Saturday, May 25, 2013
The Baptism of Jesus and the Trinity
What was the purpose of the baptism of Christ? Was it to reveal a plurality of the Godhead (Trinitarianism? Was God "adopting Jesus as His Son (Adoptism)? Or was it to reveal Jesus Christ as the Messiah and for Him to be anointed by His Father for His ministry? In this article, you might find out that when you wish to have sound, Scripturally-based theology, church tradition is not always the place to go.
The synoptic Gospels and John all include different accounts of the baptism of Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew gives the most detailed account out of the three synoptic Gospels.
"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."- Matthew 3:13-17
Now let's look at The Gospel of John. This is John the Baptist testifying of Jesus as the Lamb of God. "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of ...whom I said, After me cometh a Man which is preferred before me: for He was before me. And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore I am come baptizing with water. And John bared record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. And I knew knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."- John 1:29-34
Now to a Trinitarian, during the baptism you are seeing the New Testament "revelation" of the Trinity. They see three distinct Persons of the one true God revealing Themselves: God the Father, God the Son (non-biblical term), and God the Holy Ghost (non-biblical term). Jesus, of course is the Son of God, the voice from Heaven is the Father, and the Holy Ghost is descending in bodily form as a dove.
Now, why did the voice from Heaven speak? God wasn't speaking to Jesus, but to John the Baptist and to the people that were there that day. Jesus was there to be revealed as the Messiah. Then, the Holy Ghost was there to anoint Jesus for the ministry. In Luke, the baptism of Jesus does include God saying, "Thou art my beloved Son..."
I am not a Trinitarian, but a Oneness (or Modalist). If you look at the biblical context, what you are seeing is the one true God functioning for different purposes in different modes at the same time (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the same Person). The Oneness of God is not the purpose of my teaching here, but I wish to share a revelation with you about the anointing of Jesus Christ our Lord.
The terms "Christ" or "Messiah" are very important. "Christ" (translated from the Greek "Christos") is the Greek form of "Messiah" (translated from the Hebrew "Mashiyach"). Christ/Messiah means "anointed". This is very significant to the lesson.
All of the distinctions you see between the Father and Son are not distinctions between Persons (the grave error of weakening the strict monotheism of the Bible), the divine and human natures of Christ (thus making the mistake of dividing Christ into two Persons), and it is also not only distinctions between two different manifestations (though this is true too, but it runs much deeper than that). This is a distinction between God and Man (between Father and Son, between the incarnate Spirit, and the Spirit beyond the incarnation). The incarnation and humbled state of Christ are very important.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:6-8, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
John 1:1-3, 14 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything 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."
Several verses in John speak of Jesus being glorified (John 7:39; John 17:5). John 1:14 speaks of us beholding Jesus' glory that He had as the only begotten Son of God. There seems to be a contradiction in these statements until you look at... the Resurrection and the Ascension. That is when mankind beheld the glory of Jesus Christ as the one true God made flesh. Jesus didn't come in the glory of God, He came in the glory of unfallen man (Son of man, the Last Adam).
Philippians 2:6-8 speaks of Jesus as not sacrificing His deity, but His glory. When God became incarnate, He didn't rely on His deity. Christ thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but He humbled Himself and became obedient! Jesus had to be God to save us, and He had to be a sinless and unfallen Man to be a worthy sacrifice for us. Jesus is the blessed Redeemer!
Now we've studied how Jesus is God in the flesh and how the incarnation effected Jesus' glory. If Jesus wasn't humble, He couldn't have died for our sins! Jesus didn't want to appear to men to be God, or else He wouldn't have been a Savior, but one looked upon in awe (as the Key-Word study Bible states).
Did Jesus do miracles by His own divine power? The answer to that is no. Jesus was anointed by His Father to do miracles. Jesus done miracles by the Holy Ghost. Jesus, reading from Isaiah said in Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised."
Jesus in Matthew 12:22-28, "Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and He healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against itself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you."
This is a fascinating revelation! I haven't written anything on here in a while and I was thinking about this so I decided to share it. God bless and amen!