Monthly Archives: June 2010

Mosaical Baptism & Johannine Baptism & Jesus Baptism Compared

Water covers close to 80 percent of the earth’s surface. After the heavens and the earth were brought into existence in Genesis 1:1, the very first activity of divinity involves water in Genesis 1:2. It is in and by and of water that the Holy Spirit worked on earth. Water provides so much balance to the atmosphere and environment in order to maintain biological life on earth. See Genesis 1:6-8. The Garden of Eden was a lush garden because there were four water heads that flowed into it: Pishon, Gihon, Hiddekel (Tigris) and  Euphrates. See Genesis 2:10-14. We could picture Adam and Eve frolicking in the river banks.  Water is so plentiful on the surface of the earth.

It is a wonder that when we talk about water baptism in relation to God’s command for the remission of sins, many people complain and say, “Suppose there is no water nearby so that a person should be baptized will God curse a person just because he is not immersed in water?”  Compared to the command of God to Noah and family to build a big boat, did they complain about the availability of wood and pitch? What is more difficult to secure wood for the three story boat in the case of Noah and family than to look for water to be immersed in? The Israelites were commanded by Yahweh to offer animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of their trespasses, is looking for water to be immersed in more difficult? You can go on and on and on making comparisons about complaints which are unreasonable in relation to the requirements of God.

It was by and through water that Yahweh cleansed the earth of moral and physical dirt in Genesis 6—7. Cleansing through and by and of and with water is an old practice. Cleaning the physical body is an educational stage that graduates into the abstract and spiritual level. Water ceremony is done to impress the mental-emotional aspect of man so that we could understand the abstract and spiritual cleansing by the Holy Spirit for the spiritual aspect of man. Here we have the types and anti-types.

Mosaical Water Cleansing

God gave Moses commandments in the use of water for cleansing and removal of the curse or penalty of sin. “But he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water.  And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.” (Lev. 1:9) “Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water.” (Lev. 8:6) There are many instructions in the Law of Moses about washing, cleansing, bathing, rinsing, Failure to obey is to carry the curse and penalty. We read, “If he does not wash or bathe his body, then he shall bear his guilt.” (Lev. 17:16)  Bathing, washing, rinsing in water was a requirement given by God in the removal of spiritual guilt. Meat sacrifices were washed. House utensils were washed or rinsed. The body of the person was washed, bathed or rinsed in water. Water by itself didn’t remove the guilt. It was God who removed the guilt but he required an action for man to show his humility, his obedience to God. Washing for cleansing was part of the Law and the Law was a schoolmaster to lead and bring the Jews into a faith in Christ. Read Galatians 3.

When Nadab and Abihu disobeyed the ceremonial fire burning of incense they were cursed and consumed by fire immediately. (Lev. 10:1-3) Do you think the Israelites made excuses about the availability of water in the wilderness to comply with water cleansing? Do you think the other priests in the tabernacle complained about the availability of the source of fire  to burn the incense? No.

This period of the Mosaical era started from about 1445 B.C. and ended in 33 A.D. at the cross of Christ. Read Hebrews  chapters 7, 8, 9 and Colossians 2.  It was for the Hebrew nation only.

Johannine Water Cleansing

While the Mosaical water cleansing continued on as a religious ceremony, John was born to Zacharias and Elizabeth in Judea in the year 1 A.D. In the year 30 A.D., God commanded John the son of Elizabeth to baptize (immerse, bathe, rinse) people for the removal of spiritual dirt of the ordinary Jews accompanied by confession and repentance of sins. Read Matt 3:1,8; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3-14. Water by itself didn’t remove the sin, but God required the Jews to be immersed, rinsed in water to show their humility and obedience before God would forgive the sins of the obedient. The Jews who were obedient went through the ceremony. John’s ministry seems to have been confined within national Israel but “soldiers” who were more likely of non-Jewish stock were also baptized.

They didn’t complain and argue with John the prophet about the availability of water. They didn’t argue about when removal of sins whether it was before or after immersion. They understood it should be after undergoing the requirement. It was in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom, the Church.

Very likely many of these disciples of John who were immersed in water participated in the mob lynching of Jesus in Jerusalem. May be out of ignorance or they were carried by the their emotions which flared up due to the misinterpretations and false accusations of their religious leaders, the Sadducees, Pharisees and scribes.

Jesus’ Water Cleansing

John’s baptism started in 30A.D. and ended in around the month of June  33 A.D. in the Day of Pentecost. Christ died at the cross on 14 Nisan in the year 33 A.D. At the cross he cancelled the Mosaical Covenant and at the same time established a New Covenant. Read Hebrews 9:15-18.  After our Lord Jesus resurrected on Sunday, Nisan 16 year 33 A.D. he met the 11 apostles beside the Sea of Galilee and gave the Great Commission which included water cleansing ceremony. Read Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16 Luke 24:44-48.

