Truth, the Word is what Jesus is all about. Jesus did not come to glorify himself. He did not come to do his own will. Jesus submitted his will to the Will of God. Elsewhere in this website can be found many references to the very same Light of Truth Given to all the suprene Messengers of different world religions and cultures of mankind. ( Note the plural for whom they have been prepared.( Mark 11:40 above.)
In spite of the many times Jesus does talk about his "coming from heaven" and his role as a " Messenger from God who can do nothing without the Father" churches vehemently proclaim Jesus as a singular Saviour figure. Each year Christmas celebrates his birth in a manger.
Often certain favorite single lines from the Bible are routinely used to categorically "prove" a certain doctrine of faith. John 3:16 is a prime example. From this short sentence the church derives much of its teaching of " Jesus being literally begotten and birthed by a human mother as fathered by God". Added to this is, "Jesus himself being the only way to salvation". But, it must be asked; especially after corroborating with other material; Is habitually quoting a single line of scripture, as condoned by church tradition and authority, without questioning on your own, the way to glean the jewels of wisdom, as planted in the Gospels, the lessons from Jesus himself?
Usually, if these orphaned lines are put back into their home context, hidden meanings not readily apparent to those simply quoting for doctrine support, can be brought to light.
Now by referencing Jesus own teachings, perhaps we can answer the questions...
Here is the scripture in context. Seen in this light, putting it together, brings out questions and possibilities seldom addressed in the churches. To understand the single line of John 3:16, the question must be asked; what is meant by the "Son"? How is the "Son" "begotten?
John 3:3-21 King James Bible: "3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 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.
3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
Let us look at the verses 3:3-21 of John. Certain words and phrases will be referenced to other Bible verses in an attempt to bring broader interpretation than might be found simply in a single verse. Links will also be provided to passages and studies found elsewhere in this website.
3:3 John records Jesus as saying to Nicodemus," Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." When Nicodemus did not understand, Jesus explains in a different way, saying, 3:5 " Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Jesus had to reiterate his meaning. The first attempt, as taken literally in light of the biological everyday meaning of being born, sounded like nonsense while," being reborn [ Baptized ] of "water and the spirit" brought new meaning.
Where did the Son of God come from? Was he born in a manger by an earthly woman? John 3:12 tells us," And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." This makes it clear that the Son of Man's reality is not of this world. He came down from heaven that we might be made aware of the Divine Word of His teachings, but, at the same time, his true reality is in heaven. Therefore, from the Gospel of John, it is made clear Jesus cannot be the literal biological Son of God. Again, the true Son in itself, is of spiritual light, not of mankind. (this seems very different than what John says in 2 John 1:7. for more on 2 John click here.) They almost sound like two different authors.
When this (3:16) passage is seen in light of what John says in 3:12 it seems clear to me; The "begotten Son", being of heaven, could not be of flesh and blood. The Son of God was "begotten" or "sent down" from heaven. God's only Son, the everlasting Word, the Spirit of Truth, is of heaven, as God is of heaven. (click for more)
John 3:16 continues: "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
A similar passage in John 3:3 reads," Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
On the surface, these two scriptures seem to almost contradict each other. But, if "him" in 3:16, is seen as the "Son" which is of the everlasting Spirit of Truth coming down from heaven and "believeth" understood as " born again", then, the two passages seem to agree quite nicely. One reinforces the other.
For more on what Jesus says about himself click here. You might want to contrast the teaching given by Jesus himself to some of the Apostolic letters etc. How does all this align itself with Church Doctrine?
1:4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.
This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." (2 John KJ Bible)
May not this letter of John to an early church harbor the beginnings of church doctrine? Might the line," Confess not that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh," imply an ancient attack on the Gnostics? Remember, these are the words of John, not Jesus. Yet, the church would have the forgoing sanctified is inerrant text!
Paul writes this to the Thessalonians: 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (King James Bible, 2 Thessalonians)
Again, is this tradition creeping in? Is this the Word of Christ or the word of Paul?
Paul writes to the Galations,"1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Galations KJ Bible)
Were there conflicting theologies and "Gospel" messages so soon after the time of Jesus? Many modern scholars recognize the existence of many different teachings and followings propagated within a few centuries after Jesus' death. Only in the time of Emperer Constantine's Rule, was Christian Doctrine and Creed formalized and solidified through the Nicene Creed.
2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. (King James Bible, 1 John)
This brings us right back to the beginning. Jesus certainly embodies the Light of the Christ, the Spirit of Truth. But the Word of Truth did not come from Jesus himself but the Father Abba God. Jesus is not to be worshipped as a "three-in-one with the Father. Instead, the Christ ( giving the Word) that anointed Jesus with the Spirit of Truth is to be followed as a "path" leading us to the Table of the Bread of Life; partaking of the Body and nurishment of Divine Will. The "Blood" of Jesus' sacrifice represents His complete submission to the Will of God; Giving his life_blood ("Blood" symbolized "Life" in the ancient Hebrew culture) so that we might be saved through the eternal Truth; cleansing, healing and invigorating all who are Baptized and "born again" through the cleansing waters of Divine Mercy.
Greetings, as found in the Bible, to early churches.
It seems, (contrary to many modern churches) back in New Testament times, God the Father was mentioned first followed by Jesus, His Son. Here are greetings from a few letters written by a few of the Apostles shortly after the time of Christ.
1 Peter 1:3 KJ Bible "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,"
1 Thessalonians 1:1 KJB "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." (King James Bible, 1 Thessalonians)
2 John 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love."
I close by mentioning: I have been careful to limit my study search on the Reality of the Son of God to what Jesus is actually recorded as saying; Not his disciples, who often preached their own version of Jesus' Message, thus providing the basis of much church doctrine and confusion;
I leave you to answer the obvious questions related to church doctrine on your own.
Continue to PT2 by clicking here.