Ephesians; 1:3 – the Trinity; the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, part 4 (Col 1:15-20).

Class Outline:

Tuesday September 25, 2018


The eucharistia begins in vs. 15.


EPH 1:15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints,


EPH 1:16 do not cease giving thanks [verb: eucharisteo] for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;


EPH 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.


EPH 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,


EPH 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe [vv. 3-14].


EPH 1:20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,


EPH 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.


EPH 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,


EPH 1:23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.


COL 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.


“First-born” -prototokos = He has the rights and privileges of the first-born Son. Christ has absolute supremacy, priority, and sovereignty.


Verse 16 is the justification for the preceding verse “first-born of all creation.”


The first-born (prototokos) is not included in the “all creation.”


He is the Creator:


COL 1:16 For by Him all things [article included - “the all things” = the whole universe of things] were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —  all things have been created by Him and for Him.


The NWT (JW translation) adds “other” in brackets. “because by means of Him all [other] things were created. They know that there is no argument for putting the word in the original and so they actually add it in brackets.


As the first-born Creator He is the eternal Son of God to the Father.


Some use the term eternal eminence to try and describe a Son with no beginning. Finite words, no matter how many we string together are going to fail us. He is the preeminent Son and the Creator of all things. He is the eternal Logos and the Creator of all things.


JOH 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


JOH 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.


JOH 1:3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.


We cannot look at JOH 1:1 in light of the deity of the Father and Son without going on a bit of a Greek tangent to show how the JWs have altered the plain message so as to uphold their Arianism.


JOH 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Kai theos en (imperfect indicative) ho logos. In essence, the word order and the use of the article “ho” is saying, “What God (Father) was, the Word (Jesus Christ) was.”


The definite article ho on logos means logos is the subject. That’s why it reads “the Word was God,” though the Greek word order is different, and not “God was the Word.”


The lack of a definite article keeps us from identifying the person of the Word (Jesus Christ) with the person of God (the Father).


The word order tells us that Jesus Christ has all the divine attributes that the Father has and lack of the definite article tells us that Jesus Christ is not the Father.


John’s wording is beautifully compact. It is, in fact, one of the most elegantly terse theological statements one could ever find. Martin Luther said that that the lack of an article is against Sabellianism (Modalism = the theory that there is no Trinity and that the Father, Son, and Spirit are only 3 modes of one identity. There is no distinctiveness or persons.) and the word order is against Arianism (the Son and the Spirit are not deity).


Kai ho logos en ho theos = and the Word was the God (Modalism - no Trinity, no distinctiveness)

Kai ho logos en theos = “and the Word was a god” (Arianism - JC is not God.)

Kai theos en ho logos = Trinity.


If theos and logos were both preceded by the article then the meaning would have been that the Word was completely identical with God, which is impossible if the Word was also “with God.” The Word shares the nature of being God, that’s why logos is put first.


John intends that the whole of his gospel shall be read in light of this verse. The deeds and words of Jesus are the deeds and words of God; if this is not true, the Gospel of John is blasphemous.


The climax of John’s Gospel is the meeting with Thomas.


JOH 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


So, when heaven and earth were created, there was the Word of God, already existing in the closest association with God the Father and composed fully of the essence of God. No matter how far back we may try to push our imagination, we can never reach a point at which we could say of the Divine Word, as Arius did, “There was once when he was not.”


So why don’t we translate this, “the Word was a god” as the New Word Translation does, which is the Bible of the JW?


Greek doesn’t have an indefinite article. Indefinite articles are only inserted where the context calls for them and this one does not at all.


There are 282 occurrences of theos without the article. At sixteen of these does the NWT have either a god, god, gods, or godly. This means that they are faithful to their translation only 6 percent of the time.


In JOH 1:1-18, theos occurs eight times in verses 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, and 18. Of these two have the definite article, vv. 1 and 2.


JOH 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (the) God, and the Word was God.


JOH 1:2 He was in the beginning with (the) God.


In the six times theos is without the definite article they translate it “a god” once, “the god” once, and God the other four. This might be called arbitrary dogmatism.


This reveals the lengths people will go to in order to hold on to their accepted dogma, when in light of the truth it is shown to be incorrect. If the truth doesn’t work, change the truth. If you can get enough people to accept your change then you feel you can call it truth from the court of public opinion.


But it doesn’t stop here. By the rule used by the JW translation, arche should be translated “a beginning” since that noun also lacks an article. “In a beginning was the Word.” In verse four, zoe should be “a life.”


JOH 1:4 In Him was (a) life, and the life was the light of men.


In verse 6 it should be “a John”.


It is clear that they add an indefinite article where their false theology needs it.


And not only this, but John’s Gospel has the most exalted Christology of the Gospels in which he is careful to identify Jesus as God.


But before we look at those passages, we necessarily ask as some do: “Why didn’t Jesus just come out with it? Why didn’t He say, ‘I am God, the Almighty.’?”

For this reason, some say that the Trinity is a false doctrine. But they don’t apply the same rules to their own beliefs. When did Jesus say, “I am not God. I am a creature from the hand of God”? He had so many opportunities to do it. The writers of the Gospels would have known it, if it were true. Why not one comment on it? Why not when Thomas said, “My Lord and My God,” didn’t Jesus say, “Get up, worship God only,” as every Jew had known? Why didn’t John comment about that scene that Thomas was wrong or impetuous or emotional?


