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Jesus' most important commandment is the following:

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, YHWH our Elohim, YHWH is 1. And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment."

Those who reject the triune theory do so because we interpret the scriptures to show a clear distinction between the person of YHWH(the 1 God), and His only begotten, the Son of God.

The most well known words of Jesus are recorded in John 3:16. This is only 1 simple example of Jesus making a distinction between himself and God.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Throughout scripture this theme holds very consistent and can be shown with countless verses. There are too many to list them all.

What are the BEST scriptures to support the interpretation that Jesus is not the same person as God(YHWH), but rather the Son of God and a completely separate person?

Note: In the context of this question, verses that make a distinction between YHWH and Jesus would be greater support than verses that make a distinction between the Father and Jesus (even though we know the Father is YHWH according to this interpretation).

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    Another perspective (binitarian) is that Jesus was YHWH, the God of the Old Testament, and that until, as Jesus, he revealed the truth, the world was unaware that God the Father even existed. E.g. John 17:25 "Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee", and Matthew 11:27 "neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.". The Son and the Father are two distinct entities, members of the God family, but they do not form a mystery two-in-one combination corresponding to the Trinity Doctrine's view. Apr 8 at 15:10
  • @RayButterworth... "The world was unaware that God the Father even existed.".... Huh? christianity.stackexchange.com/a/96205/60347 Apr 8 at 20:02
  • Throughout the Old Testament, The YHWH that interacted with mankind was the pre-incarnate Jesus, not the Father. See my answer to contradiction - How can John 1:18 say that "No man has seen God" when the Bible says that Abraham, Moses, Job and others have?. Apr 8 at 20:46
  • 1. What translation in the NT do you find YHVH? 2. Why do you think Jesus used Lord God when speaking to the scribes yet used only God when speaking to Nicedemus? 3. Why did Jesus say God sent His Son, not the Father sent His Son? Apr 25 at 2:29
  • @RayButterworth My comment was deleted so I will respond again... your line of thought here unfortunately appears to counter Heb 1:1-2. Apr 25 at 19:24

4 Answers 4

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New Testament
Paul interpreted the Shema in Greek for Gentiles.

Deuteronomy 6:4 (LXX)

...Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord.

1 Corinthians 8:6 (ESV)

yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Paul makes a distinction between God and Lord. This can be interpreted as showing God is not identical with YHVH. Yet they are one, in the same manner people are one (cf. Genesis 2:24).

Note how Paul's statement confounds the Jehovah Witness translation:

1 Corinthians 8:6 (New World Translation)

there is actually to us one God the Father; out of whom all things are, and we for him; and the is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.

Despite claiming YHVH belongs in the New Testament and adding it 237 times, including 15 in First Corinthians, Jehovah Witnesses find no mention of YHVH in this passage.

Old Testament
Those who deny Paul's clear teaching will argue using the LXX is flawed since, with respect to YHVH, it does not translate the Name. Rather it replaces the Name with "Lord."

Yet, if one is going to make that argument, then the same one should consistently apply the principle of not replacing a Name. For example, Moses sings in a way which describes Jesus using His Hebrew name, Yeshua.

Exodus 15:2 (KJV)

The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

YAH is my strength and song, and He is become my Yeshua: He is my El, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father's Elohim, and I will exalt Him.

Moses sings of YAH (not YHVH) his Yeshua, who is his El (not Elohim). Moses distinguishes between his El who is YAH with his father's God, Elohim, implying YHVH.

Like Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; Ephesians 2:21), Moses says he will prepare a habitation for his God, the singular El, not the plural Elohim.

Isaiah also understands who Moses sang to.

Isaiah 12:2 (ESV)

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

“Behold, El is my Yeshua; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for YAH YHVH is my strength and my song, and He has become my Yeshua.”

Where Moses distinguished YAH and YHVH by implication, Isaiah does so explicitly. As Moses did, Isaiah states El is his Yeshua whom he will trust and not be afraid. The Apostle John describes a scene where Jesus invokes His disciples to understand Him as did Isaiah.

John 6:19-20

When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “I AM. Fear not.”

Conclusion
Paul, Moses, and Isaiah convey the nature of God using words which show they understand both the plural and singular nature of God. They all show they understand a difference between God and Lord, or YHVH as the OP notes in their interpretation of the NT passage. Moses and Isaiah understand a difference between YAH and YHVH and both specifically speak of Jesus using His Hebrew name, Yeshua.