Fifty days after the Passover Meal came another Festival called Day of Pentecost. This falls around the month of May or June 33 A.D. Apostle Peter and the 11 other apostles preached about Jesus of Nazareth being the promised Messiah  that he was killed by the Jewish leaders and followers.  The Pentecost Day audience felt they participated in that lynching mob 50 days back. They felt guilty. They asked for a removal of the moral guilt and penalty. The apostles told the people to repent and be baptized (bathed, immersed, rinsed) in the name of Jesus Christ. Read Acts 2:38.

The people didn’t argue when the guilt of murder was taken away. Was it at the point of faith without repentance and baptism? The language is clear: it is after undergoing the stated requirement of repentance and be baptized (immersed, rinsed, bathed). That has been understood from the time of Moses: after bathing or rinsing is the cleansing done. It was understood in the time of John the Immerse: remission of sin, removal of guilt was after the water cleansing. It was understood by Noah and his  family that the cleansing of the world was after the flood water inundated the surface of the earth. Read 1 Peter 3:21.

This water cleansing ceremony is for all nations accompanied by confession of sins, repentance of sins, confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Water cleansing ceremony, baptism, with faith incorporates one into the death and burial of Christ. By faith it is in baptism that one puts on the spiritual robe of the soul. By faith it is in this baptizing act that one comes in contact with the blood of the Lamb. It is part of a procedure whereby one is inducted into the Kingdom of Christ. It is the last step required by God so that one could become a citizen of heaven.  (Eusebio Tanicala)


“He Made Himself Of No Reputation” (2)

BY Eusebio Tanicala

The pure spirit Yahweh God in His fully glorified and majestic form no man has ever seen or heard.  This is Christ’s declaration in John 5:37. Yahweh God says “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14, KJV) or “I AM WHO I AM” (NKJV) or  “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE” (New Living Translation footnote). This means that YAHWEH our God could become what He wants to become. Jesus Christ our Lord wears the name Yahweh (LORD). Therefore, Christ could say “I will be what I will be.”  OT records actually tell us that God manifested Himself as Angel of the Lord, as man, as a burning bush, as a Rock and yet He remained God. Our God could if He would. Sometimes he could have but He did not.

Christ is a spirit persona before 1 A.D. But long, long time ago there was already a plan that man should be redeemed from the dirty control of the Devil. Before the foundation of the world, Christ was already assigned to provide for the salvation of mankind by satisfying divine justice for crimes against the majesty and dignity of God.

If you study very well the life and works of Lucifer who turned Devil you would appreciate why Christ “made Himself of no reputation” as worded by the KJV and the NKJV.  Christ had a purpose and mission: To satisfy divine justice and save mankind from sin. The display of divine glory, divine authority, divine power, and divine majesty does not satisfy divine justice and save mankind. Adam as a criminal and sinner has to die an eternal death in hell. But God loves Adam and mankind. God has to make the move. God has to provide a means to satisfy justice. God has to suffer. He allowed His Son to become Man, a Second Adam to be as human as the First Adam. Becoming the Second Adam to suffer and save the First Adam was what Christ He made Himself of no reputation. Christ became a physical Adam so that he could suffer the penalty of the First Adam who sinned. We are all adams because we participate in Adam’s rebellion in not loving, not obeying and not worshipping God.

Let’s note the following varieties and degrees of divine glory. Let’s notice God becoming what He wants to become as impressed upon the human mind in different occasions.

  1. God is clothed with honor and majesty and covered with intense light when He wants to. –Please see Psalm 104:1-2; Mark 9:2-3; Matt. 17:2; Acts 9:3.
  2. God’s intense glory and majesty man could not stand – 2 Chron. 5:13-14; 7:2; Lev. 16:2; Judges 13:22.
  3. God’s glory can be expressed in majestic natural phenomena – Exodus 40:34-35; 1Kings 8:10-11.
  4. God’s presence could be shown in awesome and fearsome phenomena like thick clouds, smoke,      earthquake and trumpet sounds – Exodus 19:16-20; Deut. 5:4-5; Deut. 5:23-33.
  5. God could appear as a powerful Angel of YAHWEH—Judges 6:11-27; Judges 13:6-23; Joshua 5:13-15.
  6. God could appear as a man – Genesis 18:1-2, 17-33; Joshua 5:13-15.
  7. God could appear as a Rock – 1 Cor 10:4; Exodus 17:1-7; Num. 20:7-11.
  8. God’s presence could be fearsome—1Kings 19:11-15; Heb. 12:18-21.
  9. God could appear as a burning bush – Exodus 3:2-15.
  10. God could appear as a man of flesh and bones and wrestle with Jacob – Genesis 32:7.
  11. God became flesh and tabernacled with men – John 1:14; 1John 1:1-4.