God was pretty clear in the law that Israel was not to worship or honor that which was “not God.”


Neither Jesus nor any of the apostles or writers ever once said, “He is not God.”


DEU 32:21

'They have made Me jealous with what is not God;

They have provoked Me to anger with their idols.


ISA 14:14

'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.'


EZE 28:1-2

 The word of the Lord came again to me saying, "Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, 'Thus says the Lord God,


"Because your heart is lifted up

And you have said, 'I am a god,

I sit in the seat of gods, In the heart of the seas';

Yet you are a man and not God,

Although you make your heart like the heart of God —"


EZE 28:9

'Will you still say, "I am a god,"

In the presence of your slayer,

Although you are a man and not God,

In the hands of those who wound you?


EXO 34:10

for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God


Those who reject the deity of Christ because He didn’t say, “I am God,” do not stick to their guns. When did He say, “I am not God?”


In the passages that reveal Him as God, like JOH 1:1 and the declaration of Thomas, the anti-trinitarians admit the word God is used, but claim some kind of end-around theology, stating things like “He only acted as God or for God, and so He was called God.” If that is true, then if Jesus did say, “I am God,” they would have claimed the same end-around theology.


Jesus humbled Himself as a servant. He emptied Himself of the expression of His deity (PHI 2:6-7). His mission was to redeem and reconcile fallen man with the Holy Father. He didn’t seek to glorify Himself.


Plus, think of how the Jews reacted to Him “making Himself out to be God.” Who He was in fulness was revealed over time. When Israel said that He did his works by the power of the devil, it was clear that that generation would not be ready for who He was. He offered Himself, the kingdom of God to the nation of Israel first and foremost, and after committing the unpardonable sin, He spoke to them in parables. Individuals who believed Him would come to know who He was, and even that was progressive, as we see with Peter.


As fantastic as it is, they should have been ready for it.


ISA 9:6

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;

And the government will rest on His shoulders;

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.


PSA 110:1

The Lord says to my Lord:

"Sit at My right hand,

Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet."


Jesus was rejected by the nation of Israel in Mat 12. Jesus healed a demon possessed man who was blind and dumb.


The people then raised the question, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?" (MAT 12:23) But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons." (MAT 12:24)


This sin was unpardonable. It was a sin by that generation. A sin of the nation, not an individual. The offer of the kingdom to Israel to that generation was rescinded. When this happened the ministry of Jesus changed radically.


From that point on, His miracles were no longer for the purpose of serving signs of His Messiahship to Israel, but for the purpose of training His disciples (MAT 16:1-4).


Before this, miracles were done by Him whether the person or persons had faith, and from then on faith would be required. Until the events of Mat 12, Jesus performed miracles for the benefit of the masses without requiring them to have faith first. After Mat 12, He performed miracles only in response to needs of individuals and began requiring them to have faith first.


Before Mat 12, those who were healed were free to proclaim what had been done for them; but after Mat 12, Jesus initiated a policy of silence and forbade those who were healed to tell anyone about it.


Before Mat 12, the disciples were to proclaim Him everywhere. In Mat 10 He sent them out two by two to do just that. After Mat 12 there was a new policy of silence. In Mat 16, when Peter makes his famous confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus ordered Peter to tell no one. However, after His resurrection, Jesus changed this policy to the Great Commission (MAT 28:18-20).


And also, it was at this point that Jesus changed His teaching method from using terms the masses could easily understand to parables.


All of these changes were a clear sign of judgment upon the nation. And, from this time on, He would not proclaim Himself openly as God. Yet the disciples would all throughout the church age.  


JOH 5:17 But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." 


JOH 5:18 For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.


John is commenting on the account of which he was an eye witness. If Jesus is not God, to worship Him as God is blasphemous. No Jew would allow it, as we see with the Jews in this passage who wanted to kill Him. Is there any reason, here or anywhere in John’s Gospel, that he could not interject into his commentary that Jesus wasn’t equal with God?


JOH 5:21"For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.


JOH 5:22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,


JOH 5:23 in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.


For a creature to say this is preposterous. To say it to Jews and being a Jew is insanity.


MAT 14:33 (walked on water as did Peter)

And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"


MAT 28:17 (resurrected Christ in Galilee)

And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.


JOH 14:14 (direct us to pray to Him)

“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”


JOH 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." 


JOH 8:57 The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?"


JOH 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." 


JOH 8:59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.


JOH 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;


JOH 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.


JOH 10:29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.


JOH 10:30 "I and the Father are one."


JOH 19:1Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him.


JOH 19:2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and arrayed Him in a purple robe;


JOH 19:3 and they began to come up to Him, and say, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and to give Him blows in the face.


JOH 19:4 And Pilate came out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him."


JOH 19:5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold, the Man!"


JOH 19:6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify, crucify!" Pilate said to them, "Take Him yourselves, and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him."


JOH 19:7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God."


JOH 19:8 When Pilate therefore heard this statement, he was the more afraid;


JOH 19:9 and he entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.