Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
"It is your Creator who has poured out to you all heaven in one wondrous gift,—His only-begotten Son...." Counsels on Stewardship, p. 46.2
Does John 1:1 prove Trinity?
Let us look at John 1:1-7,14-17:
“A point of contention concerning this passage has been the signficance of the absence of the definite article ho ("the") with the second occurrence of the word theos. John says "the word was with the theos and the word was theos" but he does not say "the word was the theos." In Koine Greek it was conventional to precede aperson's name or title with the definite article when referring to that person. So inKoine Greek it was conventional to refer to "God" as "the god," unlike our English convention.”
Jesus was begotten/created from the Word of GOD Almighty. Begotten or created means the same thing. Jesus was the beginning and end of the Father's "creation". Jesus created all things after he himself existed, while consulting with Father. I believe Jesus and His Father consulted together, and Jesus did the speaking/creating. 1 Corinthians 1:24 KJV says "...Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
This verse (Colossians 1:15-18 (ISV)) confirms Christ's deity, his divine nature from His beginning:
There are three points given concerning Christ and creation in verses 16 and 17. They are as follows:
Christ the Firstborn
Herein Paul records some great truths concerning our Lord, truths that have mighty implications:
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether they are kings, lords, rulers, or powers. All things have been created through him and for him. He himself existed before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, which is the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself might have first place in everything."
In ‘The Review and Herald’ in 1907 are found these words
“The Son of the infinite God came to this earth, and honored it with his presence. He emptied himself of his glory, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and reveal to fallen man the perfect love of God.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 6th June 1907, ‘No other Gods before me’)
There can be no doubt that this is referring to Christ as a Son - in His pre-existence. This is only the same as was written 16 years earlier – which was
“It was necessary that the Son of the infinite God should come to be the light of the world, to be the fountain of healing mercy to a lost race.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 20th January 1891, ‘Co-operation with Christ’)
In the Bible Echo in 1899 was published a letter sent by Ellen White from Australia. In it she wrote:
“Was not Christ the
greatest teacher the world ever knew? Was
He not the Son of the infinite God? and yet He said, "I do nothing of Myself.""
(Ellen G. White, The Bible Echo, 18th September 1899, ‘Letter from
And this IS life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
There are many quotes from the pen of Ellen White that tell us exactly the same thing – that
Christ was the son of ‘the
infinite’, meaning a son PRIOR TO THE INCARNATION – but they are far too many to list all of them here. Here
though are just some of them.
“The Son of the infinite God clothed his divinity with humanity, and submitted to
the death of the cross, that he might become a stepping-stone by which humanity
might meet with divinity.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 16th January 1894,
‘Students required to be workers with God’)
"God has a church upon the earth who are His chosen people, who keep His commandments. He is leading, not stray offshoots, not one here and one there, but a people. The truth is a sanctifying power; but the church militant is not the church triumphant. There are tares among the wheat. “Wilt thou then that we ... gather them up?” was the question of the servant; but the master answered, “Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.” Matthew 13:28, 29. The gospel net draws not only good fish but bad ones as well, and the Lord only knows who are His.
It is our individual duty to walk humbly with God. We are not to seek any strange, new message. We are not to think that the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light compose Babylon.
The fallen denominational churches are Babylon. Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by the various churches, and thus the Scriptures are fulfilled that say, “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Testimony Treasures Volume 2, Page 362
“Although the only begotten Son of the infinite God humbled himself and took upon him humanity, his faith wavered not; but under the trial and test, he was equal to the proving of temptation on behalf of humanity.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 24th April 1894, ‘Victory in temptation through Christ’)
“The Son of the infinite God, the Lord of life and glory, descended in humiliation to
the life of the lowliest, that no one might feel himself excluded from his presence.”
(Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 22nd December 1891, ‘No caste in Christ’)
“The Son of the infinite God was the author of our salvation. He covenanted from
the first to be man's substitute, and he became man that he might take upon himself
the wrath which sin had provoked.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 21st
November 1912, ‘Peril of neglecting salvation’)
"While human beings
were instituting schemes and methods to destroy him, the Son of the infinite God came to our world to give
an example of the great work to be done to redeem and save man.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 21st June 1898, ‘To every man his
“That the Son of the infinite God should bind himself so closely with man was
condescension and mercy so wonderful that its mysteries could scarcely be
understood.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 30th May 1899, ‘God’s purpose in
the gift of His Son’)
“The Son of the infinite God tasted
death for every man. He left the royal
courts, and clothed His divinity with humanity.” (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, 3rd February 1898, ‘Knowing
“Christ Himself, the Son of the infinite God, clothed His divinity with humanity, and
came to this world to show human beings what they may become by obeying the principles
of heaven.” (Ellen G. White, Special Testimonies, Series B No.
7, page 10 ‘A warning and an appeal’ 1906)
“When in the fulness of
time the Son of the infinite God came forth from
the bosom of the Father to this world, He came in the garb of humanity, clothing His divinity with
humanity.” (Ellen G. White, Signs of
the Times, 17th May 1905, ‘A teacher sent from God’)
“The One appointed in the counsels of heaven came to the earth as an instructor. He was no less a being than the Creator of the world, the Son of the Infinite God.” (Ellen G. White, Special Testimonies on Education 1897, page 173, ‘The divine teacher’)
“After Adam had sinned, the
only means of salvation for the human race was for the Son of the infinite God to give his life that
they might have another trial of obedience. What love the Father manifested in
behalf of man, erring and disobedient though he was! He "so loved the
world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."” (Ellen G.White, Review and Herald, 15th December 1896, ‘The
importance of obedience’)
Jesus was not the entire Word of GOD Almighty. He rather was a Word from the Word; meaning that he was created, or "brought forth", begotten, to bear, bring forth, beget, from the Word of His Father, the Sovereign GOD Almighty.
Psalm 90:2, Proverbs 8:24 "When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water."
More about John 1:1Another verse quoted in defense of the "Trinity" is the verse of John 1:1 :
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
When I first learned of this verse it appeared to me that I had finally found the elusive proof/goal. However, after substantial research into Christian theological literature, I would later come to learn that this verse too can not be interpreted to justify a "triune" God. My own experience has shown that this verse is the one most popularly quoted by most Christians in defense of the Trinity. For this reason I shall spend a little more time in it's analysis than in the analysis of the other verses.
First of all, it is quite obvious from simply reading the above verse that even in the very best case, this verse speaks only of a "Duality" not a "Trinity." Even the most resolute conservative Christian will never claim to find in this verse any mention whatsoever of a "merging" of a Holy Ghost with God and "the Word." So even if we were to accept this verse at face value and just have faith, even then, we find ourselves commanded to believe in a "Duality" and not a "Trinity." But let us see if this verse does in fact even command us to believe in a "Duality." To do this we need to notice the following points:
1) Mistranslation of the text:
In the "original" Greek manuscripts (Did the disciple John speak Greek?), "The Word" is only described as being "ton theos"(divine/a god) and not as being "ho theos" (The Divine/The God). A more faithful and correct translation of this verse would thus read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine" (If you read the New World Translation of the Bible you will find exactly this wording).
Similarly, in "The New Testament, An American Translation" this verse is honestly presented as
"In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine."
The New Testament, An American Translation, Edgar Goodspeed and J. M. Powis Smith, The University of Chicago Press, p. 173
And again in the dictionary of the Bible, under the heading of "God" we read
"Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated 'the word was with the God [=the Father], and the word was a divine being.'"
The Dictionary of the Bible by John McKenzie, Collier Books, p. 317
In yet another Bible we read:
"The Logos (word) existed in the very beginning, and the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine"
The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, by Dr. James Moffatt
Please also see "The Authentic New Testament" by Hugh J. Schonfield and many others.
If we look at a different verse, 2 Corinthians 4:4, we find the exact same word (ho theos) that was used in John 1:1 to describe God Almighty is now used to describe the devil, however, now the system of translation has been changed:
"the god of this world (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."
According to the system of the previous verse and the English language, the translation of the description of the Devil should also have been written as "The God" with a capital "G." If Paul was inspired to use the exact same words to describe the Devil, then why should we change it? Why is "The God" translated as simply "the god" when referring to the devil, while "divine" is translated as the almighty "God" when referring to "The Word"? Are we now starting to get a glimpse of how the "translation" of the Bible took place?
