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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 perspective).

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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. Commented Apr 8 at 15:10
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    I don't get why this was done - what's the reason? In my original response, I quoted both Trinitarian and Non-Trinitarian sources, and argued using the SCRIPTURES (taken from NKJV/KJV mostly) which is what was asked in the OP! Why does a moderator come and move the goalposts? As a Non-Trinitarian I am a non-trinitarian source!
    – Js Witness
    Commented Jun 5 at 10:50
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    @curiousdannii, respect the intention of the OP and restore my answer because I quoted scripture . The answer didn't even receive enough down votes to be deleted my a mod, what's going on? Commented Jun 5 at 11:42
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    Fascinating how an answer citing Scripture showing Jesus was not YHVH, as you believe, corrupts your question. Commented Jun 5 at 16:18
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    The bible is a non trinitarian source. Why not let the scriptures speak for themselves? Commented Jun 5 at 16:47

10 Answers 10

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Given that the Christian Church from its beginning has always stated that Jesus Christ has his personhood, God the Father has his personhood, and the Holy Spirit has his personhood, all within the Godhead, most Christians who believe the Trinity doctrine know that myriad scriptures support Jesus being a distinct person.

As an orthodoxly-trinitarian-believing Christian, I have no problem stating scriptures that prove the distinct personhood of Jesus Christ. My problem is confining the selection to a manageable list in this answer, and in alighting on "the strongest" one! But here are a few.

At Jesus' baptism, we have clearly depicted the man, Jesus, the descent upon him of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father declaring from heaven, "This [Jesus] is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." John the baptist was witness to all of that. Matthew 3:16-17

Then, after Jesus' resurrection, and before he ascended visibly up into heaven till clouds hid him from the disciples eyes, we have him differentiating the Father from the Son, and the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son. He does this by commissioning his followers to baptise those they teach "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Although the three have one (shared) name, the point that applies to this question is that Jesus himself clearly distinguishes the three persons. It is impossible from his words to think that those three persons are actually one person. The one name is a different matter requiring a different question in order to explore the depths of what they do share.

Yet more words from Jesus are in John's gospel where he says he is the way to the Father; that the Son doing the Father's will brings glory to the Father; and that he prays to the Father for the Father to send the Holy Spirit as another Comforter to the disciples (after he returns to the Father in heaven). That's in John 14:6-26.

It cannot be stressed too strongly - in view of great confusion amongst non-trinitarians who wrongly suppose the trinity doctrine teaches only one person in the Godhead - that there are three persons who share the same, one being of God. The muddle is shown when they make an argument about Jesus clearly being a distinct person. Of course he is! Whoever said that he was not? Certainly not mainstream trinitarians!

Once the distinction between 'person' and 'being' is understood from the Bible, that mixup usually evaporates. But, to answer the question, I would say that, out of the selection I have provided as mere examples, Matthew 3:16-17 is the strongest.

EDIT The Bible has myriad verses that show the distinct personhood of Jesus Christ. He is clearly not the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, but stands in his own person at, for instance, his baptism where the Father and the Holy Spirit play their distinctive parts in the action Jesus took. I offer Matthew 3:13-17 as the strongest support for Jesus being a distinct person.

