Dr. Steven Nemes writes in the article The revelation which God gave Jesus, after quoting the opening line of Revelation

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place, and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.

Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἣν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ ὁ θεὸς δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ, ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, καὶ ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἰωάννῃ.


One of the arguments that non-trinitarians often make in favor of their position is that God and Jesus are clearly distinguished in the Bible from one another—not only as Father and Son, but also as God and Christ. Because they are clearly distinguished, they cannot be consubstantial as the catholic tradition says. One can see the same thing happening in this opening verse.

As Nemes continues

There is a long chain of mediation taking place here. God gives something to Jesus, who then gives it to an angel, who then gives it to John, who then writes it down. There are consequently four actors involved here, namely God, Jesus, the angel, and John, and each actor does something different.


Because there are four actions taking place here, each of which is such that it is only performed by one of the four actors in involved, it follows that none of the actors are consubstantial with each other. In the catholic tradition, the consubstantiality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit means that there is only a single operation or act of which each is equally its subject. In the words of John of Damascus, there is in God “one essence, one divinity, one power, one will, one energy” (An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 1.8). But there cannot be one “energy” or one activity in the situation being described in Rev. 1:1 because there is something God does which Jesus does not (namely, initiate the passing on of the revelation) and there is something Jesus does which God does not (namely, receive the revelation from God and pass it on to the angel). There are two energies here, i.e. two actions or activities, and not one. Therefore, Jesus is not consubstantial with the Father.

At this point, a Trinitarian who holds to consubstantiality might appeal to Jesus' dual-nature to account for this.

Jesus would therefore be said to have received the revelation of God as regards his human nature, but not as regards his divine nature.

In response to this, Nemes argues

On the one hand, in the catholic tradition it is believed that Christ did not cease to be God in becoming human. This means that everything that would be true of him as God by nature remains true of him even after he assumes a human nature in addition. But it would be true of Jesus in virtue of his divine nature that he knows all the things that are revealed to John by the angel. And one cannot be given a revelation if one already possesses knowledge of the relevant mystery, just as a person who is already dead cannot be killed, just as a soaked garment cannot be made wet. Consequently, the catholic principle that Christ does not cease to be God in becoming human makes it impossible for him to have been given a revelation by God.

On the other hand, suppose one proposes that Christ did give up some of some his divine qualities in becoming human. Previously he was omniscient, but upon incarnating he no longer knew everything. This still does not provide a solution to the problem at hand, because Revelation refers to Christ after his resurrection. If one tries to justify the possibility of Christ’s receiving revelation from God by suggesting that he gives up some of his divine qualities upon becoming incarnate, this text would force the conclusion that this condition continues even after his resurrection and exaltation into heaven. Christ then would have ceased to be fully God in becoming human, not only for a time, but rather for all time! I am not sure that many people will find this proposal very satisfactory.

How do Trinitarians who hold to both consubstantiality and a dual-nature theory of Jesus respond to the sorts of points Nemes is making here? That if Jesus is fully God in his ascended state then Jesus can't be given revelation as Jesus knows all things, or if you hold to a limiting of knowledge with respect to Jesus similar to his incarnation but now in an ascended state, Jesus apparently then would cease to be fully God not just temporarily but eternally?

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    This is silly. One unique action disproves consubstantiality? Then the Incarnation itself disproves it. Only the Son was incarnated. Not to mention Jesus' baptism. The whole point of the idea of the trinity is to explain how one God can have separate-seeming actions. Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 9:41
  • @SeanOConnor It sounds like what you are saying is Jesus, in Heaven, is 'given' the revelation only in his human nature. No? Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 17:51
  • @OnlyTrueGod Not necessarily. You're assuming 'giving' works the same way between God and man as between God and God. Consider the baptism of Jesus. Do you regard the Holy Spirit descending as a dove as disproof of the Trinity too? Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 19:39
  • @SeanOConnor Yes - I think the primary sense of 'HS' is the gift of the presence of God (the minor sense is roughly synonymous with 'God' or 'the Father'). But it sounds like you're also arguing for 'unique sense of 'reveal' and 'give'' here as well, and this seems like the major options. Either a) continued 'human nature' limited knowledge of Jesus, and or b) completely unique sense of 'reveal', 'give' and so on because it's God to God (so to speak, is a reflection of an internal relation between the 'persons' (whatever we mean by that) of the Trinity, I guess). Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 19:45
  • @OnlyTrueGod Hang on, go back a step. I get that you don't believe in the Trinity. Can you explain how the HS at the baptism of Jesus disproves the Trinity? You seem to either be arguing that any distinguishable action of the three persons (or at least, the HS and the Father, leave the Son for the moment) contradicts the Trinity, correct? Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 20:31

5 Answers 5


First, I will answer the question as posed in the title. The Ascension does not make a difference. Jesus ascended bodily into Heaven, and therefore His humanity also ascended.

