Tag Archives: Christianity


Jesus Christ declares in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” This was declared by our Lord about the year 33 of the Christian Era. Christians believe this as truth from the true God.

On the other hand Muhammad says, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” This claim and declaration was made by Muhammad in Arabia about six hundred (600) years after Christ’s resurrection and ascension to heaven.

Personally, I see a parallel in the two statements. Firstly, there is a recognition of a true deity and secondly there is the sent one or prophet of the true deity.

The question we want to settle in this article is this: Who between the two (Jesus Christ or Muhammad) makes the RIGHT claim based on the statements found in the Torah and the Gospel? Among our Muslim friends the Torah is called Taurat. Among users of the Greek translation of the Old Testament, these five books of Moses (Genesis to Deuteronomy) is called The Pentateuch. These five books of Moses are recognized by Christians and Muslims alike as authoritative document. Christians and Muslims both recognize the greatness of Abraham and the promises given him by Yahweh.

Let us notice the promises given by Yahweh God in the Book of Genesis. Says Genesis 12:1-3, “. . . I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing . . . and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Abram, when he was 86 years old, got a son through Hagar who was named Ishmael. He thought that Ishmael is the heir that will continue his lineage to produce innumerable descendants, nations, and kings that will bless all families and nations of the earth. “Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” (Gen. 17:18). Read the whole chapter 17 for a complete account. An immediate objection was uttered by God, “Then God said, ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.”  This promise was given even before Isaac was born.

This promise is repeated to Isaac in Genesis 26:1-5, “ . . . And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. Then the LORD appeared to him and said: ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you … I will be with you and bless you; . . . I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father…”  This promise is repeated to Jacob in Genesis 46:1-5, “ . . . Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob . . . So He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.”

Jacob begat 12 sons and one daughter. Jacob’s descendants continue the story of Genesis. The descendants of Jacob become the nation of Israel in Egypt, made the exodus out of Egypt into the wilderness and possessed the land of Canaan. The descendants of Isaac and Jacob received the Ten Commandments and the Law of God at Mt. Sinai. This nation of Israel produced Moses, the Judges, King Saul, King David, King Solomon and others. The story of the Bible contains the history of Israel until the book of Malachi.

The Book of the Gospels is called by our Muslim friends as Injeel. These gospel records are recognized by Muslims as authoritative. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke trace the genealogy of Jesus Christ back to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. This Jesus Christ produced a body of teachings which are elaborated in the Book of Acts and Epistles. Christ produced a Covenant which is accepted by Christians. Jesus of Nazareth is recognized as the Messiah by our Muslim friends. Jesus died at the cross for the redemption of humanity. His death is the anti type or reality of the animal sacrifices in the Torah.

Ishmael was promised these: “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Gen. 17:20)  And then we have this: “Now this is the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham. And these were the names of the sons . . . Nebajoth; then Kedar,  Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah … the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.”  (Gen. 25:12-17) God didn’t promise anything that will bless all nations to Ishmael as He did to Isaac. God’s promise and oath gifted upon Isaac is called an “everlasting covenant” in Genesis 17:19.

So it is clear that the thread of salvation history is through Isaac and not through Ishmael. Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15  and the seed of Abraham that blesses all the families of the nations. This view is confirmed by Matthew’s genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17. And confirmed by Isaiah in 7:14 and 9:6. And further confirmed by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians in 4:1-7. When you study with a Muslim friend, show him this Taurat-Injeel genealogy. I hope this will be of help. ### EUSEBIO TANICALA



Where is the thread of blessings to mankind from Yahweh Elohim? Is it through the Abraham >>>>> Ishmael lineage or is it through the Abraham >>>>> Isaac genealogy? On one hand, Islam says it is through the Abraham >>>>>Ishmael family tree; on the other hand Jews and Christians believe it is through the Abraham >>>>>Isaac descent.