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    I'm sorry but this answer doesn't attempt to answer the actual question which seems to be a habit of yours. I can provide several examples of you providing a popular response to my difficult questions...yet they do not address the question but merely provide "a way out" of a rational answer. Because of your "way out" of difficulty, the majority here upvote it... this is why I no longer post here. This is not a recent question of mine as you can see..... The question is: What verses show Jesus as a seperate person than YHWH?... not the Father or the Holy Spirit... but the 1 True God. Commented Apr 25 at 19:20
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    @ReadLessPrayMore I absolutely stuck to the remit of your Q, "What are the BEST scriptures to support the interpretation that Jesus is not the same person as God, but rather the Son of God and a completely separate person?" There was no need to mention Unitarianism as the texts I used are texts Unitarians themselves use. That is because we are agreed that Jesus is a distinct person - the Trinity doctrine states that. Thus, I cannot understand your objection, as if I was attacking Unitarianism here. I am not; but in the process a misunderstood point is clarified.
    – Anne
    Commented Apr 26 at 9:12
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    @ReadLessPrayMore You misunderstand me if you think that I view the Father as a multi personality essence/nature. The person of the Father is one person. Three persons share divine nature. The Father and the Son share the one, divine nature, with absolute unity of the Spirit in that nature. We are not going to agree on that, but that is not what you asked about. I have stuck to the confines of your particular question here but my choice of words is mine, not yours. I think using YHWH muddies these already unclear waters. No further comments from me.
    – Anne
    Commented Apr 26 at 9:41
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    Can a mod get involved here? This is blatantly off topic and out of scope. Commented Apr 26 at 17:25
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    @ReadLessPrayMore , not true Anne is the best contributor you will meet around here, I applaud her for stance in the belief that Jesus Christ is God because John said it and Paul also so, when God said let us, Jesus must have been the lord who was told by the Lord God. +1 upvote Anne Commented Jun 9 at 10:04
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If you take as a premise that YHWH applies only to God the Father to the exclusion of every other person and being then there are many, many verses in the New Testament that show this. Jesus interacts with The Father on many occasions, and refers to him as a separate person. Identifying the "best" ones is entirely a matter of opinion and left as an exercise for the reader.

In the search for a verse that specifically and explicitly states that Jesus is separate from YHWH there is a fundamental problem that the word YHWH is not mentioned in the New Testament. Not even in any variant manuscript of a book or letter. On the other hand Jesus is not named in the Old Testament so there is no explicit reference there.

There are plenty of Messianic prophecies that describe the Chosen One as separate from God, so if you can accept unequivocally that they refer to Jesus and describe the totality of his nature they can be used.

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  • Not only is Jesus not named in the OT, but the person of Jesus did not exist until the Holy Spirit overshadowed the virgin Mary. There was the eternal Word of God, who became flesh in the course of time (John 1:1-14). But this person called Jesus (who this Q is all about) did not exist until the Word became flesh. You may well agree, though others will not.
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 11 at 8:32
  • Your answer fails to understand that the NT is in Greek and Jesus quotes the OT...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”? Commented Jun 12 at 7:37
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    @Anne I do agree with you. The person of Jesus did not exist before he was conceived in the womb of Mary. Commented Jun 12 at 7:40
  • Jesus is not technically named in the OT but he is mentioned distinctly from YHWH many times as messianic prophecies. Psalm 2:6-7.... 6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” 7 “I will declare the decree: YHWH has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.......So who is YHWH begetting here? Himself? Commented Jun 12 at 7:42
  • Odd that you pick that passage, often used by Trinitarians in support of their views. Is YHWH who is spirit really begetting soneone who is just a human being? Commented Jun 12 at 13:36
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The clear answer is that God sent his Son and in doing so he did not send himself. God respects logic and this can be seen from the way he used logic to create the universe, an example is the logic in the laws of Physics.

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

Jesus was not the first messenger sent to the Jews by God, there were prophets sent before whom they killed. Jesus suffered the same fate as these prophets.

Another verse on the Bible that shows us Jesus and God are separate spiritual entities is during his baptism when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove.

Mathew 3:17

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

God refers to Jesus as a son and throughout history , the term Son has always been used to refer to someone who exists separately from the Father.

God literally sent his own Son to enter into the creation designed by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb and Jesus himself also cleared the air of doubt between the two by stating that God is greater than him.

John 14:28

The Father is greater than I

When David was full of the Holy Spirit he saw a vision of The Lord who is God talking to the other Lord who is Jesus and asking him to sit at his right hand

Psalm 110:1

The LORD said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet

It's only God that told Jesus to sit at his right hand after he conquered the world, sin and death. God cannot talk to himself when he said these words to Jesus.

You can get more information about all the Biblical verses that show us that Jesus and God are separate on this site

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  • You need to give quotes or references to reputable non-Trinitarian sources. I'm not sure there's anything here that Trinitarians would even dispute (if "God" is read as referring to the Father as is common in the NT).
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 5 at 12:04
  • @curiousdannii, and by source you mean referenced by non Biblical authors or both? Commented Jun 5 at 12:19
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    Non-biblical authors. You should know this, this is what we expect from every answer. You always need to give supporting evidence. And in a question like this you also need to clearly name the position being presented.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 5 at 12:32
  • @curiousdannii, noted. Revising it. Unless the OP explicitly states he needs Biblical evidence? Commented Jun 5 at 12:38
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    The universality of verses on this topic is actually why you need denominational evidence. When the question asker is complaining about Trinitarian answers being written on their question (which is fair), then non-Trinitarian answers need to prove it. If an answer looks Trinitarian to me, and it doesn't give any references showing that it's actually the teachings of a non-Trinitarian denomination, then I'm pretty much obliged to remove it.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 5 at 21:27
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The strongest verse for me that Jesus is a "distinct" person from the Father is John 10:30. I do not use the word, "separate" because to me it invokes three separate beings which in my opinion can lead people astray.