Second, as the Father and the Son existed for all of eternity, there was never a time when the Father was not begetting the Son, and likewise never a time when the Father was not revealing the truth to the Son. Therefore, the claim that the Son must have been ignorant in order to receive a revelation is not sound.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also.For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does,

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    +1 "the claim that the Son must have been ignorant in order to receive a revelation is not sound" Wouldn't it follow that Jesus is eternally ignorant, as things are constantly being revealed to him? Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 23:00
  • Yes, precisely. The Son receives all things from the Father. Up-voted +1. Excellent answer, well presented and aptly concise.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 9:16
  • I made a very minor adjustment. Please feel free to roll back if you are so inclined.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 9:22
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    @OnlyTrueGod eternity is not best understood as an extension of a finite, temporal process but as something outside of time, perhaps as a tableau or a photograph is outside of time, always accessible despite time. Where time appears to enter into eternal things it can perhaps be of as if an ever-present zoetrope card.
    – Dan
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 3:58
  • @DanSheppard I think what's being said here is 'revelation' and 'given' have (completely?) unique senses re the Son unlike any other use of the terms. This fits with 'begotten' also having a completely unique sense re the Son. tl ; dr another 'mystery' beyond our comprehension. Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 17:49

The answer is simple! As I've stated hundreds of times the Father has no separate manifestation from the Son. The Son is the only manifestation and REVELATION of the Father SO HE GAVE IT TO JESUS.

Moreover, in regards to being "cosubstantial" the following statement explains it this way? "To say that Jesus is “consubstantial" with the Father is to say nothing other than He is of the same nature as God the Father."

Now, this statement was made, "And one cannot be given a revelation if one already possesses knowledge of the relevant mystery,"

Let me give you an example by addressing the statement. Revelation 19:12, "And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself."

Now, would one make the argument that God the Father does not already possess or know the name written upon His Son? I think Dr. Steven Nemes is not only grasping at straws but his argument is "fallacious."


Trinitarians believe that the glorified human nature of Christ exists forever. This is important to show the fidelity of God to

  • our future hope of one day to be resurrected into a glorified eternal bodily existence (like what Jesus already has)
  • our future hope that we will enjoy our bridegroom Jesus face to face eternally in glorified bodily form (but right now we can only pray to him mystically)

Before glorification, while Jesus was on earth, although Jesus as Word possess omniscience, Jesus in his human nature did NOT access this ability, which Fr. Thomas J. White likened (in a Church Grammar episode on Christology the section on the Holy Spirit's role in Christ's human life, 41:46 to 45:54) as someone who has the ability to play violin expertly but decided not to play violin at particular time of his life. So in his human nature, Jesus was docile to the Spirit of the LORD, receiving only the revelation that the Holy Spirit wanted Jesus to tell the disciples (and us, through the New Testament). This includes the time of the last day, cf Acts 1:7:

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

Thus, we see a similar operation in Rev 1:1,

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him [Jesus's human nature] to show his [Jesus's] servants what must soon take place, and he [Jesus] made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.

where God revealed what God wants us to know via the agency of the human nature of Christ.

  • +1 On this account, then, the ascension of Jesus doesn't really affect his human nature re omniscience? He is, in his human nature, not omniscient for eternity? Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 5:07
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    @OnlyTrueGod The episode explicitly adressed your question this way: can a nuclear physicist today prays to the human Jesus, in English, asking guidance whether he should be involved in creating nuclear weapon? When Jesus walked on earth he did not know English / nuclear physics, but now in his glorified human nature he can know. I'm still learning how exactly Jesus can know, but I don't think it's through the mixing of divine nature vs human nature properties, so I doubt that we can properly say Jesus is "omniscient" in his human nature since it's a divine nature property. Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 13:26

The case in point, which you seek answers to, is the view quoted that deals with two issues. First, information about God and Jesus as in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. Second, theology regarding "consubstantiality". Yet the second point is confined to the first - how Trinitarians understand the clear distinctions shown between God and the ascended Jesus Christ, as detailed in the book of Revelation.

It should come as a surprise to nobody informed about Christian theology that Trinitarians see Revelation constantly demonstrating the ascended Christ to "share the one substance of the Father" (the consubstantiality issue as so worded in the middle of the Nicene Creed). One divine 'substance' is the 'substance' of the one God. Trinitarians believe the Bible shows that the eternal Word of God, who became flesh as the man Jesus, who then was resurrected and ascended back to heaven with a now-glorified body, remains (as always) as of the same, one divine nature as the Father. Within the Godhead there always has been, and ever will be, distinctions of relationship and functions. A sort of divinely-agreed-united-responsibility, with Father, Son and Holy Spirit utterly united in one Spirit, in one divine nature.