Well, what is the difference between saying "the word was God," and between saying "the word was a god (divine)"? Are they not the same? Far from it! Let us read the bible:
"I have said, Ye (the Jews) are gods; and all of you are children of the most High"
"And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh"
"the god of this world (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."
2 Corinthians 4:4
What does all of this mean? Let me explain.
In America, it is common when one wishes to praise someone to say "You are a prince," or "You are an angel" ..etc. When someone says this do they mean that that person is the son of the King of England, or a divine spiritual being? There is a very slight grammatical difference between saying "You are a prince" and between saying "You are THE prince," however, the difference in meaning is quite dramatic.
Further, it is necessary when translating a verse to also take into account the meaning as understood by the people of that age who spoke that language. One of the biggest problems with the Bible as it stands today is that it forces us to look at ancient Hebrew and Aramaic scriptures through Greek and Latin glasses as seen by people who are neither Jews, Greeks, nor Romans. The Jews had no trouble reading such verses as Psalms 82:6, and Exodus 7:1, while still affirming that there is only one God in existence and vehemently denying the divinity of all but God Almighty. Jesus is divine, by His very Nature because He is the Son of GOD. Begotten/created by GOD himself. Some might ask, where is His Mother in Heaven? Is GOD Almighty limited by a woman? Where is Eve's Mother? Eve is a second type of Christ. It is the continuous filtration of these manuscripts through different languages and cultures as well as the Roman Catholic church's extensive efforts to completely destroy all of the original Hebrew Gospels (see last quarter of this chapter) which has led to this misunderstanding of the verses.
The Americans have a saying: "Hit the road men." It means "It is time for you to leave." However, if a non-American were to receive this command without any explanation then it is quite possible that we would find him beating the road with a stick. Did he understand the words? Yes! Did he understand the meaning? No!
In the Christian church we would be hard pressed to find a single priest or nun who does not address their followers as "my children." They would say: "Come here my children", or "Be wary of evil my children" ... etc. What do they mean?
A fact that many people do not realize is that around 200AD spoken Hebrew had virtually disappeared from everyday use as a spoken language. It was not until the 1880s that a conscious effort was made by Eliezer Ben-Yehudah to revive the dead language. Only about a third of current spoken Hebrew and basic grammatical structures come from biblical and Mishnaic sources. The rest was introduced in the revival and includes elements of other languages and cultures including the Greek and Arabic languages.
Even worse than these two examples are cases when translation into a different languages can result in a reversal of the meaning. For example, in the West, when someone loves something they say "It warmed my heart." In the Middle East, the same expression of joy would be conveyed with the words: "It froze my heart." If an Mideasterner were to greet a Westerner with the words: "It froze my heart to see you," then obviously this statement would not be greeted with a whole lot of enthusiasm from that Westerner, and vice versa. For this reason, a translator must not and should not "translate" in a vacuum while disregarding the culture and traditions of the people who wrote these words. As we have just seen, it was indeed quite common among the Jews to use the word "god" (divine) to convey a sense of supreme power or authority to human beings. This system, however, was never popularly adopted by them to mean that these individuals were in any way omnipotent, superhuman, or equal to the Almighty.
2) Basic message of John:
Now that we have seen the correct translation of the verse of John 1:1, let us go a little further in our study of the intended meaning of this verse. This verse was taken from the "Gospel of John." The very best person to ask to explain what is meant by a given statement is the author of that statement himself. So let us ask "John" what is his mental picture of God and Jesus which he wishes to convey to us:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him."
So the author of John tells us that God is greater than Jesus. If the author of this Gospel did indeed wish us to understand that Jesus and God are "one and the same," then can someone be greater than himself? Similarly,
"Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."
Can someone "go" to himself? Can someone be "greater" than himself?
"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:"
If John meant to tell us that "Jesus and God are one and the same" then shall we understand from this verse that God is saying to Himself "Self, glorify me so that I may glorify myself"? Does this sound like this is the message of John?
"While I (Jesus) was with them in the world, I kept them in thy (God's) name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled."