Let us see the Taurat (Torah, Pentateuch) record. When we talk with Muslim friends, this should be brought out because it is the very root of our religious history. Jews, Christians and Muslims all glorify the faith of father Abram/Abraham. Jews, Christians and Muslims all recognize the authority of the Taurat (Torah, Pentateuch). Therefore, what we quote from Genesis should be accepted by these three streams of faith. What does the inspired record say? Let us start.

The very day Eve committed the first sin on this planet God made a promise regarding the advent of the Messiah, the Christ, who will conquer the Serpent. Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” This is the very first mention of the Gospel. This is the epic struggle between good and evil until the end of the ages.

When mankind became the more wicked because of Satan’s continued deceptions, Yahweh found a man of faith. God called him out from his community to settle in a land God has chosen: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3) This promise is reinforced in Genesis 15:3,4,18.

At age 86, Abram got a son through Hagar. Genesis 16:15-16 says, “So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eigthy-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.” God again visited Abram when he was 99 years old and Sarai was 90 years old. God reiterated the promises. There were changes of names during this visit: Abram became Abraham and Sarai became Sarah. God said, “And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her , and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her. Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” (Gen. 17:16-17. Abraham doubted and thought that this son, Ishmael would be the heir to his earthly possessions and God’s promises so Abraham said to God: “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” (Gen. 17:18). God promptly cut Abraham short and declared, “No. Sarah your wife shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Gen. 17:19-20).

Note that the promised son, Isaac, was named and the promises of other blessings are to pass through him long before he was born. In Genesis 18:1, Yahweh visited Abraham again and reiterated the promise of a son and that after about a year, Sarah would give birth to a son. Sarah laughed because she was about 99 years old. But lo and behold Sarah conceived! Her womb expanded and she gave birth to a son. Sarah laughed at herself. She felt that everyone who would hear about her giving birth to a child would laugh. Nevertheless she gave birth.

Sarah knew that her son is going to be the sole heir to Abraham’s earthly riches and the promises of God. She asked that Abraham sends away Hagar and her son. Abraham was displeased, but God said to Abraham: “Do not let it be displeasing to your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman because he is your seed.” (Genesis 21:12-13)

The above considered, it becomes clear that God’s promises is through the Abraham>>>>> Isaac lineage and not through the Abraham>>>>>Ishmael genealogy. Christ Jesus descends from the Abraham>>>>>Isaac line whereas Muhammad descends from the Abraham>>>>>Ishmael line. Therefore, the claims of Jesus Christ should be more believable than the claims of Muhammad about true religion that brings peace and goodwill to mankind.

(Note: A sequel to this lineage is forthcoming. –EUSEBIO TANICALA) ###

Who went preaching and when and where did he preach?


(Article #2)

In this article, we shall ask questions about the following items: (a) Who went preaching? (b) When did he go preaching? (c) Where did he go preaching? (d) In what state of being did Christ go preaching? and (e)What is the meaning of the term “preach”?

A. Different Translations

1. King James Version, “19-By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20a- Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of  Noah, while the ark was a preparing, …”

2. New King James Version, “19-by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20a- who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared…”

3. American Standard Version, “19-in which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, 20a– that aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing,…”

4. Revised Standard Version, “19-in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20a-who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark,…”

5. New Living Translation, “19-So he went and preached to the spirits in prison – 20a-those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat.”

6. Harold Littrell (1994), “19-In which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20a-Who once were disobedient when the longsuffering of God waited in the days when Noah was preparing the ark,…”

7. Mabuting Balita Biblia (1980), “19-Sa kalagayang ito, pinuntahan niya at inaralan ang mga espiritung nakabilanggo. 20a-Iyan ang mga espiritung ayaw sumunod nang sila’y matiyagang hinihintay ng Diyos noong panahon ni Noe, samantalang ginagawa nito ang daong.”

8. Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia (1996), “19-ket iti daytoy a kasasaadna napan nangasaba kadagiti naibalud nga espiritu. 20a-Dagitoy ti espiritu dagiti saan a nagtulnog idi tiempo ni Noe idinto a siaanus ti Dios a nangur-uray kadakuada bayat ti pannakaaramid ti daong.