The above various appearances reveal different degrees of majesty. That God could become or appear in the different forms. He could make Himself of no reputation when He took the form of a Rock struck by Moses in the Exodus wandering.

In our folklores, evil spirits could become material in the form of a male, form of a white lady, a pig, a dog, a stick, a giant kapre, a dwende, a long piece of cloth, a rock, burning coal, jumping fire ball and many sorts of things. And yet these evil spirits retain their essential nature of being evil spirits. While they appear in physical forms and thus reduced in capabilities, these evil spirits promote fear and spiritism among humans which is their mission on earth.

If Satan could transform himself into different forms, if evil spirits could transform themselves into different forms and still retain their essential nature together with the material forms they become, is it impossible for the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient , Almighty  Yahweh God to take the form of a human being and still retain His divinity?

Comments and observations are welcomed.

“He Made Himself of No Reputation”

By Eusebio Tanicala

Our matter oriented mind,  our vocabulary may talk about the fusion and complete congruence of three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) in One God is an idea that is very difficult to comprehend. It is a mystery which should be received by faith. We shall fully understand this mystery when we all get to heaven. Please read 1Tim 3:16; 1 Cor. 13:11-12.

The fusion and congruence of the Second Person of the Godhead with the virgin-born humanity of Jesus in one persona is likewise a mystery which is difficult to grasp with the matter oriented human mind. We shall comprehend this by and by when we all get to heaven.

Let’s not demand that all religious doctrines be reduced to mathematical demonstration. Many philosophical theories are not subject to mathematical demonstration but these could be used to start explaining our respective world views.

There is a group of our brethren in the Metro Manila area that takes the position that our Lord Jesus Christ was 100% human during his incarnate 33 years on earth, no more and no less. The idea of two natures (human & divine) in one persona is to them grossly repugnant. But they believe what Christ has said that it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  Further, they believe that nothing is impossible with God. They say that it is impossible for human nature and divine nature to dwell in the one person of Christ from date of birth (1 AD) to the date of death (33 AD). But they believe that the two natures, the resurrected human nature and the divine nature, now dwell in the one persona of Christ after the resurrection. These several ideas need deeper reflective moments.

In this article we propose to prove that there was divine nature in the person of Jesus Christ while he physically lived on earth.

From the Gospel of John we shall notice the exercise and description of divine nature present in the person of Christ while sojourning on earth from 1 AD to 33 AD. From the verses submitted please pay close attention to the divine attributes or descriptions as quoted from the NKJV:

John 1:14 – “glory” was beheld by the apostles. The ordinary and humiliated human nature of Jesus had no glory. That glory which sometimes did come out like in the transfiguration in Matt 17:1-5; Mk  9:2-8 must have emanated from the divine nature residing in the persona of Christ. That glory which flared up for a given moment could have not emanated from the humanity of Christ. It is only logical that such a glory momentarily from Christ’s persona because there was a divine nature in the persona of Christ while on the mount.

John 1:15 & 30 – “He was before me” says John the Baptist, pointing at the time of speaking, to the persona of Christ on earth. This has reference to time frame. The humanity of Jesus was born about 6 months after John the Baptist was born. The aspect of Jesus pointed to that was present in the person of Jesus when John the Baptist made the declaration must have referred to the divine nature of Christ at the moment of declaration. If not, then this verse would be wrong.

John 1:23 – The term LORD is read Yahweh which is the true God of the Hebrews in Isaiah 40:3. When this prophecy was fulfilled it was fulfilled in the person of Jesus. So there was Yahweh in the person of Jesus while sojourning on earth. If there was no Yahweh or divine nature in the persona of Jesus then this verse was not fulfilled. But Christ said at the cross, “It is finished” in John 19:30. Please read also Luke 24:44 and Matthew 5:17. The LORD that was prophesied coming and prepared for by  John the Baptist was fulfilled.

John 1:49 (see related verses like Psalm 2:7; Matt 14:33; Luke 1:35) – The appellation “Son of God” applied to the person being addressed at that time refers to the divine aspect of Christ and not to his human nature.