Now to answer your question. John 10:30, "I and the Father are one." Jesus has just said that the sheep are equally safe in His hand and in His Father's hand. (John 10:25-29.) The power of the Son is equal to that of the Father, and while this is the contextual point of reference, much more is implied.

Jesus asserted the essential unity of the Father and the Son in the word "one" (hen). It is a neuter number to indicate equality of essence, attributes, design, will, and work. "One" (meaning "one thing") is quite comprehensive, only excluding personal identity.

Jesus distinguishes the "I" from "Father" and uses the plural verb "ARE" denoting "WE ARE." Thus these words separate the persons within the Godhead, but "one" asserts their unity of essence or nature as IDENTICAL.

Rember, at John 10:24 the Jews asked Jesus to tell them plainly who He was. This verse is plain. He does not say "I am Christ, but "I and my Father are one"--God! At vs31, the Jews understood Jesus correctly. There could be no mistake about His meaning. The word "again" refers to John 8:59 at which time the Jews also attempted to stone Him for blasphemy. What did Jesus say at John 8:58? "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham sprang into existence/born, "I am."

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  • Doesn't answer the question... The question is asking about difference between the person of YHWH and His Son. Not 1/3 of YHWH and and another 1/3 or YHWH. If you don't think YHWH is a person then you are out of scope and should not be answering this question. Commented Apr 27 at 1:22
  • Your right, I misread to the question thinking you were asking Trinitarians. However, being a separate person does not mean he cannot be God since there is only one being of God. Just saying!
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Apr 27 at 1:40
  • this is a unitarian question. Sorry... let us have this one please. Commented Apr 27 at 1:43
  • Since last year this question has been tagged non-trinitarian, even if that wasn't so explicit in the text of the question itself. So even though many non-trinitarians may agree with what you've written here, I'll remove it as technically it doesn't match the scope.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 27 at 1:48
  • another out of scope answer. that is mistaking YHWH for the 1 person of the trinity. Even Mr Bond agrees he misread the question. This is why I later edited it and its title to make it more clear. @curiousdannii. I agree with you that I should be removed and remain removed. Commented Jun 10 at 3:55
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Ironically, once strong prooftext that shows 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

The argument is not that most scholars agree that this bible verse was added later to the manuscripts. The argument is that the statement can be (and should be) understood differently than was probably intended by the copywriter.

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) - Commentary on 1 John 5:8 in The Watchtower 15 Dec 2008

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.

On John 8:17-18 The Watchtower Oct. 1st, 1962 states:

Jesus here spoke of himself and of his Father as two distinct individuals. So by them enough testimony was provided for the Jews to believe, since testimony was required of two witnesses at least. Though two distinct individuals, yet the Father and the Son were one in their witness or testimony, because both their testimonies agreed.