B. Who Went Preaching?

It is important that we determine who went to preach. Is it the Holy Spirit in person or Christ in person? The KJV and NKJV employ the preposition “by” which some would like to connect with the capitalized Spirit (the Holy Spirit) so the conclusion is that the Holy Spirit went to preach. But is there any reason that it should be the Holy Spirit and not Christ?

But if the preposition employed is “in” so that the prepositional phrase is “made alive in the spirit” then it becomes clear that the subject is the one who died in the flesh and was made alive in the spirit and that refers to our Lord Jesus. And notice that in v. 19 it is clear that in that state of being in the spirit the subject person went to preach. This undoubtedly refers to the Lord Jesus and not the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit was never made alive in the spirit.

C. When Did He Go Preaching?

It is also important that we determine the time frame of the preaching activity. Was it in ancient time during the 120 years period when the giant ark was being constructed by Noah and his sons or was it between the time that Christ was buried and the time of his resurrection (6pm of Friday and 6am of Sunday, Roman time)? Please note the state of being and the time frame from verse 18 to verse 19. In relation to the time of preaching, please note the expressions in v.20:  “sometime were disobedient” “formerly were disobedient” “aforetime were disobedient” “formerly did not obey””disobeyed God long ago” “once were disobedient” “sa kalagayang ito” “iti dayta a kasasaadna” should give you the time frame.

D. Where Did He Go Preaching?

Determine also the place of preaching: was it in the plains of Mesopotamia in the general area of Iran and Iraq today or was it in Hades, the abode of the disembodied spirits? If you notice the flow of the events you can determine the place of preaching. Note there is the state of being in the flesh, in that state of flesh he was put to death, but he was made alive in the spirit, in that state of being as alive in the spirit, he went to preach to those in prison. Those in prison are described as “formerly” “aforetime” “once were disobedient”. Is it correct grammar to use the terms formerly, aforetime, once were disobedient with its past tense if the preaching was in the time frame of Noah’s days? If the preaching was in the place of the ark construction in the days of Noah should not the description of the spirits in prison be in the present tense and not past tense? On the other hand, if the preaching was done by Christ in Hades while he was in Hades for a few days, is the description that the spirits in prison are “formerly disobedient” “once were disobedient”  “aforetime disobedient” correct?

E. In What State of Being Did He Go Preaching?

The Tagalog Bible is clear in saying, “Sa kalagayang ito” pointing to the “made alive in the spirit state of being,” he went to preach. That is also true in the Iloco, “iti dayta a kasasaadna” of being made alive in the spirit he went to preach. Is it right to use the expression “being made alive in the spirit” to refer to Christ’s state of being when Noah was building the ark? Was Christ made alive in the spirit in the days of Noah? I don’t think so. At the time of Noah, Christ was existing in the state of being as pure spirit. The RSV, ASV, NLT, Littrell’s, Tagalog, Iloco clearly refer to the state of being of Christ after Christ was “made alive in the spirit.” Not before he was made alive in the spirit.

F. Meaning of the verb “to preach”

We should also determine the meaning of “keruz” the herald, proclaimer, announcer, preacher. Also the verb “kerusso” which means to cry out, to proclaim, to announce, to preach. Does “preach” always mean orally proclaiming the gospel of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection with a view to persuasion and expectation of conversion? Does it get also the general meaning of simply making a proclamation since there is an absence of a direct object or what kind of message was given in 1 Peter 3:18-20? Could it mean a visual parade of a victorious king or military general concretely displaying his triumph now viewed by the innumerable host on the gallery or highway side? Just like victorious King Saul parading King Agag and the fatted animals?

What we find in our passage is poreutheis ekeruzen ( literally it reads, “having gone he preached”). The simple verb is kerusso which means “to preach.” Note that there is no direct object or there is no description of the kind of message delivered in 1 Peter 3:18-20. Kerusso does not always mean to evangelize with a purpose to convert. An announcement of the birth of a royal child was a good spell or a good news. The announcer of a decree to worship in Daniel 3:4 is called a keruz. Also in Daniel 5:29 we read, “and made a proclamation concerning him.” Daniel being made third ruler of the Kingdom is referred to with the term keraz but the message in Daniel is not the gospel of Christ or something with a view to conversion. King Solomon is also a preacher (Eccle. 1:1 & 12) but he didn’t preacher the gospel of Christ.