If the author of John wanted us to believe that Jesus and God are one person then are we to understand from this verse that God is saying to Himself "Self, while I was in the world I kept them in your name, self. Those who I gave to myself I have kept ..."? Is this what the author intended us to understand from his writings?
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
Similarly, did the author intend us to interpret this as "Self, I will that they also whom I have given myself be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which I have given myself, for I loved myself before the foundation of the world"?
So, we begin to see that in order to understand the writings of a given author, it is necessary to not take a single quotation from him in a vacuum and then interpret his whole message based upon that one sentence (and a badly mistranslated version of that sentence at that).
3) Who wrote the "Gospel of John"?:
The "Gospel of John" is popularly believed by the majority of regular church-goers to be the work of the apostle John the son of Zebedee. However, when consulting Christianity's more learned scholars of Church history, we find that this is far from the case. These scholars draw our attention to the fact that internal evidence provides serious doubt as to whether the apostle John the son of Zebedee wrote this Gospel himself. In the dictionary of the Bible by John Mckenzie we read
"A. Feuillet notes that authorship here may be taken loosely."
Such claims are based on such verses as 21:24:
"This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true."?
Did the apostle John write this about himself? Also see 21:20, 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, and 21:20-23. The "disciple who Jesus loved" according to the Church is John himself, but the author of this gospel speaks of him as a different person.
Further, The Gospel of John was written at or near Ephesus between the years 110 and 115 (some say 95-100) of the Christian era by this, or these, unknown author(s). According to R. H. Charles, Alfred Loisy, Robert Eisler, and other scholars of Christian history, John of Zebedee was beheaded by Agrippa I in the year 44 CE, long before the fourth Gospel was written. Did the Holy Ghost "inspire" the apostle John's ghost to write this gospel sixty years after he was killed? . In other words, what we have here is a gospel which is popularly believed to have been written by the apostle John, but which in fact was not written by him. In fact no one really knows for certain who wrote this gospel.
"Since the beginning of the period of modern critical study, however, there has been much controversy about [the Gospel of John's] authorship, place of origin, theological affiliations and background, and historical value"
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 2, Abingdon Press, p. 932
4) Who "inspired" the author of this gospel to write this verse?:
The words of John 1:1 are acknowledged by most reputable Christian scholar of the Bible as the words of another Jew, Philo of Alexandria (20BC-50AD), who claimed no divine inspiration for them and who wrote them decades before the "gospel of John" was ever conceived. Groliers encyclopedia has the following to say under the heading "Logos"("the word"):
"Heraclitus was the earliest Greek thinker to make logos a central concept ......In the New Testament, the Gospel According to Saint John gives a central place to logos; the biblical author describes the Logos as God, the Creative Word, who took on flesh in the man Jesus Christ. Many have traced John's conception to Greek origins--perhaps through the intermediacy of eclectic texts like the writings of Philo of Alexandria."
T. W. Doane says:
"The works of Plato were extensively studied by the Church Fathers, one of whom joyfully recognizes in the great teacher, the schoolmaster who, in the fullness of time, was destined to educate the heathen for Christ, as Moses did the Jews. The celebrated passage : "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God" is a fragment of some Pagan treatise on the Platonic philosophy, evidently written by Irenaeus. It is quoted by Amelius, a Pagan philosopher as strictly applicable to the Logos, or Mercury, the Word, apparently as an honorable testimony borne to the Pagan deity by a barbarian........We see then that the title "Word" or "Logos," being applied to Jesus, is another piece of Pagan amalgamation with Christianity. It did not receive its authorized Christian form until the middle of the second century after Christ. The ancient pagan Romans worshipped a Trinity. An oracle is said to have declared that there was 'First God, then the Word, and with them the Spirit'. Here we see the distinctly enumerated, God, the Logos, and the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, in ancient Rome, where the most celebrated temple of this capital - that of Jupiter Capitolinus - was dedicated to three deities, which three deities were honored with joint worship."
From Bible Myths and their parallels in other religions, pp. 375-376.
6) What was "The Word"?