John 2:16 – Christ tells of destroying the “temple” which refers to his human body. But there is the “I” speaking that will rebuild/resurrect that temple/body. That “I” speaking is the divine nature in the persona of Christ. In a related passage in John 10:17-18, Christ claims that the power to raise himself from death is from Himself. This aspect of Christ that had the power to raise the body/temple is the divine nature which means that there resided in the physical persona of Christ a divine nature. Sometimes we read that God raised Christ from the dead. This is true because Christ didn’t act alone and that by mentioning God often He teaches us to rely always on God.

John 2:24-25 – “He knew of men, He knew what was in men.” This is omniscience which God alone can possess. The persona of Christ while on earth was referred to in this passage which means that there was an omniscient divine nature residing in Jesus at that time referred to in our verse.

John 3:13 – Christ was the one talking while alive on earth and the verb “has ascended” happened before the act of coming down from heaven. There was an aspect of the talking Christ that has ascended to heaven before there was a descending and that aspect is a divine nature because there was no human nature in Christ before he descended to become flesh. This means that there was a divine nature talking in the persona of Christ when he made this declaration.

John 3:17 plus other verses on “sending of the Son” – The act of sending by the Father in this verse happened before Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary; that One sent was existing as a persona when the act of sending was done. Also notice the prepositional phrase “into the world” which pictures someone from outside entering into this world. This someone entering into this world could not be the humanity of Jesus because his humanity originated from the Virgin Mary who was in this world. That someone who entered into this world fused with the humanity conceived by Virgin Mary is the divine nature. If there was no divine nature that entered, there was no one sent and no one entered into the world during Christ life time.

John 3:19 – “The light has come into the world.” Again this prepositional phrase “come into the world” presupposes existence prior to entering the world. That which came and entered into the world is the non-human nature aspect of Christ. If this divine nature didn’t  fuse with the human nature, then the light did not come into this world.

John 3:31 – “He who comes from above is above all” refers to Christ’s divine nature. His humanity did not come from above, not from heaven. This divine nature became part of the persona of Christ. If that divine nature didn’t become part of Christ’s persona on earth, then this verse would be false. The divine nature of Christ could not be separated from His divinity or Godhood.

John 5:19 – “What He sees the Father doing” Christ says that the Son also does.  It would be unthinkable to claim that the human Christ has seen the Father in heaven. It is more logical to assign this to the divine aspect of Christ.

John 5:21 – “The Father shows all things He does to the Son”  can only be assigned to the divine nature of Christ who is co-existent with the Father. It is too limited a view to assign this “seeing” within the period from 1 AD to 33 AD because God has been doing many things thousands of years before 1 A.D.   Which means that Christ as a spirit persona has seen the Father doing things before 1 A.D.

John 5:23 – The Son being honored as the Father must refer to the divine aspect of Christ. During the earthly sojourn of Jesus he was worshipped by those who recognized his divinity. Heb1:6 says, “But when He again brings the Firstborn into the world, He says, ’Let all the angels of God worship Him.’” If Christ was 100% human only and no divine nature resided in his person from 1 AD to 33 AD, then these two verses are false. Only divinity should be worshipped.

John 5:24-30 – The Christ who spoke in these verses was the Christ from heaven who was sent down. This should refer to Christ’s divine nature and not to his human nature. Also unoriginated life is of the Father and is the same in the Son (v.26). Possession of this unoriginated life could not refer to Christ’s humanity because his human nature started upon conception in the Virgin Mary’s womb.

John 5:37; 6:46 & John 1:18 – When properly stringed together these verses should refer to the divine nature of Christ. If the speaker in this verses refers to the human Christ who has lived from 1 AD to 33 AD then personally seeing and personally hearing God the Father is not possible. Especially when we  consider John 5:37 which says that no man, no human has ever seen God at anytime. But our passage says that Christ has seen the Father.

John 6:32-35, 38, 41, 42, 50-51 – “The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” And the speaker says, “I.” The one that came down from heaven was the divine nature of Christ. Then there is the “flesh and blood” which suggest the humanity of Christ. We find therefore two natures resident in Christ while he was alive in the flesh.

John 6:46 & John 1:18 – Only the Son has really seen the Father. This must refer to the divine nature of Christ and not to his humanity. So there was a divine nature resident in the speaking Christ in these passages.

John 6:62 – “What then if you should see the Son ascend where He was before.” Christ was speaking in this passage while he was alive in the flesh. This unmistakably refers to his divine nature. The human nature of Christ could not be said to ascend to heaven where he was before.

John 7:28-29 – “But I know Him and I am from Him and He sent me.” This knowing and proceeding from the Father and being sent by the Father can only be assigned to the divine nature of Christ. Which means that at the time Jesus was speaking, there was a divine nature in His persona?