F. Suggestion

After having answered the suggested questions posed in series 1 and 2, you should now be able to make a good conclusion on 1 Peter 18-20. The questions are:

  1. What is the translation of pneumati? Is it Spirit or spirit?
  2. What is the translation of the phrase de tu pneumati or de pneumati? Is it by the Spirit, in the Spirit, or in the spirit?
  3. Who went to preach? Was it Christ in person or Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit in person?
  4. When was the preaching done? Was it during the days of Noah or between Christ’s burial and before resurrection in 33 A.D. or between Christ’s burial and before ascension?
  5. Where was the preaching done? Was it in the plains of Mesopotamia in the general area of Iran and Iraq? Or in Hades, the abode of the disembodied spirits?
  6. What is the meaning of the verb kerusso “to preach” and keruz “the herald, announcer, proclaimer, preacher”? Is it to teach the death, burial and resurrection of Christ with a view to persuasion and conversion? Or does the preaching refer to Christ’s declaration of triumph among those doubting spirits, and could it be that the most stubborn doubters were those of Noah’s time? Since Christ went to Hades according to Acts 2:27, was it not automatic that Christ was seen in a triumphant parade like what happened with Christ on the Palm Sunday in Jerusalem when he was hailed as “King of the Jews”? Could it be that Patriarch Noah organized and served as marshal of the victory parade along the main avenue of Paradise? And the parade was viewed by the telescopic eyes of those in the place of the tortured Rich Man who saw Poor Lazarus in the company of Abraham in Luke 16?  If Abraham made a discourse in Luke 16 addressed to the Rich Man, is it not possible that Christ personally made a discourse addressed especially to the formerly stubbornly disobedient people of Noah’s generation who insulted the old man Noah even considering him crazy?
  7. Was there an expectation of giving a second chance to the audience for conversion in the meaning of “preach” in our current study passage?
  8. Was there actual conversion to Christ in this preaching of 1 Peter 3:18-20?

I am hopeful that our analysis has contributed to a deeper understanding of the passage. If the questions I have framed for our guidelines are faulty and flawed, please tell me.

Comments and observations are most welcomed. Well researched and well documented articles are appreciated. © Eusebio Tanicala (8.11.10)


August 11

This big question below keeps on popping in many places I visit. We have to give attention to this so that our brethren would enjoy reading this section of Apostle Peter’s epistle.


(Article #1)

This question is based on the context of 1 Peter 3:18-20. In an earlier article I suggested that there are questions to settle first before the issues about when and where and who went to preach to the spirits in prison should be discussed.  The following are the steps to be clarified:

A. The Greek Text

Please notice that there are two readings in the Greek and therefore there are various translations that we find in the English language. This should be discussed because if one argues based on one Greek reading  which is rendered in English a certain way, and another sees it but his English version is another based on the second Greek reading, then the two don’t join the issues.

1.1Peter 3:18b reads, “thanatotheis men sarki, zoopoietheis de tu pneumati” (Textus Receptus, Greek to English Interlinear with a Greek-English Lexicon by Rick Berry, 1981, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan)

1Peter 3:18b, “having been put to death in flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (Revised Version)

2.1Peter 3:18b, “thanatotheis men sarki, zoopoietheis de pneumati (The Greek New Testament Edited by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, and Allen Wikgren. 3rd Edition, United Bible Societies, 1983, Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart) This is called the Nestle-United Bible Societies (NU) in the preface and footnotes of the New King James Version.