O people of the book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of GOD aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (the Son of GOD) a messenger of GOD, and His Word, which he bestowed upon Mary, and a spirit preceding from him so believe in GOD His Son and his messengers. Say not "Three," desist! It will be better for you, for GOD is one God. Glory be to him. Far exalted is he above having a son. To him belong all things in the heavens and the earth. And enough is GOD as a disposer of affairs."When God Almighty wills something he merely says to it "Be" and it is.
Verily! Our (GOD's) Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it "Be!" - and it is."The Word." "The Word" is literally God's utterance "Be." This is held out by the Bible where thirteen verses later in John 1:14 we read:
"And the Word was made flesh".
Regarding what is meant by GOD by "a spirit preceding from him" Jesus clearly was the Servant of GOD Almighty as claimed. Jesus was the Jews' Messiah and Leader, and God Almighty's Messenger to them. He is part of GOD Almighty, His biological, literal Son, however GOD made him. He has His Father's qualities. (like all human sons do...only God's Son has His Divine qualities) His Divine Mind, His Energy or GOD's spirit living in His Mind. Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
There are a number of alarming verses in the Bible that pass through the polytheist trinitarian christians without being noticed or pondered upon. Matthew 26:39 above raises a very serious red flag about Jesus being our Almighty GOD himself, and the whole lie of the polytheist trinity paganism religion. Jesus in the verse openly admitted that he basically does not use his own will, but does the will of His Father, that sent Him. -- that he is nothing without GOD Almighty -- that he is has submitted His own Divine Will to that of His Father's Divine will, as a begotten Son of the creation of GOD Almighty. In other words, Jesus submits to His Father's will in all things.
This is by the way was not the first time Jesus openly admits this. There are several verses and situations where Jesus refuted the polytheist trinity pagan lie:
1- Mark 10:18 Jesus said “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”
2- John 14:28 Jesus said "My Father (GOD) is greater than I"
3- John 8:28 Jesus said "I do nothing of myself"
4- Matthew 24:36 Jesus said "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
5- Even in the Old Testament, the foretold Prophet, Jesus, was said to have the Spirit of Fearing GOD Almighty in him:
Isaiah 11:1-3 "1. A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
6- Also, the "God" (hotheos) title that was given to Jesus was also given to many others before him and after him in the Bible. Ironically, even satan was called "hotheos" (God) in the New Testament. The only Unique Attribute for GOD Almighty that wasn't given to anyone else beside GOD Almighty is "Yahweh", which means "The Eternal".
Jesus IS the Wisdom of GOD:
"But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the POWER of GOD, AND the WISDOM OF GOD." 1 Corinthians 1:24 (KJV)
Proverbs 2:6 tells us, "For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." God is the source of Wisdom; Wisdom is JESUS! Do you have Jesus?
The verb used by Wisdom to call attention to its messages is the same used by the prophets to call for returning to God in repentance.
Wisdom is intended to be understood as an attribute or heavenly servant of the sole sovereign God Yahweh to whom he has delegated certain powers with regard to his relations with mankind.
Meet The Word & Wisdom Of Our Sovereign GOD: JESUS, the Son of GOD!Who IS Jesus?
Ecclesiastics 1:1-4 All wisdom cometh from the LORD, and is with him for ever. The sand of the sea, and the drops of the rain, And the days of eternity who shall number? The height of the heaven and the breadth of the earth and the deep and wisdom, who shall search them out? Wisdom [Jesus] hath been created before all things, And the understanding of prudence from everlasting.
THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD Rev 3:14
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; Rev 2:8
Proverbs 8:22: Wisdom and Creation
Proverbs 8:22-30 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him...
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD;
Job 28:28 And he said to man, 'The fear of the LORD--that is wisdom, [Jesus] and to shun evil is understanding.'"Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of WISDOM; [Jesus] all who follow his precepts have good understanding. [understanding = Fruits] To Him [GOD] belongs eternal praise.Oh, if ALL WOULD COME JUST AS THEY ARE, and let Him make the preparation in taking them as His...
Claim this promise: "Him That Cometh Unto Me, I Will In No Wise Cast Out." (John 6:37) PRESENT THIS ASSURANCE TO JESUS, AND YOU ARE AS SAFE AS THOUGH INSIDE THE CITY OF GOD" (Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, p. 175).