John 7:33; John 8:14-16; John 8:19-29 – The aspect of Christ speaking in this passage was Christ’s divine nature because of the phrases “going to Him who sent,” and that “He is from above”

John 8:40-42; John 16:27 – “I proceeded forth and came from God” and “I came forth from God” are expressions which support the eternal procession of the Son from the Father. Clearly these two verses point to the divine nature of Christ and not the human nature of Jesus. Christ’s human nature originated from the Virgin Mary. These verses teach us that when Christ was speaking, he referred to his divine nature as present in the speaking persona.

John 8:48-59 – Christ the speaker claims knowing the Father, the speaker claims that before Abraham was born, He existed. Both these claims can only be said of the divine nature of Christ which was resident in the speaker.

John 10:15 – “As the Father knows me, even so I know the Father.” If one recognizes only the human nature of Christ in the speaker, this passage would be very presumptuous. The omniscient knowledge of the Father about the Son is the same omniscient knowledge of the Son about the Father. This claim is only possible with the divine nature of Christ which was resident in the speaker who was talking with the Jews. The Jews recognized his manhood only (v.33) so those who take the same position today as the Jews were yesterday are in a similar jeopardy.

John 12:41 – This verse is very revealing to the observant. Prophet Isaiah saw Christ in his vision which is recorded in Isaiah 6. The “Lord” in Isaiah 6:1 and John 12:38 is Christ in His pre-incarnate era. The glory which Isaiah saw was the glory of Christ sitting on a throne. This is the glory that Christ refers to in John 17:5. Additionally observe the pronouns “His” and “Him” in v. 41 which both refer to Christ. This Christ that Isaiah saw in his vision 800 years before Christ was born in the flesh is the speaking Christ that is referred to in John 12:27-41.

John 13:3 – The Jesus who had come from God (read also John 8:42 & 16:28) and who was going to God was the divine nature of Jesus. A mere human Christ could not rightly say he “had come from God.”

John 14:10-11 – “The Father dwells in me,” says Christ. This agrees with Col. 1:19 and Col. 2:9. The “me” in v. 10 should be the human Jesus but at the same time there’s divine nature in his person.

John 16:5, 10, 17, 32 – Christ the speaker says he goes back to the Father who sent Him, but all the while that Jesus was on earth in the flesh, he says that the Father was with Him and in Him. There is both humanity and divinity in the speaker.

John 17:5 – Christ speaks here while alive in his human body. He refers to his existence before Genesis 1:1. Christ refers to Himself as the Lord seen with glory in Isaiah 61:41. Ang Cristong nagsasalita dito ay hindi taong Cristo. Ang Cristong nagsasalita dito ay yaong nanggaling sa trono at siya ay may kaluwalhatian na bago pa malalang ang mundo. This speaker is the divine nature of Christ not the human nature because there was no human Christ with glorious existence before the creation in Genesis 1:1.


The above analysis of a few passages in John reveals that the Christ within the period covered from 1 AD to 33 AD had divine nature. But the display of divine nature’s glory, authority, power, majesty was suppressed because of the supreme mission to love, to be kindhearted, to forgive 7 x 70, to be long suffering towards mankind.  God had to show how God condescended and how a lowly human could love, obey and fear God. He could have called ten thousand angels to vanquish the motley of arresting temple guards and that Roman contingent but He held back the exercise of divine power.  By comparison when the city of Jerusalem was threatened with destruction in 680 B.C. by Sennacherib’s  great army, God’s power was invoked, (Read the drama in 2 Kings 18 & 19) and at the silence of night 185,000 soldiers lay dead through the power of the Angel of the Lord. Read 2 Kings 19:35-37. Christ says that he could easily call for more than 12 legions of angels (a legion is about 6,000 soldiers, Matt 26:53) when he was arrested at Gethsemane but he deferred that and accepted the humiliation. Christ’s divine power could have pulverized the Roman garrison in Jerusalem and put to flight all the High Priest’s guards but that would have not accomplished the salvation of mankind. Christ was aware that  the role of “he made Himself of no reputation-” had to be played in this great drama of salvation. What was needed to satisfy divine justice, to redeem mankind was the blood and the life of a Second Adam to propitiate all the sins of Adam and his billions of children. Not the glory, not the authority and not the majesty of a King could satisfy divine justice.