3. My Observation: At the end of the above section, Textus Receptus reads “de tu pneumati” while the NU reads “de pneumati.” This might give various reasons why there are different ideas on how the pneumati is translated. Some translate it as Spirit with capital S or spirit with small s; or pneumati may refer to the spirit of Christ or the spirit nature of the incorruptible Christ. Observe also the preposition: KJV and NKJV have “by the Spirit” while RSV and ASV have “in the spirit” but NLT has “in the Spirit.” Sa Tagalog ginamit ang katagang “ayon sa Espiritu” but the Iloco Bible has “iti espiritu.” There is variance. Tagalogs think of the Holy Spirit working while Ilocanos think of the spirit of Christ or alive in the spiritual state.

4.  Note: If anyone would like to comment, please tell me if you are using the Textus Receptus or the Nestle-United Bible Societies Text and please tell me the reason why you prefer which one. Please document your reason. Cite authorities to back up your opinion.

B. Various Translations of 1 Peter 3:18b

1. King James Version – “… being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”

2. New King James Version – “… being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”

3. Revised Standard Version – “…being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;”

4. American Standard Version – “…being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”

5. New Living Translation – “…He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.”*

6. English Study Bible (New Testament by Harold Littrell, 1994) – “…being put to death in the flesh but made alive in spirit;”

7. Mabuting Balita Biblia (1980) – “…Siya’y namatay ayon sa laman, at muling binuhay ayon sa Espiritu.”

8. Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia (1996) – “…napapatay iti bagi ngem napagungar iti espiritu.”

C. Questions on the Variance of Translation

1. Why are translators divided on how to translate pneumati in this passage? There at least three ideas:

(a) On one side it is capital S so the idea is referring to the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead, as acting; (b) On the other side the idea has lower case s or spirit which seems to suggest that Christ was resurrected and now he exists in the spirit realm; and (c) A third party seems to say that Christ is completely governed or led by spiritual principles.

2. Which of the three above seems to you is the correct rendition in light of the context?

3. Please observe the balance of what was put to death and what was alive in the first part of  v.18 and ask: Does the KJV and NKJV maintain the obvious balance between the flesh and the spirit? Is the balance found if one side is “in the flesh” while the other side is “by the Spirit”?

As suggested, no answer should be forthcoming unless the above questions are answered. In the next article in this series we shall analyze verses 19-20 to determine the following: (a) Who went preaching? (b) When did he go preaching? (c) Where did he go preaching? (d) What is the meaning of the term “preach”? (e) Was there an expectation of conversion in this preaching? and (f) Were there actual conversions in this preaching? These things should be settled before any final answers or conclusion be made about this text.   © (Eusebio Tanicala 8.11.10)

Mysteries In Our Religion (Mga Hiwaga Sa Ating Pananampalataya)

There is a tendency for us to reject any idea unless our logic or common sense accepts as reasonable a certain proposition. But we should recognize that if an idea is expressed or declared in the Bible, it should be accepted by faith even if our mind could not reduce it into logic or could not grasp it. It is possible that our young mind could not comprehend it now but would comprehend it in later years. Or we could not grasp it in a lifetime but will understand it when we get to heaven. This is taught in 1 Cor 13:11-12.

Here are some mysteries or difficult doctrines (Mga mahiwagang doktrina):

1.God is – without beginning, without ending;  self existing.

The human brain is oriented to a beginning and ending. God has been existing in the past and that past extends backward without end. Our mind could not fathom an endless past although it is at ease thinking of an endless future.

2. Three persons in One God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Again the human brain is oriented to particulars and these particulars are solid or concrete. These particulars are thought of as distinct and separate and are not congruent. But the more matured mind that is able to consider particularities in the psycho-mental-emotional level might be able to appreciate harmony, unity, oneness, complete congruence in the spiritual level. In this spiritual level where only God exists with congruent omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience there’s no way except to say the three are one.

3. God became flesh and tabernacled with man – John 1:14; Isaiah 9:6.

This is a new event in history so it is difficult to grasp. But Yahweh the true God had appeared as man to Abraham and Sarah. God in the form of man ate with Abraham and Sarah and spent at least one night in Abraham’s  tent. Read Genesis 18 & 19. In the wilderness wandering which was led by Moses, Christ the spirit persona took the form of a rock and provided water to Israel 40 years. Read 1 Cor. 10:4; Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:10-11. If it is acceptable that Christ could take the form of a Rock for a period of 40 years, why is it incredible for the same Christ to take the form a man for 33 years? What is lower a human being or a rock?

