Yes, you read that right. (By now, you should expect “outrageous and unbelievable” from me...) Before I explain the headline, I wish to comment on the latest responses to my previous columns questioning the Trinity and Jesus-as-God... My first comment is on the Feb. 22nd “From the Pulpit” column titled: “Resurrection proves Jesus is God” -- to which I humbly submit that, if this is true, then Lazarus is also God and so is every other person reportedly raised from the dead by Jesus and any of his disciples or later followers. Moving on...
Quite a few respondents told me that quite a few vigorous theological discussions took place (always a good thing) as a result of my three previous columns, but after reading the majority of responses and speaking by phone with several callers, I’ve learned that what I considered very clear and authoritative statements from God and Jesus about their natures and purposes are not viewed that way by many Christians (at least not the ones who responded to me). And especially not when such statements contradict or invalidate the Christian theology of salvation through the accursed death of Jesus for the sins of mankind. In the case of verses like Numbers 23:19 and Isaiah 43:10, the “New” Testament always trumps the “Old” Testament.
Most responded to my understanding of Numbers 23:19 (God is not a man that he lies, nor the son of man that he repents) by stating that, yes, God is not a man or the son of man -- until He incarnated as Jesus, and then he was still not just a man, but now literally and inseparably 100% God and 100% sinless man in human form as Jesus. (According to Catholicism, Mary’s Original Sin was cleansed from her at her immaculate conception, not at the conception of Jesus as many Protestants believe. This was done only for Mary so that Jesus could be born as a sinless, future sacrifice for our sins. The “why” of it only prompts questions such as: Why didn’t God do this for everyone and mercifully remove the unjust condemnation of Original Sin once and for all? But then there would be no need for Jesus to come and die for anybody’s sins...)
Several respondents stated that Numbers 23:19 “proved” God’s immutability (unchanging form) precisely because God later became (changed into) a human! This is what Luke refers to in Acts 14:11 where he writes that “…these Greek peoples believed the gods came down in human form…” Now, if you ask any Christian (priest or layman) if the Greeks were correct in their belief about their gods coming down in human form, they will say this is absolutely false! Yet, when Paul introduces a new god (Yahweh) to the Greeks and Romans and tells them his name in human form is now Jesus instead of Perseus or Hercules, suddenly this idea is absolutely true!
Some of the responses by Christians to Numbers 23:19 said the straight-forward Hebrew meaning as understood by all Jewish Rabbis (and their congregations) for the past 3,500 years was true for the Jews up until the birth of their messiah, Jesus, at which time it was not true anymore because Jesus was God and also the Son of God and also the son of man -- a triple-play, as it were, that ended the Old Testament definition of God and inaugurated the New Testament definition of God. (Paul, take a bow.)
It was at this point of trying to digest this last idea that I knew my real audience was not those Christians adamantly defending their belief in God as a Trinity and in Jesus-as-God in the flesh as a Sacrificial Savior. These Christians do not take God Himself at His Word in Numbers 23:19 so how can I expect them to accept anything I say about it? No, the real audience for my questions is that group of people asking the same questions as I, and who desire answers that don’t go against logic, common sense, and historical and linguistic facts.
And so, it is also to this audience that my present column is addressed -- those who accept that Second Comings as explained by Jesus were spiritual and metaphorical, not literal. Jesus identified John the Baptist as the spiritual Second Coming of Elijah. Most Christians know this (or should), yet when it comes to the promised Second Coming of Jesus in the latter days, most Christians still fall prey to the same literalist expectation that Jesus will return in his physical body, just as the Jews awaited the Second Coming of Elijah in his physical body.
I won’t try convincing readers of my column with detailed expositions of Bible verses anymore; all the information I present from the Bible is generally well-known by academic scholars and regular Bible readers, and all of it can be verified from the language lexicons on Bible websites, such as www.BlueLetterBible.org (my favorite).
In fact, I have found that a person is either open-minded enough to see the rationale of my position based on the verses I am referring to (without having to cite them), or else they will be dogmatically bound to the salvation theology promoted by standard Pauline Christianity and will refuse to consider any interpretation of Christ’s action, utterances and events surrounding his crucifixion that goes against standard Trinitarian, “Jesus-is-God” doctrines.
If anyone wants to discuss at length any of the topics I present, they are always welcome to contact me or come to the Baitul Hameed Mosque at 11941 Ramona Ave. in Chino. But I see no point in “debating” with someone who has no desire to see past the doctrinally-motivated positions they cherish, rather than explore what the Bible is really talking about. I assure you, there is a very real difference between the two, and those who insist on interpreting the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament will never accept the Judaic foundational beliefs and theological principals that have defined it with internal consistency since it was first recorded.