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    While it is likely that non-trinitarians reason this way, please edit this to add supporting quotes or references from non-trinitarian sources.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 27 at 1:47
  • This a good answer. However I don’t think the Hebrews would have separated God from God. Genesis 1:2 “the Spirit of God (ESV)” shows a distinction of a presence and the soul “nefesh” also appears soon after. Yet the Hebrews were content with one God with 7 different names YHVH (Jehovah, “Yehovah,”) , Ehloheem, melekh, Eh-yeh, Adonai…..I’d like to hear your take on whether it’s even possible to directly distinguish completely between the Father and the Son
    – Stu W
    Apr 27 at 15:38
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    @StuW You are right at least as far as the Second Temple teaching in Judaism. After the exile the reaction was to deny the existence and meaning of the plural elohim at least as it pertained to "God." However, that understanding is inconsistent with the actual language, and the NT revelation of God. As far as making a distinction between the Father and the Son, that is possible only because one of the two physically came to earth to reveal Himself and the Father. Nevertheless the physical appearance did not destroy the fact they are one. Apr 27 at 16:17
  • What a mess.... This is not a non-trinitarian belief. YHWH does NOT mean LORD. Even with your word play with the name of Yeshua which literally means "Yah our salvation". The phrase is more fundemental than the name of 'Yeshua'..... Apr 27 at 19:34
  • More examples....Joshua Yeshua – YHWH is salvation.... Elijah/Eliyah – God is Yah.... Isaiah – Salvation of/is YHWH..... Jeremiah – YHWH will raise..... Zechariah – YHWH has remembered..... Yeshua came in his Father's name... "YAH is salvation"... the name is right there in his name.... but more importantly he came with his Father's authority. Do you not know what the Father's name means? He tells Moses when HE spoke to him. Apr 27 at 19:54
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Jesus is not the Father and the Father is not Jesus and neither is the Holy Spirit either of them. In the beginning, before God created Adam and Eve, he referred to his two other helpers with the phrase us. Now the phrase us is used in English when referring to a collection of individuals who are unique.

Genesis 1:26-27

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

Again the verse above implies that God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit share the same image, the image they made Adam and Eve in. The image might be the same but each individual is unique.

Another verse that shows how Jesus is unique from God is Jesus' own words when he was teaching during his ministry here on earth.

Jesus himself said that God is greater than him, in authority because you see God directs the two of them. God directs them to begin the works of creation in the beginning

John 14:28

"You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."

The verse above shows that God and Jesus are different based on hierarchy, with God being higher in authority and command than Jesus.

Jesus and God are different but united in their divine will.

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My favorite prooftext to show that Jesus and Jehovah (and the Holy Spirit) are different entities

The prooftext I like the most to show that Jesus cannot be Jehovah (the Father) happens to be what is known to be the Comma Johanneum - 1. John 5:7

For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 1. John 5:7 NKJV

I guess it's ironic that this is my favorite proof text to reject the Trinity teaching. My argument is not that I think that this bible verse was added later to the manuscripts. My argument is that the statement can be (and should be as I will show) understood differently than was probably intended by the copywriter. I don’t deny the words to be compatible with Scripture.

John's first epistle is about Love, Antichrists, and the declaration of faith or bearing of witness regarding the Son of God.

1.John 5:7 has a context or parallel, shown in the following verse:

And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. 1. John 5:8 NKJV

It might be noted, that 1. John 5:8 follows the same sentence structure as 1. John 5:7, and both differ only very marginally from a grammatical point of view. I would argue that they don't differ enough to attribute a different meaning.

Hence it could be said that "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit" "agree as one". In what do they agree or are they „one“? In their "bear[ing of] witness".

Considering what or who do they „bear witness“? That "Jesus is the Son of God" (1. John 5:5) - The witness is about Jesus' identity.

How did water, blood, and spirit bear witness to the fact that “Jesus is the Son of God”? Water was a witness bearer because when Jesus was baptized in water, the Father Jehovah himself expressed His approval of him as His Son. (Matthew 3:17) Jesus’ blood, or life, given as “a ransom for all,” also showed that Jesus is God’s Son. (1 Tim. 2:5, 6) And the holy spirit testified that Jesus is the Son of God when it descended upon him at his baptism, enabling him to go “about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil.” ​(John 1:29-34; Acts 10:38)

Note that we are talking about 3 separate and different Witnesses/testimonies, that are in accord. They did not happen at exactly the same time, nor are they in and of themselves describing the same proof. So we don't have a trinity of proof here. All three only agree in them pointing to the same fact: Jesus is the Son of God.