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 Trinity 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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    I agree, Jesus is not Jehovah the Father. You said, "Jesus proved the Trinity wrong. His Father and Himself are ontologically distinct beings. No, ontologically they are distinct persons, beings implies 3 gods. Since were on the subject of "ones," one or more witnesses. One in purpose and then there is John 10:30. It literally says, "I and the Father WE are one." How "Jesus distinguishes the "I" from "Father" and uses the plural verb "ARE" denoting "WE ARE." Thus these words separate the persons within the Godhead, but "one" asserts their unity of essence or nature as IDENTICAL.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Jun 7 at 21:06
  • I object that Jesus referred, not to an equality of godship (or unity of essence or nature) in John 10:30, but to a oneness of purpose and action (in John 10, the caring for the sheep). This is confirmed by comparing the words recorded here with his prayer recorded in John chapter 17. (Joh 10:25-29; 17:2, 9-11) This is especially evident when he prays that his followers “may be one just as we are one.” (Joh 17:11) So the kind of oneness referred to in chapter 10 as well as in chapter 17 would be the same.​
    – Js Witness
    Commented Jun 8 at 6:26
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    It's already a given that they are one in purpose. John 5:17, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." At John 10:28 Jesus says He gives the sheep eternal life and no one can snatch them out of MY hand." Since they are one in purpose then why at John 10:31 did the Jews AGAIN want to stone Him? It was not for being one in purpose? Vs33, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because you being a man, make Yourself out God." Notice at vs34 Jesus brings up Psalm 82:6, the subject of gods, why? He's not claiming to be a god so what's His point? Context Js!
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Jun 8 at 14:42
  • “We are stoning you, not for a fine work,” they answer, “but for blasphemy, even because you, although being a man, make yourself a god.” Since Jesus never claimed to be a god, why do the Jews say this? Evidently it is because Jesus attributes to himself powers that they believe belong exclusively to God. For example, he just said of the “sheep,” “I give them eternal life,” which is something no human can do. The Jews, however, overlook the fact that Jesus acknowledges receiving authority from his Father - just like the human judges have in Psalm 82:6 who are called gods.
    – Js Witness
    Commented Jun 8 at 19:08
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    Your right Js, Jesus never claimed to be "a god" so why do you claim He is a god at John 1:1? Thomas claimed He is God at John 20:28. Paul at Titus 2:13, Peter at 2 Peter 1:1. The high priest at Jesus' trial at Matthew 26:63-65. The Jews did not overlook any facts. What did Jesus say that caused the Jews to say he was claiming to be God at John 8:58, John 5:18. Jesus brought up Psalm 82:6 to show the one whom the Father sanctified is blaspheming because I said, "I am God's Son?" You must also hold the Father is blaspheming because He called the judges "gods." The judges were not sanctified!
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Jun 9 at 14:22
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Separate from my already existing answer, here is another one. I post it as a separate answer as it takes a different approach and uses a separate argument.

As stated in the OP, Jesus quoted the Sch'ma when saying: "‘Hear, O Israel, YHWH our Elohim, YHWH is ONE. 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."

The doctrine of the Trinity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. Taken from "cru.org" - core christian beliefs

If God is "one in essence" than God is NOT a person, but the term God would denote a unique existence. In human terms, it would denote an "it" rather than a person. But the "three in person" bit, would make it appropriate to address God with "they/them" pronoun. One often used argument by Trinitarians is that "elohim" is plural, which would make it normal to address "elohim" with the plural pronoun "they/them" (also in ancient Hebrew/Greek). Yet, there is NOT a single time in the whole Bible, where "elohim" or "theos" is addressed in the plural. The single pronoun "he/him" is used every single time when GOD is addressed. This happens over 10.000 times throughout the whole Bible with the exception of a single female pronoun being used, but never a plural pronoun. If that in itself doesn't already prove that God is NOT multiple distinct persons, I don't know what does.

Here are a few Bible texts re-affirming the difference between YHWH and Jesus, taken from Reasoning from the Scriptures:

Is Jehovah in the “Old Testament” Jesus Christ in the “New Testament”?

Matt. 4:10: “Jesus said to him: ‘Go away, Satan! For it is written, “It is Jehovah [“the Lord,” KJV and others] your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.”’” - Jesus was obviously not saying that he himself was to be worshiped. [The argument that Jesus couldn't say that he was GOD to humans can't count here, as Jesus was alone with Satan here - why did Satan say "if you are a son of God" (no definite article in front of son) three times in this passage? Why didn't Satan know that Jesus was GOD YHWH?]

John 8:54: “Jesus answered [the Jews]: ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifies me, he who you say is your God.’” - The Hebrew Scriptures clearly identify Jehovah as the God that the Jews professed to worship. Jesus said, not that he himself was Jehovah, but that Jehovah was his Father. Jesus here made it very clear that he and his Father were distinct individuals.

Ps. 110:1: “The utterance of Jehovah to my [David’s] Lord is: ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’” - At Matthew 22:41-45, Jesus explained that he himself was David’s “Lord,” referred to in this psalm. So Jesus is not Jehovah but is the one to whom Jehovah’s words were here directed.