The reason is apparent to all devout Jews and Judaic scholars: the first five books of the Old Testament (a Christian classification that is inherently dismissive and patronizing) was revealed by God to the Israelites to expunge idolatry from the Israelites and educate them in the understanding of God as a non-physical, un-created, all-powerful, all-knowing Supreme Being -- the exact opposite of what the Israelites had become corrupted into believing in as gods while they were enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years. The Torah did this fairly successfully, considering the near universal history of sustained, pure monotheism that has characterized the Jewish faith since the time of Moses. So what I’ve learned over these past three months of reading responses from Trinitarian, “Jesus-is-God” Christians is that it doesn’t matter how true or clear the meaning of a Bible verse or word is if that meaning threatens the sanctity or viability of a Christian’s promise of salvation.
If you doubt this, just look up Elohim in Gen.1:26 at the website www.BlueLetterBible.org. In the Hebrew lexicon section, it says Elohim comes from Allah in Arabic and is used to refer to the One, True God of the Israelites over 2000 times -- but you will never know this unless you can read the Arabic word for God because Strong’s H430 Hebrew lexicon entry doesn’t transliterate it into English so you can see the word “Allah.” Why don’t they tell you? Because then you would realize that Arabic, the language of the religion of Islam, is the source of the root meanings of Hebrew. And that the real Covenant in the form of a new Holy Law was transferred (as per Biblical prophecies in Deut. 18:18-20 and Deut.33:2) to the descendants of Ishmael -- the Arabs -- from whom the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was appointed by God as “the Holy One from Mount Paran” in Habakkuk 3:3.
And since the Arabic in the Quran says that God is singularly one (ahad as in Ch.112), without partners or “persons” in a Trinity, and that “ahad” in Arabic is the source for the Hebrew word for “one” (echad in Deut.6:4), it leaves no support whatsoever for the New Testament Greek idea of a Triune god comprised of God the Heavenly Father, a created human being as His Son, and a “Holy” Ghost.
Jesus was a monotheistic Jewish Rabbi, not a Greek-Roman polytheistic idolater. One would think that wouldn’t need stating since it’s such an obvious fact. That’s why agreement on the meanings of words is important. It is universally understood by linguists that language -- any language – can only work as a successful medium to communicate ideas when there is a uniform consensus of agreed meaning and comprehension of those ideas. But you can, of course, choose to ignore or dispute the meaning of the noun “fire” but we all know that fire will still burn you regardless of your acceptance or rejection of its meaning.
When it comes to religious ideas, it doesn’t promote tolerance, healthy dialog or increased spiritual awareness and morality if the fundamental definition of who is and who is not God can be rewritten and reversed by the hand of man. Whenever this happens, God sends down another prophet and, ultimately, another Holy Law to correct the manipulations and corruptions in earlier divine scriptures. Such is the case with the advent of the Holy Prophet of Islam and the Holy Quran. Those who objectively and open-heartedly study the life of Muhammad and the Holy Quran invariably come to this conclusion.
And so, for all those devout, God-loving Christians who strive to be Christ-like and live their lives by his teachings and example and who await his Second Coming as he himself defined it -- through someone else who would come, not physically, but in the power and spirit of Christ -- the good news is that Jesus Christ has already come!
He came as he said he would -- like a thief in the night -- born in northern India in 1835 and receiving his appointment by God as the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi in the last quarter of the 19th century. His name was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (pbuh). Jesus said (in Matt.23:39) that people would not see him again until they said “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” And so most Christians did not and do not “see” or “recognize” him as the Second Coming of Jesus because they are not members of the religion that requires pronouncing blessings upon “he who comes in the name of the Lord” – the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the “Holy One from Mount Paran” mentioned in Habakkuk 3:3 and elsewhere in the Bible.
Only Muslims say “Peace and blessings of God be upon him” whenever they hear or say the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). And it was Muhammad who received, memorized and recited for his followers the 114 chapters of the Holy Quran -- all but one of which starts with the words: “In the name of God (the Lord), Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.”
(As for the Muslims, to this day most of them do not accept Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Second Coming of Jesus because nearly all Muslims except Ahmadis have adopted the Christian belief that Jesus was raised bodily alive to heaven (before the crucifixion), and that it will be this same Jesus from 2000 years ago who will bodily descend from heaven in the Latter Days and demand that all Christians become Muslims or be slain as infidels. Thankfully, this is not a true teaching in Islam, nor what Ahmadis believe about Jesus. You can learn more at: TombofJesus.com and at: Alislam.org/topics/messiah)
I apologize for anything I’ve written here that some (or most) Christians find offensive or object to, and I apologize in advance for my column next month which will present information on the Ahmadi Muslim belief that Jesus, being a true prophet and the messiah for the Jewish people, could not and did not die an accursed death on the cross – but that he survived the crucifixion and went on to complete his stated mission to “gather the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.”
Ahmadi Muslims are the only Muslims in the world who have accepted the First Coming of Jesus (pbuh) in the first century AD, as well as the Second Coming of Jesus (pbuh) in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (1835-1908) in the 19th century. Discover the truth about both at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino (909-627-2252) and at Alislam.org and TombofJesus.com. Peace be upon Jesus and upon you.