What about "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit" being "one" in their witness? Already from the explanation about the 3 earthly witnesses, it can be said that they most likely parallel the meaning of 1. John 5:8, in that they all bear their witness as separate and different entities in heaven. In fact that MUST be the case for their proof to be legally acceptable.

Jesus himself confirms this when he says:

If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is true. ‘You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. ‘I have testimony weightier than that of John. For **the works that the Father has given me to finish – the very works that I am doingtestify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. (John 5:31-37)

So Jesus spoke for himself as the Son of God, but said "if I testify about myself [my identity], my testimony is not true". It means that his word alone would not suffice for the testimony to be established as proof legally. He repeated similar words again in John 8:17, 18

In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me. (John 8:17-18)

Jesus says "in your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. He clearly follows that Law as well in John 5:31-37 in regards to the legality of his witness.

What Law is Jesus referring to? He most probably refers to the mosaic law as found in Deuteronomy 17:6 or 19:15, where it states": "on the testimony of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed" (Deuteronomy 19:15).

Who is the originator of the Law? Almighty God YHWH himself! (Deuteronomy 4:8)

So when Jesus said "your" (the Jews') law, he meant also His Law, because if He is identical with YHWH, Jesus is the originator of the Law.

The NT re-affirms this Law to be valid for Christians - it's a universal Law for Humans to establish proof in a judicial setting. The same principle is occasionally even applied in a non-judicial setting. E.g. Two men sent to Peter to notify him about Tabitha's death (Acts 9:38) - on which Pulpit's commentary says, that the reason besides mutual protection was:

It was also a security against fraud. Pulpit's commentary on Acts 9:38

"Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." (2 Corinthians 13:1)

Jesus himself re-affirms this in Matthew 18:16.

Coming back to 1 John 5:7; what does it say? If it should convey the meaning that "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit… are one" in essence and being, then the "witness" they are bearing is meaningless before human judges, as it is legally unacceptable by the Judaic Law that God himself established!

You may say: well aren't God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit distinct persons of the God-Head?

Are the persons of the God-Head distinct enough, to give an independent separate witness?

According to the Athanasian Creed, the Trinity is “one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;” and that you can’t “confound the persons nor divide the substance.”

Albeit being 3 separate persons, they are consubstantial and “coequal” for “Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit”

The persons are all almighty, “and yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.... they are not three Gods, but one God.”

It goes as far as to say that it is “forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.” The three persons of the Trinity are inseparable and ONE being.

The Doctrine of Circuminsession (perichoresis) says:

The subsistences [divine persons] then we say are perfect, that we may not conceive of the divine nature as compound. For compoundness is the beginning of separation. And again we speak of the three subsistences as being in each other , that we may not introduce a crowd and multitude of Gods. Owing to the three subsistences, there is no compoundness or confusion: while, owing to their having the same essence and dwelling in one another, and being the same in will, and energy, and power, and authority, and movement, so to speak, we recognise the indivisibility and the unity of God. For verily there is one God, and His word and Spirit.

According to the theologian studies on the Lutheran Trinity Doctrine, Reiner Jansen said the following:

The"works of the Trinity cannot be lined up alongside one another in such a way that they stand as three isolated and disparate events. The work of any given person is always seen in relation to the work of the other two persons. And so the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit are not considered in and of themselves, but are seen entirely in the light of the Trinitarian faith" (Jansen, 84)

Dr. Charles P. Arand adds to this:

for there exists an intimate interdependence, one might even say a mutual dependence among their works.

James E. Dolezal states:

“The doctrine of divine simplicity teaches that (1) God is identical with his existence and his essence and (2) that each of his attributes is ontologically identical with his existence and with every other one of his attributes.”

― James E. Dolezal, God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God's Absoluteness


Conclusion

If the trinitarian dogma is true, that "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit… are one" (1. John 5:7 - KJV) "ontologically identical" in essence, being, and personality then the "witness" they are bearing about each other is legally unacceptable by the Judaic Law that God himself established!

Even if you say that God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are distinct persons of the God-Head, it would still be legally unacceptable due to the very nature of God's subsistence according to the Trinity dogma: The three persons are one and the same being: GOD.

Legally speaking you cannot separate the witness from the being giving the witness. If the three persons of the Trinity are ONE in essence, nature, power, action, and will, and thus cannot say, act, and will differently from each other, then we cannot get three separate, distinct or independent testimonies from it, but only one. For there is no variation in point of view or dependence, that would warrant it to be accepted as a separate independent witness. Jesus' own words would apply that "if I testify about myself [my identity], my testimony is not true".