The King James Version and the New King James Version render the Greek phrase eauton ekenosen  as “made himself of no reputation.”  This translation easily makes us believe that it was reputation, dignity, power, authority that were temporarily not exercised. Reputation, not the essence of divinity was laid aside. It would be enlightening to know if the members of the American Revision Team that put out the 1901 American Standard Version and rendered eauton ekenosen as “emptied himself” believe that Christ laid aside his diety and was not divine from 1 AD birth in Bethlehem to his 33 AD death at Jerusalem. If there’s no research to show that any member of that team American team believed in the non-divine persona of Christ during that interregnum, then “emptied”  should not mean  laying aside deity.

I have a strong feeling that the Angel of the Lord who silently annihilated 185,000 of Sennacherib’s army at dead of night was the pre-incarnate Christ. I will come out with an article supporting this belief.

Observations and comments are welcomed. #

A Helpful Illustration & Explanation Of Our Belief In The Trinity

I’ve formulated an eight step illustration-explanation on our belief in the holy Trinity. One of the steps is to tell students that we have to think of the material world in three levels of material existence which are (a) Solid,(b) Liquid, and (c) Gas.

Ordinary minds tend to dwell in the level of solid matter, in the level of the concrete. Ordinary minds have difficulty shifting into the abstract and the spiritual. One stone plus one stone is always two stones. But if you take three glasses filled with water then pour these three glasses of water into a big pitcher, the three glasses of water become one water. In the level of gas, we can use this illustration in the following steps: (a) Have 3 match sticks and light one so there is one flame, (b)Light the second stick so you now have two flames, (c) Light the third stick and now you have three flames, (d) Now bring all the lighted match stick heads together and presto you got one flame.

The pure spirit level is the level of God’s natural existence. In that pure spirit level, we think of God as omnipresent and all-powerful. Being in the spirit level, any place where the Father is present the Son is also present. The place where the Christ is, the Holy Spirit is also present.  So in their omnipresence, their presence in all spaces, all three are one. They are one because there is no place where the first person is found where the second and third person are not found.  So in mathematics this we call congruence. Three congruent circles are seen as one by the naked eye. One is super-imposed on another. And since God is almighty and is all powerful and He can do miraculous acts, the first person is as powerful as the first and the second person is as powerful  as the third person, there is complete congruence in power. The same could be said of omniscience. #–E.Tanicala

The Mystery Of Our Religion

”And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among nations, believed on the in the world, received in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

Instead of “godliness” one translator renders it “religion.” This means that there are aspects of our religion, aspects of God that are mysterious. Not easily understood and could be misinterpreted. Recognition of this mystery should forewarn us that God should not be limited to the boundary of the human mind. God should not be put inside the boundary of mathematics. One of these difficult aspects in Christianity is the persona and nature or essence of Christ.

Among us in the Churches of Christ, we believe that Christ is deity, is divine, is true God. God of very God from eternity past and will always be true God unto eternity in the future. We also believe that Christ is the second person in the Holy Trinity. He is one spirit persona. But he is prophesied as the seed of the woman who will neutralize the works of the Devil and as a branch of David and so He needs to become human. In His humanity, He is a complete human being. Man of very man. One complete human person with a body of human flesh, a spirit and soul.

Into that one human body of flesh, spirit and soul of Jesus Christ dwell the one divine spirit person of Christ. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Him wells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Our orthodox view says “Christ is one person.” Christ is man of very man, one complete person. In addition, Christ is God of very God, one complete person in the Holy Trinity. When the Christ man and the Christ God fused together through the power of the Almighty God the Lord Jesus Christ became one person. Not two persons. Is this not a mystery?

Some Bible students want to explain this mystery by multiplying 1 times 1 equals 1 or (1 x 1= 1). Or by having 1 divided by 1 equals 1 or (1/1 = 1). This is an arbitrary mathematical operation. It is based on ignorance. Mathematics is logic. I would like to come face to face with a Christian professor of mathematics who believes that this mathematical operation is a reasonable explanation of a theological problem. Those who don’t even have a math major in college are not credible people to mouth things they have no knowledge of unless they produce authoritative documents to back up their theories.

To test the theory of some misinformed brethren, we reflect on and test their ideas. One who plants and one who waters are one says the book of
Corinthians. Apollos who planted and Paul who watered are one. See 1 Cor. 3:8.  When we multiply the numerical person of Apollos by the numerical person of Paul, do the two persons actually become one person? No. When we multiply the numerical person of the Father by the numerical person of the Son, do the two persons become one person? No. In view of these questions and illustrations, I appeal to my brethren to stop mouthing ignorant explanations about the mystery of our religion.