4. Christ who is God became flesh is one person.

Again our human mathematics is at a loss here. Christ is one person in the God head.  He is one person in the Trinity. Christ during his tabernacling on earth was human. You bring together the two natures of deity and humanity that were in Christ and there you have one person, one Christ. Read 1 Tim. 3:16.

Some Bible students use the mathematical operations of multiplication or division to arrive at the number “ONE” but that is not an acceptable procedure. One person in the Godhead with a divine nature  took upon himself human nature: these are brought together and the unity is one person. That is our theology. That is the declaration we understand from the Bible. But it is difficult to explain and demonstrate with earthly illustrations. However, this could be explained when your mind is brought into the higher level of understanding.

Multiplication or division is not possible as an explanation because it would be “1 person with divine nature multiplied or divided by one person with human nature” is unacceptable because the rule says that the nature of the multiplicand or the nature of the dividend should be the nature of the answer.

One person divided by one God (1 person X 1 God) is not a good mathematical sentence. One person times one person times one person equals one person (1 person X 1 person X 1 person = 1 person) is not what we believe. One God times one God times one God (1 God X 1 God X 1 God) is not our belief. This shows that multiplying or dividing the number of persons or the number of God is a wrong concept.

Your comment or observation is welcomed.  (Eusebio A. Tanicala, Ph.D. – 7.15.10)

Two Natures Co-Existing In One Person?

By Eusebio Tanicala

A group of brethren in the Metro Manila area takes the position that from the time of conception and birth to the time of death at the cross (1 AD to 33 AD) our Lord Jesus Christ did not have deity in Himself. This group says that Jesus was one hundred percent human. No more no less. He had no deity in Himself, no Godhood in Him, no divine nature. This belief, the group says, is based on the Logos becoming flesh (Jn 1:14) and His emptying himself (Phil. 2:7) and his taking the nature of humanity so that he could be the ideal human which man could emulate (Heb. 2:14-17). Further, the belief is strengthened by the statement that the Father gave to the Lord Jesus Christ power and that God raised him from the dead.

Yes, Christ Jesus was human. But for a Bible teacher to close one’s eyes and heart and understanding to the many references and inferences that Christ had deity or was divine while on earth is to commit the fallacy of partial view. Only one aspect is being considered. It’s like the blind man who touched the leg of an elephant and he turned around and declared that an “elephant is like a Meralco electric post.”  Another blind man touched the dambuhalang elefante sa tagiliran and this blind man went forth and declared with authority that an “elephant is like concrete flat wall.”  A third blind man ventured into the circus area and touched the giant animal on the wagging right ear and with a smile he said, “ang elefante ay kagaya ng isang malaking abaniko.” Of course we know that one view is not the totality of the whole.  A taxonomist-zoologist would list down all the sections and sectional parts of an elephant and then declare the totality of the animal that comprise the big mammal. We should be the taxonomist and not one of the blind men.

I believe that Christ had both deity and humanity co-existing from his birth and continues on to the future. We shall prove this in the following discussion.


I would like to encourage the reader to be careful in our presumptions about Deity, about Yahweh God. Firstly, we should not think that Deity or Yahweh God has to always display full glory, full majesty, full authority, full power and full dignity in His existence and manifestations.  Secondly, we have to be conscious about Yahweh God’s name which is “I AM WHO I AM” (NKJV) which suggests that God could become or could appear in varied forms as His name implies.  Thirdly, there are instances in the OT wherein spirit beings became or took physical appearances and they were not declared as laying aside or emptying of their essential nature. We have for example the angels being made into fire but didn’t stop being angels (Heb. 1:14) or the spirit Devil becoming a physical snake of flesh and bones seen by the naked eye of mother Eve inside the Garden of Eden but didn’t lay aside or empty himself of his devilness. And, fourthly, God’s glory-majesty-authority-power could be manifested in various degrees or different measures as much as we accept the four measures of the Holy Spirit’s presence-influence in the Christian life.