It would mean that if any person of the God-Head, testifies about any other person of the God-Head or about the God-Head itself, according to the judicial Law established by God/YHWH himself, this testimony alone would not be acceptable to human judges abiding to that Law.

You may say: "The Judaic Law is for Humans, and not for God - he's not bound to those rules!" Remember that the Jews accused Jesus of lying about his identity. Jesus needed to present judicially acceptable evidence in front of human judges, who were considered appointed and authorized by God and who were bound by God's law to only accept a testimony as proof or evidence if it came from two independent witnesses.

Trinitarians are agreeing that the Jews understood Jesus to claim equality with God (John 10:33). That begs the question: If Jesus claimed equality with God the Father, how could he present Himself and the Father as two independent witnesses to the Jewish judges? (John 8:17,18)

What other choice, by abiding to the letter of the Jewish law, did the Jewish judges have under these circumstances, but not to accept Jesus' evidence?

The human Jesus was also bound to the Jewish Law, as one of the reasons for Jesus to become human was to fulfill the law perfectly! (Matthew 5:17) Presenting the Father as a separate witness while claiming co-equality with the Father would mean that Jesus violated His own divine law given to His people (the Jews)! This is unthinkable!

Does God go behind His word?

God is not a man, that he should lie; Neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 - KJV)

Hence, Jesus proved the Trinity wrong. His Father and Himself are ontologically distinct beings, persons and personalities - fully united yes, but independent in their thinking, acting and will.

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What verses provide the strongest support for the notion that Jesus is not YHWH?

There are so many verses to choose from. Therefore I will limit my list to only those which were spoken by Jesus.

Many times throughout the gospels Jesus makes a clear distinction between himself and the 1 God.

Here are some examples:

John 8:54 Authorized KJV

Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that HE(YHWH) is your God.

Luke 4:18 (Jesus reads from a scroll in the synagogue.)

"The Spirit of YHWH is upon ME, because HE hath anointed ME to preach the gospel to the poor; HE hath sent ME to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,"

Matthew 22

43 He(Jesus) said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: 44 ‘YHWH said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’?

Mark 12:26-27 (Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, quoting scripture)

26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God(YHWH) spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 HE is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.” Another very good example is when Satan is tempting Jesus in the desert.

Matt 4

8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship YHWH your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Now we must ask ourselves: Why is Jesus quoting the Shema here? Jesus is not telling Satan that he only worships and serves himself. Rather Jesus is using the command to counter Satan's attempt to temp him, a man who only worships YHWH.

Next, if we take Jesus words literally about his Father being the only True God and that YHWH is 1, we can conclude that the Father is YHWH, and Jesus is the Son of YHWH.

Here are some examples of clear statements by Jesus telling us that his Father (not himself) is the the 1 God.

John 17:3 (Jesus speaking to his God and Father)

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

John 20:17

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’

Jesus speaks so that he can be understood by children with ears to hear. His words are purposeful and meaningful. Included in his words are the pronouns he uses to reference the 1 God.

Jesus uses plural personified pronouns when referencing himself and his Father.

John 14:23 King James Version

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and WE will come unto him, and make OUR abode with him.

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    Your answer is premised on two assumptions which you have not proven, i.e. that "God" is "YHWH" and that "Jesus" is not God. I might agree with one of those assumptions, but the other will take a little more effort on your part to establish, especially since "YHWH" is a name, and Jesus said he had come in his Father's name (see John 5:43). If that name is used by both Jesus and his Father, then your answer cannot be maintained upon the evidence you have provided.
    – Biblasia
    Aug 2, 2023 at 4:07
  • @Biblasia The Shema is in the premise of the question. Do I need to repeat it in my answer? Would that be suffice for you to "prove" that YHWH is God? Do I need to explain what "coming in the Father's name" means? This is outside the scope of the question which is asking for a list of best scripture examples. Aug 2, 2023 at 4:44
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Aug 2, 2023 at 5:37
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    You quote, "Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that HE is your God (YHWH)." Interesting how you must make a distinction between Father and God. The argument against your claim is the fact Father is not used as God. Monotheism as you envision should consistently identify God. Yet some texts have God and some Father and some Father God and some God and Father. This variety is inconsistent with your claim, as the quoted verse shows. Two different words to describe one and even that falls short as your parenthesis shows. Apr 26 at 5:57
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    This post is inserting YHWH into Greek texts which do not have the word, which is highly misleading. Some of those passages do have κύριος, which was the standard Greek rendition of the Tetragrammaton, but you are also inserting YHWH into verses which just have θεός! You cannot convince anyone by lying about what these texts say.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 27 at 1:53

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