The rule in mathematics says that the nature of the multiplicand or the dividend should the nature of the result or the quotient. In the Holy Trinity we talk about three persons not three Gods. So when one talks about multiplying 1 person (the Father) times 1 person (the Son), he should remember that the nature of the multiplicand is “person” and if you put “God” as your result, your operation is wrong. Also we should remember that mathematical operations of division and multiplication talks about counting numbers of individual entities. When we see this 9 x 9, the first number is called the “multiplicand” and when this multiplicand is identified with specific items like mango, cow or persons the answer should be the characteristic of the multiplicand.

When some brethren want to display their bluff to explain the mysterious unity of the Trinity they parrot this mathematical formula: “1 x 1 x 1 = 1.” But we should clarify with this question: “Because we are talking about the Holy Trinity, what is the characteristic of that numerical 1, is it person or God?” It could not be 1God x 1God x 1 God = 1 God because would be a tritheistic sentence. What we really talk about is “person.” There are three persons, which is why there are three number ones in the equation. We are talking about persons. So the operation 1person x 1 person x 1person = 1 God is wrong.  Do you now see the ignorance of those who mouth the 1 x 1 x 1=1 mathematical sentence? It is simply ignorance. So please stop displaying ignorance.

-Eusebio Tanicala (6.15.10)

The Preposition Eis In Acts 2:38

Ulit-ulitin ko itong argumento sa Acts 2:38 upang maramdaman natin ang logic ng ating pinaninindigan. Sa atin sa Church of Christ, ang Acts 2:38 at ang Mark 16:16 ay magkatuwang ukol sa pagpapatunay ng kahalagahan ng bilin ni Cristo na dapat mabautismuhan ang alagad na nananalig sa Dios tungo sa ikapagpapatawad ng mga kasalanan. Kailangang igiit natin na ang pagbabautismo ay bilin ni Cristo at may kaugnayan sa kapatawaran ng kasalanan. Kagaya ng pagsisisi ay may kaugnayan sa kapatawaran. Ang hindi magsisi ay walang kapatawaran.

Ang nakasulat ay ganito: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (NKJV)

Sabi ng mga kaibigang Baptist, ang preposition na eis sa Acts 2:38 ay dapat daw “because.” Hindi lang “because” kundi “because your sins have already been forgiven.” Gusto ng mga Baptist (sa Tagalog, Manlulubog, sa Iloco, Agipabatok) ang dapat na translation daw ay ganito: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus  Christ because of the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Ang dami naman ipinapasok nila sa versikulo.

Yes, the Greek preposition eis could be rendered “because” but first notice that the scholars who participated in the translation of the King James Version, New King James Version, American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New Living Translation, opted to render the Greek preposition eis into English preposition “for.” At hindi dinagdagan ng interpretation na mauna ang kapatawaran kaysa paglulubog. The preposition “for” is easier to understand as having a “forward motion or forward effect or a future result” compared to using the preposition “because.” However, the preposition “because” can still have a “forward motion or forward effect or future result.” But in the case of Acts 2:38, using “because” as a translation of eis would invert events which even the Baptist could not accept. It would mean that repentance is done after forgiveness of sins.  Baptist don’t teach that remission of sins comes first  before repentance.

This is our illustration sentence: “You must be confined in the hospital for the removal of your cancerous cyst.”  Or we could say: “You must be hospitalized because of your sickness.” The preposition “because” in the above sentence illustration does not necessarily mean backward ang efekto. Hospitalization solves the sickness. The effect of the verb can still be forward. So we must insist that even if the preposition eis is translated “because” the effect in relation with remission of sins is forward. Isagawa ang tagubilin o pangangailangang paglulubog upang makamtang ang kapatawaran. Isagawa rin ang tagubilin na pangangailangang pagpunta sa ospital upang makamtan ang kalusugan. Hindi puwedeng pupunta sa ospital ang may sakit na tao sapagkat gumaling na siya. Baligtad na ang mundo kung ang isang taong may sakit ay papasok sa ospital at sasabihin sa mga doctor: “Dok, magpa- confine ako sapagkat naalis na ang sakit ko.”

Notice very closely that the verb “repent” is grammatically situated as the verb “be baptized” in relation to the effect of “remission of sins.” Kung forward and efekto ng  verb na repent, forward din an efekto ng verb na “be baptized.” If the verb “be baptized” ay isagawa sapagkat tapos na ang remission of sins, then it follows a the verb “repent” ay isagawa rin sapagkat tapos na ang remission of sins. Pero ang paniniwala ng mga kaibigang Baptist ay ang repentance is a prerequisite to the remission of sins, then ti should follow that be baptized should be a pre-requisite to the remission of sins.

If anyone has any comment or objection, please feel free to email me –


Does Christ’s Baptism By John Prove That The Great Commission Baptism Is Not For The Remission Of Sins?