To get deeper into our reflection in this study, let’s analyze the different characteristics and manifestations of the archangel Lucifer.

First, define the essence of Lucifer as belonging to the angelic host. Angels exist with a certain substance or essence, a heavenly one, but lower than the substance of Yahweh God. Lucifer was an angel.

Second, Lucifer was created a cherub (Eze 28:14-15) and he used to abode in the presence of the good angels (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7) in the heavenly realm where with the Most High God’s permission Satan could sometimes make a visit.

Third, Lucifer was a seal of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty (Eze 27:3; 28:12).

Fourth, Lucifer was given free will as all angels are, but his heart grew ambitious and envious and thought of equality with Yahweh God (Eze 28:2) and wanted to sit in equality with God (Isa 14:13-14).

Fifth, Lucifer’s envy and ambition to be equal with Yahweh God made him leave his habitation and so he was expelled from his abode together with his followers (Jude 6) and he became Satan, the Devil.

Sixth, when Lucifer became Satan the Devil, he didn’t stop being what he essentially was, an angel. He was created with the essence of an angel, he remains within that level or substance.  What he emptied himself of was his free will. After that rebellion and hardening of his envious, ambitious heart, he has become an irreversible liar and accuser and fault finder and evil doer. Also he was defrocked of the mantle of glorious light like what good angels possess when needed (Please read Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5).

Seventh, Satan can also fake himself and appear as an angel of light (2Cor 11:14; Gal. 1:8). Satan or any of his rebel angels could enter and possess a person and control the faculties of a person like what happened in Mark 5:1-20. Even in the time that evil spirits dwell in the bodies of humans, these evil spirits retain their original likas na kalagayan.

In our folklore, evil spirits could turn into a dog or cat or horse or bird. Evil spirits could turn into kapre or dwende.  Evil spirits could turn into jumping balls of fire. Evil spirits could appear as white lady or a good looking young man. But essentially these spirits retain their essential being even when directly turning into a physical item or possessing a person.


First, Lucifer was a created archangel, included among those created by Christ (see Col. 1:15-16). On the other hand, Christ is uncreated but the creator of all things visible and invisible, of powers and authorities and dominions and thrones.

Second, Lucifer possesses from the time of his creation the essence of the angelic host. On the other hand, Christ possesses the essence of Godhood or divine nature.

Third, Lucifer who was created lower than Yahweh God, envied and exerted effort to attain equality with Yahweh God. On the other hand, Christ is Yahweh God, but did not cling to his rightful equality with Yahweh God.

Fourth, the spirit Lucifer who turned Satan the Devil took the form of a physical snake entered and entered into the world, seduced Eve and Adam to disobey God, not to love God, and not to fear God. On the other hand, the divine spirit Christ took the form of a physical human being  entered into the world, induced the children of Eve and Adam to obey God, to love God and to fear-worship God.

Fifth, the spirit Devil, the Destroyer, when he became a snake of flesh and bones, this Devil Destroyer did not lose his essential nature of spirit Satanhood/devilhood. Similarly, the spirit Christ, the Savior, when he became flesh, this Savior did not lose his essential nature of spirit Godhood.

Sixth, in the Garden of Eden, in that form of a snake there co-existed in Satan two natures: (1) snakehood or animalhood and (2) spirit devilhood. Similarly, from birth (1 AD) to the cross (33 AD), there co-existed in that one persona  of Christ the two natures: (1) manhood, and (2) Godhood or Divinity.

Seventh, the spirit Devil who took the form of a physical snake of flesh and bones worked hard in the Garden of Eden in seducing  Eve and Adam  to spurn God which resulted to the destruction of mankind. In a parallel move, the spirit Christ who is God, took the form of a physical flesh and bones worked hard in persuading the children of Adam and Eve to return to God which now results to the regeneration and sanctification of mankind.