ALL WHO LONG TO BEAR THE LIKENESS OF THE CHARACTER OF GOD SHALL BE SATISFIED. THE HOLY SPIRIT NEVER LEAVES UNASSISTED THE SOUL WHO IS LOOKING UNTO JESUS. The Wisdom of GOD.
was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing
always before him.” (Proverbs 8:24, 25, 30)
Ecclesiasticus 1:1-4 All wisdom cometh from the Lord, and is with him for ever. The sand of the sea, and the drops of the rain, And the days of eternity who shall number? The height of the heaven and the breadth of the earth And the deep and wisdom, who shall search them out? Wisdom hath been created before all things, And the understanding of prudence from everlasting.
The book of Ecclesiasticus was written by Jesus the son of Sirach in about 100 B.C. It describes Wisdom as having been "created before all things," as being "from everlasting" and as comparable to "the days of eternity." In this we are in harmony with the Trinitarian view of Jesus as created or generated by the Father eternally, that is, finding his source in the Father and having no existence apart from Him, yet also having existed eternally as God does. Sirach writes further:
I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, And covered the earth as a mist. I dwelt in high places, And my throne is in the pillar of the cloud. Alone I compassed the circuit of the heaven, And walked in the depth of the abyss. (Ecclesiasticus 24:3-5)
He created me from the beginning of the world, And to the end I shall not fail. (Ecclesiasticus 24:4)
This is another speech of self-praise of the sort found in Proverbs, only this time, the speech takes place in the heavenly court -- a place where only God would offer self-praise. Wisdom says of herself: "I came forth from the mouth of the Most High" (the "Word" of God) and "my throne was in the pillar of the cloud" -- an allusion to the Old Testament sign of the divine presence.
Wisdom also says that it has "encircled the vault of heaven, and walked in the depths of the abyss...ruled over the waves of the sea and over all the earth, and over every people and nation." In the book of Job (12, 28), these things are what God asks whether Job can do, with the implication that only God can do them.
Finally, Sirach says, "(God) searches out both the deep and the heart, and he perceives all their cunning devices. For the Most High knows all, and he sees the signs of the age. He declares changes that occur, and reveals the searching out of hidden things. He does not lack insight, and nothing escapes him. The might of his wisdom he measures out, He is the same from eternity. Nothing is added and nothing is withdrawn, and there is no need for anyone to instruct him." (42:18-21)
The Synoptic Gospels
Matthew 8:20//Luke 9:58 Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.
Witherington notes that the image of this saying "had been used earlier of Wisdom having no place to dwell until God assigned her such a place (cf. Sir. 24:6-7 to 1 Enoch 42:2), with Enoch speaking of the rejection of Wisdom ('but she found no dwelling place')." Witherington also notes the parallel to Sirach 36:31, "So who can trust a man that has no nest, but lodges wherever night overtakes him?" The use of these allusions "suggests that Jesus envisions and articulates his experience in light of sapiential traditions..." (Jesus Quest, 188)
Matthew 11:16-19//Luke 7:31-2 To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: "'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.'"For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon. 'The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners."' But wisdom is proved right by all her children."
Proverbs 1:24-28 Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: "How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you-- when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. "Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.
This passage provides some important clues once we have the social data in hand, and add in the factor of Jesus' communal meals with the dregs of society. Witherington notes passages like Proverbs 9:1-6, "which speaks of a feast set by Wisdom herself where she invites very unlikely guests to the table" for the sake of helping them acquire wisdom. Witherington therefore argues that Jesus dined with sinners and tax collectors because he was "acting out the part of Wisdom." (187-8)
Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Sirach 6:19-31 Come to (Wisdom) like one who plows and sows. Put your neck into her collar. Bind your shoulders and carry her...Come unto her with all your soul, and keep her ways with all your might...For at last you will find the rest she gives...Then her fetters will become for you a strong defense, and her collar a glorious robe. Her yoke is a golden ornament, and her bonds a purple cord.
Sirach 51:26 Put your neck under the yoke, and let your soul receive instruction: she is hard at hand to find .
Jesus is clearly alluding to the passages in the very popular work of Sirach. His listeners would have recognized that he was associating himself with Wisdom.