Why the last book of Revelation should throw up problems for Trinitarians (according to Dr. Steven Nemes), says more about his disagreement with the consubstantiality issue throughout the entire Bible than it does about the consubstantiality matter (of fact) in its last book. Trinitarians could show that a 'chain' of revealed information starting from the throne of God in heaven, works down to God's people on Earth via the ascended Christ and angels. Angels are delegated with specific duties in the outworking of the visionary events. This really should not need to be said, but in case anyone is labouring under the wrong impression that events in the book of Revelation are literal, they are not. The apostle John received visions, designed to depict events that cannot be seen on Earth, but which are going on in the invisible realm. John did not literally enter heaven to see Christ looking like a lamb that had been slain standing in the center of the throne of God, taking a seven-sealed book out of God's hand, and so forth. But before he could see those visions, he had to turn at the sound of a great voice behind him (Rev. 1:9-19). Only then did he see the glorified Christ and start getting explanations from him. If people don't 'turn', that's because they either don't hear or they refuse to turn anyway. Then they will never 'see' the ascended Christ.

Really, why should Trinitarians show why the ascended Christ's relationship within the Godhead in the book of Revelation explains Dr. Nemes proposed problem, when it is no problem to anyone who has understood what all the other books of the Bible show on that score? That really would be a case of putting the cart before the horse!

Further, if I give some of the many examples in Revelation that show the continuing relationship and unity in heaven, that was on Earth, and was before time began, others will only jump on them to start arguing, especially if they see this as a "Gotcha!" question. For those who are decided that Jesus of Nazareth had no pre-human existence as the eternal Word of God, nothing will remedy that stance if they start at the end and try to work backwards. Revelation about just who Jesus of Nazareth really was, when on Earth, came to the apostle Peter by a divine revelation from God the Father in heaven. Jesus said so:

"He saith unto them [the disciples], 'But whom say ye that I am?'

And Simon Peter answered and said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'

And Jesus answered and said unto him, 'Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven'." Matthew 16:15-17 (A.V.)

Just as Peter had divine revelation as to who Jesus really is, so John had divine revelation over 60 years later. But it was the same Jesus both of them had faith in. Location has no bearing on this matter of understanding just who Jesus really is. The Father reveals the Son, and the Son reveals the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the one who gives the true understanding. (John 5:23 & 6:44 & 10:26-30 & 12:28-30 & 14:6-11, 20-26 & 15:26 & 16:7-15) Understand what all those verses mean, and you will see why Trinitarians have no problem with Revelation.

The book of Revelation shows there is no problem such as Dr. Nemes suggests, for those who have turned to hear and to see. Dr. Nemes, in those quotes, is making claims that show he misunderstands what's symbolically going on in Revelation, because he has not first had divine revelation of the Son of Man also being the Son of God, therefore how can Trinitarians respond? My answer is to read all those scriptures inbetween the two bold sentences.


This is an old one and I'll follow on from @Mary's comments. This is far from the first time the church has been here, for example:

Psalm 2:7, NIV

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.

Psalm 2:7, ESV:

I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

This is the relationship between God the Father and Jesus, which is how the early church has always considered this passage to infer the relationship between Father and Son.

The best way to consider this is the Father has eternally begotten the Son. This provides a rationale explanation because within eternity both the Father and Son have always existed.

A better way to consider this is we simply struggle to conceptualise the Trinity. This is how exactly how I personally would answer the OPs question.

For example, can anyone completely conceptualise a deep learning algorithm, you know the stuff that does the "Google translate" and all the computer vision calculations?

The answer is no, there are aspects of this algorithm that are essential to its function and there's a general idea of how it works, but no one empirically knows why they work and I mean no one. In coding, that's not an uncommon situation - there's a problem coder tries a few things, "subconsciously" codes through the problem, and then bingo it works, but how? A coder gets an intuitive insight but can't readily verbalise why and that can lead to solutions that are difficult to understand.

If that is the case with an algorithm under our complete detailed analytics what chance do with have of understanding Trinity which is far outside our analytics?

Interesting discussion BTW and cool it flagged up on my "hot topics" list.

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    Ahh there it is. The God who says he wants us to know him intimately shrouds himself in unexplainable mystery.
    – 007
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 15:08
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    – 007
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 16:37
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    The Bible is not mysterious until one tries to incorporate man made concepts based in Greek and Roman philosophy and pagan religion.
    – 007
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 16:39
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    @User14 you write as if He were naturally explicable and changed His nature to confuse us
    – Mary
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 17:46
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    No @Mary it is not God who changed but the “wise men” who made the simple complex, the comprehensible incomprehensible.
    – 007
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 19:16

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