John the Baptist’s baptism was given by the authority of heaven on or earlier than 30 A.D. while the Great Commission baptism was given by Christ to the apostles near the Sea of Galilee sometime in April or May 33 A.D. after our Lord Jesus resurrected from the dead.  The two baptisms are two different ministries and belong to different dispensations.

However, some Bible students use the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist to argue that the Great Commission water baptism in the 21st century is not related to salvation or is not essential to the remission of sins.  The argument is that Christ was baptized by John but the baptism did not remove or wash away any sins of Jesus.   This kind of argument is wrong because the two baptisms belong to different dispensations. It’s like arguing a legal point in the year 2010 in the Philippines by citing the 1935 Constitution.  If a court of justice needs to establish a legal point today it should be based on the 1987 Constitution not on the 1935 Constitution.

Granting but not admitting that John’s baptism of Christ is the basis of arguments then let us enumerate the items attendant to the situation of Christ.  If you believe that the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist is not for the forgiveness of sins and you appeal to the situation of Christ, a person today should be similarly situated as that of Christ. We ask the following:

  1. Christ was the only begotten Son of God, are you also the only begotten Son of God?
  2. Christ was born of a virgin, are you also born of a virgin?
  3. Christ was sinless so his baptism was not for the forgiveness of sins, are you also sinless?
  4. Christ didn’t repent of any sins; do you also claim that you need not repent of any sins?
  5. Christ was baptized to fulfill all righteousness; do you need to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness?
  6. Christ insisted to be baptized; do you also insist that you be baptized to fulfill all righteousness?
  7. Christ didn’t teach he was already forgiven of sins so he needed to be baptized to confess his faith, why do you teach that you are forgiven of sins therefore you need to be baptized to confess your sins?
  8. Are you aware that the baptism of John was to prepare the way of the Lord and create awareness that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand? Is your baptism today to prepare the way of the Lord and create awareness that the kingdom of Heaven is at hand?
  9. Christ was not baptized in order to be identified with a Baptist local church, you should not be baptized to become a  member of a Baptist local church.
  10. Christ was baptized so that John would be able to identify Jesus as the promised Messiah. Does the one who baptize you immerse you so he could identify you as the Messiah?

The above questions and declarations, if answered sincerely, make us feel that it is incorrect to cite the case of our Lord Jesus as precedence in the Christian dispensation. Apostle Paul proved that John’s baptism was no longer valid as early as year 56 A.D. as can be understood from Acts 19:1-7. The Ephesian disciples were baptized with the baptism of John which was invalid after the death of Christ. Because John’s baptism was no longer effective, Apostle Paul re-immersed these disciples in Acts 19 the name of Jesus. So what is not a valid baptism today should not be cited to support one’s contention. John’s baptism should not be cited as a basis to negate the Great Commission baptism commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ.

But as far as the ordinary Jews were concerned in the days of John the Baptist, their immersion in water or baptism was for the remission of sins. This is clear in the reading:  “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mark 1:4 NKJV)  It should be the situation of the ordinary Jews which is cited and applicable to us as far as the relationship of baptism and forgiveness is concerned. It was for the forgiveness of sins. Incidentally, do our Baptist friends accuse John the Baptist of teaching “Baptismal Regeneration”?

Incidentally, these Bible students who deny the relationship of water baptism and remission of sins, point to the thief on the cross who they say was not baptized yet he was promised paradise. So they imply that since the thief was not baptized, baptism is not essential. But during the personal ministry of John the Baptist you’ll notice the widespread effect of John’s preaching. “And all the land of Judea and those from Jerusalem went out to him and were all baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:5)  Note that the multitude of ordinary people (Luke 3:7-11) were baptized, the tax collectors were baptized (Luke 3:12), the soldiers were likewise baptized (3:14). A very strong likelihood is that previous to his crucifixion, the thief was baptized by John so repentance and prayer would be the ones needed and not baptism. See Acts 8:14-25. This is the case of disciple who was previously baptized and when he committed the sin of greed, he was required to repent and pray for forgiveness of sins.

If the thief on the cross is the precedence today to get a promise of paradise, then there’s no need to go into all the world to preach the gospel, just hang yourself on a cross today; no need to teach others all the commandments of Christ, just keep hanging on a cross you plant on your yard is all you do; no need to go to your church assembly, just hang yourself on your cross on Sunday; no need to contribute your means, just hang yourself on your front yard cross; no need to sing your praises to God, just hang yourself on your cross; no need to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, just hang yourself on your wooden cross in imitation of the thief. It is the height of illogical folly to cite one negative characteristic “not baptized” to establish your privilege to get into paradise.  ( Eusebio Tanicala)