Matthew 12:42//Luke 11:31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
Noting the association of Solomon with the Wisdom literature, Witherington writes (186, 192):
If it is true that Jesus made a claim that something greater than Solomon was present in and through his ministry, one must ask what it could be...Surely the most straightforward answer would be that Wisdom had come in person.
Matthew 23:34//Luke 11:49 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city... Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute...
In Matthew's version, Jesus says, "I will send them prophets..." Luke specifically identified Jesus with Wisdom.
The Gospel of John identifies Jesus with Wisdom in a number of ways. Jesus speaks in long discourses characteristic of Wisdom (Prov. 8, Sir. 24, Wisdom of Solomon 1-11). John's emphasis on "signs" mirrors that of the Wisdom of Solomon, and John uses the same Greek word for them (semeion). Finally, John's overwhelming use of the term "Father" (115 times) matches the emphasis on that title in the late Wisdom literature.
John 1:1-3 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 any thing made that was made.
The prologue to John's gospel makes a precise identification of Christ with Wisdom, describing the Logos' Christological role (1:3), its role as the ground of human knowledge (1:9) and as the mediator of special revelation (1:14) -- the three roles of the pre-existent Logos/Wisdom. In calling Jesus God's Logos, John was affirming Jesus' eternality and ontological oneness with the Father by connecting him with the Wisdom tradition.
Now consider these parallels with John's prologue and the Wisdom literature:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Wisdom of Solomon 9:9 With you (God) is Wisdom, who knows your works and was present when you made the world.
John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Proverbs 8:35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (1:11)
1 Enoch 42:2 Wisdom went forth to make her dwelling among the children of men, and found no dwelling place.
John 1:14 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.
Sirach 24:8 The one who created me assigned a place for my tent. And he said: 'Make your dwelling in Jerusalem.'
John 6:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.
Wisdom of Solomon 16:26 On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. So that your children, whom you loved, O Lord, might learn that it is not the production of crops that feeds humankind but that your word sustains those who trust in you.
John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
Wisdom of Solomon 16:18 And love of Wisdom is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality.
The letters of Paul continue the identification of Jesus with God's Wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30 is the most clear: Christ is explicitly identified as "the power of God and the wisdom of God." Elsewhere in 1 Cor. of relevance:
Colossians 1:15-18 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
This passage is full of allusions to the Wisdom literature. Note the following parallels:
Colossians 1:15a He is the image of the invisible God...
Wisdom of Solomon 7:26 (Wisdom is) a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.
Colossians 1:15b ...the firstborn over all creation.
Philo's reference to Wisdom as the "firstborn son" and offspring of God. For more on this matter see here.
Colossians 1:16a ...by him all things were created..
Wisdom of Solomon 1:14 "for he created all things that they might exist"
Sirach 1:4 and Philo refer to Wisdom as the "master workman" of creation.
Colossians 1:17b He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Wisdom of Solomon 1:7 ...that which holds all things together knows what is said...
The book of Hebrews, while never identifying Jesus directly as Wisdom, does indicate an equivalence. In verse 3 the rare Greek term apaygasma is used to describe Jesus as the "brightness of God's glory," just as the word is used in Wisdom of Solomon (7:25-26) to describe Wisdom's radiance.
Hebrews ascribes to Jesus the same functions that the Philonic/Alexandrian Wisdom literature assigned to Wisdom: mediator of divine revelation, agent and sustainer of creation, and reconciler of God and man (Wisdom of Solomon 7:21-8:1). For more on this word see here.
Hebrews also says of Jesus what Philo says of the Logos. Philo referred to Wisdom as the "charakter of the eternal Word" just as Hebrews uses this term of Jesus. Hebrews also "asserts the superiority of Jesus over a group of individuals and classes that served mediatorial functions in Alexandrian thought," including angels, Moses, Melchizidek, and the high priest.
Finally, in Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, though universal in scope, by God's decree rests in Jerusalem, and is regarded as having the role of the priesthood: "In the holy tabernacle I ministered before him, and so I was established in Zion." (24:10) Compare this proclamation with what is found in the Book of Hebrews chapters 3-10 describing Christ as our "high priest" ministering at a heavenly tabernacle.