Eighth, the spirit Devil in the form of a snake aimed at elevating himself and thus became the God  of this world (2Cor. 4:4). On the other hand, the spirit Christ in the form of man made Himself of no reputation and thus became a slave and even allowed Himself to be killed to save the world. (See John 3:16-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Heb. 2:14-18).

Any comments or observation are welcomed.   (6.20.10)

Did Satan Empty Himself Of His Devilhood?

Some brethren in the Metro Manila area believe that Christ emptied himself of His divinity from the time of conception in 1 A.D. to 33 A.D. at His
crucifixion. Their contention is based on the term “emptied himself” in Philippians 2:7 and the lowly description in Isaiah 53 of the Messiah among others. This view is contrary to scriptures as we have shown in previous articles. In this article we want to ask if in the incarnation of Lucifer who turned Satan, he also emptied himself of his angelhood or devilhood.

We believe that Lucifer was one of the chief angels. He and the angelic host were part of that invisible dominions, powers, thrones and authorities
described in Colossians 1:15-16 created by the Lord Jesus Christ before the creation in Genesis 1:1. But his ambition made him a rebel and a sinner. He became Satan because he chose to oppose God. Being the instigator and chief of a coup d’tat mounted against Yahweh, it is inferred that he lied to the angels who followed him. The angels didn’t keep their proper domain, did not keep their habitation. They improperly occupied other realms. See Jude 6.

Then Satan entered the physical creation of God where everything was good. Originally Satan was a good angel, a spirit persona. After he rebelled against Yahweh, after he became Satan he remained as a spirit being. His nature, his original essence, his substance is that of an angel. Ang kanyang likas na kalagayan ay sa antas ng anghel. Mas mababa kaysa sa essence ng tunay na Diyos si Yahweh.

Good angel or bad angel, Satan had the same essence or substance of an angel. It was the level of angels. Lower than the substance of the true God. But higher than the essence of human beings.

Pero ang espiritung anghel na mabuti ay naging masamang anghel at naging pisikal. Ang masamang anghel na ito ay nagkatawang ahas. Ahas na pisikal na may buto’t laman. At dahil sa kanyang panlilinlang kay Eva, ang anghel na ito ay naragdagan pa lalo ang kanyang kaparusahan ayon sa Genesis. He was cursed. See Genesis 3:14-15. Nawala ba ang kanyang pagka-anghel noong naging ahas na buto’t laman? Hindi. Nawala ba ang kanyang pagka-demonio noong naging buto’t laman? Hindi. Nawala ba ang kanyang likas na kalagayan noong naging ahas na buto’t laman? Hindi. Did he lay aside his satanhood when he took the form of a snake? Hindi.

Was there an aspect of his angelhood or his devilhood that he laid aside or emptied himself of when he became a snake of flesh and bones? May be he laid aside his glory because angels are naturally of bright light. Satan can appear as an angel of light says Apostle Paul in 2 Cor 11:14. Good angels naturally appear in a glorious form. When human eyes behold this angelic glory it is “like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.” See Matt. 28:3. Good angels could also easily reduce the intensity of their glorious appearance for the sake of man.

Yahweh who is true God appeared to Abraham and Sarah as an ordinary, non-glorious man in Genesis 18:1-2. Yahweh’s two companions were angels who appeared as non-glorious man. Christ took the form of a rock that followed the Israelites providing water to the people for a period of  40 years, a form less glorious than human. This becoming less glorious is found in Exodus 17; Numbers 20; and 1 Corinthians 10:4. God being powerful can become what He wants to become. But his divinity, His deity will never be laid aside. It is the glorious appearance that could be diminished or increased as desired.

In the case of our Lord Jesus, he did not empty himself of his deity. It was his divine glory that he laid aside and took the form of a human being so that he could tabernacle with men. But during his sojourn on earth he put it on record in John 17:5 that it is his divine glory that he laid aside. That glory has been resumed as we may find in Daniel 7:9-14 and Revelation chapters 4, 5 and 22.

Comments and observations are welcomed.

– Eusebio Tanicala (6.15.10)