Bart Ehrman, albeit not Christian writes about the subject from a neutral point of view:

Are Yahweh and Jesus the Same?

Some modern Christians may misinterpret the Christ poem in Philippians 2 this way; ... When Christ is exalted after his death, God gives him “the name that is above every name” so that all creation will worship and confess him. That is a reference to Isaiah 45 where Yahweh alone has the name above every name so that all worship and confess to him alone.

Possibly these modern Christians are thinking that Christ therefore must have been given the name YHWH, and therefore he is YHWH. But the passage doesn’t seem to mean that. The ultimate LORD of all, YHWH, is the one who gives Jesus the name that is above all others. It’s worth noting that in this very passage, when God gives Jesus his “name,” it does not mean that he’s made a name switch for Jesus. On the contrary, the passage says that the name to which everyone will bow in worship and confess is Jesus! (Not YHWH): “That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess.” Jesus’ own name is exalted.

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  • Just to point out that there's nothing neutral about Bart Ehrman. Have you ever studied his web-site? Doing that would disabuse anyone of that idea, when it comes to the Bible and fundamental Christian teaching about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. This scholar is not 'neutral', but it is unsurprising that those who disagree strongly with the Trinity doctrine would find selective support for their views, just as can be done with some Unitarian views.
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 14 at 9:28
  • He's neutral in that he is not Christian, and thus isn't biased in supporting any Christian belief, but reads the Bible as an unbeliever, and hence doesn't read anything into the text but represents what it says without any bias of a specific Christian faith!
    – Js Witness
    Commented Jun 14 at 9:56
  • People cannot remain 'neutral' when it comes to standing on the Lord's side (or not). Not from Jesus' point of view, at any rate. But you already know this. Quote what you like, to portray intellectual support for non-Trinitarian points. You also know what Jesus said about hidden things being revealed by God - Luke 10:21-22. There's only one source to turn to to learn who the Son really is. And it isn't Bart Ehrman.
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 14 at 10:17
  • @Anne - Seriously? Luke 10:21-22 - you realize that the Trinity dogma as is widely accepted today, ratified through ecumenical councils, was concocted and signed off by the "top tier" scholars, philosophers, lawyers and theologians of their day? So much for "being hidden from intellectuals"! I just quoted Bart Ehrmann because he's a well known and respected scholar - I don't support nor endorse his views. He just happens to come without a JW/unitarian nor trinitarian agenda, to the same conclusion than ordinary honest Bible Students came over a century ago, by simply analyzing the text.
    – Js Witness
    Commented Jun 14 at 11:11
  • By the mid 2nd century, the Latin word 'trinitas' was being written by Christian scholars as they explained the teaching in the Bible. The difference between them and Bart Ehrman is (amongst other things) his disregard for the Bible as the inspired, inerrant word of God, and Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I supposed that you believed in those latter two Christian essentials. I will say no more and leave you to your preferences.
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 14 at 12:03
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The question is "What passages of scripture give the strongest support for Jesus being a separate person than the person of YHWH?".

Not sure this is a correct question. But I guess it depends on your point of view and interpretation of scripture. My problem is that I believe the scripture teaches Jesus is YHWH. If the question replaced "YHWH" with "the Father", I would think it would be a better question. But, if you wanted to show the difference in persons, perhaps "my God, My God, why have you forsaken me" might be a good one. John 1:1 being another one. John 6:38 I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. John 8:17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Others have already cited scriptures such as Mt 3:16-17 and Mt 28:19.

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  • The reason i didn't ask the difference between Jesus and the Father is because that leaves the question much too ambiguous and wouldn't be allowed here because its not properly scoped to a certain perspective. This question is NOT concerned with how Jesus is or is not the same person as another person of the triune essence/being, the trinity. Instead, this question is very specific and is asking what scriptures support the non-trinitarian interpretation. I agree that your verses support that the Father is not Jesus. But this perspective holds that the Father is YHWH alone. Commented Jun 11 at 7:34
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    – agarza
    Commented Jun 11 at 13:37
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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
    Commented 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
    Commented 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. Commented 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'..... Commented 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. Commented 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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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
    Commented 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. Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 4:44
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 5:37
  • 1
    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. Commented 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
    Commented Apr 27 at 1:53

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